Astigmatism DISCUSSION

hello i have low astigmatism in one eye around 0.50 to 1 diopter… i found a cooperative optom who actually gave me contact lens w no astigmatism since she said mine is very low anyway and since my right eye can see 20/20 i dont really need it :heart_eyes: :ok_hand:t2:
HOWEVER she also stated that eye strain can cause astigmatism to get worse… been doing some distance gazing lately, reducing close up and resting my eyes regularly and ive found that today my astigmatism is less noticeable! What are your thoughts about this? I’ve heard also of astigmatism being associated with your posture and the way you tilt your head, would love to hear yall opinions on this :smiley:


I don’t know of anyone who even tried to disprove Elliott Forrest’s theory of functional astigmatism, which claims a connection to dissonances in eye movement and head movement. On the contrary, it looks like people who looked at more data confirmed it! Look at how the Review of Optometry talks about this – they don’t even try to deny something is up!

So, as far as I am concerned, eye movement is an elephant in the room for astigmatism. I tried asking random people who did eye exercises about changes, and got some answers of the kind where unexpected cylinder improvement happened, even though spherical improvement failed. It seems that looking around naturally in all directions is good for the eyes, while restricting eye movement can cause trouble – not that surprising, if you think about it.

There’s also an issue with strong spherical lenses. You get cylinder distortions from them off the optical center, and they limit your field of view. So, reducing astigmatism is probably easier with less myopia. This is why I’m concentrating on spherical error for now. If I get to low myopia, I’m going to try for even larger frames and looking around more naturally, in hope that this helps against astigmatism.


Thanks for the reminder…
In that book that made me google myopia, the guy writes on astigmatism:
I wish it was so easy to cure myopia as it is to cure astigmatism.
Maybe it is? Maybe I should try that ‘tibetian wheel’? It’s basically a printout, you put it on the wall and you follow the lines with your eyes from close up. It makes you look into all directions, using the maximum of eye movement mobility.
Come to think of it, to keep or improve your general body mobility, it is recommended to move all your joints in all possible angles at least once a day - so maybe it can’t hurt and even makes sense for the eyes, too?__


i hope so… ive noticed that i tend to tilt my head to the left. I saw a video on youtube by nathan oxenfeld and esther about astigmatism and they mentioned how if u tilt ur head to look up or down but dont turn your head to look left and right, ur axis number will probably be 180. Cant remember exactly what they said but it was quite a interesting discussion! I know ppl here are generally against bates, but worth a try to just see that particular video

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@Varakari, I have past experience doing eye exercises of the type you describe. Let me know if you’d like another data point.

@skyee Bates and Forrest aren’t quite the same thing, though some Bates people refer to Forrest or use his methods. The Bates people claim a connection of eye movement and extraocular muscles with spherical error as well, while Forrest only claims a connection with cylindrical error. According to Forrest, the axis of minus cylinder is in the direction where your eyes get movement, so it’s as you say: for someone whose eyes scan left-right but not up-down, the axis would be 180°. Nathan Oxenfield is referring to Forrest when he says things like this. He’s technically using his own fork of the Bates method, which adds slower lens reduction and these astigmatism topics to what the modern “Bates method” usually recommends.

@FMR If you’ve done any eye movement based exercises and monitored cylinder changes, please share!

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Hi!! I have astig on one eye(left) only, and my axis is 180, also ive noticed that my extraocular muscles are very tense when looking up, cos i rarely look up, mainly cos i only look down for closework!! Hmm

@Varakari, I will say I’m super careful when doing dedicated active focus during vision time, not to only focus on horizontal lines for instance, because if I did that I would end up not seeing vertical lines as well. Actually, I’ve been there and had that happen, so I know to avoid it.

Apparently as people get older, they tend to get both more farsighted and need proportionately more myopic correction for vertical lines. Some people used to think it was due to tissue sagging in the cornea over time, but that made no sense, because instead of vertical myopia, that would result in something more like Keratoconus, which thankfully is very uncommon and usually affects people under 40.

So, the newer theory was that scanning motions during reading were making the horizontal axis more hyperopic over time. To me, that makes a lot more sense. But that’s the opposite direction.

I wonder if squinting contributes, too. I have not squinted once since I started vision improvement. I realized how damaging it could be, so I stopped right away.

Another theory was that looking at vertical letters made that axis more hyperopic.

Another issue might be progressive lenses. The add power seems to be set up so that the lens effectively induces something that looks a lot like minus cylinder in the vertical axis.



But yeah, I used to do clock pattern eye exercises. I don’t know about astigmatism because I’ve never really had much (only my very first pair of glasses as a kid had 0.5D of it). But the exercises were supposed to help with myopia, and I’m pretty sure they did a bit. The problem was, over time it seemed like the eye was stretching, so I pretty much stopped totally. I think I overdid it. I remember an increase in floaters at one point too, so that was a bad sign and scary. On the rare occasion I do them anymore due to tense eyes, I don’t go as far as I can, and only do a small amount.

I definitely do notice very slight astigmatic changes from just normal eye movements in everyday life though. Generally moving the eyes up and down helps clear horizontal lines. And vice versa. But if the eyes are full of ciliary spasm, it seems any movements can sometimes make things worse.

I hope people with astigmatism can appreciate my experience. Even people without astigmatism get minor astigmatic blur forming and resolving itself at times in the course of a normal day, in various axes. Being myopic means you can see it if you look carefully. You can also feel it (I guess the extra ocular muscles). I try not to look at ghost images when working on myopia, though, because if you look at the wrong image or part of the blur, it seems to make the vision worse…the wrong image dominates, and before you know it, the myopia looks worse. I think this has kept me from becoming truly blur adapted.


I’ve read a bit on Forrest, but not enough yet. Did you find anything in his work that shows a way out? Any advice of what to do if you have this or that kind of astigmatism?
Generally in the body, it’s balance. If you only use your left arm all day at work, you better work the other one after work. If you have close up time at work, you better get distance vision.
So, what does this mean for astigmatism and people staring at screens? (Or those musicians?)
I just don’t want to start doing random eye exercises :slight_smile:

@Tii_Chen, if Forrest is right, you simply need more movement in the neglected direction, which would also be the more myopic meridian. So, for exmaple, for WTR astigmatism (axis 180° and similar) he’d recommend looking up and down more. Where this doesn’t apply, like for my symmetrical, oblique astigmatism, I suppose doing things where you look evenly in all directions should help. (Well, actually, this should help in all cases.)

I don’t have any experience with this, nor focused on it especially, because my main problem for now is myopia.


@Varakari, I do this type of thing out of habit regularly, and I don’t have much or any astigmatism. After reading, horizontal lines get a bit more blurry in the distance. Some quick up-down movements and blinking restores the clarity. Connection or coincidence? I’ve been doing this for over ten years.