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Improving vision by looking at adjacent details
#1
Improving vision by looking at adjacent details
http//blog.iblindness.org/2011-08/improving-vision-looking-adjacent-details/

In my last blog post I suggested that I would talk more in detail about patterns of the right way to go about looking at things.

The idea of "staring" is a big no-no in literature about the Bates method. So people trying to follow it have gotten an idea of what staring is and they throw the baby out with the bath water and avoid the very things that would be helping their vision to improve. I know because I went through that too. The idea makes a certain amount of sense. Keep your eyes moving, because your eyes were meant to move. You've frozen them up and suppressed their natural movement. But be careful with that idea. If you don't look at something intently, down to the smallest detail, how are you supposed to see it? If you don't spend a moment to really examine the details immediately next to it, how are you supposed to form a good picture of what you're looking at? When will your visual system have an opportunity to orient itself when you keep bouncing your eyes around too much?

So that brings me to what I want to write about today. And I'm not sure how much this applies to everyone working on improving their vision with the Bates method. I would love to hear some feedback on where you are with the general concept of moving your eyes or avoiding staring, and if what I'm describing makes sense. The funny thing is that people who are new to vision improvement might have an easier time at this than people who have reprogrammed themselves with bad habits related to trying to keep their eyes moving all the time.

My instructions in the <a href="http//www.iblindness.org/articles/bates-method-part1.php">Applying the Bates Method</a> article, as of writing (I'll probably update it soon), describes in Part 2 a way of shifting your attention between two points a shorter and shorter distance apart and looking for smaller and smaller details. I'm going to suggest something a little different. Here goes.

In order to see a point and the surrounding details better, look at what is immediately next to the point. Not a certain distance away, but I mean truly adjacent to it (adjacent means immediately beside). It will be the smallest speck you can kind of, or almost, perceive as being next to it. Then repeat it, finding another speck next to the second one, even if you have to partly imagine it because it's so blurry or indecipherable. In doing this you're looking at what you can see, not just what you think you're supposed to see, so more often than not you might be just looking at different pieces of indecipherable blur. But also work on this with something close enough that you can remain engaged and see stuff.

Once you've done that, keep repeating the process. You might find your gaze slowly moving in one direction or another as the adjacent pieces of detail lead you somewhere, and that's fine. You don't have to keep looking at the same thing you started with.

In looking at things this way, you're accomplishing several things. When you try to determine an adjacent detail, you'll be looking at a small detail out of necessity, without having to try to make it small. You have a reason to look for a small detail other than me telling you to.

Your shifts will become shorter and shorter, and you'll have an easier time shifting your attention such small distances as a matter of routine. This will encourage your eyes to also make the smallest shifts, microsaccades, which are involuntary, meaning you don't direct the movement and it seems to happen on its own. The eyes of people with blurry vision don't perform enough microsaccades. It's a function that you have suppressed by misusing your eyes.

You will learn to become engaged in what you're looking at. Genuine interest is a huge part of seeing and perceiving. If you don't allow yourself to dig in and find out how the pieces fit together and what's next to what, you're demonstrating that you are not really interested in seeing, because seeing is all about putting together a lot of individual details, each in its own spot, to form an image that makes sense. Your visual system will take care of the grunt work there, but you have to demonstrate that it's what you want so that your visual system has a clear and congruent objective. You're rife with contradictions in the way you're using your eyes, so this whole process is a way of clearing these things up so you don't just confuse your visual system with mixed messages (and mixed metaphors, sorry).

You're giving your visual system a chance to orient itself and focus your eyes correctly. It will do this on its own, given the right conditions. And this is what you've been aiming for, after all focused vision with a sharp image. It's what vision improvement is all about, and it's the final step that you have no direct control over. Your lack of control in that final step is illustrated over and over by the way people suddenly get flashes or longer moments of clear vision and just as suddenly lose it. You have to do things right to pave the way for your visual system to take care of this as the final step.

