An excerpt from an email I wrote to my NVT (natural vision teacher) describing my vision since I injured my thumb.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my vision has been noticeable improved ever since I injured my thumb. I’ve been thinking about it yesterday and today because it has persisted for four days now; I think it’s because it has brought my attention to my thumb (before I was always focused on my vision) and it has forced me to start using my left hand for almost everything. I have had long moments of very interesting and new visual experiences. It’s hard to explain. My vision becomes very sharp and clear and things look much different than they do when I’m wearing my glasses. I don’t know if I can describe it, it’s almost like everything is “alive”… I don’t know if that makes sense… I sat here for a moment trying to think of a way to describe it and that’s the word that came to mind. When this has happened it’s like my relationship (spatial wise) with objects in the room has changed. It’s very similar to the experience I had in the canyon where I was perceiving depth in a very exaggerated way, except in a small room it was that much more dramatic. I then had another new experience when I was looking at my Snellen from 20 feet today; I was able to focus in on the letters I was looking at, almost like I was zooming in my vision and bringing the image closer to me… this probably sounds weird and unreal, but that’s the only way I can think of describing it. My eyes felt physically different when I was able to do this. Unfortunately I had to stop working on my Snellen so I wasn’t able to see if I could keep repeating this strange feeling.”
I experienced clear flashes that lasted for minutes and minutes… sometimes as long as 20 minutes! I’ve been able to start looking at something and “pick out” the correct form and see through the blur to the clear image. Then the whole image clears up and I can see it – this doesn’t happen all the time, just for some objects with well-known and clearly defined boundaries. I haven’t been doing much since I injured my thumb; no long swings, palming or anything. Just an occasional autogenics session. I plan to get back to my Bates practice and Eyebody work today, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. My observations below make some comments about how beneficial some other things may be, but I still think that the traditional vision improvement techniques are very valuable tools and should not be discarded.
Important observations (in my own humble opinion of course):
- Changing your mental frame of reference is valuable. Being forced to focus my full attention on minute daily activities must be good practice. You could call this “the zen of vision improvement” 🙂
- You don’t have to be focused on your vision to see (at least some) improvement – for me at least. My vision has been better these past four days than ever before and I wasn’t working on improving my vision. I still think “working” on my vision is important and I still plan to continue Bates/Eyebody and reading about the Alexander Technique. It must be important or I wouldn’t have been at my current improvement before I injured my thumb.
- It is my unnatural and incorrect habits that have lead to my nearsightedness (myopia). This week I have been forced to do without some habits. Most of us can make it through the day on habit; we don’t have to think about how we breath, stand, sit, type, read, brush our teeth, put your coat on, wear your gloves without the thumb, open a door, typing, etc…
- I will continue to exam my habits. Maybe some are OK, others I will need to change. I don’t have a source to quote on this but I’ve read many times that it’s very beneficial to the brain to change your habits. Vision is a large part of our brain, I now believe this is beneficial to our vision too. Some suggestions: try brushing your teeth regularly with your opposite hand, put your keys in a new place (but where you can still see them!), put your opposite shoe on first, change the order you get ready in the morning, use your non-dominant hand for anything you can (that is still safe of course).
- There is no exact “recipe” for improving vision; it is a journey (like most things that we impatiently desire to have right now. Vision improvement requires reflecting on how we conduct ourselves (or “use our self” as stated by F.M. Alexander). Obviously this means that vision improvement is very personal and will differ for each individual. What works precisely for me may not work for someone else. Bates was a very observant doctor and scientist. I believe he had incredible success because he paid close attention to each individual and was able to recommend relaxation techniques based on their personality and habits. After years of studying vision I’m sure he gained a very natural and intuitive sense about how each person’s habits affected their particular eye disorder. It is more difficult, but I think it’s possible for each of us to observe ourselves and objectively decide what action needs to be taken. The natural vision teacher can be of extraordinary help if they are the right teacher for you because they are able to observe you from the outside. They may notice things that you will not. Often we do not see things we do not want to see. There are many resources available to help guide us (Bates, Eyebody, Alexander Technique, and many more) and we all have our own creativity and experiences to augment the improvement process.