Questionnaire for those who get AF

Hi everyone! So I’ve spent months struggling with AF and having a few false starts (that is, thinking I finally got it and then realizing that wasn’t it). I’m currently thinking again I’m finally getting it, but I came up with the idea of making a little questionnaire to compare my experience with that of other people who have mastered it, and see if we can come to new conclusions.

What I currently do is to focus on a very specific thing in the distance which has big contrast (like exactly the tip of an electric post against the blue sky, or maybe a specific, bright flower in the balcony of some building…), then alternate between blinking and feeling as if I’m “pulling” my eyes inside (it’s hard to explain, but it usually involves aso holding my breath and contracting my stomach and sort of my whole body), and then at some point, things focus. Sometimes it happens quickly, others it’s harder or doesn’t happen.
Anyway, here’s the questionnaire:

  1. Is it something you trigger willingly? As in, is it something you do have control over, or do you just blink and blink until it finally, randomly happens?

  2. If you indeed “do” something willingly, would you say it’s a physical or mental action?

  3. If it’s a physical thing, how would you describe it?

  4. Does the ambient light make it easier, harder or even possible at all? (I find I can clear things more easily in broad daylight or in bright, artificial white lights. Grayish o blueish light conditions are definitely the worst and I basically cannot clear anything in such conditions).

  5. Does your personal state (as in, being tired or not, having slept well or not, etc) influence wheter you can pull it off or not?

  6. Does AF clear everything to a crystal clear image for you? Or just makes things somewhat clearer? (For me it’s sometimes one, sometimes the other).

  7. Do clear flashes happen at random moments or specifically when you are AF’ing? I sometimes, when doing the thing I do, get perfect vision, but I’m not sure that’s a clear flash.

  8. For how long can you sustain the clear vision? Me, once I blink again, it’s gone.

  9. Do you do it with both eyes at the same time? Just one and then the other? This might sound weird but whatever I do, I find I can only do it with my right eye. (For context, the last time I measured them, I had OS: -0’25 SPH, -0.75 CYL // OD: -0,75 SPH. So, I had worse vision in my right eye, but apparently no astigmatism there, whereas my left eye has very little myopia but a bit of vertical astigmatism, and I find I cannot clear astigmatism no matter what I do. Therefore, normally I have better vision on my left eye, but when I manage to make a fully clear image with my right eye, funnily enough I get better vision on my right eye for a few seconds).

I’m really sorry for the long post and I hope we can learn new things about AF! :smiley:

Edits: spelling.

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Have you already perused all the resources about the subject, like the videos and the endmyopia wiki?

Finding AF should easy as long as you are mindful, releasing the tension in your eyes, and give them the time to focus without blinking too fast (which resets the vision). Of course as Jake says, you need useful blur.

Holding your breath and contracting your stomach doesn’t sound like the way to go.
Just relax and let the focus come to you. Not staying still like a statue will probably help somewhat.

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  1. No. Yes. No.
  2. Mental
  3. N/A
  4. Yes
  5. N/A
  6. Variable. Variable.
  7. N/A
  8. N/A
  9. Yes. Maybe
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  1. Yes, yes, no. No random blinking, 100% controllable
  2. Physical
  3. Just happens in my eyes when I do it. Usually a light blink with it
  4. Better ambient light makes it easier
  5. Not at all, been horrendously groggy, super good, either way can still AF
  6. Depends on how far I am into a reduction
  7. My myopia is much higher than yours, so I don’t get clear flashes
  8. Forever
  9. Both eyes
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  1. Yes it is something you trigger, control varies
  2. Bit of both, it’s menta and the phsical takes care of itself.
  3. See above
  4. 100% good natural light is most helpful, though after a while AF comes easier in all lighting
  5. 100% yes
  6. Varies, largely based on lighting and variables referenced in 5
  7. Clear flashes are highly random and completely spontaneous, and I would not consider any clearing of blur during AF a clear flash
  8. varies
  9. generally both but I do some patching, and what I refer to as a tag-in
    If you want more details about my take feel free to visit my channel where I have an AF video (https://youtu.be/4gZFavsmmIQ) and a clear flash video (https://youtu.be/zTDz0uYUT6Q) among others (including a patching video, where I describe my tag-in) that you might find helpful. Subscription, and likes appreciated, comments welcome :smiley: Best Wishes.
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As for the questionnaire:

  1. Yes. I try to be aware of my vision and let the eyes do the focus, if the blur fails to resolve I keep trying.
  2. Mental, unless you also count letting the eyes relax as physical
  3. N/A
  4. Easier.
  5. Yes
  6. Quality may vary
  7. I can’t remember last time I got a clear flash, focusing is still a little slow but more reliable now
  8. For as long as I can avoid blinking. The time required to focus has greatly reduced after practice, but also depends on how far I’m pushing
  9. Both eyes, but sometimes I also cover a zone of my dominant eye with a slip of paper so the left can train to clear double vision better
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Before considering my answers, please note I am also at this phase:

  1. If by willingly, you mean consciously, then yes. If by control over, you mean succesful for every attempt, then no.
  2. Mental first to trigger physical.
  3. Feels like something is stuck on my eye, like a contact lens.
  4. Easier.
  5. I think yes.
  6. Sometimes one, sometimes the other.
  7. I don’t know because I often can’t distinguish clear flashes and AF effects XD
  8. More like 5 blinks before it goes away for me.
  9. Both eyes.
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  1. Control in activation, yes. Control in the “amount”, no.

  2. Mostly mental, though the action of blinking helps greatly.

  3. I don’t have any physical feeling, so nothing to describe.

  4. Easier.

  5. yes

  6. Both, but most of the time somewhat clearer.

  7. I only had clear flash once in my life, so let’s put a “no” here.

  8. Blink makes it gone, but usually even without blinking it last only for 3-4 sec

  9. Both. But obviously with my weaker eye it feels like AF is less strong, but I think that’s just perception.

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1 yes. Yes you can control it. Blink could effect it in both bad and good way
2 both
3 “auto accomodation”, muscles (ciliary and extrinsic) adjust to better vision. Sometimes/seldom stinging and/or tear production.
4 yes, much easier with good light condition
5 yes
6 both. Cristal clear most of the time and depending on differential. Too weak differential lead to weak AF. When cristal clear with weak differential I call it CF
7 In a much difficult way than AF I can trigger CF when naked eye. From -1.50/75 I get better vision and seldom cristal clear
8 lately I can blink and mantain a CF, sometimes. AF can remain easier when blinking than a CF, but it happens to lose AF when blinking
9 I was -3.00 both eyes, now -1.50/75 both, thus I’ve been training my eyes together.

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I’m going to bypass this questionaire and instead take this opportunity to flesh out an idea based on my own experience.

Stages of Active Focus:

Stage 0: Ciliary muscles are locked up and non functional.
Pretty self explanatory. Indoor + Close up + Overcorrection = Stage 0.

Stage 1: Ciliary muscles are functioning properly and operate entirely on their own.
This is the stage where blinking and staring may produce results, but they are weak and intermittent. In order to get into this stage you will need to spend significant amount of time outdoors and away from screens and usually without overcorrected glasses. In other words, do the opposite of Stage 0.

Stage 2: You have to make an exhaustive effort to focus in or out.
For me this felt like I’m trying really hard to push my eyeballs out for close up and pulling my eyeballs into my sockets for distance focus. It’s kinda feels like three modes: OUT, IN, and CENTER. I first learned this by covering one eye with my hand and then crossing and uncrossing my eyes like I did when I was a kid. The act of crossing your eye is inextricably linked to seeing an object up close, so the opposite (uncrossing) is the key to pushing your ciliary into the relaxed position for distance.

Stage 3: Proficiency has improved so that you have fine motor control.
Now instead of an almost binary hard switch, it’s more smooth like adjusting a volume knob on the radio. Now you can refine your focus for the exact distance you want to see. This will come with practice as your nervous system becomes more efficient.

Stage 4: Focus each eye independently of each other.
This may not be necessary for most people to learn and you may figure it out before stage 3, but I happened across this on accident and it is beginning to be useful for balancing my uneven myopia. There is potential that it will be a good skill to have to step up to the next stage.

Stage 5: Toggle the astigmatic blur slightly.
(UNICORN ALERT) This stage may not be real, and I am still playing with it.
So not too long ago I noticed that if a “pull” my eyeball back then neurologically cue my eye to strafe diagonally in the direction of my cylinder prescription that I see an improvement in my astigmatism. The problem with this is both eyes skew in different directions, so I can only slightly clear up one eye at a time currently. This is why I think stage 4 is important to practice, especially for us high astigmatism peeps. This could just be a minor warping caused by extra-ocular muscles, so take a grain of salt with this one.

