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, 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 came to a different conclusion. In addition to normal correction and slight undercorrection groups, the Hung and Ciuffreda 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 by Scott Read 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.

March 2016 update:  For a step-by-step approach and answers to common practical questions about how to get started, see my post, FAQ for vision improvement by Hormetism


  1. Hi Nirav,
    Subject: Helping your child with threshold prevention.
    I had my vision destroyed with that “first” over-prescribed minus lens. I truly wish I had had WISE support to avoid the minus. There are some ODs who have “woken up” to the need to start wearing the plus, while the child still has 20/50 vision. But most will remain silent, and will not help. Here is an article that describes this tragic situation. It is tragic, but most majority-opinion ODs will be hostile to the idea of using the plus for threahold prevention.

    Sincerely, Otis Brown

  2. Ephraim

    To Todd, Otis and all

    Hi. Since discovering this forum, I have continued to follow all the updates. We are a unique bunch in that we are all endeavouring to achieve what the establishment say is impossible. I was reminded of this fact yesterday when I happened to come across another blog with a guy advocating eye exercises. A couple of posters claiming to be ophthalmology/optometry students entered the forum and started coming out with the usual defeatist, establishment garbage to the effect that eye exercises do not work and there is no alternative to glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery. I can see why Otis is so passionate, almost angry with the optical establishment/industry, about this issue. I’m angry too, but not as angry as I would be had I followed the trend and resorted to minus prescription lenses myself.

    From this and other websites, I have gathered that the visual requirements for driving in the US are relatively lenient, around 20/40, 20/50. Here, in the UK, it is nearer 20/20, 20/30. I don’t drive, but I know that I would not currently make the grade. A friend of mine recently started learning to drive, but was disqualified after the first lesson until he took an eye test, as he was not able to read a car number plate at the required distance (20 metres). As a result, he was prescribed -1.00 lenses.

    I wish much success to everyone treading this path. Ours is indeed a narrow path and, hence, there is no room for turning back. Keep going, my friends!

    All the best and regards.


    • Todd


      Thanks for your words of support. The attitude of the medical establishment can be discouraging. I’m more encouraged than discouraged, however, because we are fortunate to live in a time where individuals are beginning to take responsibility for their own health, and share insights and experience with one another. The medical “establishment” is really a rear guard at this point, and that seems to be as true in the UK as it is in the US. A good illustration of this is the poor education and training of doctors in nutritional science and metabolism. Doctors who I ask about this tell me they recall no more than one day in their medical education devoted to nutritional science. Yet recently, a small number of physicians are starting to come around and really understand the role of nutrition in health. I’m hopeful that in the not too distant future, they’ll begin to understand the adaptability of the eye. There are a small number of OD’s who do, but so far they are in the minority. That will change, I’m sure.

      Forums like this can help to document progress that you and others are making. Ephraim, I’d love to hear more details of your own experience. Where did you start with your eyesight, what methods have you applied, and what progress have you made?



      • Ephraim

        Hi, Todd.

        Thanks for your interest in my experience. Well, to my shame, mine is more a case of keeping my head above water rather than actual progress. I think I’ve been too satisfied by just being able to avoid glasses for over 30 years and preventing my eyesight from slipping further into debit. I was tested in September 2009 and my Snellen was 20/120. However, I recently tested myself on the website which Otis linked to, and I was surprised to find that I could see 20/100. So I must be doing something right!

        My problem is that I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and my mind has become somewhat boggled – there are quite a few systems out there. It’s a case of information overload. Too much theory and too little practice. Result: no progress.

        My practice is currently limited to the maintenance of good visual habits. As an accounts clerk, my working day obviously involves a lot of close work, the type that causes myopia in the first place. I only have to look around myself in the office to see that practically everyone uses some form of visual aid, and the guy who doesn’t recently had laser surgery! (That, by the way, is an option I would not take for free.) Hence, I always remember to regularly shift focus to a distant point. I always view what I’m working on from as far away as I can see to simulate print-pushing. When not at work, I try to do as much distance viewing as I can. On the bus-ride home, for example, I try to get a front seat so that I can gaze out of the window for the entire journey. I’m realistic enough to know, however, that the above alone will not be sufficient to push my eyesight in the plus direction.

        I know Otis stresses the importance of checking one’s Snellen. Mine consists of the line map which appears along the inside of the subway carriage which I try to read from the opposite side during my journey to work. It’s currently blurry but, if I can clear that, I’ll know I’ve made progress.

        However, I am encouraged by your blog and this forum. As I indicated in an earlier post, I did briefly try the plus lens therapy, but I think I prefer the print-pushing exercise and, anyway, you did confirm that there is no essential difference between the two. I find it more comfortable. Having never worn glasses, I think I’ve got an aversion to wearing ANY type of lenses – but that’s just me!

        The bottom line is that I need that proverbial “kick up the backside”!



        • Todd

          Thanks for the explanation, Ephraim.

          Consider this reply a ‘kick up the backside”. You know you can improve beyond 20/100. Getting to below 20/50 will add ENORMOUS pleasure and practical advantage to your life. It’s the equivalent of going from black-and-white vision to color vision. Once you are there, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get there earlier.

          Your current practice is actually quite good — it just needs to be pushed to the next level. You are correct that there is no essential difference between the use of plus lenses and print pushing “at the edge of focus” while observing subway line maps, sitting close up to the screen at a slide lecture or watching TV, or numerous other midrange distance activities. You only need to make two refinements to your practice:

          1. Look at objects right at the edge of focus, where even a slight increase in distance will induce blur, and avoid as much as possible reading at shorter distances than the maximum possible. If this means sitting an extra 10 centimeters back from the computer screen or holding your book at arms length, then do that. But don’t waste your time straining to look at blurry objects. If you do that, your eyes just give up, the same way your arms would if trying to lift a weight beyond your capacity. Gradualism at the edge of ability is the key!

          2. Determine your weaker eye by covering or blinking each eye shut. Then when you are reading signs, maps, or books patch the strong eye, wink it shut, or cover it with your hand and print push. One technique I especially like is to place my hand in front of my strong eye with one side against my nose, pivoted out at a 45 degree angle. This keeps the strong eye from seeing the scene and taking over, but allows enough light into that eye so that it doesn’t have to adjust to the dark. The net effect is almost normal vision, but it allows the weak eye to build up. Once your weak eye catches up with your stronger eye, further improvement goes much faster.

          Try these techniques and commit to reporting back here once you reach 20/70. if you push yourself, you should get there by midsummer. And once you are at 20/70, you’ll have the confidence to get to 20/50 by the end of 2011.

          We’ll expect to hear back from you, Ephraim!



        • Hi Ephraim,
          Subject: Total none-support for prevention proposals.
          I truly don’t know what goes on in the “medical mind”. I can understand that prevention is difficult, and most people need to “kick” themselves to use the “plus” correctly — and in my judgment always before their Snellen goes below 20/50 to 20/70. One man, Jansen, is now following Todd’s leadership. At 20/80 to 20/70 he could function with no lens (except for the black-board.) With three months of intensive work with the plus — he is now at 20/50. This amounts to a refractive change of about +1/2 to +3/4 diotpers in three months. But you never know if he will continue. If he does, he should be able to pass all the DMV requirments listed in the U. S. I have prepared two proposals for pilots (who at 20/50 would have the motivation to do it. But I get no support at all. Thus we are all “prevented” by apathy. It was greatly to Brian Severson’s credit that he got off his duff, and “committed” to wearing the plus. In his case he HAD to get to beter-than 20/20, to make certain that he would pass the FAA requirement of 20/20. But I think it took him six to nine months to do it. I think most people are afraid to 1) look at their Snellen 2) Use a plus 3) afraid of the “un-known”. 4) Listen to WebMD that insists that even any prevention IS IMPOSSIBLE. That is our “locked in” attitude, partly “our” responsiblity, but mostly medical desire to just practice the “status quo” — because it is “safe” for them to do so. If you wish to read the commentary of on OD who “objected”, check
          This OD found that the “public” totally rejects the use of the plus — when it can be effective. I am not “angry” about this — just sad that ignorance prevails over scientific knowlege. Otis

  3. Ephraim

    To Todd and Otis – Hi and thanks.

    Todd, I certainly lined myself up for that one! OK, I’d better get on with it but, before I head off for mid-summer, just a few more queries. As I pointed out last time, I am somewhat boggled by all the information out there.

    1. Seeing as print-pushing involves a gradual increase in viewing distance, no more than a millimeter at a time, how does one gauge such increments at such a minuscule level from one session to the next? Or, is it just a case of viewing “at the edge of focus” during every session and subsequently checking the Snellen? But, even then, as progress is also gradual (resulting from the cumulative effect of regular practice), would that not involve a period of “dancing in the dark” until any progress is noticeable? Also, what’s the minimum length of time I should spend on print-pushing per day?

    2. What about synergism? Just as in, say, bodybuilding, where practitioners employ more than one exercise per body-part, can’t this principle also be applied to vision therapy? What other exercises/techniques could I incorporate to augment progress? Do you, for example, see any value in the traditional eye exercises: up-down, left-right, crossways & circling in both directions; alternate close-distant focusing; palming; sunning? Or are there others you could recommend?

    3. With regard to building up the weaker eye, your technique of partially blocking out the stronger eye is interesting, but what is the significance of still allowing light into that eye, as opposed to blocking it out completely and, thus, allowing it to adjust to the dark?

    Too many questions, I know!

    Thanks very much in advance.

    All the best. Regards to Otis.


    • Todd


      Good questions – I’m always happy to answer them.

      1. Always view “at the edge of focus”, which you understand means the distance at which you just begin to detect blur. The blur may spontaneously clear, with time, blinking, changes in lighting, or your energy level, so periodically you may need to “test” it and adjust. And from one day to another, the distance may increase or decrease. Expect progress to be variable; it is two steps ahead, one step back — a jagged line, not a straight line, just like losing weight. It’s not really “dancing in the dark”, since you always know if your vision is crisp or blurry.

      Normally, I’d recommend you limit the print pushing to no more than 1-2 hours a day, at least when starting out, so as not to tire your eyes. But everyone is different, and so long as you don’t get fatigued and you take breaks to vary your focal distance, there is no prohibition on spending as much time as you like at it. Your eyes do need some time to rest each day and consolidate any progress, just as overtraining with weight lifting can slow or halt progress in building muscular strength.

      2. Synergistic methods are a good idea. The type of directional eye exercises you mention are well described in David DeAngelis’ book, The Secret of Perfect Vision, and I think they probably help. Anything to promote flexibility of focusing is helpful. So is diet: there is evidence that cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates, and adding essential fatty acids (like fish oil) promote healthy membranes and visual receptors in the eye. Palming and sunning sound like Bates; many swear by these methods, but I don’t know much about them.

      3. Building up the weaker eye by patching worked for me, and it seems to be helping jansen (see his latest post on the Forum). It probably works fine with a total patch, but I notice that leaving one eye darkened for an extended period means it takes a while to adjust to the bright light when you unpatch it. There’s probably no harm in this (unless you keep the eye patched for several days), but it is annoying. I found that by allowing some light in (either using one hand inclined at an angle, or putting a piece of thin white paper over one lens of my plus lenses) makes it easier for immediate readjustment to the ambient level of light when you stop patching or blocking. This is not a “black and white” issue (no pun here), but a matter of preference. Decide for yourself which approach you prefer, and whether this approach of strengthening the weak eye is helpful or not in your own case.

      Good luck!


      • Subject: Snellen Clearing from 20/70 to normal by Brian Severson — in six months.

        Yes, it can be done. Here is Brian’s experience in doing this work to achieve his goal.


        Brian Severson was in an engineering college when he began to get into nearsightedness. In previous years Brian observed his brother become seriously nearsighted when he used a negative lens. He had received no information on prevention from the eye doctors he consulted. By his own understanding and perseverance, and some conversations with me, he returned his vision to normal as he describes in the following two letters.


        Hi! I went out and bought a pair of +1.75 diopter reading
        glasses, and two days later my vision improved from 20/70 – 20/80 to 20/50 at an exam today. The Doctor wanted to sell me $500.00 worth of (Band-aid) lenses. What a ripoff!

        Please rush me your book. I will keep you posted on my improvements. Someday when I get a real job that pays more than $10,000/year I will call and chat with you.

        Thanks again, Brian Severson

        P.S. I have a 1st class physical soon and need to improve my vision before then, or send $156 to my eye doctor for one replacement contact!

        I’m sorry I have not taken the time to write or call you
        until now. On December 4, 1990, I passed a FAA 1st Class Physical and, under much less than ideal conditions, read 20/15 on the eye chart!

        Thank you for all you have done to help me.

        Thanks & God bless, Brian Severson

        The “medical belief” is that Snellen clearing is impossible under any circumstance. This is why Brian could find NO INFORMATION about the possibility of clearing his vision from 20/70 to normal — and obviously had to do it by himself. I think that is the lesson we must learn from his success. Otis

        • Subject: Two formal proposals for prevention, based on science and Brian’s success.
          With the support of a number of people, I prepared a proposal for pilots who were like Brian Severson — about 20/60 (-1.25 diopters), but with strong motivation to succeed. Here is the first proposal — presented to the Wilmer Eye Institute — to be conducted at the U. S. Naval Academy:

          Since that date, I prepared a second proposal, that is published on my site.

