14 Ways to Help You Look Primal

14 Ways to Help You Look Primal FinalDo you look Primal?

I don’t refer to chiseled abs, prominent shoulder striations, and bulging calves that draw queries from failed actors. I’m not talking about loincloths, or fur togas, or wild unkempt hair and scraggly beards, or any of the other aesthetic choices paleo-reenactors make. In fact, this isn’t about your appearance at all; it’s about how you’re using your eyes to look at the world.

I mean: are you using your eyes in an evolutionarily-congruent fashion? Do you look Primal?

First, let’s explore just how Grok would have used his eyes.

There was closeup looking:

  • Tool-making and manipulation.
  • Arts, crafts, and jewelry production.
  • Preparing the weapons of the hunt. Notching arrows, stringing bows, sharpening axes and blades.
  • Starting fires.
  • Discerning between edible and inedible plants.

There was far-off looking:

  • Gazing at the sunset or sunrise.
  • Observing herds and gauging their trajectory.
  • Spotting prey off in the distance.
  • From a ridge half a mile up regarding the valley below and a path through it to the other side.
  • Viewing layers of hills stacked against one another, getting bluer as they stretch toward the horizon.
  • Watching birds overhead.

Throughout it all, there was a lot of gaze shifting. There was no staring at a leaf for six unblinking hours straight. Tool production was protracted, but not a daily occurrence. Vision frequently shifted between both near and far objects and back again. The muscles controlling the eye moved—a lot. “Move frequently at a slow pace” applies to the entire body.

How about these days? What’s Ken Korg doing with his eyes?

There’s a lot of closeup looking:

  • We’re staring at a smartphone held 12 inches away.
  • We’re staring at a computer screen 15-24 inches away.
  • We’re looking at flat, linear surfaces. Our eyes don’t have to shift focus. We’re looking at the same flat object for extended periods of time. Even our ancestors doing close up work in the past worked with three dimensional objects, so their focus was slightly shifting all the time.

And we’re doing this for unbroken hours a day. We don’t even blink when looking at a screen. Compared to the 10-20 blinks per minute when looking at the rest of the world around us, when gazing into a screen we blink 2-4 times a minute. We can’t pull away. We can’t avert our gaze, not even for the millisecond it takes to lubricate and irrigate our eyes with a swipe of an eyelid.

There’s some midrange looking:

  • We might crane our necks to see the traffic situation past the next car.
  • We might squint at the sunset before dropping the sunshade so we can avoid crashing on our commute home.
  • We’ll look down the street of our subdivision to see if the garbage truck’s coming.

And as for far-off looking? Beyond the annual camping trip to some gorgeous national park with stunning vistas and occasional forays to the beach or desert or whichever wild locale lies within an hour’s drive, we rarely get the chance to look at objects far off in the distance.

We’re certainly not looking up at the stars. Hell, if we live anywhere near a city, we can’t even see the stars.

Why does this matter?

The eye isn’t a passive recipient of visual data. The cornea bends and curves accommodate the subject’s proximity.

Gazing at things up close tenses the ciliary, the eye muscle responsible for controlling the shape and curvature of the cornea and focus of the eye. It elongates the eye. Gazing at things off in the distance relaxes the ciliary. Looking at things close up is hard work; it’s like sprinting or lifting weights. Looking at things far away is easy; it’s like taking a leisurely walk. We need both. But, increasingly, we’re only doing the first. And it’s taking a toll.

Myopia is chronic elongation of the eyeball, which focuses the light from far-off objects just in front of the retina rather than directly on it.  This inhibits the eye’s ability to focus on anything but what’s right in front of it. It’s like chronic contraction of any muscle. Eventually, stuff gets locked up. Eventually, positions become default. These days, myopia, or nearsightedness, is the most common eyesight disorder. An estimated 90% of Chinese teens and adults, half of all young adults in Europe and America, and a whopping 96% of 19 year-olds in Seoul, South Korea are nearsighted. Those are astounding numbers.

