The “Push Printing” eye exercise, also known as “Print Pushing”, “Push Print”, “Focus Pushing” or “Active Focus training” is a myopia vision therapy technique I learned about from reading Todd Becker’s blog, gettingstronger.org. The thing I like about this eyesight improvement exercise is that it’s very easy to integrate it into your daily life (unlike many of the other exercises which require you to spend time outside of your routine, doing the exercises). So what is this technique?
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What is Push Printing?
Push Printing is a technique which you can apply every time you are reading print, be it on the computer or in a book. The idea is to push your eyes to read withing your readable-blur-zone, to train them to adapt and to push them into actively focusing to clear up your current blur zone.
Todd Becker likens this technique to weight-lifting for the eyes. At first the weights (=the increased distance demand you put on your eyes to read) feel a little uncomfortable to lift, but after some training, your muscles adapt and strengthen so that those weights feel easy to lift and you can move to heavier ones (or in eye terms, you can increase your distance from the screen even more as your eyes adapt to the previous distance and are ready for an increased blur distance to train with).
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How to do Print Pushing
Let’s look at the step-by-step method for this technique:
Depending on your starting-point eyesight, you can use this method either without glasses or with progressively lower prescriptions as you buy undercorrected glasses and train your eyes step by step, glasses by glasses (over the course of several weeks or months) to go down in prescription.
- Step 1: Find D1
Find your “comfortable focus” distance (called D1) from the screen or book. You do this by seeing how far you need to be from the screen in order for the text to JUST be crisp and focused. Becker calls this the “edge of focus”.
- Step 2: Find D2
Find where your “blur zone distance” (called D2) starts. This is the point where the text is still readable but a little less crisp and slightly more blurry. Becker calls this point the “edge of blur”.
- Step 3: Find D3
Find the “unreadable distance” (called D3), which is the point at which the text is so blurry that you can no longer read it.
- Step 4: Do any near-work somewhere between D1 and D2:
By reading on the computer or from a book at the distance where the text is readable but just a tad blurry, you are adding a small amount of stress which encourages the eye to actively learn to re-focus blurred text and adjust so that it can see crisply within this distance. The idea is that after training your eye for a while at this distance, the eye will eventually learn to focus at this distance, at which point your eyesight will have improved.
Note: It’s very important not to push yourself too much. Stay in D1-D2 and don’t go beyond D2 because otherwise you just strain your eyes instead of training them. It’s like in the gym when you workout too hard and then your muscles need the right amount of weight-training, whereas too much heavy weight at once is too much for your muscles, is not good for your body and won’t see positive results. The right weights, working out the right way will get positive results.
Since Push Printing can be a little strenuous for the eye, you may want to do it just for 2-4 hours a day, taking breaks every 15-30 minutes to let your eyes rest.
- Step 5: Keep note of your D1, D2 and D3 measurements to see improvement
Over the weeks and months that you train your eyes, once a week or so, make a note of the D1, D2 and D3 distances that you are currently reading at. If you are challenging yourself and using the Push Printing technique effectively (alongside good eye habits of taking regular breaks, having good amounts of lighting, avoiding eye strain, eating healthily and covering all the other bases for good eye health), you should be seeing that the distance at which the text becomes blurry will gradually start to increase so that you can see more clearly now at your old blur zone.
- Step 6: When you reach a D1-D2 of 20 inches, graduate to plus lenses
Becker suggests that in order to keep training your eyes, once you can see the screen without glasses at a distance of 20 inches away, use plus lenses to continue training them towards optimal eyesight without glasses.
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Other similar eyes exercises
There are a lot of similarities between Push Printing and the following exercises I’ve seen:
- Edge Tracking (aka Blur Zoning)
- The Acuity Chart Exercise in the book “Improve your Vision without glasses” which uses a specific chart to practice push printing on rather than just working with everyday text that’s around you.
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- Todd Becker. 2010. Improve eyesight – and throw away your glasses. gettingstronger.org
- Todd Becker. 2014. Myopia: A Modern Yet Reversible Disease. Ancestry Foundations. youtube video
- Alex Frauenfeld. 2013. How to: Finding Active Focus. endmyopia.org
- Alex Frauenfeld. Is Print Pushing the Best Way to Improve Eyesight? endmyopia.org
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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.