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perspectives on looking at smaller details
arocarty Wrote:The other illusion that is helpful is noticing the constant movement of the letters when you fixate - a slight tremor, drift, pulsation (indicative of the involuntary activity of microsaccades).

Hi Andrew,

Bates wrote about this but I don't remember noticing this illusion when I had normal vision.I did not wear glasses till I was 15, and I was a bookish kid. ;D Is there any way to go about producing this illusion?

I can only notice the white halo when I'm reading on white/ off-white printed paper, but not only colored paper. I don't notice this when I'm reading off my laptop screen.

I think I agree with you on letting the eyes land where they want to land randomly. I used to be a speed reader and I had a pretty bad reading habit, i.e. I just let my eyes run through roughly above the line and I read off my periphery. I've noticed recently that when I fall back to this speed reading pattern, the brow area would tense and I could feel something pull at my eyes from within. When I feel this, I keep reminding myself that this is strain and I would slow down my reading speed considerably and guide my eyes in a wandering manner over the line that I'm reading, in random pace, sometimes making microshifts on a letter.

When I do this, I can feel the tension in my brow lessening and sometimes, completely disappearing.

I guess this is a good start, huh?
Hi Marlene,

No, from the sound of it, that's a Great start! Do not concern yourself if you don't remember seeing these illusions pre-myopia. The visual system suppresses them, or we ignore them, or we take them totally for granted when that's all we've known as a normal-sighted person. Even Bates had trouble getting folks with normal sight to become aware of them. Had someone brought them to our attention, they might have helped us avoid falling into myopia, or may have even helped us improve upon our good vision. They play an important part in helping us to revitalize our imaginations, and as sight is mostly imagination, I think we should exploit it as much as Bates did to help restore vision.

I can definitely relate to the speed-reading habit. The deterioration of my vision first manifested itself after my taking a speed-reading class in college (freshman yr.), then trying to apply it and develop the speed reading skills that would help me get through the massive amount of reading facing me. I got fairly good at it, controlling my eyes/vision so I could chew up a sentence in a couple shifts, spreading my attention as widely as I could, and still comprehend what I needed to. Little did I realize the trade-off and bad habit I was creating, as I had to get some weak corrective lenses after that year, then a little stronger correction w/ astigmatism the next year, then a little stronger the next, etc... It did not get as high as I think it could have, because I still tried to read mostly without lenses, though with the astigmatism even that became a fatiguing drudgery. Once you've trained your visual brain to do this it can be difficult to change, as we are confronted with more and more information to plow through every day whether it be for education, our job, social media, etc. But it's not impossible, and will take a real disciplined approach, some of which has already been discussed in this thread.

I would recommend you set dedicate some time each day, if you can, to just practice the opposite of what speed reading has taught you. During practice time, disregard the meaning, and think about How you are reading, more so than what you are reading. You don't need to think about your eyes, but more about what your point of attention is doing. As you mentally shift from one point to another, think where's it going, where's it landing, IS it landing... or are you just skimming.. glazing over letters and words, as you mentally shift from one point to another along the line. Go slow, one or two shifts per second; that gives you time to fixate on a small area, time to remember to blink, to breath, to maybe notice the illusions of oppositional movement, halos, central fixation, time to notice details. Of course, rest your eyes before, during, and after practicing, by closing them or palming. The more you dedicate practice to this, the more it will infuse itself into your everyday reading habits.

The illusion of the short swing/optical swing will manifest itself only when you have obtained enough relief from the strain and abnormal tension that you hold. It's like the evidence that you have obtained a great level of relaxation/relief, and the eyes are moving more dynamically, more freely, and not trying to concentrate, or hold onto points, or larger areas. So that really comes with time, but it certainly won't hurt if you imagine it as best you can, when you fixate, and let your eyes wander around letters or white spaces with those real short, shifts. Imagining it with the eyes closed is also beneficial, and Bates found that myopes could usually imagine it easier with their eyes closed, at first.


