Myopia: a modern yet reversible disease

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Posted 09 Aug 2014 in Uncategorized

Here is the video and slide set from my presentation at the Ancestral Health Symposium, August 9, 2014, in Berkeley, California. I enjoyed meeting many of you who were at the conference.  I’d recommend watching the video first, and perhaps follow along with the uploaded slide set in a separate window, since it is  more convenient for viewing references and other details.

(Note: You’ll notice some minor differences in the video and slide versions, as the AV team inadvertently projected an earlier draft rather then the final slides I had provided).




Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 8.45.47 PM


Overview of the talk.  For ease of reference, here is slide-by-slide “table-of-contents” summary of the presentation. People are always asking to provide a detailed explanation of exactly what steps to take to improve their vision.  You’ll find this bottom line “practical advice” in Slides 23-36

  1. Title: Myopia: a modern yet reversible disease
  2. My story:   I wore glasses from Grade 10 until 15 years ago. I don’t wear glasses any more!
  3. To reverse myopia, we need to first understand the causes.
  4. Myopia defined.   Myopia can lead to serious problems like cataracts and macular degeneration
  5. The prevalence of myopia has increased by 50-100% since 1970, across all age groups in the U.S.
  6. There is evidence for both genetic and environmental causes.
  7. An 1883 study of military recruits found myopia was much higher in students and merchants than farmers
  8. A 1969 study of Eskimos found that myopia had increased dramatically since Western schooling was introduced
  9. A 2012 study of German students found more than 50% of university graduates had myopia vs. 25% for dropouts
  10. In countries like Singapore and Taiwan, myopia is common among even young school children
  11. There is evidence that certain genes predispose to severe myopia. Copper deficiency induces myopia due to increased scleral wall elasticity.
  12. Cordain found that a high carbohydrate diet and deficiency of EFAs and minerals promote myopia
  13. It appears that a myopiagenic environment (near work) is needed to activate  genetic predisposition to myopia
  14. What is the biological mechanism?
  15. The normal lens changes shape to focus
  16. Myopia progresses in two stages: (1) near work induces lens spasm, causing pseudo-myopia; (2) use of minus lenses temporarily improves distance vision, but leads to eye elongation and axial myopia.  The result of elongation is a need to prescribe stronger minus lenses, in a vicious cycle of ever stronger lenses.
  17. Eye elongation is explained by the incremental retinal defocus theory.  Retinal defocus causes release of neuromodulators that lead to decreased scleral tissue integrity, and axial growth
  18. The IRD theory has been proven empirically in chicks, monkeys and humans using optical reflectometry
  19. How can myopia be reversed?
  20. First, it is useful to understand the framework of hormesis — the beneficial response to low dose stress
  21. Weight lifting is a good example of hormesis and the principle of Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand
  22. What if gyms had the same business model as optometrists?  They would prescribe exoskeletons to help us walk, but these “crutches” would make us weaker, not stronger.  Lenses are crutches
  23. To reverse myopia with hormesis, we need to use active focus.  That means print pushing and plus lenses while reading, and progressively weaker minus lenses and image fusing for distance activities
  24. To embark on this journey, you must first determine how myopic you are, using a Snellen chart
  25. For print pushing, you need plus lenses only if your myopia is less than -2D. Otherwise use your naked eye
  26. Find the distance (D1) where print is at the edge of focus and (D2) where it starts to blur.  Read between D1 and D2
  27. Move back from your computer or book to stay between D1 and D2. Do this for 2-4 hours a day, taking frequent breaks.  Graduate to stronger plus lenses when you drop below 2D, and continue until you achieve 20/20 vision!
  28. For distance (walking, TV, movies, meetings) buy glasses with a 0.5D reduced prescription
  29. Once your vision gets better, you may notice “double vision” or ghosting.  This is a good sign and something you can use to improve your vision!
  30. Find distant objects with sharp contrasting edges: telephone wires, tree branches, edges of buildings or signs
  31. Focus on the darker of the double image and away from the fainter image.  With time, the darker image will become darker, and the fainter image will fade away
  32. Eventually the double image with fuse into a single crisp image — very exciting!
  33. Most people have a weak eye and a stronger eye with less myopia.  The stronger eye will dominate, so strengthen the weaker eye by patching, shielding or winking shut the stronger eye…until the two eyes are roughly even.
  34. Frequently asked questions
  35. How much time should I spend on print pushing?  Spend 2-4 hours a day while doing routine computer work or reading. This is not a separate exercise, but something you build into daily activity
  36. How long before my vision improves?  Be patient — it’s like exercise or diet and won’t work overnight.  Expect some improvement within a few weeks, but it may take a year or more to clear your vision
  37. Is this the same as the Bates method?  Bates had some incorrect ideas about focusing, but his relaxation techniques can help reduce ciliary strain on the lens (pseduomyopia).  However, his method does not help if you have axial myopia and spend a lot of time at the computer or reading.  Print pushing specifically helps with that.
  38. Does active focus really work?  Check out my blog and forum for success stories
  39. And for the skeptical, here is a page of references on the epidemiology and causation of myopia
  40. And more references on methods and websites that provide a similar approach to mine
  41. Your eyes are adaptive organs which allowed them to become myopic, but you can use that same adaptability to reverse the process using active focus for both near and far activities
  42. Rediscover your natural vision — make it fun, make it a habit, make it a game.  You only have your glasses to lose!

Also be sure to check out these related posts and discussions:

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  1. Woody

    Hey Todd!

    I am myopic, and have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/200 vision in my right eye (dominant eye).

    I actually bought some reading glasses and a PATCH for my good eye to practice what you preach. Unfortunately I won’t wear a patch in public, and my wife just laughed at me at home when I would wear it while reading.

    If I wear the reading glasses normally will the right eye eventually catch up to the left eye, or am I doomed to wearing a patch if I want better/quicker/best results?


    • Todd


      Yes, I used a patch too and my kids thought it looked nerdy :-). But you have the right idea. As one of my slides above shows, it is important to occasionally block or diffuse the dominant eye to allow the weaker eye to catch up. You can also mudo this by winkingnormshielding When both eyes are almost even, then you ca. Use standard pryint using and plus lenses to make progress with both eyes.

      One downside of patching or winking is the it deprives the patched eye of light for a while. Some alternatives are intermittent blink or putting one hand along you nose at an angle in order to shield the dominant eye from focusing where the weaker eye is looking, but allowing light to get to it. Another option is to patch with a diffuser or order custom lenses from zenniopticsl that handicap the dominant eye.


      One problem with a patch is that itmdeprivesmthe patched eye of light.

  2. Carol Karwowski

    My vision is about 20/875 and 20/800 I think. I have astigmatism too. I’m not quite clear on what you mean by plus/minus lenses. I have bifocals. Is there a reference that details this more to someone who knows nothing about eyes? Thanks.

    • Carol Karwowski

      I gave the incorrect email. It won’t let me through the authentication to contact you to change the email. Ugh. I’m putting in the proper letters/numbers

  3. Sarah

    This is fascinating! I have worn glasses or contacts for nearly 30 years. My contacts are, I believe, -7.5. Is my vision far too bad to be able to use some of these strategies to strengthen my eyes and reverse some of my myopia?

    • Todd


      There is no reason you can’t make substantial improvement! Others have done so starting at -5 to -6 diopters. It depends mostly on your motivation and discipline in working at this. Work it into your daily routine for several hours each day.

      At -7.5D, you are only able to focus about 5 or 6 inches in front of your nose. That’s pretty close, but try reading at the edge of focus, extending your range each day. Alternately, you can wear plus lenses OVER you contacts. Pick out some +2 or +3 glasses from the pharmacy that allow you to reach the edge of focus at a comfortable reading distance.

      Graduate to stronger lusnlenses as your vision improves. Ask your OD for some weaker contact lenses that are 0.5 to 1.0 diopter weaker – so -6.5D to -7.0D in your case. You’ll be needing those weaker lenses soon!

      Good luck and please post your progress here or on the Discussion Forum. It inspires others to share tips and experiences.


  4. Todd,

    It is true – that nothing succeeds like success – your success. You are an example for all of us.

    It is true that at a person starting with self-verified 20/60, (about -1.5 diopters) can slowly get back to 20/40 (pass the DMV)), and then in perhaps nine months could get to 20/20.

    But it does take a person with great insight and long-term fortitude.