And to repeat something I said on the forum recently -

You can think of your vision as improved every time you look at a detail more closely that you were kind of looking in the general direction of but didn't actually look at until now. It doesn't have to be more focused, or clearer, for your vision to be better, so don't get hung up on judging your vision by how focused the image appears to be compared to a moment ago. Judge it by what details you can perceive in what you're looking at that you didn't notice before. Every little thing matters. Every time you perceive something better because you looked directly at it, it's an accomplishment, and you're reinforcing the right pattern. Eventually of course the focus needs to improve too, and that should happen in short clear flashes at first. But the order these things happens in I think generally is the reverse of what people tend to think. People want the image to be clear so that they can look at things. But really you need to look at things better and appreciate each thing you see, and in using the visual system better you're encouraging it to properly focus the image. It takes determination, having to keep looking at things that aren't clear and forcing yourself to notice little things, constantly, without getting discouraged by the fact that a person with good vision can just look at it and it's already clear. It's about not fighting your eyes in their focus and doing the best you can in using your visual perception fully, for your part, with what it is right now, while putting a lot of trust in the idea that it's going to pay off with better focused vision before long.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#2
Nice article!
The looking at specks even if its blur sounds like what alot of people (including myself) experienced when improving their vision; they shift on the blur part to part (detail to detail as you describe helps for better central-fixation). Then the vision starts to clear but during this process some people state they get a bit of lighter, clear or blurry double, triple images of the object overlapped on and away from/around the object. They keep shifting point to point (small part to small part) on the object and on the other scattered, blurry images. Eventually the images are all clear and merge into one clear object.
I used your first article to do this on my astigmatism chart when my neck was injured causing astigmatism, blur, mainly in left eye distant. It cured the astigmatism and blur! I shifted detail to detail on the lines on the chart without trying; just let the eyes (central field) jump around to tiny parts close to each-other and anywhere on the chart. Relaxed my head, eyes.
Interesting how this also activates microsaccades!
I like to mix deep relaxation alpha... state and also dynamic active relaxation state when doing this.
Was shifting on the moon last night. Will try your suggestions on it tonight!
Occasionally when needed I mix a little Behavioral Optometry 'Switching close and far'; with; both eyes together, one eye at a time, extra with less clear vision eye, both eyes together again to get the vision equal, improved in both eyes. Then the eyes can enjoy seeing details clear faster. But; the optometry thing is relying on a exercise, although Bates did teach looking at a close object (fine print) then a distant sign, back and forth... I have learned much from this website, forum. Many things that are natural, effective, things my Natural Vision Improvement teachers did not teach me.
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#3
Thanks, David, these are very good advices with a lot of experience and practice in the background.

I've been trying for some time now to 'activate' the saccadic eye-movement and met the difficulty, that it is very hard to stimulate consciously something which should come automatically and subconsciously and needs a state of relaxation, is hindered when you strain your eyes by putting too much effort.

While trying to look more closely at surrounding details, I found out that the easiest way (resulting in an almost automatic eye-movement) is to look at faces - for example in TV.
Maybe it is a sort of a reflex, that the eyes start 'scanning' a face when you look at it more closely (probably in order to 'read' the facial expression of the person). The faces become very clear much more easily than other details.
This was one of the first things that struck me when I started not to wear glasses or contact lenses - whenever I talked to people, my eyes tried hard to 'zoom' a clear face of my interlocutor.
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#4
Television characters, scenery also change, 'move' and this makes the eyes shift without trying.
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#5
David, thanks. I must admit when I first saw the title of this thread, I thought "Oh no! Eccentric fixation!", thinking of looking at adjacent details at the same time as central detail, and wondering if you were maybe going to talk about being aware of the periphery. I understand now you're talking about shifting my focus to an adjacent detail and away from the one I'm looking at! I'm moving my eyes just to avoid the dreaded stare (without really looking at anything!) much less now, and am looking at points for longer, with smaller shifts -- I used to shift wildly just for the sake of shifting, with no interest behind it. When I focus on something of interest now I usually go "deeper" into it for a few seconds, just like Dr. Bates imagining tiny people moving around in a cave. So I feel like I'm going in when you want me to go out (by looking at something to the side), but I do understand what you're saying. I think I still need to stay on a point for a little longer, shifting around it and letting it clear up, before moving to something different. If I try to rush my vision I get anxious and feel like I'm failing, and taking the time I need to see clearly, which is sometimes longer than other people need, is still important for me. I may be one of the remedial students, but I can see that I am still making progress!
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#6
I can't stress enough how important it is not to just move the eyes without purpose. Hopefully, David's post here will prevent some newbies from going down that path. As for me, I am starting to see that I am one of those people who learn things the hard way. But I guess I'm all right with that. Smile
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#7
Nancy, I see now that someone might interpret what I said as trying to see an adjacent detail without moving their center of vision toward it. I guess there are some weird programs out there that get people to try to do such things.

Going "in" instead of "out" still sounds okay to me, although if you keep looking for the next detail closely beside it, you're guaranteeing that you're keeping your attention moving, especially if you continue along roughly the same direction in a whole string of details, and you don't get stuck trying to dig into a spot for too long and fail. And if you know you're going to have to look at the next detail beside each one, you're forced to perceive each detail as so small that it's possible to distinguish where "beside is" is.

I think you mentioned a friend with normal vision that in reaction to looking back at the same point again, she said something like, "Why would I look at the same point again? I already looked at it."

I'm not sure if I've explained it all very well. I might need to make a video or animation.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#8
Dave, I can honestly say that you explained it very well. And to me that piece of advice was helpful. It's actually quite funny sometimes to see how the different "layers" of polyopia come to front when doing this. It's sometimes like new letters come out between two letters when moving to adjacent details.

