Welcome back, [s2Get user_field=”first_name” /]! Today let’s look at how to push further for more, faster improvements.
Take your time with this one. It has huge potential, but you’ve got to get into. A bit of an experience / learning curve here.
There are two principal ways to push focus. So far we have addressed only one. Today we will take a look at another way to use this practice for even larger gains.
Incremental improvements. There is a frequently expressed desire on part of students to ‘jump ahead’. I have seen this countless times, with successful students attempting to relate core concepts to friends with glasses. Invariably and eventually some of those friends end up working on their eyesight, somehow not getting the improvements that their mentor had promised.
The main reason for this? We get excited. We like to share the real ‘bombshell’ practices that got us the highest gains.
Truth though is, that the big gains tend to come from the cumulative effect of several habits.
If you have spent the last few months diligently (more or less, at least) with close-up focus pushing exercises, you will benefit from today’s installment. What you shouldn’t do though, is to use this installment if you do not regularly push focus.
As I like to repeat frequently, progress is all about small and consistent positive habit changes. Too much exercise, pushing, effort, just means eye strain. And eye strain caused myopia in the first place, so there is no upside to doing too much work. Today’s installment is definitely high on the strain scale. It is appropriate if you have been doing your work, experiencing progress, and are currently just in a routine – that warrants a little shaking up.
So, let’s shake things up just a little bit:
To date we have described pushing focus as getting close enough to the image to see it fully sharply, and then slowly moving back until the image just barely begins to blur. That is the ‘edge of focus’. Staying in that range, ‘pushing’ a bit by moving back another centimeter or two, the bulk of the focus pushing we have done so far.
The prerequisites for a different way of doing focus pushing:
You have been doing regular focus pushing for at least two months.
You never wear full or normalized prescription for up-close work.
You are having no notable strain symptoms (headaches, tears, eye pain)
You have had your current differential prescription for at least 3 weeks.
You are getting reasonable breaks (bare minimum 30 minutes for every 3 hours).
You get some outdoor time, you do the ‘day off from prescriptions’, you pull focus.
If you are not doing all of the above, save this session for when you are ready. You will get a lot more out of it that way. The reason these practices work is the nature of how we ‘stack’ them. Just as you would not go to the gym for the first time and put 200 kilos on a bench press or a 30 minute sprint, too much strain does more harm than good.
All the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to it:
Warm up a little bit, just doing your standard routine. Reading, working, no matter. Stay at the edge of focus. Let your eye ‘warm up’, for 20 minutes. Business as usual.
This varies depending on your individual ability to accommodate, your prescription strength, ambient brightness, and other factors. You want to move back a LOT. If you normally have a centimeter or two of room inside the edge of blur, you want to double or even triple that distance. We are taking the distance clear to where you can still read text, but just barely. This is the far side of blur, where you are almost guessing at the letters.
Text is best here. Ideally if you a well lit computer monitor, good ambient brightness here. Now, get ready for a bit of magic …
You probably already had the ‘auto focus’ experience, where your eyes just draw fuzzy objects into focus. Let this happen now. If you meet the prerequisites we mentioned above, you will. After 15 seconds (or thereabouts) of staring at the screen, blink a few times. Pick a letter and look just at it. Pick a part of just one letter. Blink a few times, again.
Give it another 15 seconds, blink a few times again. Sometimes this will increase the focus even further. When that happens, stare at it again, no blinking. This is keeping your ciliary exactly where it needs to be for focus. Staring at it without blinking gives the physiology time to build memory for this correct focus.
No blinking is important, every time you achieve proper focus.
You can do this as much and as long as you want. For the overachievers among us, don’t go beyond an hour for at least the first week. For us regular folks, ten or fifteen minutes is fine. A little extra trick:
This means more blinking, a bit less sharpness as usual. You can do this all day if you like, and if you don’t feel strained. Move a bit closer as you feel the need to. There is no need to push too hard.
The point of this is to allow yourself to explore what your real edge of focus is. So often our bodies keep some reserves. To get maximum gains we have to get into that reserve zone, and not allow the physiology to ‘sandbag’, create a false sense of limit (all the time). Of course we don’t want to push to this level all the time. Do it as much as you enjoy, ideally no more than 2-3 days out of the week.
The real improvement happens during rest.
Always keep this in mind. You bring the stimulus. If you want the improvement, you have to provide the rest. I like to recommend this exercise on a Friday and Saturday, and then having a Sunday of no close-up work, maybe even no prescription at all (as example).
There is related practice we use for focus pulling (distance work). I will add this one soon, to complement this focus pushing practice.
Take your time with this. It works best if you really get into it, find it working, before you move on to the next session. I promise, better to do it like this than going for eating the whole box of candy all at one time. 😉
Speaking of candy box, next up is session group 14, starting with … “the sniper stare”. Good times ahead!