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Ted's vision blog
Hey, I guess I'll be starting up one of these. Maybe it will just be another bit of motivation to keep the journey moving forward. Maybe it'll help others and myself along the way.

It's all going to be based on personal experience, as it should. Therefore, take everything said with a grain of salt. I am stating things that work for me, or seem to help in some way or another, maybe not vision related, but I'll try to stay on topic with it.

Also, I have a belief that if one is as honest with oneself as they can be -I'm talking almost brutal honestly, with very little regard for who is right, and with full regard for what is right, or what is a better way to do things- with this honesty one can make headway and progress toward a life worth living.

A little background.
Probably like 8-10 years ago, I first started getting into vision improvement, bought Bates' Book, started practicing a bit, but didn't seem to catch on or anything. Throughout the years I would get back into NVI, drop out, come back to it again and then again. I think what brought me back to it was social anxiety honestly, and having trouble making eye contact with people and also I felt like I had trouble concentrating in class and comprehending what people were saying to me. I became hyper aware of my eye movements while interacting with people, and this seemed to be part of the cause for me having trouble concentrating.

So, I'm back to this. This time I go most of my time without glasses, and this seems to really help me keep it on my mind throughout the day. It's great. Overcoming the fear of needing glasses for certain situations has given me some confidence in this process. I can see a path toward improvement fairly realistically this time.

My prescription is somewhere around -4.00 in both eyes.


So, present moment discussion.
I think this practice of getting into the present moment has helped me to actually start looking at things more.

Things which I've found help me get in this state of being:

-Watching my hands. Watching them touch each other, or massage each other. I usually feel like I can't look at them too long before I desire to look in the distance, so then I do that.

-Riding my bike without glasses. My eyes have to be doing their job well in order for me to not hit anything in the road and make sure I can see people or bikes ahead of me. Now, I know this isn't the safest practice, and I'm not saying to try this, but for me it makes things intense, and my vision becomes more intense. I don't have time to daydream or get in my mind too much.

Last though. I realize many times when my attention desired to move my eyes but I hesitated for whatever reason. I also realize times when I move my eyes very forcefully, forcing the situation onto them. I feel like neither is effective/efficient/helpful. Tuning into and following my intention and attention, combining mind/thoughts/attention with my eyes feels right when I'm actually in that state.
I think......I think, that the process should be that attention shifting and physical eye shifting happen simultaneously. Can anyone confirm this confidently?
attention shifting and physical eye shifting happen simultaneously; Read David's articles, blog; tells ya that the brain thinks, wants to look at something and that triggers the eye movement to the place, object of mental attention. The message travels from brain to eyes quickly, the eyes being connected to the brain by the optic nerve.., an extension of the brain.

I get into dynamic relaxation (aldous Huxley Art of Seeing) and deep relaxation; (Robert Monroe) alpha, theta states, meditation... and use the Bates Method in those states. Makes it easy.
Time for some notes. It will be somewhat random probably. I apologize.

"Eccentric fixation, even in its lesser degrees, is so unnatural that a great discomfort and pain can be produced in a few seconds by trying to see every part of an area three of four inches in extent at twenty feet, or even less, or an area of an inch or less at the near point, equally well at one time." -Bates

Trying to see things equally well, I think that one has to sort of ignore their central vision, and awareness goes to things radially from the central vision. I've noticed this before I believe.


"This strain is habitual, leads to all sorts of abnormal conditions and is, in fact, at the bottom of most eye troubles, both functional and organic. The discomfort and pain may be absent, however, in the chronic condition, and thus it is an encouraging sign when a person begins to experience them." -Bates

I'm starting to really believe this stuff, combining acquired (vicarious) knowledge, with some personal experience. The part about pain, though, is frustrating in can be hard to tell why one is feeling discomfort. Is it due to the fact that the person is "getting away from one's comfort zone," or because one is not using their vision correctly and not practicing the principles correctly?

