My starting point on my natural eye improvement journey is about 16 years worth of wearing glasses pretty much all day every day, and this is my starting-point prescription before starting any new habits or exercises:
Sphere: R -4.25 L-4.75
Cylinder: R +0.25 L +0.50
Axis: R 180 L 60
I’m now at the stage where I’m ready to make a treatment plan for myself to follow to try and improve my eyesight.
After reading “Improve your Vision Without Glasses or Contact Lenses”, I learned that there are slightly different techniques and exercises to use in order to treat different eyesight conditions. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to condense here the specific parts of eyesight improvement which are helpful for myopic / near-sighted / short-sighted people like me, to help come with a strategy or plan of action for how to go about improving your eyesight naturally.
So in brief, here is my strategy for treating my myopia:
Step 1: Before doing Eye Improvement exercises, first relieve any eye strain
Eye strain can slow down progress or can even reverse progress, so it’s important that if your eyes feel tired, to practice some eye-strain relieving techniques. This applies both before starting the vision-improvement exercises and DURING the process of working on your eyes. Always check in to make sure you eyes are feeling good, and if they feel tired, take note and give them a break, treating your eyes to some soothing techniques like:
- Reduce eye-strain inducing close-focus work and take regular eye breaks during near-work (eg. computer work, reading etc)
- Palming (for 7-10 minutes at a time)
- Light therapy or sunning (for 7-10 minutes at a time)
- Hydrotherapy (for 5 minutes or so)
- Acupressure (for 5 minutes or so)
(Click on the technique name to see an explanation of what it is.)
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Step 2: Take regular breaks from near work
During computer work, reading, tv watching, sewing, knitting, eating.. anything that requires you to look at things that are near you rather than far away, take regular eye-breaks. Close-up-work strains eyes if done for long durations without a break.
How often should you take a break? Recommendations vary. I’ve seen all of the following suggestions:
- Couple minutes break every 30-40 minutes of near-work.
- 10-10-10 rule: 10 second break from close work every 10 minutes, looking to a distance of 10 feet away.
- 20-20-20 rule: 20 second break from close work every 20 minutes, looking to a distance of 20 feet away.
How to take eye breaks:
- Looking away at distant objects for 2-20 seconds at a time, to give your eyes a break from the up-close vision.
- Use an eye-relaxing exercise like palming, an eye acupressure break, or the Slow Blink technique (Click on the technique name to see an explanation of what it is.)
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Step 3: Pay attention to the tilt of my head
This isn’t for myopia but rather for treating astigmatism. I have some minor astigmatism, and according to the book, astigmatism can be caused by a tendency to constantly tilt your head in a certain way rather than keeping it upright. I’ve noticed that I indeed do tilt my head slightly to one side quite often so I intend to become more conscious of this and keep my head upright as much as possible to undo my astigmatism.
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Step 4: Only wear glasses when you REALLY need them, and when wearing them, keep your maximum possible distance from things and only wear glasses that give the minimum amount of correction needed for your particular activity. Leave glasses off at all other times
Due to blissful ignorance, I’ve been guilty of exacerbating my eyesight by just leaving my glasses on all the time. It was easier than continually taking them off and putting them on as I look around at different distances. The thing is, I’d been keeping them on even when I was doing hours of near-work; during reading, during writing, during eating… and didn’t really need them for these activities. It just didn’t cross my mind to question whether I really needed them for close-work, it was just easy to forget they were even on. What happens if you use glasses intended for seeing far away, for near-work? You’re effectively forcing your eyes to look through “distant” setting, for close-up work, and if you do it for a very long time, your eyes adapt to make sure you can see well WITH your distant-setting glasses for close-up distances. Then when you look far away with the same glasses, surprise surprise, the glasses have adapted for closer-distances and now you can’t see as well with them for far-away distances. You go to the optician, they say, yep, you can’t see well for far distances. Here’s a higher prescription for you to solve the problem. But it doesn’t solve the problem. As long as you continue leaving your glasses on when you don’t need them, the cycle will repeat, leading to progressively higher prescriptions.
To break the cycle, become aware of when you don’t need your glasses and take them off. Make your eyes work naturally for distances that don’t need glasses, and only use glasses that have the strength needed for your specific purpose (e.g. glasses for computer work or reading distance should be a different strength from glasses needed for driving). In doing this, using the weakest possible prescription for each activity and not settling for a one high “one-prescription-fits-all”, your natural eyesight will strengthen, or at the very least, stabilize.
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Step 5: Purchase undercorrected glasses
In my case, since my prescription is over -4.00D, rather than going cold turkey with no glasses, I think it’s best for me to use undercorrected glasses to gradually adapt to seeing better.
How do you know which prescription to get? In the book they recommend the following:
- 0.50 D lower for distant sight
(although some other people recommend a gentler 0.25 D undercorrection)
The weaker prescription should give you 20/40 acuity in each eye (this means that you can see at 20 feet what a normal person sees at 40 feet.)
- 2.00 D lower for near sight that requires glasses eg. reading, computer work etc.
As I understand it, the idea is to let your eyes adapt to a lower prescription, and train your eyes to improve using eye exercises, and once your eyes see well with the undercorrected prescription, you and get a new pair of glasses with another 0.25 – 0.50 step down in prescription, to adapt to that, gradually improving your eyesight.
