Peripheral vision is actually quite important to sustained distance vision in a variety of mammals (related, see a chicken study I had referenced earlier in the thread). Humans are no exception. You may notice a lower performance in your own ability to read a Snellen if you do it in dark room where only the chart is lit up.
Originally Posted by Urban Forager
The exercise is part of a whole routine of rehab work that, when done jointly and continually, helps to reshape your eye to its pre-myopia proportion.
Best done early in the day (before diet, stress, and other factors have taken its toll), you'll want to spend about 30 minutes outside without glasses (this applies primarily to those with -4.00 or lower prescriptions). Take note of the things you can see around you without moving your eyes or head. You may want to chose a spot you can visit frequently, focus on an object straight ahead, then defocus, take in all you can see in your periphery. This is also intended to be meditative, it relaxes your eye, and stimulates the area that your corrective lenses have forced out of the vision equation.
One of the problems with corrective lenses is that it creates a form of 'tunnel vision' not present in those with uncorrected vision. Your periphery is blurred, your brain begins to discount it, myopia symptoms increase.
This exercise is meant to be done no less than 10 minutes per day, over time, as it is convenient and becomes a habit, ideally increased to 30 minutes per day. Over time you will notice that you are seeing more of your periphery. No need to attempt to see clearly, just take in colors, texture, in a no-stress fashion. Slow moving objects are also great for this exercise, if you have something like a lake available with birds floating around, or a similar relaxed atmosphere where you can focus on taking in all the things outside of your core focus.
Keep in mind that this is just an excerpt of our rehab course. The previously mentioned reading work is really key, the periphery exercises are part of the supporting work to maximize the impact of the near-focus exercise.
Hope this answers your question.
Thanks, I will work on that too.
Along with that, in our rehab program we talk a lot about working on the active understanding of your body and brain about the change you are working to induce. All these are best done in the early part of the day:
Originally Posted by Urban Forager
Take off your glasses, spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes outside. Nature is ideal if available. Don't strain your eyes or squint, just take a walk. Put your glasses back on for the last 10 minutes of your walk. It will be really easy to appreciate the sharp vision your glasses provide. Spend some time to observe the details in the distance.
This is a supplement exercise, I recommend doing it before you go do computer work or read - or as a break if you are doing a lot of close-up work throughout the day. Then when you go back to books or computer, focus on doing the usual edge-of-sharpness distance as you focus on your regular tasks or reading.
While this may seem superfluous or non-scientific, I've found that the improvement you see over the course of six months or so is measurably better with the ancillary exercises like this, than without. Focusing on the positive experience of seeing sharply, building the exercises into your day to day life, helps vision improvement become a natural extension of your day, rather than a chore.
If you need assistance with prescriptions or want to participate in our distance care rehab program, drop me a note.
This thread has caused quite a number of e-mail questions. There is something important I want to clear up:
We speak often of the beginning of rehab as 'disrupting your vision'. If you think of any other physical rehab therapy, the process is based on creating a stressor to motivate the body to adapt, bring back coordination, muscle, etc.
This is true for your vision as well - it is quite counterproductive to just begin haphazardly applying a practice or two without a PLAN and understanding of where you are now, and what you intend to accomplish. Creating stress on your vision without a plan or clear direction is just as likely to be frustrating and yield very little result.
My objective with the original post was to add some discussion and awareness to the fact that myopia starts as just a stress symptom, and is not some mysterious 'disease' we simply have to contend with.
As I suggested some of the components of prevention and treatment, I possibly failed to adequately explain that these should all be part of a cohesive treatment strategy, laid out for the course of at least 12 months. We are talking about some lifestyle changes, habit changes, and getting to know your vision and how it is affected by your daily life.
I'll be glad to continue addressing questions, and provide any assistance I can if you are looking to prevent myopia (especially important in children), or reverse some of the symptoms. Please realize that simply picking up a book and doing some edge of focus work will not likely improve your vision on its own.