"When the eye possesses central fixation, it not only possesses impeccable sight but is perfectly at rest and can be used indefinitely without fatigue.......The muscles of the face and of the whole body are also at rest, and when the condition is habitual there are no wrinkles or dark circle around the eyes." -Bates

"Eccentric fixation is a symptom of strain and is relieved by any method that relieves strain, but in some cases a person is relieved just as soon as he is able to demonstrate the facts of central fixation." -Bates

It seem like demonstrating the facts is one thing, but having proved this to yourself, you must start applying it on a moment to moment basis, in every shift of the eye, according to Bates and David's Method (please correct me if I'm wrong). I think this is where a lot of patience is needed. I think I'm at this step.

Maybe 2 years ago was the first time I proved to myself that I could improve my vision. I read somewhere that it can be beneficial to prove that staring lowers vision. So, I practiced staring at a small point of a letter as hard as I could (at a distance which I could pretty much see it clearly). I would notice that I start breathing in an uncomfortable way, sometimes holding my breath, and my vision would degrade. By that I mean I think at some times I realized that my vision had shifted, if only to another part of that letter, but I was still focusing on the original point of the letter. What I found, was that it is VERY hard to do this. It was difficult to force myself to stare that much and also it become uncomfortable.

Now, at the moment when I stopped trying to stare, everything came back to normal, I allowed myself to stop straining, etc. And it was comfortable. Now somehow - I think because I was aware of what not to do, I allowed myself to avoid "what not to do" - my vision improved slightly. I kept on doing this for a week or two, and I finally just proved to myself that at least some vision improvement is possible.

If that much it possible, why couldn't more be possible?

The other thing that helped motivate me on this journey is the realization that it's much more comfortable to not where glasses. Pretty straight forward. what I've been practicing.
Yesterday I was doing a lot of computer reading at a distance that was barely legible. It seemed to help. I would have to be patient and focus on details of a word or letter just to be able to read what the letter was. It did seem to help.
Afterwards, I heard someone say that it may not be beneficial to read with larger texts. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, but just keep the computer text fairly small.

Now, I've also been practicing noticing details on small texts of a book, at a distance the is almost perfectly clear. I keep it barely out of focus, and practice looking just at part of a letter, and noticing details of that letter. Does this seem right?

After doing that, I try to start actually reading while shifting to each part of each letter and seeing the smallest details of that letter that I can, then shifting to another, and another. This process is really slow at the moment. It sort of feels like I will have to start learning how to see from scratch again, so it will be awkward for a while.

A question I have is at which distance have you all experienced good improvements while practicing? Keeping the text at at distance that makes the letters almost perfectly clear, almost unreadably blury, or somewhere in between?
From David's blog post "How to Look at Stuff"

Quote:In your attempt to see in a more natural way that leads to good vision, you may ironically be actually practicing a more mechanical and unnatural way of using your eyes than ever before. Some material on the Bates method tells you to shift between details, or trace outlines. But be careful about following an outline of an object, as if you're drawing it with your eyes as the pencil. That isn't how people with good vision see.

Remember that during this process you can spend time at things that do indirectly help your vision, such as palming, improving your back/neck posture, or conscious breathing. But when it comes to how to look at things, you don't need to be practicing anything in your way of using your eyes that people with good vision don't already do. And what they do is not hard. This process is really about backing up and understanding how simple seeing is supposed to be. You'll beat yourself up when you finally realize that what you've been avoiding doing is the very key to seeing clearly.

These paragraphs struck me pretty well. It DOES seem awkward at the stage I'm at. I'll keep at it when I remember though. I bolded the part that really hits home.
ted Wrote:A question I have is at which distance have you all experienced good improvements while practicing? Keeping the text at at distance that makes the letters almost perfectly clear, almost unreadably blury, or somewhere in between?

For me the point of this exercise is: am I able to stay relaxed with blurry text and at the same time practice good visual habits such as shifting and looking at small details. So I don't think the distance is as important as the mental aspect to not strain to see the text clearer.
I don't know about anyone else but in my inner dialogue there seems to be a lot of humming of music, lyrics, etc. I have come the point where I think even this is slightly a mental addiction of sorts. This is because I sense a large reluctance to stop it. Focusing on breathing is what helps a lot. I feel as if when I let it go, I am letting go of a part of myself, but at the same time, the part of my self may be something that was acquired over the years and is not helpful or conducive to good vision or a calm mind.