          The result? The “medical mind” has MEMORIZED the idea that it is totally impossible to even AVOID ENTRY — let alonne clear your Snellen from 20/60 to normal. Todd, on his own, and reading of Brian’s success — has done the impossible. The result? If you wish prevention (from the 20/60 level) you must understand that you must “do it yourself”, and that I get “stone walled” if I propose or suggest this concept to medical people. Learn and enjoy the science of prevention. Otis

    • Hi Ephraim,
      Subject: I would have asked the same questions.
      I am indeed “cautious”, but I explore an idea before I make a commitment. This is true — but at some point you must make a “commitment”. I don’t believe in plunging off in many directions — until I have researched the “field”. This included those “special” ODs who had “figured out” true-prevention on their own — and forced their own children to wear the plus, somtimes when the child still had 20/20. (but a refractive state of zero.)
      Yes, I only advocate clearing from 20/60 — because I know the perons can still “function” with no minus. The reason I identify pilots (as most likely to succeed), is that they can make that incredible commitment — to reading their Snellen, and wearing a “plus” and reading at the ‘just blur’ point FOR ALL CLOSE WORK. Difficult? Un-reasonable? Not-effective? Perhaps — but that it the typs of review and choice you have to face and make. I am not “harsh” in these statements, just “analytical” and thougtful. We were “blocked” at the Naval Academy — because they took the “WebMD” perspective that 1) It is absolutly impossible to even PREVENT, and therfore 2) it is doubly impossible to get out of it, even at -1 diopter and 20/60. I don’t agree. I just say it is indeed difficult, and you are never going to get ANY help from medical people. But if you can over come your “fear” of using the plus, then perhaps you can get to 20/50 or so. Even Bates has this problem with WebMD and his “peers” who took WebMD’s perspective. It is hard for me to “understand” the “medical mind”, so I just call successful prevention ENGINEERING-SCIENCE, and the second-opinion. Please continue your review and understanding of these issues. Best, Otis

    • Hi Ephraim,
      Subject: I wish you success as you work to clear your Snellen back to normal.
      I know each of us have our own “method” — and that is as it should be.
      I am pleased that Todd had the fortitude and wise judgment to use the plus ‘correctly’ and successfully.
      People accuse me of developing “arguments”. I amost never do that. What I do is present the objective facts as I know them as an engineer, and hope we can “reason together”, so that the person himself can take a “leadership” position (with strong resolve) and clear his Snellen back to normal (from 20/80 to padd the DMV — which is 20/40). But you never know. Some people find the idea of self-control and prevention — compelling. Others, “can’t be botherd. You will find ODs and MDs who recognize the need for prevention with the plus — and even they find it very difficult to get a person “motivated”. Here is a statement from the perspective of these forceful and prevention-minded scientists.
      No one should say that all “medical people” are against prevention. But they truly recognize the difficulty of understanding it, and the reasons why it is necessary. Best of luck, Otis

  4. Greg


    This is some great information and I’d like to thank you, along with asking you a few questions. I am extremely myopic; -6.00 diopters in each eye. I acquired some plus lenses to do the print press with, but I literally have to sit with my face six inches from the computer screen. I am also using -5.25 diopters for driving and seeing at a distance. Should I be using no plus lenses at all for the print press, and just my regular vision? Or should I continue doing this at about a 6 inch distance. Also, is -5.25 enough under-correction from my regular prescription?


    • Todd


      Plus lenses are mainly useful for moderate myopia. For strong myopia such as yours, you probably don’t need them. Just sit far enough away from your computer or book so that the print is “at the edge of focus”. A detailed explanation of what I mean by that is on this post on my forum:,8.msg781.html#msg781

      Regarding undercorrection for driving and distance activities, going from -6.00 to -5.25 may be too big of a jump. I’d start undercorrecting by 0.25 to 0.50 diopters, so don’t go below -5.50 to start. Once your eyes improve to where you can clearly read distant signs, then you can make another 0.50 diopter reduction.

      • Greg


        I really appreciate the timely response. You’ve been extremely helpful so far, but I am still a little bit confused. When I am trying to achieve an “edge of blur” state with my computer monitor, do I want to be doing this with no glasses at all? For myopia as bad as mine, this is probably 8 inches instead of the previously mentioned 6 inches. Should I be viewing my computer screen with under corrected glasses at the edge of blur, or no glasses at all. That’s the first question. Secondly, isn’t putting my face so close to a monitor / book presumably what made my vision so bad in the first place? If so, perhaps it is bad for people with vision as bad as me to get so close. Also, are there any negative affects of sitting so close to an LED LCD monitor?

        • Todd


          In your case, you want to achieve the “edge of blur” or “edge of focus” (really two sides of the same coin) without wearing any glasses whatsoever. Eight inches indeed seems very close and you would not want to do that for months and months. But short term exposure of several weeks will not cause any health problems, and if you are diligent you will soon be successful in increasing that distance to 10 inches, then 12 inches and finally a more comfortably 16 inches. The discomfort of being close and desire to get further back should be its own incentive to keep pushing back! I can think of no better motivation, as I’m sure you’ll be seeing results rather quickly.

          While close reading is indeed how you got yourself in this pickle, what you will being doing now is night and day vs. what you did before. The key difference is that you got this way by continually getting closer to print to “make life easier” by relieving any focal tension. Now you will be “making life harder” by continually and incrementally pushing back to increase the focal tension. Adding slight tension or stress stimulus to a system has the exact opposite effect on your eye as removing stress stimulus, which is what made you a myope. This is the same difference between someone who carries a slightly heavier weight on their ankles each time they go jogging, and someone who begins using a stronger crutch each time they walk.

          I’m actually quite excited for you, Greg. Being able to read from 12 inches instead of 8 inches should be your first goal. Please report on your progress!

          Good luck,


  5. Ephraim

    Hi, Todd.

    I hope I’m still allowed to comment despite being commissioned to aim for 20/70 (by mid-summer!) and report back when (hopefully) I’m there, only this discussion is too interesting for me to ignore and stay in seclusion.

    I have a suggestion for Greg’s problem with close reading distance to his computer monitor: couldn’t he simply increase the print size? I didn’t have this problem before, but the print on my current monitor at work is ridiculously small, but I don’t have the facility to make it bigger.

    As regards the technicalities of the “edge of focus”, “edge of blur” and “edge of readability”, I have come up with a trick which circumvents the mind taking over on account of linguistic recognition: when print-pushing with hard-copy literature, simply invert the text. As most people find it difficult or, at least, more of an effort, to read upside-down, it ensures that the eyes actually do the work. To use our bodybuilding analogy, it’s like doing isolation exercises, e.g. preacher curls for the biceps.



    • Todd


      You always have good comments. I do especially like your idea of increasing the print font size as a way to allow strong myopes to sit a bit further back from the computer. This is relatively easy to do by changing the screen font settings on your computer operating system. On a Windows machine, hold down the Ctrl and + keys; (on a Mac, the Apple and + keys) to increase font size. To reverse this use the – instead of the + key.

      Your upside down reading trick sounds useful to get an honest test of your reading distance, but not many of us would find that a comfortable way to read for content or pleasure.

      Best of luck with your continued progress.


      • Michael S.


        First, thanks for helping so many people with this and many other issues! This whole blog is fantastic. I’ve cured my chronic fatigue using intermittent fasting and am seeing fantastic applications of Hormetism in other areas, too. Thank you!

        I have a question that emerges from this enlarged-text suggestion. With effort, I can focus on something that’s around 20 inches (I think?) from my head; any farther than that and I start to lose a lot of details. Making the font bigger would make it easier to read without glasses, but it doesn’t make anything any more in-focus; the edges of the letters still look a little on the furry side. Similarly, while I can safely drive without glasses and can read traffic signs as I pass them, I can still tell that the edges of the signs have some fuzz. Sometimes the letters blur together a bit (presumably due to my astigmatism).

        So, what’s confusing me about these instructions is what, exactly, is the range of training. I can wear plus lenses and push a book out far enough that reading is a challenge and then force my eyes to work a little harder so that I can read; I can definitely feel the strain of that and I suspect I’d get better at reading at a distance doing that. But that’s quite a bit different from pushing the book out to the point where the edges of the letters just barely start to get fuzzy and then making my eyes crisp it up – and if that’s the goal, I have no clue how to apply that to any distance greater than two feet from my head!

        Would you be so kind as to clarify this issue?

        • Todd

          Hi Michael. Thanks for the kind comments. I’m glad that you’ve been able to tackle your chronic fatigue issues.

          As I mentioned in my above exchange with Aaron, visual acuity is a combination of actual focal resolution (the ability to see sharp edges) and ability to discriminate or “readability” which involves factors such as contrast, feature size (e.g. font size), etc. So you may be able to discriminate or read more distant objects like roadsigns, even though there is some edge blur.

          The key in plus lens therapy or print pushing is to find a distance at which edge sharpness is right at the threshold of starting to become blurry (what I call D2). That’s just a very short distance beyond being in perfect focus (D1), but definitely less than blurry but readable (D30. Then you want to “play” with that distance, which means to oscillate between D1 and D2, holding at D2 to get some clearing if you can. If you are feeling strain by reading at D2 for too long, then back off and read at D1 for a little rest and comfort.

          From your post, it sounds like you are in fact reading at D2 (“the point where the edges of the letters just barely start to get fuzzy and then making my eyes crisp it up”). So you are doing that right. And if the maximum distance where you can do that is 20-24 inches from your unaided eyes, then that’s the best you can do without glasses. (This means you would need to wear -1.5 to -2 diopter glasses or contacts for perfect vision). That doesn’t mean you won’t get some benefit from trying to focus on longer distances, perhaps trying to focus on roadsigns as you drive. That will probably still help, it is just not as optimally effective.

          If you want to get the benefits of print pushing when viewing more distant objects, you could also consider wearing under corrected lenses. Have you optician cut 0.50 to 1.0 diopter off your distance prescription and wear those glasses when walking or driving.

          Does this explanation help?


  6. Hi Ephraim,
    Subject: Todd’s success, with intensive use of the plus, and “clearing” is vision to normal.

    Please allow me to add my commentary. I think it was wise of you to avoid wearing the minus lens. This was truly the “core” belief of Dr. Bates. But, whatever method a person may use, he should work to pass the DMV requirement. That is not “20/20”. but is stated here:

    They run from 20/70 (Florida) to 20/50, Texas, to 20/40 for most states. I personally have my own Snellen set up and check it about once a week.

    Ephraim> I hope I’m still allowed to comment despite being commissioned to aim for 20/70 (by mid-summer!) and report back when (hopefully) I’m there, only this discussion is too interesting for me to ignore and stay in seclusion.

    Ephraim, I encourage you to continue to practice any method that works for you. No one is dis-allowing you to post. We encourage a “learining” process — with people who have a goal of getting their vision to “reasonable normal”.

    I do suggest you go to “Discussion Forum”, and check the threads under “rehibliation”, to read what people are doing to follow Todd’s successful use of the plus.


    • Ephraim

      Thanks, Otis. I always appreciate your input and encouragement.

      Here, in the UK, the eyesight requirements for driving are more strict than in the US – near to, if not, 20/20. Fortunately I don’t drive, as I know that my current Snellen (20/100) would not suffice. A friend of mine who recently started learning to drive was forced to wear -1.00 lenses because he couldn’t make the grade, i.e., to read a car number plate at a minimum of 20 metres.

      As it happens, I do visit the discussion forum. The guy named Jansen seems to be making good progress.



  7. Hi Todd and group,

    I enjoy reading of your success with the plus, and am encouraged by the interest of the people reading and posting here. We (the human race) have a massive problem with long-term close-work. Most people like to “pretend” that there is no problem — and that is tragically a medical opinion also. We all think that “someone else” should “do something.” But that just transfers the problem — out of existence. But you truly have to look at these statistics to get the idea:

    There is no “perfect” way you can help a person with this issue. But it is to Todd’s credit that he followed Brian Severson’s advice (and did his own research), and was very persistent with the plus. There is no “replacement” for personl resolve in this issue in my opinion. I attemp to “summarize” this basic conception of science and facts here:

    This is not “speculation”. For the Eskimos, that do no “reading” — there is no negative status. For their children, with nose-on-book for long hours — there is 88 percent myopia. It takes time to “figure this out”, and use the plus “correctly”. But it DOES help to understand these issues objectively — whatever choice you might make. They are YOUR EYES, and YOUR FUTURE, and that is the only thing that is important. Otis

  8. Ephraim

    Hi, Todd.

    Just had to post after reading Rajeev’s comment and your response on the “Eyesight without glasses” discussion forum. Yes, I too have heard the medics’ bit about myopia diminishing after 40 – the notion of “presbyopia” – rubbish! I wish it were true; it would make life easier now. I’m 45 and I think I owe more to the fact that I never relented to wearing minus lenses than I do to “nature” for not ending up severely myopic. What makes more sense to me is the proven fact that myopia does not naturally progress beyond -3.00, something I both read on one of Otis’ links and what I found out from personal experience before I ever knew that fact. And when I say “naturally”, I mean by NOT WEARING MUNUS LENSES, as well as maintaining the right visual habits, even if one does not actively practise any exercises.

    In fact, the friend I mentioned in previous posts, who recently started learning to drive and was forced to wear -1.00 lenses to make the grade, was told by his optician that his sight would probably not get any worse now – and he is only 30!



    • Todd

      Ephraim, I enjoyed — and agree with — your commentary. I had to laugh about the observation that myopia does not naturally progress beyond about -3.00. Probably true, but it makes me think of Mr. Magoo of cartoon fame. Natural selection would probably eliminate those who stray much beyond -3.00 without doing anything about it — either by fitting themselves with minus lenses or going the route of plus lenses and print-pushing exercises advocated here!


  9. Hi Ephraim,

    Subject: My objection to “majority-opinion” ODs is their habit of avoding scientific truth.

    I always appreciate a person (in a professional position) who takes the time to tell me that my Snellen is 20/50, and my refractive state is -1.0 diopters.

