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Relaxing the eyes and avoiding the issue

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Relaxing the eyes and avoiding the issue
#1
Relaxing the eyes and avoiding the issue
http//blog.iblindness.org/2011-06/relaxing-eyes-avoiding-issue/

I'm going to start stepping on some toes by making some posts about the convoluted stuff that has become kind of standard in the material on improving vision with the Bates method, as presented in various books or by various people.

The first thing I want to talk about is the idea of relaxation.

Some books on the Bates method put so much emphasis on avoiding strain or effort at all costs, and people get the idea that they should not be involved in an active process of trying to see. Bates’s writings as well repeatedly went back to this as a main point. And he wasn’t wrong. But people have misinterpreted it to be the be-all and end-all of the way to see clearly and gone on to come up with all kinds of ways to relax their eye muscles, with the idea that if they can just find a way deep within their souls to relax that last bit of tension, whether pent-up emotion or how ever they may think of the root cause of the problem of chronically tense eye muscles as, they will get and retain clear vision thereafter. Facial massages and anything else to help relieve mental and physical tension is fine in a certain context. But people have used the idea of relaxation to justify just about anything on a slippery slope that they like doing, whether it’s bubble baths, playing football or gardening, with, again, the idea that they just need to somehow relax more and find more inner mental tension to release just by doing things that they might describe as relaxing.

Now you have to understand that in Dr. Bates’s day, Western culture didn’t include ideas like stress-related disorders or meditation. Describing it like he did was the best way he knew how given the contemporary usage of the words and his desire to reach the masses, not just appeal to scientists and other thinking types of people who might grasp some complex but more accurate explanations.

The idea of relaxation has its important place. There’s a valid and important point about not tensing your facial muscles or doing anything that might be called clenching your eyes in order to force them to see. No doubt people carry a great deal of tension in those areas, and on down to the neck and shoulders, and it all does seem to affect the vision. There are physical and mental things you can to help relieve tension, but understand that it wouldn't be there in the first place if something weren't wrong. It isn't just there because you haven't yet told it to relax. It's there for a reason.

Misusing the visual system has, for some strange reason, a relationship with chronic tension in other areas of your body. People find that when they have sudden periods of clear vision as a result of practicing the Bates method, their shoulders may suddenly loosen, their face may feel different, their hearing may even change, and other stuff that’s hard to come up with a concrete explanation for. In short, it’s plenty obvious that fixing vision somehow has a beneficial effect outside the visual system. So beyond any muscular tension that you can find a way to mentally release or physically manipulate to release, you really don’t need to be wasting your time on an arcane journey of relaxation. Using your visual system correctly is going to have the effect of stopping any remaining tension in the area of your eyes that you can feel but don’t know how to release.

People have come with a lot of ways to relax their eyes somewhat, but they do it at the cost of being disconnected from the process of seeing and might do alright until they open their eyes and do something, at which point they're totally struggling. That pattern of anxiously grabbing large chunks of things you see is only anxious when it's done in large chunks. The smaller your point of attention, when done correctly promotes so much focused calmness that it leaves no place for anxiety. And any anxiety is sometimes released from your body and brought to your conscious mind, seemingly out of nowhere.

But what people do is become so completely detached from their process of seeing, fearing that they will just generate more tension if they "try" to see anything (lots of material suggests that any "effort" to see worsens vision), that they go around constantly trying to NOT see, to NOT look at anything, and continuing to do the very thing with their eyes that's causing the tension. It's kind of understandable what leads you to that You feel the tension stronger when you first try to look at something small. The tension is revealed more acutely then, so you avoid the whole issue by not doing it. But it's the only way you can face it and be honest about what all is really happening. What are you really doing when you look at a small point? Are you applying the right way to look among points, or are you assuming it can't be done consciously and abdicating control?

The bottom line is you love what helps suppress yourself, and you hate what helps reveal who you have become. It's all backwards. So you love doing what doesn't actually help you here. Facing completely the way you see isn't fun, but it's rewarding.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#2
Do you like crosswords David as a vision exercise ?
I have figured out that it is relaxing, you can easily shift focus on the crossword,
you have all possibilities to synchronize your eyes on the crosses in the crossword, and also you can check if you can read the words simultaneously, and the process of remebering is something like the feeling of getting the clear vison.
Well, I will combine the looking at details method with exercising with crosswords. Smile
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#3
Very interesting David, Thanks for sharing

During moments of clear vision, I've felt not only my neck becoming loose or the face, but the overall being, everything just feels better, a calmness, less anxiety, a different approach as to what you're living at that time. Sweetness.

I think no one have mentioned this before:
Have you noticed pulses (or muscles spasm) around your body, for example, in your legs, arms or just some eyelid twitching or sorrounding zone?

I would like to know what is this, I've been having this for a long time now, it come specially when you start looking/imagining the details, have it to do with some muscles relaxing from strain or something like that?
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#4
Lord Wrote:I think no one have mentioned this before:
Have you noticed pulses (or muscles spasm) around your body, for example, in your legs, arms or just some eyelid twitching or sorrounding zone?