What can you do? How do you look Primal?

1. Look at something else

Screens fascinate us because they’re always changing, there’s always something new like an email, a Tweet, a hilarious GIF, or an incoming text. We never have to confront the existential dread simmering within if we don’t want to. The screen tempts our desire for novelty without ever really satisfying it. When you’re going through the motions, taking the same route you always take, eating the same meal you always eat, sitting down on the same side of the couch you always sit on, pulling out the phone is the simplest path to novelty. But it’s hell for our eyes, so you need other sources.

2. Forget your phone sometimes

I would say, “Don’t look at your phone so much,” but we’re addicted to the things. That doesn’t work when your physiology compels you to check it and your stress hormones rise because you haven’t looked at it in the last ten minutes. Remove it from the equation by removing it from your person. Go for a walk without burying your face in a screen, grab a coffee and finally start that book you bought three months ago, meet a friend for dinner and chat unencumbered by the nagging presence of your phone. It’s not that hard if you don’t have the thing in the first place.

3. Take your contacts out or remove your glasses sometimes

Long term use of contacts thins the cornea while increasing surface curvature and irregularities. This is a well known but underreported side effect of contact lenses. Akin to protective, restrictive shoes weakening the foot, contacts appear to act as a crutch. That’s not to say they’re not helpful or necessary. But it comes with a cost, like most modern medical interventions.

If you don’t need your contacts or glasses for whatever you’re doing, remove them. Certain situations call for them. But just hanging around? Lots of folks can see up close just fine without their contacts, but because they’re used to wearing them (and removing them is a hassle), they leave them in.

4. Consider lower prescription lenses

Try 0.5 less than you were prescribed. It’ll help your vision but cause less thinning than full prescription. And if commit to it, you may be able to titrate even lower as you get acclimated to the new prescription. Train your eyes.

Todd Becker describes the method in detail.

5. Eat your fish

Omega-3s offer a range of benefits for eye lubrication. They reduce dry eyes in contact wearers, heavy computer users, and rosacea patients.

6. Eat vitamin A

Turns out that carrots really are good for your vision. A 2005 study found that vitamin A from either goat liver, supplements, carrots, fortified rice, or amaranth leaves improves night vision in pregnant women (liver and supplements were most effective). Other studies have found similar results.

Pre-formed vitamin A might be better than vegetable carotenes. Vitamin A, or retinol was discovered after scientists found adding butter or egg yolks to carotenoid-deficient diets prevented blindness in animals. It’s only found in animal products like liver, egg yolks, cod liver oil (also a good source of omega-3s) and grass-fed dairy. Rather than rely on the human body’s often inefficient conversion of carotenoids into retinol, let animals do it for you.

7. Blink

When we’re focusing on something (making a tool, skinning an animal, skewering a Twitter opponent), we stop blinking. But blinking nourishes our eyes and keeps them lubricated. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a frequent user of technology who focuses their eyes and you should probably blink more often. This isn’t easy. You’re gonna have to remind yourself to perform a normally subconscious physiological task.

Setting up a “blink alarm” could work, but it’d have to go off every fifteen seconds and would certainly disrupt your work flow. You and a colleague could remind each other to blink, but that’d also be disruptive. Perhaps the simplest and least intrusive reminder is a piece of paper with “blink” written on it attached to your computer.

8. Take frequent vision breaks

Every 20 minutes or so stop what you’re doing and look at something far away. Some people say 20/20/20—every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Either way works. This allows your eyes to unfocus and relax.

An alarm should work great here. Set it go off every 20 minutes until you get used to the idea. You might make it a walking break while you’re at it, because why not?

9. Wear glasses, not contacts

If you have to wear something for close-up work, choose glasses. Contacts dry the eyes and reduce lubrication/blinking. All this increases eye strain and heightens the unwanted adaptive response of the eye musculature.

