Blur adaptation clarification

Blur adaptation is a dreaded concept because it ultimately hinders or stops (maybe even reverses) vision improvement progress. But as I see there are a lot of confusion about “blur adaptation” and many people misunderstand it. One the cause of this is that the “Clinical” Blur Adaptation (which you find in scientific discussions and papers) is different than “Endmyopia” Blur Adaptation. So let’s see which is what and what are their consequences.

Endmyopia Blur Adaptation

In short it means that you are just fine with the blur and don’t try to clear it with Active Focus. It’s the same “stimulus” (or rather the absence of stimulus) as when you are overprescribed and you don’t have blur. What you should understand is that the positive stimulus for eye vision which needs for improvement is not the present of blur. It’s the “struggle” against blur, which in this context means that you have some blur and you try to clear it, with more or less success. By that I mean even if you cannot clear the blur 100% it’s still positive stimulus. So if you have some blur and you can reduce it, then you are doing it right. Of course the “struggle” should not be too much, because otherwise you strain your eyes (and/or visual cortex). It should be a relaxing experience (but that’s more of a topic of Active Focus).
These are just analogies, but it’s like how you can improve your balance, or increase your muscles: you have to “struggle” a bit, but not too much or you just fall down or just injure your muscle.
Please note that while I use term “Active Focus” by that I mean any kind of method to clear or reduce blur. Call it “Active Focus”, “Passive Focus”, “Allowing Focus”, “Triangulation”, “Pushing Focus”, “Print Push”, “Pulling Focus”, whatever: if you have blur and you clear (some of) it, it’s the same thing. It also does not matter if you do it consciously, or if it’s automatic, without intent.
So again, Endmyopia Blur Adaptation means that you are fine with blur and don’t try to clear it. You just live in blur and if you want to see something clearly you just move closer or pull the thing physically closer. It does not necessarily means eye strain or bad feelings, though many times those are introduced too.
How can you combat Endmyopia Blur Adaptation? You can combat it by trying to clear the blur. Of course as a first step you have to have a method how you can clear it. Without finding this method you just increase the likelihood of getting (Endmyopia) Blur Adapted (that’s why you should not get normalized before finding AF, and also why you should not going without glasses before finding AF). Ultimately the goal is to get this “clear the blur” as a habit: you don’t do it consciously anymore, you eyes (or rather your brain) just do it automatically: as soon as it perceives blur, it tries to clear it (some call it “Automatic focus”, some call it “Passive focus”, but some understand different things on these terms, so never put too much emphases on phrases without understanding what that person mean by them).

In short:
Endmyopia Blur Adaptation is having blur but not try to clear it.
It is detrimental to the vision improvement progress, because it robs the eyes and the brain from positive stimulus.

Clinical Blur Adaptation

In scientific paper when they discuss about “blur adaptation” it means a different thing. In their experiments that the test subjects wear less correction than they need (or plus lenses) so they have blurry vision. They found that the subject’s vision gets better after some time of introducing this blur. So they introduce blur -> after some time the subjects see better -> which they are getting used to the blur -> the subject is adapted to blur, hence call it “blur adaptation”.
How does the subject’s vision improved? As far as I know it’s not discussed (or at least I could not find a paper about it). Maybe the subjects just find some rough active focus, maybe the brain is just getting a bit better analyse and identify blurry forms. But for our topic it does not really matter. What matters is that this Clinical Blur Adaptation does not mean that the subject don’t try to clear blur. This means the phenomena that after some time you introduce blur the vision adapts to it and get a bit better at navigating and identifying in it.
So the question if is this has a negative effect on vision improvement or not? We don’t have clear information, but in my opinion it doesn’t, or at least in itself it doesn’t. Of course getting used to blur can induce Endmyopia Blur Adaptation: you are just fine with the blur because you are more easily live with it. And that’s bad. But if for example you just getting too weak normalized / differential and you have more blur than you can clear, but you still try and try to clear it, and don’t introduce eye strain in the process, then I think you will progress just fine (but it rarely happens like that. Most likely too much blur hinders or stops the progress). Your quality of life may be lower though, and it’s not the amount of blur which provides stimulus, but the clearing it, so it won’t provide faster progress. Also it may induce detrimental (Endmyopia) Blur Adaptation. So in summary it’s still not recommended to live in blur.

