LIAM CHAI

How I’m Improving My Eyesight and Getting Rid of Glasses

*** This is a long post. Go directly to the resource guide if you want to skip the personal story.

In my post about not going to uni, I mentioned my eyesight and how getting a “clear flash” when I had high myopia ultimately led to my decision not to go to university. In this post I’ll elaborate more on my eyesight story.

I first got prescribed glasses when I was 8 years old. Growing up, we would go to church. One Sunday we arrived late and had to sit at the back of the hall. Lyrics were projected at the front and everyone would sing. That morning my dad noticed I wasn’t singing and asked if I could read the lyrics. I said no. A week later I had an eye test and was prescribed my first glasses. My prescription was something like L: -0.75 and R: -1.00.

Year after year my myopia would progressively get worse. It seemed every time I went in for an eye test my eyes got worse. Each year I would get an increase of -0.50 diopters or thereabouts. This kept going until I was 16 and had another eye test, my prescription was now L: -5.25 and R: -5.00, with a bit of astigmatism in the left eye.

It was during this eye test that my mum asked the optician if there was anything I could reverse the effects, or at least prevent it from getting worse. The optician said no. He said myopia was a genetic condition and that it might stabilise as I got older. I wasn’t satisfied with that answer. Later that night I googled, “how to improve my eyesight” and that started this whole journey.

The first information I came about was the Bates Method. There was very little I could find on the Internet but I found a PDF of his book, Perfect Sight Without Glasses. I read it and thought the ideas made sense. I tried a few techniques but with mixed success. I also read Aldous Huxley’s, The Art of Seeing, which was about his experience using the Bates Method.

The techniques seem to work, but I wasn’t completely convinced. The literature was more than 100 years old, and a lot of the cases back then were for low myopia. Bates recommended not using glasses at all, which was a suggestion I took on board at the time (but in hindsight this was not the best thing to have done).

At this point I was still figuring out if it was possible to improve my eyesight or not. It made sense in my mind that if my eyes got worse, they could also get better. It also did not make sense that evolution would create eyes that would have problems seeing in the distance because of genetics. Surely such genes would get eliminated pretty quick – it is a huge disadvantage to hunt or forage while having myopia. I also found the comparison of glasses to a pair of crutches interesting. If you broke your ankle you would be given crutches until your ankle healed, but you surely would not expect to rely on a pair of crutches for the rest of your life. Yet this was the case with glasses.

These were all hunches with no real evidence to back it up yet. Information on the topic was scarce. My optician told me flat out that what I was seeking was impossible. He said unless I got something like laser eye surgery, I could not improve them at all. In the resource guide I share links to why laser eye surgery isn’t a great idea.

Then I came across another book, The Secret of Perfect Vision. This book was better – more up to date, but again I wasn’t so sure about some of the things he recommended. Plus he was Italian and English was his second language, so the book was written quite badly, and difficult to understand.

Discovering the Right Method for Vision Improvement

It was only in 2013 that I felt I discovered the right method for vision improvement. This was 3 or 4 years after the initial eye test appointment that sparked it all off. I came across Todd Becker’s website with his ideas of hormetism, and the Frauenfeld Clinic (now EndMyopia.org). These two sites gave me the information I was after. There were success stories of people improving their eyesight, the methods made logical sense, and there were even research papers on the topic that I read through.

For a long time it felt like Liam vs. the Optometry Industry. Here I was, a naive and stubborn 16 year old thinking he knows more than a global multi-billion pound industry. But as I dived deeper I found others asking the same questions and today I feel comfortable sharing what I learned publicly. My eyesight has not fully recovered yet. It took eight years for my eyesight to deteriorate to the level it was at when I was 16 years old. This was eight years of poor vision habits, spending too much time playing video games, straining my eyes when things were blurry, not taking regular breaks, eating unhealthily etc. Now I’m shifting this trajectory the opposite way. I’ve been working to break bad vision habits, implement healthy ones and continually apply a positive stimulus so that my eyesight moves back to 0.00 diopters, or 20/20 vision. I share links for the how-to of vision improvement below.

