On my way to 20/20: From -3.75 SPH and -3.50 CYL

This is my journal; this is my journey.

My introduction briefly describes how I’ve gotten to this point (moderate myopia and moderate/high astigmatism).

This thread is where I’ll post updates (good and bad) regarding my eyesight.

February 1st, 2021
Received first Differentials (standard reduction of 1.50 SPH ONLY)*
OD | -1.75 | -3.25 | 165
OS | -2.00 | -3.50 | 175

I had actually ordered two pairs of differentials from Firmoo; one pair with standard SPH reduction and no change in CYL/AXIS, and another pair with a standard SPH reduction and complete CYL drop (no CYL correction). I had read that CYL correction was less noticeable in close-up so completely dropping it for first differentials would result in negligible blur. Of course, looking back I understand why this mostly applies to low-astigmatics (sigh). I had measured my astigmatism during the 7 day free guide (and thereafter) using the DIY tool which resulted in odd measurements.
I actually still have them so here are some sample numbers:

CYL: -0.25, -0.5, -0.75, -1.25
AXIS: 100, 130, 110, 115, 145, 165
CYL: -0.5, -1.25, -0.75, -1
AXIS: 160, 150, 100, 120, 110

Way off from my subscription (-3.25/165 | -3.5/175). I only ever measured this way (which ultimately served to be useless in my case) which led to the assumption that I was way overcorrected for CYL. Initially, I was thinking of ONLY getting a pair of diffs without CYL correction. I’m so glad I ordered another that kept the full CYL correction because those were the ones my eyeballs would actually tolerate. This, evidently, meant I did need some CYL correction.

As of now, I don’t bother measuring axis since the measurements from my subscription are the most accurate (I found this out when using stenopaeic slit). I do, however, measure CYL two ways. The first way being the spiral method, and the second being stenopaeic slit method. Both of these methods (with very similar measurements) have given me much more satisfying results, even though I get measurements around 1Dcyl less than my subscription.

So what’s up with the diffs?
I needed a new reduction! When I first wore the diffs with no cylinder correction, I was getting major blur challenge (a no-no for my visual cortex). So as soon as I put on the diffs with CYL, I was able to see much clearer. Too clear. I even moved past my ergonomically comfortable distance and it was still really clear; no blur challenge. I decided to wait the minimum 4 weeks before deciding to make any further reductions.

March 11, 2021
I received my
OD | -1.75 | -3.00 | 165
OS | -2.00 | -3.25 | 175
OD | -3.25 | -3.00 | 165
OS | -3.50 | -3.25 | 175

So I reduced 0.25 CYL for my first norms. I didn’t mess with SPH (as it would be too much of a change to tolerate at once) and I didn’t want to drop more than 0.25Dcyl. Though it is not advised (nor do I advise this to anyone) I decided to tackle with CYL first. Since it’s pretty high, I figured by the time I’ve got little to no CYL correction, my journey will be much smoother. Because this was a CYL change, I needed to do the same for my diffs. Nothing else was changed; no SPH change, no equalizing, etc.

Strangely enough, I see no difference with my norms. I can still see the 20/20 line on my snellen its just not crystal clear. The only side effect I noticed is that I feel a bit woozy but I’m sure it’ll go away soon. I was thinking that maybe I could have done a 0.50Dcyl reduction but I definitely would have had a harder time adjusting to it. As for my diffs, I received a pair with nose pads that make the lenses go a bit farther from my eyes than normal. Because of this, I’ve got a bit more noticeable blur challenge in close-up–nothing extreme though.

Another thing I noticed was that my eyes felt “tired” when I adjusted to my new norms and diffs. Mayhaps ciliary spasm was released? :memethinking:

Improvement charts
SPH Morning
SPH Night
No noticeable improvement in SPH.

CYL Morning (1)
CYL Night (1)
Even though it’s pretty wonky looking, there is a noticeable positive trend in CYL, which I really did not expect.

Firmoo Deal
50% OFF code: B4S9G2

Since I ordered from firmoo, they gave me a coupon code which apparently only works for new customers. (But hey if you really want a discount, making a new account isn’t that hard.) It’s basically the same price range as Zenni for anyone wondering.

Goals (big goals; small reductions :wink:)
As of now, all I’m planning is to get used to these norms and diffs. I know norm changes and diff changes usually aren’t done at the same time, but I figured my first diffs were too overcorrected for close-up use so a reduction was a good choice in my case. I’m planning for my next reduction–when I’m ready, of course–to be a monocular reduction (to equalize SPH) from both my diffs and norms; it sounds like a lot of change at once but this is just what seems right for me. Again, I don’t recommend anyone to follow my path, this is just the way I decided to lay things out.

Thanks for making it this far,

P.S. I realize this was a pretty lengthy read so in the future, I plan on keeping these updates short and to the point. Also, if you guys have any questions about my current state or my intro, feel free to ask. I’d love to hear (well, read) your input!