Hi Andrew,

That's a great post and I thank you for taking the time to spell it out in detail. I'll definitely try taking some time out to re-learn how to read. ;D I have a few more questions, so I'm going to go ahead and ask them here ( I feel like I've been hijacking this thread :-[ )

(1) I analyze a lot of data in the course of my work with the laptop and well, that naturally involves a lot of data manipulation where I have to click on lots of icons and check boxes. A lot of that clicking can be repetitive, but sometimes they are not. In another thread, Sean wrote about how people with defective vision, when shifting their attention from point A to point B will immediately lock on point B ( as in widening their field of attention ) vs people with normal vision, who will do a few correctional shifts before locking onto B.

I find that I do indeed sort of lock my gaze when I do that when I work on clicking. It's like lock on check box A, click...before my eyes move to lock on checkbox B, click and so on. Sometimes, I just click off my peripheral vision without even looking at point B. After about 30 clicks, I start feeling the strain.

I've been thinking of how to deal with this, so lately, I've changed my method to looking at point A, click and then move my attention in a slower, wandering manner towards somewhere near point B, then zig zagging my way towards it to avoid locking my eyes in a hard way. I don't know if this is a good method. It definitely helps to lessen the tension I feel, but it's also slowing down my work. :-\

Have you ever noticed this while working in front of a computer?

In fact, I find that I have this tendency to lock onto objects a lot when doing object-to-object shifting. For e.g. if I want to grab at a pen and I can see it off my periphery, I'll immediately shift my gaze to lock onto the pen. When I do that, I can feel some tiny tugging of the eye muscles. I know that this is straining but the question is, how do I counter this because if I can already see this pen from my periphery and I want to grab at it, how can I not zoom in and look at it directly?

(2) I think I'm slowly learning how to recognize strain, but I have not yet learned to recognize whether I'm doing it right while practicing. For e.g. I like to practise reading my colleague's name tag hanging across the wall, which is usually at a slight blur to me. After shifting over it for a few seconds, the blur usually clears but I don't know why it clears ( whether that's just my eyes needing time to adjust or that I'm actually looking at it using the correct way ). I haven't been able to make it a permanent clear yet, though sometimes when I look up from my laptop after working at it in a non-strainful manner, the letters on the name tag is clear right away. On occasions when I have been agigated, I can't get it to clear no matter how long I look at it ( proof that stress affects vision ).

So the big question is, how do I recognize whether I'm practicing it right, regardless of whether the blur clears?
Marlene, for me progress has been incremental and the pace irregular. My own 2 measures of improvement are seeing more clarity and feeling less tension, and they support each other. As I see clearer, if I'm doing something right (I don't always know what this is), images get clearer still or I feel less strain in my face and eyes, or both. I sometimes feel like my improvement is very indirect, like I'm moving lever A to affect mechanism Q a few blocks away (like a Rube Goldberg machine!), but I do see I'm making progress, so am trying to keep from focusing on the frustration. I'll be interested in Andrew's answers to your questions, and maybe he'll have some hints for me too, as he's a lot farther along in his vision improvement than I am.
JMartinC4 Wrote:BTW - are you aware that the link is giving this error: is no longer available. The authors have deleted this blog.

I thought blogspot was a bit easier to write html in so I gave up and then just shifted towards, anyway I have almost the same content on my new blog if someone liked it, I am much writing just to clear my own thoughts and see some logic thinking in this mess, the vision links are also still there:

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Hi Marlene,

The only time I really start to experience strain now, at the nearpoint, is when I go into a scan-type mode, where I'm scanning a page for a certain word, phrase, or object. I have to remind myself to fixate more, and/or increase the fixation interval, to give my visual system a better chance to process detail, and keep awareness of the periphery. When in a scanning mode we also tend to blink a lot less, and sacrifice a lot of the smaller correctional and fixational shifts. All for the sake of speed and efficiency. It sounds like the tasks you need to perform on the computer screen require a lot of rapid scanning, finding the right icons, selection or check boxes. It's easy to loose visual interest when we have to do things so repetitively, and barely need to glance in the right direction to get through the various selections and screens. Foveal vision can really take a back seat.

