For those who have known me know that I have worn glasses almost all my life. I started wearing glasses in elementary school and over the years my prescription got stronger and stronger. I have myopia which means I’m near-sighted. A few months ago I started to get a little bit of eye pain randomly throughout the day, particularly in my left eye. I figured that I had just been sitting in front of my computer too much so I started to take time throughout the day to rest my eyes by taking my glasses off and closing them for a while. Shortly after that I started to have moments of clarity that randomly occurred. It wasn’t perfectly clear vision, but more clear than I had seen before. For instance I would wake up in the middle of the night and see the numbers on an alarm clock that was across the room or I would wake up in the morning in see more clear for the first few minutes of each day. This got me thinking that could it be possible to restore my vision naturally?
I started to do some research and found there there were many people who claimed they wore glasses but now see 20/20 without them. I started to to take even more breaks and resting my eyes throughout the day. The more I did this, the more moments of clarity I started experiencing. It wouldn’t last very long, only for a few short seconds here and there. I started to see street signs at a distance, license plates of cars in front of me (while Marcy was driving), and many other things that I couldn’t read before without my glasses. Something was clearly happening (pun intended)!
Two Methods For Vision Restoration: Active Focus and Relaxation
I came across a few sources about restoring vision naturally. The first was the Bates Method. Dr. William Bates believed and restored peoples vision by getting them to relax the external eye muscles by practicing good vision habits. His techniques worked whether you were near or far-sighted. See http://www.seeing.org.
I later came across resources from Jake Steiner at endmyopia.org. He said he had restored his Myopia via his own method of unlocking the locked up ciliary muscle via Active Focus. This is the muscle that controls the lens focusing of the eye and it is on the inside of the eye.
Also much of what Jake Steiner said about eyes and active focusing can be heard in a condensed version from Todd Becker that had a video out prior to Jake Steiner coming on the scene. You can check it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Efg42-Qn0.
Bates focused on the external muscles of the eye via relaxation and Steiner/Becker worked with the internal muscles of the eye via active focus. There are arguments as to who’s method is better/right but through my own experience and research, both are right!
The internal ciliary muscle that controls the focusing of the lens in the eye locks up or becomes stuck. It’s like always in a muscle spasm and keeps the lens from being able to flatten out or become curved. It’s basically like this, it’s a muscle and if you don’t use it you lose it! The good news is you can re-teach the muscle to work properly by using active focusing. I started to do this method and that helped me increase the distance on my close up vision.
Active focusing simply works like this: Take off your glasses/contacts and look at some text. Preferably use a book but a screen is fine too. Get as close as you need to see the text clearly. Now back away until it just starts to blur. Close your eyes and think that you want to see the text clear. Open you eyes and see if the text is sharper! After a while you won’t need to close your eyes and you can just blink a few times to clear the text. Move the text or your head back and forth from sharp to slightly blur and when it’s blurred blink a few times to clear up the text. Eventually you will be able to move further and further away and get cleared text. This will unlock the ciliary muscle! Active focusing should be done all the time. You have to consciously remind yourself to do this moving back and forth and blinking to clear the text but eventually it will become habit. Blink and blink often because it helps reset the eyes when they are stressed. When I first started this I could only sit 16 inches away from my screen and currently I can sit about 28 inches away from my screen and read clearly.
Now the Bates Method is all about relaxation of the external muscles of the eyes that control eye movement. These muscles run north, south, east, and west of each eyeball. Now when many of us read we only move our eyes and not our eyes and head! Moving just your eyeballs puts a lot of stress on your external eye muscles and the eye itself. So one of the first things Bates method does is to teach you to move your eyes and head at the same time via the long swing.
