Is Print Pushing The Best Way To Improve Your Eyesight?

Interestingly, I had three separate e-mails yesterday, asking whether “print pushing” is an effective way to improve eyesight.   Something must be in the air, that this question comes up three times in one day. […]

Jake Steiner

Apr 27,2014 · 5 min read

Interestingly, I had three separate e-mails yesterday, asking whether “print pushing” is an effective way to improve eyesight.   Something must be in the air, that this question comes up three times in one day.

I think the term itself might have been inspired by Todd Becker.

Todd is a quite brilliant guy, and I much enjoy his site and contributions to eyesight health.  

Let’s take a look at print pushing, or as I call it – pushing focus, and how it relates to the #endmyopia Method:

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Whichever name you choose for the practice, the premise is sound.

First, you never use a full myopia prescription while focused up-close.

Instead, you minimize the prescription to where you can only see as far as your comfortable ergonomic viewing distance.  This is however far you are from your computer screen (or other primary close-up focus task).  Beyond that primary distance, you want to encounter some blur in your vision.  This is absolutely key to the practice.

Say for example, that distance is 60 centimeters.  You would reduce your prescription to where everything past 55 centimeters begins to look blurry.

blurhorizondifferential2

Now anytime you are working on the computer, and get close to 60 centimeter, you have to work actively to get focus.  

Active focus and blur horizon are integral concepts to this practice.

This is an excellent practice – with one caveat:

Pushing focus (or print pushing) is primarily a strain-reducing technique.

Let me explain exactly why this is the case:

The focal plane change you use with the practice of “pushing” up-close, reduces the extreme end of the focal range of your eye – and the impact of glasses (and with that the onset of lens-induced myopia).  All myopia starts out as NITM (near-induced transient myopia).  That’s the strain you get from being too close to your screen, for too long.

Changing the focal plane, and “pushing” that distance, greatly reduces the strain.

Reduce the strain, reduce NITM symptoms.  

Second, most of us spend upwards of eight hours per day in close-up mode.  We do so with our full minus prescription. This is a very, very bad thing. 

Lens-induced myopia accounts for almost all myopia past -1.5 diopters (NITM).

In other words, it’s the glasses, in particular when used-up close extensively, that turn the simple NITM into the ugly (and progressive) lens-induced myopia.  

Don’t wear that full minus, and thereby take out the lens-induced myopia risk (to a significant degree at least).

Eliminating both NITM and lens-induced stimulus takes out the majority of what creates myopia.  All you need now, is a bit of positive stimulus, to start returning your eyes to normal.

Pushing focus (or pushing print as Todd refers to it), also provides that stimulus.

All you need to do is what Todd suggests, to improve your eyesight.

However, doing only that leaves out the larger opportunity for positive stimulus – in focusing on what your eyes are primarily designed for.

Our eyes aren’t really intended for pushing focus, or a lot of close-up time.

Rather, we should be spending a lot more time at the far end of our focal range, looking at distances.  Using a lowered prescription, one that doesn’t adjust our vision to perfect sight all the way to infinity, is what we want to use for that.  

It’s a lot like the close-up game, in so many ways.

We still want a blur horizon, except instead of at 60 centimeters, you may want it at 10 meters, or 20 meters, or wherever you can most comfortably work on focus *pulling* (working on active focus, at a distance).  

blurhorizonnormalized2

In simplest terms, you want an opportunity to be able to challenge your eyesight, at a distance.

Combining the primary benefit of reducing the close-up strain (and lens effects) with pushing focus, and then bringing in a lot of positive stimulus by working the same premises at a distance, gives you the best net effect of ongoing vision improvement.

And also, this is a lot of how you are meant to use your eyes.  We don’t need to artificially create a whole lot of exercises – using our eyes as nature intended (with the crutch of a reduced lens prescription), is really all the stimulus we need to help our eyes recover.

As always, there is no need to take my word for the benefits of the combined practice:

Simply experiment for a month doing only close-up focus pushing, and then add a month of also doing focus pulling, getting your eyes to work on distant objects as well.  Compare your log results, Snellen reading, and subjective sense of well-being, to one practice vs. the other.

If you get additional benefit from also pulling focus, add it to your healthy eye habits!

As always, I hope you enjoy these articles, and thank you for all the encouraging e-mails.

alex cures myopia

WRITTEN BY

Jake Steiner

Reformed stock trader. Kite surfer, pilot, vagabond. Father. And of course - the last of the living, imaginarily bearded eye gurus.

Topic:  Myopia