A quick post for those of you who have taken Alex’ course and want a bit more specifics on taking breaks. Alex doesn’t really specify how much breaks are necessary for those past the first month. You will however benefit noticeably from maintaining the break regimen I’m about to describe here.
Alex has a specific type of client category, and catered this site and the guided therapy course to a certain kind of individual.
Most of the people Alex deals with are who most of us are. Busy with life, not happy with glasses, ready to make a change. Ready, but with the limitations of our day to day lives. Alex built a great platform of gradually introducing small and simple habit changes, and allowing you to get to better eyesight without having to re-engineer your whole life.
It’s a fantastic, amazing, excellent program, on that front.
I come from a bit of a different perspective. I’m obsessive. I want answers to everything. I want every tweak, every opportunity, every angle. I spent years visiting every type of eyesight expert on (almost) every continent. It’s probably not healthy behavior on some level, but you can bet that I get to the bottom of a topic.
This isn’t how most people operate. Alex says if you spend 20 minutes three times a week for a month or two, you’ll be soon on autopilot improving your eyesight until you don’t need glasses. It’s the way to do it.
Sort of the way the minivan is the perfect family vehicle. Alex built a great minivan of a myopia rehab therapy.
The Jake way is the race track edition of the German sports car, taken apart and put back together a dozen times, and tweaked without regards for time and money. Most people don’t want to drive that car to work every day. It’s not practical. But if you are into cars, Jake’s car will give you a whole lot of satisfaction when you want all the performance you can get.
That, as background. You don’t need any of my suggestions. You’ll improve at 0.75 diopters per year on average (though some do faster), regardless, with Alex’ method. Mine isn’t necessarily better or faster. Though over the years I have accumulated quite a number of clients who are mostly professional athletes and others whose livelihood depends on their vision. They are the race car types. They need every angle, every edge they can get. They are willing to take the time. All this just as caveat – enjoy the minivan, take a peak at the silly track car. Realize that the former may make more sense for the slow and steady improvement track.
Enough of the preamble, let’s talk about breaks.
In the beginning, just as Alex suggests, the short breaks a few times an hour make perfect sense. You want to develop strain awareness quickly, and the best way to do that is with the micro breaks the course describes.
Once you are past that, Alex says to take longer breaks, at longer intervals.
Which is fine, except that there is a lot more to be said about the length and frequency of breaks. What we want is to get your distance vision to exactly the same point at the end of the day, as it was in the beginning. If it isn’t, there is some focusing muscle strain that is going to slow your overall progress. Maybe it’s just going to be a quarter diopter a year, but maybe you don’t want to be held back even by a little.
So, what you want, is to have the same distance vision at 5PM as you did at 10AM. That, and you still have your regular work day, which we can’t modify, Those are our parameters – don’t change the work day, but get the same ciliary response no matter what time of the day (in good natural lighting).
First, you want to get your baseline. How is your vision early in the day? I like to do this late morning, when my body is already settled in, awake, working properly. A quick walk outside is nice, though not necessary every day. You do want to do it sometimes (and the first time you do this obviously), to re-establish your baseline.
You just want to get outside wherever you are going to be for the day, and get a good perspective of your vision. Can you read that sign across the street without glasses, or with your differential prescription, or your normalized, or peak prescription? You want a definite blur challenge for this, obviously. The distance doesn’t matter, just having blur challenge does. It could be a license plate 15 feet away, or the billboard nearby. After you do this a few times you won’t need much time at all, since you’ll already be keenly aware of how well you can see.
Race car side note: I recommend quite a bit lower normalized than Alex does. I’ve seen much stronger improvements this way, but that tends not to work well in an online environment, where one size has to fit many.
Once you know your baseline, you want to get to the general premise of how much close-up you can do before you need x-amount of break. I’ve worked out a generally well working formula for this, which you might tweak a little bit as need be.
This only makes sense to those with experience in this arena and about two prescription reductions under their belt.
Maximizing Your Breaks = Happy Ciliary
The limit for most people for continued close-up is right around three hours. Out of 100+ people I specifically tested this on, almost none could go four hours and still get good ciliary function back later in the day. You might be that exception, but I’d caution you to avoid going past three hours of close-up.
Why three hours? Most of us have demanding jobs. We can’t just go take a break every hour. We need to focus on a task, which takes time. Three hours.
After three hours you need one hour of a break.
It could be 45 minutes but that’s cutting it close. An hour, ideally an hour and a half. And not just any break, but specifically a focus pulling break.
Getting outside is ideal, having a prescription that really emphasizes double vision images and blur challenge is preferable. Alex doesn’t really talk about prescriptions with that distinction much (probably a mini van approach), though I find that to be important. I always used a prescription that gave me a clear double vision and blur challenge, even at 20 feet. After two prescription reductions at most you should be able to make that distinction.
You’ll probably notice significantly more blur when you get outside than your reference experience earlier in the day. This might persist and only slowly resolve over the first 30 minutes (or longer). You need to get back to where a blink or two resolves blur, and a bit of a prolonged look resolves double vision (same as earlier in the day). This really can take close to an hour to get back to a normal point.
The point of this should be obvious. Additional blur comes from focusing muscle spasm. Your strained your ciliary and it doesn’t fully relax. You want to avoid this being a daily occurrence that remains unresolved every day. So if you take the race car approach you really want to reset your ciliary to be fully relaxed again – which you can tell by it working the same was as it did pre-strain, early in the day.
After this you can pile in another three hours, though you might find that to be pushing things. At least though you did fully get the ciliary back to relaxation, and aren’t creating as much of a chronic spasm condition as you would otherwise.
It is quite difficult (impossible, in many cases) to do this twice in a day. Mostly the light is a problem, as you can’t quite get the same vision without good daylight. A workaround is neon lit signs at night, which can help as a reference. It’s not ideal but the goal being to get the ciliary to fully relax every day after close-up, you have to take what you can get.
What difference does all this make?[/s2If]
The Bottom Line
I have had clients with a very serious need to get rid of a diopter of correction, sort themselves out in six months. It’s not the norm, and there is more involved to get to that point. But really having no ciliary spasm after a close-up break is a key ingredient here, which anyone with a bit of commitment can accomplish.
And as with everything else, this will become a strong habit once you do it for a month straight. You won’t feel right without that hour walk once it’s a habit!
As with most things here, you want to either not do this at all, or commit to it fully for a month. Do it for a month, and see how much of a difference it makes for you.
P.S.: The community forum project is fraught with an immense amount of spam sign-ups. It might take some time to work out better ways to deal with the usual problems of this being the Internet.
Thank all the SEO spammers, miracle cure spammers, and general clown factor for making things more complicated.