My new thoughts

Lately I haven’t been using my Snellen chart as I feel that I’ve been using it wrong (or at least in a way that will not promote vision improvement).  This is based upon two things.  First, my readings have been the same for a long time.  They generally go from 10/200 to 10/50 when I use some Bates technique.  However, the starting number is never lower and the ending number is never really lower.  While this was temporarily effective, my default visual acuity never changed.  Therefore, it seems that I was using an effort to bring the number down within the practice sessions.

Second, I’ve been reading a lot of posts on the Outlook Insights (Effortless Vision) forums that seem to point out how I was using the Snellen chart the wrong way.  Basically, I’ve been using the Snellen chart as a test instead of an indicator to when a Bates technique had reduced my mental strain.  When I was trying to get a lower reading, I was concentrating too hard since I knew what the blurry letters should be.  I believe now that the most effective way to use the Snellen chart is to regard the letters as shapes or designs and not a form of written communication that I need to figure out.  This belief seems to be supported by the ideas I read from Bates, MacCracken, and Robert (from the Effortless Vision website).  So, I think I will mostly use the chart in this way from now on and not record daily readings (testings 😦 ).  However, I will occasionally do tests with the Snellen chart by just looking at it for a few seconds and noting what my default visual acuity is.

On to another topic, I tried the longer palming session while playing the fly game last week.  I did this for about 20 minutes, and my vision was not improved afterword.  While this at first upset me, I later used the experience as a learning tool.  First, my shoulders were sore and tightened up by the end, so it is obvious that I hadn’t relaxed my mental strain (which always precedes the relaxation of physical strain).  Second, I discovered that it was very difficult for me to sit in the same position for that long.  Whenever I am sitting for the computer, a meal, or television, I change my sitting position every 5-10 minutes; I either move the arrangement of my legs, change my posture, or change how reclined I am.  Based on this fact about my usual behavior, it’s obvious to me why I was not relaxed during or after the long palming session.  What I’ve learned from that experience is that palming will only be beneficial to me if I do it in sessions of no more than 10 minutes and generally in the range of under 5 minutes.

Since the palming didn’t seem to help me relax, I started to read about swinging on the Outlook Insights forum (which I registered in today 🙂 ).  This gave me many helpful ideas for long swings: lead the twisting movement with your hips, notice the motion blur and oppositional movement, the slower you can swing while still seeing the motion blur the more beneficial the activity is for your vision.  Anyway, I’ve started using long swings more since I’m able to do them for longer periods of time (because of the involved movement as opposed to stillness).

Some final miscellaneous observations I’ve had recently are:

  • If I breath deeply while focusing on filling up my ribcage, I feel a minor soreness or pain behind my arms (where my teres major and minor muscles are located).  However, if I focus on filling up my abdominal area, there is no pain.  This sort of changes my thinking that Quackenbush’s emphasis on abdominal breathing was not natural; it now seems that abdominal breathing is less stressful for me 😐 .
  • I agree with Robert that Bates’ “shifting” is more natural than Quackenbush’s “sketching”.  I’ve been using shifting instead of sketching when I’m aware of how I’m using my eyes.
  • The goal of all vision improvement work should be to relax mental strain.  Once this is accomplished, all the components of clear vision (shifting, central fixation, the universal swing, imagination, memory) will naturally take place.

4 thoughts on “My new thoughts

  1. Nancy says:

    Nice to see you on Effortless Vision — there’s a lot of good info there. Babies & animals belly-breathe (watch a sleeping dog or infant). This is natural & healthy; the lungs should fill from bottom to top & empty in the opposite direction. They are 3-dimensional so if you’re really breathing right you should be able to feel a slight expansion in your sides & back as well as in the front when you inhale deeply. Esther of the Visions of Joy site is a breathing coach as well as a Bates teacher & has some breathing info on the website. Belly-breathing is a big focus in yoga.

  2. sorrisi says:

    Hi Mark,

    I hope you are doing well!

    I was thinking about this. I’m pretty sure you caught my posts which alluded to something similar – using the Snellen as a tool not a test. It’s difficult to get out of the testing mindset, I have to remind myself each time. It’s just practice. So it doesn’t even matter if the base value doesn’t change much, or if sometimes it’s worse. I find it’s most helpful to look at a line from some distance, then observe what I can do to improve my sight of that line. Reading the next line clearer is only a bonus. Even on days when I’m reading higher lines (technically worse vision), later I will have the best vision I’ve had in days. I think the practice must subconsciously help the practical vision. Perhaps this might help you? Being more aware of your vision throughout the day, and noticing its quality, not so much the number value of the Snellen chart. That way your attention is on the lessons you learned from the Snellen chart.

    just some thoughts of things you probably already figured out in the last weeks!

    PS I finally got the allusion with your screen name yesterday and looked it up.

  3. mark825 says:

    Nancy: The abdominal breathing is becoming more natural for me. I find myself breathing that way more of the time compared to in the past.

    Sorrisi: Thanks for the tips. I’m definitely trying to be more aware of my vision throughout the day without testing it. And I explain about my screen name on my About Me page, if you’re curious.

  4. sorrisi says:

    wow, how did I miss that! At least I finally got it in the end.

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