David's blog post "How to Look at Stuff" again:

Quote:...and in your firm grounding in your breath be willing to toss away a little bit what you thought of as "who you are" if it isn't congruent to the way your visual system is supposed to work.

These things repeated in my mind, I think that if it's something that you already know, that needs no further repeating, but continues to be in one's mind, which you feel strong reluctance to let go.....can be classified as something which isn't actually a part of "who I am."
Ok, following Tsukiomas idea of writing/keeping/posting notes on his blog, I have been keeping a few. Here's some.

I don't have to have things so close to me to be able to see them. Set them back a little, trust yourself, and realize that you can actually see things from farther away than you thought.

If its improving your vision, its probably correct, at least something is being done right.

The ultra obvious reasoning that to really see something you have to actually look at it. This seems to become apparent when reading with the text far away. When I come across a word I cannot see I find myself trying to detect letters to see what the word might be.

I think my recent relaxation in shifting is due to me doing many different things in trying to change my eye use habits. Each morning I go outside and try to look at bright things, things in the distance, as far away as I can see, letting my eyes open up and accept the light.

I've been reading very small text as far away as I can. Book, my phone, on the computer, to me it hasn't mattered which medium I'm using. I just keep it at just barely readable distance and maybe adjusting the distance as things clear or blur slightly.

I'm not sure if I've seen vision improvements per say, I can say that I can notice how well I see in the daytime and that I can see more than I usually think I can. What I have noticed a lot is that shifting my eyes has become less forceful and straining, like when I'm talking with people for instance. Shifting with ease helps me to relax (and relaxing helps me shift with ease), allowing me to really listen to people better, as a result, making socializing easier. This may partly be theory, but the theory makes sense to me, for my situation.
I've been practicing with reading small text from a book/phone/computer as far as I can. Sometimes I'll read through this forum on my phone with the text size very small, and hold the phone at varying distances away from me, mostly having it just almost out of range of my sight. Now, whether it's because I've read about looking for details or because I'm naturally doing this (probably both) I find that when the text is so blurry as to almost be indistinguishable, I can find out what the word most likely is by looking at the tiny details of each individual letter of that word and trying to make sense of what those letters could be. In this way, I am usually able to read a word, a sentence, a whole text, further away than I originally thought I could.

For example, I might know that the letter of a certain word (take the word "cake" for example) should be a 'k' , and so I'll notice this.

"Hey, I do see bits and pieces of what might be a 'k'!"

And as I look around at the bits and pieces, knowing that it has to be the letter 'k', I am able to make out what the letter is, and therefore make out for sure what the word is. Once this happens I move on and continue reading and I may push the text out even a little further away from me, to keep challenging myself. I usually don't try to wait for the letter or word to clear up or come into focus, all I'm after is determining what the letter/word is, then I move on. Sometimes, though, out of the blue, it will clear up a bit. Also, all this usually takes place very quickly.

I think this relates to what David has described in imagining what it is your looking at, while you actually look at it. It may also be similar to how Bates suggested having an eye chart up close to you, and one further away so that while practicing with the eye chart you know what the letter in the distance should look like.

Doing this practice usually relaxes me. I do get a bit teary eyed and sometimes get that slight irritation or fuzz in my eye, almost as if there was a piece of dirt stuck in my upper eyelid. From what I've read, I don't think this is a bad thing. I usually feel just fine with it, and along with it I get a feeling of nice, soothing warmth around my eyes and face.

On a different note, I was thinking about the idea of maintaining effortlessness in shifting. At my current state, effortlessness feels like I'm walking on eggshells. Very subtle, as if one slight tick of an effortful shift, and I can lose the feeling somewhat. But I really like that state. I think it becomes more habitual at is it experienced more often.
Some thoughts I've been pondering:

-What one must do is relax the eyes USING the eyes, instead of looking for relaxation from other means such as massaging the eyes, or other areas. Relax the source of the problems, not the symptoms.

