Improve eyesight – and throw away your glasses

Are you tired of wearing glasses and disappointed that your prescription continues to get stronger every year?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  I was wearing progressively stronger lenses for my nearsightedness until ten years ago I accidentally stumbled upon a method that allowed me to acheive 20/20 vision and throw away my glasses within a year.  For the past decade I have not worn glasses or contacts, but I am able to drive, read, and see everything clearly and sharply.

The secret was learning how to actually change my eyes so that they could focus clearly on any objects — near or far, without wearing glasses.  The method I used is one of the best examples of the self-strengthening technique called Hormetism, the focus of my blog, which I’ve applied to improve my strength and resilience in many other areas.  This is not an infomercial: The method requires several weeks or months of diligent effort, with periodic followup, and results may vary. But for this relatively small investment of time and effort, you may consider the possibility of lasting freedom from prescription lenses to be worth investigating.  It worked for me and numerous others who have tried this approach. The problem with glasses and contacts are that they are crutches. Just like using leg crutches to help you walk when you are recovering from a broken or injured leg, glasses give you the instant gratification of being able to suddenly see clearly with eyes that have lost the ability to focus well on their own. Glasses are a quick fix indeed!  However, they don’t address the root cause that allowed your eyes to get out of shape in the first place: deformation of the actual shape of the eye. Myopia (nearsightedness) is caused by elongation of the eye; hyperopia (farsightedness) by the eye becoming shorter in length. And just as one’s leg would never fully recover, but would actually become weaker, if  you continued to use crutches indefinitely, the use of corrective lenses allows your eye to become progressively weaker — either more myopic or hyperopic, as the case may be.  The use of laser surgery may seem to be the best of all fixes, by permanently resculpting the cornea.  But the risks and complications can be significant, and continued bad vision habits can result in the need for repeat surgery. The approach that worked for me — and which I advocate here — is the frequent and strategic use of anti-corrective lenses for several weeks or months, combined with special techniques involving simple eye exercises that will reshape the eye to achieve and maintain visual acuity.  Unlike other eye exercise techniques, such as the Bates Method, the use of anti-corrective lenses has solid experimental support from human and animal studies. By contrast, the Bates Method is based on an unproven idea that refractive errors are caused by “eye strain” and can be relieved by relaxation exercises.

The Bates Method. William Bates believed that the eye changed shaped when attempting to focus, thereby inducing muscular tension. Bates developed a number of techniques, such as “palming” and movement exercises, to help relax the eye, and “visualization” to enhance memory of colors and shapes. But according to Wikipedia:

“Despite continued anecdotal reports of successful results, Bates’ techniques have not been shown to objectively improve eyesight, and his main physiological proposition – that the eyeball changes shape to maintain focus – has consistently been contradicted by observation. In 1952, optometry professor Elwin Marg wrote of Bates, ‘Most of his claims and almost all of his theories have been considered false by practically all visual scientists.’ Marg concluded that the Bates method owed its popularity largely to ‘flashes of clear vision’ experienced by many who followed it. Such occurrences have since been determined to most likely be a contact lens-like effect of moisture on the eye.”

By contrast with the Bates Method, the method of hormetism uses controlled application of stress to induce an adapative growth response — a physical remodelling — of the shape of the eye. Support for this approach comes from extensive animal and human studies showing that the eye actually remodels neuroplastically in response to repeated focusing stimulus.  These experimental results have been synthesized into a theory known as the incremental retinal-defocus theory of myopia development (IRDT theory).  According to the IRDT theory, extensive close-up focusing of the eyes (for example by reading and wearing minus lenses) causes the image of close objects to be out of focus on the retina, resulting in biochemical processes that affect the rate of synthesis of connective tissues that control the rate of growth of retinal tissues and the shape of the eye.  The theoretical and experimental work supporting the IRDT theory is quite interesting and is explained in more detail on the Rehabilitation page of this blog, for those who are interested in the fascinating science behind this.

Anti-corrective lenses. The approach advocated here is a very specific use of anti-corrective lenses in combination with good visual habits to ensure routine variation in the use of the eyes for both up close and distance activities.  The most well documented use of anti-corrective lenses is for the reversal of myopia; in this case it is called “plus lens therapy”. Strange as it may seem, this involves wearing the opposite type of glasses normally prescribed for myopia or for hyperopia, making it initially less comfortable to focus. Specifically, so-called “plus” lenses are employed to overcome nearsightedness (myopia) and “minus” lenses to overcome farsightedness (hyperopia).   In my discussion on the Rehabilitation page, there is a more extensive discussion of the history of the use of plus lenses. The use of anti-corrective lenses is a classic case of the five general principles of Hormetism, as outlined on the Overview page of this website:

  1. the viewing distance is adjusted to simulate real-world conditions as closely as possible (i.e. the eye is actually focusing in the distance while reading a book or computer screen that is close up);
  2. constraint (an eye cover or plus lens) is imposed on the stronger eye to focus the stress on the weaker eye, and both eyes are held at the limit of their ability to comfortably focus
  3. the intensity is adjusted to be somewhat uncomfortable, but still short of “failure”;
  4. adequate recovery is allowed during rest periods between sessions; and
  5. gradualism is observed by progressively increasing the focal range over time in order to force adaptive remodeling of the eye.

How to proceed. The clearest explanation of how to use plus lenses was given by Brian Severson, who many years ago published the key steps in his “Vision Freedom” system.  Comparing the eye to a digital camera, Severson observed that the eye will attempt to “autofocus” on any image that is slightly out of focus, but will not even attempt to focus on objects that are significantly out of focus. Furthermore, he found that the focal range can be extended by a simple technique.  Here is the essence of the technique: Step 1. Find your starting range of focus:

“Take off your prescription lenses and put this page right on the end of your nose.  Now push the print slowly away until it becomes clear and in focus, and stop.  Now close each eye and see which one is sending the clear image to your brain.  You have just entered the range of focus of your better close vision eye.  It dominates for all close work…Now open both eyes, and slowly push the print away until the very first indication that the print is no longer perfectly clear and in focus, and stop…You have just found the limit of your range of focus for that eye”.

Step 2: Push your eyes to increase their range of focus.

For myopes, this is done by repeatedly pushing a printed page just slightly outside the range of focus, and allowing it to sharpen up or “clear”. (For hyperopes, the page is pulled closer until it blurs, then allowed to clear).  The eye gradually adapts to increase its range. This can be done with different objects at different ranges.  So it can be done with fine print close up, but also with larger objects in the distance.  It is especially useful to focus on sharp lines, such as overhead electrical transmission lines, and houses or trees with sharp edges.

For myopes, the process is best carried out by using plus lenses, the “reading glasses”, available in most pharmacies, that hyperopes typically use for close reading; conversely, hyperopes can accelerate the process by using minus lenses that myopes use for vision distance. Myopes can improve their vision by starting with the strongest plus lenses they can wear that will maintain their reading or computer just within their focal range. (Hyperopes do the converse). Typically, for mild myopia, one starts by wearing a +1 diopter lens and moving up to a +1.5 or +2 lens as soon as it becomes comfortable. If the myopia or hyperopia is extreme to the point where anti-corrective lenses do not allow a reasonable focal range, then it may be preferable or necessary to use reduced prescription lenses, i.e., lenses in which the diopter have been somewhat reduced by +1 or +2 diopters. With time and success, these can be progressively weakened, and a move can be made to anti-corrective lenses.

HERE IS THE CRITICAL STEP: For the focusing exercises, one should periodically push the book or computer slightly out of focal range and wait for the image to clear again. This will cause a slight feeling of discomfort, but the eye will focus as long as the distance is just slightly out of the comfort zone.  If your eyes cannot focus, move a few inches closer again until the reading material is just within focus.

This procedure can be followed for hours or more during everyday activities such as reading and computer work, watching TV, walking or driving. The anti-corrective or reduced prescription lens diopter rating (the plus or minus number) should be selected so as to make the eyes slightly uncomfortable, while still allowing clear focusing. If the right and left eyes are very uneven in strength, it may be necessary to match different corrections to each eye (buy two pairs and pop out and replace one side), or to cover the stronger eye with a patch or diffuser. Much as with CI movement therapy, this follows the principle of “constraint” to ensure that the primary stress is focused on the weaker eye, stimulating it to do most of the focusing, until it catches up with the stronger eye. We don’t want the weak eye to coast along with a “free ride” or only the stronger eye will benefit.

When to use the anti-corrective lenses. It is only necessary to use anti-corrective lenses for short periods of time — one to three hours each day, for the appropriate activities — to see significant progress over several weeks.  It is important to realize that the strong anticorrective lenses are only to be used for the activities for which your prescription glasses were least needed!  So for myopes, wear the plus lenses only for close work (reading and computer work); for hyperopes, wear the minus lenses when looking in the distance or across the room, but not when reading or at the computer. For myope engaging in distance activities (such as driving or viewing presentations), either no lenses or undercorrected lenses are recommended, though very mild plus lenses (less than +1 diopters) can be used when the myopia has been significantly reduced. The key is that the eye will adapt and remodel only when subjected to mildly uncomfortable stress.  If the stress is excessive, the eye gives up and no progress is made.  This principle is very similar that followed by weight lifters, who understand the importance of slight, but not excessive, overload.

Misunderstandings. Failure to understand this need to change or remove anti-corrective lenses in response to the distance of the current activity has led to some flawed studies which purported to show the ineffectiveness of plus lens therapy. One example of this is a frequently cited paper by Chung, Mohidan and O’Leary (http://tinyurl.com/chung22) which found that myopic children fitted with undercorrected lenses showed a more rapid progression of myopia than children wearing lenses with full correction. So the eyesight of these children actually got worse by using undercorrection than normal correction. This would appear to contradict the IRDT hypothesis that the eye can be stimulated via lens therapy to grow shorter in axial length, and hence reduce myopia. And this result has been repeatedly cited by others as disproving the effectiveness of plus lenses or under correction. However, a re-analysis of this study by Hung and Ciuffreda of Rutgers University (http://abstracts.iovs.org/cgi/content/abstract/44/5/4791) came to a different conclusion. In addition to normal correction and slight undercorrection groups, the Hung and Ciufredda study included a group using “high-powered plus lenses”. Their analysis found that the high-powered plus lenses led to hyperopic growth (in other words, shortening of the eye’s axial length), which decreased the myopia of the children wearing those lenses. And the progression of myopia in children who wore undercorrected lenses is explained by the fact that they wore these all the time, not when just reading. This led to a diminished stimulus by facilitating accommodative focuses during “near-to-far viewing cycles”, which underminded the benefits of undercorrection. Based upon this analysis, the proper use of undercorrection would be to wear the undercorrective lenses only during long distance viewing. This is a key point!  Note that, according to the protocol of the study (Chung et al, p. 2556), “Subjects were instructed to wear their glasses all the time except during sleeping.” The fact that the undercorrected lenses were worn for close up viewing as well as distance viewing, would tend to undermine their effectiveness, according to the IRDT theory. In their summary, Hung and Ciufredda conclude:

Based on IRDT analysis, high-powered plus lens, full correction, and 0.75 D under-correction result in relative hyperopic, emmetropic, and myopic growth, respectively. Thus, the theory is able to explain these apparently contradictory findings. Moreover, the IRDT provides a consistent theoretical framework for understanding the development of myopia under a variety of experimental and clinical conditions.

