Optometrist confirmed active focus!

Just came from the optometrist. I sort of got chewed out because I could read pretty much the same line on the eye chart with every lens she put in front of me. With either eye. She was disgruntled and told me that not only could I focus through similar diopter spherical lenses, but also through extremely different ones. She actually said it out loud! And she was right. With a little active focus, I could read most of the letters every time. The only difference was that some lenses made the eye chart look a little brighter than others. She even took out a test lens kit to see if that would work better than that stupid automatic lens flipping machine they put in front of my face. That thing is irritating!

Then she told me my eyes weren’t supposed to be actively focusing, but should let the lens do all the work! She literally said it was a bad thing that my eyes were able to achieve focus through the variety of lenses she tested me with. It was so hard not to laugh in her face, but all I did was look politely interested, nod, and say, “Really?” She wanted to dilate my eyes because then supposedly I would lose control of my ciliary and she could do the eye test better. I told her I had to drive home, so I politely declined and she understood. She encouraged me to make another appointment to do that part at my next opportunity. Sure, I’ll get right on that…

She also tested me for astigmatism, but I told her all the images looked exactly the same. Because, basically they did. Well, I did throw her a bone and say one image maybe looked slightly different. Then I took it back and said it was the same too. From that she concluded I may have a little astigmatism! You guys are so right about American optometrists loading people up with correction! Sheesh!

I brought 2 pair of glasses with me, the -1.5 diopters of sphere I’ve been doing active focus with and a pair of -2.75’s. I chose the -2.75’s for the stronger option because Jake’s prescription lens checker suggested my full prescription may be that. I’m not sure, it seems so strong, I wouldn’t wear it except maybe if I was driving at 1:00 in the morning. But since I suppose optos want a person to have the maximum correction, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with that one. So, even though she wouldn’t give me an actual prescription without dilating my eyes, she casually suggested I should be wearing something between the -1.5 and -2.75 diopter glasses I brought. And that maybe I shouldn’t wear the -2.75’s because they were probably an overcorrection. Again I looked interested, nodded, and said “Really?”

Then she tested me for presbyopia, and when could I read the middle paragraph of the closeup chart with my stupid strong -2.75’s without hesitating, she said I had an impressive ability to focus up close for my age. The previous opto had written me a script for +2.25 add without even testing and I told her that prescription had made me so sick I nearly threw up for 2 hours after wearing the glasses for 1 hour. She suggested she would allow me to get by with a +1.5 add. Allow. I nodded, looked polite, and then told her I usually took my glasses off to read up close. She didn’t object.

So I DID bully her. Well, not bully, exactly. because she didn’t know it because I was very nice. And I walked to my car with a huge smile on my face because, like I said, I have optometrist confirmed proof that I am awesome at active focus!!!

Also, my eye health is just fine.


Good job! Sounds like you handled it well. This could be an encouragement for more of us to go to the optometrist. I have to think that if some percentage of people walked in and asked for reduced diopter glasses for close work and showed the ability to do active focus, the profit structure of optometry could slowly shift.

Our numbers are small, but if you think organic food, grass fed, etc, there’s an argument that consumer demand can cause positive change. This points back to Jake’s request for us to do videos and sharing of our experiences with endmyopia. It will take some years for a percentage of people to get the eyesight doesn’t automatically get worse, but if those of us who know put the message out, people will come asking later.

Thanks again for sharing!


I had a little fun with it and didn’t ask too much from her. She seemed earnest, but maybe a little hesitant. It would have been crappy of me to march into her house and lecture her on how optometrists make myopia worse, not better.

But, sitting there in the lens shop, waiting for my turn, I was tempted to get up, walk to the center of the store and shout, “Refractive error is a lie! Your eyes are not broken! You can fix them! Stop spending all your money for glasses that just make your vision worse!”:grinning: That would be a terrible thing to do!

Her lens shop was super luxe and trendy. Lots of money went into the furnishings and displays. It was like a spa. I figured I was in trouble. That exam cost me $138. Much more than I had expected.

I won’t be back.


That is such a great story. I love hearing about these things, because I plan to do the same in about a year just to confirm with an eye exam so I have solid proof, for me and for others. I can’t wait to go in there, take the exam, and ask they please check the last test I had! Way to go!

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I’m angry and worried now, though. I insisted on getting a paper print-out of all the data related to the eye exam yesterday and the phoropter test listed my myopia as -3 right eye and -3.5 left eye. With .75 astigmatism. That machine says I have hardly improved since I started. It says my astigmatism is unchanged, and the difference in sphere between my eyes is larger than ever in my life. :confused:

First, -3/-3.5 glasses would let me see ants on the moon right now. In the dark. (kidding of course) And give me a pounding headache.

Second, I never see astigmatic blur. So what the heck?

Third, the difference between right and left eye has never exceeded .25 diopters in my life. And lately, my left eye is clearing the image outside at a distance quickly. And unexpectedly easily.