10. Keep your screen (or book) at least an arm length’s away

Don’t hunch over your screen. Don’t press your mug against it. Keep it at least an arm’s length from you. Use larger font if you have to; it’s not the size of the font but the physical distance that changes how your eye muscles contract.

11. Take off the shades sometimes

Sunglasses are a fantastic invention. I wear them myself sometimes. But pure unfiltered sunlight itself appears to have beneficial effects on eye health in moderate doses. Don’t go blind. Don’t stare into the sun. However, just like you can expose your skin to sun without getting burnt, you can expose your eyes to sunlight without damaging them. And I strongly suspect you should. Even if it doesn’t improve adult eye health, getting natural sunlight into your retina during the day will improve your sleep and increase your resistance to the circadian-disrupting effects of nighttime blue light.

12. Go outside

The relationship between outdoor time and vision problems is unclear. Whether going outdoors actively improves eyesight, or it improves eyesight because time outdoors is time spent not staring at a screen doesn’t really matter. The fact is when you go outside you’re looking at objects all over the place, both near and far away. You’re getting sunlight into your eyes. You’re getting vitamin D, which could be a proxy for outdoor time and light exposure but is linked to better eyesight. You’re relaxing your eye muscles and practicing “general vision” rather than focusing on a single two dimensional plane 12 inches in front of your face. It’s all good.

13. Look “through” objects

Hold your fist up about a foot from your face and look directly at it. It will obscure whatever lies behind it. Now look “through” it. You’ll suddenly be able to see whatever’s behind your fist. Your fist will appear as a small sliver in the middle of your vision and your eyes will be incredibly soft and relaxed. If you can’t figure this one out, try hidden image stereograms. Hidden image stereograms are tiled patterns that reveal hidden images when you look “through” the stereogram. I remember doing these in grade school. Check out the parallel view, cross view, and magic eye subreddits for some resources.

14. Look at really far-off objects

Anything works. Vistas. Sunsets. Mountains. Climbing a mountain above your city and trying to spot your home. Horizons. Tracking a jet flying overhead.

This post won’t cure blindness, or myopia, or allow you to switch prescriptions. But it may help improve your situation a bit, and it definitely won’t hurt your eyesight or accelerate its degeneration.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Got any more tips? Stories? What’s worked and what hasn’t for your vision?

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

TAGS:  prevention

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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38 thoughts on “14 Ways to Help You Look Primal”

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  1. Yup! I’ve been working on taking breaks from the tablet. My eyes have definitely deteriorated! Even looking out the window makes a difference. I can practice my mandolin just as well on the deck as in my easy chair, plus I can look out at the trees and even wave to my neighbors. Get outside.

  2. For eight years I painted custom designs on ceramic sicks and tiles. It was in a big warehouse lined with walls of sinks, paints, kilns and work stations. It was close up detailed work.

    Without thinking about it, we would all look up regularly and stare off across the room at nothing, pause for ten seconds or so, and then get back to painting. We did this dozens of times a day on auto pilot.

    It looked like we were thinking deeply about something but we were literally looking at, and thinking about, nothing. Just adjusting our eyes.

  3. I have been quite near sighted since age 5. I wonder how I would have fared in Grok’s society.

    If you do not wear glasses you may not realize how large the distortions are with them. I currently have pairs for computer viewing (18-24 in) and long distances – even at the appropriate distances distortions exist. Graduated distance glasses require you to look at something through the “right” part of the lens, which is often not easily done so you must live with strong distortions much of the time (and weaker ones if dialed in).

    I read books with no glasses and there you can sense how bad glasses really are. So I like the suggestion to look at things without glasses to re-train your eyes to really see.

    If you spend a great deal of time at a computer a very large screen allows a lot of information to be presented. Just make sure you keep the font sizes fairly small, use most of the screen real estate and shift your gaze often.

  4. I feel like my vision has weakened over the last several years from looking at screens all the time. After an extended bought of screen time, my vision takes a little extra time to clarify/adjust to my surroundings.

