Different types of AF?

I get the impression the more I read other people’s experiences the less I’m sure about what’s AF and how it’s supposed to feel like. It seems like people’s experiences and descriptions of it vary a lot and in the end I’m not even sure we’re all talking about the same thing? Maybe there are different types of AF? So I wanted to ask those if you who have mastered it a few questions.

The thing is, recently I had gotten the impression I had finally managed to do AF and I was so happy, but I’m not sure anymore. I was in a park in broad daylight, and I tried to clear a TINY amount of blur off a panel with historical explanations. It seemed to work. It didn’t feel automatic, relaxed and/or passive, as some people have described here, but rather I felt a slight tension in my face (my eye? It was just the right one, which is my weaker eye) and my body in general, as if I was trying to “compress” my whole body into myself. It’s a difficult thing to explain. I definitely wasn’t squinting, in any case. I also felt like, in a way, I was pulling the text to the left corner of my eye. In any case the amount of blur was so small I’m not even that sure I was clearing something and maybe I was fooling myself… Is it dramatic and clearly noticeable?

As for the effort required to do AF, the way some people talk about it, it seems like something your eyes do by themselves just by RELAXING, without any conscious, specific effort on your part. But if I relax my eyes they rather go even blurrier… So, is AF a passive thing that happens without your control or something you do turn on at will?

Another thing I don’t understand is the amount of “clearable” blur or its distance from you when you master AF. If I understand it correctly, you can only clear small amounts of blur. In order for the blur to be small, you cannot be too far from the letters you’re clearing (I’m a low myopic so my limit would be about a bit further than my arm’s length more or less), so in theory this wouldn’t allow you to have sudden 20/20 distance vision, right? But I read about people here clearing trees in the horizon and such… Besides, there’s also this mantra which is constantly mentioned here and in EM that you need to use distance vision to improve instant vision. Does that mean there’s some sort of long distance AF, or maybe they just mean doing AF for distant things with your normalized lenses on?

Another question: some people seem to describe it as a slow process, yet for others it seems to happen in an instant and upon command. I have had the experience of staring at a slightly blurry word for a LONG time and eventually it seems to get a bit less blurry. But it’s a extremely slow thing and something that doesn’t seem feasible or useful when walking or doing anything that’s not sitting down and staring - and I’m not sure that’s AF anyway.

Lastly, I’ve read about people using light dots, such as those of a TV on standby mode, to practice AF and claiming it’s the easiest way to know for sure if you’re doing AF right, but I’ve read others suggesting it’s not the best option and better to just do it once in a while. Does that mean it’s harmful or something?

I think that’s all I can think of right now. Sorry for the long post and hope you can help me a bit!

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If you added up all the posts on AF you would end up with a book. so yours is a fairly good summary. I doubt whether anyone can help you more than this - I certainly can’t. The only consolation would be if you have made any improvement, which would mean that whatever version of AF you indulge in, it is working, even if you didn’t recognise it as such. :grinning:

So is it a given that there is only progress with AF?

No, this is not what I am trying to say. I think that AF can be so subtle that some people do not realise that it is happening even though they are progressing. The aim is progress, and if some people say that they are progressing without experiencing anything that they recognise as AF, we should believe that. Progress is the yardstick, and not the conscious experience of AF.
If people believe that it is impossible to make progress without consciously experiencing AF, this could turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Hi Hugo,
The AF can be difficult concept to understand as there are many descriptions. My understanding of AF is like this. I hold a hair like 15cm from my face and another one around 40cm. Without any effort I focus on the nearer the other one is blurry than no effort I look to the other hair which is now sharp and the nearer is blurry. My visual acuity is around 40cm so it is difficult for me to notice some major change when using AF for the longer distance.

Some people describe it as wow effect I have never had that and been around for more than a year and progressing. For me to really notice the AF the object has to be small /tiny. Perhaps it is that I do AF automatically and that is how it should be :slightly_smiling_face:

@Ursa the thing is, I don’t think I’ve managed to really do AF, or experience progress, yet :pensive: I started reading Jake’s emails in april, which I guess is not too much, specially at low myopia and going through the process of figuring things out, etc. Well, to be honest, I do have experienced specific “bouts” of better vision (I’m not talking about clear flashes, which I haven’t experienced yet), and they happened after spending weekends in the countryside with minimal phone use, and most recently, spending a week in my hometown at my parents’ house, which has a wonderful terace with a sea view and a huge horizon to let your eyes wander (unlike my flat’s window, which has a rather limited landscape :sweat_smile:). However, these “better vision periods” ended like a day after I came back to my city and resumed my normal life, so I don’t consider them “true” progress. I’m kind of becoming obsessed about finding AF, to be honest, since I feel like only then I’ll start improving for good…

@Humble thank you for the advice, I’m not too sure I understand your technique. Is the hair you place the furthest slightly beyond your blur range, or do place it where you still see it sharply? Is this like an exercice you do to prepare AF and afterwards you do it directly with things that are aroud you? I’d also be curious to know about your diopters and the progress you’ve made, if you want to share it :slightly_smiling_face:

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The only thing I can further add, from my experience, is that I can clear a little blur at all distances, including 65 km away. I think the word clear could be misleading. Obviously I can see things at that distance only a very little clearer, but clearer is what I aim for, and not perfectly clear. For me it has become just relaxing and waiting, and if it doesn’t happen on any particular attempt, tant pis.


If it doesn’t little clear in some attempt . We should leave it?

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This is the way I deal with it, as I know I will be able to do this on another occasion. But if you have not yet got to that level of confidence in being able to do so, you could give it a little more attention - but never to the point of strain. Some days my eyes respond better than on other days, as is true for most other physical systems. Some days my eyes can give me a very pleasant surprise, but I have learned not to expect them to do so every day.

You can put the second hair within your acuity. It should not be blurry. It is just for realizing that you can automatically focus from one object to another. With near objects it is mostly visible for me what is in focus and what is out of focus. No exercise for me, it should be automatic.

My diary log is here: Jenik Humble - journal from - 3.5

Wish you best :+1:

I understand. I personally think too much focus is placed on AF like it’s the Holy Grail of EM. I can’t wrap my head around something being so vital or important, yet so difficult to explain.

Some say it’s this amazing thing. Others may be doing it and not even be aware it’s happening.

Guess I could be in the “others” group, or I can’t AF at all. I’ll never know. Either way I’m progressing.

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And that is all that matters. :grinning:

I have touched on this in other posts, but I see the AF - increased clarity- as the response, and not the stimulus, which I consider to be the intention to see better, and the undivided attention one is giving to the visual object. The visual cortex is doing the work, and a small increase in clarity is the feedback. It’s nice to notice the feedback, but the more important part is the stimulus.

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That’s how I see it. If the stimulus and intention is there, that’s what should set you up for adaptation.

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