When I first started vision improvement practices, I decided to go without glasses immediately. I thought I had found a cure for it, and I wanted to get rid of them ASAP. There was a psychological part of wearing glasses that needed addressing. During the eight years of wearing them every day, I hated them. I hated how they looked on my face, I hated how I couldn’t see without them. I hated the headaches I got from wearing them. When I first heard about vision improvement, I got rid of them immediately. My brain then started ‘blur adapting’ – my eyesight was still blurry, but my brain would adapt so that I could still function without seeing things clearly. At this point, I did not yet have the right method, but I couldn’t bear wearing glasses anymore.  This brought me into a catch-22 situation where I knew it would benefit my eyesight if I wore lower prescription glasses, but I didn’t want to wear them at all. Plus I also felt like I could go ‘gung-ho’ on the method and be very aggressive in my improvements.

That worked to some extent, meditation certainly helped with not reacting to the added blur, which in normal cases would cause a ton of strain on the eyes, resulting in poorer eyesight. Instead, despite the not-so-ideal conditions, my eyesight improved during this time.

Today, I still don’t wear glasses. I’ve made some big improvements. On sunny days when I am outside, my vision is close to 20/20. At night time, or in indoor spaces with poor lighting I would benefit from wearing low prescription lenses (-1.50) then. I do sometimes wear them at home, or if I’m taking a walk alone at night. But I avoid wearing them in social settings because the conversations that come up are not ones I want to have yet. I do keep a pair of -1.50 glasses in my bag though.

I’m currently on a plateau with my improvement gains. Vision improvement can be likened to weight training. You need to vary up the exercises and increase the weights in order to keep making muscle gains. But I’ve gotten comfortable with my vision. It’s good enough that I can work on my laptop without glasses. I can use public transport fine – I can read the train times, maps etc. So my eyesight is ‘good enough’ now. But there are still gains to be made, especially for night time vision and greater stability of high quality eyesight throughout the day (for example, after big meals my eyesight sometimes isn’t as sharp).

Vision improvement is a skill. If I want to move past this plateau I will need to do more deliberate practice. In Cal Newport’s new book, Deep Work, he offers a formula:

High Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

I reworked the formula to apply specifically to vision improvement:

High Quality Vision = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Active Focus)

That is what I need to work on – more time active focusing to clear the blur. Working on increasing the sharpness and clarity of my eyesight. I know what i need to do, I just need to do it.

Seven Things I Discovered About Myopia and Glasses

  1. It is possible to improve your eyesight and no longer need glasses.
  2. It takes time to improve. My eyesight got worse gradually (from -1.00 when I was 8 years old to -5.00 when I was 16). My eyesight is now getting better gradually. I suspect it will take me a few more years to fully reverse my myopia (depending on my consistency of practice).
  3. The cause of myopia is not 100% genetic. For most people it is largely environmental.
  4. Laser eye surgery might be a ‘quick-fix’, but it is not a long-term solution and can have serious complications.
  5. Opticians have an incentive to make myopia more widespread in order to sell more glasses.
  6. Vision is very dynamic. A ‘one-size fits all’ glasses prescription is not adequate for the varying factors affecting visual acuity.
  7. Thus, the large majority of glasses wearers use them improperly, resulting in higher prescriptions.

What I am sharing here is not very common knowledge, especially among people who wear glasses. I was told it was impossible to improve my eyesight. But my experience tells me otherwise.

I don’t want to pretend like I am an eyesight improvement expert. While I probably know much more than a random person off the street I don’t feel comfortable explaining or teaching it. Instead I’ve created a resource guide below for further reading on the topic of eyesight improvement.

Why Bother Learning This?

If the reasons why you might want to investigate this issue further are not obvious, here are four points to consider.

 

Resource Guide

The best place to start is to watch this video by Todd Becker titled, Myopia: A Modern Yet Reversible Disease:

It is quite a long video, but I would thoroughly recommend watching it through if you are serious about learning more about myopia.

