(Disclaimer: This post has been inspired by the latest Shortsighted podcast episode with Greg. It won’t contain spoilers () but I highly recommend it!!)
(Disclaimer 2: this is not another “how to reduce” thread. Just hopefully a support thread for people whose reductions are taking time.)
So I have started to think that clearing up residual astigmatism is one of the easiest things to procrastinate on. Or rather, it is all too easy to “reduce too quickly” before the cylinder needs are completely gone. In my case, my full dioptre of astigmatism is a virtual non-issue in my -1.25D (with no cylinder). That is, I can read the 20/20 line, I guess well enough in artificial lighting. And I can barely notice any distortion outside during the day. It seems, then, reasonable to want to stop targeting it. Why would anyone wait to make another spherical reduction when they are seeing 20/20 in their norms? One could probably keep improving the myopia, without specifically improving the astigmatism. People with low cyl/sph ratio might actually get away with that. Or not. I’m not an eye guru.
But then in a lot of cases, making successive spherical reductions before the astigmatism is completely gone, one might find themself stuck in this situation of mine, where I see almost too well in my norms, but removing them, oh boy do I notice the astigmatism. And it’s incredibly frustrating in the last dioptre because stuff is clear enough to read across the street without glasses, and ghost images can make the difference between “barely readable” and “illegible”.
So if you have -.75D or more of stubborn astigmatism, there might come a time where it is the only obstacle to not needing glasses anymore. So I would think it is a reason to be more intentional about getting rid of it as soon as conveniently possible.
A lengthy introduction, I know.
I would love to know if you guys have experiences to share about how long cylinder reductions have taken, if they have been successful, favourite tips to speed them up, etc.
Below is my a priori suppositions for how this might work. Please feel free to add or correct anything that looks suspicious.
What makes astigmatism worse?
(that is, what specific set of bad habits can cause the eye to worsen at the level of one axis instead of uniformly becoming more myopic. The point is to become aware of possible lifestyle habits that are impeding improvement.)
From what I’ve gathered, one or several of these might be the culprit (keyword being might. I would love being corrected as, like Jon Snow, I know nothing.):
- Wearing cylinder correction on the wrong axis or beyond one’s needs.
- Looking for extended periods of time at a target that is not in the centre of vision. (example: computer screen is on the side instead of right in front of the user, reading or using the phone while lying sideways, etc.)
- Habits of looking in a certain direction by moving the eyes without moving the head.
When is a cylinder reduction considered successful?
If you see well in good lighting, it might not be enough. I am not sure if it is a form of (clinical) blur adaptation or if light just hides the weirdest aberrations, but be sure to check your vision at night.
- Are the moon, neon lights and digital clocks in darkness free of all distortion and/or ghosting in your normalised?
- Same point as the above, but in your next normalised. That is, did the increased spherical challenge reveal residual cylindrical challenge?
If so, it seems reasonable to me to consider the astigmatism gone. An optometrist’s confirmation is not necessary, but desirable.
I’ve been at it for months and it does not seem to go away, what to do?
- The challenge might be too big. Consider going up by introducing back some cylinder or by adding a little bit of spherical correction.
- You might not be getting enough stimulus. If there is not enough challenge during the day, try to use more regularly neon lights (or the moon) at night for active focus.
- If you have a fair amount of myopia left, consider maybe rescheduling your cylinder reduction and add in a few successful spherical reductions before the next attempt.
I hope this can be helpful, but again, input highly encouraged!