One of the most common experiences you will have when improving your eyesight, is changing to reduced prescriptions – separately for close-up and for distance vision use. In this article we look at how to deal with a healthier distance prescription.
The optional member supported Vision Improvement Course outlines a schedule for first getting ready for the differential prescription (for close-up use), and then about 4 weeks later, a normalized prescription (a healthier prescription for distance use). In the forum you often see me offer pointers on how to correctly assess these two prescriptions – which is key to having a good and productive experience with these changes. Forum access is permanent for all current and previous contributors, please do ask anytime you have questions!
When you switch to a lower prescription, you want to follow my simple but very effective method:
Absolutely Don’t Wear Your Old, Higher Prescription Before Switching To The New Reduction.
The reason for this? There are two distinct participants in eyesight – your eyes themselves, and the processing of the signal from your eyes, in the visual cortex of your brain. The latter is not to be discounted in how well you progress in improving your eyesight – which is why we want to apply my strategy for switching to the lower prescription.
Your Brain Will Compare: Give It A Positive Perspective, By Going From No Correction To Reduced Correction.
Makes sense, yes? If you wear your previous, higher prescription all day and then switch to the new, lower prescription late in the afternoon, your brain will perceive lots of additional blur – not how you want to introduce your mind and resulting attitude to the new prescription.
Instead, you want to create the most possible positive change with the new prescription – which is quite easy to do:
1. New Normalized (Distance) Prescription: Start Your Day With No Glasses.
Of course we have to be practical here. Often a weekend is best to do this, when you have some extra time to get outside in the morning, take a walk without glasses (high myopes, use with caution and be safe – check in with me if you are unsure). In some cases (high myopia) you may want to substitute your differential prescription (close-up) instead of no glasses, to give you some needed correction.
Get some good, relaxed outdoor time without glasses (or differential if needed). Just relax and enjoy the experience. Remember that there is a psychological aspect to eyesight, and the more positive of an attitude you can find, the better.
Mentally prepare yourself for the new correction and the opportunity it will offer for pulling focus.
Pull focus without glasses, after you have taken at least 15 minutes (or more if you are enjoying it) of just being present to your surroundings. Remember peripheral vision here, as well. Take the time to both be relaxed, as well as put into perspective the limits of your sight without correction.
Early in the day is best, before any close-up is ideal (!), natural lighting is ideal.
Then, anytime after 20 minutes (or any longer amount of time if you prefer, no rush here), put on your new normalized prescription. Be still and take in the difference between no glasses and your new accomplishment (and do think of these glasses as a reward and accomplishment – you worked your way to this lowered prescription!). Pull some focus. Enjoy the sense of clarity that the glasses provide. Remember how you used to feel when getting new higher prescriptions, walking out of the optic shop. That extra clarity that only lasts for a short time, that “new” feeling is available to you here just the same, by simply coming from a place of more blur, and appreciating the new available correction.
Notice in all of this that you are starting with natural lighting, no previous strain, and coming from blur towards sharpness.
The opposite would be a very different experience, and put your mind in a state of “less good” rather than “earned improvement”. While I generally focus on tangible facts and numbers, we really have to be conscious of our attitude as well – it does make quite a difference in ongoing improvement. Always come from blur to clarity (just like all of our focus pushing / focus pulling activities).
Weekends are ideal, low stress situations are ideal. If you have to put off trying your new prescription until you have that time, please do. Resist the urge to “peek”. Make the new prescription introduction an occasion. Remember habits – new prescription, the “ritual” I describe here, is an important part of the process.
2. Get A Snellen Reading.
Outdoors ideally, after you did some focus pulling with the new glasses. If you have landmarks you used with your previous prescription, feel free to compare and drop a quick note in your log there as well. These entries, even if it’s just once a month are well worth having.
What is your Snellen result? 20/40? Close to it? A bit less, challenging yourself with active focus? Perfect!
Much less than that, and we may have to take another look at the reduction. Much better than that, and you have to consider whether you are getting enough distance to a blur horizon for the prescription to be an effective tool for getting the positive stimulus you are looking for here.
3. Resist the Urge To Compare To Your Old Prescription
You always, always want to stay on the positive track. There is a whole lot of signal analysis happening in your visual cortex, and by consciously directing this towards blur –> sharpness, you will get the most from your efforts.
4. Leverage The Novelty
The most improvement potential is in the first four weeks. If you can get extra outdoor and focus pulling time, go for it! The more focus pulling you can do, the more your eyes will acclimate, and the better the transition will go for you. Remember that comparing landmark outdoor signs and naturally lit Snellen may serve as encouragement.
Don’t let the closer blur horizon become the new normal. Pull focus, get outside, get as much as you can out of the first few weeks in particular. After that, when progress slows a bit, you may choose to keep the prescription for anywhere from an additional few weeks to several months – it doesn’t have any negative effect and depends simply how aggressively you are pursuing improvement. And while you won’t be able to consistently reduce month after month (in most cases), getting that first few weeks of leveraging the novelty will get you the best experience with the new lowered prescription.
5. Use Your Previous Prescription When Needed – Low Light
Night time, going to the movies, and other low light activities may be challenging. Recognize the difference between “can do” and “uncomfortable”. There is no harm in wearing a higher prescription to go to the movies, or to use while driving at night (the latter, highly recommended – use your best judgment here for clear vision).
If you can see (not for driving but leisure activities), you may opt to stick with the lower prescription. A bit of challenge will stimulate the system towards improvement. A bit of blur discomfort is welcome. But if you end up simply looking at a blurry screen at the movie theater, you are doing yourself no favors. A lowered prescription is a challenge – take the time to recognize where you stand with it. If you only ever use your previous prescription for the occasional movie theater experience, and don’t wear it in better ambient lighting, you do maintain the perception of clarity with your new normalized (just don’t wear the higher prescription when leaving the theater).
You may notice the additional blur perception still, when switching back to your new normalized. Use your best judgment in where the tradeoff is for you. And if you have questions, post in the forum (or for one-on-one, just send me a quick e-mail).
Once you have mastered this, you have gained the confidence in yourself that you can manage a lowered prescription. And once you see improvement to where you want to reduce again, you know that you can repeat this process over and over, with lower and lower prescriptions – it’s just doing it once and going through the process of improving through that normalized, that you need to be able to continue this process all the way to 20/20.