Besides the video, I would also check out these two posts by Todd Becker: Improve Eyesight and Throw Away Your Glasses and FAQ for Vision Improvement.

Overview of the Method

The FAQ For Vision Improvement by Todd Becker really is the go-to guide for this.

What causes myopia?

The video goes into the causes quite a bit, but you can read more about the cause of myopia in this post: Understanding Your Eyes

Can’t I just cure my myopia with laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery isn’t a cure for myopia. It is more like inserting permanent glasses into your eyeballs by crafting them into a certain shape. This comes with significant risk, and even if it could be 100% risk free the treatment is not permanent. Many people who get laser eye surgery still end up needing glasses a few years later because they were never taught good vision habits. Laser Eye Surgery: Are You Putting Your Eyes at Risk?

Why has my optician not told me about this?

In places like Latvia and Russia, opticians are actually hesitant to prescribe glasses. When there is no profit motive to sell glasses, opticians are more focused on the long-term well being of their patients. When the increase of myopia means greater profits for the optometry industry, incentives become skewed. It is similar to the prescription drug industry where pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money marketing to doctors. Read more about how myopia drives profit.

What about child myopia?

Preventing & Reversing Child Myopia

Research Papers

Using Natural STOP Growth Signals to Prevent Excessive Axial Elongation and the Development of Myopia – I Morgan and P Megaw, 2004

Homestasis of Eye Growth and the Question of Myopia – Josh Wallman and Jonathan Winawer, 2004

Incremental Retinal-Defocus Theory of Myopia Development – George K. Hung and Kenneth J. Cluffreda, 2007

Mistakes to Avoid

 

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this post valuable. I made a lot of mistakes in my eyesight improvement journey and I hope sharing this will help others avoid them. I spent a lot of time faffing around and did not understand the practice properly. I really hated my glasses so when I first learned about these methods I wanted to get rid of them ASAP. Don’t rush into this! (I.e. don’t throw your glasses away immediately). I’m learning this lesson the hard way. The keyword here is small steps. Small improvements. Small changes. It does work, but it requires patience and consistency.

Good luck!



33 responses to “How I’m Improving My Eyesight and Getting Rid of Glasses”

  1. Trishna says:

    This is amazing to read about Liam, thanks so much for sharing so authentically and so fully, including all these amazing resources for people who find themselves in a similar situation! If my children’s vision ever suffers, I’m coming here first to check out your handy resource guide 🙂

    By the way I just read a few other blog posts on here and they are wonderful 🙂 Thanks to the Awakin calls team who shared some links on your bio!

  2. John says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just come accross your blog and i to want to improve my eyesight.

    Could yoou tell me how much you have improved and how long it has taken you?

    How ong do you normally print push daiy? also do you do any other exercises other than print pushing?

    Thank you for any assistance or advice you may have.

    • liamchai says:

      Hey John,

      I’ve improved to the point that during the daytime I am fine without glasses. At night time, or indoors with bad lighting I do still carry around a pair of glasses (-1.50) that I will use occasionally if I feel I am straining my eyes. Generally I am working more with double vision rather than blur now (my eyes have improved but the brain is still figuring out how to fuse the two slightly different images from each eye). My visual acuity has also become a sort of barometer for my stress levels / wellbeing levels. My mental wellbeing, what I eat, whether I’ve been staring at a screen all day etc show up by way of poorer eyesight. It makes me extra vigilant about the sort of lifestyle I am leading, which I feel is a positive thing for myself.

      The general rate of improvement from the forums on Todd Becker’s website and Endmyopia.org is about 0.25 to 0.75 diopters of improvement per year, depending on how persistent you are with the practices and how well you can avoid bad vision habits.

      Besides print pushing there is ‘pull focusing’ which is similar except for objects further out in the distance (e.g car licence plates, signboards – as far as you can get really). If you have low myopia (less then -2.50) you can practice this without glasses generally, but at higher levels you might need to wear ‘undercorrections’ – glasses that are about 2 diopters weaker than your official prescription.