  5. This is kind of affirming for me as I go weeks or months without using my glasses sometimes. They are a weak prescription for nearsightedness but really I only need them to read things far off or drive unfamiliar places at night. I’m blessed to live in the mountains with great views anywhere you look out the window or sitting outside, it’s helpful to have something nice to look at far away.

  6. Eye see what you did here Mark. 🙂

    Great advice, I will incorporate your suggestions into my daily routine, I’m a software developer so I spend way too many hours in front of a screen.

  7. Really good advice. I use my computer a lot at home so have the monitors positioned next to a window which I look out of at least once a minute. And also look around the room turning my head to the right and left as far as I comfortably can. I don’t wear glasses or contacts (I despaired when glasses became a fashion item!).

    It’s frightening how many people just go for glasses/contacts without a second thought; and even more frightening that opticians/optometrists seem to be so eager to get people wearing glasses, especially toddlers — customers for life, I suppose, like tobacco companies (and then there’s the hearing aid add-on!).

    Splashing really cold water on closed eyes is good if you think you’ve been glued to a screen for too long… and even if you haven’t. 🙂

  8. This is awesome! I am very nearsighted and also have a scar in the retina of my right eye due to a high forceps birth. I read a book about vision years ago (20/20 is not enough) that mentioned the importance of giving your eyes breaks and looking at things in the far distance. I try to think about that whenever I am out walking my dog. If it is early in the am I look up at the stars. I definitely give my eyes breaks when looking at a screen for too long…I actually feel them getting tired. Would love to wear glasses instead of contacts but too hard due to my crazy strong prescription.

    1. Elizabeth, like you I am nearsighted. So much so that about 15 years ago I had lazer surgery that helped a great deal. It leaves you with dry eyes but almost completely eliminated the need for sunglasses on sunny days, I wear a hat usually, that’s typically enough. However, after working these last 8 years staring at a computer most of the day my eyes have reverted to getting nearsighted again. I don’t need much correction but in my right eye I wear a contact to see distance and the left has nothing so that I can see close up without reading glasses.
      I am considering going to a hard lens in my right eye instead of a soft. For 30 years I either wore glasses (painful when you can’t see clearly past the end on your nose, not exaggerating that part) or hard contacts. When I wore the hard lenses my prescription didn’t change for 20 years. With the soft lens or glasses it changes dramatically every two years.

  9. FYI children’s eyes are much more malleable than adults’ and it’s worth pausing before putting them in glasses. My 13 y.o. failed her vision test, and turns out she was 20/80 and 20/100. That was in February.

    We put her in eye exercises (at an optometrist’s, on a computer program). After school, four days a week, 20 minute sessions. As of end of May, she was 20/25 and 20/30, and who knows what she’ll be when she gets tested again! School has just let out, so we’ll go from there to looking at lots of vistas on our summer vacation at two US National Parks…so I think we have a fix!

    (btw, I got very excited with my kid’s progress and asked about my eyes, but the optometrist said I’d have to do it every day for the rest of my life to get 1/2 that result.)

    1. I wonder if at 19 years my eyes would still be considered malleable or not… That is great about your daughter by the way.

    1. 16. Patch the strong eye temporarily to let the weaker eye catch up

  10. Hey Mark,

    I’m a long time MDA reader and an optometrist in Chicago. This is a good article and the only one I can remember that deals with the eyes but it contains some serious informational flaws.

    First off, the cornea does not bend during focusing (accommodation). It is the lens inside the eye connected to the ciliary body muscle that changes shape to allow the refocusing of light. Everything else that you mentioned to relax the ciliary body is very good information.

    The bates method of riding one of the need for corrective lenses is complete non-sense. This would only work if the person was not suffering from chronic elongation of the eye but rather just a chronic misdiagnosis and over correction of their myopia.

    Thanks for what you do and Grok On!


