Horse Riding insight on eyes

I think you still misunderstand me. When I talk about active focus without central focus I talk about a clear view, not diffuse gaze. When I’m now writing this comment, I noticed I’m hunching a bit forward and the text is a bit blurry. I reminded myself to push back the eyes and the text got clearer even though I moved the head back a bit instinctively. Same can be applied for Snellen. As I mentioned this experience resulted for me the most powerful AF, so the most clear view, even though I am not fixating on one point, I am able to discern more details.
So you can totally use this kind of active focus and check for small details like letters.

This is exactly what I meant. When you look at the chart, you use this soft / full view active focus automatically. That provides the best AF. Then you switch to central focus and cannot get any better.

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And I think you misunderstand me. When I look at my Snellen outside, it is only one thing in a fairly large visual field. I do have to ‘home in’ on the chart in some way. We are probably using the term central focus in different ways.

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If you “home in” you use central focus yes. The active focus I talk about does not require “home in”, but clears up the blur.

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Full circle. What the heck is active focus? It is beginning to sound like voodoo to me. :wink: Please save yourself the effort of trying to explain it to me once again. I have given up trying to understand it or describe it. I prefer to stick with the hormesis story - give the body pulsed and preferably irregular doses of challenge to the homeostasis and it will respond.

For me it feels like you want active focus to be a voodoo or mystical thing. And hence you don’t accept any clear and simple definition :slight_smile:

I have heard quite a few so-called clear and simple definitions - the trouble is that they hardly ever agree with each other. I have my own clear and simple definition - it is the visual cortex responding to a challenge to the homeostasis - but how it does so is pretty mysterious to me as I am not a neurobiologist specialised in vision.

Can we leave it there now? I promise never to post anything about active focus from now on. :zipper_mouth_face:

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There is no disagreement here.
You explained that you made a joke alluding to what people often mistake Active Focus to be, and it is clear in this joke because you say “it is almost…against”. Because of this common mistake, you prefer to call it focused attention, with an emphasis on attention rather than the focusing part.

Whether you call it active focus or call it focused attention, the key part is noticing how vision looks to you. Everyone (other than newbies) agrees on this.

Obviously as you say, we cannot escape the fact that majority of our clarity and focus because we cannot escape the physics and biology of our eyes. Where there was potential disagreement is that you said

What you say here, could be interpreted that you believe focused attention without central focus is not focused attention. In other words, it can be interpreted that you believe focused attention without central focus is a diffused gaze. Halmadavid’s saying though that a diffused gaze is not the same as a relaxed gaze. And that focused attention without central focus is the same as a relaxed gaze. Relaxed gaze is a diffused gaze + focused attention. Saying that a Relaxed gaze is without central focus is not saying there isn’t a central component to it, it’s saying we are maximizing and maintaining a holistic/panoramic perspective. You can still have focused attention, and the direction of that focused attention can be something in the center of your vision or something in the peripheral.

It is clear to me you already understand this when you talked about central focusing in our relaxed landscape vision.

What David says here can be interpreted that he believes landscape/soft/panoramic vision provides the best AF. It can also be interpreted that he believes focusing on the center does not have the potential to lead to better results. But what he calls central focus he means the focal/hard/zoomed-in visual mode. When he’s saying active focus does not require homing in. He’s talking about using landscape vision where you home in on the center while also not switching from landscape mode to focal/zoomed in mode. Now although David says that switching to focal/zoomed-in mode cannot get better results, we can imply that he does not actually believe that.

We’re all veteran here enough to recognize the truth in Ursa’s example that in a large visual field, zooming in a bit will provide better active focus. And it is clear to me that David recognizes that moving towards focal/zoomed-in mode would be beneficial for some people, and that maximizing landscape mode doesn’t help everyone. This is clear when he explains and uses Ursa as an example of someone who has made gains from emphasizing a more focal/zoomed-in mode of viewing things.

Anyways, you two, there is no disagreement here. Other than verbiage and syntax.

IMO, the clearest and simplest definition is describing Active Focus as noticing how your vision looks to you and looking at things through various perspective. That’s the explanation I’ve been running with in the discord, and instead of telling people to get distance vision and avoiding close-up vision, I’m telling them to get dynamic vision, such as through playing football/soccer, which will naturally force them to use their vision in a plethora of ways. Or if they’re on the lazier side do something like babysit kids cause you got to have your attention all over the place when you’re with them. Get creative.


