[Resolved] Say hello to my new toy -- but also bringer of bad news. Troubleshooting!

First, the good news! :nerd_face: Let me introduce you to my friend 889811, whom I’ve known since September, and who just moved in:

If you’re thinking, what, this device is called the IOL Master: IOL stands for intraocular lens, because its original purpose was to determine the parameters of artificial lenses for implantation. Among other things, it can use laser interferometry to measure the length of everykitteh’s eyeball down to tens of microns of precision.

I plan to use this to make regular measurements of my eyes’ axial length, to rigorously determine whether vision improvement through reduced lens methods is real, in a way that can be posted as evidence.

Troubleshooting

Now for the less good news. I had already taken AL measurements on three occasions before. These showed no significant change between mid-September and November. Now, the new estimates even claim that my eyes have elongated by about 50 and 70 µm, respectively.

This confirms something I already suspected from measuring blur horizon: I don’t think I have had any improvement in three months now. On the contrary, recently, it’s going backwards:

Various measures of progress. Please ignore the error bars for axial length; it is actually highly reproducible, and the earlier double measurements are because I used two devices. Also, the last green sample may be a bit cheaty, so I wouldn’t count it as “recovery”.

Anyway, I’m suspecting I’m doing something wrong and would be happy to discuss any ideas. I’ll try to summarize what I’ve come up with so far. The readily available suspects are:

  • Winter darkness. Of course, this is a likely culprit. But it makes me uneasy how early improvement started to taper off.

  • Dry air in winter. I made a thread about that hypothesis, and it probably plays a role, but if I’m honest with myself, blaming three months of failing to improve on this seems like wishful thinking, especially with the increased axial length.

  • The semi-mainstream explanation, where improvement gets harder as you progress. But Jake says, no it doesn’t! And Matthew says he continued for over four years and it kept working!

As you see, I’m not too satisfied with these explanations. Especially because they don’t really answer why it happens and if something could be done about it.

Here are a two more, a little wilder ideas, concentrating on the computer, which I spend a lot of time on:

  • Because of that weird Nature paper on contrast polarity, I had switched lots of color schemes to white-on-black text. But this reduces overall brightness. Could this have interfered with my proper focusing onto the screen, getting me out of active focus territory? I don’t feel my eyes “locking on” to focus as strongly when the screen is darker on average.

  • In mid-September, I switched my computer usage from -2.25 glasses and high distance to -1.75 glasses and medium distance, to get a larger field of view. The distance reduction may not have fully compensated for the half diopter reduction in correction, especially since I had just recently stepped down. Blur is harder to detect on screens at lower distance. This could have led to a subtle increase of blur levels on screen, violating print pushing rules. (I began vision improvement with Todd Becker’s instructions and have always tried to stick to his instructions for near work, but this time I may have been sloppy). This could have caused my old nemesis, blur adaptation.

If these two are both a factor, they could have been even worse together. I suspect I might be especially susceptible to blur adaptation, because I was undercorrected for many years. I reverted my computer glasses and distance back to -2.25 and over 80 cm screen distance just before the drop in focus distance happened. I also switched color schemes back to black-on-white over the last days.

Unfortunately, even though this post is long already, we haven’t even touched on the elongation yet. All the stuff so far is just enough to cause a lack of progress. But why did it worsen? Again, some (rather wild) ideas:

  • Lack of stimulus could cause the eye to regress. It looks like I was improving well up to September, so maybe my AL had already reduced a little, and then just bounced back once I failed to present the correct stimulus? What is a little strange about this is that my left eye had improved more than my right, but the AL increase seems worse on my right, which isn’t too well in line with this theory. Also, the large delay doesn’t fit.

  • Lack of stimulus could mean that even slight accommodation leads to an elongation signal. Maybe a bit like form deprivation myopia, where bad image + eye usage = lots of elongation. But if it were this easy to cause elongation with just a little blur, why don’t we have an epidemic of people who don’t update their glasses and become massively myopic in response?

