Signs of Improvement
When you start to see better, it can happen suddenly as you’re consciously practicing the method or doing something else entirely. These “clear flashes”, as they are commonly called, are the common sign of improvement. They may be a flash of better vision or what seems like absolutely perfect vision, lasting for an instant, part of a minute, or much longer. It’s an indication that you’re doing things right. It won’t be obvious at first what you’re doing differently than you were a moment ago. Sometimes it has to do with doing something in particular for several minutes at a time, or just several seconds, or doing something else that you don’t normally do. So when you get clear flashes, just pay attention to what it’s like to see clearer, what sensations you get from your eyes or elsewhere, and what you might have been doing differently in the moments leading up to it. The frequency, duration, and quality of these clear flashes can be a good indication of how well you’re doing.
You might get sensations of eyestrain, which is characterized by a hot, tired, heavy or painful feeling from your eyes. If you don’t feel eyestrain already, you might start to. The reason for this is your brain sometimes suppresses chronic pain. It’s similar to how you might not notice a particular noise until the noise stops or restarts. The sensation can also be from legitimately new or increased eyestrain from misapplying these principles and actually straining your eyes more than you were before. Confusion and mis-steps are to be expected.
You might also feel a light stinging sensation at a very small location on or in the front of your eye, and your eyes may or may not water in reaction to it. I don’t know what this is, but it’s a very common experience to have better vision accompanied by this stinging sensation. It can last through blinks, and in my opinion it doesn’t feel like dry eyes, which is more widespread over the entire cornea. The best thing to do might be to just keep using your eyes in the best way you know how. Closing your eyes in reaction to it immediately every time might not be the best action.
How Long Will it Take?
The most common question is, “How long is it going to take to improve my vision?”
It will take as long it takes you to learn how to see correctly.
In the best-case scenario, where a person understands immediately how to apply the concepts, it should only take a matter of days before his vision is stable. That’s pretty rare, to say the least, and while there are stories of such occurances, it may be virtually impossible for someone who has worn glasses for many years to recover that quickly. But clear flashes are good evidence of the way the visual system seems to be just waiting to be allowed to operate correctly again. More likely you should see some kind of results in the first days and weeks, and then it’s a question of whether it will take more weeks or several months to completely recover. If your vision isn’t continuing to improve after a few weeks, you’re likely doing something wrong that needs to be corrected.
You Have All Day
Your goal should be to change the way you see all day long. So at some point you need to start applying what you’ve learned to how you see all day long. How you use your eyes the majority of the day represents what your dominant habit is, and that’s what determines how well you see. If you don’t use your eyes right all day long, you aren’t fully applying these principles, due maybe to being unconvinced of them or just being complacent with your old way of doing things.
It takes a conscious effort to change, and the change can be very disruptive and time-consuming at first, but once you get used to the modified way of seeing and incorporate it into your habits, everything will be better than ever.
Seeing with Patience
When you’re trying out an exercise, whether it’s for the first time for the thousandth time, give it a moment. There may be a time lag as everything adjusts, and then all of a sudden you see some results.
That’s the way the world works here. If everything we instigated happened instantaneously, it would be a confusing and out of control place where you have to constantly deal with the consequences of your errant thoughts creating inconvenient things.
So when you get a flash of clear vision, don’t attribute it to what you did a split second earlier. You’ll be left wondering what you could have done that somehow you can’t even remember, despite it being just a few seconds ago. The reason that’s so hard to figure out is probably because you’re looking in the wrong place. More likely the cause of your clear flash was something you started a moment before that, and you didn’t take into account the time lag.
Understand also that when you start something and then move on to another thought, what you started continues for a while. So if you were to work on having a more positive attitude, for example, your attitude doesn’t necessarily change just because you start thinking about your planned bike ride this afternoon. It might continue without you knowing it.
You’re in this for the long haul, so any given moment of blurry vision isn’t so important. If you look at the first letter on a line of your eye chart, and it’s blurry, don’t worry about that result. Ignore it and make the right decision anyway. As soon as you look at the first letter, you move onto the second letter. And as soon as you look at the second letter, you again know that you’ll either get paid off or not, so you’ve done everything you can at that point, and you have to just move onto the third letter. And so on down the line, and to the next line, back and forth.
Your vision does not respond well to your asking, “Does this work? Does this work?” and expecting to see the answer right away. Your anxiousness by itself ruins the process. You should be as passive to the results as if on each spot you look at you’re holding out your hands, waiting for a clear detail to drop into them. You aren’t grabbing anything or making any effort to bring the detail into existence for yourself. You’ll get results based on how relaxed your nerves are and how quickly you keep moving to the next point
So just because your vision doesn’t clear up instantaneously, it doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong thing. Over time the results of clearer vision will come quicker and quicker in response to what you’re doing, because your system is getting used to seeing in the right way.
Great post. It was as if you were speaking my mind. I’ve known of the Bates Method for a long time, since 2008, in fact, and I’ve been practising it and are very happy with the results. My main problem is that I’m not practicing it consistently, mainly due to my lifestyle. I keep falling into my bad vision habits. Improving one’s vision has an emotional and awareness component to it. I’d even say that the emotional component is the more important one. For example, I’m noticing that when I’m bored or anxious (or even excited, or too “happy”), my vision always gets worse, and most of the times not only worse–it will start falling back into the same old patterns of visual and mental tension. To sum it up, my vision is always at its best when my mind is relaxed, and my mind is relaxed when I don’t have something on my mind to bug me. When I’m not in the present moment and am looking forward to something in an nervous (or even obsessive way), the acuity of my sight is declining.
There is no doubt that ocular muscle control is in small part responsible for the changes in visual acuity, but it’s clear that pseudomyopia, which manifests as the temporarily blurriness one gets after intense close work, simply cannot be prevented merely by relaxing the muscles.
Many of the ideas here are simply erroneous. Muscle tension is not necessarily bad for you (without it, your muscles will just atrophy). Perhaps you don’t like the prescriptions the same way you dislike anything unnatural, but the exaggeration on the associated side effects are blown out of proportion.
Here is one thing you can try to disprove your theory: read every day for 8 hours, at 30cm, while trying to conscious apply your method – it would be sufficiently surprising if your myopia doesn’t get worse.
Chronic muscle tension, and associated mental anxiety, is the cause of many health problems. There is a reason that so many people have found value in addressing such problems with things like massage, meditation and other therapies.
Close work is a normal part of seeing. Anything done to extreme excess will be hard to ignore, but there is no reason that someone who does computer work or paperwork all day can’t improve their vision, provided they take breaks to relax and recharge, and apply the principles of good vision. Likewise not everyone who does a lot of close work develops myopia. Worse vision after prolonged close work can be partially due to the short distance itself, but also the way the eyes are used. It’s similar to how one person moving heavy boxes can finish the job without a back ache because he knows how to use his body, while the other suffers back pain and blames the boxes for his long-standing misuse of his body.
Thanks for the article. I would definitely follow these instructions and let you know the results.