I would like to know what is this, I've been having this for a long time now, it come specially when you start looking/imagining the details, have it to do with some muscles relaxing from strain or something like that?

I'm not sure what you really mean but almost, but I recently experienced that I almost lost balance when I started looking at details very far away, then afterwards I felt dizzy, felt I couldn't control my legs, and I needed actually to go to the toilet to rest a minute, it was a bit scary actually. I thought that now I am going to get MS, damn it I thought, it is unfair I thought, but fortunately I have figured out lately that it was not the begining of MS. I am 100% ok now again, I tested running long distances, no problems.
My theory instead is that looking at details affects the body such that you also get lower blood pressure. I handled it by eating more breakfast (I figured this out because the problem occured before lunch when I was hungry) and the problem was gone since then. Smile

Also I don't eat so much milk products anymore, because I got more sensitive to it, I think you also mentioned that Lord in another post long time ago.
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#5
Quote:I'm not sure what you really mean but almost, but I recently experienced that I almost lost balance when I started looking at details very far away, then afterwards I felt dizzy, felt I couldn't control my legs, and I needed actually to go to the toilet to rest a minute, it was a bit scary actually. I thought that now I am going to get MS, damn it I thought, it is unfair I thought, but fortunately I have figured out lately that it was not the begining of MS. I am 100% ok now again, I tested running long distances, no problems.
My theory instead is that looking at details affects the body such that you also get lower blood pressure. I handled it by eating more breakfast (I figured this out because the problem occured before lunch when I was hungry) and the problem was gone since then. Smile

Also I don't eat so much milk products anymore, because I got more sensitive to it, I think you also mentioned that Lord in another post long time ago.

Ah, I got what you mean, I've had this, and is a bit annoying, you feel dizzy just when you get out of a session with the eye chart of looking for details, even disoriented, anyway all that goes away between some minutes.

In the past I was a bit intolerant to milk (which has been increasing over time) and other similar products, now, I am definitely intolerant to milk, if I drink enough of it, I got all kinds of discomfort in my stomach
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#6
Interesting that you call the dizziness annoying, when I'd call it scary -- different personality types! (prone to Anger under threat vs. Fear) I think of the dizziness even normal-sighted people report at the edge of a cliff, looking into nothingness (nowhere to focus). I also think of the dizziness my high myope partner reported when he was painting a wall in his parents' house and looking at the big space of uniform color and texture.

When I first read about the dizziness I thought "Oh yes, that's how I feel when I'm ungrounded (a big area of attention for me lately)". Maybe it also comes from switching the area of focus too quickly in a big way, and trying to hold on to the previous area, like in car sickness from the motion or twirling around on a rope swing -- you have to completely let go and relax like kids do to avoid this. This is the same dizziness people new to NVI sometimes feel doing the Long Swing.
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#7
Nancy Wrote:Maybe it also comes from switching the area of focus too quickly in a big way, and trying to hold on to the previous area, like in car sickness from the motion or twirling around on a rope swing -- you have to completely let go and relax like kids do to avoid this. This is the same dizziness people new to NVI sometimes feel doing the Long Swing.

Yes I think you might be right Nancy, thanks for letting me know this.
Because once I was at a meeting and I talked with one person, looked into his eyes while I talked to him, he then said something that made me upset (like he got me thinking why haven't you told me that before and I got angry inside because I realized that he was actually awful in that sense to cooperate with but I didn't show it to him, just kept going on, because he anyway had some other good characteristics too).
So, ok, I was in stress in that moment, and of course I didn't have time to think about long swings and such stuff in that moment, so what happened.
Then I had to turn my head 180 degrees very quickly to the white board instead, and then something happened to me that also scared me, but I also got scared that someone would find out and spread a false rumour going around that I were getting black outs or something that I never had in my whole life (I think that was what Lord meant was annoying, so it was both scary and annoying at the same time).
It was like the walls in the room was starting to fall over me, like your coming home drunk , the room skewed, and I felt the dizziness coming over me (despite that I was sitting down). I thought I had to stay awake, I have to struggle to stay awake and not fall together down to the table, and fortunately I managed rather quickly to get control over the situation and continue the discussion on the whiteboard, without anyone else noticing it, and I was very relieved that I managed to do this.
It was a new situation that never happened before, so I didn't know how to handle it, so I got through it by pure will I guess.

Thus shifting areas to quickly as you said was certainly a cause in this case.
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#8
Yes, everyone can get blackouts, even people with good vision
It's more scary than annoying actually, I remember when I was with my brother riding a bike in a mountain, this was the past year and still I was wearing glasses. Then something very very scary happened, in fact in don't like to remember it becouse it was one of the worst day of my life along with the day I was about to die at the sea, so while biking when I've got tired I sat on the ground with the bike and I felt a weird dizziness so when I lift my vision started to become black and black, more and more blackouts while this was happening I told my brother, I CAN'T SEE! I CAN'T SEE! F**! this was very scary, after about 10 seconds my vision started to appear again so I went blind for some seconds. It's why you should consider a sort of afortunate to be able to see, despite your poor vision. You always can do something to see better.

