Sassisailor’s Weblog

A description of my journey to improve my eyesight naturally

Dec 9th Visual acuity tests December 9, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results,My Daily Progress,Snellen Chart Results — sassisailor @ 1:25 pm

I have taken a bunch of measurements today for the sake of marking my progress.  I just felt like digging out the focometer today. 

Outdoors, 12:45pm, sunny

With focometer (requires testing one eye at a time):

  • Left eye: -5.5 diopter
  • Right eye: -5.75 diopter
  • For reference I started at left -7.25D and right -8D as measured by the eye doctor.  if you click on the category “focometer results” you will be able to compare my progress as measured by me with my focometer since last february

Snellen chart, both eyes, outdoors, sunny

  • I could immediately read 20/50 and within seconds I was able to see 20/40.   After only a minute or so I was able to see 20/20!  My vision has been clearing so much faster!  Now that my vision is improving so much I don’t think to read the chart as muhc because I’m always marvelling at everything around me because the colors and dimensions are so amazing.  I keep the chart out only mainly so I can post here so people can get an idea of my visual acuity (and to document my progress for those interested for scientific purposes, myself included) and because I know it’s a good habit to have for my whole life.  I’m seeing so well I don’t even worry about if I have my glasses with me anymore.  Sometimes I leave the house and completely forget them and I don’t panic when I realize! 

Snellen chart indoors, curtains open, natural light coming through the windows, no other lights on:

  • Immediately seeing 20/100, cleared within seconds to 20/40 and have maintained that since I did my reading (am typing and seeing the text from over a foot away). 

Again, there is a discrepency between how well I’m seeing as measured by my Snellen chart and from the focometer measurements.  But I think the focometer is a more accurate measure of my prescription requirements for driving at night.  This is about the prescription I wear when I drive at night, so it seems to be correlating well.  I had hoped my focometer measurements would show my refractive state had dropped  below -5d, but not yet!  Wishful thinking.  Also, I don’t wait for my vision to clear or anything when I do the focometer.  I just use it as indicated and adjust it until the chart clears up crystal clear and I’m seeing 20/20 with the focometer. 

The great thing is that I’m seeing well enough now, less than a year from when I started, to do pretty much everything without glasses.  I don’t drive that much, especially at night, so I’m almost to the point where I would say I’m free from glasses! 

I’m still playing racquetball weekly without glasses, I just don’t post about it anymore.  But today we played a doubles game (me without glasses) and again, just have so much fun!  My partner actually told me that she thinks I play better without glasses than I did when I wore them.  I don’t even consider wearing them for racquetball and do many other things without glasses too, including cooking, watching TV, some painting, all reading, most computer work, cleaning, laundry, snow shovelling, cleaning up the yard, gettign to school via the bus, walking across campus, running errands for work/school, all conversations with people, eating meals, etc.  As you can see, even though my refractive state as shown by the focometer has dropped only to ~-5.5 D (which is still significant to me, as it PROVES that my myopia can be reversed) I’m able to almost completely function without glasses because my eyes are learning to see without them.  It’s been a wonderful last week and everyday I’m more and more delighted at the new things I can see from distance.

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Aug 26, 2008 Focometer measurement August 26, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results — sassisailor @ 4:15 pm

Today I measured what I call my “refractive error” with the Focometer.  I measured my vision from 20 feet outdoors (cloudy, but at 5pm so still good light conditions).

My refractive error is -5.25 D in both eyes!  This is improved even from one month ago!  For anyone who hasn’t been keeping up with my blog, I started out with the following glass lens prescription:  OD: -8D, OS: -7.25D.   The focometer is an instrument that can be used to measure the refractive correction required to see 20/20.

 

Focometer measurement (July 13, 2008) July 13, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results — sassisailor @ 8:40 pm

Today around 2:30 pm I measured my visual acuity without glasses and with the focometer (a handheld device that can be used to measure the refractice correction required to see at a given acuity level). 

Without glasses: 20/70 to 20/50 (fluctuated a bit)

I noticed that when I put the focometer in front of one of my eyes (the non-tested eye is obscured) that my visual acuity dropped to less than 20/200 without any correction.  To experiment,  I closed one eye and looked at the Snellen without the Focometer and I could read 20/100.  So the focometer itself in addition to only testing with one eye is definitely different than the visual acuity I read when I am using both eyes without any obstruction in front of my eyes.

In order to see as well with the focometer as I do without glasses I had to increase the lens power to -5.75 diopters.  It then was only a small turn to -6 diopters for each eye in order for me to see crisply. 

These results are very strange to me.  It shows that, by the focometer measurement standards, my visual acuity has not improved as much as I expected, nor has it improved as much given the progress gauged by my vithout glasses Snellen reading.  It was very disappointing, but it was a slight improvement.  As always I will continue to monitor both visual acuity measurements to chart my progress!  I’m not sure what to think of my measurements; but they are what they are and they are interesting at the least.  I’m sure I will understand more as I continue to progress and I can better see the correlation between improvement in my VA without glasses when reading the Snellen and when testing refractive correction with the Focometer.