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Wow! First of all I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has answered! I was afraid this was going to be boring and maybe no one would answer, so I’m so happy you all did! Right now I’m in a hurry, but I hope tomorrow I’ll have the time to sit properly and go through all your answers and comment on them :smiley:

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So, after reading all of your messages… I feel kind of even more lost and I’m afraid I wan’t getting AF once again.

I guess key questions would be number 2 and 3, and it’s puzzling the way each of you all describe different feelings or no particular feeling at all. I think the main discrepancy is that some of you mention it’s all basically a questions of “relaxing” the eyes (as in basically not doing anything?) and others like @Janica, @Mickypenna and @Robohobo mention some things which feel much more “active” than just relaxing: adjusting muscles, the feeling of havig a contact on, “exhaustive effort to focus in or out”… I also remember one of Jake’s articles mentioning how, to do print pulling, you must visualize “pulling” whatever text in the distance you’re trying to clear towards you, which doesn’t feel like a relaxed action either…

At least we all seem to agree that lighting is important.

@Alex87 thank you for the tips. I think I have read all the articles and wateched the videos, but I’ll look again in case I missed some resource. I’ll also check your videos, @Lloydmom
I’m kind of starting to feel dumb because I’ve been trying for months and it’s as if everyone managed to get it much sooner :pensive:

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Don’t feel bad. I spent much longer than you, and some days I’m still not sure I can AF. I managed about 1 diopter of improvement without the AF control others talk about.

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I had been trying for many years, then two additional years when I found endmyopia and failed twice to get results with the EM method.
Everyone is different, but in my case I had to endure three whole months of intensive active focus before I started seeing progress, And with that I mean tears streaming down while powering through the stinging/burning sensations in the eyes and using slightly stronger blurs than what I had been trying before, I experienced inner eye muscles cramps several times.

Perhaps it was possible to do it more gradually, but I had had ten whole years of vision improvement failures behind me, I had tried the conservative way of avoiding excessive stress/pain and stuff, but it just wasn’t working for me.

I can only suggest to try the conservative way first to see how your eyes respond, and then take a more aggressive approach if the results just don’t show up.

EDIT: To be more specific, I no longer have to endure such suffering as those initial three months, my eyes respond much better now and burn much less while focusing.

I hope it helps. The problem with active focus is its a complicated thing to describe… don’t give up, and keep adjusting your habits, I truly believe that if you are doing everything else (not being over corrected for the task, getting good distance vision time and good natural light and being conscientious about your vision) active focus will be a natural next step.

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My understanding is that pushing and pulling is just close-up vs distance. So like if you were seeing this picture IRL, if you switched from focusing the dog to the cat, it’ll initially feel like the cat is too close so your eyes will do things to like push the cat away in order to focus onto the bird.

On the opposite, if you switched from focusing the cat to the dog, it’ll initially feel like the dog is too far away so your eyes will do things to like pull the dog closer. And biologically these two things are going to be opposite mechanics as you try to find the sweet spot.

And pushing/pulling will happen basically automatically. Even if you’re not paying attention, if your eyes move from looking at the dog to looking at the cat, then automatically ur eyes will do pushing focus to focus onto the cat. However, if you are AFK & just letting your eyes do whatever, chances are that everything is just going to be a blur and the cat is just going to be slightly less blurry only because it’s at the center of vision. If you really wanted to focus onto the cat you’d have to pay attention with the mental intent of examining the visual aspects of the cat. So it’d be an automatic process, that happens passively with an active intent to examine. And this IMO is the core of active focus (except we want to be doing this around the blur horizon, where easiest possible clearable blur is at.)

I think where people get tripped out is that some people have some control over their eyes pushing and pulling mechanics. But I don’t think this type of control leads to lasting gains, and I’d guess that even if it was it’s probably not the smoothest. Vision is a mostly automatic process (like breathing), so IMO practice should be based on improving the automaticity of it.

I think the other place where people may get tripped up is that some people have convergence issues and other eye problems and postural problems. I don’t think you necessarily need to resolve them to do AF but addressing them will likely bring the most optimal visual improvement rate, and will likely bring sensations and require different efforts that people without those issues would never have the opportunity to experience. In the same way that someone who’s mostly a chest breather and is working to become a diaphragm breather would experience amazing sensations and use (physical and/or mental) effort that someone who’s been a diaphragm breather most of their life would never experience.

