Sassisailor’s Weblog

A description of my journey to improve my eyesight naturally

“Stop and sketch the roses” July 31, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 1:24 pm

I wanted to post my thoughts on an observation I have about vision improvement.  It is common knowledge in Bates and Bates-like literature that our vision is significantly affected by our mental state (e.g. if your mind is strained/stressed your vision will diminish).  I have always tended to be the type of person who is hurried and feels like I need to work very fast in order to get as much done everyday as possible.  And while I think this is not a bad trait I am starting to think that the way I go about doing things quickly, which includes seeing quickly, has been poorly learned.  I tend to, most of the time, go about my busy-ness without intense focus; sometimes I find I am deeply focused on what I’m doing but most of the time my mind is busy and my muscles are tense. 

In my own opinion, and others agree, natural eyes sketch/shift objects very quickly.  Unfortunately I don’t think the quality of my shifting and sketching is good because it is similar to my physical patterns of hurried-ness.  What I have been observing is that when I slow down my mind and vision, and really take my time in shifting/sketching over an object, my acuity will improve.  It is much more difficult to shift the eyes across words slowly, evenly, and with focus, than it is to quickly pass the eyes over words or objects without much perception.  I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years and over that time I learned to use my glasses-view with much efficiency.  When wearing glasses the eyes don’t need to focus on the many parts that make up an object, we can simply take in almost our entire field of view and get along pretty well.  Unfortunately it’s like learning to play a new song on the piano, or any instrument.  Unless you take the time in the beginning to learn each note, slowly, and with patience, you cannot play the entire song well without losing the intention and importance of each individual note.  I had a piano teacher who taught me some wonderful techniques for learning a new song.  I would play each hand separately and very slowly at first.  On top of that I would play the notes with different rhythms.  The goal was to ingrain the note patterns into muscle memory, so that my fingers knew precisely where to go after each note.  This technique is flawless and works everytime.  Some of the rhythm patterns were short-short-long-long (where this temporal pattern is repeated every four notes), or short-long-short-long, and this list goes on.  This morning I realized I could use this same sort of technique for my visual shifting.  As I have acquired some terrible visual habits, I need to treat my vision as a new piece of music, slow down, and treat each “pixel” or imaging point as a note, go slowly, and retrain my eyes to play; perhaps even one eye at a time and then together.  I think I can even use the rhythm patterns for shifting to refine the muscle movements of my extraocular muscles.  Over time I will be able to increase the “tempo” and finally, naturally, the two eyes will come together in harmony, and I can do this effortlessly with mindfulness instead of straining to force my memory and my eyes. 

So, I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to “stop and sketch the roses”.  Life is busy and it’s difficult to maintain awareness during every waking moment; but like the piano a little bit of practice everyday will lead to perfection, repeatability, and good habits.  My dad always told me to stop playing when I made a mistake because it was poor practice to reinforce a bad habit (a wrong note) and this obviously has many implications for natural vision habits as well.  Anytime we continue seeing with poor habits we are reinforcing those habits and they become harder and harder to break, before we finally have to start over and relearn the passage or entire piece of music.  So in vision, and life in general, I think it is best to always take each moment one note at a time, follow each vein in the rose’s petals, and not become overly concerned with just getting to the end of the song.

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July 28-30, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 10:56 am

Completed this week:

  • long swings, short palming sessions, yoga, and exercise
  • My vision when reading the Snellen chart is changing.  The letters are getting much blacker but now my acuity is different.  I can read 20/100 at anytime in good light, whereas I used to be able to read 20/70 at most times, even 20/50 on some days.  I can still clear to 20/50 with great clarity, but when I clear to 20/50 the letters are not as black as they should be.    I am actually excited for this as I think it’s a sign that my vision at 20/200 and 20/100 is becoming stronger if you will.  It is very hard to describe and not something most people would probably understand unless they’ve experienced this progressive improvement on the Snellen chart.  I have no way of quantifying the quality of my vision, I can only report which lines I can read.  Unfortunately this measure does nothing to describe the quality of my vision (i.e. how black the letters are).  Luckily however, I think it’s irrelevant as I continue to see improvement and at no point since I “got on the chart” (could see 20/200) has my vision ever degraded back to the point where it was in the beginning (3.5/200). 

I have ordered some new reduced pairs of glasses.  I’m finding that in certain lighting conditions at work I can simply not read my computer screen.  I can read the one at home without any problem, but I need to have a pair of very reduced computer glasses for work.  The -4.25 D glasses are too strong for computer work so I ordered two new pairs from Zenni.  One pair is -3.75 D (both eyes) and the other pair is -3.25 D (in both eyes).  I don’t plan to use these often.  I only can stand to wear glasses that give me just sufficient enough power to see well enough to type so once again I’m moving to a more reduced lens!  I never wear any lenses that give me sharp vision.  I had hoped I could go completely without glasses from this point forward, but unfortunately at work I need to wear them sometimes.  I do take frequent breaks however where I will take off my glasses and look outside and then palm for a few minutes.  I can usually read the computer screen for part of the day without glasses, but there is usually an hour a day where I need the extra power to make out the text.  The great news is that I’m continuing to step down the lens power of the glasses I’m wearing.

