Active Focus - Start here

One of the key principles and an essential part of the foundation of Endmyopia is Active Focus. This guide covers the basics on Active Focus and how to discover it for yourself.

How does it work?

Endmyopia works by leaving you a little under-corrected for close-up and distance. This ensures that your eyes see a small amount of blur (more specifically, myopic defocus). It’s then necessary to clear up the remaining blur, to achieve clarity. Active Focus is the mechanism that enables your eyes and visual cortex to bridge that small gap between blur and clarity.

How do you get it to work?

This is a complex thing to work out and it’s different for everyone. It’s easiest to start with some simple text in a clear-cut and nicely contrasted font – in a book, for instance. You need to hold it at a distance that gives you a little bit of blur. You then pick a simple word and stare at it, in a relaxed and concentrated fashion. Looking at that word, you tell yourself that you want to see it clearly. You look, appreciate the word, and employ your will to get that word to come into focus. You can blink gently, of course, but make sure that you don’t try to blink or squint that word into focus. It’s best if it clears up by just looking at it – the word coming into focus more or less on its own.

It’s very nicely explained by Jake in these videos:

How long will it take for me to learn Active Focus?

This is very personal and there’s a wide range in terms of time required to acquire this skill. Some people get the hang of it within the first 5 minutes of trying. For others, it can take several months to master. It does not matter how long it takes for you to learn this skill. The important thing is that you don’t give up and keep trying.

How long do I need to hold onto the clarity?

You try to hold on to the clear word as long as reasonably and comfortably achievable. This can be as little as a second at first. Over time, this will increase, as you become more acquainted with this skill. It’s important that you don’t squint or over-strain yourself in any way practicing Active Focus. Utilizing it should be something that’s achieved in a relaxed manner, without requiring much effort. If you have issues where Active Focus is not becoming persistent, have a look here:

How often should I practice Active Focus?

It’s important to realize that Active Focus should become a habit and something that happens subconsciously. You can practice it as much as you like, as long as you don’t strain yourself in doing so. Over time, Active Focus will become second nature. At that point you will no longer have to actively exercise it. Jake lays it out quite nicely in this video:

What are common things that affect Active Focus?

  • First and foremost it’s important to realize that your overall well-being is of great influence on Active Focus being able to function properly. If you are feeling stressed, under the weather, lacking sleep, or even sick, you will notice that it’s much harder, if not impossible, for Active Focus to work its magic. Don’t push yourself too hard and try again when you are well-rested and feeling better.
  • The other main thing is the amount of good (and preferably natural) lighting that is available. If this is insufficient it can affect Active Focus profoundly.

What are normal side effects of practicing Active Focus?

  • You may feel a little headache and pain or pressure in your eyes. This is completely normal and it happens because your eyes and your brain start working actively on seeing clearly again. They didn’t have to do that before, because your corrective lenses took care of it. It’s similar to starting a new exercise with sports, where you get some sore muscles the first couple of times, waiting for your body to adapt to this new stimulus. If this is the case for you, it should be gone in no more than a week.
    Keep in mind that it shouldn’t amount to more than a little discomfort. If it does cause more discomfort there could be something else that needs addressing. A confounder such as ciliary muscle spasm, being under- or overcorrected by too much, or even something in the eye itself could play a role. Consider looking into these matters if this occurs.
  • You may start to see double/misaligned vision and halos surrounding the text or object that you are looking at and trying to clear up. This is totally normal. It’s a sign that your eyes and visual cortex are adapting to bring that bundle of light into focus. If you are stuck with nothing but double/misaligned vision and Active Focus isn’t working on it (which is very common), have a look here: Resolving Double/misaligned vision.
  • You may experience watery eyes while practicing Active Focus, especially outside. This is nothing to worry about, it happens to some and is usually gone within a minute. This could also be a sign of having dry eyes.

Important links that you’ll want to have a look at if this concept is still eluding you:

Good luck on acquiring this habit, it will be a great skill for you and your eyes!

Credits

Thanks to @Varakari, @Mare, @tracylau, @eagle-eyes and @Tii_Chen for checking and improving this guide. Thanks to all the others who read and approved it, you know who you are :+1: and last but not least our great founding father Jake for teaching us this great stuff in the first place!

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Very informative, thanks for the writeup.

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Hi all,
as yaron wrties here, Constant daily headaches, overdoing AF and the whole EM thing might cause headaches.
Do we want to add that/emphazise that more to side effects?

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I am currently wearing a -4.75 diopter, however after checking my prescription lens checker I should be having a -5.5 or -5.25 lens. I have noticed that whenever I practice distance or close-up active focus, my eyes become strained and tired. How can I prevent this from happening. I do not yet want to normalize my prescription, because it is costly and would like to try and achieve active focus so that I can wear my current prescription as normalized.