    Both of us are engineers, so our perspective in facing the challenge of recovery (from 20/60) is different, from the perspective of an optometrist in his office. I have a difficult time discussing self-prevention with an optometrist in his office.)

    Thanks for your efforts. I hope for the day when a scientific (preventive) study could be offered to pilots who are at 20/50, entering a four year college.

    That WOULD WORK – and you proved it could work.

  5. jane

    I feel really stupid (although I am highly educated which is why according to you I am myopic) but I don’t understand how to use the chart and where you are getting the -2 number from. How far from the chart do we try to read? when I look at the chart without my glasses I can read the 20/20 line at about 12 inches. So does this mean I am less than -2? Also does it mean I am in between -250 and -300, is that -2.5 and -3. Sorry very confused. My recent prescription is -3/25 in one eye and -3.75 in the other. None of this makes sense. Can you enlighten me? I think I do understand however that regardless of all these numbers I just need to read, say on the computer without my glasses where I can barely focus. Is that correct? I thought that puts a strain on ones eyes and not good for them? I have been told recently I have mild cataracts and floaters. I am 63 yrs old and have worn glasses since about 5th grade. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    • Todd

      Hi Jane,

      No problem – these numbers can be confusing. Slide 24 “Measuring Myopia with a Snellen Chart” shows several different sets of numbers with different meanings. The Snellen chart on the left side is the eye chart you see at the DMV or your eye doctor. You try to read the lowest line that you can read standing 20 feet back from a full size chart. For example, if you can read Line 5 (PECFD) that corresponds to 20/40, which means you can read from 20 feet what someone with normal vision can read at 20 feet. If you don’t want to print out the full size chart, you can use the online computer charts made for closer distances, such as this one:

      On the right side of Slide 24 is a table with 3 columns. The left of these 3 columns is the Snellen, which we already discussed. The middle column is an approximate “diopter” or “D” reading, which refers to the strength of the “minus” lens that a conventional optometrist would fit you with to correct that particular Snellen. So if your Snellen is 20/40, that would correspond to a -0.75 D lens. The column at the far right is the distance at which you can focus if you have a given Snellen or diopter reading. So again, the person with 20/40 and -0.75D would be able to read normal size text in focus from a distance of 52 inches.

      Since you can read text from about 12″, using that same chart between 11″ and 13″, you have between 20/250 and 20/300 Snellen and would have lenses around -3 to -3.5 diopters So that’s pretty close to your recent prescription of -3.25/-3.75. It all makes sense!

      Since your myopia is stronger than -2.0 D (equivalent to 20 inch focusing distance), you do not need to use plus lenses. To strengthen your eyes with print pushing, you have two choices:

      1. Read a book or computer that is about 12″ away from your face (your D1 distance) and keep pushing back and forth between D2, which is probably around 14″. That’s a little awkward, but not too bad

      2. If you don’t like sitting so close, then buy some underprescribed lenses. Reduce each eye by 0.5D, which means 2.75/3.25 in your case. A good optometrist or optician will do that for you. If they don’t cooperate, order your own custom glasses from

      I suggest listening to the video a few times to reinforce the ideas.

      Do NOT attempt to embark on this unless you are willing to put in the time and effort. There is a big reward of clear vision at the end, but at the same time it requires persistence and patience to get there.

      Good luck,


  6. I attended this talk at AHS and it was great. Thank you so much. I have a question for those of us with astigmatism. We can not correct that with this method, right? However, my contacts do not correct for it either, so I could still get rid of my glasses? I guess my astigmatism is pretty mild so they never get me contacts that correct for it. My script is Right SPH-2.50 CYL-0.75 Axis 5 Left SPH-2.75 CYL-1.00 Axis 165. Is it only the SPH number that we change if we want glasses that are a bit less strong?

    • Todd

      Rev. Katie,

      Glad you enjoyed the talk. I didn’t directly address astigmatism in my talk for two reasons: (1) I wanted to keep the talk focused and it is hard enough to address myopia adequately in a short talk; (2) I’m still researching astigmatism and have not yet reached any firm conclusions.

      Anecdotally, I’ve heard that astigmatism tends to diminish in many people as their myopia is reversed. But in quite a few people it persists even after myopia is reduced. I’m working on an extension of my method that may help such people. For now, you may want to get the DeAngelis book (listed in my references in the slides) and investigate Leo Angart’s method for astigmatism reduction:…/Astigmatism/index.htm

      At this point I cannot vouch for how well the DeAngelis and Angart techniques work, but would love to hear from any who have tried them.


      • Reece Haynes

        Hello Dr Todd.
        I’ve just watched the above video and read through parts of the other posts. I’ve been following the methods in the De Angelis book which I own. It advocates using forceful blinking (Contraction-Relaxation-Blinking movements) to focus defocused print. I’ve managed to reduce my astigmatism in at least one of my eyes ( down to 0.25) but I cannot tell if that’s because I stopped wearing minus lenses or because I started practising print pushing. My myopia is around -3.00 in both eyes. I haven’t managed to decrease it but the rate of increase has slowed greatly. ( my eye test before last ( when I still wore glasses) showed an increase of -1.00 in both eyes whereas the most recent one showed an increase of -0.25 in one eye). I think that if I started wearing plus lenses for screen work and took more breaks to focus into the distance I would probably start to improve. However, I use the forceful blinking nearly all the time which stops me needing to use glasses but I usually do print pushing for an hour ( in one chunk with a short break every 15 minutes) every other day. I personally think this isn’t enough but after watching the video I now realise that I can use the technique whenever I do close work, which is good!
        I was very interested in what you said about ghosting because I’ve noticed that lines appear sharper and darker to me than other objects and that there is a ghost image around them that is fainter. I’m glad that you’ve picked up on this because I always thought it was just what happened in myopia. Now I can use it to my advantage! I just hope I can keep it up because I tend to lose patience quite quickly. Also, being a student I find it difficult to remember to move back from my workbook when writing.
        However I find it very difficult to go out in the dark because the forceful blinking has a much smaller effect ( I assume because of the lack of light). I suppose that will be good motivation in addition to having clear sight! Also as I’m 16 I understand I still have a lot of time to reverse the damage.

        Thanks for taking the time to read this as I do tend to be bad at writing succinctly.

    • Hi Rev. Katie,

      Subject: How you can covert astigmatism – for better vision.

      Item: If it is less than -1.25 diopters, you can convert to “spherical equivalent” – as I do it.

      In fact, I check my refraction with spherical lenses – and always get 20/20 from that spherical lens.

      The conversion is easy. Just take 1/2 the astigmatic value, and add it to the refraction. (You can ignore the angle of 165 degrees.)

      So, your converted value will be:

      -2.75 D (Sph) -1.00/2 = -3.25

      This is the spherical equivalent. I always have good vision, and check for 20/20 myself.

      You can order the glasses from for about $15.


  7. Nate

    Great talk Todd!! And it’s good to have some posts from you again.

    I first encountered this method of eyesight improvement 3 years ago-and have been doing it ever since. I wore glasses and contacts for over 30 years-constantly worsening. My last prescription was -6.75, which is pretty bad. After two years of applying the method, I had an eye exam, and the results gave me -4.75. And since then I have certainly improved.

    So the method works, but for very bad myopia, it does take a while.

    I agree that the important thing is incorporating the activities into your daily life. And be patient.

    Thanks again. This has really improved my life.


    • Hi Nate,

      Subject: The power of, “doing prevention yourself”.

      I think it is wonderful to have a medical doctor involved in these discussions. ANY improvement – is a first step in the right direction. I conduct analysis of all natural eyes, using neutral language as far as possible.

      Tragically, as soon as I suggest that it is possible to get the eye to change “in a positive direction”, by intelligent wearing of a plus lens (when at 20/40 to 20/60) I get “attacked” by people in medicine who either claim that

      1) It can be done,
      2) We will prohibit you from doing it. or
      3) You are practicing medicine, when you advocate that at person make an informed choice – to wear a plus and get a change of +1 diopter – to get to 20/40, and eventually 20/20.

      Nate – you are correct. It is a very slow path, to get out of -6 diopters. But I do advocate that a person be informed of the possibility of prevention, before he starts wearing a minus lens.

      For me, that is where true success can develop. Todd had a light prescription of -1.25 diopters (probably about 20/50 to 20/60). He developed a reasonable success.

      I am certain he passes the required DMV test. Beyond that point, with further wearing of a plus, he could get to 20/25 and 20/20.
      Todd’s write-up is EXCELLENT. I posted it on my site. We all learn in different ways.

