Plateau Buster: Advanced Focal Plane Stimulus
Earlier in the program, in the blog, and a lot of forum posts I advocate based on ‘less is more’ principles.
I suggest not using multiple, different prescriptions, any more than strictly necessary – and only when part of a clear format of what you are trying to accomplish. Deviating from the program, while sometimes makes sense, should always be accompanied by a 30-90 consistent approach, and keeping a log.
I prefer not to have clients use multiple lenses at one time, as well as bi-focals. There are exceptions, but in general we want to keep things as refractively simple as possible.
Today, as you should by now have a solid routine and understanding of your own physiology, we will go a bit of a different direction.
The problem that begins to emerge, about this time into vision improvement, that progress slows down. This is quite normal, as you are likely dealing with more axial myopia than ciliary, after the first few months. And even if it is ciliary, if your progress is slowing down, it is time to evaluate some options to give your progress a bit of a boost.
Please keep in mind that you shouldn’t use this, if you are still experiencing good progress. Save it for when you feel you hit a plateau.
You understand the psychological underpinnings of our challenge. As myopia rehab is a number of layers, we work our way back through the simpler and more tangible aspects, eventually getting into the advanced subjects here – such as astigmatism and psychological barriers to improving eyesight.
We already have the no-glasses-mornings and no-prescription-Sunday, to prep you for what comes next.
You need to have at least two normalized prescriptions for this. If you are still on your first one, bookmark this Installment, and come back to it after you had your second normalized prescription for at least 30 days.
There are a few ways to do this practice correctly. In this installment, we will cover the most effective one. This practice is based on my experience in the clinic, where we experimented with a lot of variations, and a large number of clients, over the years. So starting with what we know works, will give you the best results. You are welcome to experiment yourself, once you feel comfortable with the premise, and ideally first have tried the established way for a few months first!
The practice centers on the #endmyopia concept of active focus.
You already know how active focus works, and have been using it in several ways – mainly pushing focus, pulling focus, and the peripheral exercises. It is active focus, any time you are consciously engaged in the effort of achieving focus, and said effort requires your conscious involvement. It is all the things you can’t see clearly, until you try. It is the things you don’t see clearly the first time you try, and may not become habitually clear till weeks or months into practicing. Active focus drives the ongoing improvement you experience.
Working against us, is habituation. If you start going to the gym, the first month you see excellent improvement. A year later, improvements tend to be much, much smaller. In the gym as well as here, we are always looking for ways to fight habituation.
Here is the Advanced Focal Plane Stimulus strategy to fight habituation:
Two normalized prescriptions, your current one, and your previous one.
The normalized prescriptions should not be more than 0.25 diopters different (!)
A Snellen chart
If your last normalized prescription was higher than 0.25 difference to your current, it would be best not to use it for this exercise. Rather, if you would like to do it, either find out if you can go down another quarter diopter, and still see the Snellen with it at least to 20/30 in good lighting. 20/40 is a possibility as well, but will be less effective. Take your centimeter measurements, or better yet, a test lens kit to find out your available margin for change.
Your old normalized prescription, besides being no more than 0.25 diopters higher, should give you 20/20 on the Snellen, in a bright room.
The closer you can make these conditions fit the exercise, the better the results. Be patient. If you are not at this level yet, file away this installment. There is no benefit to pushing to hard if you are not ready.
You will need at least an hour of distance vision time, preferably outdoors, in consecutive days, for this exercise to be effective.
Let’s get started:
One the first day, you use your regular normalized prescription. Take an hour outdoors, check your landmarks, pull some focus. Also just take in your surroundings, enjoying the detail and clarity you can find. Grass blades, tree bark, details of clouds. The focus pulling does not need to be all work and science, enjoying your surroundings will work well for this practice.
On the second, alternating day, use your previous, no more than 0.25 diopter different, prescription and repeat the exact same outdoor hour and focus pulling, and enjoying your surroundings. Your image will be clearer, and you will enjoy the clarity of your surroundings more, with this prescription.
For this to work well, as I’d said, you want to be at 20/20 with the old prescription.
One the third, alternating day, go back to using your regular normalized prescription. Repeat the same process.
You can do this as much as you like, though avoiding a ratio higher than 1:1 for new and old prescription. After a week you want to go back to just using your current prescription for a week. After that, you can repeat the exercise again.
What happens here?
As you probably already guessed, this practice increases your active focus opportunity. Your visual cortex needs to compare visual clarity to effect change. It’s the same as pushing focus when you are up-close, you move backward to find the edge of blur – an effective, albeit somewhat clinical and boring practice.
Doing Advanced Focal Plane Stimulus in this exact fashion, will give you yet another dimension for pulling focus, and working fully with active focus. There is additional benefit in the longer term exposure. You don’t switch between glasses in one walk – it’s not till the next day that the focal plane is slightly changed. We have another variation of this, which in some cases gets clients ready for the next, lower prescription much more quickly than would happen otherwise. We will cover this once you have had a chance to try this (jumping ahead is tempting, and will take away all the benefits of having these exercises spaced out and applied over time).
Questions about this (or any sessions)? Drop me a line in the forum!