Saccades are ballistic, that is, once the launch button has been pressed it will not stop until it reaches it predetermined landing spot. The brain does a very complex calculation in microseconds, for velocity, direction, and distance. It isn't 100 percent accurate, hence the need for the correctional saccades to get things lined up better on the fovea. And once lined up, smaller flicks, and involuntary microsaccades assist us in examining the detail. When we loose interest in that detail, the process starts over. That little eyeball NEVER stops moving. It never locks up, in normal vision. How are you pushing or forcing your visual system in a manner that is contrary to this? You seem to already be gaining some sense of awareness. Your gauge will be how much less tension and fatigue you feel, how sharp the text becomes.

How do you know if your practicing something right if the blur Doesn't clear?

If it doesn't clear, partially, completely, for a brief moment, or longer duration, than strain is still being maintained in some shape or form, consciously or unconsciously (mostly unconsciously). I know that is kind of a cliche Bates answer, but to me, the continuation of blur only tells me I'm still doing something I shouldn't be. My experience has been much as Bates has described, and as Nancy has mentioned. When I successfully obtained relief, vision became instantly clearer, and lasted for as long as I could maintain that relief. More permanent, stable improvement had to come with time and practice. (old habits die hard!) And it is usually accompanied by feelings of release, of tension letting go, deflating inside the eyes and head in various places. You have to really get in tune with your own body, as these moments may be so brief at first, you might not notice them, and what actuated the change, inside you.

Like Nancy, my experience has taught me that this is very indirect in nature. I practice A, which gives me B (relief) if done correctly, and B yields C (clear) vision. B will take care of C all for you. C is only connected to A indirectly. There is no shortcut from A to C, as much as we would like there to be, and as much as we search for one. All that searching can just take us further away from B.

The name tag sign may clear for a moment, but you probably start doing something else you are not yet aware of, to ruin it. It's not uncommon to just start thinking about it too much, to look at it too long, and whoosh, the clear moment is gone. When you see it clearly, don't linger on it, shift away to something else. Things, when seen perfectly, are seen instantly, in a moment, in a glance. When I'm seeing super clearly when driving, I can just glance at signs for a fraction of a second and get all the information I need. When I linger on it, (as something in the more distance, where I have a few more seconds to look at it), I can lose that crisp clearness, as I try to do more to it than I should. Sometimes we are already doing the right thing (as evidenced by the clear vision), and we think we need to do more, something else, examine it more thoroughly or deeply. But we don't. Simply shift to something else.

Thanks for the new link, Hammer.
I just want to add to Andrew's excellent reply, that I'm quite sure people with normal vision also experience flashes of blur, but they immediately and pretty much unconsciously correct it with Batesian methods.
It is kind of the opposite of what people with abnormal vision experience and do: We experience flashes of normal eyesight which we immediately/unconsciously ruin with anti-Batesian methods. Smile
But forewarned is foreamed. And the truth shall set us free.
JMartinC4 Wrote:Thanks for the new link, Hammer.
I just want to add to Andrew's excellent reply, that I'm quite sure people with normal vision also experience flashes of blur, but they immediately and pretty much unconsciously correct it with Batesian methods.
It is kind of the opposite of what people with abnormal vision experience and do: We experience flashes of normal eyesight which we immediately/unconsciously ruin with anti-Batesian methods

Excellent point. People w/ normal sight are constantly 'dodging' their good sight as well as their bad sight - avoiding any tendency to 'lock on,' or look too steadily or concentratively at any given fixation point, whether it be clear or blurry.
Thanks Nancy and Andrew Smile

I haven't figured out what I've been doing to strain because to me, the tension has always seemed to be there but I've just learned how to recognize some of that, so I think that's something small and easy to begin with. There are so many things to learn that reading about them is overwhelming in the first place, so I figure I'm just going to start with baby steps.

I've just started experimenting with palming and swinging. Well, two nights ago, I palmed for less than 5 min and managed to increase my near visual acuity by ~ 1.5 inches! Though it wasn't permanent, it felt like a breakthrough for me ;D and I hope to keep the ball rolling!

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