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You are pretty close to asking for diopter specifics. Please don’t.

To indulge you regardless of that. Your correction is off and you know it. This doesn’t give you the desired edge of blur. However you can work with what you are wearing. Your diopter bubble is between normalized and differential so in between that range you should find something with text and a little blur to clear up. You could go outside, sit on a bench and look at a sign with some text that gives you a little challenge. Or inside your house. But going this way you have to figure this distance out yourself. The normal way it’s set up is way easier. With differentials that end of the diopter bubble is at arms length and with normalized it’s a couple of meters (at least) away.

Good luck and be sure to ask well thought out questions in the Questions and Answers category.

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Should active focus be done with glasses on or without?

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@Reuben…you will need to refresh your understanding of the reduced lens method principles including differentials, normalized, and the edge of blur as a prerequisite to applying the AF Guide. This forum and the EM blog have several discussions on each topic that can assist with your basic questions.

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Whenever I get a clear flash the longer I hold it the more my eyes sting and give me the urge to blink, does practicing holding it make your eyes better at it and this may go away if I practice holding it?

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It did for me and I’m guessing most endmyopians too. Just keep at it, clarity is something you want to hold on to giving your visual cortex the signal: this is what it’s suppose to be. Just don’t overdo it when it stings, just blink once in a while to relax and lubricate your eyes again.

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I have a doubt, let’s say I take a word on a piece of printed paper then i put it close up so I can see it clearly, and I slowly move it farther away until there is some blur. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to clear the blur but I can still make out the word. If I take it even further, everything becomes blurrier but I can still make out the word, barely holding it. Again, I can’t make it clear, but is that active focus?? What degree of clarity should I be getting? I don’t feel anything really when trying, maybe a bit of strain from not blinking too much and focusing, but no tears or clear flashes like some people say.

Also, I know I should be relaxed, but do I have to consciously try to “move” something in my eyes for active focus to happen or is it something that just by staring at a word suddenly clicks? I read the nose wiggling analogy, but in that case you are actively trying to move the nose, with active focus it feels like you can’t do anything but repeat to yourself “I want to see clearly” and pray. :confused:

Could someone please illuminate me?

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That is right. When you AF, you can tell when you’re actively trying to do it and it clears up some or all together. AF is as good as how much undercorrection you’re wearing. If it’s too much, the feeling might be there, but you aren’t going to get clarity out of it.

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Thanks, good to know. I’m not quite there yet then, because I don’t feel I’m actively doing it.

I would add that in my experience AF needs at least a bit of detail (or in other word texture). If the blur is too much, you simply cannot AF anymore. I think the mechanism behind AF is similar to camera focus: the eye try to change the focus a bit and check if the vision is clearer or not and determine which way to move based on this. But if there is too much blur it cannot determine if the vision is more clear or not and as a result just do nothing (it does not gets better, why trying).

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If I AF without glasses looking at something far, the feeling is there, but obviously nothing far gets cleared. Technically that renders AF useless, but I still do it just to remember the feeling!

That answers a question I didn’t even realise I had. Good approximations. Thanks!

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I think that I discovered Active Focus yesterday. I’m still waiting for my closeup lenses to arrive in the mail, but I wanted to read all of the science posts in the meantime. So, I set up the computer screen about six feet away. With my normal glasses on, at first I could barely make out that there were individual letters on the screen (they were about the size of 20/15 on the Snellen chart), but after ten minutes or so contemplating them, I felt an interesting ‘movement’ in my eyes and the letters resolved into clarity. After playing around with the distance to the screen for a half hour or so, I could make that resolution take place at will. Just to be sure I wasn’t fooling myself, I practiced it in the mirror with a bookshelf behind me. The ‘movement’ in my eye isn’t me winking or making faces, it is a muscular activity within the eye that brings text into focus.

I’m excited.

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Sounds about right. I noted in another thread I think there are actually two types of active Focus at least for me, one where I just relax and try to “paint” the letters which are slightly blurry with my eyes until they become clearer and now I can also move my eye muscles to to change the focus like a camera lens and clear up some slightly blurry text

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Thanks for that description. I’m going to experiment some more during my walk this afternoon to confirm what am seeing.

Also, I didn’t mention it before, but from my seat yesterday, I could look out the window to surrounding hills and trees, so I practiced going from that distant focus to the screen text at a closer focus.

" If you are stuck with nothing but double/misaligned vision and Active Focus isn’t working on it (which is very common), have a look here: Resolving Double/misaligned vision "
Do you mean to say by that that if you have trouble finding AF while having double vision, you have to resolve the double vision problem first?

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