Here is a Meowsome guide for you low myopes!
Whether you’re just starting your journey with a low level of myopia or have reached this point after improving, here’s a guide with frequently asked questions and some tips and tricks for that last (and a little tricky) part of the journey back to 20/20 vision.
If, by chance, you came across this post just right after having been “diagnosed” as low myopic for the first time, this article explains what to do next.
At first - a little reminder
No matter what your myopia level is, the same basic principles apply to improve your vision: having a little blur to clear up by using a slightly under-correcting prescription (aka normalized and if necessary differentials glasses, for distance and close-up). The clearing up is mainly achieved through practicing Active Focus (AF). See the start your improvement post and the active focus guide for more details.
What is different with low myopia?
First of all, we can define low myopia as a prescription of -3D or less. However, things especially start to change from -2D downwards (no need for glasses up close) and even more when you get to around -1.5D and below.
You’ll start noticing that there is much less blur (to none at all) in the close-up range. You will probably start to experience double vision (DV) or misalignment now, which might be a new thing. The way you were utilizing Active Focus usually doesn’t work to solve DV. See this post on how to clear double/misaligned vision.
Being in low myopia territory, the distance to the edge of blur (= your cm measurements) is greater. Therefore, it is harder to find stimulus (myopic defocus) in the close-up range and you have an increased risk of eye strain working up close.
Do not worry though, this should not be a problem if you build and keep the good habits!
That tricky last diopter
There is another very important thing to keep in mind: The last diopter is a grind and a real challenge.
It just is. You need to know: It can play games with your mind and emotions. You might experience more “ups and downs” in your visual acuity. It’ll test your patience and very often even your motivation. It takes longer to improve than all those previous diopters. You might be tempted by earlier reductions and stop wearing glasses altogether before you’re actually there. You may doubt if you’ll ever reach 20/20 vision because it’s so much harder to quantify improvement.
Reconcile yourself with the fact that this is just the way it is and that improvements are happening beneath the surface. Try to stay relaxed. Be ready to increase diopters if needed. This is not a step back, this is a sign of you being smart! It’s providing a very important clarity reference for your visual cortex. Sometimes you need to remind your eyes what they should be aiming for. This is something good! You’ll get there!
Why not just stop at the low myopia range?
Okay, being at low myopia, you are not very dependent on glasses anymore and you could quite easily live with some residual blur. However, if you started in the medium to high diopter range and made some noticeable improvement already, it would be too bad to stop because you’re so close to 20/20 vision. Consider that ignoring low myopia may cause posture problems and social anxiety.
Jake tells us from his own experience with low myopia, about adapting the habits and why it is worth to keep at it.
When can I stop wearing glasses?
Have a look here for a detailed answer.
Specific scenario: low myope and never worn glasses
This video explains nicely how to deal with this situation:
How to manage close-up strain as a low myope?
As described above, a greater distance to the edge of blur means an increased risk of eye strain. Simply build or keep good eyesight habits to prevent this:
- Try to stay at the edge of blur. Keep your phone at arm’s length, work on the computer instead of a smartphone and use a bigger screen so you can work more far away from it.
- Limit close-up time as much as possible. There are some useful strategies like listening to videos instead of watching them. Consider the same for the books which are also available in audio books. Go find exciting outdoor activities, anything to challenge your eyesight!
- Apply the 20/20/20 rule when doing close-up work. This rule states taking a break from your close-up work every 20 minutes by looking at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Check regularly if you’re not in ciliary muscle spasm:
- But above all else: get enough distance vision (preferably outside) during the rest of the time.
- If push comes to shove, there may be a reason to use plus lenses. Be careful about plus lenses though, they need to fit in a very well thought out plan. See the detailed section below.
Different focal planes between normalized and no glasses for close-up, is it a problem?
If your myopia level allows you to work up-close without glasses, then it is usually not a problem to have normalized with a diopter gap between the left and right eye. The “natural” focal plane is always a good choice (unless of course there is a really big diopter gap, in that case you might have to consider some differentials for close-up like discussed in this thread in the forum).
To avoid an uncomfortable feeling when putting on or removing your glasses, you should think about equalizing when you get to around -1.5D at the latest. That way, you can finally use the same diopters for both eyes. More on that here:
Without going into too much details about this subject (which would require a complete separate entry), be aware that this process also needs time. You have to be progressive and it might take longer as opposed to ordinary bifocal reductions. N.b.: if you are starting as a low myope, take the time to get familiar with Active Focus and the process of reduction before starting to equalize.