    1. Grant,

      I suspect you have never tried the Bates Method or any of the methods that derive from it. My own experience after 1 year of Natural Vision Improvement classes, measured before and after by the same optometrist in an ophthalmologist’s office, was a 3 diopter improvement in each eye.

      Funny enough, after seeing the improvement, the opthamologist told me I would definitely not improve any more, because no one ever did! At that point I moved away, stopped taking the class, and stopped doing the exercises and games. My myopia worsened nearly back to its pre-class prescription over the course of a few years, but I regularly do the exercises to prevent presbyopia (“old age sight”) when I notice eye strain in my very near vision the strain goes away, leaving my very near vision normal in a day or three. I’m 8 years past the age where another opthamologist told me I would be getting presbyopia that year (what a bizarre thing to say!). I don’t plan on getting it, even if I never do get disciplined about ridding myself of myopia.

      As for the possibility that I could have been the victim of chronic misdiagnosis, that would be strange. I’ve moved many times in my life and all of the eye measurements across all vision specialists have been fairly consistent – except when I took the Natural Vision Improvement class for a year. I believe 3 diopters is too large a change to be chance.

      You may say *that* measurement was the one in error, but I could see better at the end of that year than I could in the begining – I could tell I had toes and toenails, whereas I hadn’t been able, in the same light conditions and the same place, to see anything but a vague fleshy color near the ground when I started. I kept a log.

      All I’m saying is, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! But if you aren’t going to try it, don’t try to prevent other people from giving it a go. At the very least, they can’t do themselves harm, not with Natural Vision Improvement anyway. It’s mostly about relaxing and encouraging natural eye movement as outlined in Mark’s article.

      In fact, you may have inspired me to get back on the bandwagon…. 🙂

      1. I would love to examine your eyes and prove how wrong you are. The globe can lengthen but it cannot shorten. You are providing false hope to people.

        Ophthalmologists are typically responsible for disease of the eye but they rarely “lower” themselves to provide prescriptions for contacts and glasses. Ophthalmologists often have their techs do the refraction process. I prescribe contacts and glasses all day every day.

        If you studied myopia and its causes for years like I have, you would see that this is just not possible.

        1. Once, years ago, we drove a narrow, steep, rock-filled dirt road to the top of a mountain (Engineer Pass in SW Colorado). We did this in a little beater of a sedan with only front-wheel drive. I had to get out and push a couple of times, but we made it. When we got out at the summit, someone in a jeep said, “That just isn’t possible!” Yet there we were. Grant, your comment reminds me of this experience. Moreover, it’s way too typical of the medical profession in general.

        2. This is a website devoted to science. Mark reviews journal articles all day and gives us amazing break downs of them and what information we can take away from them. I am a scientist. I operate by the natural laws of this planet which include physics and physics of light. I have spent many many years studying the physical properties of light and refraction.

          Don’t you think that if there was a repeatable way to reverse myopia we would all know about it? Myopia is one of the most common conditions on this planet. Many, many researchers study this condition every day of their lives. Do you not think that if there was a way to reverse myopia, or even anything that showed one iota of promise, it would be headlines news across the world?!?!

          Some people live in a dream world. I chose to live in this world.

        3. Although I feel the Bates Method is equivalent to gypsy magic, I am also inclined to not believe a word you say. See, for about the past 4 months I’ve been using the vision pushing / pulling method outline by Jake Steiner on his website endmyopia.org. After the first month I visited the eye doctor and my prescription dropped by .25 diopters. Now I am sitting at 1.25 diopters below where I started and I’m still working. I’ve went from a -6.0 to a -4.75 in 4 months. Normally people don’t have as much success as I am having this quickly. I’ve read that axial elongation has shown to improve by about .75 – 1 diopter per year, but so far it seems those constraints don’t quite apply to my eyes.