Anyway, it has been a great process to even have found a point of fixation. When I took my glasses off the first time, I actually couldn't be sure where my eyes pointed at. It was like there would be a circle two inches in diameter (at close range) and I wouldn't be able to tell actually where inside that circle my center of sight was. But it has gotten a lot better and your latest thing helped to get a level higher.
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#9
David Wrote:Improving vision by looking at adjacent details
...
Thanks,

I think there is some kind of a chain reaction that in the end results in effortless seeing.
What is important is the source of this chain reaction.
The source is not attention, even if I agree with you that if you have the right attention you will see effortlessly, so it might be almost the source.
Instead if you have too much attention there will be lots of strain, because of trying too hard.
I tried the other day to relax my shoulders, I mean really relax them, and I found that my attention automatically became more effortless. It could be that the attention comes by product if you are mentally relaxed.
Now, I now talk about things that I have studied lately and then I have interpreted it as if you relax then you also open up the periphery,
because you improve the alpha brain waves, and unfortunately you thus get less unconscious focus on a point, less acuity, but instead you get better attention at the adjacent details around the point. Ok, I have also understod that there is something called beta brain waves also that I think when activated will actually improve the conscious focus on a point.
This is also showing up in the personality of myopes and non myopes, i mean there is an obvious known difference in personality.
Thus you need a mixture of both alpha and beta brain waves such that you open up the periphery at least a bit and also are more conscious such that the mind are more able to control where to look consciously (the attention).

Regarding looking at details I actually have improved my conscious saccades really much, I think it might be due to that the eye muscles get trained and more rigid to do this task, it really also clears up the blur. Might have to do with that the extrinsic parts around the ciliar muscle gets more rigid and thus the ciliar muscle can relax more due to this, but I don'r really know, just a theory.

I am still going on with improving my vision due to two reasons:
1. The improvement I have seen due to the looking at details method, it is the driveforce.
2. Because I want to get mentally more relaxed, you enjoy life much more, and gets overall more healthy.
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#10
David, I saw my my mis-interpretation of "looking at adjacent details" as meaning looking at straight-ahead details at the same time as my own error (coming from many years in strong glasses trying to see everything at once), not that anything was wrong with what you wrote. This is another example of my stumbling meandering path to vision improvement, often having to do it wrong first (sometimes several different ways!) before I finally get it right. About the looking in vs. looking out, I agree as long as I'm shifting and paying attention to what I'm looking at, it makes no difference. Thanks for your continued attempts to teach us -- natural vision feels like a language I used to know but have long forgotten, and am just starting to have glimmers of memory about.
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#11
This looking, shifting on details is great! Was doing it just for fun a few short times yesterday and today and now just watching TV and notice the line on my smaller Eyechart that is smaller than 10 line on the big C chart is clear! Look outside and its amazing! Crystal clear!Seeing the leaves on distant trees, porch on house way down street!
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#12
My blurred image is becoming multiple images...but sometimes the doubled image is clearer than the original image, I mean, the ghost is clearer than the original..
Should I look for details at the doubled image that is clearer or only at the original image?

tks!
Adriano
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#13
asarrascene Wrote:My blurred image is becoming multiple images...but sometimes the doubled image is clearer than the original image, I mean, the ghost is clearer than the original..
Should I look for details at the doubled image that is clearer or only at the original image?

tks!
Adriano
I'd also like an answer for this, since I'm getting the same and I've been wondering about it a long time.

At the moment it think that I just need to attain better relaxation. I guess it doesn't matter which one you're looking at as far as it doesn't hurt. If it hurts, then I palm. I'd say, when the relaxation (attained doing the adjacent thing or something else) is good enough or perfect, there won't be any double images anymore right after opening the eyes.
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#14
This has been answered in other posts as it is a common question/harmless effect as the blur clears. It's the eye muscles, brain; left and right hemispheres relaxing, balancing, returning to correct function. Also can be a bit of astigmatism that the eyes had but was not noticed before when eyesight was more blurry.
Just keep shifting on the details, part to part on the object. Blink, relax. I shift on the clearest, most solid images, sometimes on the other images and they then all merge together into one clear image.
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#15
clarknight Wrote:This has been answered in other posts as it is a common question/ harmless effect as the blur clears. It's the eye muscles, brain; left and right hemispheres relaxing, balancing, returning to correct function. Also can be a bit of astigmatism that the eyes had but was not noticed before when eyesight was more blurry. Just keep shifting on the details, part to part on the object. Blink, relax. I shift on the clearest, most solid images, sometimes on the other images and they then all merge together into one clear image.
hereford_picnic Wrote:
asarrascene Wrote:My blurred image is becoming multiple images...but sometimes the doubled image is clearer than the original image, I mean, the ghost is clearer than the original. Should I look for details at the doubled image that is clearer or only at the original image? tks! Adriano
I'd also like an answer for this, since I'm getting the same and I've been wondering about it a long time. At the moment it think that I just need to attain better relaxation. I guess it doesn't matter which one you're looking at as far as it doesn't hurt. If it hurts, then I palm. I'd say, when the relaxation (attained doing the adjacent thing or something else) is good enough or perfect, there won't be any double images anymore right after opening the eyes.
This multiple images problem may also be caused or worsened by misalignment of the focal points of the eyeballs and the retinas / foveas / pseudofoveas.
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