That’s often the problem, isn’t it. I am sure David and I are experiencing the same phenomenon. :smile:

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First of all, I agree with what you’ve written and you interpreted my comments correctly. I would refer mostly to just one small part (in a not small comment :slight_smile: )

My personal experiences are the following:

  1. This relaxed gaze, or relaxed focus, which also provides good peripheral vision, makes my eyes feel more relaxed, also provides better AF. Better in the sense that it last longer, easier to activate and clears more blur compared to baseline (ie.: vision without any kind of AF)
  2. Forced focus or “tunnel vision focus” feels straining for my eyes, also many times strains other muscles (mostly face, neck and shoulder) too. While it may provide a short time of clear vision, if starting from baseline it usually does not reach the power of the relaxed focus, or even if it reaches it takes much more time to activate, and last for less time (most of the time only a few seconds). It also true that if I do this for too much, my eyes get tired and sometimes even the baseline vision deteriorate (which happened when I did the “best environment to measure” experiment: [link]).
  3. By default, especially in close-up vision I’m in this “tunnel vision focus”. Which sometimes mind-blowing, especially when on mobile phone. Practically I consciously see nothing else, just the screen. Obviously my peripheral still works, because if something unexpected happens then I notice it, but I can totally be on the phone on the passenger seat for a long time (eg.: 10-15 minutes) and when I stop doing it I notice that I have absolutely no memory of what happened outside of the screen during that time, even tough if I consciously check my full vision I can easily see outside of the car even when I’m looking at the phone.

By anecdotal evidences we also know that:

  1. Emmetropes can do AF in the sense that they look at something (eg.: text), cannot discern some detail (cannot read the text), then stare it for a bit, and then they can discern the detail (can read the text).
  2. There are some people who seemingly spend a lot of time in close-up (reading, phone, computer, etc.), but does not get myopic
  3. Something weird happens in low myopic range (less than -1.50 full correction), because even those starts to struggle who had an easy ride down to that.

Also as an additional notice, I won’t even try to theorize anything about how this whole things works on biological / mechanical level :slight_smile:

Based on the six point up above I think what we call “Active focus” actually two different process (I suspect it also has different mechanism on biological level too, but see above).

  1. The “forced focus”. This is how most people find active focus, especially those who can find it easily. It means you try to fixate your vision on some small detail and try to clear it up. It’s side-effect is tunnel vision (on conscious level). It cannot sustained for a long time and is straining (most likely for both the eye and the visual cortex). It can clear around 0.25 diopter. But note here that if we start from an Emmetrope eye this 0.25 diopter means pretty big blur distance change hence pretty big detail increase. If I want to name it, I would call this process as “sharpening”, because that’s what it does: sharpen the normal view a bit more. If I would want to give an analogy to movements, I would call it “sprinting”. I think Emmetrope people don’t use this all the time, only in bad conditions or when they really have to use it to sharpen their vision. Also note that I think it can activate even without the actual need of focusing if the body thinks it will need it soon, so in flight-or-fight stress mode.
  2. The “relaxed focus”. I suspect that people who can go down to Emmetropia with Endmyopia finds it somehow. Though they may not conscious about it. I also suspect this is the process which is totally inhibited by full correction glasses, and ultimately results in that people fall out of the habit of doing it. This process can clear up a large amount of blur, 1-1.5 diopter. It is also a neutral process for the eye and the visual cortex. I could even say that this is the normal behavior. I think the “relaxed focus” is a good name for it, but other people describe it as “passive focus”. If I would want to give an analogy to movements, I would call it “walking” or “hiking”. As the name implies a relaxed state promotes this mode. Also (obviously) I think the method described in the opening videos triggers this kind of AF.

I think both counts as active focus, and both leads to improvement in the Endmyopia process. But there is a big difference: I think you cannot go farther than -1.50 - -1.00 diopter without the second. I think because actually the Emmetrope eye is around that level. And you can actually see 20/20 only because you activate this mechanism (see I think that here). The current Endmyopia method does not really force you to find the second type of active focus until you reach low myopia stage (though promotes it with some activities, see later), so most people will hit a wall there, because what they’ve did before won’t work anymore (we can easily judge if I’m right on this if we will have axial length measurements for people progressing through low myopic ranges).

I also think that “peripheral awareness” and “tunnel vision” is linked to these two type of AF in both way. While obviously the “forced focus” promotes tunnel vision, and “relaxed focus” promotes peripheral awareness it’s true the other way around: every condition and environment which promotes peripheral awareness promotes “relaxed focus”. And every condition and environment which promotes tunnel vision promotes “forced focus”. Which could explain a lot of “mystical” or “unexplainable” part of Endmyopia. Obviously any kind of close-up promotes tunnel vision, because you need only a small part of your field of vision. The other way around most distance vision activity promotes peripheral awareness, because even if you don’t need to track object in your peripheral the body automatically has heightened senses to peripheral to track dangers. If you have no lights, just watching a screen in dark then it obviously promotes tunnel vision, because even if you would want to, you don’t see anything else than just a screen. And so on.