Wearing minus prescription glasses though while looking at a computer monitor for hours at a time however - certainly will affect your distance vision (possibly significantly, and often almost irreversibly).
I've been reading this thread with fascination and am very grateful for this information. I started wearing glasses when I was 10, and my eyes got worse every year until I was 25 years old. Now my eyes have stabilized around -4.25 (haven't changed in the past 5 years) with astigmatism in my left eye. I asked for reduced prescription glasses (-3.25) because -4.25 glasses give me a headache. My optometrist was not happy about it even though I don't drive. But I insisted and have gotten used to this reduced prescription over the past 3 years. I take off my glasses when I read or walk. But still I'm very dependent on them.
I am very interested in improving my eyesight without surgery (I considered it) and wonder-- is it possible for my eyes to return to 20/20 if I work at it? I've been told over the years that not wearing glasses will just worsen them. If I just use my glasses as needed instead of all the time, can I improve my vision to the point where I can stop wearing glasses?
I also want to add-- I've never been big on sugar since in my 20s, though grew up on quite a lot of rice and vegetable oils. My whole family except my mother is short-sighted, my brother and sisters are all past -6.00, almost all my cousins even the very young ones wear glasses, so I always assumed it was genetic.
I have to take effort to look at the computer screen without my glasses, but it can be done (I just put my head closer). Is it better to just stop wearing glasses then?
How useful are eye exercises? I came across them in a yoga book and tried them for awhile. But didn't feel any progress in a few months (I know this is probably too short of a time period), got frustrated, and stopped.
Nutrition must only play a supporting role in the development of myopia. While it is conceivable that being unhealthy to the extent of having or developing diabetes will affect your vision and a switch to a "Paleo" diet will miraculously net you a diopter or two reduction in your prescription, after a year of studying this, I'm convinced the single biggest contributor to PROGRESSION of myopia are glasses. I have two brothers. One, like me, accepted glasses as a young teen, and has since progressed to about where you are. The other refused to wear glasses. He has not gotten worse than about 20/60 (which translates to near 20/20 in sunlight). All other factors including diet, time in the sun, exercise, etc., were substantially equal between us. Did he just luck out and not inherit the one gene causing high myopia or did glasses on me exacerbate what was originally only accommodative spasm/hysteresis (temporary myopia caused by near-work)? You tell me. All I can hope for now is that my myopia is more a case of lenses too powerful than eyeballs too long, because I would think one could recover from the former more so than the latter.
Originally Posted by girlhk
I get dizzy when I wer my glasses too long, maybe 1 hour continuouly. My lenses are -1.00 reduced from my eyes. I went to the optometrist and he said my problem is I don't wear my glasses enough (I take them off a lot due to the dizziness/headache). But his job involves selling glasses and contact lenses.....
Now I'm wondering if it's possible to reverse my myopia with lifestyle and diet or is that wishful thinking?
What is your prescription? Is it -1.00?
Originally Posted by girlhk
Part of the very concept of a rehab program is to 'time' the exposure of your eyes to corrected vs. uncorrected vision. Just as you get dizzy with incorrectly applied vision correction, someone attempting to rehab a broken leg would have pain with incorrectly applied stress.
Depending on your lifestyle, degree of myopia, and willingness to actively contribute to positive change, reversal of myopia is quite often possible. Can share what your current prescription strength is? Also, when do you use your glasses? How old are you? When did you first begin wearing them?
Thank you very much for replying!
I am 30 years old. My eyes were -1.75 at the time I began to wear glasses, when I was 10 years old. I wore contact lenses when I was 12-26 years old, for 12+ hours daily (only removed them to sleep). My eyes are -4.75 (L) and -3.50 (R). My corrective lenses are -3.50 and -2.50 respectively. I stopped wearing contact lenses a few years ago because I felt they made my eyes really tired. With glasses I could always take them off.
I wear glasses only now, maybe 8 hours a day altogether, not continuously. I take them off during reading, on walks, when relaxing, etc.
Originally Posted by afrauenfeld