      The real and powerful effect occurs when Todd gives his lecture, with no glasses.


  8. Jasmine

    Dear Dr Todd,

    Thank you so much for your website and your video. My daughter is 8 years old and she has intermittant sqint problem from birth as well as myopia. I am sad to find out during our last visit to eye doctor that her right eye myopia has increased from -3.5 to -4.5 while left eye surprisingly decrease from -3.25 to -3.0.

    I thought about it for a long time why should it be so. I started letting her under-corrected glasses a year ago. So both eyes she wears -2.5 since last year. Because of her squint(she can choose to let one eye wander away), she slowly adapts to use her left eye for far distance and right eye for all near work. Thus over the past year, I notice her near sight squint has worsened as well as her right eye myopia. Whereas because she seldom uses her left eye for near work and mostly for far objects, her left eye actually improves.

    I am glad I seem to understand the mechanism behind, but sadly I do not know how to make use of this knowledge until I chance upon your website! Thank God about that. I support fully your theory of using self-adaptive mechanism of the eyes to achieve its own recovery.

    I will start the print pushing method for her nearwork, however, I am confused which eyes to patch for near and far work. Can you give me some advice?

    Thank you very much,

    • Todd

      Hi Jasmine,

      You daughter’s less myopic left eye is dominant for distance while the right eye is dominant for close work. It’s not uncommon to have this condition, sometimes called ambylopia. In fact I have slight ambylopia, with a dominant right eye for distance.

      There are a few steps I can suggest:

      1. She can try reading by patching her right eye and print pushing with her left eye. At -4.5 diopters, she would have to hold a book or screen about 9 or 10 inches away from her face and try to keep it at the edge of focus. An alternative to patching is to have her hold her right hand up to her nose and tilt it slightly to block her view of the book or screen, but still let light into the eye. It’s not that hard to do once you get used to it. Once her left eye catches up to the right, she can do print pushing with both eyes open.

      2. For distance, you can order lens that are slightly undercorrected for the left eye and strongly undercorrected for the right . So -4 for the right and -2 for the left. That will force her right eye to carry more of the load. You can order these for

      With both #1 and #2 it is important to take frequent breaks. While your daughter may have an excellent attention span for an 8 year old, it’s hard to ask too much. Working at the edge of focus for 1 or 2 hours a day, while doing reading or screen work, will start to move her in the right direction. You may find that you need to buy weaker lenses every several months.

      Good luck,


      • Jasmine

        Thank You very much Todd,
        I am very thankful to receive your advice. They are very helpful!

        I hope it will really help my daughter. We have already started the print pushing. When she is holding book at edge of focus, I realize it is now her left eye which takes over because her left eye is -2.5 while her right eye is -4.5 for print pushing. Therefore I shall try patching her left eye instead until her right eye catch up. Do you agree?

        I will order the lens for distance viewing from a local optical shop.

        God bless,

        • Jasmine

          Sorry correction: her left is -3.0 and her right is -4.5.

          • Todd

            OK…. so we are back to the original advice…patch the dominant (left) eye to allow the weaker right eye to work harder and improve.

            • Jasmine


  9. Nate
    • Todd

      Thanks for the link, Nate. I had not seen that site, “Rogue Health and Fitness”. It’s straight up hormesis, with good reviews of basic physiological studies, and a focus on fitness.


  10. slim934

    OK so let’s look at my situation.

    -7.75 diopter in left eye and -8.00 in the right. Only slight astigmatism in the right eye thus far.

    What would the progression look like for somebody like this? Like, for this level of myopia how would you suggest starting doing concentrated practice with respect to the whole push-pull of doing close work? And what do I do for the rest of the time? My issue is that with my vision being so bad I really have to rely on my current glasses to do just about anything.

    Thanks for your time and work!

    • Todd


      With your strong myopia, here is the strategy I recommend:

      1. Get some under corrected lenses, around -7 or -7.5 in each eye for distance work (walking, meetings, movies, riding in cars). Wear these whenever you aren’t reading, but don’t wear them passively. Really look at sharp contrasting edges and consciously try to see things in focus.

      2. For reading books or computers you have two choices: (a) if you wear contact lenses, buy some +2.5 plus lens glasses at the pharmacy and wear these OVER your contacts while doing print pushing; or (b) get some lenses that are under corrected by 2.5 diopters (in other words -8 + 2.5 = -5.5 diopters) in each eye and wear these while reading. You can order these online from

      3. If you want to get very sophisticated you could combine #1 and #2 into “undercorrected bifocals”. But I’d advise starting out with two different sets of glasses for the two activities until you get the routine down.

      Be prepared to spend some money buying weaker sets of lenses every 3-6 months, or faster if you are more diligent about working at it.


      • Slim934

        Thanks much Todd. One more query.

        You mention that with respect to using plus lenses for close-up work, you want to make sure that the text is far enough so that it is just out of focus. Can you expand a little bit on how far that is? To use your weightlifting analogy, what is the effective load I can place on my eyes that would still be productive vs. non-productive? Does it have to be JUST out of focus, or can it accommodate a little bit more fuzziness? Or is there not enough information to say.

        I’m more or less trying to make sure I do not overshoot the point of meaningful stress into the “waste of time” zone of stress.

        • Todd


          Your question is a good one. My answer is to generate as much blur as you can comfortably tolerate for the activity and situation at hand. There must be at least a slight detectable blur, otherwise the defocus mechanism is absent. Even a slight, barely perceptible amount of blur is effective, but it will take longer to see improvements. At the other extreme, some people on my forum report that a “deep blur” is effective; they sit staring across the room for minutes or hours and see sudden spurts of improvement. I don’t think a high level of blur is necessarily ineffective or a “waste of time”. It can work, but personally I don’t have the time for pure eye exercises and am looking for a way to integrate print pushing and other incremental defocus methods into daily activities like reading or computer work. For that, I find that too high a degree of defocus is distracting and difficult to sustain without frequent breaks.

          So my answer boils down to being pragmatic. Find a degree of blur that is noticeable, yet which you can tolerate during episodes of reading for 15 minutes at a time. You may need to adjust the degree of blur depending on your energy level, lighting level and personal disposition.

          I personally find that keeping the degree of blur very slight and just noticeable is much more tolerable than reading at a high blur level. I think it is a more sustainable practice that you’ll stick with for weeks and months. However, you might experiment occasionally with stronger blur for activities that are relaxing or require less demanding attention, such as TV viewing or going for a walk around the block.

          Hope that answers your question.


  11. Davina

    Dr Todd, you’ve given me hope! :)

    I have nystagmus and also had surgery to correct severe double vision in both eyes. Do you se these inhibiting my progress as I do the strengthing exercises? I have an incredibly hard time focusing on normal font due to the shaking caused by the nystagmus.

    • Todd

      Hi Davina,

      Nystagmus is a condition involving involuntary movement of the eyes. Typically these movements are controlled centrally by the brain. So it is not an refractive disorder, and doesn’t involve strengthening muscles such as the ciliary muscle that control lens focusing so I don’t think the methods I describe can help you.


      • Davina

        Thank you for responding! I wasn’t very clear with my question. :) I know there’s no cure for nystagmus. I also have severe myopia and was wondering if the nystagmus would inhibit the strengthing exercises for reversing myopia.

        • Todd


          Ah, thanks for clarifying. No I don’t think your nystagmus would prevent you from using focusing exercises to reverse your myopia. So long as you have the patience and ability to focus with intention on slightly blurry print or features of distant objects, and ignore the distractions of your nystagmus, you’ll make progress. Try it! To prove that you are making progress, take care to measure your Snellen score with an eye chart at least once a week. Then you’ll know whether it’s working.

          Good luck,


  12. Shing

    Great talk, just watched it yesterday. Been doing what you suggested there for quite a while now and slow but steady my eyesight has improved. I still have like -1.5 diopters left but the feeling, knowing you are able to get rid of your myopia, is just amazing.

    It all seems so logical to me that I don’t understand why noboby knows about this stuff.

    • Shing –
      Todd is correct. With a mild negative prescription, recovery is in fact possible. It just takes strong insights and acceptance that it will take some time to 1) Get to 20/40, that passes the DMV, and then 2) Naked Eye, normal.
      Sadly, very few people have the long-term persistence to do this. I do suggest that you down-load a Snellen chart, put a bright light on it, and check it consistently.
      That is what “works” for me. There is a great deal of additional information on Todd’s site (Discussion Forum), that can help you to pass the required DMV line.