    I then need to be told (assuming that I am in high school) that if I don’t wear the plus NOW, my refractive status will continue down at a rate of -1/2 diotper per year.

    This is now a proven fact. To remain “silent”, and say NOTHING, when they “know better” is tragic beyond belief.

    I know how hard it is to get “motivated” in the use the plus — and perhaps this must be a separate subject.

    But here is a summary of the facts, that have been accumulated over the last 30 years.

    I don’t know how any person might react to an OD who will suggest prevention with the plus.

    But it truly puts ALL RESPONSIBLITY on the person himself to take strong action with the plus — in my opinion.

    I would rather have my “resolve” and “intelligence” tested in this manner.

    But with this rare exception, all we receive is silence — when we ask pointed questions about this issue (of true prevention) from most ODs.

    This is the value of Todd’s commitment and success in wearing the plus, and clearing his Snellen to normal — under HIS control. Otis

  10. danimal

    Hi Todd,
    Awesome information. You seem very genuine based on your prompt, respectful responses.

    I think it’d be good for people to see who’s had success on this protocol vs those who haven’t.

    So far I’ve read the comments on this post and from memory I see that these are the successful ones:
    you Todd
    Brian severson,
    Dr. Kay’s son

    Can you comment on others and people who seem like they haven’t been successful. Do you think there are any generalizations you can make about the successful and unsuccessful ones?

    • Todd


      Glad you are enjoying the blog. You’ve listed a few of the many people who have improved their eyesight by using plus lenses and print pushing. But you’ll find many more if you peruse the Discussion Forum linked to this blog. There is a very long thread called Eyesight without glasses. I suggest reading it from beginning to end and you’ll find many additional people who’ve had success. Rather than name them here, I’ll leave that fun task to you.

      The common factor in all of those who’ve been successful boils down to one thing: persistence and frequent self-testing. Many people dabble in this method for a few days, see a little progress perhaps, but then they don’t have the resolve to really work at it. Just like weight lifting or learning to play the piano, this is a long term investment of your time. The progress tends to happen in sudden spurts of improvement, followed by long plateaus. If you realize that upfront, and understand that it may take you 6 months to a year of daily work to make significant progress, you will have the attitude you need to succeed. It is equally important to measure your Snellen score and track your progress. You don’t know if a diet is working if you don’t weigh yourself or measure your waist size. Similarly, without objective self-assessment using Snellen charts, you can’t tell if your vision is really improving.

      If you don’t know what a Snellen chart is, I suggest reading through the forum.


      • danimal

        Thanks for the prompt responses Todd and Otis. Through looking at some of Otis’s vids about the snellen and the comments of freq monitoring, can you suggest how to go about this with someone like me who has around -5 in both eyes. The vids and normal snellen tests go up to 20/60 maybe 20/100, but I’m pretty sure I’m like 20/200 or 20/400

        • Hi Danimal.
          Subject: I can not predict results.
          But I do judge the statements concerning the time it takes to get the refractive state of the fundamental eye to change in a postive direction. There are people who insist that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do this, from any level. I personally must to agree that it is indeed difficult — but I need the testimony of a skilled professional who has actually done it. I limit what I suggest — to the idea that it would be possible to change your refractive state in a postive direction if you are at 20/60 (on your Snellen) and you know how to conduct a (not-medical) optometry measurements. But here is an optometrist who did change her refractive state from about -3.5 diotpers to zero diopters (i.e., pass the DMV standard test.) She did it, but it was at a rate of about +1/2 diopter per year. See:

          This is why I suggest a person be informed of this possiblity by ALL PROFESSIONALS before any minus is used on the person. This is a very serious matter, since prevention is most successful, if the person will take the concept seriously, and at 20/60 — avoid wearing any minus lens (except for driving). I also believe that the rate might be as good as +1.0 diopters per year, which would mean that you could “clear off” about 3/4 diotpers in about six months. I think it is tragic that this information is not automatically supplied to each person when he is at 20/60, and -1.0 to -1.5 diotpers. But that is just my opinion. Oits

    • Hi Danmiel,
      Subject: What I learned from an optometrist who “objected” to the minus lens.
      For myself, I don’t “claim success” — once a person starts wearing a minus lens. From objective scientific facts, it is clear that the minus (however well intended) can only make the refractive state of the natural eye move “down” at a much faster rate. Indeed very few people have BOTH the intellect AND MOTIVATION to avoid the minus, by clearing their Snellen to always pass the required DMV line. I think the minus is “murder” on the eyes, and I can’t take any (scientific) responsibility for a person who starts wearing it. You asked for a list of people who are successful — in the sense of prevention. They are:
      Dr. Kaisu Kaiivari where she forced her own son to wear the plus. He is now a medical doctor.
      Dr. Jacob Raphaelson’s three girls — who he forced to wear the plus.
      My nephew, who realized that, if he did not take prevention seriously (when in junior high school), that his refractive state would go “down” at the standard rate of -1/2 diotper per year, for each year in school.
      But the essential feature, is that these people use anti-prescription glasses to keep their refractive state postive — through the years.
      In fact, I teach “not-medicine” optometry — to the person who wishes to learn it. This is self-empowerment (like Todd did it) so the cost of learing and doing prevention is absolutly free. Here is Dr. Kaisu’s book on plus-prevention for your interest:
      So, yes, not all medical people are “blind” about the need for plus prevention (before the minus), but it is rare that they have the courage to describe the minus as “poision glasses for children” — which is exactly what they are — in my opinion. As an engineer, I just ask the I be told scientific truth, before I am given a minus, and have the courage to “do it myself, under my control”. I think that is the only possiblity (of prevention) for the future. Otis

  11. Subject: Can self-induced myopia be prevented — before that first minus is applied?

    Here are the current and future statistics on this issue.

    The population of the USA is about 0.3 billion for comparison.

    The amount of self-induced myopia is 1.6 billion.

    By the year 20/20, this number is expected to grow to 2.5 billion.

    The use of the plus — for threshold prevention (while Snellen is still at 20/60), is wise and possible. But it is never easy. Todd did it, but very few people seem to be able to get the idea and have the fortitude to do it.

    A true plus-prevention study (starting at 20/60) has never bee attempted.

    Why not?

    Here are the statistics.

    You be the judge!

  12. Ephraim

    Hi, Danimal.

    Simply put, for the technique to work it requires the person to work. It’s the same as asking if weight training works. Some people go to the gym and expect to see muscular development after a short while and give up when they don’t see it. But you also see people out there with good physiques. Yes, it is possible to build a body naturally (i.e. without drugs), but it takes EFFORT and TIME, time not everybody is willing to devote. That’s why you will not encounter in the mainstream media the sort of material advocated here. It’s unorthodox and, hence, controversial. There’s no big money to be made on this stuff but, conversely, there are those out there in the ophthalmic profession who would lose out if it became mainstream.

    Personally, I’m not on a mission to convince people that there is another way. Yes, on the one hand, I am prepared to volunteer the information to individuals I have regards for and who I feel will be amenable to it, but I don’t preach to any and everyone in the hope of winning converts. Over the years, I have discussed the subject with very few people. It can meet with incredulity, scepticism or even downright ridicule. After all, most people go by what they hear from the “experts”. By their thinking, it follows that if you don’t have credentials you must be talking rubbish. I would rather leave such people in their ignorance than be made to look a fool by them.

    Blogs such as this one are quite exclusive, since posters got here because they were actively seeking answers outside of the mainstream. I’m happy for it to be that way.

    Welcome, Danimal, and good luck on your quest.


    • Hi Ephraim,
      As an engineer — I judge this situation — as you do.
      I will inform accurately, about the proven effect of a minus lens on the eye. (The eye goes down — at a fast rate — but I can not “force” prevention on anyone.) The minus “works” — but it also destroys. But very few people want to take the (scientific) time to understand it that way. It was obvious to me when I interviewed an OD (in his home — with no pressure), that prevention would be possible. But it could not be “medical” in character. The key issues is this — does the person “see” a better future for himself if he (at 20/60) will begin the heavy and consistent use of a plus? I sustpected that pilots would truly value their distant vision, and could find in themselves the MOTIVATION to 1) Wear the plus for all close work. 2) Monitor their Snellen, and 3) I would hope measure their refractive state, and 4) Would verify that their Snellen clears to 20/40 or better in six months. It would be expected then, that 6) In about one year his refractive state would be postive, and he would CONFIRM that he could read 20/25 to 20/20 on his Snellen. But two items block this process. 1) The anti-scientific attitude of many people in “medicine”, and 2) the fact that the minus is so “easy”. The scientific facts are “correct” for prevention (in my judgment), but the attitude of most people is not prepared for it. I inform these facts accurately. It is up to the person himself to make a success of this work. Otis

  13. danimal

    I’m not really questioning the method. I understand most things require hard work and just time.
    Through looking at some of Otis’s vids about the snellen and the comments of freq monitoring, can you suggest how to go about this with someone like me who has around -5 in both eyes. The vids and normal snellen tests go up to 20/60 maybe 20/100, but I’m pretty sure I’m like 20/200 or 20/400.

    Secondly, this is more related to Todd as I’ve seen him comment on this a few times, but he says we want to move the printed page so that it becomes blurry. There’s a range for everyone though. Do we want it to be barely blurry? Or do we move it further so it becomes blurry but still legible without squinting.

    • Todd

      Hi Danimal,

      With strong myopia such as yours, you can make a lot of progress without any plus lenses, just using your naked eyes. You focal length is 1 meter divided by the number of diopters. Since one meter is roughly 40 inches, your focal length is 40/5 = roughly 8 inches. That means you should be able to read a book or computer screen 8 inches away from your eyes without wearing any lenses. This probably seems too close for comfort and long term safety — but that fact makes it an excellent way to get started, because you have a strong incentive to improve and lengthen your reading distance! Just keep pushing back a little at each reading session to ensure you are reading just barely beyond the edge of focus. Once you get to a focal distance of about 16 inches (2.5 diopters) you’ll benefit from using plus lenses to further decrease your myopia.

      Your point about a “range” between perfect focus and a blurry image is correct. I’ve described in some detail on the forum exactly how to determine the distance that corresponds to the “edge of blur”, what I refer to as “D2”, and occasionally testing yourself at “the edge of readability” or “D3”. There are also some useful follow up comments on that thread about on a technique that uses double images to accelerate improvement. You might find the discussion there helpful:,8.msg781.html#msg781

      Let me know if this addresses your question. Also, I encourage you to participate in the discussion forum and document your progress there. There is something about sharing your quest for self-improvement with others that makes it go more smoothly and makes it more enjoyable as well!


  14. Ephraim

    Hi, Todd.

    In the course of my research, I just came across what I can only describe as a rather sinister website called “Eye Scene” which bills itself as a “discussion site with a different outlook on eyewear”. I haven’t posted anything there yet, but I think they’re a sick bunch and I intend to tell them so. I won’t spoil it for you by going into any details here, but I’d love to know your reaction, for example, to the following thread: (Unfortunately, the most recent comments appear first, which means you have to go to the bottom of the page and read backwards.)

    I think Otis would be outraged!



    • Todd


      I did check out that site and as you indicate, it is sick. It’s like one of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” worlds, where at first things seem normal — the science is right — but then you realize that everything is upside down, because the folks on that site are using sound science to actually harm themselves. In that respect it is like a “pro-ana” site where anorexics share tips on how to starve and become less healthy. Here is one typical post that really disturbed me:

      Apple 31 Jan 2002, 16:21

      I too have found myself wanting to be a myope. I think the negative lenses seem to work best. I have been wearing -6’s for about 5 months now. I have noticed that when I take them off and in the morning when I dont have them on yet that things are getting blurry. I can still see very well without them if I strain. But if I close my eyes and relax then I reopen them things are blurry as hell. I love it. So I definately think that negative lenses will do the trick. I will continue to wear them religiously. I am dying to see how long it will take before I cannot due without them. I am predicting one year. Any feedback to help me speed up the process would be appreciated. I am 22 years old so I think its still possible to change the shape of my eyss. Only time will tell, wish me luck.

      Why would anyone willfully do this to themselves? Ephraim, I think our time is best spent helping people who want to help themselves; there’s not much we can do for those who are intentionally self-destructive.


      • Dear Todd and Ephraim,

        Subject: Asking a “pointed” question — even if it is “upside down”.

        I had a lot of ‘trouble’ with that question myself! No one should “want” to make themselves “myopic” by the forced wearing a minus lens. But there is a deep philosophical (scientific) question that is implied here. The scientific question is this:

        1) Can you take a totally natural eye, with a refractive state of +1/2 diopters, and with the FORCED WEAR of a -3 diopter lens, “cause” the refractive state to change from +1/2 to -2.0 diopters in nine months. This is an “either-or” question — that hurts no one. But now you encounter the “medical orthodox” theory. That theory insists that:

        2) The minus is perfectly safe, because the above is not proven, or even possible and

        3) Who would be interested in the concept that the entire population of eyes (natural or fundamental) are responsive in that manner, and

        4) How would you prove this “derived” question.
        If the correct answer is that you can place a -3 diopter lens on the natural eye (concept here):


        If you “accept” this concept, then however well-intended a minus lens is (for the general public) — the scientific reality is that is can only “encourage” that down-ward change in refractive status for the natural eye.

        In fact, if you accept this concept, then, if you wish to “get out of” a slight negative state — this process can be “reversed” by use of the plus — as you have DONE IT.

        This might be a ‘separate reality’ as some will state it to be — but in an abstract, intellectual way, it must be considered a scientific reality by me, and as the “second-opinion”.

        Todd, pure-science analysis truly confims WHY you were successful with the plus that you used on yourself — in my opinion.

        For me, if you ask if Todd is telling scientific truth, and his success is validated by science — then that is how I confirm his successful result. Otis

      • Ephraim

        Hi, Todd.