So far from disproving the value of plus lenses and undercorrection, this study supports the IRDT theory for treating myopia. The conclusion should be taken as showing how NOT to use undercorrected lenses — don’t wear them for close work and reading, only for far distance viewing activities such as driving.  On the other hand, for close work (reading and computer use), wearing stronger plus lenses are effective in counteracting myopia. Based upon IRDT theory, I suppose the ideal combination would be bifocals with plus lenses for close vision and undercorrection for distance vision, or using two different glasses for these different situations.

Work without lenses. In addition to using anti-corrective lenses for close up activities (or distance activities, in the case of hyperopes), it is important to engage in frequent and deliberate near-to-far focusing exercises in daily life.  Without glasses, take some time to look intently and focus on distant objects, and alternate this with looking at close up objects.  Just as when using the lenses, try to focus on objects at the edge or just beyond of your current focal range, allowing them to “clear”. I found it most helpful to choose objects with crisply defined dark lines or borders, such as telephone poles and power lines or edges of buildings. You’ll soon notice that blurry or “double” images will begin to resolve. I remember becoming excited when I started to see crisp power lines, and billboard signs, and could eventually start to read signs at a distance.  This is one of the most motivating aspects of the technique. On the Rehabilitation page, you’ll find my speculations as to how this resolution of double images relates to the mechanisms of eye remodelling and the IRDT theory.

A final word: Be patient. Your eyes took a long time to lose their shape, and they won’t pop back into shape overnight.  Just as building muscles in the gym takes time and discipline, remodeling your eyes is a step-by-step process that takes time. Most likely, you’ll notice progress in spurts. And just like going to the gym, you will need to keep you eyes in shape by periodically using anti-corrective lenses (especially if you will be spending a lot of time reading or at the computer), and by varying your daily activities to include looking at both near and far objects. But if you stick with it, you’ll find your eyesight is improving, perhaps at a time when many of your older friends are finding their eyesight is getting worse. If this topic interests you, please comment below,  or check out the Rehabilitation Discussion Forum, where a number of people have reported their success with using the Hormetism method for improving eyesight, manual dexterity, and other areas of overcoming the need for corrective devices.

April 2012 update:  See my interview, How one person improved his vision, for details on how the above method helped one individual achieve 20/15 vision!

July 2014 update: A recent clinical study of young adults in the journal of Investigative Opthamology and Visual Science provides fresh proof of the IRDT theory.  The article, “Human optical axial length and defocus”  found that fitting people with plus lenses or minus lenses induces significant changes in axial eye length within as little as an hour.

August 2014 update: At this year’s Ancestral Health Symposium in Berkeley I gave a talk about the causes of myopia and how to reverse it.  I’ve posted the video and slides on my post, Myopia: a modern yet reversible disease.

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395 Comments

  1. Jawaral

    This is quite interesting. I had tried the Bates exercises and “relaxation” but got nowhere with it. And my optometrist friend said that the idea that eye muscle tension causes myopia is incorrect. Buy your point here is that the eye can actually remodel itself — change its shaper permanently — given sufficient stimulus to do so. That makes sense physiologically, and the research you cite on the Rehabilitation page does appear to show just that.

    I’ve started working with the plus lenses for the past 3 days and I’m already seeing progress! I’m able to see objects in the mid distance definitely more sharply. I plan to stick with this.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. This is very interesting! Thank you for posting this very useful information!

  3. John Paton

    Hi Todd,

    I’ve started using positive lenses as you suggested. One thing I’m noticing a lot is that I’m squinting to get the writing on the books focused. Should this be happening?

  4. Todd

    John,

    What is your correction? If it is less than -4 diopters, you should be able to read with mild plus lenses (+1 to +2) by keeping your book or computer no more than about 18″ away from your eyes. If you find yourself squinting, you really need to sit closer to your reading material. Keep your eyes relaxed. The letters should look black, crisp and clear. Move away from your reading material until the letters just start to blur, then move closer in a few inches to re-establish clarity. Periodically “test” this limit — it may increase with time, or it may decrease if you are getting tired. There should be no strain on your eyes, but they should be “right up to the border” of your focusing distance. Think of this process as you would if you were lifting weights that are right at the limit of your ability, but not at the strain point.

    When you are reading at this maximum distance, your eyes are behaving as if they were looking into the distance, even though you are actually looking at something up close. While you are reading, your eyes are inconspicuously adjusting and remodeling themselves to be able to focus on longer distances. After you’ve been reading this way for 15-30 minutes, take off the plus lenses and notice that you are already able to focus on objects that are more distant than you previously could. This effect will fade within minutes to hours, but the more you repeat it, the longer your eyes will be able to maintain a distant focus.

    Let us know how it goes!

    Todd

  5. John Paton

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for your response. It’s very helpful.

    I’ve got one more question. When you talk about eye exercises, are you just talking about moving the reading material further away and letting it refocus or are you talking about eye stretching exercises?

    Have you read David De Angelis’s book? Do you recommend his eye exercise?

    Thanks

    -John

    • Todd

      John,

      I am familiar with De Angelis’ book. I agree with many of his recommendations. I have tried his eye stretching exercises and find the “8 points of the compass” exercise to be somewhat useful. I also agree with him that myopes typically keep too much of a fixed, ‘straight ahead’ gaze and lose flexibility in focusing. So the exercises probably do help, but this doesn’t need to be formal — it can mean taking breaks to look at objects near and far.

      But my own experience is that the biggest improvement comes from pushing the eye to the limits of its focal range, by (a) pushing reading material to the edge of the comfort zone, either with no lenses, plus lenses, or (in extreme cases) uncorrected lenses; (b) using no lenses or undercorrected lenses for other activities; and (c) if you have a weaker eye, pushing it to its limit while using a patch or diffuser (or just winking) over the strong eye. Our eyes remodel themselves in response to stimulation in just the same way that our muscles remodel themselves when we lift weights.

      Todd

  6. Hi, Todd, great article! I want to do undercorrection of some sort for myself. This is my prescription:
    OD: -5.50, -1.00, 160
    OS: -2.50, -3.00, 170
    Yes, it’s terrible, and I can afford to wear a stronger prescription… I don’t have any glasses that’s weaker than the one I have now and I don’t have a large fund at the moment. (However, I can buy the cheap bifocals at the pharmacy.) I have also considered patching an eye, but even there, I’m lost: my right/worse eye is my dominant eye! Please give me advice and suggestions.

    • Todd

      Thanks, Lee.

      Well, you definitely have a strong prescription. Your astigmatism is very strong in the left eye, but it also means that you can focus very well along one axis in that eye, which is an advantage in getting started with plus lens therapy. The other thing you have going for you is that, because you are nearsighted, you are at least able to read in focus close up without glasses.

      Given your budget concerns, you can starting out WITHOUT any special lenses for several months. When you are reading a book or at the computer sit close enough to be able to see letters sharply and in focus. Push back from the print a few inches and see if your eyes autofocus…if not, get just a little closer until they focus. Read at this distance for at least 15-30 minutes, then take a break, get up walk around, and come back for another 15-30 minutes. Gradually do more of this each day, up to an hour a day. When you can read comfortably without glasses, buy some cheap +1 or +1.5 reading glasses and repeat the above for a few weeks. Then graduate up to +2 or +2.5. When you can read with those, its time to go to the optician and ask them to subtract 2 diopters off each lens and cut down the astigmatism correction.

      OD: -3.50, no astigmatism correction
      OS: -.50, -1.00 170

      Keep your old lenses for driving or critical needs, but use the undercorrected lenses for reading and around the house. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  7. Trish

    I would appreciate any advice you might offer, I’m 55 yrs old, farsighted, (presbyopia) for over 12 years. I’m now wearing reduced contact lenses +2.50 & 2.75, only when I have to go out, driving, to the store etc….. I wear pinhole glasses for reading & computer work. I started with Bates method and other exercises, (i’ve tried so many things) a year ago and I have improved to a degree from about 20/200 to 20/80, but then sort of stalled out there. After reading about minus lenses for hyperopia I’ve now ordered a pair of -.50 lenses to work with. How should I begin to use them and how long, I don’t want to go to far and develop myopia. Thanks, this would be awesome if it would work for me I desperately want to get out of corrective lenses. Trish

    • Todd

      Trish,

      I don’t have personal experience with presbyopia, since I was a myope myself. But since you wear contacts, the best approach would be to wear your mild minus lenses while wearing your contacts (-0.50 is pretty mild, I think you could try -1.00) and try to see how close up you can read clearly. Bring the reading material closer than you normally would and pull it in until just at the edge of clear focus, to see if it clears. Try reading this way for 15-30 minutes at a time, taking breaks when you get tired. A good check if this is working is to see if your focal range improves after you take the minus lens glasses off. (You should be able to see better close up). After a few weeks, you may be able to step up to a -1.5 or even -2.0, and then it may be time to further reduce the prescription for your contacts, perhaps to +2/+2.5….or even +1.75/+2.0.

      Let me know if it works, or post your results on the Forum page.

      Good luck!

      • Trish

        Thanks for the advice, I was under the impression that I would need to use the minus lenses with activities that I did not need prescription lenses for, like distance, or looking across the room. I don’t normally wear lenses at home when I’m just doing housework, etc… I’ve kinda gotten use to the blur and if I need to read something I’ll grab a pair of readers in good light to see or use the pinhole glasses. What advice can you give me in this case? I’ve worn plus lenses for so long I have blur in the distance too. Also, I’ve already ordered the -.50 lenses so, should I begin with them and how? .Thanks so much for your time, I hope I haven’t been confusing n trying to describe my situation. Trish

        • Todd

          Trish,

          You can also do as you suggest – wear the minus lenses WITHOUT contacts for activites that don’t normally require wearing your prescription contacts or glasses. This will in effect make your eyes focus “as if” they were looking at objects a bit closer up than what you are actually looking at. And that should help your eyes adjust to shorter focal lengths.