I have already used the website selectspecs.com to order some cheap glasses to use for this progressive undercorrection process. For the start of my journey I’ve currently bought 3 sets of glasses, all without astigmatism. In case you’re curious, the glasses I bought were with the following prescriptions:
- Starting point before undercorrection: R 4.25 L 4.75 with astigmatism
- Undercorrective lenses 1: R 4.00 L 4.25 without astigmatism
- Undercorrective lenses 2: R 3.75 L 3.75 (going for parity)
- Undercorrective lenses 3: R 3.50 L 3.50
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Step 6: Do the recommended eye improvement exercises
The exercises I plan to do are a selection of those that were recommended in the book for myopia, as well as maybe some I resonate with that I find online. I haven’t yet picked the ones I will do but it will be a selection of some of the following exercises and practices:
(I starred and made bold the ones I liked the sound of the most)
- ✮ Print Pushing – 2-4 hours a day
- Hydrotherapy – at least 3 mins a day
- Fast Blinking – 1 minute per day
- ✮Slow Blinking – 1 minute a day
- Squeeze blinking – 1 minute a day
- ✮Pumping – at least 3 minutes at a time, 2 times a day
- Eye rolls – 1 minute a day
- Clock rotations – 1 minute a day
- Light therapy – 5 minutes a day
- ✮Acupressure exercises A B and C, 2 mins each a day
- Palming 5 minutes a day
- Acuity chart exercise 2 minutes a day
edit: This is effectively Push Printing, only instead of working with text on the screen or in a book it works with a chart like the Snellen chart, like this one: Acuity Chart. See Push Printing for the article on how to do this technique.
- Scanning chart 2 minutes a day: This is like one of those eye maze games they often give children, where you have to follow a line with your eyes from one end of the “maze” to another. Here is an example Scanning Chart I found online to follow: Scanning Chart. I think the purpose of this chart is to both train your eye muscles and give them a wowrout, and to help you strengthen your focusing technique since it’s a challenge for the eye to keep focus on the one line you are following.
- Edge Tracking (aka Blur zoning) 2 minutes a day
- Fusion pumping 3 minutes, three times a day
- Candle power technique
(Click on the technique name to see an explanation of what it is.)
These can be categorized:
- Eye muscles relaxation techniques: palming, slow blink, hydrotherapy, sunning, acupressure
- Eye moistening techniques to prevent dry eyes: fast blink, slow blink, squeeze blinking
- Extraocular Eye muscle exercises – for peripheral vision i think: eye roll, clock rotations
- Focus-work exercises: pumping, acuity chart exercise, scanning chart exercise, blur zoning, edge tracking, fusion pumping
NB The EndMyopia technique by Alex Frauenfeld of endmyopia.org suggests for the first 45 days to work on close-up focus (the thing that caused myopia in the first place) before starting to work on fixing distant focus.
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Step 7: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emotional aids
In TCM, it is said that “the Liver opens into the eyes”, so the TCM Liver’s health can affect eye health. The TCM Liver is not quite the same as our Western thought of what a liver is, and in TCM, each TCM organ has certain emotions linked to it which strongly affect the health of that organ. The emotions linked with the Liver are:
So according to TCM, it may be possible that if we strive to tune in to our moods, and soothe ourselves towards feeling peaceful, calm, stable and relaxed whenever we’re feeling any of the unbalanced Liver emotions, it will soothe the TCM Liver, so that when the “Liver opens into the eyes”, it may help improve our eyesight.
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Another aspect of TCM is that the TCM Kidney holds the “essence of life” (which they call “Jing”) that helps nourish everything in our body, including the eyes. The emotion that weakens the TCM Kidneys is mostly fear. So soothing the Kidney by soothing away fears may also be helpful for nourishing the eyes to help gain better eyesight.
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Anecdotal story: My father is the most calm, quiet, peaceful and laid back person I know. He rarely gets angry or worked up, even in very challenging situations, and I don’t remember ever seeing him showing signs of moodiness, bitterness, resentment or fear. Despite him doing near-sight work, and working on a computer all day every day for almost 30 years with “bad eye habits”, his eyesight has stayed stable and very good all his life; he’s now in his 60s. I wonder if his great eyesight despite bad eye habits has something to do with his unusually peaceful state of mind when it comes to the Liver and Kidney emotions.
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Step 8: Keep track of progress with measurements and journaling
Once a week, it is recommended to keep track of the following measurements to track your improvement. Here are some possible ways to track your progress. I’ve starred my favourite methods:
- Blur zone measurement: Measure the distance from the bridge of yoru nose to the point where an object becomes blurry. To measure this, it’s probably a good idea to always do the test in the same light conditions, in the same room, and in the same time of day (preferably early in the day when your eyes are fresh and well rested). To measure your blur zone, take an object and push it away from you until it becomes blurry. The point at which it becomes blurry is your blur zone’s beginning. Use the same object each time you measure the blur zone to keep the measurements comparable.
- ✮Acuity chart test results: Each week use an acuity chart like this one when you’re at a set distance away from it (it’s important that this distance is constant every time you measure) and note down which line is the smallest one you can see. I plan to do this with the acuity chart on my computer screen which I will read without glasses (and with undercorrected glasses) and see what the furthest line I can read is.
- Record the journey: Journal general changes you observe in your eyesight; how you’re doing with the exercises, how long you spend without tye glasses each day; feelings relating to how your eyes are feeling etc.
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- Inspirational Vision Improvement Success Stories
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Disclaimer: Everything in this article is material the author has learned from books and online articles and is not a substitute for help from a qualified eyecare professional. Any exercises or recommendations described are applied at the risk and sole responsibility of the reader. The author takes no responsibility for any consequences arising from a reader practising anything recommended on this website.