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We often talk about the importance of clear vision.

This is to put in perspective my frequent lamentations about the overprescription paradigm of mainstream optometry.  Just because they overprescribe doesn’t mean that you should go t0o far into the opposite direction with glasses.  Simply not wearing glasses at all isn’t the answer either.

(And neither is the crazy hours long close-up focusing activities I get asked about in e-mails a lot, lately.  Yikes, with the Internet sometimes.  There is no single magical activity that’ll fix your eyesight.  It’s just hype!)

The truth about improving eyesight has many contributing pieces.

An important one is that particular part of your eyesight, where a clear image becomes blurry.  It’s that area of your eyesight that we often focus on, for some useful stimulus.

To that end of course, most people need glasses.  Fine tuning your prescription to have both (clear vision and a blur horizon at a useful distance) is something that we get into quite often, in the support forum.  You want a slightly different prescription for close-up (you need to see clearly less far), and a somewhat stronger one for distance (to see clearly further).

With all this, when you start out, we work on making the distinction between great clarity, and just a little bit of blur.  It’s the best way to figure out active focus, and get into a good habit with creating an expectation for a clear image.

But there is the other side of this “gray area” where clarity becomes blur.

It’s a side that only makes sense to discuss after you had a few weeks of working on the front side of the blur horizon, where blur just barely starts.  But there is the far side of this as well, where (after some time and practice) you find a distinction between blur and a sort of double vision image.  

You’ll find after a few weeks of active focus, that if you go further into the blur distance, that the image isn’t actually blurry.  Rather, it’s a curious bit of what at first glance seems like blur, but is actually multiple clear images that are slightly misaligned (we just called it double vision, even though that’s a bit of a misnomer).  

That distance provides us with another stimulus opportunity.  This time it’s not for the eye itself, but rather for the visual cortex.  We want to give the brain time and opportunity to “fuse” the lets-call-it double vision image.  

This is something we discuss in some detail in BackTo20/20.  

Timing here yet again is everything.  You don’t want to spend hours and hours torturing yourself with some kind of eye exercise.  Your eyesight will improve at a fairly set rate over time, and no amount of excessive exercise will speed that up.  The Internet in particular seems to grasp on to these specific facets, assume that one activity holds the key (it doesn’t), and then you see misguided advice of cranking up just one specific thing to hours and hours of practice.

Please don’t do that to yourself. 

Stimulus IS strain.  Just like going to the gym and lifting weights is strain, or running in strain.  All of those activities tell the body that something new is required of it.  There is a limited amount that the body can change at any given time, to respond to a new stimulus.

I know this is true for eyes, because over the years, I’ve tried it all.  I’ve had clients who tried it all.  We experimented together, with hundreds of participants, what works best.

And we found that reality confirms biology theory.  When we talk about 10 minutes of this, 20 minutes of that in the program, over the course of a day, that is in fact all you need.  Balance is far more important than any one activity by itself.  Getting outside is more beneficial than staring at a screen for an hour, willing letters to come into focus.

Actually improving your eyesight is a very gentle, non-intrusive practice.  

If that’s how it feels, you know you’re doing it right.  It should all be subtle habits, that flow into your day.  It should not be a bunch of teeth-gritting “eye exercises”.  

There are some blur horizon and active focus and double vision how-to’s throughout the blog.  Do a quick search for them (hour glass at top right of page).  


– Jake