          If you need to read something try this: Instead of “grabbing a pair of glasses”, try using the minus lenses in combination with your contacts — and try bringing the reading material as close to your eyes as you can while maintaining focus. If it is too blurry, move back slightly.

          Todd

  8. Trish

    Thank you, I appreciate your help and I look forward to being able to post some positive results! The lenses I ordered should arrive in a week or two. I understand how much time I should spend in minus lenses while reading, (15 to 30 minutes at a time). How much time would you suggest my wearing the minus lenses without contacts daily? Also, is there any info out on this type of therapy for hyperopia that I might read? Thanks again, Trish

    • Todd

      Trish,

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I’ve been quite busy. Regarding your question about minus lens therapy for reversing hyperopia, there seems to be much less information on the internet about this than there is about plus lens therapy for reversing myopia. I’m not sure why that is, other than there are perhaps more myopes out there looking for help. I have not found anything better than Vision Freedom by Brian Severson, which is unfortunately out of print.

      As you mention, you should wear your mild minus lenses over your contacts while reading — 15 to 30 minutes at a time, but ideally up to an hour of total reading time each day. Every so often, take off the minus lenses while leaving on your contacts and see if you are able to focus upon close up objects in the room more clearly. That’s a good test of whether you are making progress. As you suggest, you should also spend some time wearing the minus lenses without contacts while doing activities that require some distance vision. I think this is less essential than doing the reading exercises, but it can still be helpful. This could include housework, taking walks etc. I would use the same time guidelines here — 15 to 30 minutes at a time, taking breaks, up to an hour total per day.

      The real test here is: how long can you go without it getting uncomfortable? Push yourself a bit, but not to the point of discomfort. Once you start to see progress, you may want to order a weaker set of contact lenses — take 1.5 to 2.0 diopters off the prescription, and continue the exercises using the minus lenses. Occasionally test yourself to see if you can read without any contacts or lenses – just your naked eyes. That is your ultimate goal.

  9. Trish

    Todd,
    Thank you so much for the info, I’m excited to try it when the minus lenses arrive. The only reason I don’t wear the contacts all the time is I’m trying to give my eyes a break, I still have blur in the distance without them. ,Its amazing I have clear flashes that I can see perfectly without lenses long enough to even read paragraphs at a time, but then my focus comes in & out. The prescription I’m wearing is a reduced script for distance, but in good light if I don’t strain & just relax, I can read with them but sometimes I use readers with the contacts to read. Without lenses my vision on the distance chart is about 20/70 to 20/80. The optometrist informed me on my last visit I had the beginnings of cataracts, so I’ve been trying some herbal Ceneraria Maritima drops and I must say I can tell a difference in the clarity of things. I really feel that clear vision is possible without lenses because I have experienced it. Thanks for the support and sharing your knowledge , I look forward to improved vision. Trish

  10. Anne

    Hi Todd,

    I’m unclear about what you mean by “undercorrected lenses” so I will ask you about my particular case. I am nearsighted in both eyes (-3.5 and -3) and wear contacts everyday. I recently learned about Plus Vision therapy and decided to get some +1.75 reading glasses for reading and computer work (which I do most of the day) and I wear these glasses at work over my contacts. But is this undercorrected since +1.75 does not fully cancel out the -3 (meaning i should not be using them for close work)? I don’t want to further mess up my eyes! Do I need stronger reading glasses?
    I am currently wearing my reading glasses and can see the computer just fine, although it gets to the edge of my blurry point the further back I sit, so I am going in and out of focus.
    Please let me know if this is ok! Also, how strong reading glasses do I need to move up to as my eyes get used to the current glasses? Should I eventually be wearing +3.0 (or +3.5 depending on the eye) reading glasses while doing close work?

    Very much appreciate your help and your article!

    • Todd

      Hi Anne,

      Good questions. To clarify, there are two very distinction situations: (1) Close work — when you are reading a book or working at the computer; and (2) Distance viewing — walking around, viewing lectures and presentations, etc. You have a fairly strong correction for myopia, at -3.5 / -3 diopters, so here is what I would recommend:

      1. For close work, don’t wear any contact lenses. If you can focus clearly on text in a book or computer 12″ from your nose, but it starts to blur around 18″, that’s perfect. Then follow the “print pushing” exercises in the above article. If the print is still clear at 18″, then use some mild plus lenses (+1.25 to +1.5) with no contacts, and sit close enough to just see print barely in focus.
      2. For distance viewing, use undercorrected lenses (perhaps -2/-1.5 instead of the normal -3.5/-3), OR wear mild plus lenses over your contacts. The +1.75 plus lenses over you contacts might work, but +1.75 might me too strong of a compensation o start out with, so consider wearing a +1.25 or +1.5 if things are too blurry with the +1.75

      You might find the above a bit cumbersome because it means taking out your contact lenses whenever you do close work. But you only need to do this about 30-60 minutes a day, and periodically adjust the strength of the plus lenses (or weaken the contacts). Two other options are to consider getting biofocals with different near and far corections, or using “stick on” plus lenses which are inexpensive and allow you to alter the strength separately for each eye as you make progress. (You can get MagnOptx stick on lenses through eyesave.com).

      The two situations are quite different, so you need different strategies in each case. Remember, you goal is to make your eyes “think” they are seeing objects more distant than they really are, so they spend more time adjusting to a longer focal distance. With the stress of mild retinal defocus, they will actually start to “grow” shorter.

      You can keep increasing the strength of the plus lenses as your eyes adjust, but once you get above about +2.25, it probably makes more sense to move to weaker contact lenses and start over with the +1.25 lenses. Once your contacts drop to -1.0, you basically don’t need them any more! Starting with your strong myopia, it could take you 1-2 years to completely eliminate the use of contacts and glasses, if you stick with the program. Progress is typically rapid at first, then it slows down. The usual pattern is long platears, followed by sudden steps where vision clears.

      Todd

      • Anne

        Hi Todd,

        It’s pretty hard see my computer without my contact lenses (very blurry), so I’m not sure it will work for me to take out my lenses. At night I can read without my contact lenses and can practice that way, but it just doesn’t work so well for working on the computer because its too blurry, so I feel like my eyes are not adjusting. This is why I thought I could practice stretching my eyes by using the +1.75 glasses over my contacts for computer work, which I do from 5-8 hrs a day. But is this bad? should I not wear reading glasses over my contacts for close work?
        Let me know! In the meantime, I will “print push” with my book.

        Side note: since wearing my glasses over my contacts (it’s only been 2 days) and doing some eye massages I have felt that while wearing my contacts my distance vision does seem a little bit crisper….

        • Todd

          Anne,

          OK, so without any contacts you are able to read a book (probably 12″ away), but the computer (18-20″) is too blurry. That makes sense, and you are right that combining +1.75 lenses with your –3.5/-3 contacts will be like wearing a net -1.75/-1.25 correction, i.e. an undercorrection. That can work fine, so long as you are able to sit back far enough from the computer that the print “just starts” to become blurry. When you do that, how many inches away are you sitting? Is it comfortable? If so, then that sounds like a very good approach.

          Glad to hear that your distance vision is starting to clear up. That’s great that you are able to do the reading with plus lenses 5-8 hours each day, but be sure to take frequent “breaks” to give your eyes a rest and a chance to focus at different distances.

          Good luck and keep us posted. You might want to post your progress over on the forum for this blog: http://forum.gettingstronger.org/index.php/topic,8.0.html

          Todd

  11. Anne

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for your reply and I’m glad to hear i’m on the right track. for a second I was concerned that I was doing the opposite of what I was supposed to.
    To answer your questions: At work my computer is about 20-27 inches from my face depending on if I am leaning forward on my desk or back in my chair. It’s a little bit blurry when I sit back in my chair (about 25 inches) so I am able to maintain it at that “just blurry” point comfortably. So I think that is good and i’m taking breaks fairly frequently.
    Thanks for your help and I’ll keep you posted.

  12. Matt

    when you do the glasses part do you have to put contacts in while you wear the glasses and read or do you have no contacts? And when you talk about focus when you move it away is it suppose to be just as good as it was when you move it closer or just better? Also I have a -1.00 and -1.50 contacts so what power glasses should I use because I was going to get +1.00 glasses. Is there any tips you could give me on this before I use this. I was also a little unsure about the steps. I think it’s this:

    1. You find your distance
    2. You get glasses for your eyes that work for you
    3. You read 15-30 mins pushing the book away slowly when it’s comfy
    4. Take a brake and relax your eyes for about 10 mins
    5. Continue reading

    Please tell me if this is right or if I can do anything better.

    • Todd

      Hi Matt,

      For myopes, you can use this technique whether or not you have contacts. Contacts make it fairly easy. You just wear your normal contacts for distance viewing, but when you are reading a book, at the computer, or doing other close work, you wear plus lenses OVER your contacts and push back from the reading material until the print just starts to become blurry. I would use plus lenses in the range of +1.25 to +1.5 to start, but the best way to figure this out is: go into the pharmacy, try on different plus lens strengths and try to read print that is about 18-24 Inches (45-60 cm) away from your eyes. Choose the strength that just begins to make the print blurry.

      Since your correction is fairly mild, (-1/-1.5) then you can probably do the exercises either wearing no glasses at all, just using your naked eyes, if you push back a few feet from your reading material. Or you can use somewhat weaker plus lenses (+0.75 or +1) if you can find them. Since one eye is weaker than the other, you might also try by winking or patching the stronger eye (the -1 eye) to let the -1.5 eye get stronger first.

      Your list of steps looks mostly right, assuming you follow my suggestions above for your Steps 1 and 2. (How to “find your distance” and “get glasses…that work for you”).

      Todd

  13. I am extremely interested in embarking on a practice of eye exercise. I would like to know, though, how the prescribed exercises can be adjusted for astigmatism. I have had five corneal grafts. My most recent transplant, to my left eye three years ago has not benefitted me yet, as I have a rapidly developing cataract in that eye. I see very little. Until I can afford the surgery, I’ll do any exercise that might help. I don’t think the plus or minus lenses are the route in my case.