      Re your question about how long I print pushing for – as much as possible really. You can practice anywhere you can notice sharpness of vision and blur. The main thing first is to try and get rid of bad vision habits.. I still struggle with this sometimes, especially while using my phone.

      Todd Becker really is the go-to guy for this. His video (above) is hugely valuable and he is also very active on the forums/email so if you have questions do email him too.

      Hope that is helpful. I am away on retreat until the 30th so I won’t be able to reply till then.

      Liam

  3. ambar says:

    Hi liam….
    I need some help…
    I’ve weak eyesight of more than 5…
    Please tell me how u improved…. Its very important for my future carrier… I’m in 2nd year…. So plzzzzz tell me something with which I’ll be able to improve my eyesight round about 2 so I can apply easily for everything next….

  4. alica says:

    Hi Liam

    Thank you so much, really inspired me. So relieved to read about someone that has gone through a similar experience. I really resonate with your feelng regarding not wearing glasses. I ve never wanted to wear glasses and I have rarely used them but my eyesght kept worsening coupled with hat you call blurred adaptation (that I did not know it had a name until today). I have been so intent on not wearing that at one point I forgot what it was to see clearly until the optometrician forced me to wear them again and oops my bad I was seeing half of the world.
    I have -3 diptries now and I am so done with this hate it.Love how well you described the process but I have a few questons:
    1.In order to do print pushing can I read from a computer-my books are all Pdfs?
    2.-why is it that when you dont wear glasses at all the eyes dont work? shouldnt they be working full speed to adapt to all the blur?
    3.-what kind of meditation did you use-10 mintes a day?
    3.-Is there any specific diet to follow or food to avoid besides junk food and alcohol?

    If you have a moment to answer that would be great. If not thank you a lot anyway for sharing-specially the blurring part, very useful to know that other person also was so stubborn to do it 😉

    • liamchai says:

      1.In order to do print pushing can I read from a computer-my books are all Pdfs?

      Yes, I’ve done this myself and it does work the same, although I prefer print pushing with text on paper.

      2.-why is it that when you dont wear glasses at all the eyes dont work? shouldnt they be working full speed to adapt to all the blur?

      Becoming myopic is often a very gradual process. When you get a full prescription glasses without proper knowledge about how or when to use them, in my experience I found my eyesight got worse. My eyes got habituated to the prescription of the glasses, and then I got even higher prescriptions. So when I did take them off, the blur was way way way more than when I initially got blurry vision. A case could be made that if I was never prescribed glasses, but instead behavioural change for better vision habits, my eyes would have naturally corrected itself within weeks of practice.

      3.-what kind of meditation did you use-10 mintes a day?

      You can read this post on how I meditate.

      3.-Is there any specific diet to follow or food to avoid besides junk food and alcohol?

      In my experience sugary foods tend to give me spikes and big fluctuations in my vision. this also inlcudes high carb foods. In the past I found paleo diets to be the best, although I’ve turned veggie/vegan for ethical reasons now so I am searching for a balance that is both ethical and good for my body too.

      Also I found intermittent fasting to be very good for vision.

  5. John says:

    Hi Liam,

    Is there any chance you’ll be doing an update on your progress so far?

  6. Allison Newby says:

    Amazing. I’ve just recently had to goback to using my older weaker glasses BC I broke my other pair in half. Yay. But for 3-4months using the old glasses my eyesight has improved. I am a -5.00 now in a -4.25 . when I asked the optrician if bad eyesight was reversible he laughed in my face, but to my eyes apparently it is reversible and now there more proof of that in reading your article. Thanks and glad to have stumbled across your read,

    • liamchai says:

      Dear Allison,

      That’s fantastic, great to hear how that turned out to be a blessing :-).

      I recently found out there’s a very active Facebook group with almost 1,500 people in it improving their eyesight, so you’re definitely not alone :-).

      https://m.facebook.com/groups/560893680770705
      And thanks for taking the time to write a comment!

      With hugs,
      Liam

  7. Dhwanit Mishra says:

    Please check your mail, Liam. Thanks. 🙂

  8. ashwin says:

    I went through your article but i did not understand what remedies u followed towards normalising your vision. Kindly suggest some.

