Welcome to the Bonus Sessions, [s2Get user_field=”first_name” /].
You’re in a great place now. You’re at a level where you know much of what I’ve learned in a decade of experiments and tweaks and thousand of student feedback items. I know that I can relate to you all sorts of concepts that make sense only when you’re at this level, with both the knowledge and experience to make the most of them.
All those improvement stories posted on the site, I’m expecting that we’ll be able to continue adding yours to the list (of the very few people alive today who managed to beat their myopia and get their eyesight back). Do remember to share, it hugely helps the newbies get motivated and confident enough to try themselves!
But enough with the pep talk. Let’s get to the session.
There is a balance, individual to each of us, of how much average close-up we can tolerate. We talked about this in various sessions previously, to various degrees. It’s a very key premise to long term success, and it’s worth putting in the forefront of your conscious thought, so you’ll start to recognize this balance.
Let’s start with me as an example:
I can spend about 3 hours in close-up. Then I really should spend about an hour, or an hour and a half of a break. Then I can go for another two hours or so, then another break. In this scenario I’m also browsing news on an iPad in the morning (bad Jake!) and watching movies on an iPad in the evening.
If I do that, I’m fine. What counts as ‘fine’?
My eyes don’t feel a sense of pressure when I look up from the screen, into the distance. And more importantly if I go for a walk late in the day, the world doesn’t feel blurry. Another way to describe this ‘good side’ of the ciliary balance is that you don’t get a lot of double vision, not blur but having to blink a lot, focus a lot, just to get the world to look clear (when it did look clear perfectly fine, without all that effort, earlier in the day).
You know what I’m talking about – annoying ciliary spasm.
You don’t go straight back to blur, but rather an in-between of blur and double vision (depending on your diopter correction choices and progress so far, of course). We talked about this before, and it’s one of the few things you want to keep a proverbial eye on, long term.
That ciliary spasm, if you get it every day, will notably slow your overall progress (not stop it, but realize you’re paying a price for all that close-up).
I can go for a relatively huge amount of close-up, no breaks, all day, and just buy the ciliary spasm. As long as I get at least a day or two in that week of just about no close-up at all, and a lot of focused distance vision, I’ll still end up on the net positive with ciliary spasm. Over time I adjusted my life to have very focused distance vision hobbies (paragliding and more recently, kitesurfing – requiring very acute and well focused distance vision at all times). You could substitute weekends of bird watching, or hunting, or golf, or really anything that really demands active focus distance vision as part of the (entertaining) activity.
That’s me. For you, maintaining positive ciliary balance may allow for more close-up (or less). You want to consciously observe, tweak, experiment. You want to really get to know your eyes and how they respond not just to all the things we learned so far, but now also zoom out and put this in perspective with your lifestyle in general.
Side note: This awareness comes with a price, namely that you’ll continually become more aware when you abuse your eyes.
It’s the net negative ciliary balance you want to avoid. When you get up from work or close-up and everything looks blurred, focus happens slowly, and even once that’s resolved you still get a lot of double vision images – you’ll become more aware of this, and you’ll want to tempt yourself to not make this a daily occurrence. You’ll notice that if you do the same the next day, and the day after, and the next ten days after, that your centimeters may even start to drop – and subjectively that you’re losing clarity.
Ciliary spasm. Avoid it, since whenever your ciliary is locked up, you can’t get to the stimulus that you’re looking for to reduce eyeball axial length. You need a relaxed ciliary to get positive axial stimulus – and if you have to invest all of your distance active focus just into reducing the day’s ciliary spasm then you’re basically standing still (though still better than increasing myopia, probably not the best way to spend your time).
This is more of a long term perspective – knowing what you know now, you can check in and ask yourself: am I on the ciliary spasm treadmill here, or am I making real 20/20 gains?
And recognizing the problem (if it exists) is perfectly ok. Maybe all you need to get to positive ciliary balance is an extra wide spectrum light bulb, or an extra ten minutes in your walk, or really taking Sunday and keeping unplugged from screens. Maybe it’s looking at longer term habit changes (which work best starting slowly – like making it a 1/4 Sunday and eventually a 1/2 Sunday, before going full-no-screen Sunday – for example). Maybe it’s contemplating new hobbies.
No matter what, knowing about positive ciliary balance takes you right to the threshold of doing one thing to get you closer to it (or keeping you in the positive if you’re already there).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this bonus session. We’ll be focusing on these small nudges, tweaks, reminder, and ideas every month from now on. Set yourself a reminder to come back for the next one in 30 days and take the time this month to increase your awareness about your ciliary muscle. Is it relaxed? Are you getting stuck on ciliary spasms? If so, that’s perfectly ok as a starting point – and what small adjustment can you make to see whether that puts you in a positive balance?
And of course if you ever get bored working on your and want additional interaction, you can stop by our Facebook group. I don’t provide support there (just basic moderation), and there’s definitely a wider and more general audience. Still, might be another nice way to keep you connected to the process.
If you do, say hi! 😉 And see you back here, in about 4 weeks.