  13. Steve

    Hi Todd

    I was wondering what kind of plus lenses do i need if my prescription is as follows:

    minus 0.50 Rigth Eye

    minus 0.75 Left Eye

    With minus 0.50 Left Eye and 0.50 Right Eye of astigmatism.

    I´m using 1 diopter of plus lenses to read but i don’t know if im doing well

    Thanks, best wishes

    • Todd


      The answers to your questions are all on Slides 25-33 of the slideshow posted above. Read those carefully.

      For near vision, since you have weak myopia, you probable need a stronger plus lens. Go to the pharmacy and try on several pairs. Pick the pair that allows you to read at D2 (edge of blur) at a comfortable reading distance as you would read at your computer. For distance, you can probably just go without glasses for several hours a day. But never let yourself experience strain or pain. Take frequent breaks and go back to your regular lenses if your eyes get tired. Eventually, you can get rid of the lenses. You are very close to normal vision.


    • Hi Steve,

      Subject: It is a good idea to check your own Snellen (Visual Acuity) yourself.

      That is indeed a “mild prescription”. It suggests that your Snellen reading will be about 20/30 to 20/40, providing you check yourself. Here is a Snellen you can use for this self-checking:

      The legal standard for vision (in the USA) is that you must pass the 20/40 line. That is a reasonable, objective standard, that I accept as a requirement on myself. That is why I check.

      You will find the source of that chart – in the “header” of the above video. If you wish to get back to naked-eye 20/20, and personally verify this result – this would be your first step towards that goal.

  14. Steve

    Hi Todd and Otis

    I saw the slides, I´m getting the edge of blur with my +1 plus lenses with a 20 inches distance from my nose, but I have to be reading in my room with a artificial light.

    However if i go out outside I need to read around 40 inches from my nose because the sunlight is more clear, so i think could be a good choice to buy a +1.5 plus lenses for read in the backyard.

    Conclusions: +1 plus lenses for my room and +1.5 plus lenses to read outside.

    Is it Ok?

    And about Otis, I have tried the snellen chart in my room and i can read between 20/30 and 20/40.

    20/30 slightly in some days when I’m without stress

    Does plus lenses increase my astigmatism?

    Thanks best wishes

    • Todd

      “Conclusions: +1 plus lenses for my room and +1.5 plus lenses to read outside. Is it Ok?”

      Yes! Whatever it takes to induce the edge of blur. When circumstances change (lighting, fatigue, whatever), adapt your technique appropriately.

      • Steve

        By the way.

        Excellent presentation in The Ancestral Health Symposium

        This kind of work really helps, best wishes for you and your family.

        I would like to know something more. .

        Is it normal to see black points over some letters on the snellen chart after using plus lens about 45 minutes.

        Thanks Todd and Otis

        • Todd

          Thanks, Steve.

          I’m not quite sure how to interpret the “black points” you observe while looking at the Snellen chart. Perhaps they result from the diplopia or “double vision” I described in my talk. Many people see these “ghost” images as their vision is improving. In the talk, I describe how this is evidence of progress, and furthermore how you can take advantage of ghosting to drive further improvements in visual acuity by intentional “fusing” of the ghosted images, by actively focusing on the darker of the double or multiple images and allowing the fainter image to fade.


    • Hi Steve,

      It is always good to check your own Snellen in bright light. You would pass the USA DMV test, that requirs 20/40 vision. Given what you tell me, you could read at 50cm (20 inches) with a +2 to +2.5 diopter lens.

      The reading would be clear for you, and you have to “try” several (in a drug store) to find out a lens that is comfortable for you.

      When you select a +2, then, when reading, PUSH the writing away, until you can not make it out. Then “pull in” until it just clears. That is the correct way to select the plus.

      It takes time for this approach to be effective for you. When understood correctly, the “plus” is relaxing and comfortable. But it will take about three months of doing this to finally see an average of 20/20 on your Snellen chart.

      Also, as you begin to see “flashes” of 20/20, it will then be time to increase the strength of that +2, by about +1/2 to +3/4 diopters.

      That will make the 20/20 line even sharper.

      • Steve

        Hi Otis
        At the moment im using +1 plus lenses because when i decided to use this therapy i did not know what prescription was better for me, so Im going to buy a +1.5 o +2 plus lens to read outside at a comfortable distance about 20 inches, however indoors i need the +1 because if i use +2, probably i could not read at 20 inches.

        What you think?


        • Hi Steve,
          There is no evidence about astigmatism. But there are statements that it reduces, as your natural eyes respond to long-term wearing of a plus for near. It is clear that if you are slightly “nearsighted”, you will have to use a slightly less-strong plus lens – for close work. I am wearing a +2 as I type this on my computer, about 24 inches. If I am reading a book, I read at about 16 to 18 inches, and wear a +3 diopter – in both cases – pushing the work “away” to “just blur”, then moving in for comfortable clear vision.

          As you visual acuity improves, by getting 20/20 more consistently (refractive change of +3/4 diopters), you should plan to increase the strength of the plus by the same amount.

          There is a lot if “self-knowledge” to choose the lens. But the idea is that you will see your Snellen SLOWLY clear – as Todd has described it.

          I also measure my refractive status myself – just to be certain.

          • Steve

            Hi Otis and Todd
            Do you think if a person with 0.5 or 0.75 like me with myopia, could really have pseudo myopia?
            Because I have used my minus lenses sometimes in the last 2 years, however my myopia has not increased.
            Also two years ago, i have my first pair of glasses.
            What you think?

            • Todd


              Weak myopia (myopia less than 2 diopters) is frequently pseudo myopia. I can’t know for sure in your case — you would have to have an eye exam and have your eye axial length measured.

              Whether you have pseudo myopia, axial myopia, or a combination thereof, my recommendation is the same: practice “active focusing” (incremental defocus) without your lenses on distant objects, and pick up a pair of cheap plus lenses to do print pushing at the computer or while reading. Your myopia is sufficiently weak that plus lenses will be helpful.


            • Hi Steve,

              A lot of the answer depends on how much you value, going from -0.75 diopters, to 0.0 diopters, or from about 20/50 (on your self-checked Snellen) to 20/30 to 20/20.

              It also depends on where you are in school, your age, and again, whether you truly can make a strong commitment to long-term wearing of a plus. I would read the commentary here, if you are serous about wearing the plus for prevention.


              Most people simply do not have the motivation, so no OD will volunteer any information. They figure you just have no desire nor interest.

              I do not know how you define, “pesudo-myopia”.
              Most people will start with a plus, and then will “lose interest” and quit after a week or so. Obviously that will never work.

              Todd was successful, because of advice a pilot (Brian Severson) provided. It would take you about nine months of wearing a strong plus – to accomplish what Todd accomplished. This is simply not a medical problem, but rather and issue of personal insight and strong resolve.

              It is indeed like going on a long-term diet – where you do not fix the obvious, but rather work on the under-lying reason our eyes take on a negative state.

              • Steve

                You are right

                Actually i´m using my plus lenses to read and any other near work.
                Also i would like to share with you this link:

                I don’t know if they are talking about plus lenses

                Have you seen this site before?


            • Hi Steve,

              Steve>And about Otis, I have tried the snellen chart in my room and i can read between 20/30 and 20/40. 20/30 slightly in some days when I’m without stress.

              Otis> Some of the correct answer (or serious concern) is you age and if you are in school. You are lucky to confirm 20/30 vision, (read 1/2 the letters). That passes most DMV tests.

              Otis> What we do know, is that if you are in high school, and go though college, your vision will go down at a rate of -1/2 diopter, for each year in school.

              Otis> I would suggest that, for now you have pseudo myopia, and if you can wear a +2, and read at 18 inches, you will see real improvement in about three to six months.

              Otis> That is indeed a tough choice to make, but it is better than wearing a minus lens all the time.

  15. Todd, I loved your talk. Thanks for the write up, afterward.

    I am wondering what ongoing strategies to give parents so kids don’t develop this myopia in the first place.

    Do you have anything written up on the subject?



