Dark Days' Diaries: Can I Achieve Significant Year-Over-Year Shortening?

I am curious, do you do computer use with the screen just at the edge of far focus with AF? In my experience, i only get eye fatigue if my eyes have to focus closer than their farthest distance for extended time. We’re deep into dark season in the Seattle area and I spend most of my AF time in front of a computer, 4-6 hours of screen time almost all in strong AF. I’m so fanatical about it I have two different strength computer glasses depending on how effective AF is that day. And yet, my eyes seem to keep improving, I hit 28cm naked eye in both eyes for only the third time this year today (with the second a few days ago). I’d double check that your screen is barely in focus with full AF. Because if its too close (for your computer glasses), you could easily get eye strain and stall out, IMO.

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I find this interesting. I work at the screen, uncorrected (right eye is now -2), left eye does not participate (-5.5), and though my right eye distance to blur is 50cm, I feel just as comfortable working at 57/60cm, as everything is still legible. I am heretical on most EM practices (wear norms only for driving, no diffs for computer work) and in spite of this I have improved 1 D in the right eye, a more timid .5 D in the left, in the space of 5 months. I do very little conscious AF, but I think working in the middle of my legibility range of 50 - 65 cm has induced continuous, unconscious AF. This is the only way I can explain my improvement within the EM framework. I believe other mental factors ( a change in belief and intent) play a role as well.

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Yeaaa, that’s again quite different from what I did most of this year, especially the bit about usually having no screen time after 20:30. I often had screen time after 22:00.

It’s quite uneven, since the lamps are within my field of view. I’m using two hanging 3 m LED strips with diffusors, and one (soon two) 1 m strips on a shelf. Measured with a (cheap) LX1330B, the darker parts, for example facing the ceiling, give about 180 lux, but in the direction the eyes face, it’s around 320 lux maybe? This is varies quite a bit depending on how I turn the sensor.

Gotta say I’m a bit underwhelmed with the output of this batch of LED lighting. But it’s not dim in the sense of the meager lighting many people use at home. Right now, with 11° solar angle and some clouds, the lamps are still brighter than the daylight coming in.

Wait, where did you read this? Are these choroid changes? Animal studies? AFAIK, the mainstream still believes scleral shortening cannot be induced.

I have a simple lux meter, but I’m not sure how to make a meaningful stimulus log with it. Changes are so slow that I’d have thousands of inputs, and illumination varies a lot depending on where exactly you’re looking.

This question is underdefined because of longitudinal chromatic aberration. The red channel of my screen is usually in decent to good focus, green can be challenging and depends, and blue is usually not in focus. I also don’t know how to objectively measure Active Focus… for all I can see, my ciliary control is pretty good and most of the remaining variation comes from lighting, how dry my eyes are, or how tired I am.

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You are quite right about the chromatic aberration :slight_smile: In fact, when I’m at the edge of focus at work with my screen, certain color combinations simply don’t work unless I move in closer.

But being at the edge of focus isn’t enough unless you also know you’re using active focus.

For me, I demonstrated (to myself) that I am indeed using AF and 0.5D of it with an experiment I did a month or so ago. I deliberately relaxed my eyes and tried not to “push” focus outwards for two days, using stronger glasses to ensure everything was still sharp. When I did that, and measured the edge of focus, again deliberately not pushing focus out (which was surprisingly hard!), I found that I was about 0.5D worse than before the experiment in my distance-checking test. You could try that experiment, if you don’t observe much difference, you might not be using AF as hard/much as you hope to, and that might explain your progress.

One trick I’ve used to “educate” my eyes/brain on using AF is the reading print test. I hold up a book at my farthest distance (e.g. 26-27cm right now), then focus on making the text sharp, I mean razor sharp. Then I’ll back it off a short distance until it’s not sharp, and try again. Once I can no longer get it sharp, I’ll pull it back so the mind can see what it’s trying for and then push it back a bit. After a bit, the eye/brain catches on and I can get AF further and further.

The other way I know I am using AF is if I look around rapidly then focus on something. It usually won’t be in focus, and I have to concentrate to “push” it back. If things “snap to focus” rather than easing in, then I know I’m not using much (if any) AF. For me, AF doesn’t work when I look around rapidly and needs to “re-engage”.

I like doing AF while doing computer work because (like Jake’s paragliding anecdote), I need clarity to do my work. Thus my brain’s instinct forces AF to kick in, where other situations it thinks “it’s ok, don’t need to push it so far”. I think that’s why I’ve gotten some significant gains recently (hit 29cm in the right eye for the first time in 25+ years this morning).

