The Snellen Test
Welcome to your very first session, [s2Get user_field=”first_name” /].
We are going to ease into this process as much as possible.
As I mentioned before, there’s a bit of a learning curve here. Part of it is actual knowledge building and part of it is (possibly for the first time ever) getting in touch with your eyes.
Those two orbs in your head, far too taken for granted.
Let’s show them some love!
Don’t worry; I won’t go all New Age hippie on you (at least not until way, way later) but you need to start connecting to the feedback system which glasses have made impossible to notice.
Glasses are much like taking really strong painkiller medication. Your body can no longer communicate pain.
Your eyes can’t communicate strain by any other means than a change in your vision.
This will all make sense very soon. Once we turn down the huge prescription just a little bit, you’ll start to notice how your eyesight varies and what causes strain.
Before we do anything else it is important that you have a way to gauge your current vision deficiency, check vision stress, and monitor your progress. The Snellen test (more commonly called an “eye chart”) is still, to this day, the main tool optometrists use to check your eyesight.
Without the Snellen, we have nothing. Why?
The prescription strength offered by your optometrist may not be accurate.
Your vision will vary throughout the day, depending on lighting, diet, external stress, and peripheral vision. Your Snellen result is not like your shoe size so to begin to understand what is happening to your eyes, you need a tool to easily measure their current state.
The ‘prescription strength’ you currently have is very possibly an over-prescription.
Doing a Snellen test in a dark room, late in the day, after a day of working and eating may bring about a result far worse than a relaxed morning test, at home, before eating and in a well-lit room.
We will look at Snellen results in various conditions throughout the program. You will know a lot more about your vision and various environmental effects using this tool.
Let’s start off by getting you an eye chart. You can easily print one at a local copy shop, and even get it laminated if you want more lasting quality. Our preference is buying a nice poster version on eBay, though there are a few other choices available, depending on your creativity.
These sessions all have one thing in common: a simple action item. For today the first thing you need to do is get that eye chart. It will serve you well!
On to the second piece:
Eye Strain Awareness
We will be dealing with strain awareness in various ways. Those of you who have already been working on your vision may have been neglecting this component, though it is very, very important.
There are two main parts to vision rehabilitation. One is active induced stress to force a positive change.
The more common form of this is ‘near focus’ work. If you are not familiar with this yet, do not worry, we will cover it in much more detail later. It is important though that we first have a very clear feedback loop from our body about any sort of induced stress.
It’s not wise to simply pick up a different prescription or stop wearing glasses. The single biggest factor in improving your vision is understanding what your body is telling you.
The fact is your feedback loop has been suppressed by years of wearing corrective prescriptions.
You wake up and put on your glasses, or put in your contacts, and stay in that environment until you go to bed. There is a stress created from this, but you do not have full access to it as it has basically been ‘silenced’ from years of accommodation.
A lot of the gains we are looking for in the next 60 days will come from a combination of exercises and reducing negative stress, with you actively experiencing the effect on your eyes. Getting a sense of this will take a few weeks.
To get things started, here is your plan for tomorrow morning:
When you get up do not put on your glasses or contacts. If you are used to getting up at the last minute before work, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier!
Please follow all these instructions. Some of them may seem trivial, but they are in many cases the details that bring everything together. Skipping things may leave you with disappointing results, and since you have signed on to participate, you might as well get your eyesight back!
Tomorrow morning spend the first 20 minutes without glasses.
Since this is not a one-on-one rehab program, this will only be truly effective for those who habitually wear corrective prescriptions. Comment in the forum link at the end of this article if you need other suggestions.
Here is what will happen:
Your prescription glasses have made your eyes lazy (I am over simplifying for the moment – many other things are happening here too but we will cover this later).
As you go through your morning routine, practice awareness. How blurry is the sink? The tooth brush? Coffee machine? Actively look at these things. This will not do anything whatsoever to improve your vision so there is no need to spend more time without glasses. (If you see poorly but don’t wear glasses, likewise, you are not actually helping your vision – you are just creating a different type of strain.)
This is merely an exercise to create an active context. Normally you spend very little time actively monitoring your vision. This practice, which we will keep up for the entire program, will introduce an element of critical examination and create a new relationship between your brain, the mechanisms that signal ‘hey this is broken’, and your eyes.
We are skipping a lot of medical terms and complexities here because we only have 60 days to move through this process. The idea is not to impress you via confusion and complexity but simply change your relationship with your vision and improve it!
So… you will be going about your morning routine and things will be blurry.
Take the time to feel for a ‘pressure’ on the back of your eyes. It’s almost like something pushing against them. You may or may not find this today; it could be tomorrow, it could be two weeks from now. It’s a key feedback signal from your eyes which we will use for future exercises, so just give yourself the opportunity to become aware of it.
After 20 minutes, put on the glasses or contacts.
Re-trace your steps and experience the sharpness. Sharpness is good! We spend a lot of time vilifying corrective vision, because it does in fact significantly harm your eyes in the long term.
But now that we begin to use them as crutches to rebuild your vision – in a temporary sense, glasses are GOOD. We need the model of sharp vision they provide to give your brain a template, a standard to strive for.
1. Buy an eye chart.
The most common types are 3 meter and 6 meter charts. If you have a small room, get the 3 meter chart (meaning you need 3 meters of distance between you and the chart).
Any eye chart will do. Whether it’s most convenient to print one from the web or order one online, decide now and get that done before getting back to your day.
2. 20 minutes without glasses, first thing in the morning whilst actively taking in your environment, then go back and see everything with glasses. Feel for retinal pressure without glasses, then enjoy the sharpness. Positive emotion associated with sharpness will help with the exercises we will be doing later on.
After this go about your day as normal.
Tomorrow, we will add more to this.
Note: The reason we segment the content is because this IS a process that requires no skipping or re-formulating without experience. It took many years for your eyes to get as bad as they are today. There is NO way to fix this in a matter of days. We are going through a carefully planned process to create the ability for your vision to recover. Please, please just follow along!
If you have questions about this first session, post them here: forum link.
Feel free to comment on your experience. I will keep an eye out for anything unusual. The more we know about your experience, the more we can tailor suggestions (time permitting).
Welcome to the first day of a process that really will change your vision forever!