    • Todd

      Howard,

      Sorry, but I don’t have any specific advice for dealing with astigmatism or recovery from cataracts or corneal grafts. I wish I did, but I’ve not found any type of eye exercise or lens therapy that specifically addresses those issues. The main thing I’ve researched, and which this blog addresses, is the correction of myopia or hyperopia. The issue with astigmatism is the distortion of the focal field along a specific angular orientation. Using the concepts advocated here, I suppose that in principle one could try to address this by undercorrecting or even reversing the astigmatic correction. But I’ve seen no specific research suggesting that is effective. There are some eye exercise advocated by David DeAngelis in his book “The Secret of Perfect Vision”. On page 131, he suggests could be beneficial for dealing with astigmatism by improving overall focal flexibility. But DeAngelis also makes clear that he has not specifically tested these exercise for anything other than myopia, the focus of his book.

  14. Thomas

    Hi, Todd i used to wear glasses but it broke and now i had to sit in front of the room in all my classes to see clearly. Do you now how to fix this problem without having to wear glasses and still see clearly?

    • Todd

      Thomas,

      If you can see clearly in the front row without glasses, try moving back one row and sit in the second or third row. Find the row where it just begins to get a little blurry and then move forward one row. If things clear up after a week or two, move back one more row. Keep doing this until you can read without glasses from the back row of the class. Also, when you read books or computers, sit back one foot (30 cm) further than what you normally do.

      Good luck,

      Todd

  15. aziz

    Hi Todd, thanks for the information, i am near eyesighted, i would like to ask that if i turn my glasses the other way round will it act like anti corrective lenses?

    • Todd

      Aziz, Turning your glasses around will make no difference (other than switching your left and right eye corrections and pivoting any astigmatism), just a magnifying glass works the same whichever way you hold it. Plus lenses are net convex and minus lenses are net concave. If you are nearsighted, your distance lenses are convex, so you need to make them either less so (undercorrection) or add concave plus lenses for near work to force your eyes to focus at longer distances. This is illustrated in Fig 2.6 on p. 38 of “The Secret of Perfect Vision” by David DeAngelis.

  16. [...] Improve eyesight – and throw away your glasses / 
    Getting Stronger [...]

  17. Bek

    Todd, i was wondering what you mean when you say practice fore 1 to 3 hours a day. I mean could i do it at different times of the day? or do i have to do it all at once? Also should there be a recovery period before exercising with the plus lenses?

    • Todd

      Bek, I would suggest breaking up your practice sessions in to shorter 30 minute sessions, spaced out at different times of day. It is probably not a good idea to wear plus lenses for more than 45 or 60 minutes at a time, without a break. You want your eyes to be changing focal lengths periodically, to relive the tension and get rest and recovery. However, the primary guide should be your own comfort level. Take breaks whenever you feel tired. Rest is as important as the exercises themselves.

  18. Bek

    Todd, Is it safe to take short breaks between reading on the computer with plus lenses? Because i do this every 10 to so minutes and i think this will not let me adapt to the plus lenses stimulus.

    • Todd

      I see no problem taking breaks every 10 minutes or so, but I wouldn’t do it more often than that. The key is to schedule one or more daily sessions that are at least 30 minutes long, even if you take a few short breaks.

      Are you starting to notice any progress?

  19. Bek

    The only progress i notice is i see clearer after the sessions. But i have no luck in improving my eyesight. I sometimes do it inconsistently or do it in a separate time during the day and then sit long hours on the computer wondering why my eyes haven’t changed. My prescription is -1.75 and -2.00 ive had myopia for 4 years so far. and rarely wear my glasses (minus lenses). I think i should start wearing plus lenses everytime on the computer or reading. or is this a bad idea?

    • Todd

      Bek, When you say you “rarely” wear your glasses, how do drive and otherwise get by if you have a -2 myopia? In any case, I do think you should be very consistent about using the plus lenses when you are at the computer and reading. Every day. Periodically test your distance vision by looking across the room or walking around. Your distance vision should start to clear in 1-2 weeks. You should be able to read signs more clearly.

  20. Bek

    Well im not a driver yet since im only 16. I still have to finish highschool therefore it is much easier for me to be consistent. and what about the whole double vision thing? i get it alot whenever i do not concentrate on a close object. how can i eliminate that?

    • Todd

      Bek, I didn’t realize you were 16. The good news is that you can improve your eyesight more easily at your age than at mine (54)! I’m not sure why you have double vision. There could be many causes and some of them are very serious (click here), so I suggest you see an eye doctor soon.

  21. Bek

    No not that kind of double vision. i only see it becuase of the assymetry in both of my eyes (as described by David De Angelis) which comes from the being lazy from staring and close work for long periods of time. But i do not know if ocular stretching will help my assymetry go away and focus better on my retina

  22. I encouraged Brian to use the plus, when he contacted me. His Snellen was about 20/70 (about -1.0 diopters). With intensive work with the plus, he changed his refractive status by about 1 diopter in several months. He had the intense desire to do it, and he started BEFORE he ever wore a minus lens. In honor of all the ODs and MDs who support this “threshold” prevention as the honest second-opinion, I prepared a site, “myopiafree” — which is designed to help you review the facts and science that supports this “self-empowerment” approach. I hope you enjoy the concept — that works in this “range”. I don’t “sell” anything at all. Otis

    • Todd

      Otis, thanks for your comment. I’m honored to have you visit this site, as I have always regarded you and Brian Severson as the “founding fathers” of plus lens therapy. So it was interesting to hear that you actually introduced Brian to the technique. I have found your I-SEE website and your book “How to Avoid Nearsightedness” to be excellent resources. Thanks for letting us know about your new site, mypopiafree..

  23. This is for Bek who is 16 years old. If you are interested I will attempt to help you. It is excellent to understand that Todd WAS SUCCESSFUL — as well as Brian Severson. It is also good to understand that this work is not “easy”, and you should plan to learn a great deal more about these issues — if you can sustain your interest. When my nephew Keith was 14, I discussed this issue with him. He was 14 years old at the time. Like most kids he was “skeptical”, but he knew I did my “research” well, and got agreement with second-opinion ODs. I do suggest (to learn more) that you go to “YouTube”, and type “Myopia Prevention” and listen to the videos that “object” to the minus lens. That would be a start. I will add some more for those who wish to pass the required DMV line, wich is to read 3/4 inch letters at 20 feet. I also suggest getting a FREE Snellen “chart” from i-see to continue your work on improving your vision. More later! Otis

  24. More information based on Brian Severson and Todd’s success. There are now ODs and MDs who “object” to the minus lens. In fact some call it, “poision glasses for children” — thus they KNOW it will make your vision WORSE. I spent YEARS looking for this information. Here is the site that brings these issues to the surface:
    http://myopiafree.i-see.org/
    There is no “perfect” way of ‘prevention’, but the more you know about this problem — the better you will be to make your own wise choice to use the plus. Otis

  25. Bek

    Todd, Im afraid you forgot one thing to cover. and thats how to focus. Can you explain how to?

  26. Todd had provided and excellent description of the need for threshold-prevention with the plus. If you plan to “improve”, I would add this step. READ YOUR OWN SNELLEN IN BRIGHT LIGHT. Download the “Schneider” chart from here:
    http://www.i-see.org/eyecharts.html
    The put it up at 20 feet. Determine which line you can read 1/2 the letters correctly. The “prescriptions” of say, -2.0 diopters are offten in error. The chart is objective. There seems to be an early “effect” of the use of the plus, and that is a “jump” (improvement) in this chart. If you get to 20/40, then that is a MAJOR SUCCESS. But “sticking” with this work (as Todd did) can produce success.

  27. For Bek,
    I believe in active leadership. Here are the details of how to read your own Snellen

    http://www.youtube.com/user/otissumnerbrown

    When you get your Snellen from i-see, take a felt-tip pen and write the number of line (60, 50, 40, etc.) on the chart. Then determine the line you can read. This is very important, since “self-leadership” is critical for prevention. I personally consider it a great success if you begin to pass the State DMV test — which is 20/40. If you wish, let us know how you do. Thanks, Otis

  28. Dear Bek,
    How to set up your Snellen at 20 feet — and check it.
    This is a better video to “tell the story” of checking your Snellen. I do this “offically” once a month. It will take you some time to get “comfortable” doing this, but the benifit is that you become an “expert” and this work. Here is the most important video I would have you watch. As for selecting the “best” plus for reading, we will help you do that also — but little can be done until you establish what line you read. We can then estimate your refractive STATE from that check you will make.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUkoSSgVOs
    Our goal it to help you become successful. Otis

  29. Bek — I can only tell you what “I” would do with the information I now have.

    Bek> ive had myopia for 4 years so far. and rarely wear my glasses (minus lenses).
    Otis> Excellent! Now you need to accuractly check your Snellen — most crucial.
    Bek> I think i should start wearing plus lenses everytime on the computer or reading.
    Otis> Absolutly essential. But you need to see “improvement” based on your reading of your Snellen. If you don’t check, you will never know.
    Otis> It it were me, and I could read the 20/60 line (typcial for -1.5 diotpers), I would do that, and then I would GO ALL OUT WITH THE PLUS. This is EXACTLY what Brian Severson did. If you see a change of one or two lines (to 20/40) that will ENCOURAGE YOU. But if you don’t check, you will never know. That is why the Snellen is so important.

  30. Hello Todd, thank you for your very interesting article.
    I posted it on the Power Vision Forum
    http://www.powervisionforum.com/forum/showthread.php?319-Improve-eyesight-%96-and-throw-away-your-glasses&p=872#post872

    and on the Facebook Group here:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1797296736432&set=o.119460917066&ref=nf#!/group.php?gid=2569967422

    I will appreciate if you could subscribe on the above PVS forum a give your advice to the others.
    Thank you again.
    David De Angelis

    • Todd

      David,

      Thanks for posting here and linking to your excellent forum. (I registered as a member today). I’m honored to make your acquaintance as I truly enjoyed your book, The Power of Perfect Vision. I found it quite helpful in refining my own techniques. I especially liked your explanation of the physiology of focusing and your explanation of the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand). This resonates with my own methodology of Hormetism – the progressive, intermittent application of specific stress to induce lasting adaptation, and in your advocacy of the plus lens to counteract myopia.

