Intro from a Jake-fan Low Myope & Some Brain Puzzles

Hi, I’m new in the forum (although I’ve read a whole bunch of forum threads) and this is my first post, so please excuse me if I break any established norms. My name is Chris, I’m 35 and I currently live in Oslo, Norway.

How I discovered Endmyopia (skip this part if it’s not interesting, it got a bit long)

I got curious about getting rid of my contacts in March this year and I threw away my contacts and glasses completely April 1st, following advice from at Bates method book. At that time I was wearing -1.75/-1.25 contacts on both eyes (occationally wore my -1.75/-1.5 glasses too), which I suspect was getting slightly undercorrected after too many bad habits this last Covid-19 year.

Initially when I stopped wearing lenses, I could really see and feel the improvement, almost from day to day. But after some weeks, it stopped. And it frustrated me, because there were so many Bates method stories on quick fixes. So I arranged a video conference with the Bates method teacher who wrote the book. Although she was very nice and had lots of knowledge, it really didn’t help much or teach me anything other than was in the book. So I started looking around for more information and luckily found endmyopia.org. I read up on all I could, listened to all the YouTube videoes and bought Le Rough Guide, which was awesome, and here I am. And I feel so much better now, knowing it will take time, and being liberated from all the weird things I had to do following the Bates method, which gave my serious paranoia.

(NOTE: To be fair to this particular Bates method person, she’s not about excercises and actually opposes them, and she’s not about eye vitamins etc. It’s all about relaxation techninques. And actually, after I understodd the Endmyopia method, in retrospect I can see that the Endmyopia techniques to some degree actually were present in her work too, it was just drowning in all the other stuff.)

Well, to not make this story way too long, I’m now down to my year 2012 glasses, which are -1.25/-1.00 and give me super sharp 20/15, almost 20/10 vision, so probably too strong. (In good lighting I can even see 20/15 with -0.75/-0.75 contacts). So definetly some improvement here.

What really made sense for me with Endmyopia was the “use distance vision” and “limit near work” ideas, and I do get the Actice Focus thing, which is almost more automatic focus to me, as some here in the forum describe it. But since I hate glasses and almost never wore them before, and I love the feeling of going without my contacts, I’ve (almost) not been wearing corrections since April. And I will probably contunue with it (except for when i really need it), unless I get some really convincing answers to my questions.

MY QUESTIONS
I’m quite methodical about this and would like to understand the underlying mechanisms of improvement. Hence there are a couple of things related to AF/stimuli that I don’t quite understand yet. Please forgive me if they are discussed in a forum or blog post, I just haven’t found it.

Stimuli
Stimuli is a key, no doubt. And as we know, hyperopic defocus is the stimuli for developing myopia and eyeball elongation. So what puzzles me then is why isn’t myopic defocus the key stimuli for myopia reversal and eyeball shortening? If one is an automated prosess, why isn’t the other? Why is a concious effort (AF) needed? (I understand that to get proper myopic defocus you need to use your distance vision anyways and not be staring at a screen all day).

Blur adaptation
Related to this, I find it difficult to understand the concept of blur adaptation too. The blur is just myopic defocus, which the brain should be able to recognize, as it knows that the light is focused in front of the retina. Furthermore, if the lens inside the eye has the ability to focus light correctly (if within it’s range to do so), why isn’t the visual cortex able to understand that severe myopic defocus need correction? I know that biology is slow, so it will probably take a lot of time if it’s seriously defocused. But my point is, why isn’t this defocus by itself proper stimuli?

I’m not disputing the fact that (1) it is stupid to go around everywhere not seeing, so it’s propbably better to wear some correction along the way, and (2) having a lot of myopic defocus doesn’t seem to increase the progress rate (which i feel my own experience shows too).

Infants and animals
But what comes first—the ability to know what you are looking at so that the brain (visual cortex) can correct it to its optimal apperance, or the correction of defocus so that the brain can learn and interpret what you are seeing? I’m thinking of infants, they need to learn to see before they understand what they see. They cannot “clear up” anything conciously, beacause they don’t know how it should look. Still, the brain corrects and adapts the eyes. And I’m also thinking of animals, they cannot clear up anything based on text or other conscious effort, still they can have good vision, and even regain good vision after lense-induced myopia, as shown in research.

Conclusion
So I guess, my fundamental question here is: Why is conscious effort needed to improve? Shouldn’t myopic defocus combined with adequate use of proper distance vision by itself be enough to reverse myopia?

I would really appriciate anyone who takes the time to reply to my post.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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How do you think the brain determines that? In some other wording: how the brain determines if an image is clear or not? If you think about those question you will realize how blur adaptation can happen.

You don’t need conscious clearing up. All you need is that the brain be able to see clear images and also blurry images. And also to connect the two in some way (eg. for infants who are usually hyperopic: too close is blurry, a bit farther less blurry, then elongation is needed).

It is not needed. The only things needed are regaining your ability to AF, and then it will be automatic given that you have a bit of blur challenge and you don’t strain your eye and don’t give more stimulus for the opposite direction.

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Thank you for a great answer! I guess I never lost AF and therefore didnt’t understand why there are so much confusion about it.

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You’re asking interesting questions. I don’t have the study handy, but I remember one study on accommodation and accommodative lag where they showed that some myopes can clear up blur when the researchers ask them to but they don’t always do it automatically or habitually.