 

Correlation between visual acuity with and without glasses April 24, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results,Snellen Chart Results — sassisailor @ 2:48 pm

As many readers and I myself have noticed there is a discrepancy between my visual acuity without glasses and the correction required as indicated by my focometer. There is a rough correlation that has been found between lines that can be read on a Snellen chart and the required glass lens strength required to improve that person’s vision back to 20/20. Based on this correlation one would expect that if I can read 20/70 on the Snellen chart I would require a lens with a strength of -3D. However, when I measure my refractive state with the focometer it indicates I require a -6D strength lens to read 20/20.  I have heard that I should be comparing my prescribed lens strength to my visual acuity in a dim room. I measured my acuity at night in a dimly lit room and I can read 20/200. This is a little bit closer but a disparity still exists.

I believe that this lack of correlation between the two methods is due in part to two factors that are probably related: psychology (or confidence) and muscle memory. I don’t have any scientific evidence for these explanations, only postulations.

The psychological aspect, mental aspect, whatever you want to call it, affects how we view our visual potential. I’ll equate this to running. Let’s say that you haven’t run more than a mile in twenty years and you want to run five miles today. Mentally you will probably start feeling tired after the first mile and think it will be difficult to continue. You may make it to two miles, but most likely you will not run the full five miles. You would have to work up to the five miles to be both physically and mentally able to run the full five miles. Our mental “attitude” has an impact on our abilities. I’m not saying that it’s always the limiting factor; but it could be for some people. With respect to vision I think we experience (to a certain degree) this same effect. I experienced this first hand when I thought I was wearing a reduced pair of glasses and was seeing as if I was wearing the reduced pair. When I realized I was wearing the full strength pair my vision immediately improved to reflect the fact that I was wearing full strength glasses. I have read cases of this happening to other people as well. This goes back to the fact that I think a big impact on our vision is how well we THINK we’re going to see.

The other factor I have considered is muscle memory. Poor vision is in part caused by eyestrain. Eyestrain is caused by tension in the muscles surrounding the eye.  Some circles have discussed that the extraocular muscles must maintain a level of strain to keep the eye in an elongated shape in order to see well through a glass lens (i.e. the brain wouldn’t relax the extraocular muscles if the strained muscles were producing clear vision due to the glasses).  If you have ever studied control systems this makes a lot of sense; we are getting feedback to our visual cortex from our eyes and vice versa.  My theory is that over many many years the muscles in our eyes become accustomed to “performing” this certain task in order for us to see properly with a pair of glasses. When we wear a strong pair of glasses our eyes never get a chance to relax because in order to see well our eyes must maintain a certain degree of strain to keep our vision at an acceptable acuity level; that and most of wear our glasses during all waking hours.  When we do not wear our glasses our eyes can relax more because our brains aren’t sending feedback to the muscles to maintain the eyestrain in order to continue seeing well. This is why I think it’s so beneficial and quicker results are obtained if glasses are discarded altogether.  Unfortunately I can’t do this.  When we don’t wear our glasses our eyes can relax but when we put glasses back on I think our muscles go back to the position that they are accustomed to, which is the level of strain that helps place the eye in the position required to see well with a specific lens strength. It takes time to retrain muscles to perform new tasks (e.g. brush your teeth with your nondominant hand). A good example of this is posture. If we have been sitting in a poor posture for twenty years it will take a while to rehabilitate the muscles to feel correct in the correct posture; the bad pasture will feel correct to us for a while. I don’t believe the physical part of our visual system is much different.  Muscle memory is defined as being an unconscious and learned process that manifests from neural pathways that have developed through repetitive practice.   The exact mechanisms are unknown, however significant behavioral evidence exists to support its validity.  I have also read that attitude affects muscle memory quite significantly.  Anyone out there who is a musician is probably familiar with this concept.  For example, I can play a piece of music perfectly on the piano until I am in front of an audience of strangers; then I tense up and my abilities are diminished.  Stress could be considered an attitude I suppose (albeit sometimes involuntary), so it is reasonable to extrapolate that stress can have a negative impact on vision as I am of the group of people who believes that the extraocular muscles affect visual acuity.

Another related point to muscle memory is visual habits.  When wearing glasses we lose the good natural visual habits of shifting, blinking, and saccadic eye movements.  It would stand to reason that learning the incorrect muscular habits of staring, not blinking often, and reduction or loss of saccadic eye movements is a result of incorrect muscle memory  habits which are unconscious.   It is extremely difficult to change unconscious behavior which can be a huge boulder in the road of vision improvement.  It takes almost constant attention on a previously unconscious habit which is not easy to maintain over long periods of time.  It is equally difficult to then train new muscle memory habits which are correct so that these may become the new unconscious habits.

The very act of putting glasses or contacts over our eyes is a cue to our brains that we are now changing our visual perception.  I do not underestimate the power this has over our visual cortex and our attitude and the effect this has on our visual acuity.  Putting glasses on my eyes is not something I do unconsciously so I am aware that I should now be seeing better which brings attention to the fact that I expect to see a certain way with a specific pair of glasses on my face.   The same is true for using a focometer or other lens over the eye.

