Prescription lenses alter the focal plane of light converging in your eye.
We know that this is a very convenient tool to hide a lifestyle problem most of us would rather not address. We have also learned that by knowing our own centimeter edge of focus and maintaining that distance while focused up close, we can counter some vision stress. Let’s recap some of the other strain reduction techniques:
1. Changing Focal Distance
Looking away from the book or computer monitor for a moment, focusing on an object at some distance other than the plane in front of you. Taking occasional breaks, with 5-10 minutes or more of distance focus. Getting your ciliary muscle to move, instead of remaining contracted at one specific level for extended periods of time.
2. Changing Focal Plane Correction
Occasionally taking off your differential prescription while focused up close, another tool to change your ciliary muscle engagement. With your differential prescription you can see up to 50 cm in front of you. Taking it off will mean having to adjust your distance (closer if you use minus differential, further away if you use plus) – again you are getting the focusing muscle involved, giving it the opportunity to move.
3. Maintaining Good Ambient Lighting
You likely have noticed your vision deteriorating in less than optimal lighting conditions, when wearing your new normalized prescription lenses. Less light means more strain, especially in an environment of significant illumination difference. Using a bright computer screen in an otherwise dark room is not a good way to show your eyes some love! Consistency between the screen brightness and ambient lighting is excellent practice, especially with well light overall environments.
Also a good idea is to use natural daylight as much as possible. Fluorescent lights are one of the least optimal lighting sources in terms of spectrum .
4. Taking Days Off
It’s the broken record subject – we got myopia in no small part because we spend way too much time focused up close. Taking a day to go hiking, play outdoors, even going to a mall will do. Anything to get the bulk of your focus to be at a distance.
Along with these methods, I want to introduce you to another concept:
No correction Sundays. 🙂
As the title suggests, the premise is to take one whole day to wear absolutely no corrective lenses. Why?
Depending on your myopia case, this in itself is not entirely beneficial. Especially if you are above -4.00 diopters, you are probably not ready for this one. In which case, just read along and consider it as part of future work.
Let’s take a look at the premise of this exercise: This is not really work to improve your vision, the way our focal plane exercises do. Instead, we are addressing a fundamental difference in how we view correction, compared to some other types of myopia management:
Glasses are a crutch.
This exercise is to fully remind us of this key component of rehabilitation. A crutch is useful and necessary for us to progress. We do not want to take it for granted. We also do not want to use it to be able to ignore the larger problem. No Correction Sundays, is a day without crutch.
It’s a day to appreciate the limitations we experience without glasses. TV? Might not be enjoyable! Computer time? It will definitely be a different experience than with your differential prescription. Depending on your prescription strength the mileage here varies widely. The point is to build the psychological reference, of how much we really depend on this crutch for countless day to day activities.
Again, consider not doing this if you are over -4.00. Don’t do it if you have to drive, or any activity that might endanger you or others.
You don’t have to do it every week. You can make it a half day, instead of a full day. If you are -3.00 or less though, I encourage you to accept the challenge of spending a whole day without glasses.
Keep note of what changes … what activities can you not do without them? Do you find other activities to replace them? Does it make you feel claustrophobic, or depressed? You may start out with an hour or two, and next week try to add another hour to it. You want to walk away from this exercise, with a specific awareness:
Glasses allow you to see clearly.
Try this a few times before arriving at your own judgements. It is entirely different to be immersed in the experience, vs. merely understanding the premise.
The next day, you may appreciate your normalized prescription more. I have found that this exercise speeds up the adoption of normalized prescriptions in many clients. Our physiology is fundamentally ‘lazy’. It seeks to conserve energy, and it will provide resources to exactly that degree as required – nothing more. If you have the glasses every day, pushing focus (up close) and pulling focus (at a distance), may become something like a chore. After a whole day of no access to this focal plane, the response may change – instead of a chore, the ability to pull objects into focus is a positive experience, rather than laborious effort.
There is a reason beyond the obvious that so many of us wear glasses, and that the majority of optometrists are keen on prescribing them. The psychology of seeing clearly is as important, or more so, than the mechanics of it.
Rehab focuses on strain reduction, on exercise, and also on our fundamental (and partially subconscious) emotional attitude. No Correction Sundays is intended to look at our focal plane changing crutches as enablers for improvement, instead of an exercise that we ‘must’ do.