This two kind of active focus are not exclusives, they can work at the same time. The problem comes for myopic people. Because the myopic visual system is injured in some sense (I’m still talking in analogies, not actual injuries). It’s like when a person with an injured leg tries to move from one place to another. A healthy person can decide if they want to sprint up to a hill or hike up a hill. They will be a bit tired after the first, but at worst just rest a bit and are fine. If you try to sprint up a hill with injured legs… in best case you strain your other leg or some muscle which you instinctively overuse to help the injured leg. In worst case you injure your leg even more. Obviously after that you won’t be able to walk normally until a long-long rest.

I think the same thing happens when myopic people try to do this “forced focus”, or when they do it for a long time. With the strain they don’t just make forced focus impossible, they also make relaxed focus impossible.

So to get back the initial quote:

Now although David says that switching to focal/zoomed-in mode cannot get better results, we can imply that he does not actually believe that.

In some sense I do believe that. I said that using the “central focus” or “forced focus” or “tunnel-vision focus” usually leads to less powerful AF, because myopic visual system is “injured” and when you try to force this sharpening it will not just won’t be able to do it correctly, it will also inhibited other type of AF, and the ultimate result will be worse than simply doing the “relaxed focus”. Obviously Emmetrope people can do both at once in which case obviously it will gives superior vision. And to some extent myopic people can do both at once, but it varies a lot on what extent and if they can do that at all.

So in summary:

  • There are two types of active focus: “forced focus” and “relaxed focus”
  • Both are heavily (but not rigidly) linked to two type of vision mode: “tunnel-vision” and “full field of view” mode
  • For emmetropes the “full field of view” is used for most of the time, even for close-up. This won’t strain the eye (won’t cause “ciliary spasm” in Endmyopia terminology), so don’t lead to myopic state.
  • For myopes the “tunnel-vision” mode is the default even for distance activities. Endmyopia methods ultimately (although not directly) promotes the “relaxed focus” mode, which gives the correct stimulus for the visual system to improve. I suspect that improvements still possible with “forced focus” AF, because the stimulus really needed is just “blurry -> less blurry” with “showing” the correct direction of the change for “less blurry”. But because this “forced focus” is straining you cannot do this as much as the “relaxed focus” hence slower improvements or even deterioration if you overdo it. Also without being able to do “full field of view” mode habitually close-up always will be straining and works against the process.

Edit: this comment got absurdly long, and I’ve rewritten it multiple times. As I’ve re-read it for the last time it seemed to be fine, but let me know if I’ve left any inconsistencies in it and I will try to clear it up.


Thanks. :no_mouth:
Sorry David, but I just couldn’t resist this. I hope you don’t conflate disagreement with dislike. :grin:

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It’s an excellent write-up. Calling them emmetropes feels a bit weird to me on first glance, and I’m too lazy to give it a second thought. But I understand the overall structure and the analogy you are making between the different ways a myope vs emmetrope interact with vision exploration. I agree with it.

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Some additional notes:

  • it also means that not all distance activity is equal. I still think it’s practically impossible to worsen myopia with distance vision, but activities which are stressful and promotes tunnel-vision may be less beneficial. Eg.: watching for children at a noisy overcrowded playground vs. hang gliding (assuming you are not freaked out by that :smiley: ) or playing team sports.
  • Tunnel vision on it’s own can make some activities less beneficial. For example walking / hiking: if you have the urge to look down constantly before your foot you are in tunnel vision mode. With full field vision you see enough of the ground to be able to walk, unless it’s a really difficult ground. Obviously high myopia adds additional problem here because obviously you only see the ground outside of the frame. Contact lens can be a help there, but those can introduce other kind of problems.
  • But it’s not necessarily just the activity which determines this, sometimes just by changing the mindset you can shift the balance to more full field vision. What @BiancaK wrote in the other topic is a really good example on this: NottNott Fixes His Eyesight From -5 (video log! reduced too quickly until Oct 2019)
  • Glasses by default tunnel-vision promoting. Both because the central part is the most clear and also because your visual cortex automatically tries to ignore the frame. It’s essentially means that you can do the most full field view promoting activity, but if you are habituated to tunnel-vision and especially if wearing thick frame glasses you may inclined to do tunnel-vision. So for some time you have to conscious about full field vision, until your habits shifts (I’m working on that currently :slight_smile:).

Agree. I think keeping an eye on one’s own children in a crowded playground can be dangerous, as with @Pixiemom breaking a toe in such a situation. But so, of course, can hang-gliding where one risks breaking more than a toe. I don’t think I run as much of a risk occasionally using my ‘sniper’ vision to focus on cows at a distance of about 2 km. I wonder how good a sniper one would have to be to actually hit a cow at that distance. :wink:

My first step on the EM journey. Change in mindset -> intention -> attention (at all focal distances).

Not applicable in my situation and has not been for many years.