          First it starts with bad habits- too much up close work. It creates a spasm in your ciliary muscle which is the muscle that adjusts your eye’s lens. This spasm causes a little bit of blur, so you go to the eye doctor. When you are prescribed you are put in a dark room and asked to read letters, this prescription though is your distance prescription. You go home and do the same old up close work with your distance prescription and the glasses push the image past your retina. Hence your eyeball will elongate to adapt to the prescription, causing further and further lens-induced myopia.

          In a nutshell- The trick is to wear a prescription that will place the image right before the retina, relax your eyes, blink and try to focus. After a while (weeks- maybe months) you’ll notice the the image becoming more clear and you progressively drop down prescriptions.

          I’m no expert on eyeballs. I’m just speaking from experience and I’d like to think that keeping my diet on point is helping out tremendously, but to say that it is not possible to improve your eyesight is nonsense. But if everyone knew this- how would the eyeball industry make it’s money? hmmmmm

        4. Kris,

          You are exactly right with everything you’ve said! the ciliary body was/is in spasm and that is what has made your glasses rx go from where it belonged to where it is now. You can absolutely reverse the “extra” myopia correction you have been prescribed over the years as a result of over correction. As I stated in my original post, the only way to reduce the myopia is if it had been over corrected in years past. Over correcting is very, very common and very easy with young eyes. As the eyes age it becomes harder to over correct and more likely that the amount of correction can be reduced without changing the distance vision. I have a conversation with patients at least 3 times per day where I’m trying to explain to them why I want to give them a lesser prescription. It’s a difficult concept to understand but it seems you have a spbasic understanding of what’s happening. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to completely rid yourself of your myopic correction but with the exercises you’re doing you can absolutely bring it back to the number you actually need, and no more.

        5. hmmmm, well I have read of people getting down to 20/20 but usually struggle with night vision. I guess i’ll find out when my progression stops. I just bumped my prescription down another .25. Every time I do I can feel my eye adjusting. It’s a pretty bizarre feeling, almost therapeutic lol

  11. I have very very good eyesight. My left eye is better for short distance, like reading small fonts and the right for long distance. The combined effect is really good. Before the age of the tablets I used reading glasses (with minimum grade , 1.25 or 1!).

  12. My myopia runs at -8.75, despite growing up on a cattle station in Au in the 60s. Wearing glasses at eight, much to my disgust. Eldest kid was a keen drawer from two, forever reminding him to look at the mountains. Both kids are around -4.
    Resolving to go eye naked more often! I do not wear sunnies working our acreage.

  13. Read without Glasses method is working for me for reading improvements and not starting glasses. Also I notice a big difference on different days, not really sure why. Optometrists keep saying you can’t improve your eyesight but I keep reading about and meeting people who do improve their eyesight.

    1. My eyesight differs from day to day as well, however, if I don’t get enough sleep (I keep waking up during the night some nights) my vision will be poor.

      I am looking for a method that I can do each day for a bit so that I can improve but so far it’s pretty time consuming and I don’t have much to spare. So the search continues.

      I may try an experiment to see if adding cod liver oil in the AM will help. I already have coconut oil and butter in the morning (in coffee).

  14. Interesting stuff in here.

    I have often noticed that viewing a wide vista filled with mostly distant objects seems to be somehow physically (the eyes feel good relaxing into long focus) as well as emotionally pleasurable. this seems to be universal, I think everybody experiences it. Think of the feelings that come when taking in the view from a hill- or mountain-top, or a high floor on a tall building.

    My working theory is that these pleasurable feelings could have a evolutionary explanation: seeking out such views from time to time would have helped Grok keep his geographical reference system well-calibrated – where are the resources, where are the threats.

    By having this driven with innate feelings of pleasure, Grok needn’t think consciously “I’d better climb up there and have a look around”. Instead, simple pleasure-seeking behavior will motivate these updates whether or not the need is consciously recognized.