The Long swing works by standing with you feet shoulder with apart and twisting from waist from left to right, 180 degrees. As you do this you want to keep your eyes and head straight and try not to let your eyes drift off or stay locked on any one subject. At first it will be hard to keep your eye still while you’re moving but keep at it and you’ll get it. One thing I learned is to do this in a neutral environment where things look the same on the 180 degree arc. A room that is neutral in color or mostly white and not bright lit with sunshine or have extremely dark areas. You can also do the Long Swing by turning just your head and eyes but it’s a little harder to do at first. A few things will happen as you do the swing. At first you will just see blur when turning from side to side because you don’t want your eyes to focus on anything. You don’t need to turn fast. Keep it steady. Eventually your focus at different focal planes will be able switch back and forth as you turn along the path of the swing left to right or right to left. What I mean by this for example starting on the left you see a close object but the next object on the swing path is further back on a different focal plan. Your eyes will learn to switch focus to that object as you swing. It’s kind of like taking a pano with a camera.
The long swing also teaches you to be aware of movement but not focusing on it. Now the eyes can only focus on a single point at a time but your peripheral can detect and sense movement. It goes back to a simple physics principle; for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. As you turn your head and eyes right, the world moves left and vice versa, in your peripheral. When reading as you turn your head and eyes from left to right the text actually moves left. This keeps the eyes relaxed and stress free. Notice the movement but don’t try to look at it. Think about it this way how relaxed are you when you on swinging on a swing? Furthermore think about spinning on a carousel (not fast). It is actually very relaxing. Try this sitting in a swivel chair turning left to right keeping your head and eyes centered and still. At first you might feel dizzy and uneasy but after a while it will feel euphoric. After getting used to this movement of the world around me I noticed that I can now read in a car and not get car sick! This is because I’m aware of movement around me but I don’t focus on it.
After doing the long swing for a while it has become a habit for me. I can now walk and move my head and eyes together. Everything I do I try to remember to swing from object to object vs just moving my eyes. It feels really natural and I instantly notice the difference when I don’t. My eyes feel less pressure and I’ve have not had any eye pain since starting all of this.
Now Steiner dismissed the Bates Method and said it didn’t work for him and if it does work it’s slower because you’re not unlocking the ciliary. He also tends to think the Bates method are eye exercises and a waste of time because they don’t work. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bates method, when done properly, actually allows the external muscles to relax which also allows the ciliary muscle to unlock, which actually allows focusing to work properly. I find after I swing a few times in my chair at my desk and noting the peripheral movement but not trying to look at it, text will pop into focus when I start reading again on my screen. I can sit further and further away from the screen just after a few swings! Again both methods work but it’s just different ways of getting there. Personally I’m finding more success with the Bates method because it re-teaches you how to practice good vision habits. Focus on one thing at a time but also be aware of the movement of the world around you. I want to be clear: THESE ARE NOT EYE EXERCISES!!! This is a matter of teaching yourself to have good vision habits!!
Bates method also has a technique called palming in which you cup your eyes with your hands so they are in complete darkness. This will relax your eyes as well and kind of reset them. I don’t palm that much but occasionally I will close my eyes for a bit for a similar effect. You can also long swing while palming or closing your eyes. You’ll notice it’s easier to swing and not move your eyes when they are palmed in complete darkness.
Another technique for the Bates method is sunning. Now don’t look directly at the sun but close your eyes while looking in the direction of the sun. The eyes need light and this helps them adjust to lighting and contrast easier. I find I wear sunglasses less now because I like seeing stuff in good light!
There are other parts of the Bates method like the rocking side to side and other swings but I’ve found the long swing works the best for me when I need to get my eyes relaxed. Shifting is a variation of the long swing but in a short space. Say you have the word … ostrich… Shift between the “o” and the “h” every second or two. Still move the head and the eyes together and notice how much sharper the text will start to clear up when slightly blurred!
It’s All In Your Head
Now glasses over years will change the shape of your eye to more of an oval shape. Your prescription gets stronger and stronger to push the focal plane to the back of the eye where you see sharpest. The lazier your eyes are, the more the shape will change, and the stronger your prescription will be. So glasses make the problem worse but as you can see it is reversible. After practicing good vision habits the shape will restore. It won’t be over night but it will eventually happen. Here’s the question: How much of vision issues are in your head?
