Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? (If so, click here).  Use a hearing aid?  Use a crutch or brace to walk?  Based upon recent breakthroughs from the science of neuroplasticity, there may be a way to permanently eliminate the need for these aids — without the use of surgery or other artificial means.

Crutches or Stimulators? Correction by the use of compensatory devices or “crutches” is the usual approach to treating physical deficits such as motor weakness, difficulties with balance or coordination, or poor eyesight or hearing. While physical therapy is often prescribed to aid in recovery from stroke or acute conditions of motor weakness, it is typically continued only for a few weeks until improvement is seen to plateau. With more chronic conditions such as deteriorating eyesight, or impaired balance and weakness due to neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or  multiple sclerosis, physical therapy is typically regarded to be of limited value.

The conventional medical model for treating impaired strength is to prescribe an external device or “crutch” to compensate for the deficit, which is generally considered to be permanent or untreatable as an organic condition. This is true for just about any physiological weakness, whether it involve muscle weakness, imbalance, loss of dexterity, or diminished sensory acuity in vision or hearing. In the case of a muscular weakness or unsteady gait that impairs the ability to walk, this might involve the use of canes, crutches, braces, or even a wheelchair.  In the case of visual impairments such as near- or farsightedness, eyeglasses are prescribed as optical crutches; hearing aids are indicated for auditory impairment. Such “corrections” never actually “correct” the original impairment, but rather provide a compensation that readily restores the lost function through artificial means.

In point of fact, however, crutches such as canes, eyeglasses or hearing aids actually promote increasing weakness and dependence!

The approach of is Hormetism entirely different– it addresses the root cause of the deficit by applying a stimulus–a  controlled stressor–to build strength and overcome the original organic weakness.  It pursues a more “effective” long-term adaptation, rather than a more “efficient” short-term correction.  It does not take the easy road to an illusive quick fix, but embarks upon an intensive, sustained, and systematic effort to build new strength or rebuilt that strength that has been lost.

Plasticity and Adaptation. Homeostasis is the capacity of an organism to regulate itself in response to an external stressor.  It is based on dynamic biochemical mechanisms that keep the internal environment of the organism in a relatively constant state. Typical homeostatic adjustments take place in “real-time”, in a matter of minutes or hours. When we exercise, we sweat to cool down the core body temperature. Our blood is buffered against swings in acidity or alkalinity. The response of the immune system to an allergen or foreign infectious agent can be quite rapid. Plasticity can be thought of a “long term homeostasis”, in which the adaptations involve remodeling or rebalancing the organism in order to be able to better cope with sustained stresses. Plastic adaptations are not transitory adjustments like sweating or shivering, but persist for at least some time after the stressor is removed. Plastic remodeling involves tissue repair and growth, reshaping or rewiring, and is manifest in multiple physiological systems, including muscle and bone tissue, the circulatory system, and even the nervous system. Plasticity is also evident in longer term rebalancing of certain non-structural control systems such as the endocrine and immune systems.

Without plasticity, organisms would be “brittle”, with little prospect of significant recovery from injury. The capacity for wholesale plastic remodeling in response to injury has been recognized in certain primitive organisms, such as worms. In the case of humans and other mammals, it was believed until recently that the capacity for plastic change was very limited, particularly in older adults. But in the last 30 years, there has been a revolution in the understanding of plasticity, that has given rise to a host of new rehabilitation therapies. The most remarkable of these involve neuroplasticity, often involving significant changes to the brain and nervous system. The brain was once thought to be fully formed and unchangeable except for a malleable phase during childhood and, to a lesser degree, adolescence. The last several decades of research have overturned this belief.

An outstanding tour of the exciting advances in rehabilitation therapies based upon neuroplasticity can be found in Norman Doidge’s well-written book, The Brain That Changes Itself.  Doidge engagingly summarizes the advances in neuroscience that have come from challenges to the assumption of neural hard-wiring by some of the lead neuroplasticians, including Michael Merzenich, Paul Bach-y-Rita, V.S. Ramachandran and Edward Taub. He presents these scientific and intellectual advances through a series of fascinating stories about people who regained lost function, including dramatic recoveries from balance disorders, phantom limb pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addictions, autism and learning disabilities. In recounting these hopeful rehabilitations, Doidge tracks not only the behavioral improvements that result from therapy, but in many cases also the accompanying physical changes to brain circuitry.

I would like to take some time here to elaborate on how Hormetism and the science of neuroplasticity provide a basis for dramatic reversal of two persistent conditions: the ability of stroke victims to walk again, and the ability of nearsighted and farsighted individuals to regain normal eyesight without glasses, contacts, or laser surgery.

Constraint-induced (CI) movement therapy. Some of the most impressive successes of applied neuroplasticity involve the recovery of stroke victims. Doidge relates the case of Dr. Michael Bernstein, an eye surgeon, who was paralyzed on his entire left side after a massive stroke. An MRI brain scan depicted extensive damage to his cerebral cortex. After a week in intensive care, he had a week of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, followed by a few more weeks of outpatient care.  Then he was sent home. But this typical course of treatment left Dr. Bernstein significantly impaired.  He could not walk without a cane, and had minimal dexterity in his left hand. He had lost his ability to perform surgery, play tennis, drive, or even feed himself.

Bernstein was lucky however. He was one of the first beneficiaries of a new therapy developed by Dr. Edward Taub, a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama. Taub’s constraint-induced (CI) movement therapy enables patients to recover lost motor functions through weeks or months of painstaking exercises specifically designed to re-educate their brain circuitry. In conventional physical therapy, stroke patients respond to lost function by compensating, for example by relying upon the stronger hand or leg to take over some or most of the work performed by the damaged limb. But Taub reasoned that this compensation leads to  “learned non-use” of the affected limb or part. So he developed methods of forcing use of the the underutilized body part, by preventing compensatory use of the stronger body part. For example, a stroke patient with a weakened hand would be required to wear a mitt on the strong hand to prevent it from taking over the job of the weakened part. (This very nicely exemplifies the constraint principle of Hormetism: restricting the strong part of a system in order to focus the full impact of the stimulative stress on the weaker part needing to be strengthened).

Taub’s patients engage in repetitive manual tasks, such as stacking blocks or putting coins into a piggy bank, for six hours a day over a period of weeks. The difficulty of the tasks is increased incrementally. It is an exhausting regimen; by comparison conventional rehabilitation sessions last no more than an hour and occur only a few days per week. The result: controlled studies of stroke patients who undergo CI therapy show that 80 percent of them can improve substantially. It certainly worked well for Dr. Bernstein.  After his therapy, he was able to return to work and play tennis three times a week.

What is particularly remarkable with successful CI patients is the evidence that the brain remodels itself in the process of retraining, recruiting alternate neural pathways to take over the function of those damaged by the stroke. Paul Bach-y-Rita, another pioneer of neuroplasticity, recounts the case of his own father’s disabling stroke.  His father Pedro, a famous poet and scholar, suffered a totally disabling stroke which left him paralyzed. Paul’s brother worked with him intensely for hours a day, first getting him to crawl, playing games with marbles and washing pots and pans.  Eventually he could stand on his own and walk, and gradually he learned to use his hands and fingers, and started to speak again.  “After a number of months he wanted to resume his writing. He would sit in front of the typewriter, his middle finger over the desired key, then drop his whole arm to strike it.  When he mastered that, he would drop just the wrist, and finally the fingers, one at a time. Eventually he learned to type normally again.”  Eventually, at age 68, Pedro was able to resume full-time teaching at City College in New York, and he started traveling and hiking again.  At age 72, while hiking in the mountains of Colombia, he had a heart attack and died.  Through his medical connections, Bach-y-Rita had an autopsy performed. “Ninety-seven percent of the nerves that run from the cerebral cortex to the spine were destroyed–catastrophic damaged that has caused his paralysis.”  With the years of physical effort, Pedro’s brain had reorganized itself, recruiting alternate neural pathways to take over the function of the brain areas severely damaged by the original stroke.