In short:
It’s a process, which makes your vision better in blurry settings somehow (we don’t know currently how)
In itself it is not detrimental for vision improvement, but neither beneficial. Because of this, and because it makes you more susceptible to Endmyopia Blur Adaptation, eye strain, and because many people report negative effects on mood and general well-being when they live in blur, it is advised to avoid it.

34 Likes

Great explanation, nice one!

4 Likes

Some additional notes with examples from users of Le Meow who suddenly comes to my mind. Of course I can be mistaken, so if you don’t agree with what I’ve written about you, please correct me!

@NottNott was improving during the summer, even though he was most likely living in blur, because he used too weak normalized. He was most likely Clinical Blur Adapted, but not Endmyopia Blur Adapted. But in the autumn he introduced too much close-up, which may made him susceptible to Endmyopia Blur Adaptation. At this point I’m not sure if that’s happened for him, maybe just to increased close-up (with bad habits) resulted in his plateau (see his blog for more details: NottNott Fixes His Eyesight From -5 (video log!))

@Ursa is the best example that Clinical Blur Adaptation is not enough for vision improvements, but it also not detrimental and it also possible to improve while having it. She was living without glasses for many-many years, so she is most likely Clinical Blur Adapted. Her vision did not worsen, nor improve in those years. She found Endmyopia, learned about Active Focus, start to practice it. It most likely became a habit for her, because in the last 5 weeks she was without glasses (so most likely still Clinical Blur Adapted), but still improved on Snellen. (see her blog for more details: Hannie's Tour de France)

@halmadavid, that’s me :slight_smile: I learned about Endmyopia 3 years ago, and I was getting differential and then 6 weeks later normalized as intended. But while I was able to do active focus, I did not developed a habit, and just habituated to the blurry “normalized” vision. I most likely got Endmyopia Blur Adaptation. For two years I was fine like that (honestly I was happy that I’m my vision is not worsening, because it was a constant in the last 25 years). This year January I started anew, build the Active Focus habit. As a result I’m constantly improving since then (see my introduction and my blog for more details: My journey from -4.25). I also had a short time this summer where I reduced my differential, but not moved my screens closer. It resulted in a short plateau, most likely because I started to be Endmyopia Blur Adapted. I catched the problem early with cm measurements, so it did not cause problem.

@jakey mentioned that when he started the process he was too bold with reductions and did crazy things :slight_smile: He most likely developed Clinical Blur Adaptation at some point, but most likely had good Active Focus habits, so eventually he improved, although slower than the current “standard” rate. ( he has this small site called Endmyopia.org for more details :smiley: )

9 Likes

@halmadavid Thank you for this helpful post… focused on clarifying blur :nerd_face:

I think semantics can get in the way if we get too caught up on specific terminology. But by putting less emphasis on the adjectives and more on the broader processes involved, most folks can readily grasp the ideas - because they resonate with a range of lived experiences we’ve had given these human bodies we inhabit.

The concept of hormesis is well established and, as also explicitly cited by Todd Becker, is entirely applicable when it comes to reversing lens-induced myopia.

Moderator halmadavid’s OP above goes a long way in setting straight potential misconceptions. Thanks again for framing these ideas so well. :+1:

4 Likes

Really good descriptions. Thanks!

1 Like

Hi David, you seem to know more about my vision than I do myself :smile:
I prefer to call my own ability to live with less than 20/20 focus blur acceptance rather than blur adaptation, as the latter term seems to imply that one is not aware of the fact that one lives in a blur. And my ability to accept this blur for so many years depended on the fact that my right eye has been no worse than -3 (my highest lens power for that eye) and not the -6.50 that my left eye became after years of increasing prescriptions, and that I no longer earned my living at a screen. Both eyes at -6 or so would have made it impossible for me to live without correction.