Ciliary control is not enough, I have had my ciliary muscle pretty much unused for 15 years prior to my latest push to improve my eyes (I found out ciliary muscle use lead to headaches for me, so I religiously used computer glasses to relax the eyes). It’s only rediscovering AF recently and using it extensively that I’ve been able to gain in my myopia.

It really feels like you might not be engaging in AF nearly as much as you are hoping you are, and I hope that’s the case, because then you have a good chance of accelerating your improvement. Let us know how it goes!

BTW, how does one find that instrument that measures eye length?

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It’s interesting to read how this situation looks through someone else’s eyes. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the same for me, so I’m not sure how to apply this to myself.

The thing with active focus[ing] is that I only consciously noticed an effect like that in spring 2018, after starting my vision improvement, then using Todd Becker’s print pushing. I remember looking at images on my screen from a higher distance and being able to push the focus distance.

But it seems in the months after that, I depleted this extra capacity. I now see barely any difference between trying my hardest or trying just a little to focus into the distance. This coincided with improvement as measured by the optometrist and autorefractor, so I suspect that my visual routines are now mostly on autofocus, leaving active components at most as a tiny, residual effect.

There are plenty of effects that now dwarf my ability to will things into focus. Light, tear fluid, angle of rays vs plane of glasses, hourly changes that I suspect to be from the choroid, and more. With that much background noise, I can’t say with any confidence that I’m using Active Focus. Blinking has such a huge random effect from tear fluid that it’s super hard to distinguish if the eye is doing anything else on top. So my distance vision training simply involves focusing as well as I can into the distance, without the ability to distinguish whether that is what others call Active Focus.

In other words: while it could be that I don’t “get” AF, it seems more likely that it has become automatic.

Depends… if you want to measure occasionally, maybe seek out a friendly eye doctor and try to strike a deal. The standard device is the Zeiss IOL Master, which is used to plan cataract surgeries with intraocular lenses (hence IOL). If you actually go forward on AL measurements, please keep me posted about it!

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Or you have ciliary spasm. Because of the former aligned with the measured improvement I don’t think that’s the case, but the “symptoms” of ciliary spasm are just like this.

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Unfortunately no, not human studies. =( I was referring to the one done on chicks, but after taking a second look at it, it was blue light that reversed the myopia and reduced the axial length. ( I was confusing 500 lux from a different study preventing myopia, not reversing) It does seem to be due to the increase in the choroid thickness in this study (Wallace et al, 2013) . Oh! I wonder if this is due to blue light scattering in front of the retina in comparison to other light colors which is a stimulus for shortening (and taps into Hoofjr 's theory about blue light being difficult to see)? What do you think? I did see the study that showed outdoor time increases choroid too, but it didn’t mention anything about axial length (Read et al, 2018). But that is correlated. When you measure, it’s to the retinal pigment epithelium right? Wouldn’t a thicker choroid layer push the epithelium forward closer to the cornea creating a decrease in axial length?

I’m so glad to hear you have a meter! As for lux recordings, I plan to write down the average lux recordings for the hour I spend outside doing active focus. It varies a bit, but there’s a big difference between a day when it’s gray and snowing vs somewhat cloudy but with some sun almost poking through. It would be really interesting to see how much the sun actually affects axial length on such a frequent recording rather than seasonal difference.

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It would be weird if I absolutely always had ciliary spasm. There are no exceptions to my low extra Active Focus capacity. I sometimes see a little bit better after about an hour of outdoor distance vision, but this effect comes slowly, linearly, and changes nothing about the range of focus, suggesting the choroid more than the ciliary.

I don’t have a link at hand, but someone experimentally demonstrated on chicks that the eye responds to the relative contrasts of colors. IIRC they painted drums with colored, simulated defocus patterns and put chicks inside, and depending on the relative contrasts of the colors, the chick eyes responded with significantly different refractions and lengths.

Here is a rhesus monkey experiment with narrow-band red light that induced hyperopia. Here is another one that used filters, same effect. Maybe relevant for us; if we were to light a room entirely with red lasers or something, maybe we’d become less myopic from indoor vision? :laughing:

However, it doesn’t look like this is the only mechanism to shape changes of the eye, so some caution is in order about trying to use it to explain every effect. One candidate for the remaining mechanism is spherical aberration interacting with spherical error, which could be related to the MyFUN contrast polarity paper.

Unfortunately, my AL response is slow and noisy, so I cannot resolve weekly changes with my current methods, let alone daily changes. I also wouldn’t know how to encode partial distance vision, for example when near a window, also in a car or train.