Eyesight without glasses. Corrective lens–eyeglasses or contact lenses–are almost universally regarded as the best way to overcome visual problems based upon refractive errors (changes in the shape of the lens), such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).  Before resorting to external crutches, why not consider consider the possibility of changing the eye itself?  (Of course, laser eye surgery offers to do just that. But eye surgery is not risk-free, and in this respect is analagous to gastric bypass surgery or liposuction as a means of losing weight. The body is a dynamic system and it can rebound or otherwise defeat surgical attempts at correction: there is a significant incidence of weight regain after gastric bypass and visual problems resulting from Lasik eye surgery ).

What are the prospects for improving visual acuity without corrective lenses? A number of “systems” have promised “eyesight without glasses,” but some of them are suspect. The Bates method is perhaps the most famous of these approaches. William Bates (1860-1931) contended that visual problems were a result of eye strain.  He 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 the jury is out on whether the Bates method is effective or scientifically sound.  Wikipedia pans the Bates method:

“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.”

Whether or not the Wikipedia review is fair, it is clear that Bates approach does not use the principles of Hormetism. Bates advocates relaxation, not the systematic application of stress. And there is nothing in his method that suggests a basis for permanent remodeling or adaptation of the eye or any of its visual structures.

Anti-corrective lenses. But there is an approach to eyesight without glasses that I believe is scientifically sound:  anti-corrective lens therapy or, as it is called in the case of overcoming myopia, “plus lens therapy”. Strange as it may seem, this involves wearing the opposite type of glasses normally prescribed, 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).  I can attest the effectiveness of plus lens therapy out of personal experience, because this approach helped to free me of the eyeglasses I used to wear for myopia since I was 15 years old. I used to need glasses to drive or to view PowerPoint presentations. I was able to give up my glasses about five years ago after only a few months of using these lenses, in combination with certain eye exercises, and my eyesight continues to improve every year.

It is not exactly clear who originated the use of anti-corrective lenses. I first came across them through a commercial product called “Vision Freedom”, offered in the 1980s and 1990s by Brian Severson, an airplane pilot from Victor Montana. More recent related websites include a method for overcoming myopia using Plus Lens Therapy, and a theoretical discussion by Otis Brown. The aggressive use of  plus lenses to arrest and reverse myopia is advocated by a small but well informed group of optometrists and academic researchers such as Arnold Sherman of SUNY.

The exact scientific explanation for why anti-corrective lenses work is not fully clear, so I will first describe the method and later provide a speculation as to why I think it works. The use of anti-corrective lenses is almost the polar opposite of the “relaxing” Bates technique. Essentially, anti-corrective lenses apply visual “stresses” in a systematic way, in order to stimulate improvements the ability of the eye to see in focus.

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.

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 can be accelerated 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). 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 to use reduced prescription lenses, i.e., lenses in which the diopter have been somewhat reduced. With time and success, these can be progressively weakened, and a move can be made to anti-corrective lenses.

For the focusing exercises, one should periodically push the book or computer slightly out of focus 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.  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. Different lenses may be needed for different activities, and the strength may need to be increased over time.

If the right and left eyes are 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.

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; (2) a constraint (an eye cover or plus lens) is imposed on the stronger eye to focus the stress on the weaker eye; (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.

Mechanism. Severson and others believe that Plus Lens Therapy works by strengthening the eye muscles:

“Your eye muscles instantly change the shape of your eyes thousands of times each day to focus, as clearly as the muscle strength will allow, on different objects…Stronger eye muscles will greatly increase your “range” of focusing ability.”

However, this reasoning does not appear to be physiologically sound. Myopia is caused by a lengthening of the eyeball, so distant images are not properly focused on the retina, but rather on the vitreous layer in front of it.  Conversely, in hyperopia, the eye is too short, and close-up images tend to focus behind the retina. In both cases, there is not much that can be done by the eye muscles, whether it be tensing them or relaxing them, to actually change the shape of the eye.

One clue to the mechanism is that adaptations are not instantaneous, but occur gradually over weeks or longer. Another clue is that one frequently sees a double-image–a combination of the old blurry image and a new sharper image–during the period of adaptation. The sharper image is at first faint, but becomes stronger over time. Eventually, it displaces the blurry image. This was my experience. After days of working on pushing my range, I would look, for example, at electrical power lines and see a double sharp-blurry image. The sharpness and darkness of the power lines increased over several weeks. Now I see them sharply.

Retinal remodeling. I do not think the double imaging I saw is consistent with the short term strengthening of muscles, because the images were simultaneous. A better explanation may derive from the theory of neuroplasticity: the retina actually undergoes persistent changes in shape as retinal tissues grow and develop in response to stimulation of photoreceptor cells. There is strong evidence that myopia develops in the first place as a response to environmental stimuli, such as reading and close work, that stimulate ocular elongation. A very plausible theory of how myopia develops has been proposed by Hung and Ciuffreda (of Rutgers and SUNY. Their paper on the incremental retinal-defocus theory of myopia development (IRDT) summarizes research regarding how visual stimulation regulates ocular growth. Specifically, when close work (or use of minus lenses) causes the image of close objects to be out of focus on the retina, the is a decreased in the rate of release of retinal neuromodulators. This in turn reduces the rate of retinal proteoglycan synthesis with a resultant weakening in the structural integrity of the scleral (the thick white sphere of dense connective tissue that encloses the eye and maintains its shape). This causes the sclera to begin growing faster, which leads to elongation of the eye, and myopia. Hung and Ciuffreda explain how the eye grows in the appropriate direction under a wide range of experimental conditions, and specifically how repeated cycles of “near work” lead to decreaseed “retinal-image defocus” and increased axial growth that leads to permanent myopia.

The process of retinal remodeling, while it may take weeks, can get started almost immediately in response to stimulation. In a study of chicks fitted with either plus or minus lenses, Zhu X et al. at City University of New York detected rapid changes in choroidal thickness of the retina in response to brief periods of defocus.  In their article (“In matter of minutes, the eye can know which way to grow”), the CUNY researchers reported that wearing positive lenses for 10 minutes caused an increase in choroidal thickness and a concomitant decrease in vitreous chamber depth, whereas wearing negative lenses for 1 hour caused significant changes in the opposite direction. The longer the lens wear, the more extensive and persistent were the changes in the choroidal and vitreous layers.

The IRDT theory of myopia, buttressed by experimental evidence that exposure to visual stresses (slightly out of focus images) can drive almost instantaneous remodelling of the eye, provide a scientific basis for how anti-corrective lens therapy might work.  I admit it is not a fully substantiated theory, but it is a promising one that deserves further investigation.  It explains how repeated efforts to focus on images just slightly outside of the focal range can drive plastic remodelling of the shape of the eye.  But there is one more mystery:  how to explain the transient “double vision” of focused and unfocused versions of an object that arise in the process of adaptation?

Again, for this explanation we turn to the science of neuroplasticity.  The retina is not single plane, but rather a tissue of some depth, consisting of multiple layers of sensitive photoreceptors cells (rods and cones) and intermediate conductive fibers. In fact, the photoreceptors perversely evolved for various reasons to be at the back of the retina, with the “wiring” actually in front of them.  But the photoceptors are distributed over multiple layers. Presumably, the most active receptors are those which are usually stimulated by well-focused images.  After all, those are the ones whose signals the brain can interpret, and they receive the most reinforcement.  For a myope, these will tend to be the receptors in the focal plane of close objects, toward the back of the retina. Because the myope is doing a lot of close work and spends less time looking in the distance, the closer retinal cells get less stimulation and suffer from underuse.  However, if these closer layers can gradually get more stimulation, or example by using plus lenses, they will adapt to increase in sensitivity and the strength of their signalling to the visual cortex will gain prominence.  At some point, weak signals from this forward layer (on which there is a sharper image) will be sent simultaneously with the stronger signals form the backward layer (on which the images are blurred).  During the period of adaptation, activation of multiple layers will be perceived as a double-image. Eventually, and with time, the sharper forward layer will dominate over the backward blurry layer.  And as the overall shape of the eye is remodeled as the eye grows in response to focusing on distant objects, the focal “strain” on the eye will be reduced, and a new equilibrium shape will take hold. This hypothesis is unproven, but is consistent with known mechanisms, and could be tested experimentally.