Fourth (sadly there is a fourth in this rant), I have been using -1.5’s the last 3 weeks and have been getting clear focus over half the time outside on cloudy days, most of the time on sunny days. I increased my diopters 3 weeks ago from -1.25’s because I felt I had been too aggressive in my recent reduction. Especially since sunny weather has all but disappeared, and I find it so hard to clear the image in this dark, cloudy weather. I don’t want to end up blur adapted. How can I be focusing with -.5 diopters when that autorefractor (or whatever it’s called) says I should be wearing -3/-3.5?:astonished:

Have I been deluding myself? And sadly, lying to Jake and everyone else, too? If so, I’m so very sorry! :cry:

I have gone back to the beginning. I am checking all my notes, rereading Endmyopia posts and watching videos. I am taking centimeter measurements, Snellen measurements, and outdoor landmark observations. I am going to start keeping a timer for all close-up activities. And also a timer for outside activities.

One last thing. In the last 3 weeks, I doubled down on my vision improvement efforts, trying to improve. This is right after a move to a new house and almost total cloud cover and unseasonal, nearly record breaking cold for the last 3 weeks. Is it possible that I have actually created too much vision stress rather than too little? Is that even possible?

Sorry for the crazy rant. Thanks for letting me vent. I sincerely appreciate being permitted to join the Le Meow community. I love reading the comments and really appreciate everyone here and all the help you give each other. I think I’m going to close the computer now, calm down, and go to bed early. I’ll act like a normal person tomorrow. :wink:

Also, I’m coming down with a cold. It started yesterday.


The phoropter might as well be a magic eightball (remember those things?!).

While I’m very familiar with how it supposedly works, the sheer volume of WTF’s :exploding_head: from students over the years makes me more than wonder whether there’s any usefulness in even looking at those results, ever. (spoiler, it’s not)

If you can see, and read, and have clarity at a distance with a -2 (for example), and the thing says -4, then what’s the point of that result? If you put on that -4 and feel like the world is spinning and it’s way too much focal plane correction, is it worth anything? It’s such bunk of overcomplicated, unreliable machine for something that is SO EASY to quantify with an eye chart.

Retail optometry is little more than having your order taken at a McDonalds. It’s perhaps mean to mess with them, knowing a lot more about eyesight (your own especially) than they do. It’s like being a magician, going to a magic show, and ruining all their tricks. They can’t help it, it’s what they were taught.

Use your powers for good. :joy:


Well, maybe you are already acting like a normal person? I think it’s perfectly normal and healthy to be a little upset when they treat you like that! (I see you are focusing very well, but hey, the machine sais…)
Congratulations, there should be a badge for guru-style-rants - you definitely earned one! :wink:


Chill, you can figure this out. :sunglasses: Are you talking about a phoropter test or an autorefractor test?

A phoropter is a manually operated device that allows the operator to change various lens properties, usually used together with an acuity test, where you have to make out symbols like letters or turning Cs, and tell the optometrist what you see.

An autorefractor is a machine that shows you an image (there’s a common one with a hot air balloon), and then throws a laser and maybe some other lights onto your eye, and gives you an estimate of your spherical parameter.

Autorefractors have a BIG problem with what some call device myopia. They will randomly fail to disable your accommodation, and then output a spherical with way more minus sphere than you need. I’m making a time-series with one of these, and you need to use it on like five different days to get a reasonable handle on your eye’s state, and then there’s still a systematic bias of minus sphere compared to the typical standards in other tests.

(I think Jake is also talking about autorefractors, not phoropters.)

In other words, if this was an autorefractor, the error bar should be huge. A single measurement means very little there. Try doing centimeter measurements with your computer glasses and see how it compares. (Add the power of the computer glasses to the result of your focus distance measurement.) If the autorefractor is way off, it’s probably just a measurement error.


Thanks for sharing your story, @Slsatrom. I haven’t been to my optometrist in over two years and I don’t want to pay for the exam when I have no use for the “prescription” he would write. But one thing I worry about is the test they do for glaucoma and whether or not I should be having that test every couple of years. Anybody else have thoughts about that?

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Well, the optometrists say you should be checked every 2 years… But I’m not sure?

Here’s my take on what happened at the optometrist’s office, S. She agrees that your -2.75 glasses are too strong, and that your correct distance full prescription should be somewhere between the -1.5 and -2.75. However, when she had you in the phoropter (“1 or 2 machine”), the choices you were making indicated you preferred the higher correction (-3 and -3.5). Many people do that unconsciously, because when one looks through an over-minused prescription and then uses the lens in our eye to accommodate* or cancel out some of the extra minus, the overly-crisp, darker image produced looks “better” to us than just a regular one. (*When accommodating, the lens in our eye bulges convexly, like a plus lens.)