  15. Another great tip that helps your eye health? Eating a blood glucose stabilizing diet! Blood glucose levels affect the amount of fluid in the lens of your eye (When glucose levels rise, fluid enters the lens, causing vision to blur. Once levels drop, fluid exits). While I haven’t found any information on the long term improvement to vision, I do have my own anecdotal evidence. At my last eye exam, my vision actually improved significantly! My eye doctor mentioned this was odd, as I’d just turned 30 and as he said, “vision always gets worse after your 20’s, it never improves.” During this year I’d also shifted from a high-carb, low fat, sugar filled diet, to a much more balanced primal diet. This is the only major change I’ve made. I mentioned it to my doctor, who said that very likely my improved vision was due to stabilized blood glucose levels. No wonder you never see Grok wearing glasses 🙂

  16. Firstly, I’m a huge fan of Mark’s Daily Apple. I absolutely love the website and have been a reader for years.

    However, I’m a doctor of optometry and I have a few insights into the points mentioned in this post. For the most part I am in complete agreement, and tell my patients many of these things on a daily basis. Taking breaks from near work, omega-3s, blinking often, the 20/20/20 rule, wearing glasses instead of contacts etc… all good advice.

    But, there’s one thing I am definitely not in agreement with. The point about considering lower power lenses than your true prescription is not a scientifically sound way of making your eyes stronger. The result of intentional undercorrection in adulthood is either blurry vision or eyestrain, though minimally so with only 0.5D of power difference. If there were a way to train our eyes to see clearer I’d be the biggest advocate of it! However, the most effective way to help ensure clear vision is to have yearly eye exams, current glasses that you wear when they’re required, wear sunglasses when outside for prolonged periods of time, and eat healthfully!

    1. Sorry, but I completely disagree. I’ve been undercorrecting my distant vision for years. The result is that my very myopic eyes have learned to do their job a little better. My vision is neither strained nor blurry. In fact it has improved slightly over time. More importantly, it has stabilized so that I don’t require yearly exams and increasingly stronger lenses. Like any other part of the body, vision can often “heal” itself if given the opportunity.

  17. Science driven talk on reversing myopia through weaker lenses, focusing techniques and reducing refined carbs.

    Wear slightly weaker lenses and especially use +1 glasses for computer work and +2 glasses for book reading. It takes the strain off your eyes and allows them to revert to a more natural state. I find daily lenses a cheap and easy way of progressing your eyesight to lower prescriptions that combined with +1 and +2 reading glasses for close up work.

  18. Progressive lenses were not mentioned (or I missed it) but I’ve opted out of those after deciding I want the same correction in the entire lens. Having various corrections in one lens sounds awkward. Three pairs of glasses are a bit of a pain but mostly I wear the computer pair at work/home when not reading and the distance pair for driving.

    Some people we know love their progressives but some had to return them (headaches, etc.). I go to a two-for-one store that also has a 40% off coupon for the third pair. About $600 for 3 pairs (my correction is strong and requires special-order lenses.) Fortunately my prescription doesn’t change much anymore so only bought these new glasses because the old ones were falling apart.

  19. I have 20/70 uncorrected vision and wear glasses when I drive, attend a performance, etc. But around the house I never wear them, I much prefer the “soft focus” it enables. I don’t notice the wrinkles, grey hair , etc. But I have to put them on when I clean house…..them I notice the cob webs, dust. But in general going without perfect 20/ 20 vision seems less stressful to me at age 55.

  20. Really appreciated this article. It was a unique perspective on primal living.

    One thing I have begun implementing is an exercise that I learned from Headspace (the meditation app), which is to use a pebble (or another association-less object) and periodically take breaks from your task to focus on the pebble.

    It is (1) a great tool to develop mental focus and (2) a great break for the eyes from the screen!