The science of neuroplasticity can not only provide guidance on how to restore normal eyesight, but it suggests the possibility of developing extraordinary visual acuity.  Doidge describes Anna Giselen’s study of the Sea Gypsies of Thailand, a nomadic tribe of people who “learn to swim before they learn to walk” and dive for pearls to depths of over 75 feet, unaided by scuba equipment. Their visual acuity underwater is uncanny, as they are able to read placards placed underwater at distances more than twice those of Europeans.  Apparently they are able to exert voluntary control over the shape of their lenses and the size of their pupils, features normally assumed be under the control of involuntary reflexes. After observing this, Giselen found that Swedish kids could learn the same tricks and voluntarily constrict their pupils to see under water, “one more instance of the brain and nervous system showing unexpected training effects that alter what was thought to be a hardwired, unchangeable circuit.”  (Doidge, p. 289).

July 5, 2010 update:  A new post on this topic has been added here which contains some additional information regarding a controversy over whether or not plus lenses improve eyesight in myopic children.   A re-analysis of the original data showed the importance of using plus lenses only while doing near work — they should not be worn all the time!  If these guidelines are followed, good results can be expected.

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.


  1. Aaron Griffin

    I’ve been interested in eye training for some time, and am aware that the Bates Method has been debunked over and over, but there are alternate exercises that may be relevant.

    For instance, here is the Bershak Method:

    The only problem with these things is that they STILL rely on training the ocular muscles which have no bearing on your focusing skills. A lot of improvement people end up seeing is what is referred to as “blur adaptation”.

    The plus-lens therapy, though, could have some merit, and I am willing to try it for a bit. How often is one expected to do this a day? All the time?

  2. Todd

    Thanks for the link to the Bershak Method, Aaron. I read it with great interest. There are some similarities in his approach, but also some significant differences. I agree with him that corrective lenses don’t deal with the root cause of vision problems (malformed eyes) and that progressive strengthening exercises can effectively normalize vision by reshaping the eye. But as you noted, Bershak shares with Bates a belief that the eye can be reshaped by muscular action. I’m skeptical of this. Based on the experiments cited in my above post, a more plausible mechanism for reshaping is retinal remodeling in response to visual stimulation. Also, I don’t think one needs to resort to exercises as extreme and time consuming as Bershak’s. I’ve found that progress can be made by incorporating focusing exercises into everyday activities like reading, driving or walking, with the possible assistance of anti-corrective lenses or reduced prescription lenses.

    I found that wearing plus lenses for one or two hours a day, while at the computer or reading, allowed me to progress at a good pace over several weeks. You can also do exercises without lenses, such as focusing on objects in the room right at the edge of your focal range. Once your vision is good enough, you can also drive without glasses, focusing on cars and reading road signs at various distances. Being finally able to see everything sharp and crisp while driving was personally quite exciting for me. Let us know if you get any results with your own eyesight. A few people on the Discussion Forum have posted comments on their successes:,8.0.html


  3. Aaron Griffin

    I’ve been trying the focal-range exercises recently (and I’ve done weeks worth of other eye exercises), but I don’t know if I see anything I haven’t seen before. A lot of the change is what’s termed as “blur adaptation” – the brain figuring out how to better overlay the images you get from each eye. It happens over a few hours without corrective lenses.

    I’m a fan of self experimentation, so I’ll see what this gets me. I’ve been reading for about 45 minutes on the way to and from work without my glasses, keeping the boot right at the edge of my focal distance. I also just typed out this whole reply without glasses, though I had to lean in to verify some of the typo fixes 🙂

  4. High tone therapy could help with muscle stimulation.

  5. Can “Myopia” be reversed? WebMD says “no” and then does everything in their power to PREVENT a PREVENTIVE study or scientific effort. Todd says that he could change his refractive STATUS from -3 diopters to zero. (-3 diopters is estimated to be 20/200 — refractive STATE of zero is normal.) As an Engineer, I study science itself. As far as I am concerned, Todd’s statement is true and accurate. If you are interested, post your “refraction” (glasses), but also obtain a free Snellen, check it an report it here.

  6. What do you think of the SAID (specific adaption to imposed demand) principle of human biology?

    This seems very similar and I’m guessing SAID is just one of the mechanisms behind why hormesis works.

    In what ways do you think we can Pre-Hab ourselves to be more resistant to things like loss of vision. Should we focus on trying to maintain variable stress through different activities like reading etc? Obviously a good idea in itself, but just curious.

    Thanks man-Very interesting.


    • Todd


      The SAID principle is well recognized in the field of athletic training and it also applies very well to vision improvement. David DeAngleis, in his excellent book, The Secret of Perfect Vision, highlights the SAID principle in explaining how the “stress” of retinal defocus leads to gradual reversal of myopia via functional and structural changes in the eye. He also has written about SAID on his Power Vision System website:

      The SAID principle describes how organisms adapt in response to “stressful” stimuli, so I think it is very insightful of you to connect SAID with hormesis. They are very similar principles, though perhaps they describe somewhat different aspects of how adaptation works. The SAID principle considers the specificity of adaptation – exercises aimed at improving sprinting speed may not be transferable to distance running, and learning to play the violin may not cross over to singing or playing the piano. Classic studies of hormesis emphasize somewhat more general defense and repair mechanisms that are activated in response to a low levels of a stimulus. There is some evidence that hormetic mechanisms are general rather than specific; for example calorie restriction, exercise, radiation, and polyphenols may activate similar genetic pathways expressing proteins and hormones that combat degenerative diseases and extend lifespan. In the world of sports, some emphasize the SAID principle, while other emphasize approaches such as Cross-Fit or metabolic training to develop generic fitness. In the real world, no training is either perfectly generic or perfectly specific, and I think we probably benefit from a combination of the generic and the specific.

      As you suggest, we don’t have to wait for “rehab” to reverse myopia after it has taken hold; we can “pre-hab” by following good vision hygiene: avoiding excessive near work, taking breaks from reading, watching TV or computer work, getting involved in recreation or sports that require us to frequently change focus between objects near and far away. To use an analogy with MovNat or Parkour for physical fitness, the more natural and variable our vision activities, the more resistant we’ll be to the degeneration of our eyes.

  7. Your long post is just like a lecture for me. I learn a lots from your post. I also have special interests in how to improve eyesight. You post will be one of my resources. Thanks.

  8. JB

    Thanks for your help Todd and Otis!

    I recently have been achieving these double vision clear flashes. It is an incredible experience. Any tips on how to hold onto them for longer or achieve them more often? Eventually can I get to a stage where I can achieve them consciously?

    I have been diligently wearing my plus lenses for close up and 0.5 underprescribed lenses for distance. Do you recommend ever wearing the plus lenses for uses other than close up? For example, while taking walks or bicycling?

    THank you!!

  9. Richard Tanner

    I have used AFO braces and crutches or a rotator to help me walk for over 20 years.
    My estimate of others like post polio would be about 200000 to 400000 persons.
    Others with MS ,or other life long disabled using support devices would be easily 500000
    Or maybe another 100000. I gathered figures frommthevShrine Hospitals, brace makers,
    Sellers of better crutches that cost more than the insurance companies would pay for Such
    As Thomas Fetterman shop. The number I would guess is justbover a million using for several years or
    Up to one’s life span like myself.

  10. Goh Zhen jun

    Hi ! I have -3.75 on my right eye and -3.25 on my left eye my astigmatism for my left eye is .75 and .50 for my right. What do you guys suggest I drop the power of my eyeglasses to so that I can still see in daily activities such as copying notes in a lecture theatre( I’m a student) and what do you guys suggest I do for writing and studying so as to improve my eyesight. Im a male 17 years old this year. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

  11. Sean

    My Prescription: OD: 1.25 -4.75 8 OS: 1.75 -4.75 2

    I’ve been told “That’s alot of cylinder!” Indeed, my vision is very blurry. These eyes might be a lost cause, but I’m buying new glasses at -3.75cylinder! I’m inspired!