*Differentials(1) were reduced according to this “prescription”


Thank you for this.

It looks like 0.25 in a month. That’s quite noticeable. Maybe adjust the scale and the left access and it could look impressive.

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That’s debatable. The first few measurements I had done by measuring the distance until text was almost impossible to read; thereafter I started measuring the distance to noticeable blur but still legible. I really should have measured the same way the whole time in order to really tell if I was improving.

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This is a stronger case for noticeable improvement. Because you are basically more or less at the same distance but now it is noticeable

For consistency sakes I guess. At the same time, measurements having noticable blur but still legible allows you to be more accurate and consistent with your measurements moving on. And probably the measurements should actually be closer to being the closest you can get to having clear text but still noticable blur (although with your cylinder levels it may be very hard to do that).
I dont think it makes a meaningful difference if you choose the former or latter though.

I guess I did improve then.

Adding on to what you quoted me on. I’m not sure if I really did improve in SPH by 0.25. I think if I had been consistent in my measurements I would have been able to really see if I improved by more or by less.

Yep. Again, I think all that matters is consistency.

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I’m not sure if you understood my point so I’m going to repeat it just in case but with different words.
If there are only two different types of basepoints of blur you can use as a point of reference to see improvement: 1) Until text was almost impossible to read 2) Noticable blur but still legible.

Then using 1) as a reference point is less reliable than 2) . This is because if your point of reference is 1) there is a wider range of myopic blur and astigmatic blur combinations that recreate the same almost impossible to read reference point. For example, if there is no change in distance to 1), it could be A) no change in visual level B) Myopia improved but astigmatism worsened C) Astigmatism improved but myopia worsened. Albeit, A, B and C look different, in practice it is difficult to notice the difference. If instead your base point of reference is 2).then it will be easier to note improvements in myopic blur without the noise of astigmatic blur messing up with the visual signal, because as your reference of point approaches clear text the signal caused by myopic blur begins reducing, and when the myopic blur signal is 0 the signal caused by astigmatic blur begins reducing.

In addition to reducing the signal to noise ratio, an additional benefit of moving your point of reference closer to clear text is that your ability to detect differences in blur is greatly improved due to the 1/x mathematical nature of changes in clarity… (That is, your ability to notice whether your vision has changed each time you measure is improved.)

That said, in theory using 3) which is maximizing clarity of text but still having noticeable blur is the best point of reference. In practice. There is no meaning difference between 2) and 3).

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Thanks for the clarification!

I guess in my case it makes more sense to measure noticeable blur and not until text was impossible to read. I basically ignored the fact that the blur caused by my astigmatism would affect these measurements. I’m really jealous that people with low astigmatism don’t have to deal with much astigmatic blur. Even measuring with stenopaeic slit is difficult (it’s hard to tell when blur starts). I’ll have to research more DIY tools and methods for measuring SPH with high CYL. If it weren’t for your explanation, I probably would not have found any importance in measuring distance to noticeable blur for SPH.

Thanks again!

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Have you looked into spherical equivalent of cylinder? Dropping 3 Cyl, averaged across all axes is like dropping 1.5 Sphere. If you dropped a bunch of cylinder AND sphere, that would be way too underpowered. You might still be over prescribed for cylinder. The bad news is that the brain adapts to overcorrection for cylinder, so even if you’re over prescribed, it might be difficult to step back. Give any new cylinder adjustment at least two hours for vertigo and distortion to start to settle out, but it can take 6 months to fully adapt. (And that study was done on patients changing from uncorrected to the “correct” prescription, not stepping back down.)

If you have any side effects besides blur when reducing, back it up and take it slower. Part of why we don’t change normalized and diffs at once is to give the visual cortex some rest time wearing the other glasses while dealing with difficult changes.


Well, when choosing my diffs, I first considered:

  1. standard SPH drop of 1.50 and drop ALL CYL
  2. standard SPH drop of 1.50 ONLY
    Later I actually did consider:
  3. spherical equivalent

After doing a bit of reading on SE on the forum, I found that many people were not successful with it. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t try it just because of what I heard from other people’s experiences.

Yeah, I can see now that it was really under corrected.

I’m certain I am over corrected for CYL; my recent CYL reduction had no noticeable, visual side effect (no blur, no double vision, etc.), just vertigo.

I think SE is actually a good approach for my diffs. I was worried about the SPH to CYL ratio and I think if SE is successful, I won’t have to worry about that anymore. Say if I were to use spherical equivalent for my diffs, would I also need to use spherical equivalent for my norms? To me it seems like SE would only be tolerable in close up.

Cylinder dependency is very individual. I have very low cylinder and took it all off at once with doctor approval, but if I was trying to reduce, I’d not drop more than 0.5 Cyl at at time, same as we drop 0.25 Sph at a time.


An update:

I figured out why I was confused with the wheel measuring method. I was confused why the second measurement was measuring our SPH correction because as compared to my prescription, that would only be tolerable in close up. My first measurement was always closer to my SPH correction for distance vision. This might not be the case for others, I think this method just doesn’t work for me right now since my SPH to CYL ratio is so high (basically 1:1).

