Thought I would share what I’ve learned from eliminating my -2.50 diopters of Cyl
After several successful Sph reductions, I really wanted to eliminate my prescription complexity, so I had decided to completely eliminate my cylinder correction and added 0.5 diopters of Sph for spherical equivalent. Definitely not recommended for most people, but I had incredible success with Sph reductions so I was optimistic, and was willing to accept it failing.
At first, everything had directional blur regardless of distance and I couldn’t even read 20/50. Within 48 hours though, the blur was gone at short distances and I could read 20/50. Something interesting happened though while I was reading the snellen chart. For a fraction of a second I was able to make out 20/30, but I wasn’t able to replicate it. Even though I was unsure how astigmatism improvement would actually work, it made me confident that there was indeed a way to make it happen.
In the first week, I tried dong active focus the same way I would with Sph reductions, but I found it mostly ineffective. After a few more days, I came to figure out that active focus works fundamentally differently for astigmatism than it does for myopia. For myopia, you pick a fixed point in your blur horizon and try to bring it into focus. This works by relaxing the ciliary muscle and to an extent reducing the axial length of the eyeball, which eventually leads to permanent axial shortening if done habitually. Once you get the hang of it, it’s almost like a muscle you can use at will. But for astigmatism, active focus works differently since astigmatism is caused by a different physiological mechanism: distortions induced by a variety of factors such as unevenness in the shape of the cornea. I found that, instead of trying bring a single point into focus, you should try to bring as much of your field of vision as possible into focus at the same time. Imagine going on a walk in nature or walking into a room and taking an edge to snapshot of everything around you. Almost like if you had to meticulously recreate the scene from just a glance like Sherlock Holmes. Once you have an idea of how to activate this version of active focus by will, try replicating it at different radii of vision. For example, if you’re on your computer, try to bring the entire desktop into focus rather than just the words your looking at, but not necessarily whatever’s behind your computer. Or if you’re reading text from far away, read it line by line rather than word by word.
The exact mechanism behind astigmatism is unclear, but I believe that it is certainly possible to improve it. It’s an understudied topic, but there’s evidence that the eye adapts to astigmatism even through changes in the choroid (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425733/).
After a month and a half, I have been able to read 20/30 and occasionally 20/20, a dramatic improvement from being barely able to read 20/50. YMMV, since I’m fairly young while doing this, but there’s reason to be optimistic about astigmatism improvement.