    • Todd


      I haven’t written anything specifically directed towards myopia prevention in children. However, this is a very important topic. Quite a few contributors to the Discussion Forum for this blog have posted their experiences as parents, working with their children to practice good visual hygiene. With the advent of smart phones, iPads, computers and electronic game consoles, there is doubtless much more opportunity and inclination for even very small children to spend excessive time in close engagement with screens. It’s important to limit this near work, and equally to encourage activities involving distance focusing, such as sports and other outdoor activities. As a precaution, kids should wear plus lenses when spending time at the computer or other close up devices. Or even old fashioned book reading. (Does that still exist?).

      The problem is how to enforce these good habits with small children. It’s difficult, given short attention spans, weak motivation, and limited understanding. But clever parents always figure out how to make these activities into games. For example, ask your child to wear plus lenses for a while then take them off and see if the room looks “sharper”. Engage their observational skills and point out that the plus lenses will give them “super vision” and prevent them from seeing blurry.

      As with other habits like brushing teeth or tidying up, good visual hygiene can be taught even to children.


    • Hi Roland,
      Part of the answer, is that the parents must accept the advice of an optometrist, who presents the concept correctly. Here is the analysis, that is supported by science.

      The issue is that an educated parent understand that their child must make a habit of reading though the plus lens, while doing close work.

  16. Shanon

    I would like to know what was your prescription before you started with plus lenses?
    And how long did you spend doing the print pushing method before you see some positive results, and reverse completely myopia?

    Thank you very much Todd

    • Todd

      Hi Shanon,

      Before starting with plus lenses and print pushing, my prescription was -1.00 in the right eye and -1.75 in the left. Including my correction for astigmatism, here is the full prescription I had at the last eye exam for which I have records (12/18/95):

      OD -1.00 -0.50 x 95
      OS -1.75 -1.00 x 93

      It took me about 6 months to stop needing minus lenses and about a year to reverse myopia to where I am today. I don’t have a current diopter refraction, but using the Snellen chart I’m 20/20 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left. There is no precise conversion to diopters, but it works out to approximately -0.00D in the right eye and -0.75 in the left. So in effect, I went down by about 1 full diopter in each eye. It may not sound like much, but becoming independent of glasses and lenses without any surgery was worth it.

      On the discussion forum, you can read reports from others who reduced their myopia by as much as 3 diopters or more. You can also check other forums and sites advocating the same defocus techniques that I do – such as this site:


      • Hi Todd and Shanon,

        As an engineer, I wanted to establish the relationship between my visual acuity, and my refractive state. This is for my own satisfaction, and I enjoy the engineering challenge of doing this myself.

        I get an accuracy of 0.25 diopters, by carefully doing this measurement. The video is a simplified description in a few minutes of how to do it.

        This requires a fixed, well-lit Snellen, and I must repeat this each week. This is why an accurate measurement is not possible in an OD’s office, with all due respect. But if a scientific study were to be conducted – I would expect each engineer to make these measurements.

        I would also add the importance of understanding the LEGAL requirements for visual acuity. They are that you must exceed the 20/40 line. (Obviously, you will do much better – as Todd has done it.)

        This type of science puts full responsibility on the person himself, to slowly go from -1 diotpers (about 20/50) to 0.0 diopters, (20/20). If the person has persistent resolve, it is possible to get to a reasonable level of both visual acuity and refractive status.

      • Shanon

        it’s amazing Todd.

        I have some questions for you.

        Have you been using plus lenses from your last eye exam?

        Why in one year did you get 20/20 in right eye and 20/40 in left eye, but in the others years have you maintained your visual acuity without any improvements?

        I think people who have improved in one year, expect to keep improving in the next years.

        Thank you very much!

        • Todd


          I’ve not had an eye exam since the 1990s. Why pay for something I don’t need?

          I use plus lenses on occasion as a preventive measure when I’m doing a lot of reading, or as a “tune-up”. But 95-99% of the time I never use lenses of any kind.

          People ask all the time why I’m satisfied with 20/20 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left. The answer is that this has allowed my right eye to be very sharp for distance vision and my right eye to “specialize” in very close up vision. So my slightly myopic right eye can read fine print and read close up in perfect focus, slightly better than my left eye.

          In the technical terms this is called “mono vision”. That’s a misleading term because it suggests the loss of stereo vision which is absolutely not the case for me. The focal ranges of my two eyes are overlapping. At middle distances, both are in perfect focus. At the extreme, the “stronger” eye dominates. So the net effect is that I see with clear sharp vision from 6″ out to infinity. The range is of course somewhat less for each eye separately. But since I use both eyes, the net effect is no deficit at all.

          I do periodically work on on trying to increase the range of each eye separately, by patching, winking or just holding my hand at an angle in front of one eye at a time. Just to maintain flexibility and reduce the natural tendency of the eye to accommodate less with the aging process. At age 58, I have a slight degree of presbyopia, but I think it is much less than that of most of my peers. Many of my friends of a similar age are dependent on plus lenses for reading or minus lenses for distance. I need neither.

          So do I need to “improve”? I could probably work on increasing the range and flexibility of my eyes separately. But I really feel no need to improve, since with both eyes together I see everything with sharp clarity.


          • Shanon

            Perfect thanks, Todd.

            Tell me something more

            1. Did you improved your astigmatism using plus lenses?
            2. How many years have you been using plus lenses?

            And the last one, what happened with a persona called Bill, who experimented double and multiple images using plus lenses, but i don’t know if he improves or get worse using plus lenses? I read that in your forum

            I like your patience answering people

            I really appreciate what you are doing for others


            • Todd

              1. My astigmatism spontaneously vanished. I tested myself, as you can, using the astigmatic mirror. If you have astigmatism, lines at a certain angle will be darker than the others:

              2. I started using plus lenses about 15 years ago. Quite frequently during the first year, less so for the next several years, and now only on occasion — perhaps once a week for 15 or 30 minutes.

              I have no idea what happened to Bill on the forum. People come and go. Some hang around longer, others check in every so often.

              I think that double and multiple images (diplopia), when it appears slightly beyond the edge of blur but not within the focal field, is frequently a promising and useful phenonmenon, as I explained in my talk, slides 29-32. You can read the notes for those slide, posted beneath the slides and video above.

  17. Sunshine

    I just spoke with my optometrist’s office and found out my “full” prescription is -8.25 R and -8.00 L, but that the eyeglass prescription he wrote me is -7.50 R and -7.00 L. Does this mean this eyeglass prescription is already reduced and therefore can be used with active focus distance activities? They said something about the full prescription being too strong for most people and that I’d need bifocals if I went to my full prescription.

    • Todd


      You have very strong myopia. It is common for OD’s to overprescribe as a result of the method they use to test for ultra-sharp distance vision — which tends to induce ever-increasing axial myopia when you keep wearing your distance lenses for close up work.

      Don’t obsess about whether or your actual prescription number is “right”. The key is to use active focus for both close work and distance vision. Your -7.5/-7 prescription may be fine for generating a slight degree of defocus for distance viewing. Test this by testing how far away you can focus, and keep pushing that limit. With your strong myopia, you can do print pushing without plus lenses. Either use your naked eye very close up (which will only be a few inches away at first). Or if you have contact lenses, wear plus lenses over the contacts such that your edge of focus is at a comfortable reading distance. If you don’t have contacts, order some lenses about 2 diopters weaker than your normal lenses, e.g.. about -6.25/-6. If your OD won’t do that for you, go online and order from


      • Sunshine

        Thanks for the response Todd. I look forward to building these exercises into my daily lifestyle.

        • Nate

          To Sunshine,

          I first heard about this form of myopia therapy from Todd about 3 years ago-and started it instantly. I started as a -6.75 diopter myope. Two years into it, I went for an optho exam, and they told me I was a -4.75. Since then I have progressed even more.

          But the world is still pretty blurry.

          Since you are a high myope, like me, it is easy to get discouraged. This works, but it takes time. For people like us, it will be years. I’m moving at about the rate of 1 diopter a year, maybe even a little less. But I am improving.

          The key is making it part of your life, and persistence.

          I plan on going all the way to 20/20, but that’s still years away.


          • Hi Dr. Nate,

            I think it takes a strong commitment for you to be effective, from -6.5 diopters. As you probably know, Todd helped his own children “get the idea” and slowly return their vision to normal. I think a major step forward, is when you notice that you own child is slightly nearsighted (-1 diopter and 20/40) and help him teach himself to wear a +2.75 diopter for all close work. More parents simply do not understand why it is necessary and wise to help a child with early prevention.

            I know that man optometrists are “conflicted”, in helping themselves SLOWLY return from -3.5 diopters to normal – but I encourage all parents to understand this issue – as described by this doctor Orfield.


