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Central Fixation
#1
Yesterday evening I printed out a piece of paper with the alphabet and different sized black dots to help me with my imagination training. I would look at one of the dots and then close my eyes to try to imagine the dot as perfectly as I could. Then I would look at the paper again and repeat. Although I am myopic, and I have always thought I had good near vision, I noticed that it was actually difficult for me to see very small dots such as a 3 point font period that I had printed out. I could certainly see the period however it seemed that it was slightly blurry at the edges. Eventually as I was looking at the period trying to memorize it I noticed that more details were coming out of the paper it was printed on. I was quite surprised because I never noticed how much detail there really was in the paper. Somehow I managed to force even more detail to appear and as I did this something really strange happened that may or may not be central fixation. First of all the period looked much crisper and blacker, which should be a good sign. The detail of the paper immediately around the period reduced slightly and after a few inches seemed to blur quite a lot to a point where my peripheral vision had virtually no detail. The edges of the paper seemed to be moving up and down as if there was a breeze in the room however there was none. As I started to experiment with this I managed to create a slightly different effect. The period was still crisp and black however instead of the edges of the paper moving I managed to make the period move and the paper immediately around it. The period may have shifted three times it's length and there seemed to be waves going through the paper making it resemble water.
I feel like I am at least getting closer, however I would like to know your opinions if you think this was indeed central fixation or not.
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#2
Yes, it sounds like the period getting blacker and the periphery getting fainter is definitely central fixation. The waves in the paper or slight bouncing of the images sound like the universal swing, one of the optical illusions of normal sight Bates writes about. Nice going!
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#3
That's great to hear! I will try to reproduce this effect best I can with my eye chart and share any results I get.

P.S. Central fixation is so different from the way I usually see... It's almost scary. It's understandable why I may have been suppressing it, although I doubt it's worth the blurry vision and headaches.
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#4
Ok, I haven't been able to reproduce the same effect from before however I had some success with shifting with my eye chart. I was able to see most of the letters on the 30/20 line however there is one problem. The clearer my vision became the more squinted my eyes became as well. If I opened my eyes all the way I could only see the 50/20 line and it isn't very clear either. I did my best to try to relax and not try to see, to merely shift, but my eyes squinted anyway. I didn't feel any pain from the squint, it was actually very relaxing. When I woke up today my usual tired eyes feeling wasn't there, so I must be doing something right :p I will keep trying on my own but if you have any advice on how to prevent my squinting during shifting it would be appreciated. I would also like to clarify that I don't usually squint at all, it only happens during eye chart work while I try to shift. When I shift I look at a point on the top of the letter then let go of it and look at a point on the bottom of the letter then let go of that point and so on. I am able to produce a swing so I think I am doing it correctly.
So yea, any suggestions on getting rid of my squinting? Thanks.
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#5
This may sound over-simplified, but if you catch yourself squinting, stop! Start to look again, and if you catch yourself squinting, stop! You do not want to practice and reinforce wrong habits, which can seem automatic at first. Good that you identified this, now you have to figure out how to stop doing it without introducing another different strain. The Alexander Technique of posture and body awareness has 3 steps:
1. Become aware -- pinpoint exactly what you're doing with your body (eyes in this case) that's leading to an undesirable result (blurry vision).
2. Inhibit -- learning to stop the undesirable behavior you've identified (squinting here).
3. Direct -- Have the body do the desirable behavior.

Each of these is built on the previous. You can't inhibit unless you're aware, and you can't direct unless you've got a good foundation of inhibition. You've had a taste of the results you want now, so just keep noticing and practicing.
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#6
I guess it's just persistence more than anything. I need to learn to keep my eyes open while shifting without straining, which should come with practice. Maybe I need less help than I thought. Thanks for being supportive though, it helps. Smile
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#7
You're welcome. The good teachers I have had (vision and otherwise) have been a great mix of cheerleader, coach, and expert consultant. Sometimes encouragement is as important as the right information. Keep up the good work.
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#8
The more we relax, the easier central-fixation occurs; Viaually followed a bird this morning from my yard, flys farther away, farther... and finally way off into the hills, woods; could still see him moving amongst the tress. Just kept shifitng point to point on the bird and his constant movement also kept the eyes moving, relaxed. I like practicing on the airplanes.
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