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Never let slip an opportunity to learn something new. So I looked a little deeper into the importance of soft eyes in horse-riding. It would seem that the main purpose is not to spook the horse by the tension that one creates by the over-focussing that comes from stress. The horse picks up on this tension. At the same time, this tension in your body is not giving you any confidence on the horse’s back either. There are some interesting bits about conveying intention to the horse. Good peripheral vision is important for the horse and for the rider. For those inclined to bad posture at the screen, this could be a good exercise. .

p.s. It seems that we can leave the job of peripheral vision mainly to the horse, as they have a range of vision of about 350 degrees. :astonished:

p.p.s. It seems about a third of domestic horses are short-sighted, but most wild horses are far-sighted. The things one finds down rabbit holes!

p.p.p.s. It’s lucky our office chairs cannot get frisky on us. :crazy_face:


Not surprised, I think it’s the same effect as prisoners have. Also in natural environment horses have absolutely no need for close-up vision. Or even an opportunity to use close-up vision.


I wasn’t that surprised either - it’s lucky that horses don’t need to be able to read road signs. :smile: But we cannot say of them that their myopia was lens-induced. :nerd_face:

Except when they are grazing, when it might come in useful.

Not really, they have a blind spot right before their mouth:

It seems we have read the same article - I have seen this… Maybe they use their sense of smell, and so avoid the proverbial Hungarian turd lying low in the grass. :wink:

Also if I’m right on that this “full field vision” and “relaxed focus” are the main driver of the improvements (and that this chronic tunnel vision is the main driver of myopia) that could unify the different “natural” eye improvement methods:

  • Endmyopia: advise activities which promotes full field vision (go outside, find hobbies, don’t stare screens), while tries to minimize the effects of tunnel vision (differentials: you are still in tunnel vision most likely, but at least don’t need that much accommodation). AF promotes full field vision through relaxed focus, even though it can be done with forced focus too. But usually it’s told that AF should not be a straining experience or cause strain, which only possible in the long run if you use the relaxed focus. The only “problem” is the “ciliary spasm” terminology, which based on this theory is an effect, not a cause. Most likely tunnel vision keeps the ciliary muscle tight, maybe because tightening the ciliary is a way to stabilize vision (slightly related: which obviously needed if you try to focus on a far away object, especially if you plan to move too (so evolutionary setting, not sitting before the computer).
  • Bates: his main reasoning for why myopia happens is “straining to see”, regardless of it was close-up or not (he actually claimed that straining to see in the distance is the problem, i.e.: blackboard). Many exercises Bates advised are about finding relaxed focus and full field vision. The main problem here is the “ditch the glasses” (which is not possible for many in the modern world especially with higher than -2-3 diopter), and that he obviously had some simply bad idea (eg.: open eye sunning).
  • Mark and “peripheral awereness”: he ultimately talking about full field vision and relaxed focus, although tries to teach and introduce it through peripheral awareness, which is more like a “side effect” of relaxed focus. Though I still think it worth a try if someone struggles with finding AF (though the explanation of the video in the opening should be easier / better). The main problem here is that the method gives even less direction on what to do than Endmyopia. So it’s much more a hit-and-miss, and it also requires a lot of commitment (Mark himself admitted that during his improvements his life was about vision improving which he could do because not having an office job).
  • Yee and Ortho C (still a horrible name, don’t confuse it with Ortho K): I must assume that somehow the special fitted plano contact lenses activates full field vision and/or inhibits tunnel vision, so the eye automatically switch modes. The main problem with this method is that it does not gives any advice on habit changes, so the participants will just use their old habit and reinforce the chronic vision again. Hence you need to go back every week to the practicioner.

In this theory Endmyopia is the most successful method only because it needs the less lifestyle change, especially in the beginning. No need to exercise, no need to navigate in blur, no need for extra tools. You can live your usual life, just switch your glasses a bit (note here that we are here in the forum are the “hardcore” part and/or who run into some problem with the DIY method. So we put much more energy into the process than what actually needed). Also it addresses the most problems (habits, how to deal with high myopia, etc.) which partly or entirely missing from the other methods.
Because all of these the success rate is simply much higher.
Of course the high success rate of the Endmyopia method stems from how Jake created this method: simply start doing / advising things which worked for people. Which obviously a great selection method for high success rate.

Edit: maybe I should create a separate topic for my musings and move my comments there :smiley:


I am no expert by any means, but I didn’t think Central Focus was akin to Sniper Stare, or just focussing in on a central point (hard eyes in this case). My impression was that it was infact more akin to “soft eyes” in this context - becoming more aware of your whole field of view and so realising how your peripheral vision is less clear than your central vision…

To be honest, the only thing I have ever read on central fixation was this from Reddit, soo… I could be well wrong.