        I know you advised me not to bother with the folk on that forum, but I just had to have my say. I admit that getting side-tracked with such people is a waste of time and does nothing for my progress (none, yet, by the way!).

        You won’t be surprised to hear that about half a dozen of them jumped on me like a pack of wolves. I didn’t give in and answered them one by one in three exchanges until one came out with a more frank and friendly response.

        However, I’d like to point out that there is one member there who does seem to know his stuff, an admitted layman who has read up over the years. On a technical point, I’d like to run one of his claims past you before I challenge him, as I’m not sure about it. He agrees that minus lenses induce/exacerbate myopia, but argues that “true” (axial) myopia, as opposed to “pseudo” myopia (affected by the lens/ciliary muscle) is irreversible. I have heard of these two types of myopia, but this has not been discussed here. I can’t argue with him about the actual physical effect of plus lens therapy until I know more. I’d be grateful for some enlightenment on this.



        • Todd


          Boy, you are a bit of a masochist to subject yourself to the folks on that site, Ephraim! But perhaps that is a bit of Hormetism in you, because it may strengthen your tolerance. You handled them quite well and I think you put them on the defensive. I’m trying to understand exactly why they so desperately WANT to wears glasses. The reasons given are that they like the way glasses look, find women who wear glasses to be attractive, want a slightly wider field of vision that they get with minus lenses, or that this somehow better protects their eyes from UV radiation. All fairly lame reasons. If you really think glasses make you look cool, you could wear “plano” lenses with no correction, or better yet, some smooth-looking James Bond sunglasses, which would also protect your eyes in the bright light.

          You wanted my feedback on this point raised by your interlocutor:

          He agrees that minus lenses induce/exacerbate myopia, but argues that “true” (axial) myopia, as opposed to “pseudo” myopia (affected by the lens/ciliary muscle) is irreversible. I have heard of these two types of myopia, but this has not been discussed here. I can’t argue with him about the actual physical effect of plus lens therapy until I know more. I’d be grateful for some enlightenment on this.

          There are actual more than two types of myopia and many different approaches to classification, e.g. by cause, by clinical manifestation, by degree, age of onset, etc. Wikipedia has a useful discussion of this ( The two basic causal categories are axial myopia (due to elongation of the eye) and refractive myopia (due to changes in curvature or refractive index of the lens or cornea). Pseudomyopia is due to spasm of the ciliary muscle, which can affect the lens curvature, but it is generally a temporary effect due to eye strain or inflammation. So on that point, your interlocutor may be conflating a readily reversible condition (pseudomyopia) with changes in lens curvature that may more sustained, e.g. hardening of the lens.

          Your sparring partner may be correct that it axial myopia is the type of myopia most responsive to being induced by minus lenses (and thereby most easily corrected by plus lenses). The evidence I’ve seen is that the axial length of the eye responds to focal stimuli. The IRDT theory provides what I think is a very compelling account of this. In addition, by alleviating eyestrain, plus lenses could actually be quite effective in resolving pseudomyopia, by removing the very stimulus of near work that tends to produce it.

          The interesting question is whether refractive myopia that involves longer term changes in lens curvature, e.g. hardening of the lens, will respond to plus lens therapy. I’m less certain on this point, but my opinion is that if the lenticular myopia is mild, it might be compensated for by axial foreshortening to bring about normal vision, because net myopia is a combined effect. In other words a myopic lens plus a hyperopic eye length can combine to produce emmetropia (normal vision). However, if lenticular myopia progress beyond a certain point, then it is possible that this could excess the ability to compensate by reductions in axial length.

          In the above, I writing as a scientifically informed layman, not a professional anatomist or opthamologist. So there may be considerations I’m not aware of that would undermine my interpretation. But you asked for it, so you got it!



        • Hi Empraim,
          Subject: The excess of a truly bad (Helmholtz) THEORY.
          Re: The need for an accurate concept for true-prevention.

          What a person measures is a refractive STATE. But using an “image” of the eye (like a camera), they can convert a refractive STATE — into a “length”. This is not legitimate in science. That is inferring something that IS NOT IN SCIENCE OR DATA ITSELF. That is why I always state, that in its intital phase, you must talk about an “un-desired” negative refractive state — to avoid falling into that artifical “trap” of THEIR bad theory.

          But the “bigger” issue is helping people spread the “word”, that they could get their eyes to change their refractive status in a postive direction, and therefore clear their Snellen to normal.
          I know that true-prevention is very PERSONAL, and most people can not convince themselves that they should do it. But people like Dr. Colgate seem to “get the idea” on their own — and JUST DO IT. Here is a paper by him about getting parents to help their children with this (successful prevention) issue. But the protocol must be followed, and must be before you start wearing a minus lens — in my opinion.

          My nephew has been using the plus since age 14. I made it clear to him that this was an “either-or” (not medical) choice. I was pleased that he was like Todd — who could apply “stoic resolve” on himself. We now know that if you don’t start wearing the plus (at the threshold of 20/40 and -1 diopter), and are in high school, the “un-protected” eye simply goes down at a rate of -1/2 diopter per year. Thus a “plus” is not a “short-term” cure, but you must understand prevention because of that fact — that you must monitor your own Snellen, and when it starts to “get blurry out there”, you must re-start your use of the plus. This is what he did, and that is why he was successul. Most people just sit and argue — and don’t take any action at all. Otis

    • Hi Ephraim,
      No, I am not “outraged”! Just sad — that no true prevention effort has ever been conducted. But, for your enjoyment, why not listen to this video — that suggests that plus-prevention MUST BE AN INFORMED CHOICE — before the child’s Snellen goes below 20/50 (in my opinion). All professionals should play this video for you an your child. This is very serious. I would have no problem with a parent, after watching this video, stating that they think that ‘plus-prevention’ is a big joke, and they want their child in a very strong lens for permanent wear.

      I would also have a person watch this video that “complains” about this issue.

      Best, Otis

    • Hi Ephraim,

      Subject: An optometrist is told that the parents will not “stand for” the successful use of anti-prescription glasses.

      This is the reason why I am not “outraged” — only sad that the quick fix minus sells (for $320) and the preventive plus (for about $10) does not “sell”.

      This should help your understanding of why and OD will have a problem with helping the general public with plus-prevention.

      You should understand WHY Todd was successful — and WHY he had no choice at all — but to do it himself.

      Yes, I used to complain about this issue — of not being informed of the terrible and exacerbating effect of a minus on the natural eye’s refractive state. But I wanted to understand what a WISE OD had to say about this issue — on these two levels:

      1) Intuitively understanding the truly bad effect of a minus on the natural eye — what did the optometrist do for his own children. (Answer — he insisted that HIS children always wear the plus –even with 20/20 vision.) and,

      2) Why it was impossible to “reason” with the general public about this issue. (Answer: The public only wants an “instant” fix with a minus lens. Any effort to “convince” a parent and child to use a preventive plus correctly — is considered mal-practice — in the extreme. Here is the example of this attitude of the public against ODs who promote anti-prescription glasses.

      It is very important to understand that no OD will help here — and for this EXACT REASON. So the ODs just DENY that people like Todd are successful — when he does it “on his own”.

      I will not “argue” this too much. I just suggest this is the reason why a pilot, or any highly motivated person will have no success in attempting to “deal” with these ODs. This was why Pilot Brian Severson was successful — in clearing his Snellen from about 20/60.

      It is good to understand these issue clearly in my opinion. Don’t ask an OD to do — what you must do for yourself. Just understand WHY you have no choice — in my opinion.


  15. Hi Todd and Empraim,

    Subject: The understanding of “professionals in medicine” — anatomist and ophthalmologist.

    Re: The subject is not a “closed book”! The second-opinion, is that the “too long” or “too short” eye concept is a myth — based on a simplistic notion of the eye. It is always a good idea to keep this in mind when discussing the possiblity of threshold prevention with the plus. No science, and no logic can over-throw Todd’s obvious success. But let me present the ODs and MDs who totally support Todd. The wise, educated and motivated must review the science of the natural eye — and finally make a choice, between an excessively strong minus, and prevention with a plus.

    Todd> In the above, I writing as a scientifically informed layman, not a professional anatomist or opthamologist. So there may be considerations I’m not aware of that would undermine my interpretation. But you asked for it, so you got it!

    Here are the professionals who support the dynamic eye concept, and with that proven science support the use of the plus for preventions. Optometrist Steve Leung:

    Ophthalmologist Kaisu Viikari, MD and Ph.D.

    So the issue of the scientific/engineering layman must be part of prevention. Indeed the “informed choice” is indeed what science is all about.

    Fundamental science (and medical opinion) does in fact support Todds clear-cut success. Otis

  16. Subject: The cost of plus-prevention.
    I would gladly pay $150 for plus prevention help. There are many who scoff at the idea. They would like to deny Todd’s obvious success. But to encourage others to understand this issue, I present the concept as the second-opinion. It is incumbent on me to prove that professionals believe in, and support what Todd accomplished, at almost no cost to him. Here is the statement of support.

    If you can teach yourself how to do this, on your own, then so much the better. Otis

  17. Ephraim

    Thanks, Todd and Otis.

    Yes, Todd, quite an answer! So, if I understand correctly, the net cause of myopia can be a combination of variables in each case. Hence, the synergistic approach of employing more than one type of technique would make sense, as it attacks different aspects of the same problem. But as a successful exponent of plus lens therapy yourself, are you aware of the mechanics of your own former myopia? At least you would then know which type of myopia responds to plus lens usage.

    Just a thought for Shadowfoot over on the forum. His “red eye” problem could simply be a symptom of insufficient blinking during eye training sessions. It’s so easy to forget this simple function when concentrating on close work. This is a point emphasised by Meir Schneider. Blinking lubricates the eye and also serves as a momentary rest to reduce strain.



    • Todd


      While it is true that myopia has more than one possible cause, in the vast majority of cases it is caused by axial elongation to a degree that cannot be compensated for by relaxation of the ciliary muscle of the lens. Unfortunately, I did not bother to measure the axial length of my eye before and after my experiments (I’m not quite sure how I would have done that), so unfortunately I have no direct evidence, and am left only to speculate. I assume that I had axial elongation, and that my use of plus lenses in combination with more distance viewing reversed this. Lenticular myopia is most typically a result of hardening of the lens or presbyopia. That’s something that becomes more common with aging, but I don’t think that that is what I had — because presbyopia typically involves simultaneous hyperopia or inability to focus on fine print — which is not my problem.

      Regarding Meir Schneider and blinking. I think this is an interesting concept. I have confirmed with myself that blinking can help to “clear” print focus. However, some have objected that blinking, by wetting the eye, introduces what is effectively additional curvature to the lens, momentarily improving one’s ability to focus. That is an interesting idea. I don’t know whether it is a valid point, but it should be considered.


  18. Hi Ephraim,

    Subject: If you clear your Snellen from 20/60 to normal — who cares about “eye length”?

    Discussion: No one in an office ever “removes your eye” and measures its length. So I think that argument is artifical, since they only measure a refractive state — not a “length”. But I do agree, with Dr. Bates, that prevention (under control of the person himself) is the only way to go. (I have reviewed Dr. Bates advocacy in another thread.) Perhaps we should call Todd’s success as clearing “pseudo-myopia” or all recoverys as “pseudo-myopia” recovery — when a person clears his Snellen from 20/60 to normal. If I do this, under my own control, and confirm this change with my own trial-lens kit, why would I be “worried” about that issue. I am concerned with my own personal welfare, not with “proving” my success to myself.

    Here is what Dr. Bates said:

    Bates> Myopia with elongation of the eyeball is incurable. It is usually acquired during school life. Acute myopia, spasm of the accommodation, or functional myopia is an early stage of incurable myopia.

    So I totally agree with Dr. Bates and Todd.

    The issue is to be wise enough to 1) Confirm your visual acuity before your vision “starts down”. 2) Realize that no OD or MD is going to help you with true prevention and you must have the resolve to “do it yourself”. 3) When you see your Snellen going down below 20/40 to 20/50, then make your mind up to begin wearing the preventive plus.
    You and avoid “pseudo-myopia” by getting your Snellen back to nomral and under your control — which is what Todd did.
    This is indeed an argument for “personal empowerment” — which was what Dr. Bates attempted to do. We can get into an infinite number of arguments about this issue and Todd’s success, but real success is what Todd achieved by his own strong resolve — in my opinion. Otis

  19. Ephraim

    To Todd:

    Prior to dispensing with your glasses, would you not have known your optical prescription? As I understand it, one of the three figures refers to axial length. Once you know that figure, you can simply compare it against the prescription of a hyperope and go from there.

    With regard to Shadowfoot’s problem, I was recommending blinking purely for its lubricating and stress-relieving properties. “Red eye” can be a symptom of dryness. I was aware of blinking’s ability to enhance focal clarity, but I gather that its effect is due to tears acting like a secondary lens. I suppose that’s the same as you explained it but, obviously, its not a long-term solution. However, there are those who regard tears as “natural eye drops”, the best thing you can put in your eyes, and there are recommended exercises to increase tear production. It certainly does relieve soreness.

    To Otis:

    You talk of “prevention”, but what does one do once their Snellen has slipped beyond 20/60? There are those, like me, who never knew anything about plus lens therapy by the time their Snellen had slipped beyond that critical point.

    You say “who cares about eye length”, but isn’t that a major factor in myopia? I used to think that myopia was merely a lens issue until Todd pointed out that there is more to it than that, as the lens’ power of accommodation is limited.

    But, ultimately, I do agree that no optical professional is going to help matters. They would rather offer me laser surgery, an option I wouldn’t accept for free!