      Where I may find some disagreement with you and the Bates method is in the idea that myopia can be substantially treated by relaxation of muscular tension. While I don’t doubt that stretching exercises promote “flexibility”, which may be beneficial in its own right, my reading of the IRDT theory (and my own experience) is that it is the application of controlled stress — not relaxation — that ultimately leads to a permanent remodeling of the shape of the eye, and long term relief of myopia.

      I’d be interested in your thoughts on the possible conflict between the “relaxation” and “stress” models of myopia reversal. I’m certainly open to revising my views in light of any convincing evidence.

      Todd

  31. Dear Bek,
    I find it very helpful to understand the need for “anti-prescription” lenses. The minus is so “easy” — but on second thought — so bad. Here is a video to “visualize” how and why a plus is so essential.
    http://www.preventmyopia.org/flashanimation.html
    I hope this helps you make a strong commitment to wear that plus to get your Snellen clear. Otis

  32. Bek, we are here to support you! Todd managed to slowly clear his vision by following the leadership of Brian Severson. He was at -3 diopters (probably about 20/60 to 20/70. By strong understanding and commitment he cleared his vision to normal. YOU COULD DO THIS ALSO!! There is nothing to stop you. To further encourage you in your quest, here is a statement of a 14 year-old who, “got the idea” and worked on prevention successfully:
    http://myopiafree.i-see.org/AboutUs.txt
    So think about it, and choose. Todd did it. Stirling did it. And you can do it!

  33. Sonia

    Hello Todd,
    I want to try the + lenses, being a myope. But I don’t understand my prescription, because it says : right eye -1,00(+1,00)97 left eye -1,25 (_1,25)83, and yet I feel that I see slightly better with my left eye…
    Do I need to use different + lenses for each eye?
    Should I just start with +1 lenses?
    I stopped using my glasses, even when reading, except when I draw the model or something further away (I’m an artist and even a slightly blurry vision from far is a problem).
    Thanks for the article and great site!

    • Todd

      Sonia,

      From your prescription, you are mildly myopic in both eyes, -1 in the right and -1.25 in the left. When you say you think your left eye is “stronger”, do you mean without glasses for distance vision? If so, your prescription would be incorrect.

      I would suggest printing out a Snellen eye chart and testing your own vision, since often the opthamologists make mistakes. As Otis Brown and Alex Eulenberg have recommended, doing it yourself also has the advantage that you can track your own progress using plus lenses. I would check out the great links on the I-see website to download your own eye chart and learn how to use it: http://www.i-see.org/eyecharts.html

      Your eyes are close enough to each other that I would start by using +1.00 diopter “reading” glasses that you can find in any pharmacy for less than $20. Wear them only when reading or at the computer.

      Please let us know of your progress!

      Todd

  34. Scott

    Todd, your article nicely sums up what I’ve read on the subject of plus-lens therapy. Couple questions/comments that I have not seen addressed elsewhere:
    First, when we’re referring to the eye’s refractive error, is it not more accurate to use the contact lens prescription than the glasses prescription? I saw on one site where someone compared their pre-therapy glasses prescription to their post-therapy refraction calculated by far-point measurement. I’m not doubting your improvement, only trying to understand the degree of myopia you began with so I can compare your case with others’ and my own.
    Second, I disagree with the reasoning used in the Hung study. As you noted, they reconciled the IDRT with the study showing the accelerated progression of myopia through under-correction by reasoning that the increased rate was due to repeated FAR-TO-NEAR (not NEAR-TO-FAR) viewing cycles, where the defocus area repeatedly went from large (when viewing things at a distance), to small (when viewing closer objects), enabling the biochemical mechanism for further axial growth. Their premise is that children spend more time distance-viewing. Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but, isn’t it true that for every far-to-near cycle, there is a corresponding near-to-far cycle? How could the eyes place more emphasis on one over the other? In light of all the other studies showing slowed myopic progression through use of bifocals or progressive lenses, the Hung publication doesn’t make that much sense. Also, they still say that the use of high-powered plus lenses encourage hyperopic growth because, in my interpretation, then it is the case that things are ALWAYS a little out of focus (except for really short distance viewing). So I don’t see how we should use plus lenses only for distance when we can use them to simulate blurred distance viewing perfectly well while reading.
    Third, any possible dangers of such therapy? If the choroid does in fact thicken to account for some of the improvement, could this present any strain on the retina as it pushes it toward the focal plane? My interest in this method is primarily out of concern for the long-term health of my eye (i.e., preventing detached retina and other risks that are increased when the eyeball is elongated). I’d like to get it back closer to normal. From my readings, the choroid thickness increase accounts for only a small amount of the improvement from this therapy, but it changes nonetheless. Would you say that the entire structure of the eyeball sclera and other layers from front to back are involved in the axial shortening? Have you ever considered getting a sonograph of your eyes to examine their new structural make-up?
    Finally, did you fine tune your method any through nutritional changes and the like? It would seem that subjecting the body to some stress from caloric deficiency would enhance the therapy’s efficacy. It seems to fit with that story circulating on some sites alleging that a moderately nearsighted soldier lost in the jungle for six months emerged with perfect vision. The difficulty in catching moving animals for food when you’re half blind seems like pretty good motivation for vision system adaption mechanisms to kick in. I know that the axial-length control is found in the retina itself, but perhaps the brain could direct more necessary proteins/nutrients to the region when the body is properly stressed. When I used to work out, I read that pull-ups are more effective than pull-downs where you are sitting because the sensation of having to maintain your grip and pull yourself up or risk a fall gets your hormones flowing and gives muscles that extra “kick”. I don’t plan on getting lost in the jungle, but I wonder if we could simulate the stressful conditions to some degree through calorie restriction and staying hungrier and then after a day of wearing plus lenses, rewarding our body’s tiny visual adaptation by eating until exhaustion!
    I write this after 3 days of wearing +1.5 lenses at the computer all day. I did notice some halo effect at night through my left eye (which tested recently at .25 diopters worse than my right) on the second day, but tonight it seems to have vanished.
    I’d like to take my contacts down about a quarter to a half diopter but unfortunately that requires a prescription and I think it’d be a challenge to get someone to underprescribe to the extent I need for improvement (certainly they would be afraid of legal liability if their patient wrecked his/her car). Anyone have any luck getting around this? It frustrates me that we are so reliant on optometrists and have little control over our own prescriptions when it is OUR vision at stake. I have considered just switching to glasses but I have never asked for a lower prescription… do you have to do any negotiating with the opticians or will they grind out any lenses you request even without a prescription? At 23, I’m already at -5.75 diopters (contacts), just shy of severe myopia and I will NOT let my vision deteriorate any further than this, and that includes refusing stronger prescriptions. Sorry for the long post, hopefully I have contributed something to this topic.

    • Todd

      Scott,

      A lot of great points and questions in your comment. I’ll try to answer them briefly, though I may not hit all of your points:
      1. I’m not sure why a prescription for contacts would be any more or less accurate than one for glasses. Accuracy depends on the skill of the opthamologist.
      2. My glasses prescription was given to me by my OD. I wish I had known my actual Snellen score at the time, but I never learned and was not well informed enough to even ask.
      3. I’m not sure I understand your objection to the Hung study. I think the point about “near-to-far” viewing was not meant to distinguish between “near-to-far” vs. “far-to-near”. They are the same thing, as far as the Hung study goes; the term just refers to a situation in which time is divided between near and far work, as opposed to be dedicated only to one or the other alone. No particular presumption was made that children spent more time in distance viewing. Rather, the main point was that, while undercorrected minus lenses may help when used for distance viewing, they will actually tend to exacerbate myopia when used for near viewing. So it is a bad idea to wear undercorrected lenses for near work; use them only for distance viewing. They are better than using strong minus lenses, but still allow myopia to progress. On the other hand, using plus lenses (or no lenses at all) for near viewing is needed if you actually want to halt or reverse myopia (by inducing hyperopic growth). My only puzzlement with the Hung study is why full correction is somehow considered better than undercorrection and why it was found to produce “emmetropic” (i.e. balanced) growth. I would have though it would be worse than undercorrected lenses by leading to faster development of myopia, relative to undercorrected lenses. I would have supposed they have a greater tendency even than undercorrected lenses to produce myopia.
      4. High powered plus lenses are mainly useful in correcting myopia (by stimulating hyperopic growth), but only when worn for near viewing. They are not really much use for distance viewing if you have myopia, unless that myopia is already quite weak. The ideal combination would be bifocals with plus lenses for near work and undercorrection for distance.
      5. Your question and concern about choroid thickening and risks to eye health and structure posed by plus lens therapy is a good one. Unfortunately I am not qualified to speak to that, as I don’t have the training or experience. Nor have I considered getting a sonograph or ultrasound of my eyes to prove elongation (for one thing, I don’t have a baseline sonograph to use as a baseline referece).
      6. I haven’t done much research into nutritional effects on the progression or inhibition of myopia. However, I ate a mostly low carb diet during the time my myopia decreased, and I found some interesting research suggesting that low carb diets might help by increasing glucagon and decreasing insulin. I have noticed that cutting back on sugar helps sharpen my vision. Furthermore, I take fish oil (as an orange-flavored Norwegian cod liver oil emulsion) about twice a week, and I notice this sharpens my visual acuity and significantly intensifies my perception of colors, particularly red-orange-purple. When I do intermittent fasting, my vision is particularly sharp, perhaps due to the insulin reduction. So your point about the solider in the jungle resonates with this. To some extent, however, these are subjective assessments and I don’t have hard evidence to generalize them.
      7. Regarding opticians, you should shop around. My wife is working on reducing her prescription (for hyperopia) and we found an optician who was willing to reduce the prescription upon our request. Or just get a prescription from your OD and change it yourself. It’s your life, don’t let someone push you around. The other thing you can try is to purchase Optx “stick on” lenses from Eyesave. You add a drop of water and these flexible plastic plus lenses adhere strongly to your minus lenses and effectively produce an undercorrection. You can get them in various strengths.
      8. At -5.75 diopters you are headed in a bad directlon. I’m glad to see you are refusing to accept this. With strong motivation and perserverance, you CAN halt and reverse the progression of your myopia, as I and many others have done.