  12. Jennifer

    I’m 22 years old and have recently found that I can no longer see distance (even by a few meters) as well as I used to. For example, sitting a meter or two away from the television screen, I can no longer read the t.v. guide that comes on the Tivo screen. Today I put on my mum’s glasses (mild prescription) just to experiment and found I couuld see a clearer picture.
    I have never visited an optomitrist (excuse my spelling) and hence never before had prescription glasses although for various reasons the majority of my family now do. Being a uni student, and for the last year being attached to an iPad most days and nights (readings, facebook, games, etc) I have a lot of screen time too.
    I am wondering if I should wait to get my eyes tested or if I this exercise would probably in the long run be better for my eyesight? I understand that I am clutching at straws but this training gives me hope that I will see clearly again like I used to, perhaps serving my vanity and pride in once having 20/20 vision.

    • Todd


      Sorry for the tardy reply…I’m just catching up with the comment stream here.

      The short answer to your question is: Avoid getting glasses or contact lenses – they will only make your myopia get worse. Commit to trying print pushing and plus lens therapy. For more details, read these articles:

      Improve eyesight – and throw away your glasses
      How one person improved his vision

      And read through the comments on the forum to see how others in your situation have improved their eyesight without glasses:

      Eyesight without glasses


  13. Robin mn

    Hi I have a doubt from Todd’s paragraphs.Does seeing double images a positive sign of myopia improvement.Sometimes after a couple of blinkings I see double with some clarity at distances beyond the threshold of failure to make out letters.can you explain how?

  14. Jennifer

    Hi Todd,
    Thank you for your reply.
    I paid a visit to my optometrist yesterday afternoon and turns out that I’m short sighted. However, he does believe in the benefit of eye exercises. I explained that I had been on my Ipad a lot in the last year or so and as a recommendation he has said that for every half hour of screen time it is important to take a quick break and just look out into the distance. Although he has prescribed glasses (which I will most likely not use) he has recommended another check up in six months b which time he believes me sight hound be completely cleared up and back to what was normal.
    Thank you for giving me hope, I agree that with eye exercises and giving up screen time where possible both near sighted and short sighted people can regain their natural vision.
    However, I would also like to ensure everyone checks their eye pressure. I was not too happy to find out that mine is way above what they consider “normal” and hence I have to go back for a glaucoma check (a very scary thought, hopefully though the pressure I have is what is normal for my family, although I am grasping at any hope he’s given). As such, I would recommend everyone to get an eye test regardless of age, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
    Nevertheless I hope everyone has the best of luck retraining their eyes and keeping them healthy 🙂

    • Thank you Jennifer for sharing with us your story. Unknown to you, you are also giving others hope in trying out eye exercises which can in turn change their life.

      Long hours on iPad and Smartphone is definitely killing our eyesight. Other than diligently looking away, tuning down the brightness to reduce glare can be helpful too. For maximum relaxation, I love to apply warm compress on my eyes before I sleep. Good for winding down for sleep too 🙂

  15. Bill

    Hello Todd and others

    I am highly myopic. A few months ago I discovered this wonderful web sight (thanks so much Todd), and got stuck into eye exercises with gusto. I bought myself some under strength glasses (+1.75 from my normal prescription), and started using them for reading and computer work (though they were perhaps a little too under strength for computer work).

    I practiced print pushing while reading and while performing computer work, as well as while looking at my mobile phone. I also wore my under strength glasses while going for walks etc. As I say, I got into it with gusto, and have now been doing it for several hours essentially every day for almost 10 weeks.

    I’ve got to say, it’s been quite a roller coaster ride. After only a few days I got very excited at the early progress. However, this would generally seem temporary, and I would lose the benefit after doing ‘closish work’ – even just looking at product labels in the supermarket or talking to someone opposite me at a restaurant would seem to undo the benefit. So yes, after a few weeks I got frustrated by this apparent lack of permanence.

    Then I got very excited by the fact that I would frequently get ‘flashes’ of visual acuity while going for walks while wearing my under strength glasses. I would, for moments, be able to see signs, for example, with an acuity that was well beyond my normal acuity with the under strength glasses.

    I print pushed quite aggressively – no doubt too aggressively. Eventually I found I could print push beyond my normal range, and ‘jump’ to a point where I could achieve acuity beyond my normal range. This caused my quite some excitement.

    So I was convinced that my visual acuity was improving, whilst wearing my under strength glasses. However, when I wore my full strength prescription glasses, I could not see any compelling improvement. This was after nearly eight weeks into my program.

    Now, 10 weeks on, I am quite certain that my visual range , with my normal glasses, is actually improving. However, my problem now seems to relate to double images. Initially I thought my night time vision was actually getting worse (quite depressing!), but I’m pretty certain that what is happening is that there are double images closely superimposed on each other making the sight seem blurry. This is most pronounced with bright lights (such as at night) or when reading fine print on TV (such as subtitles).

    In broad daylight, it is less of a problem, but still quite apparent. For example, if I focus on a sign 20 metres ahead, I find that as I approach the sign my acuity comes and goes as alternate double images come into play.

    I am now wondering if I am paying the price of print pushing too aggressively. Perhaps if I had practiced print pushing only to where the image was JUST starting to get blurry, then I wouldn’t be having this issue?

    So I guess I am now unsure as to where to from here. Should I back off? Will the various ‘double images’ naturally merge so that there will be a seamless transition as I approach an object? If so, should I continue print pushing to the limts of my current visual range?

    I would appreciate any feedback, including from others that may have had a similar experience. Thanks very much.

    • Todd


      Your experience of “two steps forward, one step” back is completely normal — it’s what I experienced, and what I dare say most people experience who work and succeed with print pushing and plus lenses.

      And your experience with “double vision” mirrors mine. I at first had the same concerns, but I quickly learned that the type of double vision you are experiencing is a sign of progress. I found that of the two simultaneous images, one was sharp and the other blurry. As I continued with print pushing, the sharper images became more intense and the blurry images progressively faded. Eventually I was left with only sharp, in-focus images!

      If you peruse the Discussion Forum and search for “double image” you’ll find dozens of posts by me and others that address this phenomenon, the IRDT theory, and what might cause image doubling:,8.0.html

      Is it possible to push too hard with print pushing? Yes. As with any type of hermetic remodeling, it is important to incorporate adequate rest periods to allow remodeling. The best sign of overexerting your eyes is redness, soreness or fatigue. Back off if you find that happening. Take frequent breaks and be sure to look at objects of varying distances and have fun with your focusing!


      • Bill

        Thanks a million for your reply Todd. I’ve searched the word ‘double’ in the forum, which was great. But I’m not sure there is any discussion on a specific query that I have.

        As I say, when I was print pushing aggressively (I’m trying to be more restrained now) I kind of ‘jumped’ to a region of visual acuity. This caused me the severe double images I mentioned. So what I was then trying to do was print push between my normal (prior) range and this new range, to try to merge these two images.

        I’m now gathering, after reading the forum and your own commentary, that this may not have been the right thing to do, as it is not a question of ‘merging’ the images, but rather encouraging one over the other. Does this mean I should have continued to print push at the edge of my new visual range? In other words should i have been further encouraging the new image. Or is this too much of a ‘quantum leap’?

        I understand that ‘gradualism’ should be practiced. But if rightly or wrongly I managed to ‘jump’ to a new visual range (so to speak) by aggressive print pushing, should I take advantage of it and encourage it further? Or should I take a step back and try to push out from my normal (prior) range in a more gradual manner?

        Thanks again and I hope I am explaining myself.

        • Todd


          Thanks for the explanation…now I think I understand your question. You are trying to reconcile my recommendation for gradualism with the sudden, discontinuous shifts to double images.