    • Todd


      I don’t have (and can’t remember) my full prescription from 10 years ago, when I wasn’t paying much attention to the details of vision science. A standard prescription here in the U.S. has the form S – C – Axis. S is the “spherical” portion or diopter correction. C is the “cylinder” portion or astigmatism correction, and Axis is the orientation angle of the astigmatism. None of these numbers directly relates to the axial (front to back) length of the eye. The S number does relate to the combination of effects of the lens and the axial length, but since these two lengths can vary independently, there is no way to derive axial length from the prescription.

      For medical reasons, opthamologists can measure eye length using ultrasonography, CT scans, interferometry and other methods. While it might be interesting to know the length of your eye versus that of your lens, out of intellectual curiosity, I’m not sure why it would make any difference to the important question: How are you going to deal with your myopia?

      I’m interested to know: In your use of plus lenses and other vision exercises, are you continuing to see progress in reducing your myopia or improving your visual acuity in other respects? What is your current Snellen score in each eye, and have you seen any quantitative improvements in your Snellen over time?



    • Hi Ephraim and Todd,
      Subject: The intellectual myopia blindness of ODs and MDs.
      I had managed to figure out how to prevent deafness in myself — even with NO MEDICAL ADVICE. This was just personal wisdom. I consider that threshold-prevention is on that level. No one “medical” is going to say one word about it. They are totally “tied up” in their office to “make money”. Here is an example from “optometry sucks”:
      All I have ever asked for — was that HONEST INFORMATION be volunteered to me — when my Snellen was at 20/40. I don’t ask them to “prescribe anything” — just tell me scientific truth. Then, when I choose the plus (at 20/40), I will do all the preventive work under my control. There is a blindness in them — that is beyond belief. Sure, I know that most people will not have the “strong resolution” to begin the plus (when they confirm their Snellen at 20/40) — but I think a wise engineer — and pilot — could develop that type of scientific motivation IN HIMSELF. For me, it is an “either/or” choice. The fact that it is now PROVEN that, if you DO NOT START WITH THE PLUS AT 20/40 (ABOUT -1 DIOPTER), your eyes WILL GO DOWN AT A RATE OF -1/2 DIOPTER PER YEAR. If a person knows this FOR CERTAIN, and will not wear the plus at 20/40 then I truly regret the consequences of that tragic choice. So I don’t use the word, “cure” because I don’t this this issue is medical at all. But I do wish for ODs to be more “open” when they find a child at 20/40 and a wise choice could be made at that point. I infomred my nephew of most of these issues. (He was becomming myopic and was prescribed about a -1.0 doipter). He took the “high road”, and always started (and re-started) with the plus when it got “blurry out there”. But that was a wise personal choise. Much as Todd suggests intermittant fasting, I suggest monitoring your own Snellen, and when it “starts down” conduct plus-prevention yourself. But that is just my engineering mind at work. To futher respond:

      To Otis:

      You talk of “prevention”, but what does one do once their Snellen has slipped beyond 20/60?

      Otis> Tragically — you should have been informed of this choice when you were at 20/40. I don’t know what you would have done. I know I would have worn the plus — until I cleared back to 20/25 or so.

      There are those, like me, who never knew anything about plus lens therapy by the time their Snellen had slipped beyond that critical point.

      Otis> I don’t call it “therapy”. But these people do have an obligation to INFORM. But they are not doing that. There is nothing I can do about that issue. Sorry.

      You say “who cares about eye length”, but isn’t that a major factor in myopia?

      Otis> No, the fundamental and natural eye has a slight negative STATE. (This language is VERY IMPORTANT.) No one can measure “length” with any accuracy at all. Try not to get “hung up” on that idea.

      I used to think that myopia was merely a lens issue until Todd pointed out that there is more to it than that, as the lens’ power of accommodation is limited.

      Otis> Todd had one major issue. The ablity to learn from Brian Severson’s success, and commit himself to the plus when I think his Snellen was about 20/80. But HE STUCK WITH IT. Science just confirms his result as being correct.

      But, ultimately, I do agree that no optical professional is going to help matters.

      Otis> Some of this is “our fault also”. I never deny that truth.

      They would rather offer me laser surgery, an option I wouldn’t accept for free!

      Otis> I draw a line and separate “medicine” from pure science. Successful prevention — is just engineering wisdom. Medicine is “pure reactive” — as you state it. I understand this problem FROM BOTH PERSPECTIVES. I think that would be part of any scientific education on this issue.



  20. Hi Todd and Ephraim,
    Subject: Is prevention medical? What is the official position of the medical establishment.
    What that tells me, is: 1) They totally ignore all science and facts that prove the natural eye is dynamic 2) If you want even prevention, they are going to laugh at you. 3) Since it is impossible in a medical sense, you have no choice but to institute prevention before your Snellen goes below 20/40 — about -3/4 diopters. 4) Since they are either ignorant or hostile, I have no choice but to 5) Obtain my own tiral lens kit and 6) Keep my Snellen clear and my refractive state postive myself. But that is my engineering analysis, and careful review of the few “plus” studies that prevention, as Todd did it — is indeed possible. But because of the above, Todd had to be both smart enough and motivated to do it himself — to realize that my thesis of deafness “negative state” prevention must rest, not on a medical person at all, but on both the person’s intelligence, and the intense and sustained motivation to use the plus, whenever you see your Snellen going down, from 20/20, to 20/30, to 20/40, to 20/50. You can not put wisdom and motivation in a person, nor can anyone guarantee any results. That in my opinion is why no preventive effort will ever be instituted or conducted by a medical person — who has already declared that PREVENTION IS IMPOSSIBLE. Otis

  21. Hi Todd and Ephraim,
    Subject: The history of people who have objected to the idea that even PREVENTION would be impossible. Here is that un-published history.

    Dr. Prentice argued for plus-prevention over 100 years ago. These were
    insightful suggestions. They were never implemented, although logical and reasonable. No one ask the question, “how are we going to get a child to wear the preventive plus when he was at 20/40 and -3/4 diopter.

    It is indeed very easy to “quick-fix” a person with a minus (since its effect is so instant and obvious. It would take a “strong will” to reject the minus, and make dedicated use of ths plus, under the logic suggested by Dr. Prentice.

    Here is some of this “preventive” history — that convinces me that I must start this plus-preventive work before my Snellen goes below 20/60. I have explained why no OD or MD will ever help us with this issue.

    But it truly is difficult – because it takes so much personal common-sense and motivation.

    So what is the source of that predicted -1/2 diopter per year, if the plus is not used at 20/40 to 20/50 level? Here is the analysis:


    Subject: My work with vision researcher, Dr. Francis Young.

    It is very clear to me that no “medical person” is going to volunteer any information on plus-prevention — when the person is at 20/40 and about -1/2 diopter.

    (There are some exceptions – but it is rare that an OD will suggest this possiblity.)

    I did a review Dr. Bates efforts – which did get me “started” on these concepts. I always enjoy a man who, against impossible “odds” attempts to fight for a better future.

    But I should provide you with some additional information.

    When you are dealing with a child – it is impossible to “reason” with either the child or the parents. So a true “preventive” plus study – can never be conducted with a child.

    Given that fact – then what “indicators” could exist to show that, for the wise, that the use of the plus (at 20/60) could be effective – in the sense of pure prevention and pure science?


    The bifocal study (minus on top, weak plus on bottom) was first published in 1949. (Title, “Success with bifocals” as I remember it.) Then a series of additional bi-focal studies were conducted.

    What the control group showed (in these six or more studies) was that the control group went down at a rate of -1/2 diopters per year. (Grade school to completion of high school.) Very few people know this information – because no one in optometry wants to “volunteer” this information.

    Now the next issue is about WHO judges these studies.


    2) A series of incompetent studies (over-prescribed minus on top – weak
    plus on bottom – that the kids avoid looking through.)

    The competent study showed that the “plus” resulted in the eye not “going down” at all. (But it did not go up – also. So what are the implications?)

    First, the kids were not “intellectually involved”. They mechanically had a “plus” on – but if the kid leaned forward by even two or three inches – that could “cancel out” the desired effect of the plus.

    This is why pilots, and you – who have the motivation and intelligence for it – sit up and read at the “just blur” point – are successful.

    But this requires both intelligence and profound motivation When a person does this – he can get about +1/2 diopter PER YEAR.

    This is why “sticking” with this process is so VERY IMPORTANT. You must have a strong “goal” and see clearing from 20/60 to 20/40 in six months. That personal success should encourage you to continue — if you truly value getting back to 20/20.

    This is also why I suggest the person must start with 20/60 (to avoid the minus) and use the strong plus for ALL CLOSE WORK.

    This is a “tall order” for most people. They just can not “stick out” that discipline. I can’t blame them – but then – it is not for me to say.


  22. danimal

    my friend had the following to say. she’s studying at the suny optometry center in ny

    todd: Support for this approach comes from extensive animal and human studies showing that the eye actually remodels neuroplastically in response to repeated focusing stimulus.

    her: makes sense. but it’s only corrective from hyperopia to myopia, not the other way around, since hyperopic eyes are small relative to the power and it’s only physically possible for something to get bigger rather than smaller (unless the eye dies..)

    I know you aren’t eye specialists but if you could shine any light on the matter that’d be great. Personally I don’t see why both ways aren’t possible.

    • Hi Danimal and Todd,
      Subject: The concept that the natural eye changes its refractive STATE with 1) an applied lens and 2) long-term near.
      Sometimes an annimation of the natural eye can help in understanding. These questions developed from statements made by Raphaelson who stated that Russians “caused myopia” from placing a strong minus on the eye. These are changes in refractive STATE plus and minus) that do not directly relate to “cure”. See:
      There is no “perfect proof” that a negative state can be PREVENTED, but this character of the totally natural eye is very suggestive of WHY Todd was successful with the plus (to get his natural eye’s to change their refractive STATE in a postive direction and his Snellen to clear. In the final analysis, only Todd knows his results. But for pure-science I would think of the above scientific proof. This is not medical proof (perhaps) but who is concerned with that. Otis

  23. danimal

    could you also link us to these animal studies you cite showing improvement in plus lens therapy


    • Todd


      Here are some references, which were already hyperlinked from my two posts (“Improve eyesight…” and “Rehabilitation”):

      1. The Incremental Retinal Defocus Theory of myopia, — a theoretical framework by Hung and Ciuffreda. This is where you should start:

      2. A study by Chung et al., which appears to disprove the IRDT theory:

      3. A rebuttal to that study, reconfirming the IRDT theory:

      4. There are many animal studies. Here is one of many that shows that plus lenses can rapidly produce changes that lead to a decrease in the axial length of the eye, in chicks:

      I quote:

      Wearing positive or negative lenses for only 10 minutes produced significantly different effects on choroidal thickness measured 2 hours later. Wearing positive lenses for 10 minutes caused an increase in choroidal thickness (in 28 of 32 eyes) and a concomitant decrease in vitreous chamber depth, relative to the amount of change in the untreated fellow eye over the same period. Wearing negative lenses for 1 hour caused significant changes in the opposite direction. Wearing lenses for 2 hours resulted in choroidal changes that persisted in darkness for up to 6 hours after positive lens wear, but returned to normal after negative lens wear. Finally, 1 hour of positive lens wear caused significant inhibition of ocular elongation over the next 2 days.

      Let me know if this addresses your questions.


      • danimal

        yes numbers 1 and 4 are what i was looking for since 2 and 3 were already linked

  24. danimal

    Todd: 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),

    my friend studying optometry said: i don’t think that’s what it means… i think hyperopic growth means the growth of the lens inside the eye, not the actual length…supposedly she is a student of the author of that paper ciufredda, so i guess i can have her ask him since the paper’s only an abstract

    • Hi Danimal and Todd,
      Subject: The schism in optometry about true-prevention.
      It is very clear that there is no agreement — with the “experts”. In fact, the “treatment” you get, depends NOT ON PURE SCIENCE, but rather on the opinion of the OD you happen to visit. This of course is not science at all, but simply chaos. But I respect that fact, and suggest that the person himself be provided with the profoundly contradictory opinions that exist in optometry. One clear statement was made by Dr. Arnold Sherman OD, in his semminal paper, “Myopia can often be prevented, controlled or elliminated”. He reviewed these issues and suggested that prevention is possible if the person “correctly uses” the plus before the minus, and before his refractive state goes below -1.5 diopters. (I will send a copy to Todd for his review.) I think that no “argument” is ever going to resolve this issue, so I just state that the pure-science concept of the natural eye — is the second-opinion. But I also take it does take great resolve and scientific education in the person himself to be successful with this process. Otis

    • Todd


      Please do have your friend ask Professors Hung and Ciufredda what they meant by hyperopic growth. However, they seem to be fairly clear about it in their first paper:

      …our newly proposed incremental retinal-defocus theory (IRDT)…is based on a relatively simple and direct mechanism for the regulation of ocular growth. It states that a time-averaged decrease in retinal-image defocus area decreases the rate of release of retinal neuromodulators, which decreases the rate of retinal proteoglycan synthesis with an associated decrease in scleral structural integrity. This increases the rate of scleral growth, and in turn the eye’s axial length, which leads to myopia. Our schematic analysis has provided a clear explanation for the eye’s ability to grow in the appropriate direction under a wide range of experimental conditions. In addition, the theory has been able to explain how repeated cycles of nearwork-induced transient myopia leads to repeated periods of decreased retinal-image defocus, whose cumulative effect over an extended period of time results in an increase in axial growth that leads to permanent myopia. Thus, this unifying theory forms the basis for understanding the underlying retinal and scleral mechanisms of myopia development.

      I’m not sure how one could be more clear that they are talking about the axial length of the eye, rather than changes to the lens. But perhaps your friend can substantiate her alternate interpretation by the very same authors.