      • Scott

        Thank you for your response.
        I believe we may have our studies confused… there are at least two “Hungs” frequently cited in this field. The publication I was referring to is here: http://www.oepf.org/jbo/journals/15-3%20Hung-Ciuffreda.pdf. Regarding the undercorrection leading to higher myopia, here is their argument, word for word (the graph on pg. 4 provides a good visual for this):
        “Our theory can be applied directly to the Chung et al. study with children. Since a young child spends a considerable
        portion of the day looking at far objects, the -0.75 D stimulus level can be considered their baseline level. Thus, due to the 0.75 D under-correction, non-compensatible
        retinal-image defocus is produced. Periods of nearwork
        can be considered as episodes away from this relatively large
        retinal-defocus area baseline level (point C in Figure 4) to a smaller retinal defocus area at a higher accommodative stimulus level (point D in Figure 4). Repeated far-to-near
        viewing cycles would now result in a cumulative time-integrated
        decrease in retinal-defocus area relative to the baseline
        level. According to the IRDT, this would lead to a decrease
        in the rates of neuromodulator and proteoglycan release, thereby resulting in increased axial growth rate.”

        There you can see clearly their premise that the child spends more time looking at far objects than near objects (this establishes their “baseline” retinal blur). How they get from that to their conclusion I don’t know, because it does not follow from this assumption that far-to-near cycles have more effect on the eyes than near-to-far cycles. Not a sound argument at all.

        IF plus-lens therapy works, I would argue that under-correction is equivalent to the use of a low-power plus lens and therefore should produce similar results. After all, a blur is a blur according to IRDT. This works within limits however, as studies with chicks have shown induced myopia through form-deprivation (i.e., blurring and or masking their vision to the extent that they cannot identify objects being viewed, and thus, won’t even try to accommodate, which I think is the key). IRDT fails to predict that outcome. The eye must also distinguish between myopic and hyperopic blur. Under the proposed mechanism, an eye in the hyperopic state would continue to shorten if during the growth increment further shortening led to even larger retinal blur (it shortens under myopic blur when the blur increases). Isn’t this right? So it seems that not all retinal defocus is treated the same way. I would argue the following mechanism is at work in emmetropization:
        Accommodation + blur -> increase in axial length of the eye
        NO accommodation + blur -> decrease in axial length of the eye
        To make use the plus-lens method, that is all that I think a person needs to know. Just view things under myopic defocus as much as possible.
        As to the exact process (i.e., how the eye knows when there should be accommodation, even with the ciliary muscle disabled), I offer a possible explanation which fits with the idea you touched on regarding retinal layers, and probably it is completely wrong as I am not an ophthalmologist, but what the heck: Within a given range (see above regarding form-deprivation), the retina can distinguish between different contrast levels (biochemical process I suppose with different wavelengths with different energies for different colors and all that) present within it’s layers. When the sharper contrast (more in-focus image) falls on the layer closer to the front of the eye, the ciliary muscle is signaled to squeeze the lens to increase focus. Even without the ciliary muscle, the eye can adjust during tiny growth increments to increase the amount of retina receiving the focused image. So at all times, through the dynamic accommodation and growth processes, the maximum amount of contrast is maintained throughout the multiple layers of the retina, the highest contrast hitting the center layer. The differential in contrast present between front and back layers of the retina has directionality to signal to the eye which direction to grow.

        Finally, I did a little more research regarding side effects and the results of some studies have shown astigatism popping up when axial-length is altered drastically. The study I am thinking of used lenses to induce eyes to change from +10D to -10D and then the reverse, -10D to +10D. Eyes that went the first direction, from hyperopic to myopic, however, became much more astigmatic than eyes that went the reverse direction. Just food for thought.

        • Todd

          Scott,

          Thanks for linking the correct Hung article – I should have noticed that myself. Upon reading it, I don’t think it is correct to state that “a blur is a blur according to IRDT.” In fact, hyperopic and myopic blurs have opposite effects, according to the theory. The abstract states: “a change in defocus due to either ocular growth or imposed optimcal stimulus provides the directional sense for ocular growth.” This mechanism is shown in detail in Figure 3: an imposed minus lens causes focus behind the retina and a decrease in local blur area as one moves from front to back; this in turn slows proteoglycan growth and elongates the eye, causing myopia, which acts to decrease the blur area. An imposed plus lens does the opposite, causing focus in front of the eye, an increase in local blur area (front-to-back), an increase in proteoglycan synthesis, and a shortening of the eye, causing hyperopia, which also acts to decrease the blur area. Figure 2 shows a similar result due to genetic growth tendencies. In short: the eye grows and adapts so as to minimize blur area.

          In addition, Hung and Ciuffreda point out that their IRDT theory is not just a theory, but has a number of key pieces of experimental support, including studies with severed optic nerves (proving no need for feedback from the visual cortex) and evidence of neurotransmitter involvement in synaptic plasticity and cellular growth within of the eye. Your thoughts about involvement and modulation of the ciliary muscle are interesting, but it would be important to find expermental evidence for this.

          Again, after careful reading, I think the phrase “far-to-near viewing cycles” is not meant to suggest the opposite order of viewing (i.e. vs. first near then far), but rather that the time-integrated typical distance is far (with a relatively large retinal defocus with undercorrection) shifting at times to near (with a relatively smaller defocus area) causing a stimulus for increased axial growth and myopia.

  35. For Scott and Todd,
    Subject: The success of a “bi-focal” study depends on HOW it is run and WHO conducts it.
    I have seen bifocal studies (O’Leary) that claimed that a “plus” had NO EFFECT AT ALL. I conder the people running it to be biased in the manner that they did it. (I can review this at a later date.) I published papers with a Dr. Francis Young. As a result, I know in detail exactly how he conducted his study. These results are published here:
    http://www.myopia.org/bifocals.htm
    These results were HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT — in detail. They show that it would be very wise to START with the plus before a person’s refractive STATE goes below -1.0 diopters (about 20/60). But since these results are always “contested” by majority-opinin ODs and MDs, I just separate them by calling the biased studies the “majoirty-opinion”, and the “correct” plus studies the second-opinion. But Todd is correct — if you accept the SCIENCE of the natural eye’s proven behavior, it would be very wise to “conduct” prevention yourself, before your refraction goes below -1 diopter, while you can still function with no minus lens on your face. Also, those who have been wise to start with the plus (at the 20/70 level) like Severson, see the results in about six to nine months. This is completely consistent with the Oakley-Young “plus” study. But prevention it truly not “easy”, and it is very clear that you can never “prescribe” it. It must be by the “stoic” person who has the “drive” to use the plus under his own consistent and agressive effort — in my opinion.
    Otis

  36. Dear Scott and Todd,
    Subject: What I consider to be “pure” science and the study of the natural eye.
    Re: I call this “Engineering/SCIENCE”, since it is an experiment that can always be repeated, and the same result will always be obtained.
    We should ask the question, is the minus lens “safe”, meaning can the minus lens ALL BY ITSELF “cause myopia”. The answer is a profound YES. It is assumed by “conventional” ODs that neither long-term near, and/or a minus — does not “cause” eye-stretch myopia. The sad scientific truth is that it does. Bu this is pure science, and can not be “reduced” to a (minus” magic pill in an office. Here is the “simplfied” data and concept:
    http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~wildsoet/images/neg_lens_induce_myopia.swf
    Any “open” discussion would include a “logical” discussion of this scientific fact. But, except for Todd, there is no discussion of the wise use of an “anti-prescription” lens. Otis

  37. Ephraim

    Wow, what an article! So glad I came across it. I have been interested in natural vision therapy for over 30 years, which is ever since I was told I needed glasses for distance vision after an eye test at school. Of course, being the headstrong person that I am, I rejected the idea and resolved not to wear glasses as long as I could do without them. So far, so good (thank God!). I always knew that glasses not only didn’t solve the problem, but actually made it worse.

    As a result, it started a long search, but all I could find at the time was the traditional Yoga eye exercises and the classic Bates book. Clearly, this is a developing science and things have come a long way. Hence, it is only in relatively recent times that I found out about plus lens therapy, thanks to the internet. Yours is the best article I have come across on the subject so far.

    Whilst some of your article is quite technical, I was able to get my head around most of it. However, I do have some questions which I shall try to ask briefly.

    1. I always thought that, reagardless of the length of the eye, it was primarily the job of the LENS to do the focusing with its power of accommodation. Hence, shouldn’t close/distance vision problems merely be a lens issue. (Please forgive my naivety!)

    2. Since reading your article, I’ve had a go at the plus lens technique. I was just wondering if it was normal to experience pain, especially in the weaker eye.

    3. I did read on one website that someone developed cataract from using this technique. I’m not sure I actually believe that, but I would like to know your opinion.

    4. My uncorrected DVA is 6/36 (or 20/120 on the US scale). I would like to know how this equates in dioptres, as I have not had a proper eye test for glasses, just the basic chart-reading one at the famous Moorfields eye hospital in London where I am resident. I think it’s about -2.00, but I’m not sure.

    5. Are you acquainted with Meir Schneider’s system and, if so, what’s your opinion. The man himself is quite impressive, considering he was born virtually blind.

    Regards and thanks.

    • Hi Ephraim,
      Like you I searched for “better answers”. To help clarify some of these issues, I developed a site,
      http://www.myopiafree.com
      I believe that, with great motivation (and before any minus is applied, it is possible to PREVENT ENTRY — by using the pus before a person’s Snellen goes below 20/70. My site will explain this, as well as explain why no OD or MD has been able to help the public at that threshold level. Some of this I admit, is “our fault”, but a lot of this is due to the “stone-walling” of the National Eye Institute. Todd will answer, but here is some of my judgments for your interest.

      Ephraim> Whilst some of your article is quite technical, I was able to get my head around most of it. However, I do have some questions which I shall try to ask briefly.

      1. I always thought that, reagardless of the length of the eye, it was primarily the job of the LENS to do the focusing with its power of accommodation. Hence, shouldn’t close/distance vision problems merely be a lens issue. (Please forgive my naivety!)

      Otis> This is a myth of the Donder/Helmholtz THEORY. It has never been proven, only assumed. In fact a “battery” of change occurs for accommodation to exist — not “localized” to the lens. The entire eye changes its total power, with a percentage due to the lens. Since there is disagreement about this, let us call this the scientific, “second-opinion”.

      2. Since reading your article, I’ve had a go at the plus lens technique. I was just wondering if it was normal to experience pain, especially in the weaker eye.

      Otis> A scientist who did this (Dr. Colgate) stated that some people might have this experience.

      3. I did read on one website that someone developed cataract from using this technique.

      Otis> That is a myth of those majority-opinion people who wish to dissuade you from using the preventive-plus correctly.

      I’m not sure I actually believe that, but I would like to know your opinion.