In short, I think both our confidence and perhaps more importantly muscle memory play a role in this disparity.  As I sit here I can see my vision getting better and worse while wearing my reduced prescription glasses and I think this is a good sign that I am starting to break through the entrenched neural pathways that dictate the muscle tension and poor habits in my extraocular muscles.  There is more flexibility in my eyes regardless of the mechanism behind the improvement.  If I focus on practicing the correct visual habits with my glasses on I can now see an improvement which I previously never experienced.    Being able to see an improvement in my vision while wearing glasses is important to me because it signifies to me that I can improve my vision with or without glasses on my face.  Previously I was only seeing changes in my vision without my glasses.  Hopefully this means that putting glasses on does not have as strong of a psychological component for me anymore.

 

April 15, 2008 April 15, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results,My Daily Progress,Snellen Chart Results — sassisailor @ 10:22 am

I took some readings on April 11, 2008 to update the progress on my visual acuity improvement with and without glasses.  Here are the results.

Without glasses reading the Snellen chart.  MId-day, full sunlight.

From 10 feet: 10/40, can clear to 10/30 if I relax

From 20 feet: 20/70, can clear to 20/40 if I relax

Using the focometer to measure the correction required to read at varying levels:

*OD = right eye, OS = left eye

to read 20/40: OD -5.5D, OS -5.5D

to read 20/30: OD -5.75D, OS -5.75D

to read 20/20: OD -6.25D, OS -6.00D

Again, the readings I take on my Snellen chart represent letters I can correctly distinguish and I use the requirement that I must see 1/2 letters correctly to “clear” the line.  Even though I can read the letters, sometimes they are light gray and slightly blurry but I can correctly see what they are.  Sometimes there are double images but these have started to go away. When I “clear” to higher lines after relaxing (meaning after I relax I can read 20/40 instead of 20/70) there are no double images and the letters become darker.  They are NOT completely black however.  Once I can read a line completely black I’m sure it will indicate a permanent improvement.

I started Phase 5 of autogenics yesterday (Apr 14) and this will continue for two weeks.

I have been able to start running and walking again.

  • Friday (4/11): 35 min brisk walk
  • Sunday (4/13): 30 min run
  • Monday (4/15): 20 min on recumbent bike

My thumb is healing quickly so I’m thinking of starting my weight lifting back up today.

 

March 10, 2008 March 10, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results,My Daily Progress,Snellen Chart Results — sassisailor @ 11:59 am

Snellen Chart reading at lunch:

Reading from 10 feet: 10/50

Reading from 20 feet:  20/200  I can see more of the second line, but it still isn’t clear enough for me to say I can clear this line.

Focometer Readings:

OD: -6.25 D

OS: -6.00 D

I have only had (made) time for one autogenics session a day, so I’m going to repeat this week what I was doing last week.  I have also been exercising and getting outside a little bit, but not enough.  I have not been doing my long swings or palming 😦  I can tell that I was more stressed out last week; either because I wasn’t doing my relaxation techniques (2-3 autogenics per day, swinging, palming), or because I had so much to do…  either way, my vision did not improve and on some days I could only read 10/100!  Today I feel “back to normal” as far as being under less stress and not feeling anxious and not surprisingly my vision is back to my previous weeks improvement.  There is definitely a strong correlation between my vision and my anxiety/stress level!  If I start feeling like I have too much to do and I’m not going to get it all done my vision goes to crap!

 

February 29 2008 March 2, 2008

Filed under: Focometer Results,My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 5:17 am

I performed a set of 10 tests using the focometer.  For each test I was positioned 20 feet in front of a clock chart and recorded the refractive correction required to see 20/20.  Each eye was measured independently. The eye not being measured was covered by a patch.  After recording the 10 results for each eye, I calculated the mean and standard deviation.  What I discovered is that the standard deviation is less than a 1/4 diopter!  This is very good news as it indicates that the measurements are repeatable to a high degree of resolution.  I am able to interpolate the refractive correction between the 1/4 diopter markings on the focometer, however I found during these tests that there is not a statistically significant different between interpolating the value to the nearest 1/12 diopter and using the nearest 1/4 diopter marking.  As a result, all future focometer measurements will be recorded to the nearest 1/4 diopter marking.

Mean:

OD: -6.575  D   (reference: OD prescribed -8 D before I began the Bates Method two months ago)

OS: -6.225 D  (reference: OD prescribed -7.25 D before I began the Bates Method)
Standard Deviation:

OD: 0.12 D

OS: 0.18 D

This also confirms that the glasses I began wearing two months ago as my reduced prescription (they are 1 diopter weaker than my most recently prescribed glasses), are now overcorrected for my visual acuity!  About a week ago I put in an order for another reduced pair at approximately the correction I measured above.  I believe I will have to order another pair 1 diopter below that correction to be used for my new reduced/computer pair.  My astigmatism has disappeared and so now the reduced glasses I originally ordered are too funky.  This is great news as it’s showing significant progress in many different directions!

I will also be compiling graphs of my progress with the focometer results.  After another month, or few weeks of data I will plot my progress as measured by the focometer with the progress I measure on the Snellen chart.