Again, I’m nuking my own theories. :woozy_face:

This all leaves me with my “best” theories for the elongation, which really don’t deserve the name:

  • It’s something completely different or random, similar to how women can have arbitrary eyesight changes when they get pregnant. If this is the case, I should catch it again over the months in the future, as I take a tighter AL time-series. But really, why would I have random hormonal changes or something like that?!

  • The IOL Master somehow decalibrated itself within the last few weeks, while sitting in a suitable storage room, where I took the first measurement before transporting it. And my own measurements randomly got worse around the same time. Yeaaah… not the most likely theory.

  • At least one of the computer blur hypotheses is true, and the hormetic response goes backwards before improvement begins. I got this idea because, since reverting my computer glasses and adding more light to the room, I have multiple sensations which I remember from times of improvement. Especially, a sensation in the left eye socket that continues at night, and an occasional headache near the visual cortex. These started right before the drop. So, this would mean (argh, please don’t quote this craziness out of context) that the choroid goes in the opposite direction (flattens) after a certain amount of stimulus, while the sclera slowly deforms for shortening. The choroid’s capacity to get thinner (or stop getting thicker) could account for just about the extra length, but, heavens, I can’t believe that this is the best theory I could come up with. :crazy_face:

So, um, yea. If you got to this point, thanks for reading. I evidently have no idea what I’m doing.

For now, I’ll change nothing (beyond the reverted computer setup) and keep measuring, to get more data and exclude that silly last theory. But once that is ruled out, I wouldn’t be sure what to think. If you have any ideas or experiences that might relate, I’d be happy to hear them!

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If anyone can find the root cause out of so much fact and figures collection, this would be you…
I was never that good and patient anyway…
But I follow your posts with wonder…

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I loved reading your post. I could’ve happily read more, the information you are sharing is very valuable.

I don’t know if this is helpful, but another possible explanation could be that success is rarely a straight line. There may be minor fluctuations as your eye adjusts to new stimuli. It seems alarming with a small set of data, but maybe over the course of years it will be a small dip in your overall progression towards reversing axial elongation. I think the best thing to do (which you’re already doing) is to keep collecting data and look at the long term trends.

Thanks again for posting your information and I’m looking forward to updates!

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I experienced something very similar around September and the only explanation that I found for myself was the decreasing stimulus:
In addition to the time spent outside I had always included some extra time to do distance active focus from my window, so let´s say 20 min in the morning , 30 minutes in the evening and in between whenever I had time.
But since September that’s not possible anymore due to ongoing constructions - they’ve set up a scaffolding around the building with a net in front of the window - so no way to do active focus.
I had not increased my close-up time, quite the opposite, I’m also not working on the screen, but what I had done was reducing my normalized at the beginning of September…
I’m back to my previous pair and feel like I’m almost back where I started :confused:

So I thought maybe some people just plateau with less stimulus whereas others really step backwards? No idea if that can be the case or if there is something else going on…

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First, congrats, you are really doing it and bought that thing (so you can buy frineds, after all :rofl: )!! This is soo incredibly cool!!!

So, did you move your new friend? Did you change anything about measuring? That could indeed lead to false numbers- a measurment instrument with these exact measurments is quite sensitive. What if it’s the instrument that reacts to dry air?

I have no idea about your new friend, of what it measures exactly. But I head the same idea like you: The part of the eye that gets measured and the other layer of ‘inside eye skin’ may reform themselfeves in different ways at different times - after all, we have now idea how this works, right? Does the worsening of your eyesight, that is your own centimeter and snellen measurments, correspond to the elongation of your eye, as measured by your new friend?
Hormonal changes are with us every day: we do react do morning, evening, daylight - why wouldn’t we react to winter, autumn, shorter days?