      Otis> If you dont’ want to get “stair-case” myopia from the minus, then you must start with the plus before you wear that first minus — in my opinion.

      Ephraim, Todd had the ability to make a strong commitment to the plus, based on Brian Severson’s success. But I think we all agree that it is not easy. I would read the site I prepared to understand why the public will reject the use of the plus — if there is an attempt to “prescribe” it.

      Best, Otis

      • Ephraim

        Thanks very much for your reply, Otis. I’ll save any further comments/questions till Todd has his say.

        Regards,

        Ephraim

    • Todd

      Ephraim,

      Glad you enjoyed the article, and sounds like you’ve done very well over the past 30 years by avoiding glasses. I’ll try my best to answer your questions, but keep in mind that I’m an engineer and biochemist, not an opthamologist:

      1. You are correct that the lens plays a key role in focusing, but its focusing ability occurs over a limited range. In myopes, the eye’s axial length increases too much for the lens to be able to accomodate, resulting in the retina being too far back from the focal plane. Take a look at the diagram in the Wikipedia article on myopia that shows this.

      2. Use of plus lenses at the edge of focal ability may cause some discomfort, but not pain. Plus lenses should not be worn all the time or even for extended periods without a break. Use them only when reading or doing close work, and take regular breaks every 15 minutes or so for a few minutes. Finally, the text should not ever be blurry; the idea is to push the print to the edge of blurriness, and let it clear. If it does not clear, you need to get closer. Reduce the time and distance until you can sustain this. But if you experience pain, stop and see a doctor.

      3. I’ve never heard about plus lens therapy causing cataracts. What possible mechanism could explain that? Cataracts are a clouding of the lens due to genetics, physical trauma or radiation. Wearing plus lenses is no different that focusing on distant objects, so how could normal use of the eye’s focusing ability cause any trauma? I’d suggest that the report you refer to may have been a coincidental association.

      4. If you have 20/120 Snellen reading, your approximate diopter deviation is approximately -2.5 or -2.75 diopters. There is a useful conversion table at this site. Like Otis, I recommend checking your Snellen score at least once a week to monitor your progress while using plus lenses. It’s like weighing yourself to see if your diet is working.

      5. I am familiar with Meir Schneider’s “Yoga for Your Eyes”. His his ideas and even his terminology resemble those of William Bates. I certainly have no objection to the idea of exercises to relax the eye, even though my approach uses “applied stress” to strengthen the eye. This is a bit like the debate as to whether weight lifting or yoga stretching is better for the muscles: the reality is that a combination of the two may be best, as they address different aspects of strengthening.

      Todd

      • Ephraim

        Thanks so much for your help, Todd. Really appreciate your time and attention. You are clearly quite serious about this business.

        Your explanation as to the focusing role of the lens in relation to axial length makes perfect sense.

        Yes, I think perhaps my plus lens sessions have been too long without breaks. For example, last weekend I spent about 45 minutes solid. Likewise, I think I’ve been pushing the print too far away. This all explains the consequent eye-strain. However, one thing I don’t understand about this therapy is how it differs and benefits more than simply progressively increasing viewing distance without using any lenses.

        I totally agree with you as regards the cataract, as I also had my doubts about such a connection.

        Anyway, thanks again and all the best.

        Ephraim

        • Todd

          Ephraim,

          Your questions are excellent, so thanks for contributing to the discussion. Regarding your last question as to how plus lens therapy is any different or more beneficial than progressively increasing viewing distance without lenses:

          The answer: there is no effective difference between the two! By wearing plus lenses you are effectively “fooling” your eyes into focusing as if they were focusing on a distant object — a book or computer — when in reality that object is close up. So you can get all of the benefits of plus lens therapy by walking around and focusing on distant trees, houses, telephone lines, whatever. The main advantages of plus lens therapy over lens-free viewing of distant objects are:

          1. It is more practical than distant object viewing for most of us who do a lot of reading each day
          2. It protects against the myopia-inducing forces that results from reading and other close up work
          3. Reading text involves a lot of clear, sharp, high-contrast black-and-white shapes with fine features. The eye searches out such sharp features to focus on, so text is more convenient than typical objects in the distance for finding defined sharp edges.

          This brings up another point: always do your plus lens work in a well lighted area. Brighter light makes it easier for the eye to achieve focus. If you can read outside on a nice day, that’s especially helpful.

          Good luck, Ephraiim!

  38. Hi Ephraim,
    Are (minus lens) glasses a scam?
    After we “induce” a negative status in our natural eyes, of say, -1 diopter (and about 20/60), I think we should be INFORMED of the preventive choice AT THAT POINT. I do agree that it takes a “special person” who has a strong desire to truly dedicate himself to “working” with the plus to pass the standard DMV tests (20/40 both eyes open). The “scam” is the “dead silence” of may ODs and MDs on this subject. Here is a review for your interest.

    http://breakfornews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=16509

    I finally “gave up” on these majority-opinion ODs, got my own trial-lens kit, and make certain I always pass the DMV test. I wish you all the luck in the world, and suggest you get your own Snellen and begin checking your visual acuity in bright light — as I do.
    Best, Otis

  39. nihal bhat

    following this article – using a black piece of paper with letters glued in the middle, and with +1.25 lens to start.

    eyes totally improving. previous -3 diopter glass. its too strong now.

    now only wearing -2 glass to drive. soon it’ll improve

    • Todd

      That’s great to hear, nihal! How long did it take you to make this progress?

  40. nihal b.

    after i did this exact technique(i also found it from another site) of shifting the letters to blur point, i see results in only 2 weeks. things are clearing up. night vision is hard(because no light) but, day vision noticeable difference.

    maybe 20/40 target is achievable with this program. one only needs that to drive without glasses.

    • Hi Nihal,
      I agree that we must pass the DMV requirement of reading the 20/40 line with both eyes open. If we can not do that, then we must get a minus lens and wear it while driving. For this self-checking here is a easy-to-use electronic Snellen. Just click here and then on “Display” several times.
      http://www.smbs.buffalo.edu/oph/ped/IVAC/IVAC.html
      If you can’t get 20 feet from your computer, just select 10 feet, and check from that distance. I know that some people are “over-prescribed”, by as much as -2 diopters. For example, one child has 20/40 on a Snellen (when the mother checked), yet the child was “prescribed” a -3.75 lens. My personal opinion is that the minus lens truly “kills” our vision, and great care should be taken in “prescribing” it. Otis

  41. nihal b.

    bear in mind , i tried similar before, but not quite at blur point, so no effect. critically it has to be at blur point, and then add stimulus slowly(e.g. more distance, or extra plus lens later?). once i do it exactly like above, very good result.

    • Todd

      Nihal, this is an excellent obervation. Stimulus at the blur point is essential. Failure to keep this in mind may explain the difference between those who succeed and those who fail when using plus lenses. And it may explain why some published studies of plus lenses did not show the benefits that you and I have experienced.

      To me, this is exactly the same reason that people who work out with light weights in the gym fail to gain strength and muscle mass, and why slow joggers never become fast runners. Only by pushing right to “the edge of failure” (but also being careful not to push too far and cause pain or damage) is it possible to make progress.

      This is a fundamental principle of Hormetism that is often not fully appreciated or understood. So I’m glad to see you have confirmed it for yourself, Nihal.

      Todd

  42. nihal bhat

    yep. also important to maintain it when not exercising. for example when on PC, make sure don’t wear glasses, and read at blur point. same with any books, or any other activities so as not dangerous(e.g. driving still use glasses). as long as short time wearing (not too strong) minus lens shouldn’t impede this program.

    • Hi Nihal,
      Subject: Why I read my Snellen.
      I always check my Snellen to make certain I pass the DMV requirement in my state (PA). Some states require 20/60, 20/50 and 20/40, but most say 20/40. I like to work with the plus to get better than 20/40, so I always pass the PA test when required. Here are the state requirements for your interest:
      http://www.lowvisioncare.com/driving_regulations.html
      I also know that I can get “low cost” glasses from Zennioptical.com (for about $12) if I need them to pass the DMV test. Otis

  43. Here are some remarks by a highly qualified OPHTHALMOLOGIST that totally supports plus-prevention. I have changed her name to protect her. SHe insisted that son wear the plus, to keep his vision clear for life. Dr. Bates describes this “success” as “negative proof” — in that when you are successful, (in keeping your Snellen clear) you can never PROVE that you would have become seriously myopic — if you did not wear the plus “correctly”.

    ++++++++++++++++
    Note (Names changed)

    Dear Otis,

    Must I really believe that you believe that my son John (Chief of the Clinic of Internal Medicine at the University) is the O N L Y minus-saved person!

    Can you not image how vast is the amount I during the years 1970 +/- untill 1991 had possibility to treat with my method and up till now and all over the world, in every continent!

    People with brains do understand my clear message and are ready to do all to save their health.

    My books, especially the PANACEA, will never lose their topicality!

    Dr. Kay

    ++++++++++
    If you are reading your Snellen, and can avoid the minus (except for driving) please continue to do so. This is indeed the medical second-opinion, which is the reason I post her remarks — to help YOU. Otis

  44. Ephraim

    To Todd & Otis

    Many thanks for your responses and encouragement. Nihal’s progress is also very encouraging – from -3.00 to -2.00 in just two weeks – amazing!

    Todd’s point about the eye’s axial length in relation to myopia and the fact (which I read on Otis’ website) that the natural progression of unaided myopia does not extend beyond -3.00 (which I have proved to myself over more than 30 years of not wearing minus lenses) got me thinking. Seeing as we are all in agreement that minus lenses exacerbate myopia, the question is: if someone (like me) has never worn minus lenses, is it fair to assume that no increase in axial length (elongation, in other words) has taken place and, hence, the myopia is then more of a lens issue? Which brings me back to where I started!

    I know it’s a bit laboured, but I hope I’ve made sense. It’s not always easy to explain what one means.

    Regards,

    Ephraim

    • Todd

      Ephraim,

      While it is true that minus lenses often accelerate the development of axial myopia, they are by no means the sole cause. Elongation of the eye will progress on its own, due to several factors, including genetic predilection and habits like excessive near work. So it is still an issue of elongation of the eye, not changes to the lens. It is true that the lens can become more rigid with age. This causes presbyopia, a loss in the magnitude and rate of accommodation ability. Hardening of the lens does not cause not myopia per se.

      The use of plus lenses aids in halting — and in many people, reversing – the progression of myopia whether it is due to genetics, poor reading habits, or the accelerating effects of minus lenses.