If you’ll forgive the goofy analogy, there’s effort involved in walking up and down stairs and opening and closing doors especially if you’re carrying a bag of groceries. If you grew up in a fancy building with an automatic elevator and a delivery service and a chef who made all your meals, you might have a rough time if you moved somewhere where you had to carry your own groceries and cook for yourself. You’d be in even more trouble [read: screwed] if you got shipwrecked on a deserted island and had to hunt for your own food. Minus lenses are doing a lot of the “focusing work” for you by bringing distant objects “near”, so after years of wearing them the inborne focussing system gets weak or lazy or “rusty”.

From an evolutionary standpoint, blur adaptation was probably useful for cases where the caveman suffered an injury to his eye, so the brain does the best it can with whatever eyeball “hardware” it has to work with. The brain makes sense out of whatever images it can get, and if the signals it sends to the eye to focus can’t clear up the image, the brain just makes do with whatever image the eye produces.

As a low myope you might be able to get away with no glasses at all, but in general the collective experience here is that a tiny bit of under-correction works better. If you had spent a long time in bed and lost your ability to walk around normally without a wheelchair or crutches, you’d probably regain your abilities faster through a program of progressive “rehab” where you gradually increase the demands you put on yourself, than through a “sink or swim” approach where you just throw away your crutches and somebody tosses you out of the hospital and onto the street or into the jungle.

You don’t just jump out of your hospital bed and sign up to run a marathon, but you could work your way up to running a marathon if you first spent some time in the pool, putting more weight on your legs each week, slowly getting stronger, walking a little further every day.

As adults we still have neuroplasticity and can learn new tricks (or relearn things we forgot). Infants and young animals might be able to do things we can’t though. Little kids fall down on the playground or down the stairs and cry for a minute and then get up and start running around again like nothing happened. So the inborne emmetropization process in babies who are born hyperopic might not be the best analogy for what we do as “screen adapted” adults who are rehabbing our distance vision.

It takes a while to get through the process and you just need a little bit of stimulus to get things going in the right direction. It doesn’t seem to work better to do the “cold turkey” or “maximum undercorrection” thing. That’s like walking into the gym for the first time and trying to deadlift 500 pounds or clean-and-jerk 150 kg like the Olympic weightlifters do. You might be capable of doing that some day, but you don’t do yourself any favors by trying to do that on day one. If you do want to learn olympic weightlifting they start you out with a stick, and once you learn how to do everything with a stick (for months and months), you work your way up to the empty bar. It takes years to get to your maximum potential.

Anyway, bringing it back to your questions regarding stimuli and active focus, with a minimal amount of under-correction you’re within the range where the system can work properly (as an adult) and clear up the blur and get the emmetropization process working. With a large amount of undercorrection the image never comes into perfect focus so instead of “fine-tuning” the image and getting it right, the brain is just stuck with a large amount of blur, so it figures out how to make whatever sense it can out of the blurry image. In the animal models it leads to “form deprivation myopia”, which the animals can avoid if they get just a few minutes of clear vision each day.

As an adult human the “sweet spot” seems to be flirting with the edge of blur, so that you can clear it completely when you blink. You want to reinforce that “minimal blur, blink, focus, clear” sequence.

If you stick with EndMyopia methods and just follow the plan I’m pretty certain you’ll be back to excellent uncorrected distance vision in a couple of years.

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Again, a great answer that has given me more insight to the biology behind improvement, which I appreciate a lot.

(Sorry for my mixup of simuli/stimulus, I’m Norwegian, you know …)

For the time being, with summertime and extremely long days and short nights here, it feels so good not wearing lenses that I’ll continue with it just for that reason. But of course, when the cold weather and darkness set in, I guess I’ll change tactics. So I’ve set a deadline for myself and will start reintroducing lenses October 1st, unless I experience a miraculous cure …

(For the record, I’m still unrealistically hoping for that extreme improvement. I feel like it’s just there waiting for me, as I’m able to blink away all blur to the point that I see 20/10 without any myopic or astigmatic blur. But it doesn’t last very long, and I feel a tingling and tigtening sensation, and then it fades away, especially if a blink again. Note: I try not to do this a lot. But this hard blink required to see clearly is getting increasingly softer. Anyway, I know I probably have to do it the slow way like everybody else, but I’m sort of in a denial for a couple of months more.)

I guess from what I’ve learned over the past months and these experiences, my myopia is probably mostly a ciliary spasm and not an elongated eye. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Guess this was not so interesting to anyone other than me, sorry about that. Don’t bother replying.

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Makes me super happy to read this kind of detailed story … and being able to be some part of a community helping with shared 20/20 goals.

:heart:

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At this point, this must be one of the best threads ever. The questions are good, and the answers are as thought-provoking as the questions.

(And, as a bonus, we’re getting some of our clearest, most correct English from a Norwegian!)

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Here’s another tiny experience to end this Monday with.

My wifte thinks I’m crazy for doing this eye thing. But after a lot of convincing, she agreed to let me get her some computer contact lenses (aka. differentials). So I chopped them down from L:-3.75/-2.00 R:-3.25/-1.5 and ordered some L:2.75/-1.25 R:2.5/1.25. That is a full diopter sphere and 0.75 cylinder on her left eye! And guess what? When she put them on, she couldn’t notice any difference. So I tested each eye on a Schnellen—20/15 in quite dim lighting contitions both eyes … After wearing them for a week, she has never seen any blur, even at night time. Betting her eye strain and frequent headaches will go away. So now, new actual differentials are on their way.

Takeaway? Endmopia now has two fans in Oslo.

Good night!

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That is is a rather large drop to not notice any difference. Nice!

Seeing the Oslo reference here, reminded how i had planned to do a bit of a ‘world tour’ around endmyopia friends … before all this covid stuff happened. Bummer, hope you guys are doing well over there. :slight_smile:

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