Hello! I’m Sharada. And this is my post (a record that I was a part of this community and a thank you to Jake).
I found Jake on YouTube on 21st January, 2019 when I was having a particular ‘woe is me’ kind of a moment. I was aimlessly browsing when Jake’s video popped up as a recommendation. Something about contacts not being that great for the eyes. I did not need any convincing to believe him. (Any kind of a fix/ shortcut/ artificial intervention has its own side-effects is my philosophy).
Flashback to childhood days as a professional bronchial patient – I was mostly on some kind of medication, or recovering from antibiotic doses which caused their own problems. Some of my earliest memories were of gasping for breath, or waking up in hospital. (Was even more difficult for my parents to watch by helplessly). By my teens, I had mostly recovered with only occasional attacks. Discovered neem leaves as an effective way to counter bronchitis. (Only much later in life, did I understand that self-experimentation is my way).
Anyway, how did I end up with myopia? I have always loved reading. But at 11, I discovered Mills and Boon and for 2 years, read voraciously (meaning in hiding = in torch light/ low light/ lots of closeup etc etc). By 13, I had blur and refused to go to the ophthalmologist for an eye check-up. By 14, kicking and screaming my mom dragged me off to the doctor’s. (little did I know then that though he conducted cataract operations/ LASIK and all sorts of other things, he did not know anything about reversing myopia. He still wears glasses as do his daughters). So, there I found myself, sitting in front of the doctor, feeling all sorts of remorse that I had done this to myself. His expression grave, he solemnly declared that I needed glasses, could switch later to contacts and consider LASIK once I was old enough and the number stable enough. I offered a counter suggestion, not knowing anything about myopia at the time. Maybe he could reduce my number little by little and my glasses would miraculously disappear?
He was not happy. Told me to first stabilise my number then let him worry about improving my vision. But I could eat carrots and have vitamin A tablets in the meanwhile. (He used almost the same words during my last visit with him in January of 2019, but by then my vision was -3.75 R, -3.50 L. Don’t remember with what diopter I started out with! I’m still unsure if I want to casually drop in for an eye exam once I reach 20/20. Would it be worth it to see his reaction?! Apart from being the family doctor, he lives in the next building and my grandfather and his father were good friends. He has a lucrative practise – may not be interested in natural vision improvement. Who reads these studies then if not doctors!!! Oh yeah, Endmyopians!)
Back to 2019 and Jake! I ditched my contacts right then and there. I still have them floating about in the lens solution as a memory (till the time it starts stinking up at least!). The next morning my journey began. Active focus, going for walks, getting used to glasses.
I tried active focus with the newspaper first. Right eye, left eye, both eyes. Was able to clear the blur immediately. Did not need differentials as I could read without specs. I was like a puppy. So excited! For a whole week! I could not believe it! That active focus would not disappear. I shifted my attention to more challenging stuff. My window overlooked a sign board. (around 200 metres away, as the crow flies; me on the 10th floor, it on the 1st floor). The whole thing was a giant blob of blur. I used to spend hours in that first week gazing away at it. I almost fell off my chair when I cleared one huge alphabet. It was like in those mythical, magical movies… when some holy person crosses a river and the waters part, to reveal a pathway. Something like that! It would clear up the alphabet – the word and the world outside the alphabet remained in blur. It was nuts and I was so happy! Was doing this without glasses (my theory: I had spent years and years in contacts, my natural focal plane. Maybe that’s why I could never achieve active focus in glasses).
After a week, I felt confident enough to tackle the doctor and ask for a reduced “subscription”. (I later on discovered that my glasses were the same number as my contacts. I think the good doc or someone in the admin messed up. And since I was so excited and did not bother to take centimetre measurements, I can only theorise what could/ may have happened. Both gave me 20/10 vision however). Anyhow, after seeing my doctor’s dour reaction (to a 0.25 reduction), in my desperation, I did reveal that my glasses were “too bright” in the sunlight. He checked his records and coolly reduced my number by .75 (me thinks, he realised that there was a mistake in the records at this time).
I ordered new frames and could hardly wait to try them on. I did a zero diopter reset and put on my new pair in the evening. Crystal clear vision! I didn’t know whether to be even happier or cry! Decided to try my luck at the optometrist just down the road. Had vowed to not open my mouth about my vision history. Just get the cold, hard number! My number! Turned out to be -2 for both eyes. Could read the 20/30 line with it. Optometrist wanted the business. I was overjoyed! (Till today, I struggle to understand why I did not measure my own centimetres (maybe just wanted the establishment to acknowledge? Maybe, that I would be discouraged with the fluctuating numbers. With active focus, I knew that I could clear up text. I felt confident. I felt it was doable. Getting my vision back. So, in retrospect, I am glad I did not measure).
Now that this worked on me, I decided to take the plunge. I finally did the 7-day guide(oops!), read up more, had already watched all the videos but revisited a few more. Every month, in the first week, went to the optometrist for a reduction. Could read the 20/30 line in the optometrist’s fairly dimly lit room. My aim was to use the glasses as less as possible and in sunlight have around 20/25 vision as I was out and about quite a lot. By June 2019, I had -0.75 glasses but night vision was a different matter altogether. Deluded myself that the .75s worked for me.
Went for a vision exam on 24th December, 2019. To another optometrist. In a mall. Just for the fun of it! I wanted to see how it would go! Jake’s videos had some very interesting things to say about mall optometrists. It was a big-name retail store chain to boot! The guys working there were very human though. Just doing their jobs, trying to meet sale targets. (they were sweet to me so I viewed them thus; had they been arrogant, I would have generalised and categorised them, mostly. Perspectives!). Anyway, they did all sorts of tests, even the duochrome one. If I bought the lenses from them, they would give me my number. But they showed me the paper with the numbers, which I could “read”. L -0.75, R -1.00 with -0.50 astigmatism.
By January, 2020 I went in for another reduction -0.50, which is where I’m now at in January, 2021. The difference between 2019 and 2020 is remarkable. I can active focus at night now, get clear flashes even (on the Snellen at night – mostly if I have not done too much computer work). I use my glasses rarely. With my -0.50 glasses at night, my left eye can see 20/15. Right eye requires -0.75 to see 20/25. In the shade, in the garden, Left manages to read the 20/10 on occasion. Right manages the 20/15 line. One day the visual cortex will get it. I envisage another year, year and a half to 20/20 or little better.
Now to @jakey. (Best part always comes at the end of the story)
I don’t have the brains or the language to even begin to know how to thank you. Thanks to you, I gave myself a chance. I had given up on so many things in life, including myself. You changed the way I looked at myself. Thanks to you and your ‘get outside/ find a hobby’ mantra, I walk for an hour regularly every day. Thanks to you, I have become healthier. Thank you so much, Jake for all that you do and all that you are!