After more research I came across some info that vision issue are also all in your mind. There was a case of a person with multiple personalities. One personality could see perfectly fine and crystal clear but the other personality had to wear glasses. If vision was truly a disease why did one personality see fine but the other couldn’t? This really got me to thinking. Jake Steiner’s method did help realize that you could re-teach your ciliary muscle to unlock and not go into spasm but because I could see clear moments of clarity as if I had my glasses on. They were short and brief but that told me that I was using my brain to tell my eyes to relax and see clear. This goes back to the basis of the Bates method. Once you use your mind to tell your eye muscles to relax clarity will happen more often until it’s permanent. I have had times of easily seeing signs 100-200 feet away! I just couldn’t hold it more than 20-30 seconds. It’s getting easier but there is still work to be done!
Get outside and see stuff.
I started taking daily, “vision walks” and looking at stuff far away. The best thing that helped me was power lines and signs with contrast. Well not just power lines but Horizontals and Verticals. I would see a power line that was black and contrasting against a bright or cloudy sky. I would close my lightly eyes and visualize it being black, sharp and in focus. I pictured it in my mind vivid and clear. Then I opened my eyes and blinked a few times. Suddenly it popped in to focus like it was magic. It won’t happen right away but keep picturing it in your mind then open your eyes, blink and see if it clears. It won’t be perfectly sharp at first but it will start to get sharper and sharper. Then start looking at street signs with contrast as well as other things after the power line comes into focus. Don’t look at any point more the 2 to 3 seconds. Keep moving your eyes and head together and notice peripheral movements as you turn your head. This will get your eyes to relax. Don’t force it. Relax and just enjoy the fresh air!
I used to have to stop while walking to clear up the focus on a power line but on my last walk I was able to keep walking, blink a few times and then it would pop into focus. After that I started to look around at other objects and then those things popped in to focus faster and pretty clear. After the clarity went away I found another power line and did the same thing. It doesn’t have to be a power line. Look for a straight line with contrast and tell yourself: That’s supposed to be a straight line that is sharp, make it clear! Blink a few times and it clears like magic! Other than power lines I use roof lines against the sky, the top edges of signs etc. What I’ve realized is that the brain knows what a straight line, vertical or horizontal should look like. If it can bring that line into focus other stuff isn’t hard to stay in focus either. After you start working straight lines clear, close your eyes and start visualizing other simple objects like stop signs. Picture it in your head crystal clear and then open your eyes and look at it. Blink a time or two and see if it clears.
Sometimes I do see double vision or ghosted images. This is because both eyes are trying to work together. Blinking will usually clear it up. If it doesn’t, close your eyes, visualize and try again. You may also see a ghosted image or flicker. This may be because one eye is relaxing better than the other but just keep at and they will both start working correctly.
Good Vision Habits
I already put this on a Facebook post but I’m putting it here as well.
1. If you’re near sighted and using your glasses while working in front of a computer or reading stop! You don’t need them! When I first started changing my habits I had to sit 16 inches away from my screen to see it clearly. Now I’m siting about 28 inches away from my screen and the distance is growing each week using active focusing.
2. Stop staring! Staring makes your eyes lazy. You should not look at any one point of an object for more than a few seconds! Keep your eyes (and head) moving together.
3. Your eyes can only focus on one thing/point at a time. So stop trying to see everything and just focus on one point of an object and move your eyes around the object.
4. When you are working at the computer active focus. Every hour or two take a break and close/palm your eyes. Blink and blink often to reset!
5. Put the d&*m phone/tablet down and get out the house! Go look at stuff far away without your glasses! The more you look at stuff far away the more your distance vision will start working again and again don’t stare!