          The two are not in conflict. “Gradualism” applies to your efforts, not the the resulting changes in your eyes. Gradualism in effort means pushing a little bit harder every day, but not overdoing it. But our eyes, muscles, organs and metabolisms–even our cognitive and neurological systems — typically respond discontinuously to applied stressors. This is as true in building muscles and learning new motor skills or habits, even something as complex as learning a language, as it is in remodeling the eye. Change in biological organisms, and other complex adaptive systems like economies or ecosystems, is often discontinuous and proceeds in surprising “quantum” spurts, with plateaus and even occasional regression. If you talk to sports physiologists and reflect on your own successful experiences with learning and adaptation, I think you can see this.

          I’ve written about the discontinuous nature of change– and how to take advantage of it — in my post on How to break through a plateau.

          So, to summarize: Keep pushing gradually, embrace the sudden improvements, and be patient with plateaus. When you see double images, focus with intentionality on the sharper of the two images and try to “ignore” the blurry partner image. You’ll find the sharper one takes over eventually. In fact, it’s a self-reinforcing process that gets easier with time, because you naturally want to pay attention to the sharper images. It is indeed exciting When the “ghost” images fade away and you are left with crystal clear vision.

          Keep up the good work, and do post your progress here — or better yet, sign up for an account on the Forum and post there.


          • Bill

            Todd i can’t thank you enough for yor further feedback or for all your other good work. You are trully a lifesaver.

            I do indeed intend to explore your website fully. Right now i’m a little obsessed with improving my eye site.

            After 10 weeks i’m very unsure about what progress ive made. This is in large part due to my double (well actually multiple) image issues. But i’ve seen/experienced enough in terms of the adaptability of our eyes to hold a great deal of hope.

            Tomorrow i shall start tracking my progress via a snellen chart so that i can be a little more dertain about any progress.

            A final point. My problems with the double inages were that in many cases i had multiple images, or the double images were so close to each other that they just looked blurry. In either case, a conscious choice about focusing on the stronger image was not possible.

            Now i shall practice more gradualism, and perhaps then i shall make more headway.

            Thanis again, Bill

  16. angela

    I apologize in advance if you have already discussed this in the article, but why is it so important to wear plus lens ONLY for near work? what happens when a myope wears plus lens for activities that are not at near distances?

    • Todd


      Plus lenses are only an optional tool — the key is finding your “edge of focus” and pushing beyond that. If your edge of focus is less than 15-20″ you can do that without plus lenses while reading. If your edge of focus is further away than that, plus lenses are useful to bring the edge of focus closer in, to practice “print pushing” while reading. Of course you could do the same thing without plus lenses focusing on middle range objects such as a TV set.

      I’m not sure what the point would be in wearing plus lenses to look at distant objects, unless you have extremely minor myopia, around 20/30 or 20/20 vision and want to develop hyperacute visual acuity. Someone with 20/20 or 20/30 could wear +1 lenses (it’s hard to find anything weaker) and start at objects a meter (39″) away trying to increase the distance in view. Or you could wear them while walking, looking at midrange objets. But its hard to think of activities that involve continuously looking and focusing on objects that far away. That’s why plus lenses are so practical — because we spend a lot of the day reading computers or books.

      Make sense?


  17. Bill

    Hi Todd

    It’s now been two weeks since my last post. Whilst I feel I am on the verge of making a breakthrough, I just seem unable to get beyond the double image issue and break through to the next level, so to speak.

    I’ll try to explain.

    When wearing my under strength glasses, the “double image” (or is that triple image?) that is predominant seems to depend on the distance at which I am trying to focus. So for example, if I try focusing on images in the far distance (such as whilst driving), I feel, with time, that one image will become predominant. But on the other hand, if I am focusing on images that are say 3 metres away, such as whilst reading subtitles on TV, then it seems to be a different image that becomes predominant.

    So it seems that I have this struggle between images that never seems to resolve itself! (as to which image I am emphasizing when I am print pushing, well I don’t know…).

    Just wondering if you or others have experienced something similar.

    Thanks again, Bill

    • Todd

      Hi Bill,

      Sorry for the delayed response here.

      Glad to hear you are making progress, or at least feel “on the verge” of a breakthrough. That’s often how it works — a frustrating plateau, and then a sudden spurt of progress. Double images are a classic example of this. Their appearance is a sign of impending breakthrough, but it can take weeks or months for them to resolve to the point that a single image becomes dominant. And as you point out, the focal distance is also a factor.

      I’m not certain why this is the case, but several theories have been proposed. One theory is based on the neuroplasticity of the retinal, given the depth of retinal sensing, as described in the above post under “Retinal remodeling”. An alternative and very plausible theory is Archer’s theory of physiological diplopia, described in this article.

      One thing I do like about Archer’s theory is that it accounts for multiple images as a natural consequence of the optics of the eye, present in everyone to some extent under certain circumstances.

      Regardless of theory, it’s been my experience and that of several others that double or multiple images are the harbinger of big improvements in visual acuity. Keep on with your excellent progress.


      • Bill

        Hello again Todd. It’s so good to get your feedback. To be honest, I was starting to lose hope, but your feedback always gives me renewed energy.

        You don’t have to post this, as I don’t want to discourage others. But I’d be extremely grateful to hear your feedback.

        I’ve now been at it for 13 weeks, essentially every day, as follows:
        – print pushing whilst doing computer work, about 2 or 3 hours per day
        – print pushing whilst reading my tablet or kindle, about 2 hours per day
        – focusing on things in the far to mid distance whilst going for walks with my under strength glasses, about an hour per day

        I hope this buys me the indulgence of a few more questions! 🙂

        The double images do not seem as problematic now, but I still can’t seem to make any permanent progress. If I print push and/or if I go for a drive (with my under strength glasses), I can accommodate my eyes to give me vastly improved vision, which can last a long time. Initially this comes with a degree of eye strain. However, after a while the strain usually subsides, and I can maintain this high acuity ‘mode’ with minimal strain.

        However, once lighting conditions are poor, or I am distracted with other things, I tend to lose this ability. Certainly by the next morning, I feel like I am essentially back at square one.

        I hope you don’t mind me asking some questions, which I have itemised below:

        1. When print pushing, initially I go to the edge of blur, which comes with a degree of eye strain. But after a while, a clear new image appears (which probably correlates with the double images we have discussed). From this point on, increasing the visual range is not so much about pushing the edge of blur further out, but rather ‘bringing out’ this new image. Is this right?

        2. Once this new image appears, what should be the next objective with print pushing? Should it simply be to ‘hold’ this image to acclimatize the visual system to this new visual ‘zone’? If so, is it simply a matter of spending as much time here as possible?

        3. Or should one be more aggressive and print push to the outer edge of the new image (even the ‘edge of blur’)? I suspect this is not a good idea, as it may introduce further ‘ghost’ images, that may further confuse the visual system. Also, it does not seem to concur with your own post about breaking through plateaus.

        4. My final question relates to the need for frequent rest periods. I’m not sure I am getting the full significance of this. For example, on the weekend my wife and I went away, requiring a long drive (4 hour). I used this as an opportunity to exercise my eyes, by driving with my under strength glasses. Is this too long a period to be exercising the eyes?

        Once again, many thanks


        • Todd

          Hi Bill,

          I’m happy to post your comments and questions, which are quite good. Your experience is not atypical at all. I see a wide distribution in the rate at which people make progress, some faster and some much slower.

          From reading your comments, my sense is that you may actually be pushing too hard and not allowing for enough rest and recovery. That may sound strange, but I’ve seen it before. Folks who are print pushing all day long and trying to force progress often end up with eye strain. You mention that you’ve had “a certain degree of eye strain” after print pushing or driving with under corrected glass for long periods of time. You don’t want eye strain or redness! If that’s happening, you are pushing too hard.