What I did find out is that I was confusing the instruction with the instructions for measuring with stenopaeic slit. It makes more sense for me to use stenopaeic slit to measure SPH because it basically cancels out the astigmatism. With this method, there isn’t a “second” or “first” measurement. Your SPH is determined by whichever measurement has more cm (less power). I guess the same applies for the wheel method–you choose the cm measurement that gives less power–it just doesn’t work for me.

In my case, stenopaeic slit is more accurate for measuring SPH–as it is difficult to measure with bare eyes. Though both methods provide similar results for measuring CYL, I feel stenopaeic slit is much more accurate.

A few sample measurements:
OD: -2.00, -2.25, -2.5
OS: -2.00, -2.25
OD: -1.00, -1.50, -1.25
OS: -1.00, -2.00, -1.75

Stenopaeic slit
OD: -3.25, -3.75
OS: -3.00, -3.25, -3.75
OD: -1.25, -1.00
OS: -1.75, -1.5, -2.50

Once again, emphasizing that stenopaeic slit is definitely more accurate for measuring SPH; I know my eyes and a drop of 1 diopter SPH in norms would be too much blur challenge. CYL however, is still difficult to measure with both methods, but perhaps my eyes are overcorrected in CYL–it’s hard to tell since I’ve got so much correction.

Looking further into the future:
I’ve got two weeks of spring break starting next friday. I’m looking forward to going outside more during that time (it’s been difficult to get outside for the past few weeks since I’ve been swamped with schoolwork). I really want to make sure I can see the 20/20 line on my snellen clearly before making another reduction.

Currently, my right eye is lagging behind (it’s actually been like this since my first pair of differentials). For my norms, I didn’t fix this because I wanted to deal with CYL first so for my next reduction I definitely need to fix it. at that point my subscription for norms would be:

OD: -3.25 | -3.00 | 165
OS: -3.25 | -3.25 | 175

If my right eye were to still be behind, I would reduce CYL in my left eye to -3.00. And if my right eye was still behind, I could go back up or patch.

Once I find the right subscription that gives both my eyes equal blur challenge, I plan to make reductions as follows:

  • binocular SPH reduction of 0.25 diopters
  • binocular CYL reduction of 0.50 diopters (since it’s equal to 0.25 diopters SPH but if my eyes can’t handle that I’ll just stick to 0.25 CYL diopter reductions)
  • pattern continues



Your visual cortex and accomodation can compensate for astigmatism. The ciliary twitches around between the focal length where one axis is clear and the other (assui the whole range is within your accomodation range.) And the visual cortex forms a composite image from those different blurs.

The stenopeic slit doesn’t let your muscles/brain cheat the test, it measures refraction only.

I can imagine this is the case for anyone who has 1:1 or higher ratio of sph cyl. Well done for searching on and finding a method suiting your needs. It makes sense that limiting the vision to a slit gives more accuracy for high cyl. The wheel is more useful for lower cyl especially as even optos are often unsure about the axis and the strength needed when cyl is under 1D.

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Can you rephrase this? I don’t think I completely understand.

When you focus on something close or near, you’re actively changing your focal range, that’s called accommodation. When your focus is tuned one way, the angle that you have the shorter distance to blur with the stenopaeic slit is clear, and when your focus is tuned the other way, the 90 degree angle is clear. And your eye adjusts through all the steps between too. The multiple images can then be combined to get more visual information than either image has alone.


People having much astigmatism sometimes could have (anterior and/or posterior) crossbite. You might want to also look into this (and fix if it’s present) while reducing cylinder to possibly boost your experience. By seeking a professional you would want to find one also dealing and taking into account cranial biomechanics. Simple braces could only harm.



That’s actually quite interesting. I think I might have some sort of crossbite probably caused by 2+ years of braces use. Sadly, I’ve got no way to tell when my astigmatism started to increase–or if braces use increased it–since every single opto I ever went to never gave me my prescriptions. I’ll have to get in touch with a professional to see if I do have a crossbite. In the meantime I’ll do a bit more research on the topic.

Thanks for bringing this up!

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Braces without cranial correction mess all the things to the third power…

My advice as far as bite is concerned is to seek who near you is trained in craniodontics. And redo everything there, incuding braces after cranial correction. Elimination of crossbite usually also eliminates scoliosis (if there’s any).

You might want to read this: The consequences of getting braces: what no one warned you about - tooth-for-a-tooth.com

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Some optometrists won’t give you this unless you clearly ask them to do it. There is a big enough possibility the law is on your side :slight_smile:

When I was younger, my parents never asked for my prescription. I guess they didn’t have any reason to. It wasn’t until the past couple of visits that I began asking for my prescription but it was only to order glasses online. I heard you can go to your previous optos and ask for your previous prescriptions but I’m not sure if they would still have prescriptions from nearly a decade ago.