How to define what Active Focus is for newcomers

One of the perennial problems for people new to EM is whether they’ve found active focus or not, I could definitely relate to this when I started and it’s a really common post in discussions: ‘I’ve done x and y, is this active focus?’

There’s a lot of things that can be misconstrued as active focus, the layer of tear you sometimes get when you blink, squinting, staring at something for a long time and it clears up slightly etc. I think if there was a ‘standard’ set of symptoms that one can describe to someone else trying to figure out AF, that could help people ‘cross over to the other side’.

Some ideas for criteria if someone’s found active focus or not:

  1. Does it produce a dramatic improvement in your eyesight? (I’d say it’s up to a whole diopter)
  2. Can you do it at will, relatively quickly (under 5 seconds)
  3. Do you have no doubt at all that you’re doing active focus?

This might be skewed toward my experience of AF, but in theory this list should be fairly universal? I always had some kind of doubt before I found AF whether I was doing it correctly or not, but when I realised I was ‘improving my eyesight dramatically on command’ I had no doubt in my mind that was true AF.

Interested to hear if this list describes people who’ve found AF well enough. In theory if everyone got together and said ‘okay, this is the definition of active focus and you should keep trying if you can’t do this’ then it might make everything seem a bit more punchy and tangible to newcomers instead of ‘oooOOOooo, mysterious active focus who knows how it works!’ (joking of course :slight_smile: )


I think a good indicator is the light test in the dark room. I think if you can look at a tiny light source blur in a pitch dark room without any glasses correction and be able to “nudge” the size of it on command without making any weird faces or moving your eyelids, then you’ve found active focus (or are discovering it). I think if you can control it’s size, then you’re getting a good hold of what active focus feels like, in my opinion.