I say this because as I've been palming recently and read one of David's posts on palming that it is not necessary to block out every last speck of light. That's what I did in the past. It seemed like I spent the majority of my time palming just trying to fix my hands into position to exclude all the light. Now, My palms get into position, softly, little pressure on the area around the my eyes, then my palms are still. It's not a distraction anymore.
-This stress around the eyes to me can kind of be described as a feeling of almost having a headache in the front of my head. I read when David said that everyone is on the brink of good eyesight, it kinda makes sense. I feel as though I am on the brink of releasing this tension, I mean, I can SEE/feel it right there, especially when I palm as I described earlier. That's also what I was trying to say by relaxing the eyes through the eyes. Go to the eyes, shift attention there, and become aware of what is happening THERE, rather than in the palms or other areas of the body.

-It has been confusing for a long time, because no one ever said WHY not to put pressure on the eyes, or if it was important that ALL the light be completely excluded. I spent a lot of time in just trying to figure out how to do it right, and I think it distracted me from what my objective was; awareness of tension in my eyes.

Can anyone comment on the specifics of how they palm when they palm successfully? How much pressure d'you put on the surrounding areas? D'you touch your eyelashes? Is all the light completely excluded? Are you okay if a tiny bit enters through your palms or d'you obsess over getting all the light covered? Once you actually get settled down, are your hands still and warm? How much of the warmth dyou feel on the eyes and how important dyou think that is, does it help you relax?
Lots of things I've been trying and experimenting with. I lost my glasses yesterday, which I'm kinda glad. I don't want them anyways.

-Just before I started this post I was palming and realized just how much I am thinking. I was just rambling and rambling in my head. The thoughts were as words, and I found myself repeating some words and sentences over and over again. Why? I dunno.

I told myself, it's okay to not think, if thinking is perpetuating your headache. If these thoughts are making my headache worse, then there must be something detrimental about them. So I tried to let go of them.

I told myself this: Don't force yourself to stop thinking. Thoughts are like a river. You want to go with the flow of the river, because it's better for your mind and body. So.....don't cling to a thought, don't worry unnecessarily about something. You don't have to solve all of the worlds problems tonight! And it's okay to not try to solve all the worlds problems sometimes.

Also, don't force yourself to stop thinking. It's not like we are trying to stop in the middle of the river and not even go downstream. We let the thoughts come and go, instead of trying to halt thinking all together. It's knowing when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em.

When I am able to let go to the flow of thinking rather than hold on too much or try to stop too much, then I experience an extreme relief in my body. It's like the best feeling in the world, which I've forgotten. It's there, it's been there, I just forgot how to feel it. I was too wrapped up in "solving problems" mentally that I just disregarded my body and stress. I've read that myopic people have a high capacity to withstand unnecessary pain. Maybe I think I'm "doing good" by working through the pain and "sticking with it" rather than allowing myself to move, let go, move on.

That's about it on that. I've been palming a lot though. I find it is just a really great way to block out all distractions and sense things. Sense my tensions, sense my thoughts, sense things within me. It is also a great way to practice imagination. I was practicing imagining scenarios that I wanted to happen, how I wanted to behave, or sort of dreaming of the future and what I want it to become like. That was a totally different type of thinking than this compulsive distressed thinking I was talking about earlier. I;m pretty darned sure now, that there is more than one way to think. It's not like..."on" is bad, "off" is good. Our minds are so complex and it's difficult to get absolutes out of it, but we can sense things and sense when we are troubling ourselves by our own thoughts.


-Last week I started practicing looking at the sky and the clouds. It was really pretty relaxing looking up at the sky, without having anxiety that I SHOULD see something (like when trying to make out letters on the eye chart or when reading). Clouds are organic shapes, they can look like anything. So, I had no feeling that I SHOULD be able to make out something, I was just glancing around and seeing what I could. Seeing various shapes and shades of white or gray. I really like this because I start almost unconsciously shifting when I set my goal as just looking into the sky and noticing if I see different shades of colors, and if this tiny point looks different from that tiny point. So, I'm COMPARING points and seeing if I can tell a difference, rather than looking at one point and just...i dunno....staring.

