Last night I held a vision coaching session with a new student. We’ve had one previous lesson where we discussed him using his glasses instead of his contacts, so he can easily take them off, and explore seeing naturally. His prescription is -7.5 in each eye, and he got glasses at age 5. He told me twice that it had made a big impression on him in our last session when I’d said “It’s not that you can’t see anything without glasses. You just can’t see as well. Yet!”.
Many people who wear glasses at all times think that when they take their glasses off, their eyes come off too! So they don’t look, just staring dully in an unseeing way, until they put their glasses back on and re-activate their vision. My student is now enjoying exploring how much he can see without glasses. I emphasized the importance of not putting himself in danger by doing activities where he couldn’t see well enough, like driving, and not straining to see, which will not help him improve. I encouraged him to look at this as a game, not a test to pass or fail. He is already using his glasses much less, only when he really needs them.
He came to the lesson with a list of questions, which delighted me — an eager motivated student! He asked about the difference between outdoors when he could see pretty well without his glasses, which “shocked” him, he said, and indoors when things were much more blurry. I told him to get some full-spectrum light bulbs for inside, and that the human eye developed under the sun, not under indoor lighting! So this is motivation to spend as much time outside as he can, and to enjoy what he can see. Also, as his vision improves, he will be able to see better indoors too.
He asked about the eye chart, how often to practice, and how to practice. I urged him to see it as a game, again, not a test, and to stand or sit close enough that he could make out a couple of rows, no matter how close that was. (When I started, I needed to stand no more than a foot and a half away from the chart to make out the big top letter!) I suggested a session in the morning and one at night if he could fit it in, but not to see this as a chore, rather that he was doing something good for himself, and to have an easy relaxed attitude about it.
I told him to gently look at a letter, then part of that letter. Is the edge curved, or straight, or open? Close his eyes, imagine what it could be, open them and see it clearer, close them and imagine it again. This is called “flashing”. Also, the human eye is designed to see a tiny point at a time, and to constantly be in motion, what I think of as scooping up the individual photons one at a time to paint the image in your brain. Glasses train you to see a large area equally well, and not to move your eyes much, since the strongest correction in the glasses is only in the center of the lens. So he needs to retrain himself to look at a smaller area, not to “gulp” an entire letter, especially if it’s a big one.
The eye chart will give him instant feedback about the state of his vision, which can sometimes be upsetting. Just like you can’t fool Mother Nature, you can’t fool the eye chart! Talking about how vision can fluctuate gave me an opportunity to mention the role of emotions, that if I’m upset or anxious or resentful, I won’t see as well as usual. He seems to be a pretty steady guy from what I know of him so far. However, he did ask me about his annoyance which pops up occasionally at people who don’t have to wear glasses. (I love that he trusted me to talk about his feelings, when a lot of men wouldn’t go there.)
Since he got glasses at age 5, he has spent most of his life in them. Now that he’s investigating learning to do without them, he’s quite annoyed at people who don’t have to go through this, who can see fine already. I pointed out that these people may have big problems he’s unaware of, and spending his energy in resentment is not helping him move forward. We talked about possible ways for him to release these negative emotions. He’s already working out and running regularly which will help a lot.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping”) is one way I work through painful feelings myself. I suggested a possible EFT sequence of “They never had to wear glasses at all! They don’t know how good they have it! I’ve had glasses since I was in kindergarten, practically my whole life!”, while tapping all the time. We did not do an actual EFT session together, though we may in the future.
Something else I suggested for processing emotions was journalling, writing or typing one’s feelings, just to get them out of him and onto the paper or screen.This doesn’t have to be saved — it’s the actual act of writing, much more than the result, where the benefit is. He said he used to journal a lot (hooray!) and was recently thinking abut getting back to it. I said a Vision Improvement journal might be a great focus (ha ha!) if he wants, so it’s not always feeling-centered which may not even be necessary for him, though it was for me.
One more point: we talked about him putting his glasses on and his eyes reverting to the visual state of looking though that pretty strong prescription. Then there’s a big jump to no correction at all when he takes the glasses off, quite a strain for the eyes. He’s ordered a few pairs of weaker glasses from Zenni, which have yet to arrive, so even when he needs some correction he may be able to make do with something weaker than his current -7.5 pair, as long as he’s not driving.
This was a very satisfying lesson for me, and it’s great that I may be able to save someone from making some of the mistakes I did in my own early vision improvement journey. Now I have to keep improving myself, so I can stay at least a few steps ahead of my student!