I think the blackouts have to do with a collapse with the brain and the visual system, so if you get very tired after running or something like that, never sit down, just relax standing.
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#9
Lord Wrote:Yes, everyone can get blackouts, even people with good vision
It's more scary than annoying actually, I remember when I was with my brother riding a bike in a mountain, this was the past year and still I was wearing glasses. Then something very very scary happened, in fact in don't like to remember it becouse it was one of the worst day of my life along with the day I was about to die at the sea, so while biking when I've got tired I sat on the ground with the bike and I felt a weird dizziness so when I lift my vision started to become black and black, more and more blackouts while this was happening I told my brother, I CAN'T SEE! I CAN'T SEE! F**! this was very scary, after about 10 seconds my vision started to appear again so I went blind for some seconds. It's why you should consider a sort of afortunate to be able to see, despite your poor vision. You always can do something to see better.

I think the blackouts have to do with a collapse with the brain and the visual system, so if you get very tired after running or something like that, never sit down, just relax standing.

I think about a girl that first got permanently deaf and then after some time also got permanently blind too.
She said she had to compensate for this loss of hearing by using her eyesight extremely much more,
I guess she thus had to stare a lot, this ended up in that she got blind also.
So the visual system collapsed totally due to this enormous visual strain for her.
You can thus draw the conclusion that perfect eyesight also depends on hearing that thus releases the visual system.
NVI seems to have a goal to make the task for the visual system as easy and simple as possible,
such that several processes try to solve the same problem.
Compare alignment problem: Two eyes must try to solve the same problem, if just one eye shall solve the problem then the visual system will become overloaded and thus misfunctions => BLUR.
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#10
Interesting to read the descriptions of dizziness and loss of balance. The way I see it, you're used to tensing your eyes and other body parts in order to try to be grounded or stable. When you start to focus so much on details, you lose your sense of stability and sense of feeling safe by having context for where you are. You're used to having the context by trying to hang onto looking at a large area at once so that you're looking at the context at the same time as the point, and in effect not really looking at the point. At at the same time, you freeze in order to stabilize the point in space and keep all the context stable. So dizziness might be a sign you're upsetting what you think you need as far as context for your orientation in space.

As far as peripheral vision, sometimes people with myopia tend to focus too much on what's in front of them, so that for example they just don't notice you if you aren't right in front of them and they won't get out of the way in the shopping aisle until you startle them. But at the same time their point of attention is actually too large. They restrict their far peripheral attention down while widening their central attention too much. But it varies.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#11
David Wrote:As far as peripheral vision, sometimes people with myopia tend to focus too much on what's in front of them, so that for example they just don't notice you if you aren't right in front of them and they won't get out of the way in the shopping aisle until you startle them. But at the same time their point of attention is actually too large. They restrict their far peripheral attention down while widening their central attention too much. But it varies.

Now i'm confused. The right way is only focus on the smallest point in what we are looking,but at the same time be aware of the peripheral vision?
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#12
DaniFixe Wrote:
David Wrote:As far as peripheral vision, sometimes people with myopia tend to focus too much on what's in front of them, so that for example they just don't notice you if you aren't right in front of them and they won't get out of the way in the shopping aisle until you startle them. But at the same time their point of attention is actually too large. They restrict their far peripheral attention down while widening their central attention too much. But it varies.

Now i'm confused. The right way is only focus on the smallest point in what we are looking,but at the same time be aware of the peripheral vision?

You don't have to be aware of peripheral vision. It works itself out. The only time it doesn't work itself out is when you're taxing the visual system too much by trying to do something it wasn't designed to do, like looking at too large of an area at once.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#13
One of the things I've found when I see better, is that I only focus on one thing at a time..central fixation I presume..and yet I also still have this desire to want to see more, to want to see everything and not just be satisfied with the one thing at a time.
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#14
I find the habit of trying to see more than one point at a time is so ingrained that I catch myself doing it even when consciously practising searching for detail. Why is this not working? Because I'm not looking at a small enough area! It's slippery. Just being aware of doing it is a big big help.
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#15
Sean, you're not alone. I just got in from a long day of many errands and a lot of driving, and since it's very gray and humid today there's not a lot of ambient light. I stopped myself several times when I had caught a slight flash of a letter on a sign, then immediately tried to widen the clarity to see the entire word. NO! All I can do is keep reminding myself that this is *not* the way to see clearly, that I need to look at one point at a time, telling myself over and over again, hoping that eventually this new habit becomes the new normal. Staying aware is the key for me, easy to say but not always easy to do. Stay with it.
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