          I think it is important to limit the total hours per day, take frequent breaks and experience a sense of rest. Especially important is to build time into your schedule — hours, even parts of entire days — where you are engaged in somewhat unstructured activities that don’t require active and intentional focusing, such as going for restful walks, talking or socializing, and engaging in activities where you are looking at things “loosely” and without worrying about focusing. Just letting your eyes relax. Also getting plenty of sleep and rest. Some also report that simply blinking more helps to relax the eyes and assist with progress.

          There’s a fair bit of discussion of this on the Forum. For example:


          There is a good analogy here with other fitness training, such as weight lifting, running and cycling etc. Those who push too hard end up “overtraining” and suffering injuries and setbacks. As with athletes who learn to train smarter, not harder, you may find that your active print pushing efforts gain renewed effectiveness after allowing for more rest and recovery. And as with athletics, you may find your progress consists of long plateaus interspersed with periodic sudden leaps forward and — to be realistic — occasional regression.

          At the end of the day, there is no substitute for patience, realism and taking the long view.


          • Bill

            Just a quick follow up question, and I’ll look at those links in a moment. I take your points about pushing too hard and the need for rest periods and so on. But I thought a degree of eye strain (though not excessive) was a key part of the process. Holdig the ‘edge of blur’ (and moving on to the ‘new’ image, or call it ‘double’ image, involves a degree of blur, doesn’t it?

            Also, do my numbered questions about print pushing make any sense?

  18. Bill

    Ok Todd, i’ve read the forum material in your links above (thanks very much). It appears that I’ve been doing the wrong thing with my print pushing. No one, in the links, seems to be talking about pushing beyond the blur to induce the ‘new image’ (as i describe in my numbered questions above). I find this remarkable, as i would’t have thought my eyes were particularly unique.

    I can only conclude however, that i should only be pushing to the edge of blurr and never beyond. Is that correct?

    • Todd

      Hi Bill,

      I’ll try to address your questions in order:

      1. A fundamental principle of my philosophy of Hormetism is to operate at the edge of stress, sufficient to induce change, but never to cause pain, strain or injury. You want to experience discomfort or challenge, not pain. When applied to vision improvement, the idea in print pushing is to read at the edge of focus (D1) or the edge of blur (D2) — which are very close, but not to venture into the realm of high blur, such as what I have called the edge of readability (D3). This is all explained in this post:,8.msg781.html#msg781

      2. The phenomenon of double images does not arise from “blur”. Rather the opposite is true. In focusing with intention on the crisper of two images and doing your best to ignore its shadow twin, you are working with focus, not blur. If you sense strain, it’s a signal to back off.

      3. How long you should attempt to “hold” a crisp image is a matter of judgement and your tolerance. If you can hold it for a few minutes at a time, that’s good. But at the same time, I think it is important to take breaks and move your eyes to focus on different objects.

      4. There is no contradiction between print pushing and rest periods. As with any type of hormetic stress, the greatest benefits come from intermittency – alternating intensity to the point of discomfort with rest and relaxation. Runners understand the importance of interval training — alternating sprints with slow jogs. Weight lifters understand the need for rest between intense workouts. Why should not the same be true for strengthening our vision?

      5. Thus, I agree with your final statement that “I should only be pushing to the edge of blur and never beyond.” That is the key idea.

      Good luck!


      • Bill

        Todd, ever greatful for your feedback.

        I am feeling guilty about taking up so much of your valuable time. But there is an issue here that i am trying to clarify, which does not seem to appear in any of the forum discussions and perhaps i am not making myself clear.

        It may however be of value to others, as i’m sure my eyes are not particularly unique. It may also be of interest to you.

        I’ll try to make myself clearer. What i found when i was print pushing (and yes, i think we both agree now that i was being too aggressive) was that as i pushed beyond the edge of blur (yes, mistakenly), that a new clear image would ‘pop up’, replacing the prior blurry image.

        I had assumed (yes, incorrectly, it would now seem) that it was this phenomenon that was associated with the subsequent double images. As i thought the double images were a key component of subsequent progress, i was deliberately pushing beyond the blur.

        The problem was that after ‘teasing out’ this alternate image, subsequent print pushing would not really enable me to go to the edge of blur, as once i got close to this point, the alternate image would suddenly appear, and the prior image would disappear even before it got blurry (a discontinuous shift).

        I hope i am making more sense now. My question is wether or not you, or others, have experienced something similar.

        I am now essentially restarting my program, this time never straying beyond the blur. Hopefully all my prior work will have had some kind of benefit and hasn’t been a complete waste!

        And now, lest i become a nuisance (too late?!), if you want, Todd, i shall sign up for the forum and post there. Let me know your preference.


        • Todd


          Good questions like yours are never a waste of time. The whole reason I write this blog is to spark interesting discussions like this one.

          I think you make an extremely interesting point that you see double images “pop up” as you push beyond the blur. In fact, now that I think about it, this is what I experienced and still experience. The double images occur mostly on distant objects with sharp edges, like telephone wires, tree branches, other high contrast edges. I don’t recall seeing double images when looking at closer objects, but of course that’s because my myopia has never been very strong. But someone with strong myopia might be seeing double images even relatively close up.

          So perhaps this calls for re-thinking the protocol! The main strategy of print pushing is to push at, or just beyond, the edge of focus, when engaging in protracted activities like reading (with or without plus lenses). I’ve always taken double images (combinations of sharp images and blurry images) as signs that the technique is working and as a way to “test” progress. I didn’t think of it as an active form of vision therapy.

          I think you are on to something here, Bill. It might be that one should deliberately spend time actively working the double images that lie beyond your normal range of focus. As long as you are able to “hold onto” the sharper image, and “tune out” the blurrier image, you are in effect working to stimulate a productive type of defocusing stress. Spending time working the double image may be a way to accelerate progress by making discontinuous “leaps”, rather than just incrementally print pushing. Perhaps both techniques have their place and are complementary. We should consider combining long periods of print pushing during normal activities like reading, with occasional use of active double image focusing to stimulate more rapid progress. What the proper balance is between these two activities is something to find out empirically.

          I really like this idea. Maybe you could experiment with it and see what you think. I would like to encourage you to sign up for the forum and start a thread on this topic of double image focusing beyond the blur point. I know it would stimulate a great discussion.



          • Bill


            Just to be clear, when print pushing beyond the blur, the new image that would appear would usually replace the original image. That is, it wasn’t so much a double image, as a new image replacing the prior image. Though I do also remember it showing up as a double image at times. Perhaps this was at an earlier stage of my program.

            But yes, when looking at mid to far objects (not really close objects), with my under strength glasses, there would be double, or multiple, images. With my ‘full strength’ glasses (actually approximately 0.205 dioptres under strength), I would generally have to focus further in the distance to see the multiple images.

            But remember, there was generally not a sharper image that could be focuesed on. All images were approximately equal (though it may have depended on the focal point, for mid distances). So this was a problem.

            Anyhow, I shall now sign up for the forum, and perhaps we can discuss further there.


            • Bill

              Hi Todd

              Not sure if you got my message a few days ago. I’ve been trying to sign up to the forum, but the system keeps thinking I am spam.

              Note sure where to from here.

              Cheers, Bill (aka Mars)

              • Todd

                Hi Bill,

                Hmmm…not sure why your request to join the forum is getting rejected. Please try again and use some variation of the names “Bill” or “Mars” so that I know it is you. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

                There is a very interesting thread going right now that touches on a lot of the questions you’ve raised in your comments:

                Looking forward to having you join the conversation.



  19. sonia Palmer

    Hi Todd,
    I love your website, a very interesting article. I would like to know your thoughts about some of the new technology that is being developed in the form of applications (for smart phones) for vision improvement, have you tried any?

    • Todd

      Hi Sonia,

      Yes, there are a number of smart phone apps that claim to improve vision, such as GlassesOff and UltimEyes. I have not tried them.

      These apps work by an entirely different principle than the one I employ (incremental defocus). They are mainly directed to improving near vision and presbyopia, not far vision. They claim to improve vision by improving the brain’s visual processing capability, rather than by altering the structure of the eye. They also may improve the neurological component of contrast sensitivity.

