Johnny: Working Out Double Vision & Astigmatism Reduction

Johnny writes in the forum, volunteering time to update us about his challenges with double vision, too much prescription reduction, and his astigmatism correction. If you have astigmatism, or double vision experiences, this is well […]

Jake Steiner

Jan 15,2015 · 5 min read

Johnny writes in the forum, volunteering time to update us about his challenges with double vision, too much prescription reduction, and his astigmatism correction.

If you have astigmatism, or double vision experiences, this is well worth the read:

quotes-blueHi everyone

Time for an update! There’s been a lot going on so this might be a long post…

Its been an interesting (and tough!) couple of months. I have again learnt a lot and I hope in sharing my experiences with you here it might inform you in improving your own eyesight.

where to start. Firstly it’s probably worth saying that I think I took too much correction off my prescription last time. This wasn’t particularly intentional as I just didn’t have the lenses to hand I needed as I didn’t anticipate the astigmatism overcorrection that I would get and the resultant eye strain from my initial SPH reductions. I think when discussing astigmatism reductions the advice here is very prescient A big focal plane change is a lot for your brain to process. Having said that I did wear the -2.50 for about 3 months and I did make noticeable improvement, albeit slowly. There was a lot going on especially with the double vision and it took my brain a while to sort it all out. I had some days when I could see close to 20/20 with little double vision but others I was left 20/40 or worse and a lot of double vision. It did leave me, at times, VERY fatigued – a bit too much stress on my brain I think. But throughout the 3 months the snellen results did get noticeably better. It is worth mentioning here that double vision has been very challenging. It has taken me a while to learn how to adapt and eliminate the double vision. It is totally different to active focus. 

Due to personal reasons (travelling etc….) I needed to see 20/20 consistently so I stepped my prescription back up to -3.00 (again no CYL) about a 2 months ago and could see 20/15 with it fairly easily with a much reduced double vision that was noticeably easier to reconcile. Also my night vision was very good which was a pleasant surprise. All that focus pulling with the -2.50 must have made a difference. After 2 weeks I stepped down to -2.75 as I was getting eye strain and not that much double vision anymore. With the -2.75 the double vision was worse but not as bad as with the -2.50. I worked on reconciling the double vision along with a bit of focus pulling (cm results indicated I was about -2.85ish) and I finally started seeing some real improvements with the -2.75.

It has taken a lot of work over the past few months, changing prescriptions, experimenting with how to get rid of the 2 images but it seems that my brain is finally starting to consistently do it. Less effort is required now to combine the images and everything is generally clearer. Alex’s advice that the images must combine in your brain, and that you have to stare at the images for this to happen is in practice a bit trickier to consistently do. It can be very frustrating, especially when I first started. I just couldn’t get the images to line up. Over time however after a lot of practice and work this has gotten easier. Stepping my prescription back up undoubtedly helped as well. The process I generally use is this: go outside, find something with high contrast. lampposts are good for this against the sky. Pull focus. blink. wait till the two images are sharp then stare and try not to blink. keep staring. after staring for a while things go a little hazy. blink a few times and the images should be aligned. This might not last for long but consistently doing it over time will result in less and less effort being required and the images combining for longer and longer periods. Also one of the 2 images gradually gets stronger over time and the other more faint.

I am not completely there yet, but I am close. It is very exciting to notice your vision improving week by week. I have ordered another 6 weeks of -2.75 lenses and I think I should be ready for a step down at the end (fingers crossed, progress has been good recently). It will be interesting to see if I will have to go through this process again at -2.50 and subsequent reductions. I hope not, but guess I will find out.

So to summarise…did I take off a bit too much correction…yes. I didn’t plan it that way though, and if anything I think this shows the benefit of buying a few prescription options ahead. (FYI I have been buying my contact lenses from a place in Portugal. They ship internationally without prescription and will supply bulk purchases (multiple powers). I also remember looking at a few sites in the UK that would ship without prescriptions too.) Like I have said I am learning as I go, and hopefully this will better inform your own choices. While I admit to have been getting a bit frustrated with the double vision I have to keep in mind I have pretty much halved my prescription strength in the space of a year. It has been very exciting for me to start getting clear 20/20 with the -2.75. I am very excited and motivated for 2015…My aim is to get below -2.00. Hopefully that is on the conservative side but it will be a huge milestone.

I hope everyone is making progress and sets some good goals for 2015. Lots of ideas to take up new hobbies outdoors, extended holidays in sunny places….




Jake Steiner

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

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