Headaches & Depression: Why You Don’t Want 20/8 Vision

Shannon posts in the forum: I just wanted to send you my deepest gratitude for helping me with all of this! I think I was grossly overprescribed because I can see like a hawk now, and […]

Apr 20,2015 · 4 min read

Shannon posts in the forum:

quotes-blueI just wanted to send you my deepest gratitude for helping me with all of this! I think I was grossly overprescribed because I can see like a hawk now, and I could never see this well before with my strong prescription. I was actually prescribed -8.5 and -7.5 contacts which is totally wrong. It’s literally a magical experience being able to see again. So I just wanted to thank you!

There is a whole thread related to that post, here.

Overprescription is rampant, depending on how you choose to measure eyesight.  Many, many of my clients have entirely unnatural vision when they first come to my office.  It is the sharpest possible vision at the lowest possible light, with the glasses the optometrist gives them.  Like Shannon, some of them actually end up seeing better in most everyday situations once we correct that terrible high prescription.  Others report many more related symptoms disappearing.

Since I deal a lot with alternative therapy related a number of issues related to well being, I often notice just how much your eyesight affects your quality of life.  Out of every 10 clients who I help get a more reasonable prescription, at least two to three report better mood, less fatigue, and less incidences of headaches.

I have a questionnaire I do with every client before we look at prescriptions, to help me keep track.  I also check their ability to distinguish color nuances, their peripheral vision, night vision, convergence, and accommodation.

To a shocking extent, the overprescription affects many of those things.  If you can see 20/8 on an eye chart in a dark room and an artificially lit eye chart, it’s highly likely that you are suffering from side effects you aren’t even aware of (until you stop having symptoms, at which point you’ll be quite a bit happier than you were).  Sight takes up a whole lot of your brain’s processing power, and the more you alter natural sight, the more your brain is going to be working trying to understand and compensate.  

Some of this is difficult to quantify.  I try to make the questionnaire and follow ups as “not leading” as possible, to not give clients any ideas to be overly aware of symptoms.  It’s quite certain though that your quality of life improves notably once you start using prescriptions that are not of the 20/8 variety.

You are much more likely to get headaches, or even migraines, to be irritable later in the day, to have difficulty concentrating, and get depressed when you are overprescribed.  I call it the “20/8”, when I get clients with that level of prescription and the usual host of symptoms.  A lower prescription doesn’t always fix it, but rather often it does do the trick.

Readying this, what can you do for yourself?

First, if you don’t have an eye chart, print one from here.  If you don’t have a printer, just put the file on a USB stick, or in some countries you can print directly to a local shop from your computer at home.

If you want, get the chart laminated at the print shop, it’s usually quite cheap.  For just a few cents now you have a nice eye chart (or get more than one and hang them in several convenient places in and around the house).  Once you have this done, quick and easy, start to measure your eyesight.  This is no different than going to the optometrist.  

Can you see the crazy tiny print at 20/8?  In that case, you have way too much prescription!  It might be useful for driving at night, but during the day, you definitely don’t need that.  You can probably go down at least 1/4 diopter or more.  If you want to rehab your eyes you’ll be fine at 20/40.  If you just want to slow your myopia progression and enjoy less side effects, you just want to be able to read 20/20, with a bit of effort.  Curious about optometrist, overprescription  and what you can accomplish getting way from the high prescription glasses?  Lots of good articles here in the blog, take a look.

How do you get the lower prescription?  A friendly optometrist if you are lucky, or asking us in the forum and buying online may work as well.  The blog has some articles discussing lens shopping as well, like this one.  We are happy to help you, and if you choose to support the site with a subscription to the course, you’ll also have direct access to me, Jake, and Ted for more specific questions.  

I hope you are enjoying these articles, feel free to send me a note via the comments below if you do!  ;-)

Happy eyes,

– Neha Gupta


    Formerly genetically defective. 🤓 Weaned off retail optometry lens subscriptions, now 20/20 eyesight. Also into BJJ, kitesurfing, paragliding, being stupid.

    Topic:  Vision Health

    Vision Health

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