I’ve been busy with work and school lately, so I’ve decided that I really need to focus just on the vision improvement techniques that have helped me. While some techniques may become more or less beneficial for me over time, I want to focus on the ones that I know have helped me. I’ve decided to list the methods (with who taught the method) I’ve tried and their effect on me:
- Palming (Bates): This technique definitely makes my eyes feel more relaxed. If I’ve been wearing my glasses for too long or I’ve been focusing too hard, my eyes will feel better after palming. However, my vision has never been significantly improved after palming.
- Long Swings (Bates): This method was somewhat relaxing mentally, but my vision was not improved afterward.
- Sunning (Bates): This method feels good on my eyes. I enjoy the warmth of the sun and my eyes feel more relaxed after sunning. While colors seem brighter after extended sunning, my visual acuity was not improved.
- Flashing (Bates): This method is simple and has improved my visual acuity temporarily. When I’ve done flashing in front of the eye chart, the letters were clearer and blacker each time I opened my eyes.
- Sketch, breathe, blink (Quackenbush): I haven’t been able to simultaneously sketch, breathe fully, and blink often for any extended period of time, but I like the simplicity of these vision habits. The sketching definitely helped me keep my eyes moving, but my visual acuity wasn’t really improved by focusing on these three habits.
- Open Focus (Liberman): This technique makes my eyes and body feel relaxed and improves my vision in a similar way to Bates’ flashing method.
- Energy Exercise (Angart): This technique is supposed to remove old energy and replace it with new energy/chi in your eyes. I tried it a few times to see if it had any effect; my eyes, body, and visual acuity were unchanged afterward.
- String Exercise (Angart): While this exercise seemed like it should be helpful as you are gradually trying to push out your range of clear vision, it also had no effect on me. It is supposed to work work like the progressive overload principle of increasing muscle strength. Of course, Bates believed that poor vision was caused by mental strain not weak eye muscles.
- Coming and Going Exercise (Angart): This was another stretching/strengthening exercise targeted at the oblique muscles of the eyes. It also had no effect on my vision.
- Active Static Stretching (DeAngelis): While it felt somewhat good to stretch my eye muscles in all directions, this exercise did not improve my visual acuity.
- Contraction/Relaxation/Blinking (DeAngelis): I don’t know why I practiced this exercise for such long periods of time in the past (sometimes for two straight hours). The contraction/relaxation procedure is supposed to relax and gradually strengthen your eye muscles over time, increasing your visual acuity. The exercise did not improve my vision, and it made my eyes feel very sore and uncomfortable. Again, I don’t know why I practiced this technique more than once or twice. I guess DeAngelis’ book was really convincing to me at the time. 😕
Based on my above experiences, it seems the techniques that most improve my visual acuity are flashing and open focus; the methods that help my eyes/body relax physically are palming, sunning, and long swings. Since Liberman’s “seeing the flash” procedure of using open focus incorporates the flashing method, I’ll just work on practicing open focus as the main means of improving my visual acuity. I’ll also use palming, sunning, or long swings when I feel compelled as a way to increase my level of relaxation.
I’ve reread about half of Liberman’s book Take Off Your Glasses and See, and I’ve learned many new concepts and ideas that I didn’t remember from the last time I read the book. While Liberman teaches the goal of effortless vision by practicing open focus, Bates taught the goal of removing mental strain through the consistent practice of his vision improvement techniques (palming, shifting, sunning, etc.). However, even half way through Liberman’s book, I can tell that he has the same endpoint as Bates: Liberman’s effortless vision/living is the exact same state as Bates’ central fixation of the mind.
The quick cures that were described in Bates’ writings, Liberman’s book, and other vision improvement books were almost always caused by some form of mental change; the people acquired a different perspective on how they thought about and saw the world around them. While consistent practice of relaxation techniques may improve one’s vision to a great degree over time, I feel that 20/20 or better vision can only be obtained if one has some sort of mental shift as the people in my vision books did. One needs to see the world physically and mentally as he did before his visual acuity started to decline. Thus, I will mainly practice Liberman’s open focus technique as it improves my visual acuity and relaxes my mind, which leads to clearer thoughts and feelings overall for me. I look forward to the positive changes a continuous state of open focus will have on my vision and mind.