 

A wonderful weekend (July 26-27, 2008) July 28, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 2:03 pm

This weekend I had the chance to do many activities that I consider beneficial to my sight; plenty of exercise (indoors and out), yoga, meditation, swinging, and palming.  It was very relaxing and a wonderful reminder of how much better I feel (and how much better my vision is!) when I spend more time tuning in to my body and getting plenty of exercise. 

My vision is going “in and out” more than ever.  What I mean by this is that my vision fluctuates drastically from 20/100 to 20/50 throughout the day.  I think outside it fluctuates even more, though when I’m outside and noticing the improvement I don’t have a Snellen chart to confirm the level of acuity. 

I continue to go without glasses except for the situations I mentioned before and I think this has been key to my improvement.  Right now I’m fighting the urge to get more “reduced” lenses because I’m trying to make my current pair (-4.25 D) the last pair of glasses I ever use…  I tested and I can read 20/30 with these glasses on (indoors in a sunny room).  I realize -4.25D is still far optically from uncorrected glass, but I don’t believe that vision improvement is linear.  I can see from my own experience that I can wear these glasses to see well, to read the computer screen for example, or I can use the natural vision habits to see without glasses.  To give a perspective, right now I’m typing and reading what I’m typing without glasses.  If I don’t practice my natural vision habits though I can’t see the words well, so I can wear my glasses to read the text (the -4.25 D, though a weaker lens would work).  This to me is a subjective experience that shows the non-linearity in our vision and vision improvement.

 

July 25, 2008 July 25, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 10:45 am

This week I have been doing at least one set of 100 long swings everyday as well as palming.  Most mornings I sit outside and sun my eyes as well.  It has somewhat of a relaxing week compared to last, albeit somewhat difficult as I did a 2-day fast which definitely tested my abilities to resist food even though I wasn’t hungry! 

My vision has been somewhat diminished this week, though I consistently experience long periods of clarity when I’m outside.  Consistently I have been reading 20/100, though I can clear to 20/50 if I relax and swing for a while in front of my chart.  I think some of this is a result from a great deal of stress I’ve been under at work.  When I am experiencing stress my breathing becomes very shallow and my posture is affected quite significantly.  Luckily I think this has passed and I am continuing to work on my mindfulness and being present.

 

July 21, 2008 July 23, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 2:06 pm

Completed:

  • 6 mile hike WOG, many clear flashes! 
  • 100 long swings (timed, not counted)
  • 15 minutes of palming
 

July 20, 2008 July 20, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 6:06 pm

These past few days I haven’t tried anything new.  I’ve pretty much just been going without glasses, swinging, and palming.  This morning I did a sunning/palming sandwich.  I woke up from a stressful night of sleep and was only able to read 20/200 (in moderate light).  After the sunning/palming sandwich exercise I was able to easily read 20/100 (I did the sunning with closed eyes directly at the early morning sun).  The light conditions weren’t very bright in my house, so I considered this a good improvement for a morning read!

On Friday I had a terrible urge to wear my glasses at work for part of the day.  I can’t explain it, but the psychological pull was incredibly strong.  I actually felt awful until I put my glasses on…  what almost felt like depression!  This emotional feeling had been building for a few days and was only relieved when I put on my glasses.  I know this sounds silly and overdramatic, but it was very emotional and very real.  I’m over this now, thankfully!  I think it was a bout of feeling sorry for myself and being frustrated with going so long with only so-so vision.  I have spent all of my life (except the past seven months) with perfect vision.  I didn’t realize the psychological impact living day to day with blurry vision would have.  These past three weeks have been very “eye-opening” (no pun intended).  I have had to come to terms with only being able to see “well enough” to get around, and most of the time I am missing a lot of detail.  I know this step of letting go of my glasses is crucial and that is what keeps me motivated.  Personality-wise, most of my life I have been what most people would probably call a perfectionist.  For instance, if I was cleaning a window I wouldn’t be satisfied until every last streak was gone, etc.  But now that I do everything without glasses (except for the occassional slip like Friday, or for necessity (occassional driving)), I must accept the fact that I can’t see perfectly and that what I’m doing is not perfect.  I think part of this process has been giving me a lot of anxiety and self-induced stress, but I’m learning to deal with it.  This is probably one part of my personality that contributes to my myopia, so I imagine this is a necessary transformation.  It will be interesting to see if my personality is changed after my vision has improved to 20/20!

 

July 15, 2008 July 16, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 12:05 pm

Completed:

  • 2 sets of 100 long swings
  • 15 minutes palming
  • 35 minute incline walk on treadmill
  • all day WOG