I think......I think I'm on to something here. The way to look at something if you can't make it out but what to is by looking at different points and comparing if there is a difference in coloration. If there is then you know something is different there. You keep glancing around and comparing point to point and noticing differences. How does that sound?

I think this also works when looking for stars in the night sky. If you notice....when you try to look directly at a very faint star it will start to fade and almost disappear. To actually see it, the eyes have to be moving around it. Now, in Bates' book he says:

"Whenever the eye tries to see, it at once ceases to have normal vision. A person may look at the stars with normal vision, but if he tries to count the stars in any particular constellation he will probably become myopic, because the attempt usually results in an effort to see."

Maybe what he meant by this was that in telling someone to count the stars in the constellation that he was telling them WHERE to look. So then this looking becomes forced and conscious. Rather than unconscious, curious, and just noticing what it notices.

So the practice of looking at clouds or looking into the blue sky is like when Bates describes the benefits of looking at a blank wall. The eye is not trying to see anything (like trying to see a letter clearly because he knows it SHOULD be clear), it is just glancing around and "trying", if you will, to see differences in coloration that can be noticed. Hence, the confusion of that word "try"....

I dunno, this is all just theory. Take it with a grain of salt. But...... any thoughts?
Hi Ted
What you describe sounds very familiar yo me.
I know the feeling of being so much 'lost' in thoughts (and worries) that I am 'losing contact' to the experience of the 'real life' as it is in the present moment.
And I've also compared this kind of 'desensibilization' with the process happening in the myopic eye, which is "stuck in too much space", being so much "equally" aware of everything around, that the 'central information input' is getting 'lost' within all the peripheral' input, the "sensibility" of the retina cells becoming all 'equal' over a larger space (instead of a clearly distinct center and a blurry periphery).

And in both 'subjects' (vision and thoughts) you can't solve the 'problem' by "blocking out the periphery", but only by a 'modification of the data processing' - by a 'differentioation' in the 'treatment' of the incoming information.
The whole periphery has its own role and function, it has to be there as it is, so just "let it be" (if thoughts become too dominant, you can 'chase' them to their appropriate place with some lines of this song...).
But it is only in the center that you have 'real, direct contact' to the 'reality'; so you need a stronger 'sensibility' or awareness of the 'central' experience and "letting be" the rest of it.

I think what you are doing while palming is a good way to get more 'in touch' with the experience of the moment and deepen the 'actual' sensations. So it is helpful for your eyes and mind at the same time.
I think maybe the idea that's hardest for people to be willing to go with is that how they think about what they're seeing has such a huge effect on their vision. The delay throws people off. If there's a big transition, it can take a moment or come a step at a time. That might vary a lot between people, I don't know. So you accomplish a lot if you can resist that urge to "do something" with your eyes, whether it's gripping your eyes hard enough to be able to feel every movement as confirmation that you're not "staring", or trying to block out peripheral vision or make the center better, or trying to stretch or relax away the uncomfortable feelings in your eyes that are evidence of strain (which actually just adds to it, even if you can get the discomfort to subside). You have leave alone any discomfort you feel in your eyes and feed your visual system not with commands but with ideas. Even something like blinking will eventually come naturally when you just keep reminding yourself of the idea of blinking softly and quickly when needed instead of trying to take control of when to do each blink.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
I remember when I fell into the trap of 'seeing with my periphery', because I thought that was a great way to stimulate or promote shifting of the eyes and to notice 'oppositional movement' of things or something crazy like that, so I went reminding me myself to 'see' with the periphery through the day, almost blocking out completely the center of sight, and this thought of 'expanding the periphery' soon became habitual. As result, I started to felt really fatigued and lack of energy, thus of course my vision became remarkably worse, and had to stop quickly doing this. To fix this I had to start to rest my eyes a lot and to pay attention to every incoming detail, savouring each part of it, it was not easy to fix it, because as I was trying to appreciate details as it's mean to be, I was still unconsciously trying to grab too much space in a mouthful because I created this habit, and I was really confusing me how to focus. I can confirm this fact: The way you look at things ( and how we thought about them ) has a HUGE impact in our vision.
You should not have to think about where to look next. By thinking I mean stalling and/or hesitating to move onto the next thing. When you are doing this your attention is actually where you want to shift to, its just that your eyes are staying still. Attention and eye movement are not simultaneous due to a controlling, hesitant effort in the mind.