    • Ephraim,
      Subject: Your Snellen versus your “prescription”.
      For the most part I argue that avoid the minus. In fact, our 12 years in school can create a negative status of -2 diopters (that I consider a “natural process”.) This has been shown by monkeys who are kept in cages, and have no chance to look at distant objects — at all. But I believe in stopping it BEFORE it starts. I think that the “medical profession” is OBLIGATED TO WARN US ABOUT THIS ISSUE. But the absolutly WILL NOT DO THAT. That is tragic for all of us. Here is the data that convinces me that ODs (and the public) take the “easy” way out — just “show” the effect of a minus — and that SELLS. It takes a wise person to reject that, and use the preventive plus. In a condenced graph is the data by Soon See:
      http://myopiafree.i-see.org/soonicansee/index.html
      But, because of over-prescriptions, I truly do not trust any “prescriptions”. You might be lucky, and have a -3 diotper, yest be able to read the 20/50 line. But one thing is certain — the PROVEN effect of a minus on the natural eye. But each of us makes our own choice — not on science — but on the “advice” of an OD — who will not talk about plus-prevention. Severson was lucky, because he 1) never wore a minus lens 2) had INTENSE MOTIVATION 3) KEPT AT IT, because he belived it would work, and 4) Published a book on the subject — that Todd followed. Otis

  45. Subject: How “poor” or “bad” prescriptions develop.
    Todd had a “prescription” of -3 diopters. That might have been accurate, but I am always in “doubt” about any OD measurement. Here is a “Phoropter”, and what the OD is doing. The “patient” has no clue about what is done or why it is done. For educational purpose here is a video of the instrument:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUa089-spX0&feature=related
    I have heard of kids with 20/40 Snellen, who, with this instrument wound up with a -3.75 diotper “prescription.” That is just WRONG. In sheer self-defence, I developed my own “trial lens” kit to double check these “excessive” prescriptions.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuepac7BubI
    As an “Engineer” I prefer to do “prevention” myself. Most engineers are like that — and Todd and I make this type of judgment. Otis

  46. nihal bhat

    its mainly overprescription + using that overprescribed lens in near work that cause the eye problems. add to that a lot of stress during those years.

  47. My “Legal Disclaimer”, and why I never say “cure”
    This review is about those people who clear their Snellen from 20/70 to DMV NORMAL. This is where and WHY Brian Severson got into trouble. He claimed that he could “cure” myopia, thus claiming the function of a medical doctor. In that sense he “set himself up” to be accused of practicing medicine with out a license. This site describes herbs and doctors, but it also describes EXACTLY why I say, “clear your Snellen”, or “measure your refractive STATE — using youro own trial-lens kit.” I don’t sell anything at all. Everything I say or do is FREE! (It cost me about $8,000 to develop and write eight scientific papers on the subject however.) This is my “stoic” or “altrustic” attitude towards engineering and pure-science. I am forced to make the statement that you can get the eye to change its refractive STATE from -1.0 diotpers to +1/2 diotpers if you have the motivation for wearing the plus with great consistencey. This, in my judgment is not a “medical process”, and you can’t prescribe it.

    http://myopiafree.i-see.org/herbal.htm

    A few people, Brian, Todd, Stirling Colgate, have intutively “figured” this out. For me, the SCIENCE of the natural eye is all-but perfect. But the intellectual and physical commitments to consistently wearing the prevetive plus are indeed difficult. Otis

  48. Scott

    OK, a little update… It’s been almost 1 1/2 months now and I’ve been wearing +1.5 lenses almost every single evening for probably 3 hours average a day, reading computer monitors and books held just past the blur point. I’ve managed to keep using an old contacts prescription which is 0.5 diopters under what I was prescribed a couple months ago, but I don’t seem to be making any progress (items at a distance, which started slightly blurrier with this old prescription, perhaps have gotten somewhat sharper, but I seem to have hit a plateau, because distance vision is still much better when I test the new prescription lenses). I have noticed that I sometimes have very slow readjustment to distance viewing after only a matter of seconds of near-work… accomodative spasms I suppose. I wonder if I have some kind of dietary deficiency that is holding me back. I would like to at least stall the worsening of my myopia, but if I can reverse it, that’d be awesome. For those who have reversed myopia of a degree GREATER than -3.00 diopters, care to share your story? Given that we were more susceptible to myopia as evidenced by our more severe refractive error, I wonder if it will be more difficult or even impossible for us moderate-severe myopes to reverse it. It seems logical…

    • Todd

      Scott,

      Sorry to hear you seem to have hit a plateau. It’s possible that you’re being too hard on yourself, however. You indicate that, after only 6 weeks using your undercorrected contacts and plus lenses, you might already be seeing somewhat shaper images. That’s very good!

      But you also state “distance vision is still much better when I test the new prescription lenses”. Well, I think it should not be surprising that, after only such a short time, you still see better with full correction than with undercorrection. Vision just doesn’t change that fast. Nor is the slow readjustment to distance vision after brief nearwork so unusual or anything to worry about. It took you years to become myopic, so you can’t reverse that overnight.

      You’ve done a great job sticking with this for 3 hours a day over 6 weeks, and you are to be commended for it. Stick with it and you will see progress. In my own case, I found that my improvements came slowly at first, at random times, and in sudden steps. I saw print as blurry and then one day suddenly I saw a superimposed sharp image, which gradually got stronger over weeks. This happened in big steps, unpredictably. I don’t think that’s just me — it seems to be a common feature of the way we break through plateaus in many different areas, including weight loss, fitness, and the improvement of skills like playing musical instruments or learning languages. I’ve written two other posts about this that may be helpful:

      How to break through a plateau — mainly geared toward weight loss, but applicable to any change that requires persistence. See especially my graph showing how weight loss really occurs, and the discussion of homeostasis and the 3 points listed under “the secret to plateau busting”, especially point #3.

      George Leonard’s Mastery — another post I wrote about an inspirational little book filled with wisdom about how to pursue long term change and how to handle plateaus

      Another thing that can help a lot is sharing your struggle with others. I welcome and encourage you to post your experience and your questions on the Forum bulletin board linked to this blog, where you’ll see many others working through a similar set of issues. You could even start a personal page to track your progress.

      Good luck, Scott!

  49. Hi Scott,
    I have found many “excessive” prescriptions. I hope this IS THE CASE with you. If you can read with no lens on, and with a +1.5 for close work that might be the possiblity. I suggest that you do this “rough check” of your visual acuity. Just click here, and then no “Display” several times.
    http://www.smbs.buffalo.edu/oph/ped/IVAC/IVAC.html
    Click on “Larger”, and then view at 20 feet.
    (If you can’t get back 20 feet, then type in “10 feet”, and read at that distance.)
    If you report back (even 20/200) we (and you) could make a judgment about your improvement as you continue to work with your +1.5 diopter lens. Otis

    • Scott

      Todd and Otis, thanks for the encouragement and the links. I tested myself with the 10 foot distance setting and just barely (got 4/5 letters) managed to read 20/20 with both eyes with my 0.50 diopter “under-prescription” contacts. So I definitely think my new prescription is too strong. I could tell immediately because reading was difficult… not real useful to me given the fact that I spend 95% of my time reading. But yet, I read 20/20 and no better when I was prescribed those contacts, so perhaps I HAVE improved from plus-lens therapy. I hope the next doc I go to will agree to a slight under-prescription, say 0.25 to 0.50 diopters below the contacts I use now (0.75 to 1.00 diopter below my last prescription), to give me something like 20/30 visual acuity (20/40 might be pushing it as that is the legal limit for driving). Good luck to everyone!

      • Todd

        Great to hear, Scott! Keep us posted on your progress.

  50. Nirav

    Hi Todd,
    My daughter, almost 6 years old has myopia with -1.5 in each eye. I am worried that her prescription will get stronger as she has got it at a very young age. I am very much interested in the plus lens therapy if that will help her stop/reverse myopia progression. I have the following questions. Please guide me.
    1. Is it advisable to start plus lens therapy at such an young age?
    2. What power reading glass should she start using?
    3. How long should she read in a day? Does the 1 hour a day apply for her?
    4. How frequent should she take breaks while doing so?

    Thanks a lot
    Nirav

    • Todd

      Hi Nirav,

      Actually, childhood is the best time to start in with myopia prevention. The eye is still developing, and younger kids may be more teachable than adolescents. The main question is whether your daughter has the focus and patience to put in the time. Every kid is different, and you know your daughter best. But there is no harm in trying.

      The strength of the lens depends entirely on her degree of myopia. The diopter rating you of -1.5 that you have been given may or may not be accurate. A better test is to have her read a Snellen chart (read through the many references to this on the Forum for this blog, under “Eyesight without Glasses”). If she can read 20/40 or lower, then she probably does not need to wear minus lenses. For prevention, take her to the pharmacy and have her try on different pairs of glasses. Choose a strength where she can read in focus at 12-16″, but where the print starts to become fuzzy beyond 16 inches. Then read the other posts on this blog and forum that describe the “print pushing” technique in great detail.

      I think she can probably get by with two 15 minute reading sessions every day with the plus lenses. But if she likes books and computer work, have her use the lenses whenever she is reading. Have her take breaks every 15 minutes.

      Good luck,

      Todd

    • Hi Nirav,
      While I advocate prevention for pilots at 20/60, and -1.5 dioters (who are successful because the follow instructions and have the strongest of motives), I am truly sympathetic to children. I would start by watching her “reading” activity. How close does get get her nose to the page? 16 inches? 12 inches? 6 inches? A study in Ohio showed that while children started reading at 13 inches (about -3 diotpers) they all “leaned forward” and had there nose 4 inches (-10 diopters) from the page. Over time this “habit” becomes fixed, and the natural eye simply “adapts” to that reading distance. I know this is difficult for both parent and child. But if your child starts wearing the minus (often over-prescribed), the AVERAGE that she will “go down” will be -1/2 diopter in school, through the end of high school. I have posted a (electronic) eye chart in this thread. You can get one from i-see for FREE. I would put that chart up and have her read it. This is the first step in avoiding the use of the minus lens. Click here:
      http://www.i-see.org/eyecharts.html
      And the “Joel Schneider” PDF.
      Then print out the chart. Many ODs what your child to have extremly sharp vision. This can produce for a child with normal 20/40 vision, a “prescription” of -1, -2, or -3 diotpers. This is why it is essential that YOU do this check — in my opinion. Otis


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