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Monthly Archives: July 2019

My vision has been getting worse and worse. I have never needed glasses and still don’t but things are trending towards that direction. Too much time in small spaces in front of a computer and phone and poor sleep contribute to the problem most likely. The scientific consensus is that eye exercises like the ones by Bates do not work. However, with my empirical and biased sample size of one, I am finding some minor improvements to my vision. My current guess is due to the low severity of my dysfunction is that what mostly needs to happen is less of a physical change but more of a neurological change. You can think of it as improving my eye technique.

The primary principles and experiences I’m drawing upon is Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais created a bunch of lessons on vision, likely inspired by Bates. In Feldenkrais’s lessons, they tend to be a more sophisticated expansion of Bates’s exercises (at least what I’ve come across with Bates). They are largely done eyes closed with the imagination being the primary movements. Lessons where the movements are done with the imagination rather than being actually done are on the lower ratio to real movements in Feldenkrais, but they produce a similar effect. My personal problem is that these imagination lessons are difficult and I feel that I am doing the imagined movements with far less precision despite the improvement by the end of the lesson. Thus the excursions I have done recently are all actual movements rather than imagined.

My primary focus has been my, erm, focus. The other eye movements I’ve come across involve moving the eyes in various ways, left, right, up, down and circles, but I’ve been playing around with my focus. Feldenkrais is primarily starting with what you can do rather than what you can’t, and in my case my eyes, especially my right eye has difficulty focusing on things that are far away. So, I usually use a piece of text that my right eye can focus or almost focus on, and I play around with adjusting my focus like using the focus ring on a camera lens. Currently I find it much easier to adjust my focus closer to me, but find it quite difficult to focus further than the piece of text. When I use both eyes, I can focus further fairly easily. What I’ve discovered as I change my focus back and forth is that my default focusing for the piece of text is incorrect. The default focus is a particular kind of feeling and that feeling is wrong for the purposes of a sharp image. When I do get the text sharp, it is somewhat difficult to keep it sharp as my eye wavers from the new sharp image back to the default slightly blurred image.

The two main Feldenkrais things I do during these explorations are to take lots of breaks and to play with variations on the focusing. Feldenkrais is often about smooth controlled movement, so each time I go through the process of refocusing I aim to get the focusing more smooth and less jerky. With vision, a lot of things tend to be bumpy in movement because it has to be quick to do things like changing your vision from gathering potatoes to seeing the bear charging at you from a distance. So another variation is to make the refocusing as quick as possible and in the words of Feldenkrais, “without hurrying”.

That’s mainly it. An important point is that when I’m doing single eye work I’m covering the other eye with my hand rather than keeping one eye closed unaided as the latter tends to result in strain for me. Further improvements to my vision require more research, especially with the anatomy of the eyes, but also the relation of the facial muscles, the tongue and throat, and the neck with vision, as there are Feldenkrais lessons that connect these.