Did you change anything else? Maybe just the bread you buy, any habit, any food, drink, friends, people you meet, job? More alcohol lately? Can you do the measurments on your own, or is someone else involved - did that person change? Did you start to do sports, lost weight, had any personal tragedy (hope not!) or maybe just got some new furniture (full of toxic chemicals)?

This may sound silly, but all these things might have an effect. Also, I’m mostly trying to make you think of something that changed that you wouldn’t connect to eyesight.

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I think it’s awesome that you got that machine to measure axial length, as if you could measure the axial length actually decreasing while your vision improves that would really help to confirm some theories that as of yet are unproven (at least for your N=1).

I am pretty new to End Myopia so I don’t really have any theories about why your improvement has stalled, but I will say that I suspect you don’t really have enough AL data points to come to any meaningful conclusion, so don’t despair!

As an example look at this research paper which measured adults every 4 hours over a 24 hour period. They found the AL varied 35.71 ± 19.40 μm just in that one period, so your high datapoint could just be an outlier. If you have that machine in your possession it would be interesting to measure every day at the same time and see how much AL fluctuates on a daily basis. If it changes that much in 24 hours I would think it could have even bigger fluctuations over a multiple day period.

I’m excited to see what data you collect! This is really cool.

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I love seeing all this data. How do you perform the “automated test” and “acuity test” and determine their error bars?

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@Benal Thanks for the kind words! Now if only I’d be confident about my ability to figure it out… :sweat_smile:

@jfitzsimmons2 Glad to hear you like it! Don’t have more to post though; for now, I have to troubleshoot this. I hope you’re right and improvement will continue. However, this isn’t just a minor fluctuation anymore; I don’t think I can keep up with Jake’s rate, even if improvement returns. So for now, it looks more like something went wrong.

@eagle-eyes Huh! This sounds VERY familiar right there!

Back when the sun was out for longer, I would sometimes stick my head close to a window and kind of scan the area for a bit. I don’t know how often I really did it, as I (naively) didn’t think it important enough to log. But it could be really similar to your situation.

While this doesn’t explain why my eyes would worsen again, it could be a factor. I wonder if I can simulate this somehow even in dark hours, with some setup that has a lot of light and better focus in peripheral vision.

@Tii_Chen Thanks! Hahah, glad you like it. Hopefully I’ll be able to measure something nicer with it in the future.

I did move it, however, I had the previous owner perform a measurement before moving it, and then performed four measurements over two days at home, two before eating, two after eating, one of them after a vision walk. All five show almost exactly the same result. Whatever I’m measuring is at least highly reproducible.

Yes; actually, I’d say the subjective impression is even worse. I just used a projector and it’s a bit disheartening; I’m struggling to read stuff and wondering if I should step back up to -3 for this case. Ugh. The green points in the graph roughly show it, but they have a number of issues and are more suitable to detect the direction of changes than exact values. Anyway, it’s quite consistent; I can see the blur from the regression; it’s like I was moved back in time by a few months.

Hmmmm. Intermittent fasting comes to mind, which I do quite systematically now. And I reduced my formerly very high sugar intake a bit, because of the things @Laurens posts. :wink: And I started playing badminton. It would be weird if those types were at fault though.

More relevant would seem the ones from above: less, and less regular, outdoor time because of winter, less looking out windows, recently installed high-quality lighting (too late for the stagnation, but I started installing it before the regression became obvious)… I can’t think of a super suspicious change, except the kind @eagle-eyes talked about above.

On the other bits about measuring, I think we can drop them. It’s real, my eyes are longer again. I can see it on the computer, I can see it on the Snellen, I can see it on the projector, and the IOL Master can tell me exactly by how much.

Yea, that’s quite possible. If it’s the case, I hope I won’t end up realizing that I never really improved year-over-year. I guess I’ll know in spring. That would really suck; I poured a lot of time into the vision stuff, in the hopes that it works and I can eventually prove it with all the data I’m gathering.