  21. Myopia happens in our youth. Undoubtedly due to lack of distance viewing or not enough UV. There was a study I believe in Australia (going off the top of my head here) that showed an inverse relationship between UV and myopia. Its time outdoors that seems to be the risk factor. Once you are an adult the eye is done growing and things in most folks stabilize from a myopia standpoint. All of you folks undercorrecting your vision are just getting used to blurry. That is all, full stop. You may “feel” you see better but placebo is powerful. The only way it can be proved is if you had special drops to cyclopledge your eyes effectively taking your focus system off line to measure the actual focal length of your eye. You cannot shorten your eye as an adult just like you can no longer grow taller, no matter how much you “believe” you can grow taller it physiologically is not possible. For those commenting on blood glucose you are correct that it can alter the lens of the eye. However, it only happens with A1c numbers over 8. I see multiple diabetics daily. Most have mediocre control but have glasses prescriptions that are stable.

  22. Alright, this article is right up my alley, I love this stuff!

    I’ve been an optician/lab tech for 20 years. I’ve been myopic since 3rd grade and it slowly got worse as I got older. High minus people (myopes) tend to crave MORE minus. Everytime you see your eye dr or even if you go to a new dr, they will look at your current glasses to see what you are wearing. Rarely will a myope say, “These feel too strong” if they’ve been wearing them for awhile. So the dr. tends to keep the same Rx or may alter or increase it, based on your answers of “what looks better, 1 or 2?…. 1… or 2?”

    After I had been Primal for a year or 2, a very unexpected thing happened. I went for my annual exam and I didn’t need as much minus as I did before. For the first time in my life, my Rx got BETTER! The next year, it got even better again! Not by much, maybe only .25 diopters at a time.

    Because of the added eye strain from smart phones, now even young people starting at age 20 are being prescribed progressives with a low Add power. I used to think the need for Progressives was a sign of ‘getting old’.

    I’m 39 and my dr. has not suggested I need an Add power yet. I’m torn as to whether or not prescribing that extra Add power boost for young people to reduce eye strain when looking at their phones, if that is a good thing or bad thing. The optical I work at allows me to get 2 free pairs a year, and I have the option of putting that low “+.75D power boost” in my single vision glasses. I want to try it, but wonder if I’m then making my eyes too reliant on that.

    Of course the eye industry from a business point of view, doesn’t want you to know all this. The make money BECAUSE people’s eyes are getting more strained. Progressive lenses cost more. Non-glare costs more. Premium lens materials to make myopes glasses thinner and lighter cost more. Suggesting an edge polish to make those lenses cosmetically look better, costs more. Suggesting a 2nd pair of polarized sunglasses with backside non-glare costs the consumer more. The more people rely on these ‘extras’, the more money the business makes.

    I absolutely love my job, but at the same time, I feel like a hypocrite because we as profressionals have the duty to inform our customers of the dangers of UV and high energy visible light and eye strain, etc. But at the same time, I wish I could pass secret info onto my customers about do-it-yourself vision therapy and how a more Primal diet can better regulate your Rx. But I’d probably lose my job if I got caught doing that. Thankfully I’m not in sales.

    The thing is, most people don’t want to put in the work to improve their eyesight. It’s just like working towards a firmer better body, it takes work and time to train. People want a magic pill (or strong glasses) to do the work for them.

  23. Excellent post.I also spend most of the time in front of the PC.Do you have any pre suggestion for future better eye care.Thank you

  24. I was glad to see Todd’s excellent blog post linked to on here (under point #4). That post changed my life, actually.

    I read Todd’s initial blog post on myopia about 3 years ago, and for about 2 years after that, I worked on improving my vision. I started by just not wearing my minus lenses at all, and quickly progressed to using weak reading glasses while reading. Since then, I’ve gradually moved to using stronger and stronger reading glasses. As a result, I’ve gone from being a -2.5/-3 myope, to being able to read 20/20 on a vision chart from 20 feet away. My left eye still isn’t 20/20, but my right eye is at least that. I would have to say that the methods that Todd espouses absolutely can work, but it takes diligence and frequent practice on focusing at the edge of blur. It’s been totally worth it for me, though, as I haven’t worn my old minus lenses (or any minus lenses) for the last 2 years. I wholeheartedly recommend trying it.