            The biggest problem is give responsibility to the person himself, which he might not want to take.

            But I believe that the explicit example of Todd’s success – will encourage others to use the plus to return their vision from 20/60 to pass the required DMV test, and then to 20/20.

            Thanks for your courage to work on prevention as a medical doctor.

  18. Nate


    I just saw another hormesis article I think you would enjoy. It’s almost as if the author has been reading your blog.


    • Todd

      Thanks for the link to that site, Nate. Some excellent information there.

  19. Julio

    Hi folks

    I found this interesting link where we can learn more about plus lens therapy:

    In that link you can find a person who ask to OD about plus lens therapy and his conclusions about the method.

    Really helpful


    • Hi Julio,

      Subject: Part of the answer to the question asked by this person.

      Thanks for the link. Here is another link that describes the success that Todd developed in wearing the plus correctly, and finally confirming 20/20 vision for himself.

      This real issue, as stated by Dr. Prentice, is to help the person convince himself of the necessity of wearing a “plus for near”, when he has a starting value of 20/50 or so.

      Success depends on the resolve, and long term persistence of the person himself. This is why Todd was successful. Doctors can advocate plus-prevention, but it up to the person himself to do the real work of successful prevention – in my opinion.

  20. Accipio

    Hi Todd
    I have been using your method for almost three months. I think my distance vision has improved, I have been using +1.00 reading glasses for a few hours most days.

    Recently I noticed that my vision seems almost hyper-optic, I can’t see as well as I used to up close.
    Last time I had a vision test (four months ago) my numbers were: Left eye -2.00 and Right eye -2.25 with astigmatism in both.

    Should I be concerned about this? Is there any way to avoid becoming hyper-optic while using the plus lenses?

    Thanks, A

    • Todd


      I don’t know your age, but the fact that you have difficulty with both near and far vision suggests that you have presbyopia — a reduced range of accommodation (focal range) that often comes with getting older. The majority of Americans age 40 and older have some degree of myopia. Presbyopia comes from hardening of the crystalline lens, reducing its ability to change shape. This is not a result of plus lenses.

      I can’t give you a foolproof way to prevent or reverse presbyopia. What I can suggest is to add an additional component to your routine: print pulling. Spend some time each day reading without plus lenses, sitting as close as possible to the book or computer at the edge of focus, which in this case is the near point — not the far point as when doing print pushing.

      I would also suggest reducing the amount of sugar (including sweet fruits) and starch (bread, pasta, rice) in your diet, since elevated blood glucose is associated with glycation of proteins in the crystalline lens.


      • Accipio

        Hi Todd,
        Thanks for your reply.
        I am sixteen. I have made sure to do some near work with out plus lenses.
        I had an eye test this morning and my eyes have not improved at all, and the Optometrist basically said that what I am doing is never going to work. Although disheartening, I will still continue to do these exercises.

        How long until I should expect some progress?

        Thanks, Accipio

        • Todd


          You say your eyes “have not improved”, but you don’t state what your Snellen scores or diopter measurements were before and after you started print pushing. Are you still at -2/-2.25? Also, I would like to know more about exactly what “exercises” you are doing. What plus lenses are you using? Are you print pushing at the edge of blur? For how long each day? Are you distance gazing? I need more details. You also said you were hyperopic and myopic at the same time. I’m not sure what you mean, unless you have presbyopia, which is uncommon if you are only 16.

          You need to trust your own measurements. Print out a Snellen eye chart, hang it on the wall and record your progress each week. Have you been recording this information? Let me know what your weekly progress has been.

          You say you have done “some near work”, but I don’t know what that means. Do you mean print pushing? Please provide more details. Without knowing more about your routine and frequency of print pushing, it’s hard to provide any suggestions.


          • Accipio

            Ok, after reading your reply, it suddenly struck me that I have been merely wearing the plus lenses, rather than using them AND actively stretching my focal boundaries (print pushing). I will make the change today. I have been using Plus 1.00 lenses.

            I haven’t been using a Snellen chart up till now, so I printed one out last night.
            When I said ‘exercises’ I meant wearing plus lenses.
            I do gaze into the distance; there are some power lines on a hill near my house that I know are there but can’t see yet.

            The Hyperopia that I thought I had, left when I spent a few minutes each day focusing on my hand as close to my face as possible.

            I have been recording my time spent using plus lenses and for the last three months, my daily average time has been just under three and one half hours. Lol all that time I was not print pushing, but just wearing the lenses, it did nothing.

            Yes, My eyes are still at -2/-2.25

            Thank you so much for replying, I really appreciate the time you spend writing response to everyone.

            Ahh I feel so stupid! :)
            Thanks again, Accipio

            • Todd

              Hi Accipio,

              Glad to hear you figured out the problem! You are exactly right that in order to counteract your myopia, plus lenses need to be used in combination with the print pushing technique. Wearing them passively won’t do much for you.

              It will be interesting to see your progress now. Feel free to report it back here, or you might want to post your experience on the Discussion Forum, where there are many others sharing their experience and questions.


            • Hi Accipio,

              Let me and my 2 cents.

              No one is stupid here. Prevention is truly difficult, and requires a long-term effort.

              When you get you Snellen, put a bright light on it, for accurate visual acuity measurement.

              Your -2 diopter prescription MIGHT have an excess of -1 diopters. The ODs prescribe for, “best visual acuity”. That means they prescribe for 20/10 vision.

              You find this out by objective checking yourself. If you can read the 20/60 line (most of the letters), you might find you can read the 20/20 line though a -1 diopter.

              In any event, it is good to take time to truly see what line you are able to read 1/2 the letter on.

              Todd was successful, because he was willing to wear the plus for the long-term, until he got to 20/20.

              • Accipio

                Hi Otis,
                Thanks for your reply.

                Ten days ago, after putting a bright light on my Snellen chart, I could just read the 20/70 line. After testing myself this evening, I found I could read most of the letters on the 20/50 line, although they were not clear.
                The progress is really exciting!
                I will update every month or so on the discussion forum.
                Thanks, Accipio

                • Todd

                  Hi Accipio,

                  Great to hear of your progress. It would be fantastic if you could post your progress on a thread of “success stories” that I recently started over on the Discussion Forum. This will help others who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And to get some ideas for what works and what doesn’t:


                  Keep up the good work!


                • Hi Accipio,
                  While I advocate plus-prevention, strongly, I also realize that real refractive change is very slow. Personal, objective reading of your own Snellen, at home, is how you check. This is real control of your own personal visual welfare. Let me add some objective milestone, that indicate success for yourself. The DMV requires 20/40, a very reasonable standard. If you continue, it will take about four to nine months, to begin reading 1/2 the letters correctly. There is no, “quick solution” here, only long-term persistence. I check my own Snellen, intermittently. But once you get int the “habit”, about once a week. You will see no change for some time. But if you “get the idea”, then, you begin to exceed the 20/40 line. That is real success, and should encourage you to continue. I wish you success, but be persistent. Most medical people, consider it to be impossible, to get back to 20/40, on your own. I think it is possible.

  21. Joey


    I came across this page and just started using active focusing in my daily routine about a week ago. I am 22 years old and my prescription is at about minus 6 in both eyes. The reason why I want to change my vision is because I went to a retinal specialist a few weeks ago and he told me that he wants me to do this laser treatment to prevent retinal detachment. I have notice this floater in my eye as well and I’m just afraid of losing my vision one day. I currently work a lot in front of a computer screen so I bought some glasses at zenni optical and set the prescription at minus 4.25. Besides doing active focusing, what other exercises can I do to help? Should I be wearing the minus 4.25 prescription or should I get another glasses lens for when I am not doing close work? The retinal specialist says he wants to do a laser treatment on my right eye and monitor my left eye. My goal is to do this laser procedure in my right eye and never have to do another one again. If I continue doing active focusing exercises daily, do you think I could get rid of my eye floaters and reduce my chances of having to have another laser procedure done? My goal is to reach 20/20 one day, but I’m still very skeptical. Thanks!


  22. herson

    Hi Todd, what´s your current plus lens prescription?

    What prescription did you use at the beginning?