@card Glad you like it; validating what’s true in vision improvement is a main goal in doing this, so if I manage to improve, I will have data to show for it.

Sorry; I forgot to put this in the OP – as I just posted in my reply to Tii, it isn’t looking like it’s measurement error. I always measured roughly around noon, and I now made five measurements, from 16-hour fasted to right after lunch and a vision walk, and the numbers didn’t budge.

Half of the earlier data points (that come in pairs) are from a different device. It looks like one device has even better reproducibility. And my vision is actually worse. The likelyhood of all six old data points being much shorter than all five new data points, at random, is negligible.

The paper you post is interesting, because it makes me wonder if my values shouldn’t be so stable. I may be doing something weird to my choroid by staying at the edge of blur all day. My eyes do feel a little stressed in the last weeks too, pretty much ever since I noticed the drop. I’ll see if I can have a closer look at that paper; I’m probably missing something on how the choroid functions. Actually, I don’t even understand what choroidal thickness changes are good for – and that might be a key point here.

Thanks for the encouragement! I’d love to keep it up, and create eye data full-time. Depends on my ability to improve now, I guess.

Thanks for asking and mea culpa; I should have added more info.

Automated tests are from autorafractors; almost all samples were done by a Rodenstock DNEye. The error bars are just a hacked-in guess for now; if I keep going for long enough, I’ll statistically determine them for 85% chance to lie within or something like that.

Acuity tests are manual tests by optometrists. Error bars are as hackish as with autorefractors, but the guess in this case should be much better, because I know the sources of error in that test quite well (discretization, letter guessing, daily form). The diopters are offset by 1/6 because of the 6 m opto test distance.

The error bars for distance to focus will be trickier, because I’m measuring that with glasses to determine the direction of change more precisely. I have an idea on how to visualize this, but that’s a problem I’ll tackle if I can get consistent improvement.

I’ll use “Autorefraction” instead of “Automated test” in the future. No idea why I used that confusing description.

Thank you everyone for your input! Glad to have people with whom I can talk about this stuff. Most people look at this like I’ve gone bonkers. :crazy_face:

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Now to find some fellow endmyopia-ers who live close to you to add to the sample size. :wink:

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@jakey I’d love to do that one day. But right now, I think it would be suicide. I’m in Germany! With no ammo if I get sued!

I can imagine the headlines. “This guy pretended to be an eye doctor and shot lasers into peoples’ eyes, because he believed this self-proclaimed eye guru!” Complete with a lawsuit for me, about some obscure regulation, and a high-ranking search result for you, how Endmyopia is a dangerous scam.

Not my favorite scenario.

First, I need to improve consistently. If I can pass that hurdle, a carefully chosen escalation might be a good next step, depending on whom I can convince and what the legal situation is. But as things stand now, I can’t even convince myself, so I can’t do much beyond tracking and troubleshooting my own improvement.

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@Varakari This is off your topic but if you’ve never heard of him you should check out the late Seth Robert’s blog. He was a big proponent of the way science was done in ages past, where a scientist experimented on themselves first to test a hypothesis, rather than starting with big scientific trials. What you are doing, with your data collection, would have interested him I think.

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Have you thought of trying a super big computer monitor further away, to get both a wide field of view AND far distance? I’ve been using a 42" TV as a monitor about 42" away for a few years now and like it, but am thinking about upgrading to a 55" 4k TV which would be perhaps a similar distance or just a little further away so I can get an even bigger field of view. I would probably normally split the monitor in half so it would effectively be like two 36" monitors next to each other, in portrait configuration. Some TVs can get very bright – I’m not really sure what would be ideal here, if it is bad for the screen to be so much brighter than the surroundings or not?

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Munich, do I remember correctly?
I’m volunteering! :wink:

Regarding the rest: you are, at least a little bit, stressing yourself (unintentionally).
Which could in itself contribute…

But let’s just believe in the holy beard - I bet it’ll get better, now that you return to your proofed habits :wink:

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I thought about it… but right now, I have no idea what I’m even aiming for.

