I understand that glasses are not good for the eyes due to the fact that they reinforce bad vision habits, but what about contacts? Will my vision still recover at the same rate if I wear contact lenses weaker than my current prescription versus not wearing them at all? With contacts I can still practice shifting and central fixation; the only drawback is reduced oxygen on the eyeballs.
If I limit the use of contacts to a couple of hours a day, will that still be harmful? By using the lower prescription I would be leaving room for my eyes to recover to that specific prescription and then I would lower it again.. Is this a valid theory or am I missing vital information? Of course, while doing this I would be practicing the bates method at least 30 minutes everyday and also maintain proper vision habits such as blinking, shifting, no staring, etc.
During the process you might experience some stinging feelings or other sensations having to do with your eyes. With contacts in it's easy to assume that it's the contacts bothering you, suggesting that you need eye drops or something else might be wrong with the contacts. Eyes are very sensitive. These kinds of stinging or other sensations need to be allowed. Contacts will mislead you about the situation. The eyes work best without things stuck in them. They feel better and tears can flow over them freely. Contacts undermine the ability of the eyes to see without invasive interference. Changing habits toward good vision is a very delicate and subtle process, and continuing to wear contacts may (or may not) make the difference in determining whether you have any real success at all.
If you feel like you need to wear glasses or contacts sometimes, then that's your choice, and there doesn't need to be shame in doing so, but I think it should be done with the understanding that you are undermining yourself in doing it. Going without glasses and contacts also conflicts with the intention of being able to function day to day the same as if nothing is wrong, so you need to determine just how big of a change you can allow today, and in this moment and the next, in order to be able to continue.
A lower prescription may be beneficial, but it doesn't work as mechanically or predictably as you would like it to, so it may be premature to plan the next move as far as if you're going to take a second step with the glasses or prescription.
"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Wow, Dave, this is a great summary of the situation. I remember when I first got hard contacts in 1966 of -10 that everything was ultra-clear, and I said then I would put rocks in my eyes if it would get me get out of glasses, downplaying the discomfort and pain. Well, that's what I did for many years, "put up with it" because I thought there was no other option. When I got soft lenses 9 years ago from my behavioral optometrist (I had been told my prescription was too strong for these) they were much more comfortable, but when I moved to only glasses a few years later I wasn't sorry to turn my back on contacts -- my eyes felt a lot freer without something inserted in them, even though I could see very well with them. I'm guessing now if I put contacts in they'd be really painful. It's a sign to me of how out of touch with my body and physical feelings I've been all these years that I tolerated contacts so long. You're right that it's a constant choice between seeing very clearly at all costs (strong contacts or glasses), or of making my way with a very reduced prescription or ideally none, which is much more comfortable. I'm really grateful that I'm at the point now where can do most things without glasses.