We talk about active focus quite a bit, though so far a proper explanation, outside of the Vision Improvement Courses, has the been lacking.
Explained in some detail in #11 of the Child Myopia Reversal Course, I copy-paste the relevant parts here, to serve as future reference for this very important aspect of improving your eyesight. While some of this is in the specific context of dealing with child myopia, the core concept is relevant to all of us. We must push focus to actively work on your eyesight, since our lifestyles do not lend themselves well to healthy vision.
Think of cardiovascular exercise. We have gyms full of treadmills, mall shops full of running shoes – we need this type of exercise, because most of our lives have become sedentary, our work involving sitting in front of a desk all day. Cardio is a replacement practice to keep our bodies healthy – bodies, that were designed to move, walk, run, not sit all day.
Our eyes weren’t designed to stare at a screen all day, either. Pushing focus is much the same as cardio – a replacement activity to keep your eyes healthy. Key to the concept of pushing focus, is is active focus.
Here is the excerpt of #11, discussing both:
Pushing focus is the center piece of all vision improvement.
While we need all the other things we discuss here, such as correct prescriptions, taking breaks from looking-up close, keeping proper distance, and the many smaller facets, pushing focus is the part that puts everything else together.
If you follow the Adult Vision Improvement Program, you already know a lot about this. Pushing focus changes the whole paradigm of how your child perceives his/her vision. Instead of passively accepting whatever sharpness arrives, complaining about blur, looking for crutches to ‘make good eyesight happen’, it demonstrates how we can take charge of our vision. This is no far flung philosophical concept. This is, rather, because a very large part of what makes focus, is determined by – a muscle.
We all know that muscles become stronger or weaker, depending almost solely on how we use them. In some cases, there are muscles we were not even aware of, until we needed them for something. Like winking, or flaring ones nostrils. Eyes are precisely the same – you can actively control the focusing (which you often find me referring to as active focus). Discovering that ability, and harnessing its power, is what this installment is all about.
This does not, of course, happen immediately or overnight. Much as when you didn’t know how to flare your nostrils, it feels impossible to send the right command. The connection between brain and body hasn’t been defined, and you may look on confused, as others are flaring like it’s the simplest thing in the world.
Since there is no direct emotion to convey to tell you “here is how you find the nostril muscle”, we will use than exercise, that eventually will create active focus for your child.
Part one of this, is knowing that there is a muscle there. So that the child understands the goal.
The second part is, to not create pressure. This is a game. We expect that this could take a week, or a month. We want to create zero frustration while allowing the child to discover his/her ability to control ciliary muscle movement. It comes, as so many things do, after trying resolutely for some time, and then eventually just stopping to try – and suddenly, there it is.
Once your child has found active focus, the risk of increasing myopia just decreased by half.
Knowing active focus, means a much reduced need for vision correction through glasses. When things become blurry, instead of being frustrated, coming home saying “we need to go to the glasses place, mom”, your child can summon focus, and get clarity. The very act of doing this relaxes the ciliary muscle, thereby preventing the development of ciliary myopia. It also, longer term, reverses axial myopia, since it creates the opposite stimulus that close-up focus did. While staring at a page or screen up-close for hours created ciliary strain, which in turn creates axial elongation of the eyeball to reduce that ciliary strain, all active focus work does the inverse, thereby reducing myopia.
All of this is much different than ‘eye exercises’ that you may have read about elsewhere. They are for the most part parlor tricks, with little long term benefit (and the reason, that many people think reversing myopia is not possible).
Of course, by reducing strain and creating positive stimulus through active focus, you can and will reduce and reverse your child’s myopia.
To accomplish all of this, we need – prescription glasses.
Unlike the prescription glasses you new before, we will use these to put the child’s vision at the edge of blur. This means, that we adjust the prescription strength to allow the child to see clearly, but in the specific distances that are applicable for the activity. This may be as many as two prescriptions, depending on your child’s vision, and how much we want to push for eyesight improvement.
Makes sense, yes?
I stop there, with the excerpt, as the rest discusses how this is relevant depending on your child’s myopia degree and other factors. The principle remains the same – just as we discovered cardio to keep our bodies healthy, we need active focus to keep our eyes healthy. There is no way around it, if you want to avoid or reverse myopia.