    • Todd

      herson: I already answered this question above. See the exchanges with Shannon, Steve and others. — Todd

  23. Kevin

    Hi Todd thank you for the information and sharing this knowledge with everyone. Originally I was a -7D until I had PRK 10 years ago. I had fairly good results which lasted a few years. Then this year – the 10th anniversary – I noticed things were becoming off. Colors appeared washed out, things were fuzzy, and my eyes just felt “lazy.” An eye exam showed I was at 20/40. After using the print pushing technique while reading your site for the first time actually a couple days ago it seemed to clear up the lazy part with colors being washed out. However it was just one evening session and I know I’m not back to 20/20 yet. My question is: is it necessary to use plus lenses or can one simply stick with print pushing and progressively decrease the text size on a computer and/or sit further back since the plus lenses just shrink the image so it is like using your distance focus instead of near focus? Thanks again for all the info and for your help.

    • Todd


      The core technique is print pushing; plus lenses are mainly useful only when your myopia is less than about -2D (See point #25 in the summary text above, below the slides and video). That’s because at 2D, your edge of focus is around 19″ away. (Diopters = 1 / focal distance in meters and one meter = 39.37 inches). So plus lenses bring the edge of focus in closer to a more comfortable reading distance. However, you can also chose to just sit farther back if you wish!

      And don’t despair if your Snellen score fluctuates. Two steps forward, one step back. Visual acuity varies with time of day, energy level, diet, emotions, lots of factors. The main thing is to be consistent and persistent in your habits. You will get back to 20/20 — perhaps even 20/15 — if you really want to improve.


      • Kevin

        Hey thanks for the reply and the help once again Todd. I’m currently sitting at a -0.75 OS (20/30) and -1.25 OD (20/50) and I can read pretty small print at around 2 – 3 feet from my computer screen. Honestly I’m kinda tired of sitting further back as I’m pretty far now or scrutinizing at smaller text so I’m thinking of moving onto plus lenses since I can already see the screen clearly. I wasn’t sure if shrinking text size made a difference as I’ll still be focusing on a screen the same distance away. If I understand right the plus lens will take the near focus out of the equation even if I am reading close up and “trick” my eyes to use distance focus for close up. Then I apply the same print push principles. I’m also thinking of easing into the plus lenses since this is new to me. Do you think +1D for both eyes is safe or should I get different lenses for each eye since they are quite different?

        To be honest I am quite nervous about trying the plus lenses. I’m nervous doing anything with my eyes these days as I felt it has been a huge battle over pretty much my whole life. Haha, the eye doctor said that “I need glasses.” And I was like no way. It’s funny even back when I was a small kid I knew that the glasses were just doing something wrong to me!

        Thanks again for clearing this up Todd.

        • Todd


          It sounds like you are ready for plus lenses, since otherwise you are having to sit too far away from what you’re reading. Don’t be nervous about something that is going to actually improve your vision, rather than degrade it. If you have any reservations, try it in small doses. Do an experiment — read for an hour or so with plus lenses at the edge of focus, then take them off and look around the room. Tell me you don’t see things more clearly already. Of course, we all know that progress with print pushing doesn’t happen that quickly — it requires a repeated series of exposures to incremental defocus over weeks and months for the changes to become permanent. But you can illustrate the directional benefits even within a few short sessions.

          To chose the correct plus lenses, I suggest making a visit to your local pharmacy and heading over to the “reading glasses” rack, where you’ll see the full series from about +1 to +3 and higher. Try on various strengths and see which ones allow you to read at a “comfortable distance” then perhaps go 0.25 diopters stronger to give yourself some room for improvement.

          There are different ways to approach your unequal degree of myopia in each eye — which by the way, is normal. You can just power through with the fixed correction that you’ll find in the pharmacy reading glasses. This will tend to improve your dominant eye (which is your less myopic left eye), but may not bring your right eye along as fast. That’s not necessarily a big problem, since your binocular vision will still improve. But if you want to reduce myopia in your right eye to even things out, you can purchase inexpensive custom plus lenses from for about $7-20, depending on the frames you want. To find the right correction, try on various pairs of pharmacy readers and cover each eye separately to find the strength that gives you the comfortable reading distance, but this time “handicap” the stronger left eye by 0.25 diopters, so that your right eye begins to carry more of the load. Then make note of the correction that worked for each eye and order online from Zenni your custom lenses with different corrections for each eye.

          Another method of bringing the weaker eye along is to tape some thin white paper over the plus lens of the dominant left eye, or just occasionally partially block the left eye by holding your hand tilted from your nose. Or you can wink your left eye shut — it gets easier with practice — for a few minutes at a time. I illustrate all three methods in slide 33 of my talk — scroll up and check out the slides, which may take a few minutes to load on your computer.

          Good luck!


          • Kevin

            Thanks for clearing things up Todd. Like I said I’m kinda nervous but I’m also pretty excited about this because I feel like I’ve come across this “secret” that should be common knowledge by all whether as prevention or improvement. I been telling all my friends that have glasses about it! Hope they catch on too! Thanks again Todd!

        • Hi Kevin,
          My 2 cents.
          I appreciate that you are “nervous” about wearing a plus for near. It truly takes a “bold person” to fully commit to wearing the “plus for near”, and no minus for distance. (With reason and self checking.)
          I would suggest checking your distant vision using this chart. Just click here, then on “Display” several times. You will get 20/60 letters. Stand 20 feet a way, and see if you can read 1/2 the letters.

          I personally check my own Snellen, and if I exceed the 20/40 line, I avoid wearing a minus (except to drive).

          For near, I wear a +2.6 for ALL CLOSE WORK, consistent with comfort. Am I nervous about doing this? No, it is safe. Wearing any minus, just makes matters worse.

          I know this conflicts with “official optometry”, but then, I care about my own distant vision – profoundly.

          You are probably about 20/40, if you check. But it is a bold step to wear the plus correctly. It also take about six months to get back-to 20/20, if you have the resolve to do it.

  24. ini

    I have just come across this and I am very down reading all of this. My eldest son just received a prescription of -10.25sph/+1.00cyl/100axis and -10sph/+1.0cyl/100 axis today while the younger one got -6.5sph/0.5cyl and -5.75sph. I am very worried and scared for them especially my eldest who is 6 and the younger is 4. I am short sighted wearing -5/-5.75 and my husband is also short sighted wearing -6.5 on both eyes.

    I am so confused I do not understand all your description on what one should do. Please is there any chances for my boys and us. Please I await your response.

    Thanks a lot

    • Todd


      What ages are your sons? What did they do to get to -10 and -6.5 at a young age? Do they read or play games very close up a lot of the time? The first thing you can do is limit their time reading or at the computer or games. Get them to play outside more. The second thing you can do is to make them hold the book or game as far away as possible, just barely being able to see things in focus.

      There is always hope. But you need to first address their vision habits .

  25. Kevin

    Todd, sorry again for the bother but I couldn’t post this on your “Improve eyesight – Throw away your glasses” page. There’s a part of the article there regarding a study done with children and how their eyes worsened after constant use of undercorrection lenses I’ve been trying to make sense of and maybe I’m having a hard time with the language but here goes:

    “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.”

    If I understand correctly this means that since your eyes can only focus (accommodate) on things that are clear or blurry because the children wore undercorrected lenses all the time they were not “training” their eyes anymore when looking far as it was too blurry, their eyes gave up, and consequently there was now minimal stimulus even when looking close? The part I do not understand then is the last bit for why weaker lenses should only be used for distance viewing? Wouldn’t their regular prescription for close work put the focal point past the retina still? It just seems to kinda contradict and I’m pretty sure I just don’t understand the language. But I would really appreciate it once again if you could help me clear this up. Thanks again.

    • Todd

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your question. First, I see an error in my original paraphrase of the Hung and Ciuffreda article. I should have written:

      “progression of myopia in children who wore undercorrected lenses is explained by the fact that they wore these all the time, not when just distance viewing.”

      That is consistent with my subsequent sentence:

      “Based upon this analysis, the proper use of undercorrection would be to wear the undercorrective lenses only during long distance viewing.”

      In simple terms, undercorrected minus lenses worn during distance viewing provide a slight hyperopic defocus that induces axial shortening if sustained. However when worn for close work, they still act as minus lenses, providing myopic defocus, canceling out the benefits achieved during distance viewing. And if more time is spent at close work than near work, the balance is towards net worsening of myopia.

      To avoid this consequence, Hung and Ciuffreda conclude:

      “…we suggest the following: full distance refractive correction in conjunction with a low plus add at near to minimize the level of chronic retinal defocus and hence myopic progression.”