  25. Ephraim

    Hi, Todd, Otis & Danimal.

    Excuse me, Danimal, but your optometry student friend is, no doubt, studying under the auspices of the orthodox school of thought. Hence, with all due respect to her, there is nothing objective about what she is saying. She can only repeat what she has been taught by her mentors, the “tradition” we are all familiar with. There is a fundamental difference between that and what is being advocated on this website.

    I think the professional situation is a combination of genuine ignorance (based on training) and deliberate conspiracy. In other words, those who don’t know, and those who do know but keep silent. They’ll even tell you that if you don’t wear glasses when you need them, you’ll damage your eyes!

    I just thank God that, at the age of 12, I had the wisdom to reject professional opinion and resist wearing glasses. I am thankful that, more than 30 years ago, I did not fall into the hands of the optical establishment/industry, commit myself to their “care” and subsequently suffer ongoing visual deterioration. It must have been the combination of being a headstrong character and seeing what glasses did to my elder brother’s eyesight. I do find it strange, however, that I don’t personally know anyone else who, like me, resisted the advice to wear glasses and continued as such to the present. All the posters on this site are, or have been, regular glasses-wearers. Am I the only one?

    Danimal, I know you’re sceptical, but let me give you my testimony. Although I have yet to sort out my lifestyle/work routine and make a serious commitment to regular eye training, I can testify that simply by maintaining good visual habits, I have been able to stabilise my visual acuity and arrest deterioration for years, enabling me to manage without glasses for all practical purposes. But it does indeed take a special person (like Todd and Otis) to make a success of such an endeavour. I wish you well.

    Regards to all.


    • danimal


      thanks for your post. It’s not that I’m skeptical, i’ve been telling people (who prolly don’t want to hear it) that this post has given me the best explanation for why it’s possible to repair myopia. I just posted her comment because i’ve been exchanging back with her and am trying to show her the limitations of her own schooling without being insulting.

      keep up the great work

      • Hi Danimal,

        Subject: Optometry “blindness” — but how do you have an “open” discussion in an office about successful prevention??

        There is a major problem in that we believe that all ODs “think alike”, or believe that the minus is “perfectly safe”. The reality is that some understand that the minus is never a “good idea”. Here is what they say about the minus (even though instantly effective).
        Subject: The Effects of “Corrective” Lenses: Insight and Comment From Eye Doctors

        No clinical or statistical studies have ever demonstrated the long-term safety of a (minus) “corrective” lens.

        In fact, a certain percentage of doctors believe that — as the second-opinion — “corrective” lenses (also known as “compensatory” negative lenses) usually create dependency and
        make the eyes move more rapidly in a negative refractive direction.

        These concerns have been voiced in the professional literature by concerned doctors who support the concept the “second opinion” to do work for the prevention of nearsightedness with a plus lens.

        Here are sample excerpts from the professional literature voicing concerns about the safety of “corrective” lenses:

        “The use of compensatory lenses to treat or neutralize the symptoms does not correct the problem. The current education and training of eye care practitioners discourages preventive and remedial treatment.” R.L. Gottlieb, Journal of Optometry and Visual Development, 13(1):3-27,

        “The emphasis on compensatory lenses has posed a problem for many years in our examinations. These lenses do not correct anything and may not serve the patient in his best interests over a period of time.” CJ. Forkiortis, OEP Curriculum, 53:1,

        “There are frequently ignored patterns of addiction to minus lenses. The typical prescription tends to overpower and fatigue the visual system and what is often a transitory condition becomes a lifelong situation which is likely to deteriorate with time.” S. Gallop, Journal of Behavioral Optometry, 5(5):115-120, 1994

        “Single-vision minus lenses for full-time use produce accommodative insufficiency associated with additional symptoms until the patient gets used to the lens. This is usually
        accompanied by a further increase in myopia and the cycle begins anew.” M.H. Birnbaum, Review of Optometry, 110(21): 23-29,

        “Minus lenses are the most common approach, yet the least likely to prevent further myopic progression. Unfortunately, they increase the near-point stress that is associated with
        progression.” B. May, OEP Publications, A- 112, 1984.

      • Hi Danimal.

        Subject: The true “difficulty” of prevention.

        Re: Why Todd was successful. It is clear that most people can not overcome their “resistance” to wearing the plus “correctly”. But it your distant vision is VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU, and you can “commit” to systematic use of the plus, then pilots (who have the motivation) become successful. This is confirmed by their ability to PASS the Flight Visual Acuity Requirements. But I always like proof — so here it is:

        This man is now flying 747s for Islandic Air. But it does take “Hormesis”, or “force of will” to actually do it. Do any of us have that abliity?

  26. Subject: How do we help our children — understand the need for the plus?
    As you see, Todd was successful with the plus. In my opinion, it should be official policy to inform the parents of this preventive method before the child’s Snellen goes below 20/40 to 20/60. Here is a article that summarizes the issue of “informed consent” for both parent and child.


  27. Subject: Medical book (ophthalmology) supporting Todd’s obvious success.

    There are optometrists and other medical people who are almost hostile to true prevention. They insist that prevention is impossible. Probably because it is so easy to “impress” a person with a strong minus, and the plus does take strong motivation to be successful. The time-honored approach is to keep your mind “open” to new ideas, and listen to professionals who totally support Todd’s personal success and “prescribe” the plus when they are able to do so. For your educational interest here is that book by an ophthalmologist. (This does take about one minute to down-load.) I hope we can all learn from this book:

    Central Thesis:

    “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong” John Maynard

    In order to perform a successful examination, the ophthalmologist
    him/herself must be relaxed.

    Only practical applications will validate theoretical achievements

    There is no medicine to beat plus glasses!

    The best proof that a diagnosis and treatment are correct is the disappearance of symptoms.

    Hyperopia (positive state) never lies, in other words at least the quantity that has been revealed is real.

    What is the sign of a latent hyperopia? Quite frequently,
    excellent long distance vision!

    A citation that I have adopted as my own: “Myopia is a ‘violation’ of
    seeing”. It often only is a significant enough inborn hyperopia that saves one from slipping to the minus side.

    The body never lies; it displays symptoms.

    Many types of definitions are apt to make our logic clearer.

  28. If you are inetested in why you don’t hear about successful prevention — then here is the reason:

    Publication of this concept is always denied. This is why Todd “discovered” the concept from reading about Brian Severson’s success — and “doing it himself”. I will never say that prevention (at 20/60) is ever going to be easy. I just suggest for the very persistent – it is possible and has strong medical support.

  29. Scott

    Regarding the OD (link provided by Otis) who cleared more than 4 diopters of myopia and wrote the article “Seeing Space: Undergoing Brain Re-Programming to Reduce Myopia”… she had a unique theory, evident in the title, that part of her recovery was due to brain reprogramming. I couldn’t follow it very well honestly, but she makes it clear that she also believes in axial myopia (eyeball elongation), even though she suggests that her retinas (and eyeballs) did not undergo any major changes like those seen in high-myopes. She indicated she didn’t ever tell patients their eyeballs were elongated because basically it makes them feel hopeless. But if anyone doubts that axial elongation exists, look at the statistics for detached retinas, which clearly show a higher incidence among high-myopes. This is the case because of the steeper angle found in myopic eyes due to their elongation. The OD’s prescription was originally -4.25, which I think was easily enough to be classified as axial myopia (seems that accommodative spasm could not possibly cause more than a couple diopters of error), meaning she somehow managed to shorten her elongated eyeballs (I do not believe there was any corneal flattening, given that she said she could fit standard contacts). If so, this is very encouraging. Any other thoughts on her story?

    • Todd

      Scott, Thanks for bringing attention back to the article by Dr. Orfield that Otis linked. I had somehow overlooked this, so here it is again for those trying to find it:

      Certainly, I emphasize with Orfield’s experience becoming myopic as a teenager and encountering ignorant opthamologists whose aggressive prescribing of progressively stronger minus lenses pushed her along the path to strong myopia. And her reversal of myopia is impressive.

      But I can’t follow her theoretical explanation for myopia and its reversal. Here thesis is an intriguing one: that myopia is a “learned brain program” that occurs “as a side effect of seeing virtual images centrally and blur on the periphery.” She posits that peripheral blur somehow leaves the myopia unable to “judge” the distance and direction of objects, because they lose their sense of “space”, which which I take to mean what we normally call “depth perception”.

      I don’t understand the connection between “peripheral cues” and depth perception, nor the connection between depth perception and visual acuity or ability focus. From what I know, depth perception has to do with binocular vision, and is independent of focal accommodation. I’m not saying she is wrong, but I can’t see that she has made the case for her theory, nor her contention that reversal of axial myopia occurs without reduction in axial length, but merely by means of brain “re-programming”. Her description of experiences seeing the Washington Monument begin to appear taller and her children appearing shorter did nothing to help me understand her theory. The best supported theory that I’ve found is the IRDT theory, discussed in the above blog post and on the Rehabilitation page of the blog.

      There is one statement in Orfield’s article I heartily endorse, namely her reference to Dr. Amiel Francke’s assertion that lens reduction must be gradual or it would be rejected. “You can’t just take of a strong lens all at once and see.” This is precisely my own view, that gradualism is essential to any “hormetic” method of biological remodelling. This is also manifest in her description of how, while walking around, she focused on objects at all distances, and gradually increased her focal range and distance, which mirrors my own practical experience.

    • Hi Scott and Todd,
      Subject: A deeper truth in Orfield.
      She got “down” to -3.75 diotpers. That is true and as an OD she is correct. She also cleared off that -3.75 to close-to zero. Effectively a refractive state of -0.25 will pass all DMV tests, and probably the 20/20 line. But a major issue is this — the TIME it took her to do it. It was seven years!! But that is the “reasonable rate” of changing the eye’s refractive status in a postive direction. Most people simply don’t have the “resolve” to do it — with all due respect. We know from the so-called (bifocal) or plus studies that, in a long-term “near” enviroment, grade school, high school, and college, their our refractive state goes down at a rate (average) of -1/2 diopter/year. Obviously you can “reverse” this, and the up rate is indeed +1/2 diopter/year. To me it makes a great deal of sense to start the preventive process at -3/4 diopter (lens used to clear the 20/60 line to 20/20). That is the only issue I claim where success is possible. But I truly rely on pure-science for my insights. That is indeed the proof that if you place a -3 diopter lens on the natural eye — it will go down by -2.5 diotpers in six months. I will post some remarks by an MD about the “impossiblity” of helping you an I (the public) with this very important subject in a few minutes. They adbandon the idea that “we” can do anyting for prevention under our control. The subject can be weight loss, preventing obesity, and other issues requring extreme self-control and commitments. This is why I respect Todd so much. He just said that he would “follow” Severson’s commitment — and do it himself. At the threshold, that is how you bring this “situation” under your control. It is never “easy”. Otis

  30. DSilva

    I just found this site today and have been reading along and saving links and information. I am inspired and motivated to use this method for improving and curing my current myopia. I have not been to the Optometrist for an eye test since 2009 (when I updated my contact lens Rx) and have been wearing my even older (2008) prescription for glasses since I got it in 2008.
    In Oct 2008 my prescription was: R -2.75 L -3.25 VA 20/20 (R & L)
    In July 2009 my prescription was: R -3.00 L -3.25 VA (don’t know – lost info)
    I was told that I also have an astigmatism in the right eye.

    I started really noticing the need for what I thought was stronger glasses Rx this year because of needing to get closer to the TV etc even with my glasses on, but luckily I still haven’t gone in. I spend almost all my daily time at the computer reading and working, or reading hardcopy books.
    Now that I have found this site and information, I have decided I will get an eye test but will not get a new glasses prescription.
    I only usually wear contact lens for a special day/night out and neither have I changed since the old 2009 prescription.

    I am going to start regular swimming lessons (for fitness/health purposes) a week from now and I had planned to wear my contact lens with my goggles because as a learner I’m not going to be comfortable not seeing best as I can under the water. Based on what I’ve read I’m assuming that this will be ok since my 2009 Rx would most likely be an under-correction by this time.

    Is there any information/links/tips you can specifically point me to as I get started with this method for my vision? What strength plus lenses should I maybe start with? Also, noticed that discussions center around near/far sightedness, but I’m wondering if this method can improve astigmatism? I registered for the forum but I am still waiting for approval access.

    • Todd


      Welcome. If you read through all the posts carefully, including the forum, you will find answers to all your questions. I have activated your forum account, so please let me know if you have problems logging on. To be very brief: Start out by selecting plus lenses that allow you to read “at the edge of focus” when you read a computer screen. Do this for at least an hour per day, and take breaks every 15-30 minutes. Check your Snellen reading weekly to track progress. Increase the plus lens strength as your eyes improve. Regarding astigmatism: this method does not specifically address astigmatism. But many people find that astigmatism diminishes or vanishes when they get close to 20/20.

      If any of the above suggestions are not clear, please read through all the posts on the forum and they will become clear, as these points have been discussed repeatedly.

      Good luck,


      • DSilva

        Thank you Todd.

        I am reading and saving a lot of this info. I tried the Snellen today but my eyes might have deteriorated more than I thought, because at 10 feet, I could only make out the first big E (200ft) (and I wondered that had I not known what it was, I might just think it was a box). The lighting was Ok, but I will try this again in early morning light.
        I have not worn my glasses since finding this website yesterday.
        I don’t have plus lenses yet but I am using the laptop and reading with a blur, but without squinting.
        I expect to go to the Optometrist tomorrow for an eye test. I will join in at the Forum (yes I now have access) thereafter, with my results.

    • Hi DSIlva,
      I don’t know if I can help but let me add this analysis:

      been wearing my even older (2008) prescription for glasses since I got it in 2008.