When I started Endmyopia, I thought that I needed to remind my brain more often of what the world is ‘supposed’ to look like than the use of glasses for my very occasional driving provided me with, and I wore norms for a few hours a day in total. This clearly started the process of improvement, especially rapid for the stronger right eye. I soon discovered that AF for me meant ‘allowing focus’ rather than anything active. Why my eyes have continued to improve in the past 5 weeks without any glasses wear (I don’t drive here in Darjeeling) is a mystery to me. It may be that I am unconsciously using AF, but my own thinking is that it is more a mental issue than a ‘mechanical’ one. I have lived for the past 30 years with the belief that not wearing glasses would stop my eyes from deteriorating any further, and I seem to have been right on that issue. But I also did not believe that my eyes could get any better permanently (I have tried Bates twice and experienced temporary improvements), and I think that has been the limiting factor. Now that I have shown my brain that it is possible to reverse myopia without hours of eye exercises, it is doing whatever it needs to do to slowly bring this about. At least, I hope that this is the case. I am only at the start of the journey and look forward with curiosity (but not impatience) to where it will lead me. The scientific aspects interest me, but the psychological aspects interest me even more.

6 Likes

I share your interest in hormesis, and have been following Tod Becker for many years now.

3 Likes

Brilliant! Thank you!!

1 Like

What I am getting here is that End Myopia blur adaptation can be over come easily as long as you have a correct (little) amount of blur and are actively trying active focus as much as possible? Blur adaptation begins to occur when your eyes just don’t care that it’s blurry. Am I thinking about this right?

Yes, that’s right. .

I have a hypothesis on blur adaptation test… It goes like this… Try to imagine a scene it could be land scape, buildings street signs trees or anything it could the last image of anything you just saw… IF YOU CAN REPRODUCE THE IMAGE IN YOUR HEAD CRYSTAL CLEAR THEN YOU DONT HAVE BLUR ADAPTATION if it is blurry in your imagination then you need to deal with blur adaptation… Try it out and put it to test and lets see whether it holds through!!!

4 Likes

Very good explanatations, and I agree with them. I actually once wrote a literature review (unpublished) that dealt a lot with ideas related to the clinical form. Good job pointing out the differences.

Adding myself to your case studies:

I have had both types of blur adaptation, and still get the clinical form routinely. I, too, feel it’s no issue. Even the endmyopia type is not an issue for short periods. In fact, sometimes, you simply get tired of both glasses and heavy duty active focus and need to rest the eyes. So, you may go without glasses for a few minutes or even a few hours, and not work hard on active focus. As long as you don’t keep that up for days, it seems to not be detrimental either. But what can be a problem is if you engage in too much closeup. Even in this resting state, closeup time can be detrimental…especially if you’re doing computer work at too-close a distance due to not wearing differentials.

Ultimately in my case, the endmyopia form of blur adaptation played some role, but my bigger problem was inappropriate closeup work, even when I was without glasses.

3 Likes

(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)

I wonder in the video of jake “low myopia blur adaptation” he tells us to use normalized only when the light is dim like in the afternoon and at night. what happens if the we wears it during the day?

The same that would happen if you used crutches at a time of day when you could walk without them with a little effort. Would you ever overcome your need for crutches that way? It would be better if you only used them when your legs have become tired.
So, no correction when your eyes are fresh and able to deal with a bit of challenge, and correction when they are getting tired or in poor light conditions. This would not lead to blur tolerance if you always made the small effort to clear the small amount of blur. As pointed out in one of the posts above, you can work at clearing blur at any distance. The temptation with very low myopia is to make no further effort to clear blur because your vision is good enough for you to function fully with a small degree of myopia. The only motivation would be to want 20/20 vision (or better) very badly, or to need it for your occupation.

2 Likes

Do we mean the vision is 20/20 durung the day? then why not reduce the diopter to get blur during the day?

I have no idea how you got the impression that this is what my answer implied. I referred to a degree of blur that one can clear with fresh eyes, a little effort, and in good light. Obviously when you can consistently see 20/20 clearly without any effort it would be time to reduce.

2 Likes