      The authors, Hung and Ciuffreda use a slightly more sophisticated model that emphasizes the perceived change in retinal-defocus during a near-to-far or far-to-near viewing cycle. But I think that a simpler and equally predictive explanation is to consider the absolute degree and direction of defocus, rather than changes in this magnitude.

      Here is a link to the full article, which you can download and read in its entirety:

      While I agree with their recommendation for near work, I disagree with their recommendation for full distance correction. I think is because they are more concerned with prevention and don’t follow their own theory through to its logical conclusions — to embrace myopia reversal.

      Whether or not you buy into the original IRDT theory or my interpretation of it, the predicted effect is the same: use your undercorrected lenses only for distance viewing. Use your naked eyes or plus lenses for close work. Wearing undercorrected lenses for near work will cancel out the benefits from using them for distance viewing.

      Hope that helps.


    • Hi Kevin,
      Quite frankly, ODs do not like preventive studies – that show that the plus could be used effectively at 20/40 to 20/60, to get back to 20/20. I just report the FACTS of a study, where the kids were required (forced) to use a plus for all near work. (The details are described here):
      In summary, the kids who wore the plus (as described) did not go down. The kids who wore a full-strength minus, went down at a rate of -1/2 diopter for each year in school.
      This, to a certain extent, explains why Todd was successful, with a -2.0 to -1.0 diopter prescriptions.
      This study was highly significant, with a p-value of 1 in 1,000,000, for each year.
      The children were not taught how to use the plus properly, and did not understand the purpose of wearing the plus. But it is proof, that *if* the plus were worn by more “force”, it could be effecting under the intelligent control of the person himself.
      In my judgement, this confirms the objective and scientific truth in Todd’s success.

  26. Devaki Kunte

    Hello Todd!!

    Greetings from India!
    An excellent speech by you – thanks for that!
    My daughter who is 9 years old has just been diagnosed with myopia, with -0.5 for the left eye and -0.75 for the right eye. Both of us parents do not have glasses
    It came as a surprise to us, because of the following:
    1. TV watching – not more than 30 mins/day (if at all)
    2. Time spent on Mobiles/ gadgets – nil
    3. Both parents don’t have glasses
    4. Lot of sports time – she swims daily for about 1.5 hours, plays badminton twice a week!

    Though I have to accept that her eating does not match with the amount of exercise she gets, we are working on that now !

    I have observed that she stoops on her notebook when she writes. But she says she sees things clearly now that we have got her glasses as prescribed.
    After going through your talk, I had a few questions as follows:
    1. What power glasses should she use and when and how long?
    2. Will it not worsen her condition even more if she is not wearing the prescribed power?
    3. Is the blur – focus exercise and print pushing advisible for her too?? Should she do that while reading / writing/ studying – she is still not required to work with computers.
    4. Should she wear the prescription glasses at all? When? At school? While reading?
    5. Are there any specific eye exercises she should do?
    6. I read that myopia doesnt progress above -3D if glasses are not used – but what if I dont want her myopia to progress at all? I would in fact like her myopia to get back to normal eyesight.
    7. Any other suggestions from you?

    Best regards and a big thank you!
    Devaki Kunte

    • Todd

      Hi Devaki,

      You are fortunate that your daughter has mild myopia and good visual habits. By catching it early as you have, her prospects are very good to halt or reverse it.

      My general recommendations are on slides 23-36 above. With myopia at 0.5-0.75D, she can read at the edge of focus at 1.3 – 2 meters, which is too far for reading and computer use. She’ll probably need something close to +1.5D reading lenses, which will bring her edge of focus down to between 1/(1.5+0.5) = 0.5 meters (19 inches) for the left eye and 1/(1.5+0.75) = 0.44 m (17 inches) in the right eye. That’s a pretty comfortable reading distance. But go to the pharmacy and have her try various strengths (+1.25, +1.5, +1.75) to find a pair that makes reading comfortable for her at the edge of focus. Her myopia is similar enough between the two eyes that it will work to have the same strength lens for each eye.

      For TV viewing, have her sit about 2 meters back, a comfortable viewing distance, so that she can see images in focus, but so that if she were to move even a few inches back, the image would start to blur. In the classroom, have her choose a middle row not too close, but not too far back to be able to see writing clearly.

      Have her use the lenses about 1 or 2 hours daily, when doing homework or at the computer. Take frequent breaks every 15 minutes or so. The rest of the day, no plus lenses are needed.

      The choice of whether to wear prescription glasses — minus lenses — is yours and hers. I would advise against this, but if you must, have her use the lenses only when absolutely necessary for distance viewing. They should never be worn for reading or close work — that is the root of the problem! Of course, I expect your OD will disagree with me on this point, because that is their training. Point them to the articles linked on the final slides of my talk to get the other side.

      As for eye exercises, print pushing should be sufficient. Occasionally play games with her to see if she can read distant signs or license plates, and encourage her to do this on her own.

      Make sure that she is getting a diet that does not include too much sugar or starch, but includes vegetables with brightly colored phytonutrients like carrots, peppers and broccoli and good Indian spices like curry and turmeric too! Healthy fats are good for the eye too, particularly those from fish and grass-fed meats.

      Don’t take my word for the effectiveness of print pushing. Print out a Snellen chart and check her Snellen score in bright light at 20 feet back. Check her again after she has practiced print pushing for a week, and weekly thereafter. Let me know if she is improving.

      Best of luck!


    • Hi Devaki,

      I know it is critical to make a wise choice, and have your child wear a plus lens (magnifying glass) for all close work. The plus has been used for the last 50 years, for prevention, or to “slow down the rate at which it gets worse”. The medical opinion is perhaps divided, but here is a study that shows that the plus can be effective. I would review this study with your optometrist or ophthalmologist – and ask for their opinion, on having your child avoid the minus, and wear the plus for all close work.
      The result of this “bifocal” study were highly significant. But equally, the study suggest that the parent understand that while the “minus” (prescription) is impressive, it simply does not solve the problem. I an wearing a +2.5 diopter, as I type this, and as Todd did it, to prevent myself from becoming nearsighted.
      For further medical reference, read these statement by a Dr. Kaisu, who also recommends the plus be worn for the purpose of prevention, and recovery from mild nearsightedness.
      I supported other children, with this effort, and it works. But the child must take wearing the plus seriously – to be truly effective.

  27. Jing


    Thank you for the wonderful information. I have been able to improve my vision in the past when my vision was -3.00, which improved by 0.75 when I was on vacation for a month. However, this was almost 10 years ago and I then got really busy with school.

    Now that I’m on maternity leave, I have some free time and would like to work on improving my vision again. Unfortunately, my prescription is now -6.50 on both sides! What sparked my interest is feeling my vision improve during my pregnancy – I know it is related to water retention.

    I will be getting new glasses in the new year. I’ll be picking up two (or three) and wondering what prescriptions you would recommend wearing:

    1. At home/at work (I work in a clinic setting)
    2. For Distant work (driving/going out)
    3. For close work (computer/reading)

    I am very excited to begin this journey.

    Thanks Todd!

    • Todd


      Congratulations on your new child. Maternity leave seems like an ideal time to work on vision improvement, since presumably you can ease off a bit on reading and computer work and enjoy motherhood!

      With a -6.5 prescription, you have strong myopia, so you’ll need some weakened minus lenses for driving and even any activities that require medium distance vision. I’d recommend shaving 0.5 diopters off your distance prescription — see if -6.0D works for you. If your OD won’t prescribe them, just order them from for $7 to $20 per pair.

      For close work, you have two options:
      1. Try reading at the edge of focus without any glasses. You’ll have to hold the reading material about 15 cm (6 inches) in front of your eyes to focus. This seems awkward, but try it for short times, and try pushing back an inch or two to read at the edge of focus, where the blur just starts. Blink periodically to see if that helps clearing.
      2. Order some undercorrected minus lenses that allow you to read at the edge of focus at a comfortable distance. As a general rule, this will require achieving about a +2D “net” refractive state. Since you are at -6.5, this would be achieved by you wearing -4.5D lenses. Again, you can order these inexpensively from zennioptical.

      Good luck and let us know how your journey goes!



4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Video on Understanding and Healing Myopia 19 08 14
  2. Episode #20 How To Naturally Improve Your Vision And Throw Your Glasses In The Trash 05 12 14
  3. Episode #20 How To Naturally Improve Your Vision And Throw Your Glasses In The Trash 05 12 14
  4. Is Nearsightedness a Reversible Condition? 10 12 14

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