I'm not sure if this even relates to improving vision per se, but it just seems like having your eyes move immediately with your attention seems like the proper way to look at things. I really want to get better at that.

How I wrote it in my notes was more like, you could say following your attention or you could say letting go of the eyes and letting them move where they want to. This one, I think, is really subtle and hard to turn into a habit because its so tricky to just "let go" of the eyes. But, I think, in this state, looking towards things becomes immediate. No slowed, or jerky, awkward movements as Bates describes in myopes.

I dunno, I don't see this specific subject of harmony of attention and eye movement being brought up here with a lot of clarity but its something that I think about a lot. What makes you look at certain things rather than others and d'you feel like it happens without you having to pause and question what to look at next?

Does anyone have any practices or techniques specifically related to this?
Today was quite a day. I think I improved my vision.

-A couple days ago I took a bunch of articles and pasted them into MS Word, changed the font size to 3 and printed out a few pages. I have been reading this in various conditions at various distances. Just doing it, you can feel how small of an area must be attended to in order to even see what the word is and read the text. Once I could see what the word was, I looked at the individual letters, knowing what they are through inference. And then, seeing individual letters, looking at part of a letter. Shifting around on that letter, and noticing the small pieces of it. So I was narrowing my attention more and more. This felt really good.

-Sitting in class, I noticed how relaxed I was. I wasn't even thinking about nervousness whatsoever. I was just searching for really small things to look at on the projector screen. And it was great how much I was able to comprehend the teacher and the lecture. My activity and my comprehension seemed to go hand in hand.

-The past few days or week I started realizing the forcfulness I was imposing in my eyelids. I was blinking too hard at times. I think this was because I really wanted to clear the liquid on my eyes and that's what I used to do when I wore contacts. Today I realized that sometimes it takes a couple blinks to clear that liquid away.

-A good thought I had that seemed to help was.....imagine that you are going to draw as detailed as possible, the blurry point that you are looking at, including the double images, and things that just aren't "together." So, in order to draw this tiny point, you need to come to a conclusion as to what you are actually looking at, with as much detail as you can. This is a way for me to focus my attention on what I can see and narrow that attention to smaller and smaller specks. How does this sound to y'all?

The last one, I'm still thinking about. I'm not sure whether it is actually a good idea to look at tiny pieces of a blurry spot or if I should move on because I remember that Bates says the normal sighted eye never stops on a point that it cannot see. It merely moves on to another point. Then again, it does make sense because, while doing this, I'm not actually staring at one tiny point in that area, but I'm moving my attention from tiny point to tiny point. That's one spot where Bates' language can be confusing.

Last thing, I'm learning that this whole effort in vision improvement is not going to ever be totally unconscious, I think. There is an aspect of conscious control that every human has, even if they don't think about their eyes. There is still an amount of conscious control going on there when they choose that they want to look at something. I got it in my head that once I had perfect vision it would all be better and I wouldn't have to think about it. Almost as if I wouldn't have a responsibility anymore. But that's not quite right. I think it's a weird, subtle mixture of effortlessness, conscious control, conscious relaxation, instinct, interest etc.

Man, this can all be very confusing, and I see how easy it is for misinterpretation while trying to understand what someone has said. I think it's important to be very clear (pun intended) with your words, mean what you say, and say everything in your own words; words that you fully understand through personal experience. Hmmm....that's it for now.

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