My astigmatism/cyl is higher than my myopia/sph, what should I do?
Try to avoid too much changes for your visual cortex and your focal plane when you take your glasses on or off. It is a good idea to first reduce your prescription complexity (astigmatism), before going too far in low myopia territory. Specifically for those who start out with low myopia and high astigmatism, have a look at this article.
What about plus lenses?
At some point there will be no blur left in close-up. You might be tempted to use plus lenses (reading glasses, used primarily for presbyopia) to create some blur challenge and avoid ciliary spasm. This is possible, but proceed with caution. Jake doesn’t recommend plus lenses for all low myopes. It might help only if you aren’t improving anymore for many months, even though you are having enough distance stimulus (do you really?). Use plus glasses only for a short period of your close-up time and only if you are getting enough outdoor distance vision.
See the video on that right here.
What’s the risk? The use of plus lenses for many hours up-close can lead to odd and persistent side effects, like severe double vision/ghosting. So be careful if you’re giving it a try and don’t forget that there is no short-cut for recovering your eyesight.
Night vision training?
Everybody becomes slightly myopic at night, even those with perfect vision. See the explanation in this video:
Depending on the level of your myopia, you will perhaps need to go back to your previous normalized. If you don’t need glasses during the day, then just wear your normalized in the night/low light conditions.
Also, better night vision comes with better vision in general. Night vision is one of the final pieces in the improvement process (just the opposite of when you start to have myopia, you notice it at first in darker environment). It also seems that specific night vision training is not necessary/desirable and could strain your eyes.
However, there is an interesting “exercise” for low myopes - who are very competent at AF - to help the brain to deal with less contrast: the digital clock tip. Just don’t overdo it to the point where you would strain your eyes.
As a low myope, you are very likely to experience clear flashes. This is a moment where everything is suddenly crystal clear. It is a sign that you (your visual cortex) achieved fusion. It is a good sign, try to hold the clear image as long as you can (but don’t strain!) Don’t worry if it disappears quickly. Trying to hold onto clear vision signals tells your brain that this is the kind of vision you are looking for. Blink and try to do it again (don’t worry if it doesn’t work the second time, keep at it or try again later). As you’re improving, it will happen regularly and you will be able to hold the clear image increasingly longer.
Some background: clear flashes explained.
Beyond 20/20 acuity?
Can you get to even better vision than the common 20/20 goal? Check this out: https://endmyopia.org/20x-2020-is-just-the-beginning/
There was a nice discussion about this subject on this forum.
- Make a habit (or a game) to always try to clear up any blur left and fuse the DV/misalignment.
- Even if you have very low myopia, don’t forget to wear your glasses from time to time (at least at night/in dim light), so that your brain keeps expecting clarity in all situations.
- Now that you can go more and more glasses free, pay some extra attention to your peripheral vision. It is an important and essential part of natural eyesight (and frequently forgotten by people wearing glasses).
- For the very low myopes (-1D and below), you can add some more progressively challenge, like clearing blur/DV in dim light (also possible to use sunglasses for this purpose), at sunset or fusing neon/led light at night, etc.
- Begin your day with some AF before doing any close-up work. Do the same before going to bed.
- You will have to show some patience until you see some improvement. It can take more time between each reduction than the usual 3-4 months, because the gap in cm between the diopter in the lower range is really huge. For example, between -1D and -0.75D there is a 33 cm gap, but between -0.75D and -0.5D it is 67 cm! Be sure to reach really good clarity (and appreciate it) before moving down. Aim for the long term!
- For the reason explained above, cm measurements can be less useful. It is not on this level that you see your improvement first. It’s easier to see the difference on a Snellen chart and/or with a landmark.
Other interesting Le Meow discussions or member’s video about low myopia:
Last diopter tips; Is there no win-win way?; Radan’s improvement video; Matt’s keys to long term improvement and january 2019 update videos.
Good luck in getting rid of this last amount of myopia and don’t give up, you will get there, even if it takes some (more) time
Special thanks to the staff team for checking and improving this guide, and of course to our bearded guru Jake for making that much information about improving eyesight freely available.