The optometrist didn’t give you the -3 and -3.5 overcorrected prescription, though, and that’s a GOOD thing. The reason she wanted to dilate your eyes is because the dilation drops temporarily paralyze your lens so that it can’t bulge or accommodate. Then, she could theoretically be able to tell your true distance prescription with the phoropter, because anything too strong would be blurry because you couldn’t use the lens in your eye to cancel any extra minus. Some optometrists would have just written you the -3, -3.5 script, so this optometrist was trying to do the right thing. HOWEVER, I don’t understand why she didn’t just write you a script for the minimum amount of minus needed to read the 20/20 line. That would be the most correct and simplest.


Also, the type of focusing (accommodating) that she didn’t want you to do (that you were doing through the phoropter) would be the opposite of active focus. Active focus would be relaxing the lens in your eye, so that it unbulges. It’s not your fault, though…the eye accommodates unconsciously.


That’s a good idea, Ponder. She seemed to be really trying to do the right thing. And I appreciate that. I will get back to work on my own. Jake has great resources here. I only went to the optometrist to get a health checkup. I shouldn’t let the rest of it get to me. I’ve read enough posts and Facebook entries to know these things happen. Thanks for all the help and encouragement. I’ll see about getting back to being a calm person again, now! :grin:


This is really awesome. The only reason the wife and I see the optometrist now is for eye disease checks. We’ve pretty much taken over the test of the work.


This is part of the point of endmyopia. The eye exam is for our check on eye health. We don’t need the optometrist for checking visual acuity because we learn how to do that ourselves.


Wow. Just wow. This is amazing. I know what it’s like to feel like you have to be nice to the optometrists when they say the darnedest things. This is my first post I’m reading in this forum place, and this was amazing to read. I’m happy for you!


Do you mind my asking what age you are? Curious because of the optometrist’s comment about presbyopia.

Sorry BellaK I just saw this. I’m 57. So the presbyopia comment was extremely appropriate. I’m over all the drama now and am back to work on reducing my adopters. I have been limiting my screen time and using audio books for entertainment. I’m getting some really good clarity on the rare sunny day this winter. So even though I struggle in the cloudy dark weather, I still have a little fun!


Yesterday I went to see the optometrist to try to convince him to give me a prescription for -3.25 (I ordered my differentials -1.75 online, but was hoping to reuse the 5 rims I got so far…).
I had a similar experience. He kept on going with “myopia is genetic”. I told him it’s really not the case for me - none of my parents/grandparents/great grandparents were myopic. I was given glasses in my 11th grade, when all I did was learn/read - only got out of the house to go to school.
He admitted (!) that for kids progressive myopia is caused by their use of the distance lenses for reading on the blackboard and writing in their notebooks. I concluded then: so progressive myopia is lens induced. He wouldn’t say it out loud, he only stared at me. :grin: But he also admitted that using a lower prescription for computer use is a good practice.
He insisted that I cannot progress further than 30% of my diopters - I started at -4.50, therefore I couldn’t improve my vision with more than 1.5 dipters. I said: would you like to see me again in one year? I’ll prove you’re wrong. He didn’t reply.
I insisted I want the -3.25 prescription and I was very nice and charming. First he said that he will have me sign some paper (I said no problem), but then he said he wouldn’t give me the prescription as he might lose his right to practice. I wasn’t expecting that, things in Romania are a little bit easier…
I read on the chart the smallest letters using active focus, but he insisted the autorefractor numbers are the correct ones (R: -3.75 cyl -0.5 / L: -4.00) and I should wear -4.00 instead of -3.50, because the vision should be static, I shouldn’t involve the cortex to see better (!!!) As in your case, he insisted with the drops and I said no.
For me the autorefractor numbers are better since the last measurement (last year I was R: -4.5 cyl -0.75 / L: -5.00).
But, as Jake, I don’t trust them either - 15 years ago, an optometrist, seeing on the small paper cyl -0.75, said I should wear cylinder and I listened to her and had a pair of glasses done in her shop with cyl -0.75. I put them on and walked home. I couldn’t get home - I was so very sick and dizzy, I crawled along walls and almost vomited on the sidewalk. I then went back to her and said I cannot wear those glasses and she agreed to change them for free, without cylinder, but with a little improvement in the numbers, as they always do…
To conclude, I got home after the optometrist’s visit and ordered on Zenni 6 pairs of glasses - I was almost sure they don’t deliver to Romania, that’s why I avoided them. But they do. So long, optometrists, bye bye! Zenni is really cheap. Ordering online in Romania doesn’t require you to have a prescription, but you cannot find rims+lenses cheaper than 80$ - the lenses only are over 50$, and they only sell branded rims (Guess, Police, etc). Plus, guys, this weekend it’s Black Friday on Zenni - 20% off! :star_struck:

PS: I’ll continue visiting an optometrist every 2 years for eye diseases, too, but will not try to convince them anything.


Your story about confounding your optometrist is just so hilarious and inspiring. And I’m so happy to hear you’re presbyopia free! I know few people in their 40s who don’t use ‘reading glasses’- I’m in my early 40s and my optometrist acted surprised that I didn’t need that kind of correction either.

I’m nowhere near the AF ace as you are, though! Thanks for the inspiration!

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