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I’ll join @Kevin.L’s team. I still don’t know if I found AF or not.
But I walked down all the way to 20/20. So I’m trying to define AF by reviewing what I did during my journey. As the EM assumption is that I must have done AF to get to where I am now…

I do gazing, daydreaming to relax my eyes. That’s not AF.
I do sniper stare, which is really “shooting” with your eyes. That is very intentional and tiring for the eyes. So that’s not AF either. (Though I suspect some people do that and call it AF…)
Sometimes I just look up from close-up and find that everything is clear, and that goes away with the next blink. Because I use contact lenses as corrections, often I have to double check that they are in the case and not on my eyes, so the clarity was really without them. This is called “clear flash”.

There is one more so that must be AF, no?
This can be compared to the experience when you are sorting e.g. old papers mindlessly, and then you stop and start reading one of them (an old memory, a funny post card, an interesting looking note…), and then you continue with the sorting after reading it. So you don’t really do anything with your eyes, you are just consciously aware that you are now looking at something.
The other example I used earlier is when you are daydreaming, gazing at the distance, eyes open but you don’t really watch things, and then someone taps your shoulder and you realise the world around you, the person, the objects, etc. You “come back” to consciousness.
So AF for me - defined in retrospect - is when you just see something, and then you make yourself aware that you are actually looking at it. Bringing your attention to it, but not trying to do something, or switch on muscles, or make efforts. Just awareness.
And whatever you are looking at gets clearer. If it was almost clear before then it may get properly clear. If it was clear, it may get a lot sharper at the edges. If it was very blurry, then some of the blur goes away and if it is a text you get close to being able to read it.

But as said I made it all up later when people started asking what AF was like for me.
In reality, what I did was simply sitting as far away from the monitor as I could. And then moving away an extra 5cms and finding that sometimes my eyes bring that into focus, too. If not, I just moved back 5cms closer again. This way I could gradually increase the distance and then drop from the correction and repeat.

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I think the definition of AF is really simple. You look at something which is blurry at least a tiny bit. If you look more and it get’s less blurry that’s AF. There is no need to make that more complicate. AF is not some special mechanism which has to be exactly right to lead to improvement. AF is just pointing to a direction. Just a way to show the eye / brain / visual cortex / whatever is responsible for the eye change that it should go this direction. So nothing else matter, just blur -> less blur. If it happens automatically and you barely notice it, that’s AF. If you have to try to get it for 10-15 seconds, that’s also AF. If it’s blurry and it just gets a tiny bit less blurry, that’s AF. If it’s blurry and it gets totally clear, that’s also AF.

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Following your description David there is no difference between clear flashes and Active Focus.
After 15 months I still wonder about this. To me AF is an automatic accomodation with a tiny blur to clear up (most of the time crystal clear). While CF is able to clear up a greater blur. Both happen automatically but they can be easily achieved when good habits occurs (ciliary release, look into the distance long enough, relaxation, movements, etc)
Lately I live 80/90% of my life naked eyes and get planty of CF (rarely crystal clear). 10/20% with normalized for AF to get a refined eye sight (crystal clear). This combination is working for me at the moment and I’m down another 0.25 diopter.
I wish to have considerations of the forum members about this thing, the difference between CF and AF. Thanks for any opinion.

For me the difference is:

CF - happens without any awareness. E.g. There’s a knock on the door, so I look up from what I’m doing and as I’m turning my head / or getting up and walking towards the door (let’s say 90 degrees), suddenly and unexpectedly (between 30 to 70 degrees) I find that something is so crystal clear that I need to turn back to check it is really so. As I know I can’t see clearly at THAT distance where the flash happened.
There is zero control over it. This is a leap, a flash into the future, typically a lot more than just 0.25D improvement. Can’t be repeated whatever I try.
But the distance becomes AF’able later as vision improves and by that time the clear flash will come at a further distance.

AF - happens by bringing awareness. I’m looking at something or in the direction of something, and then I make myself aware that I’m actually looking at it (not with eyes, but with the mind, and definitely no eye muscles are activated) and what I’m looking at gets clearer by some degree.
Sometimes I just say to myself in my head e.g. “that’s an F”, sometimes I also add “I can read it, but the white area between the horizontal lines of the F could be a bit clearer”, and just by thinking about these the letters next to “F” also become legible both sides. And often while I’m thinking about a certain Snellen line, the one below also clears up.
This is typically not more than a 0.25D improvement, and usually can be repeated by doing the same again. And can gradually hold longer and longer. Doesn’t always go away with blinking, or if it does, it can be brought back by doing the same. But after a few hours my mind gets tired and stops the “clearing up”, and I can actually get exhausted mentally, and find it difficult to focus on anything if overdone.

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