      If you try them out, I would be interested to hear whether you see any improvement.


  20. Bill

    Hi Todd

    Back in June I promised to document my experience, with regards to my efforts at myopia reduction, in your forum, as you requested. I had been waiting for positive results to become clear before writing. Unfortunately, what has become increasingly clear is that my efforts are not leading to a happy ending. As such I shall try to describe my experience here, though you can transcribe to the forum if you so desire.

    As I described in my first entry above (entry #22, 11 May 2014), I am very highly myopic. Back in March I started print pushing very aggressively. I bought myself glasses that about +1.5 diopters compared to my “full strength” prescription. Stupidly, i print pushed beyond the blur, and found that by firm blinking i would have new clear images “pop up”. I encouraged these images over several weeks, in what noe seems like the mistaken belief that they would lead to rapid progress.

    I encouraged these images not only by print pushing, but also by going for walks with my under strength glasses and focusing on distant objects. In fact, I inceasingly wore my under strength glasses pretty much all the time. After a few weeks i bought myself slightly stronger glasses (about +1 d) which I would use for almost everything, except reading (for which I would use my +1.5d glasses).

    10 weeks of this led me to experiencing multiple images. This was not a sharp image superimposed on a blurry image, as you describe, but rather multiple images of equal sharpness in near proximity (see my entry #26 above). Each of these images, on their own, had a sharpness that was far beyong my normal visual range. However, as they were multiple, they were collectively problematic in terms of providing visual acuity, and just did not seem to want to resolve themselves into a single image.

    My problems were probably aggravated by my aggressive print pushing into the blur, and the possibility that I stimulated images at different levels. As once a new image (in the blur) is stimulated, pushing further into the blur is probably stimulating sharp images at a variety of focal distances. This was probably too confusing, not to mention stressful, to the eye and the visual system.

    As such, after about 3 months I attempted a much more moderate form of print pushing (see my entry #36). So instead of pushing to the edge of blur, I would simply attempt to hold images prior to the edge of blur (without crossing D1). As such I was simply “holding” the new visual images that I had previously stimulated, without attempting to push further. Sometimes I new “higher level” image would pop from here. If this occurred without effort, then I would hold this image while reading. I tried querying how print pushing should be used, when higher level images have already been stimulated, in my post #31 above.

    Whilst I was now attempting more moderate print pushing, I could not control which images were being stimulated whilst going for walks with my under strength glasses. My eyes would involuntarily try to engage those images that would give the sharpest image. These were images that were well and trully beyond my normal visual range. After several more weeks of this, these images would simply engage continuously under well lit conditions. But I had the sick feeling that my normal visual range was going backward (myopia seemed to actually be increasing!). The uncertainty of not knowing whether I was going backward, or was about to make a quantum leap, caused me extreme anxiety and insomnia. And the fact is, I could not switch the images off, in well lit conditions, even if I wanted to.

    Whilst these images were far beyond of my prior normal visual range, they did not generally provide practical acuity. For a start, they were rarely resolved as a single crisp image. In the last couple of months they become more like double, rather than multiple, images. They were still, however, generally mages of equal acuity, rather a blurry and sharp combination (though this occurred sometimes too). Sometimes (though not often) my vision would resolve itself for short durations to perfectly clear and crisp vision (whilst wearing my under strength glasses). This would particularly occur in brightly lit locations where the eyes could quickly focus on objects at various distances (such as open air markets). This would give me sharp vision from close objects all the way to the very far distance (whilst wearing my under strength glasses). And I don’t know that I would call these “flashes”, as they could last for several minutes (over 10 minutes!). But generally, my acuity was not great, and dreadful in poorly lit conditions.

    These periods of clear vision were very exciting, and motivating. Unfortunately, now thinking back, they feel like they were mirages of false hope.

    Anyhow, I continued going for walks with my under strength glasses etc. In the last several weeks the double images seemed to be becoming more and more resolved into one image, which I thought was good (despite my increasing anxiety and uncertainty). However, it seemed to come with increasingly intense eye tension. It got to the point, about 3 weeks ago, where the tension was increasing with each day, as if it was approaching some kind of crescendo. To be honest, I thought I was about to go blind. I wore my full strength glasses (which i’d previously essentially vowed never to do), in an attempt to subdue my eyes attempts at chasing high acuity. In the end, I had to rest my eyes in darkness, for about 18 hours, to give them rest. After 3 days the tension did, thankfully, dissipate.

    Nevertheless, I still had eye pain of me left eye to contend with. This now occurred whenever my eyes chased acuity. As such, I have now being increasingly wearing my full strength glasses, which incidentally, no longer give me high acuity. Thankfully, this pain has subsided.

    I have had to subdue, as best I can, the images beyond my normal visual range. And unfortunately, my normal visual range seems far worse, and is probably contnuing to deteriorate.

    Shortly I shall see an opthamologist, but don’t expect this will help much.

    So there you have it, my unhappy attempt at making a “quantum leap”.

    • Todd


      Thanks for writing about your experience. It seems that you have made a sustained and sincere effort, but without evident success. It’s clear that you worked really hard at it. At first, I thought that perhaps you were pushing too aggressively, so you backed off and worked more gradually. Sometimes you seemed to make temporary progress with some “flashes” or clearing. But apparently, no permanent progress. It’s unfortunate that you did not see progress, but I think it is important to register your experience here to show that print pushing doesn’t always deliver results. It works for many people, including myself and many others posting here on the forum. But it does not have 100% success, and that’s important to recognize.

      You describe increasing “tension” in the last few weeks, when you were trying particularly hard to print push. I would take any tension, strain or pain as a sign that you are overtraining, that you should back off from the technique and allow rest and recovery using your normal lenses. Just as with weight lifting or any exercise, overtraining without adequate rest is usually counterproductive.

      There are many causes of myopia and myopia progression. Spending a lot of time with near work is a key factor. But genetics can be a strong factor to contend with. Does myopia run in your family? Diet can also be a predisposing factor. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, and deficient in essential fatty acids and phytonutrient can predispose to the progression of myopia. Have you considered the role of diet?

      The suggestions and research on this website have worked for many, including myself, but they may not provide significant benefit for everyone. If, despite a serious effort, you find that print pushing and under-correction are not helping you, then you have at least made a sincere effort. You may be better off going the route of traditional corrective lenses.


      • Bill


        The increasing tension of the last few weeks was not a result of trying particularly hardnto print push. One of the key points that i am making is that i moderated this quite a while ago. I stopped “pushing” and really just “held”. The point, however, is that when walking around with under prescribed glasses, how hard the eyes worked was involuntary.

        Myopia runs in some members of the family, but mine is the most severe.

        My diet is good, and I am conscious of being moderare with carbs.

        My biggest concern is that my myopia may now be far worse. That is, my “normal” visual range seems worse. On the other, the images beyond this, if the eye were to be able to settle on them and fully resolve them (make that quantum leap) would give me much higher acuity.

        At the back of my mind, i am wondering if my deteriorating acuity with my “normal range” is actually a sign that my eye has actually reshaped to a degree (reduced elongation). Becauee i have attempted a quantum leap, rather than an incremental improvement, is it possible that my prior visual range would provide poorer acuity as a result of healthy eye reshaping?


        • Todd


          Thanks for clarifying that your print pushing has been moderate. Your thought is that walking around with a slight under-correction has made your eyes “involuntarily” work hard. If the under correction was mild (0.5 diopter or less) relative to your normal prescription, and did not induce more than a very slight blur, then the amount of “work” imposed on your eyes seems to me quite mild. This slight defocus may not have been enough to reduce your myopia, but for that reason I cannot see how it could make your myopia any worse.

          If indeed you are feeling fatigue or strain, even if “involuntary”, then your under-correction is too strong. In that case, you should be using your standard correction, but also resting your eyes by engaging in restful activities.