It doesn’t look like the eye cares for, or even sees, physical distance. My best guesses of important parameters are focus, brightness, and how large the stimulus area is compared to the eye’s field of view. So it’s not obvious that more screen distance is always better.

Clearly, I can’t predict how my eyes will react to a given setup. So for now, I’ll try to play it “safe” and attempt to get close to the setup I had while my logs showed improvement.

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Yep! Great, duly noted! I’ll see what I can do; ultimately, if I get back on track, the plan is to gradually expand this operation. But I can’t make any promises for now, because the conditions of using this on other people (without making a target of myself) might be complicated.

True. But the biggest source of stress is the lack of improvement, so it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem to explain where it comes from. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Started and am still doing 16/8 intermittent fasting, just as an everyday habit. No special reason, I’m not particularly trying to lose weight, it just seems like a healthy idea. I always have a glass of water around to make sure I drink enough, and fasting is water only.

Yea, it’s weird how water is healthier than most drinks and costs almost nothing. And your teeth should thank you for it as well!

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Before I came to Endmyopia, I used to consult another blog, of which the blogger also reached 20/20 naturally. He had an optometrist who he trusted, and said that he had his axial length rechecked when he was stably seeing 20/20, but the axial length did not return to normal right the way, and might never be completely normal.

Based on this account, I suspect that the change in axial length actually drags behind visual performance. I would also argue that axial length can be correlated with visual performance, but the relationship is not linear because there are other confounding variables in the equation (curviness of cornea, thickness and flexibility of lens, etc) that are probably also dynamic.

It is a bit like someone who tries to lose weight by exercising. At beginning, he can barely run 100 meters without feeling like passing out. With training, he can progressively run 5km, 10km or even 21 km without any breaks. Yet, his weight may not decrease right the way. In fact, he may gain some weight due to increased muscle mass. Weight is really not a perfect indicator of his physical performance. With more patience, his weight will eventually go down.

You see what I was trying to say here?

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This is VERY interesting, but what were the AL values, and how much time passed? Can you direct me to this blog, or anything about it I can search in archives?

Like this, your comment says almost nothing, because he could have reduced 0% or 80% of his AL, and it could have taken one week or ten years. Please give me any further details you know!

By this analogon, I’d be some 200 kg and wrecking my joints with long-distance running. Might as well consider surgery if that’s what we are actually doing here.

My myopia is axial. If I can’t reduce AL, I can’t reverse my myopia by any reasonable definition of reversal.

@Varakari Can it be that just having less light in winter increases the blur and makes the difference from your prescription too large for good stimulus? I remember reading you had issues with too much undercorrection. In my case, I can observe ~0.25 or more difference with an overcast sky.

Also, interesting things you are doing with your axis measurements, keep us posted!

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This is a great hypothesis! I thought about it before, but maybe not for long enough!

After looking at the numbers again, this is plausible. If I assume that the darkness increases the required lens power by more than 0.25 dpt, and the correction I improved with before was barely enough, then I might have dropped below the level of distance clarity I need.

It’s weird because the blur levels Jake talks about are so much higher. But blur adaptation always seemed to be an issue for me. I sometimes have the feeling that my eyes don’t “active focus” the way it’s usually described, but rather pick to always or never focus properly over longer periods.

I actually feel silly, now that you say this. It definitely belongs high up in the list of theories why my improvement was so sluggish since late September. I thought about this only mathematically, in the sense of ratios between blur of color channels etc, but I might have nerd-sniped myself in the foot by forgetting that a local focus/defocus check on the retina might stop working there’s any type of high blur, including the type of blur you get with myopic defocus and a wide-open pupil.

Thank you very much for this idea! I will go over the numbers again and consider stepping back up to -3 on dark days.

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