Hi [s2Get user_field=”first_name” /].
It’s time for another session.
Before we get started, just a quick reminder. Do these at your own pace. By now you’re well established in new habits and you have the core pieces for your eyesight to improve. We’re now working on various tricks to maximize progress, to help you get around plateaus, to keep you from getting bored. You don’t have to do a session every day at this point. Think of them more as new things to do whenever you feel ready. 2-3 a week is a pretty good average for most students.
That out of the way, let’s talk about incremental focus pulling.
Dusk is likely a challenging time if you have the correct normalized prescription. Less contrast means less focusing ability. Just like auto focus in cameras some years ago, low light makes focus a challenge.
So far my only comments on this have been to either just ignore it, or to switch to your previous normalized prescription (which you still should, if you are driving, operating heavy machinery, etc). Be safe! Part of the process is to introduce concepts in a ‘time release’ fashion (like some of the fancy pharmaceutical pills do). If you get all the concepts at once, you try them in a flurry of excitement, and then end up not applying all of them into beneficial habits.
What we do here, is to slowly go from one step to the next. By the time your eyes have become accustomed to all the work you are doing so far, once new lower prescriptions have done their work, then ever so often we need a new way to stimulate your eyes.
It is time that we start leveraging what happens at dusk, to create the incremental focus pulling exercise.
The assumption here is that your are doing focus pulling, that you have a range of distance landmarks that you use for this work. We are also assuming that your differential prescription creates a challenge in seeing distant objects fully clearly. All that being the case, odds are that once bright daylight begins to wane, your focusing ability decreases. This is usually in the range of -0.5D or a bit more (depending on a range of factors – sensitivity, ambient light, your prescription). Half a diopter is quite a bit of focus loss, and it happens gradually as light decreases. It is the PERFECT framework for some real life, tangible, positive stimulus work.
Your work schedule and lifestyle permitting, find a few days in the week that you can be outside well before sunset, as daylight just begin to reduce. An hour is the perfect amount of time, if you can manage it.
Find the sunset time online, if you are not sure of it. It is the hour before sunset (depending on your location) that is most fruitful. If you can line up distant object landmarks (reading signs) along a set walk that takes up an hour (40 minutes, at least), you have the perfect setup for this work. You can use this forever, even if you are at 20/20, it is a very good way to maintain good focus. It is worth scouting out and setting up, you will get excellent use out of it.
If you want to enjoy small victories, and maintain motivation, bring a notepad (or use your smartphone) on your walk.
Write down a list of the landmarks, vertically. Horizontally, note the available light – subjectively is close enough (you can alternately use a light meter, though this is not necessary – if you like to entertain yourself with data, this can add to your enjoyment of the process). So now you have a quick and simple grid to note how well you can focus at each landmark, at how much light.
I say subjectively, since it becomes consistent enough over time, and it’s always your own subjectivity (which won’t change materially). Or of course, you can just take a walk, and focus on landmarks – no need to make it a big project (I am merely introducing that option, if you enjoy the task).
Try to read each landmark, all the way to sunset (of course as much as the circumstances permit). Stop, focus on it. Blink. Choose some that are easy to do in bright light, and see how much focusing ability reduces as it gets darker. Over time your ability to read the signs will improve – hence the use of the log, to see for yourself how your work is bringing results.
This can just simply be a pre-sunset walk, and some quick stops to look at signs. Plenty of stimulus is happening!
If you have been to the gym, you know the concept of increasing weights as you do sets of exercises. This is nature’s convenient equivalent for focus pushing. So far we just did the equivalent of ‘always the same weight’ with our focus work, but now we are augmenting this into a dynamic process. You can focus on the sign, read all the letters. Fifteen minutes later, this just became more of a challenge with dusk setting in. Can you still make out all the letters? Stop. Focus. Blink. Squint. Left eye, right eye. Get after it!
I keep meaning to discuss further why ‘eye exercises’ don’t really work well, long term (though I unfortunately use the term exercise as well, adding to potential confusion). What we continue to do, instead of ‘exercise’, is focus work. When in front of a computer, we push focus, When outdoors, we pull focus. Much of the medical profession is not really that genius, once you stop to consider – most of what we do, in most field,s is just two things: a) attempt to stop the cause of the symptom / problem and b) work to reverse it’s effects. We don’t create anything new, we just change the exact nature of the stimulus in the opposite direction. You find success not so much due to amazing insights on my part, but by undoing bad habits, and replacing them with focus as the biology was designed for.
Get outside if you can, add it to your calendar as repeating ‘to do’.
Build it into your list of positive eye health habits. Much more important than reading this and understanding it, is doing it enough times to where you are likely to keep with it – even with perfect eyesight, you need this exact type of exposure to maintain strong vision as you age.
Next up, session group 13, starting with a topic I’m quite fond of. The “lock-in”, how to make sure you don’t lose progress you already made. See you there!