          Since you are concerned that your myopia “may” be getting worse, the only way to know for sure is to get an eye exam. You can see an O.D., or you can save your money and test your eyes using a Snellen chart, which is the most functionally relevant to track your progress. Scoring your own Snellen status should be started before embarking on any vision program. I suggest printing out the pdf eye chart, handing it on your wall, pacing back 20 feet and measuring each eye separately under bright lighting:

          I’d be interested to know your score for each eye and how it has changed.

          I’m not sure I follow the logic in your final paragraph:

          “At the back of my mind, i am wondering if my deteriorating acuity with my “normal range” is actually a sign that my eye has actually reshaped to a degree (reduced elongation). Becauee i have attempted a quantum leap, rather than an incremental improvement, is it possible that my prior visual range would provide poorer acuity as a result of healthy eye reshaping?”

          If indeed your eye has reshaped to the extend of reduced elongation, this should immediately evident as reduced myopia. You should be able to focus sharply on print at a distance that is farther away than when you started. Your Snellen score should be lower. Is it? Whether the reduced axial length is incremental or a large “quantum leap”, the effect is reduced myopia and improved visual acuity in any case — unless you are suggesting your eye has become so short in length that you’ve now become hyperopic (far sighted) — something that is simply impossible to achieve in such a short time.


          • Bill


            As I’ve stated, my degree of under correction when going for walks was first about 1.5 diopters and then about 1.0 diopters.

            With regards to my point about eye re-shaping potentially leading to deteriorated acuity, I’ll try to explain. First let me say that this is pure congecture on my part, based on my very limited understanding of the eye and visual system.

            If I had been performing myopia reversal in a more incremental manner, as you did yourself, this would not have manifested itself. Your new stimulated visual zone on the retina would be continuously connected to your prior zone (progressive expansion of visual range). However, as you continued to reduce your myopia, one would imagine that part of your original visual range, or parts of the previously active zones on the retina, would eventually become less usable. I’m referring to those parts that you previously used at close focal points. What I am saying is that as you were extending your focal point, your previous near vision zones would become less usable to you and eventually not provide high acuity.

            If this makes sense, then we have to ask what this means when one is making a discontinuous leap. Remember, I stimulated images that were into the blur. Is it possible then that my newly stimulated zones on the retina were far removed from my original visual zone. If so, would eye reshaping, with the visual system’s objective of providing acuity at the new zone, not imply a reduced acuity at the original zone?

            So what i am suggesting, is that perhaps i am caught in “no mans” land. My eyes are continuously trying to leap to the new zone, but these are not well resolved to provide high acuity (due to multiple images), but on the other hand perhaps my eye has reshaped to atrophy the acuity of my original zone.

            I felt something like this. As I used more and more of the new images, my original visual range seemed to correspondingly worsen.

            With regards to using a snellen chart, i gave up on this after about 3 months. As i was trying to make a quantum leap, this was far too frustrating, as there was no gradual progress. There were just the ghost images superimposed on my original visual range. The acuity of these depended on the multiple image issue, rather than on the sharpness of the images. This was far too confusing.

            The whole issue of whether my myopia can now be determined as better or worse has become complicated. I can get an eye test, and using my new visual range i can show a certain snellen score, sure. But the question becomes, how usable is this new visual range under real world conditions. For example, in poorly lit conditions. Or, when my eye becomes tired. Remember, holding this new visual range causes more tiredeness. But I know for sure that if i have to increase my prescription sufficiently so that i do not engage my new visual range, and thus have a more stable high acuity, i will clearly demonstrate a requirement for a subbstantially increased prescription. Does this mean my myopia has increased? Well, this comes back to my item 2, above.

            So the question then becomes, do i increase my prescriptio (something that upsets me) and thus potentially lose the new images, or do i maintain my current prescription in the hope that the new images will gain permanence and resolution? Of course, then there is the issue of whether will this continue to worsen my prior visual range?

            Now i have a question for you. It is my understanding that you observed distant objects (power lines etc) whilst focusing on the sharper image, which was superimposed on a blurry image. It is my understanding that you performed this with glasses that were under corrected by about 1 diopter. If you could see sharp images in the distance, with much under correction, does this not imply that you were chasing a quantum leap?


  21. fabiog

    This a very good blog and information.
    I have a question about the print pushing, instead of pushing my chair or laptop further to read can’t I just make the text smaller by zooming out until it’s almost blurry this way I stay seated at same position eg: 30cm but text is very small as if I was at 60cm etc.(I don’t have plus glasses since myopia is about -0.75)
    would this be impractical and defeat the whole purpose of print pushing?


    • Todd

      Smaller font size can to some extent be used as an alternative to focal distance. The key is to identify “the edge of focus” for any situation, and push back until the slightest blur begins to develop.

      Try it and see what works for you.

  22. Louis

    Hello Todd,

    Your article is interesting. However, did you get your axial lenght scientifically measured by an OD ? Some OD will say that’s just “blur” adaptation, and your true myopic value is still the same.

    • Todd

      I’ve been asked that question a number of times. Louis. It’s a good question.

      My reply is threefold:

      1. There are a number of studies providing independent evidence that defocus can induce a significant change in axial length and choroidal thickness, such as this one by Read et al:

      This is not the only such study — Hung, Ciuffreda and others have demonstrated similar effects.

      2. So why not have this done to myself? For one thing, it would cost me several hundred dollars to have an OD make such a measurement. And since I never had a baseline measurement made before my vision improved, what would it prove? (Of course, if you or anyone else wants to pay for my exam, or do it on themselves, I would be curious). But my concern is that such data would in fact not convince any skeptics. They would of course want to see the baseline – the starting point. And if there were an improvement, they would just say it is an “n of 1”, they would ask for a statistical study with the controls, etc. Which then leads back to studies like that of Read et al.

      3. Finally, while changes in axial length do help demonstrate mechanism, they do not necessarily correlate with perceived focus in the case of a given individual. Different eyes are in focus at slightly different axial lengths, because one has to consider the effect of the lens and other structures. I think it is far more powerful and meaningful to demonstrate functional progress using a Snellen chart or some other test of demonstrating a person’s ability to discriminate features such a letters at a given distance. And this is just as “objective” as axial length, in that one can test a person’s ability to read and discriminate letters successfully, without “cheating”. If you can pass the Snellen test at the DMV, you don’t need an optical restriction on your license. And I don’t.


  23. Thanks for this interesting post. Unfortunately, English is not my native language, but with the Google translator I tried as much as possible to understand the contribution.

    Is there experience how long it takes until 3-4 diopters myopia gets away?

    • Todd

      It depends on your effort as well as many other factor, including age, health and diet. It might take 6 months, it might take more than 2 years.

  24. JB

    Hi Todd,
    I like your style and content. Thank you for the hard work here. Do you know of any work done in reversing inguinal hernias? I am 56 and caused one during a period of lifting weights incorrectly.
    Best Wishes,

    • Todd

      Sorry, JB. I don’t know anything about that.

  25. Ted

    The all methods you says is wrong it makes my worse than before it used to be.

  26. Jake

    Hey there Todd, just started out with print pushing a month ago or so but I haven’t been consistent… Today after print pushing, I’ve noticed these double images all of a sudden and I’m really worried about it. I also read bill’s comments and how he was unsuccessful with fusing the ghost images.. I really wanna improve my vision but then I’m also worried about these double images please help me out. Im confused whether I should print push now or not..

  27. Jake

    Hey there Todd ,for a about a month now, I’ve been doing print pushing and i found it to be an amazing technique, but yesterday after print pushing I found that I started getting a lot of double vision, and so I’m really worried, have I induced diplopia or astigmatism? Or is it just a sign of seeing more sharply? And if so then how long before these double images go away. I went out for riding a bike this morning and saw exactly the same type of ghost images on the poles as depicted in your video, but I’m quite sure I never saw these before I started print pushing.. I’m really worried, should I continue print pushing? Btw ive been trying to fuse these double images.. But will these ever go, and how long?
    I’ll be waiting for your reply.


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