      In Oct 2008 my prescription was: R -2.75 L -3.25 VA 20/20 (R & L)
      In July 2009 my prescription was: R -3.00 L -3.25 VA (don’t know – lost info)

      I was told that I also have an astigmatism in the right eye.

      Otis> In most people “astigmatism” of less that 1 diopters can be ignorned. I always ask that I be given a “spherical” lens, consistent with passing the required DMV line of 20/40. I have never been refused this request.

      Otis> From long experience I have seen some truly “bad” over prescriptions. For that reason alone, I have a Snellen up on the wall and check it myself. I take this like “weight loss” where I must pass a certain standard by my own checking. That is what I would suggest as part of your improvement program.

      Otis> As always, post your thoughts and Todd will do the best to help you with your future success.

      • DSilva

        Thank you Otis for this information. When I last had an eye test in 2008, the astigmatism was at 0.50. I will be going to the Optometrist tomorrow to get current figures.

        I am going to re-try the Snellen under brighter morning light conditions tomorrow, God-willing. This afternoon I could only see the large E at the top at 10 feet and it was very blurry. I will be visiting the forums here and at Yahoo Groups (i see) when I have more accurate stats.

  31. Aaron

    Hi todd
    I want to start this method because it sounds logical and promising. I heard that you have used this method on yourself. How were your eyes before and after?


    • Todd


      The technique is not only logical and promising — it works! If you read through the posts here, the comments and the forum, you will encounter about a dozen people who have report significant progress with this method. And you’ll find links to the research that supports the IRDT theory of myopia and its reversal. In my case: I had to wear ever stronger glasses for for myopia from high school until about ten years ago. Today I have 20/20 vision in the right eye, and 20/30 in the left. I don’t need regular glasses for reading, driving, or anything, but I occasionally use plus lenses to “exercise” my eyes. I read distant road signs and license plates clearly on the road and read fine print on food labels with ease. But in high school and college, 35 years ago, my vision was far worse than it is today.

      Don’t attempt the method unless you are the sort of person who is willing to put in at least an hour a day for several months, and you are patient about seeing progress. Your eyes took years to become myopic, and it may take a year or more to reverse the damage. Progress comes in spurts, with long plateaus in between improvements. But like commitment to a sport, martial art, or music, plus lens therapy pays strong dividends to a person with commitment and persistence. It helps also to measure your progress objectively, using the Snellen scale, as explained abundantly by Otis, myself and others on this site and on the forum.

      Best wishes,


  32. Aaron

    Hi todd
    thanks for the reply. I have pretty bad myopia, my edge of focus is around 4-5 inches. Should i keep the monitor and other material at this range? I have a pair of reduced prescription glasses ( around -2 diopters of undercorrection). Should i use those instead?


    • Todd

      Aaron: Yes, with such strong myopia, you don’t need plus lenses, so undercorrection is the way to go. Your myopia corresponds to a diopter offset of 39in/4.5in = -8.7. That’s strong! Is that your glasses prescription? To read a computer screen comfortably would involve a focal distance of about 16 inches or 2.4 diopters. Thus, you should undercorrect “normal lenses” to achieve 2.4 diopters. So assuming you wear a +8.7 prescription today, you should reduce it by about 2.4 diopters (to a +6.3 prescription) when you practice reading at the threshold of focus.

  33. Jess

    I am going to give this a go. My eyesight is ridiculously bad and I have been short sighted since I was a child. At one stage, my glasses were getting weaker by about one point every six months. At the moment, in order to see this text on the screen, my eyes can’t be any further than 20cm away. I assume I don’t need to use plus lenses yet because with those, I’d have to have my nose pressed up against the laptop! My left eye is significantly weaker than my right (by 2 points or so). I might go look for my weakest specs from when I first started wearing glasses and pop out the right lens and use those to start out. I am so glad I stumbled upon this. It makes sense.

    • Todd

      Jess, your question is very similar to the one I just answered from Aaron, and so the solution for both of you is similar. If you read through the discussion on the forum, you’ll see my comments on what to do when the left and right eyes have different degrees of myopia. You can remove one lens, as you suggest, or try patching, diffusers, your hand or winking.

  34. Aaron

    Hi todd

    so you are saying that i should use my undercorrected glasses for the push print excercise?

    • Todd


      Yes, the lenses you have in hand, which you say are undercorrected by 2 diopters, should work. If you currently see objects 4-5 inches away in focus, then you would need a prescription of 39/4.5 = -8.7 diopters to see everything in focus. Ideally, you would undercorrect by 2.4 diopters to allow you to print push at 39/2.4 =16.25 inches. If you undercorrect by only 2 diopters, using the lense you already have (which are theoretcially about -6.7 diopter correction), you will be able to print push at 39/2= 19.5 inches, which is still quite a reasonable distance to sit away from a computer screen, and maybe a tad long to sit away from a book. But it seems workable and would spare you the expense of getting a new pair of glasses.

      Try it! As you improve your eyesight, you may need to increase the distance for print pushing to be effective, so you would eventually want to graduate to a stronger undercorrection, and eventually you could eliminate glasses and do print pushing unaided when you get down to a prescription of less than 3 diopters. After that, you’ll have to start using plus lenses to get to perfect vision!

  35. Nate

    Hi Todd,

    I’m giving this a go. My current prescription is -5.25 right and -6.0 left. I’ve been doing the exercises for about 1 week. I think I’ve seen some improvement, but I’m not sure. It seems to be too little to be sure.

    I’m pretty determined, though. I don’t think I have any questions. The exercises seem pretty logical.

    Thanks for posting this.


  36. OtisBrown

    Dear Friends,
    Subject: What to ODs think about (prevention) of myopia.
    There is no perfect method of prevention. But when I use the word, “prevention”, I think of Todd and his efforts. Personally I “limit” what I will claim to about 20/50 to 20/60 on your Snellen, and about a (honest) refraction of about -1.0 to -2.0 diopters. (Yes I know that Todd was successful from -3.0 diopters.) But, if you are considering recovery, you might enjoy this article on the subject.

    Best, Otis

  37. So this is a huge thread (being over a year old) but has anyone touched on using this technique for someone with 20/20 vision wanting to improve beyond “perfect” or slow down any vision loss? I have perfect vision, so the eyeglass numbers (diopters?) mean little to me. If this can help, I’ll research the terms and go from there…just wanted to see if this has been done before.

    • Todd


      Here is a thread on the Discussion Forum regarding improvement of eyesight beyond 20/20:,133.msg1241.html#msg1241

      I see no reason why you cannot improve your eyesight to 20/15, or possibly 20/10 (which is reported to be about the limit of human visual acuity). Buy some high powered plus lenses and use them to further improve your vision. Check your progress at least weekly using a Snellen chart:

      Good luck. And do let us know when you reach 20/15!


    • OtisBrown

      Hi Skyler,
      You raise a very interesting question. Since I don’t know how old you are, or where you are in school, I can only give you a partial answer — because I can not predict your vision (refactive state) INTO THE FUTURE. But let me define perfect more completely. It is that you read 20/20 on your Snellen and you measure your refractive state as exactly zero. (That is called “emmetropia” in almost all text books.) Let me now assume that you have this perfect vision and are entering a four year college (like West Point, or Annapolis). The records prove that you will not keep this perfect vision for long. The average ‘down’ rate for four years of college is -1.3 diopters for the four year!! If you wished to become a pilot, and thought that your perfect vision at age 15 would “protect” you — you would be mistaken. On the subject of ‘better than’ 20/20, the way to check this is to obtain a weak minus lens, of about -1/2 diopter. If, with that lens you can clear the 20/18 or 20/15 line, then, with work (wearing the plus) you could get to 20/18 vision. What I suggest and promote is that pilots with “perfect” vision at age 18, be INFORMED OF THIS PROBLEM. It would be up to them, when the get down to 20/40, to make this choice (wear the plus) to get bact to 20/20. That much is possible, and very wise to do if your chosn profeesion requires naked eye 20/20.

      • Otis,

        I just used the chart that Todd linked me to and at 20′ I can read the 20/15 line. It is somewhat blurry but I can make the letters out so I say I am “20/18”. I do not know how my measure my refractory state.

        I am 28 years old and have no flight desires in my future. However, I am attempting to reduce the chances of eyeglasses later in life through this eye training.

        Thanks for the information and creating an interest in something I had never paid attention to because it was always decent.

        • OtisBrown

          Hi Skyler,
          Subject: You are one of the “lucky” as far as entry into myopia is concerned!
          The standard way that ODs judge your vision, is that if you read or guess 1/2 the letters correctly, you pass the line. Therefore the issue of “blurry” on the line does not matter, it is that you have read 1/2 the letters correctly. You have 20/15 vision — and are safe. For me the issue is to stop or prevent it (like preventing weight gain) while your vision is at 20/40, and you know you have a choice and you MUST do it yourself. Yes this thread is long, but today we have 1.4 billion myopes, and that is expected to go to 2 billion in the year 20/20. I thank Todd for taking prevention seriouly (doing it himself) and helping others as best he can. When I was young I looked high and low for information like Todd presents, but from medical people (who are ‘defeated’ by this problem, I only got the reponse that even PREVENTION WILL ALWAYS BE IMPOSSIBLE. As and engineer, I agree that it is difficult, but I will never agree that it is impossible. That is why I post here. Thanks for your thoughtful remarks. Otis

  38. Aaron

    Hi todd
    thanks for your responses. I have one question. Wouldn’t the edge of focus be different depending on the size of font you are reading? What font should i read on the computer when practising the technique?


    • Todd


      Your question is a good one.

      Even though “readability” (visual acuity or ability to discriminate visually) depends upon focal resolution, it also depends upon font size and the distance at which it is read. Which is precisely why the Snellen eye charts that are used as a test of myopia, to determine focal distance consist of letters of different font sizes, read at a distance of 20 feet. If at 20 feet you can only read the letters that a “normal” person can read at 30 feet, then you have 20/30 vision. There is a rough correlation between Snellen readings and diopter corrections. See for example How Visual Acuity is Measured. For close up vision (to diagnose hyperopia or presbyopia), there is also a close up eye chart, read at a distance of 16 inches, as shown in the last page of this link

      Visual acuity, as measured by the eye charts is thus a combination of actual focal resolution and the ability to discriminate, which involves other factors, such as the thickness of lines, spaces, contrast, and familiarity. To some extent, one can “guess” a shape or letter even if it is not perfectly resolved.

      When I speak of the edge of focus and the edge of blur, I am referring to the actual visual sharpness, not the ability to discriminate. If you can just “make out” the letter “E”, but detect a blur, then you probably at what I call D3, the “edge of readability”. You are most definitely beyond the “edge of focus” where edges are still perfectly distinct (which I call D1) and also beyond the edge of blur (where a slight blur is first detected, which I call D2). In the technique of “print pushing” that I advocate, you should be reading at D2 for most of the time, and periodically letting this “clear” to D1. If you proceed to D3, you are probably stretching your eyes to their limit and not getting much benefit.

      In print pushing, the font size and distance are not critical, as much as the sharpness of edges. You can do this with font of different sizes, within limits. The technique works best with smaller print only because clear edges are best discriminated using relatively thin lines and features with sufficient contrast. Larger, thicker letters make this more difficult.



  39. rocket

    When I move the text to D2, sometimes it clears up, but sometimes it doesn’t. am I supposed to do something if it doesn’t clear up? Such as blink softly or look at another object?

    • Todd


      The rate and degree of clearing (spontaneous improvement in focal clarity) depends on many things, including your overall eye health, degree of rest vs. fatigue, nutrition, lighting conditions, etc. So its hard to give a firm recommendation without knowing your circumstances. I do think that blinking, especially a slow blink, followed by opening your eyes wide, helps. This is something that many people, including Brian Severson, recommend. I also find it useful to oscillate between D1 and D2, so that the eye alternates between the “stress” of defocus and a more relaxed state. If you are having problems at D2, considering making the degree of defocus as slight as possible, so that you just barely notice it.

      The most useful analogy I can think of is weight lifting. All the same considerations apply, particularly the “Goldilocks principle”, of applying just enough, but not too much stress or stimulus. If you apply too little (staying at D1), there is no driving force for change. If you apply too much defocus (staying at D2 or beyond) for too long a time, you will fatigue or strain the eye without lasting benefit. Strive for the happy middle ground, where the eye is challenged at a level that it can meet, but do not overwhelm it.

  40. Aaron

    Hi Todd
    Whats the best way i can practise this method?
    I currently just browse the internet reading things while practising the method. I try to do it for at least half an hour a day. Is this a good way?

    • Todd

      Aaron – Yes, 30 minutes a day is fine. For faster progress you might try 2 sessions of 30 minutes each at different times of day. Even when not using plus lenses (or print pushing), make time to focus on objects near and far as you walk around.

  41. OtisBrown

    Hi Todd and Aaron,
    Subject: New book on myopia prevention.
    This is a book written by a parent who was deeply concerned about the fact that his own children became seriously myopic. I would read his “recommendations” to help you with these issues.

    If you are working on prevention, and can avoid the use of a minus lens, that is a valuable step. Or, if necessary, get a “reduced” minus lens from Zennioptical for about $10. I truly wish that more ODs would be “open” to this type of work, and would help us to a stronger and greater extent than they are.

  42. Elizabeth

    Hello my name is Beth and i have been wearing glasses for about ten years . I sincerely seek to improve my sight. my current contact prescription is a -4.25 in both eyes and last year it was a -3.75 in both eyes. i recently got a job that requires a lot of computer work and is putting strain on my eyes. i read this blog but I don’t understand how this works. if someone can please explain it, it would be very helpful. Am I supposed to buy + 4.25 reading glasses and use them with my contacts. I am very confuse. If you can explain please do.