6. Use your glasses when you need them. Driving, etc.
7. When you do wear your glasses still use good vision habits listed above. It doesn’t change even when you do wear correction! You’ll notice with your glasses on how much sharper stuff will become.
This brings me to next point. Stepping down your prescription. I’m not a doctor and I’m not going to tell you what to do but I’m slowly weening myself off the glasses by stepping down the prescription. Do your own research and figure out what’s best for you. My last prescription was -4.0 in my right eye and -5.0 in my left eye. I have an astigmatism in my left eye that is -1.00 with an 80 degree axis. This means my cornea is shaped like football at almost a 90 degree angle. This will cause double visioning and more blur. So they give you an astigmatism correction to make stuff look right with glasses. I later learned the Astigmatism can be induced by glasses. If you have a correction of less than +/-1 than you really don’t need correction. Your eyes will figure out how to correct itself on it’s own after unlocking the ciliary and learning to relax.
Doctors will typically over-prescribe your prescriptions so you end up seeing 20/15 or even lower. This can be too much and eventually your eyes will get lazier so it will need to be upped again. Jake Steiner’s website he has a calculator that will help you determine your true prescription. It’s as simple as seeing how far you can clearly see text using a ruler. Using the ruler I was able to determine that I was -3.00 in my right eye and a -4.00 in my left eye. My goal is to get my eyes more balanced so I ordered a pair of glasses with a the right eye at -3.0 and the left lowered to -3.75 with no astigmatism correction. At first the left was a little blurry but it’s getting stronger and I’m sure I’ll be able to step it down again soon. As far as the astigmatism, it working it self out. I don’t have any issues seeing double vision up close. In the very far distance at first there was very slight blur/double vision but it’s better after just few weeks as my eyes are getting stronger.
Yes I know, glasses are expensive right! Wrong! For the past several years I would go to the eye doctors, get a checkup and walk out with my paper prescription. I then went home and ordered my glasses online at Eyebuydirect.com. I have not paid over $80.00 for a pair of glasses. In fact my last purchase cost me $38.38 shipped! A whole lot cheaper than buying retail and they have better styles. Again do your own research but there are plenty of online places to get glasses rather cheap and it never hurts to have extra pairs around.
Testing Your Progress
I keep printed Snellen Eye Charts around our house. I have one behind and over my desk in my office. I have one on my bookshelf across the room and I one one on a DVD case in our living room. I use these all the time to check my progress and give me a break when I’m working in the office. After a while of doing stuff on the computer I look up at the chart to make sure I can still read the last line that was clear for me. I also use the charts to read smaller and smaller lines of text. When I am most relaxed I can read to smallest line of text easily 8-10 feet away but again right now it’s not consistent. I already now clear vision is possible now I just have to work on consistency to make it permanent.
Let me be clear… If you have some major eye issue that requires medical treatment than don’t stop seeing your doctor. Also I’ve learned there are eye doctors that are supportive in helping you get rid of your glasses without surgery but they are few and far between. If I could find one that was supportive of what I am doing I would see them. Eye doctors either don’t know how to fix vision naturally or they are all about the money. The last place I went to wanted to push glasses on me that cost $265.00 and that was without the bifocal/progressive lens correction. Vision can be corrected naturally and being near sighted or far-sighted is not a disease!
I can’t say how long it will take me to be glasses free but it will happen. I will certainly keep you all updated on my progress as I go. I hope I’ve given you enough to start thinking about your vision, vision habits and some insight on how to fix it. Below you will find all the resources I’ve found to be very good in educating myself. Again do your own research as to what is right for you and hopefully we’ll all be seeing clearly in the future!
The Bates Method
http://www.seeing.org/ – Use for daily vision habits
https://endmyopia.org/ I used this more to understand the eyes and the issue but use both methods with success.
Todd Becker Video – Myopia: A Modern Yet Reversible Disease
Reversing Astigmatism with Esther Joy Van Der Werf
Nathan Oxenfeld- Bates Method Coach with lot of helpful videos