It currently takes me about 1–2 months to be able to make any statement of the nature “I did x, and observed a change y in my AL records,” and even that is still questionable. The rates of shortening I observe are slow, unsteady, and may involve a lag, making it very hard to decipher cause and effect.

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Strange. For me, when AF happens, especially up close, there is a REAL difference - I got clarity with double vision, while without it, I just have general blur. So the difference is obvious. Maybe you don’t have astigmatism and the difference is less obvious for this reason.

this sounds realistic and what one would expect with such a slowly-changing biological mechanism. I’d be surprised if anyone claimed otherwise, other than of course, short-term immediate changes, like good sleep = better vision on the next day.

All this shows is that we have to continue to take a lot of the EM method on faith and on the basis of others’ testimonials

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BTW does anyone notice differences between their dominant and non-dominant eyes in AF-ing? I notice that my dominant eye is always quicker to start working with AF and the non-dominant eye takes longer to relieve ciliary spasm as well - I guess it makes sense as the brain uses it less and therefore it receives less stimulus from distance vision

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I think it’s true not just in your case but generally. Yesterday there was a bright sunny day here, I had 5-6 hours undisturbed distance vision and I’m pretty sure that today my vision is worse than it was last week. Of course I know that the distance vision was beneficial in the long run, but it does not work like that you do something good and then your vision improve.
In another thread @jakey suggested that after you settle into the right habits you cannot really do anything to change the speed of the process (which I presume depends on either genetics and/or some other general slowly changable or invariable circumstances).

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I think the whole area of AF is the biggest unknown as the End Myopia materials claim that it is not only important, but is critical for this whole method to work, but I’m not sure everyone experiences it the same way and I haven’t seen really any good theories about how it is actually physically working.

As an example for me, my diopters to blur is around -5.0 or worse, with a little astigmatism. The world is very blurry for me without my glasses on. But if I go stand far 20+ feet away from a digital clock (red or green numbers), with the letters an inch tall, and look without my glasses on, if I concentrate hard I can bring the letters into clear focus. I’ve never measured the exact distance involved but I think I am resolving what should require at least 20/50 vision in order to resolve. But it is clearly not 20/50 vision, as the clear numbers are surrounded by many copies of the same numbers in a double vision effect, and high contrast is required in order to do this, along with very active concentration. It feels like my eyes are kind of stretching somehow to do this.

Is this active focus? Based on the EM materials I think so. But I really don’t understand how it works. The concentration produces tear film, but I don’t think tear film can account for more than a tiny fraction of -5.0d. The double vision seems to indicate that perhaps part of the retina is receiving the rays in proper focus and the brain is just selecting for those? But is this a good practice and is it useful to produce actual shortening? I don’t know.

I’m curious if you can do the same thing with a digital clock? I would think that this would be easier with a lower prescription.

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If there is blur and then less blur then it’s active focus. By the way what you found is discussed in this topic:

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Yeah, understandable. I was thinking about the discussion with optometrists in an older reddit thread trying to claim your changes were within daily ranges or something like that. With that in mind, I was trying to think of a way to account for some of that fluctuation (although I do realize there are lots of variables we’re talking about here-hydration being another one). When I make an appointment with my ophthalmologist for a checkup on my retina, I’m going to see if I can gain access to their axial length machine or if he’ll be wanting to work with me on this experiment. Currently I’m trying to find a different lux meter that has data logging and averaging so that I will know the daily average light exposure. I know they exist, I just don’t know where, hah.

I’m assuming you’re more interested in the fact that you can do this as a high myope? I have personally been able to do this as well as others and it’s a really interesting phenomenon (I’m also around -5 where things I shouldn’t be able to read become legible). I’m interested if this active focus without glasses as a high myope helps improve vision faster than regular active focus alone with a low blur clearance. I have a hunch it does but we will see.

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As a low myope, I can confirm. I guess the eye has to change some muscular condition inside it (like stretching?) to give the clear vision.
Naturally, my eyes do this when I’m in motion, but recently I’ve been able to do while watching TV and I can hold it for as long as I want. It probably helps.
Before starting EM, I noticed even with glasses, the way you blink affects like, the axis where the image is focused.
Like, there’s very blurry mode, where it looks like everything is made of circular blurry pixels, then you can sort of align it so that everything looks like it’s made of rectangles and is sharper. I don’t know how to explain this. It’s clarity but it looks very different from wearing glasses. Or I’m just going crazy…

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same as my experience

Yes, I’m interested in the fact that I can do this at -5, and am wondering what is the biological reason that this is possible, and how much is in the eye and how much is in the brain’s processing.