    • Todd

      Beth, glad to see you are trying to improve your eyesight without glasses. With +4.25 glasses, you have very strong myopia. Without wearing glasses, you can probably read in focus 9 inches from your nose, but no further. That means you should start the “print pushing” technique without plus lenses — just your unaided eyes. Start by holding a book or computer as far away from your face as you can and still keep it in perfect focus. Now push it away a little further — another inch or two — until it begins to blur very slightly, but not too much. Read for at least 30 minutes a day like this, and take breaks every 10-15 minutes. Eventually, you should be able to read at a more comfortable distance of 15-20 inches. When you get to that point, buy some weak plus lenses (like +1) in the pharmacy, and use those in the same way to do print pushing using plus lenses.

      As you make progress with the print pushing, you will also need to reduce your normal eyeglass prescription by 0.5 diopters at a time. To check your progress, use a Snellen chart to check your eyesight. (Don’t know what a Snellen chart is? Read here). Eventually, you’ll be using much weaker lenses.

      Make sense?

    • OtisBrown

      Hi Beth,
      Subject: A “stronger ” prescription.
      I know this is “tough”. But Todd improved from -3 diopters. To encourage you — I post this statement of a friend who worked in the same building with me on engineering projects a the Space Flight Center. I had seen Dennis with a strong minus, and never said anything. (You NEVER know how any person will react to a discussion about threshold-prevention.) But Dennis over-heard some of my interest and discussion about these issues.

      By Dennis Romich

      My distance vision had been poor for many years. I had overheard Otis Brown discussing nearsightedness, and his suggested technique for restoring the myopic eye to normal. Without telling Otis, I decided to attempt to use the plus lens, and see what would happen, since the approach seemed reasonable and much safer than any other method.

      I obtained a plus lens at a local store without a prescription. The lens was a +1.5 diopter lens and is commonly sold as a reading glass for people who have lost their near vision.

      I had become nearsighted in grade school and was prescribed minus lenses which I dutifully wore all day long. As the years went by, my vision worsened, and the Doctor would prescribe stronger minus lens. My distance vision without prescription lenses was very bad through high school, college, and graduate school. The last professional check (Ophthalmologist) showed that my prescription was -4.5 diopters (Right eye) and -4.25 diopters (Left eye). This is approximately 20/320 vision using the Snellen eye chart. In some states, I would be classed as legally blind without my glasses.

      As I wore the plus-lens and did not wear the minus lens, I noticed that my distance vision began to clear. After several weeks, I purchased Otis’ book, and checked my eyes against the eye chart. They were 20/30, which means I will pass the standard driver’s license criteria of 20/40 or better without prescription lenses.

      Otis was surprised at this effect of the plus lens. He stated that most individuals could return their vision from 20/70 to 20/20, but he felt that returning vision from 20/320 to 20/30 was hard to believe. Since I have done it successfully, I have no doubt that other individuals who have a similar problem could obtain similar results using Otis’ recommended method of vision restoration.

      I am a registered professional engineer, and have a Master’s degree in both Engineering and Business Administration.


      I initially sold my book to pilots (at -1.25 diopters and 20/50) because they had the greatest motivation to clear their Snellen. But equally, I would like to have this inforamtion PROVIDED BY THE DOCTOR HIMSELF, when I was still at 20/40, and could use the plus for maximum advantage.
      For this reason, I posted my book on the Interenet for free. That way you have an honest choice about this difficult problem.

  43. Nate

    I just wanted to check in. I just reduced my prescription from -5.0R/-5.5L to -4.75R/-5.25L. It seems like it is already time to reduce it again.


    • Todd


      That’s good news! Thanks for keeping us updated here on how you are able to reduce the strength of your prescription. (For those just reading this post, Nate started using plus lenses on August 15 — only three weeks ago). Posts like yours help encourage others.


    • OtisBrown

      Hi Nate,
      I found it very expensive to try to “work” prevention through an OD (with all due respect). Typically new glasses cost $325, which breaks my budget. The best price glasees (on the net) is here. for about $10. The quality of the lens is excellent.

      To help you with an order, here is a video where I order glasses with a -0.5 and a -1.0 diopter lens. (I use this to check my “refraction”, and if nessary my “prescription”.)

      I do this because and an engineer, I believe that if you want something (that is difficult) done RIGHT, you must do it yourself.

      However difficult, we are here to help others if we can.

      • Nate

        Thanks, Otis. I have been using, which has good pricing. However, after a little research, it appears that you are right, Zennioptical is cheaper. I will order my next downgrade through them.


  44. OtisBrown

    Subject: What line MUST I PASS my Snellen.

    There are some people who never check their Snellen. Thus they get an “excessive” minus that will kill their vision in the long run (in my opinion).

    I am a pilot. I need to know EXACTLY what line I am required to pass.

    20/40 means you can read 3/4 inch letters at 20 feet, or 1.8 cm letters at 6 meters. I have seen prescriptions for -3 diopters, from people (when they checked) could read the 20/40 line after several weeks. How good (or bad) is 20/40? Well you can qualify to fly an airplane. (This in my judgment would be a TEMPORARY SITUATION.) If a -3/4 clears the 20/20 line (by your measurement) you could get to 20/20 (because you proved your retina is good for it to yourself.)

    Here is the FAA 3rd class for visual acuity requirment for your interest.

    67.301 Eligibility.

    To be eligible for a thirdclass airman medical certificate, or to remain eligible for a thirdclass airman medical certificate, a person must meet the requirements of this subpart.

    § 67.303 Eye.

    Eye standards for a thirdclass airman medical certificate are:

    (a) Distant visual acuity of 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without corrective lenses. If corrective lenses (spectacles or contact lenses) are necessary for 20/40 vision, the person may be eligible only on the condition that corrective lenses are worn while exercising the privileges of an airman certificate.


    If I am at 20/40 — I am never going to let my vision stay at 20/40. I am going to use a plus, and even if it takes a year — I WILL GET TO 20/20. I want to EXCEED this requirement — but I need to know this. Otis

  45. OtisBrown

    Subject: Two short videos to support an understanding of Todd’s success in plus use and recovery from 20/60.

    Here is a video to present the concept of using a plus, after you have 1) Confirmed your Snellen at 20/50 to 20/60, and 2) Have a strong reason to use the plus as a long-term consistent habit.

    If you are interested, you can post your commentary on this “how to” vido to help myself and others with this work.

    As an engineer, I practice scientific-optometry, which means I ‘do it myself’. That includes measuring my refractive state myself. I do this because I have seen endless over-prescriptions of a minus lens — myself being a victim of this tragic habit of an OD. If I need a minus — I will get is myself.

    As Todd has done this work successfully, I am certain that others could follow his foot-steps. I like the additional step of getting two “check lenses” from Zennioptical (when I am at 20/60) for the simple reason that I can technically “prescribe for myself” to get a temporary minus lens for $10 to get me to 20/30 or better, to drive a car. This saves me from having to “argue” with an OD about obtaining both my “prescription” and the wisdom I must have to wear the plus to get to 20/40 — all under my own control.

    I know that this is not easy or quick. But issues that are important for your long-term visual personal welfare will not be easy or quick. I think that is indeed why Todd was scessful, in this and many other ways. Thanks for your time.


  46. Nate

    I just made the change from -4.75R/-5.25L to -4.25R/-4.75L. Things are still a little blurry in the distance.

    In july my prescription was -5.25R/-6.0L. On August 3rd I started the program with an old pair of glasses -5.0R/-5.5L. On Sept 5th I made the change to -4.75R/-5.25L. Last Friday, Sept 16th, I made the change to -4.25R/-4.75L.


    • Todd

      Nate, that’s great news. Shaving 1 diopter off your glasses prescription in two months is impressive. Because diopter ratings are sometimes subjective as to “clarity”, it is useful to objectively rate yourself using a Snellen chart, as Otis has advocated. Print out one of these charts on a well lit surface, stand 20 feet back and see which lines you can read with each eye, covering the opposite eye:

      Good luck with continued improvements…keep us posted!

  47. OtisBrown

    Subject: Is clearing your vision from 20/40 to 20/20 under YOUR control, or clearing your visual acuity from -3 diotpers to FAA normal — the “practice of

    If you think that ANY STATEMENT I MAKE IS MEDICINE — then you could accuse me of “practicing medicine without a license”.

    This is why I say “prevent a negative state for the fundameantal eye” rather than “cure” or any other word that might imply that your use of a “check minus”, or obtaining a temporary minus (when you are at 20/50), is medicine, or the practice of medicine.

    Here the discussion is about “herbal” treatments, but the issue is very serious and very similar to the fact that I 1) Look at my Snellen, and 2) if 20/50, I would check to see if a -3/4 would clear the 20/20 line and, under my own personal control 3) Obtain a TEMPORARY minus to wear when driving a car. I don’t consider these personal (protective) steps to be medical in any sense of the word. Here are the reasons “why” I must be careful with the words I use when discussing successful prevention.

    When Todd or I argue FOR prevention, I think the person himself must understand this issue clearly. We both present ourselves as engineers (our profession), and will help a person clear his Snellen from 20/40 to 20/20 — if he has the “boldness” to take on the personal judgment and responsibility to understand this critical issue.

    For me, successful prevention is pure-science issue and never a medical issue. This is why I do all of this preventive work with no “medical person” involved, to include measuring my refractive status with a Snellen and a “home” trial lens kit.


  48. Subject: Improve eyesight – throw away your (minus) glasses)
    I deeply appreciate Todd’s effort and success. There are few people who will make this type of public service statement on any site. But I would add these words of caution — as implied by some of the above statements. 1) Make certain you do not have a medical problem, i.e., you can not clear your Snellen with a minus lens — by your own checking. I know this is an extra burden, but it is necessary. 2) Once you find you have 20/40 to 20/60 (and can “clear” your Snellen to 20/20 with a minus lens (a prescription minus is all you need) — THEN you can with safety start the process that Todd and I recommend. Both of us recommend using the IVAC Electronic Snellen. 3) You truly can not “discard” or “throw away” your minus lens UNTIL you make certain you pass the 20/40 line on your Snellen. It is possible to watch TV, and work in a classroom with 20/50 to 20/60 vision. The entire purpose of Todd’s exercise is to get to 20/40, and better. THEN you can throw away those minus-lens glasses. Otis

  49. Mike

    Hello Todd,

    I am 22 years old received my first prescription in tenth grade. It has worsened to -1.50 diopters since then. It was most likely caused by too much close work. Since reading your blog, about three months ago, I am currently at about a -.75, though it is just slightly blurry at night. I feel as though the last .75 is going to be a struggle, but I will not stop. I just wanted to say thank you for exposing me to this principle of hormetism and giving me the power to be in control of my health.


    • Todd

      Great to hear of your success, Mike. And glad that you also recognize that continued progress requires patience and persistence. The typical pattern is a combination of long plateaus interspersed with sudden improvement. If you are happy with your results, I encourage you to share your success and send others to this site. I love seeing people take control of their health.

    • Hi Mike,
      This work is voluntary — and you can reply if you wish. I an curious about you current use of the plus lens, and your reading on your Snellen. The process of clearing your vision is indeed slow, and each of us must find his own “way” to doing it. Todd is correct, we use the plus, and for long periods of time see no results. It takes real personal fortitude to keep on with the habit of always wearing the plus for all close work. But then we begin to read the 20/40 line, and keep on going. Todd has the correct idea. Please posts your thoughts for all of us. Otis

  50. Mike


    I will definitely send family and friends to this website! I am hoping to achieve 20/20 vision in both eyes before next summer, but if it takes a year or even longer, that’s ok with me.


    My snellen reading is about 20/35, 20/40. It can fluctuate throughout the day and usually gets a little worse at night. I have noticed lately that sometimes, when I wake up early in the morning, my vision is nearly 20/20 and I get excited. I’m not sure why this happens, but it gives me hope.

    I have been wearing a + 2.5 lens for close reading, and sometimes a + 1.75 to + 1.25 lens for computer work, as I have a desktop and it sits a little further away. Lately, I have been experimenting with wearing +1.25 lens around my house. I notice that I am usually looking at objects relatively close, so it seems I can ‘push’ objects while doing everyday activities. I don’t know if it has been helpful or not.
    I also usually don’t wear glasses (- lenses) because my vision isn’t too bad, but I’m considering wearing my -.75 or maybe getting a -.5 pair to wear while doing activities requiring far vision. I always wear my -glasses at night though, especially when driving.

    Beyond + lens work, I do a few eye stretches and exercises here and there, but plus lens training makes up most of my work. I sometimes catch something on line that sparks my interest if it has to do eye health… I recently saw anecdotal evidence of someone curing their dry eyes with castor oil. I just like to keep my mind open, but try to be cautious as well. Plus lens therapy is the best type of training for myopia in my opinion.


    Thank you Todd and Otis for such timely responses.

    • Hi Mike,
      Subject: Your detailed report of considerable value to us.

      Thanks for your description of your use of the plus lens. I have two minus (-1/2 and -1) just to check to see my retina is good. Once I am certain that I don’t have a “medical problem” (i.e., RP, etc., then I am prepared to do “prevention” myself”). I am realistic about the minus. With 20/40 you can drive a car in most stated, but I, like you, would get a low-cost minus (for about $10) from Zennioptical (for driving at night) until I can confirm that my brightly-lit Snellen is in the 20/25 to 20/20 range. In fact my vision varies, from 20/25 to 20/20 to better-than 20/20.

      You use of the plus (as you described it) is about perfect for what you are doing. You seem to have the intense personal resolve to do this, and that is what it takes to get back to a refractive status of zero, and 20/20 on your Snellen. Thanks, Otis