Hi [s2Get user_field=”first_name” /].
Another session today, from the classic program!
Much of the ongoing improvement in your eyesight is affected by psychological drivers. While this may at first glance seem ‘unscientific’, it is fairly common in physical development.
** This exercise is best suited for -3.00 and lower myopia. **
When you look at competitive sports in particular, you see this happen frequently. Whether it is Olympic sprinters, pole vaulting or bodybuilding, there always seems to be a limit, a ‘maximum’ that seems to be the outer limit of human physical ability.
But then once one athlete breaks past that perceived barrier, subsequent years show many other competitors also following suit. This phenomenon can be observed across a range of sports and other human accomplishments. The psychological aspect of what we perceive as our limit can not be understated, as key driver in our own abilities to change our physical selves.
This fact takes shapes in various forms in our practice here. For instance, the first two months we pushed very hard for a significant initial improvement. I needed you to experience a real reduction in your prescription, to create the certainty in your mind that you have control over your eyesight. Once you held in your hand that new normalized prescription, once you saw the reality of your improved centimeter measurement, once you could clear another line on the Snellen, we already won the most significant battle – your realization that you can affect your vision, if you so choose.
From there, mileage varies. It depends how much you can reduce your daily strain (close-up) exposure. It depends on your age, your willingness to push focus, your participation with these installments. I have had 70 year old clients who came with a -4.00 prescription regain 20/15 vision. I have had clients who started with -7.00 return to 20/20 vision. This is not the case for everyone, but it is certainly possible.
What you need, and why we continue to add these installments, is to provide ongoing strategies to build on your vision awareness, and keep you engaged in the process. Today, we add have a fun exercise to your repertoire: The Looking Glass.
The Looking Glass is an exercise using your prescription as temporary vision aid.
For the sake of entertainment, let’s indulge in a moment of alternate reality. Use your Glasses Free Sunday day / routine, however you have it structured, to use for this exercise. You may be doing it on Tuesday, or once a month (but hopefully you are doing it, at some point or another).
(This exercise is originally taken from our child myopia program, but I found that parents love it as well. So, while it falls into the ‘active imagination’ category, it gives us a tangible and fun reference, instead of just being the dry and academic style of an eye exercise.)
Take your normalized prescription along with you, on your walk. Don’t wear them. Just have them with you.
Imagine that you are a pirate. Your walk is an exploration of your surroundings. You see well enough to be fully aware of the street, buildings, people around (exercise best suited for -3.00 and lower myopia). You can see the grass, you can read larger writing, on restaurants or billboards. Take at least 30 minutes of this.
Now, there is something in the distance you want to see clearly. A sign perhaps, or some object that looks blurred without your glasses. Imagine your glasses not as ‘always on’, for now, but rather as a looking glass, as a pirate would use to scout a distant object. Take out your glasses, imagine them as old school binoculars – the pirate’s looking glass. Put them on, and focus on the distant object. Your glasses are now not something you wear for ordinary passive consumption of ambient light signals. For now they exist just to allow you to focus in on particular distant objects, that would otherwise be out of your vision range.
Focus pull the distant object. Take liberties as you prefer, with our looking glass analogy. Kids love the pirate theme. You can too, even if in secret.
You can see the distant object clearly now. Scanning around the horizon and distant objects, you are enjoying the clarity that the looking glass affords you. Take a minute or so of this, and then take them back off to deal with your immediate surroundings (ie walking, seeing cars if you cross the street, etc.)
Repeat as much as you like.
What happens with this exercise?
Our brains interpret visual signals highly selectively. Additionally, your ciliary muscle tends to be ‘lazy’. If you walk around with your normalized prescription all day, your eyes will want to go back to minimum requirement – they are used to this, from years of being spoiled by getting sharp vision served up by corrective lenses. Now not only do we make your eyes habituate to a less sharp environment, but we also put clear distance focus into a positive psychological context. We use this thought exercise to contribute to change your relationship to the prescription – rather than a clutch, it is a tool you selectively use for clear distance vision.
This can be a highly effective exercise, especially when paired with a day of pushing focus, taking breaks, and working up close only with good ambient lighting. If you do this for a whole weekend, you may be surprised to see another centimeter or so improvement in your measurements the next Monday morning (and if not the first time you do it, quite likely so if you make this another habit).
Other fun ways to enjoy the Looking Glass:
You can take this work however far you like. In the child myopia program, I recommend considering an additional frame to complete the pirate game. Children have a very active imagination, and tapping into this allows us great leverage and engagement. Kids will improve, if you make it a game that they want to play.
Clients, as always, are the ones adding the most to our program. Some years back one of the parents in the child program not only bought frames for their child (to play the pirate game), but also for himself and even his wife. Especially since this was in Germany (where amazing frame shops abound), they found some amazing frames. Imagine the ‘steampunk’ style – brass frames, very ornate, almost something you would imagine at an opera back in the 18th century. Very cool, if daring – but perfect for an exercise where the ‘looking glass’ is a tool, something not used continuously, but rather taken out to examine a specific distant object.
Likewise, you can just as easily use your regular glasses, and just transform No Glasses Sundays without the imaginative decorum.
In any case, be sure to enjoy this exercise. And next up, some new focus pushing work!