I’m also trying to think of reasons why some people apparently can reduce faster than others. @Varakari at least thinks he is on the slow side (although I think we would need more people to measure with your dedication to really confirm that!) and you have people like @Laurens who have reduced very quickly, and the big question is if this is simply biology or is there something we can do differently to affect the rate?

I usually work around the edge of blur and, like @Varakari feel like I am “active focusing” more or less automatically. But I sometimes second guess if that is actually “active focus” like other people are using it? As if I go way back from the edge of blur, like a couple of diopters, I can willfully bring things into this weird focus state as I described by the digital clocks, where the text is clear but there are double images around. I can only do this outside on sunny days, or inside if there is a high amount of contrast, and it is work to hold it for long periods of time. Are the people progressing quickly practicing like that more often?

So I wonder: Is that the active focus I should be going for or is focusing near the edge of blur enough? Or is this focusing way past the normal edge of blur simply your visual cortex playing with artifacts?

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for me, practicing AF for a few months now, only what you describe with the extreme extra clarity with double vision, is AF> otherwise I am also not sure if I am AFing when I don’t see like this, so I assume I am not.

In fact, I can only seem to get AF working when I have a lot of blur, otherwise I just don’t get enough stimulus (probably blur adapted). And then of course when you do that in a very blurry situation it is absolutely clear when AF kicks in.

This is probably why my progress, if any, is also slow so far as I can only get AF working the times I am outside looking far at very blurry things, or when I am reading without glasses looking at a very blurry book - during work I cannot do this as then I cannot work (I’d need to be working with too much blur to trigger AF and then I cannot work and AF at the same time). Not sure if improvement is even possible like this, let’s see :-\

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Update at the One Year Threshold

I have finished the last measurements before the anniversary of the beginning of my tight AL time-series. Here is the full year to date, AL only, with matching scales:

Remember: the left eye is more myopic. I suspect that a difference in corneal power creates this discepancy. So while the eyes have gotten closer in AL in the year shown, they have drifted apart in refraction.

Some observations:

  • The heavy winter elongation that happened around a year ago is not visible yet this time around. Grounds for cautious optimism? We’ll see soon.
  • Plotting with matching axes shows intuitively how my left eye responds more slowly, making it my constant bottleneck.
  • If I can continue to avoid significant elongation, this log will display a small but significant YoY shortening very soon.

Some thoughts:

  • It looks like something went wrong around January and June-July. Near strain from computer use with insufficient breaks is my primary suspect.
  • During times of improvement, I don’t appear to be limited by total outdoor time. Or, at least, I don’t see an obvious relationship between my outdoor time throughout the year and the improvement speeds I observe in this log.
  • Why is my left eye so sluggish? In 2018, it looked like things were going the other way around, with my left eye improving faster than the right. Could it be that my distance glasses are giving too much blur, making it easier for the better, right eye to catch the stimulus signal and improve?

Now come the darkest days of the year, with the solstice and lowest solar power when accounting for typical climate. The next update will be crucial.


I’m not sure how I should quantify this, or what I should make of it even if I could. Between the brain’s ability to use deconvolution to turn contrast into sharpness with artifacts, and the eyes’ suspected ability to abuse the extraocular muscles to create temporary astigmatism, isn’t there enough room for an explanation?

On double vision, I still think it’s a deconvolution, produced from a source image on the retina that is still blurred. The brain just goes, hey, that image isn’t very useful, let’s process it into something slightly more useful. At least, I don’t know of any alternative explanation why double vision happens in the first place.

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These detailed update posts of yours always give me lots to think about.
At present it is the sluggishness of my own left eye that is making me think of possible explanations. I don’t wear glasses other than for driving, and this means my eyes have very different degrees of blur. (-5.5 and -2). As I read your post, I wondered if the brain is more ‘concerned’ about improving binnocular vision than monocular vision, and will ‘favour’ the stronger eye in its effort to adapt to blur and so improve. (Not very scientific, I agree :grinning:)
I have seen in the past 5 months, and am still seeing on a nearly weekly basis, my right eye improving rapidly, which gives me much better uncorrected visual acuity, regardless of my left eye improving very slowly. But it is improving, and I have no fear for the moment that it will only get worse with my right eye getting better so much faster. I don’t wear differentials either, but I use a ‘differential’ left lens to measure distance to blur on my screen, and this shows slow improvement. So for the screen, only my uncorrected right eye is doing the work. My question should actually be, why is my left eye improving at all?
For the right eye, AF has become automatic. I can sit at a 65 cm distance from my screen, and the text will drift in and out of legibility (not clarity) without any effort on my part - no blinking or staring (and no flashes :zap:). I wonder if there is a small ‘entrainment’ effect on my left eye.

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