  9. Penzy says:

    Hey…this is so inspiring. Iv gotten to a point where I literally hate my glasses. Could you please guide me on how to go about this process…I really want to start.

    • liamchai says:

      Hey Penzy,

      Not a great idea to hate glasses – I made that mistake. We want to use glasses skillfully in order to reverse the symptoms of myopia. It’s a lot of self-learning you’ll have to do though and the recommended reading part of this post is a very good start. Otherwise the Youtube channel Endmyopia is also creating awesome content.

      Thanks for the comment and good luck! 🙂

      Liam

  10. Priyanka says:

    The article is really useful.I have a poor eyesight of around -7.00.Even if I wear specs I’m not able to see clearly the things written on board from the last benches which my friends can see easily without specs.Plzz suggest.

  11. suhaib says:

    I am -4 both eyes with a little astigmatism and eye floaters, I don’t wear my glasses at all except when I watch TV . any suggestions on wearing glasses plzzzzzz

    • liamchai says:

      Hi Suhaib,

      I don’t recommend just ditching glasses if you actually still need them to see well. The main learning point when you are starting out is to understand the ‘diopter bubble’. See here:
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X7g4WLoo3WU

      So wearing your full prescription glasses for close up work (eg computer, mobile phone or reading) is not a great idea. At -4 it’ll be tough to not wear glasses and still use your computer so that’s when differential prescriptions are necessary. See here:
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=E_STOn8NjzM

      Not a short answer. Spend time reading and learning as much as you can before making any glasses changes. It’s a long journey but definitely worthwhile. Good luck and thanks for the comment.

  12. suhaib says:

    So differentials for near work butwhat about distance vision, how many dioptres less than normal? And currently I use glasses – 3.50 –3 soooo?

    • liamchai says:

      For distance that’s called the Normalised Prescription. Have you printed off a snellen chart? Jake recommends having your first normalised allow you to see 20/30 or 20/40 on the snellen chart. (Gets a little complicated because now we’re not using diopters, although I think there is a conversion somewhere..)

      The basic gist is you want slightly less than full prescription so your eyes have something to work with – full prescription basically means no chance for your eyes to improve. A slightly reduced one where you can still see fairly sharp for most tasks but looking at distance objects allows you to do active focusing still.

  13. Saurabh Maheshwari says:

    Hi Liam
    My name is saurabh and I have poor eyesight of power -4 in both eyes. Can you please suggest me some effective help. I am fed up of wearing glasses. Please help

  14. Ian Pio says:

    Helloo Liam,

    I understand that workin on your myopia automatically improves astigmatsm. Please do let me kno how you dealt with Cylinder values. When dropping diopters with each pair,did you gradually decrease Spherical only or decrease both Spherical and Cylinder equally? Is there any ratio(Spherical vs Cylinder) that i need to understand in this process?
    Thank you.

    Ian

  15. Daisie says:

    Hey I’m 14 and I I have the same thing but I am homeschooled and because of this I must be on my computer for a normal school day. Any tips ?

    • liamchai says:

      Hi Daisie,

      Thanks for the comment! This video would be a good start to learn about the ‘diopter bubble’:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QzzkC6qIpV0

      If you have to be on a computer all day try to make sure you take as many breaks as possible where you can gaze out into the distance. Looking up out a window for 20 seconds every 20 minutes is a good start but longer breaks after 1.5 hours is good to have too.

      The eyes are dynamic and work best when the focal plane keeps changing. Using a computer if you’re just fixed on it for hours at a time the focal plane is static and so the eyes ‘seize up’ – imagine holding a grocery bag for hours at a time without moving your muscles. The muscle eventually spasms and can lock up. Regular breaks help prevent this from happening.

      Do you currently wear glasses?

  16. Chelsee Miller says:

    Hi Liam! I’m currently doing vision improvement and its tough! I’ve been at it for 7 months following some of Todds advice and some of Jake’s. just out of curiosity, have you seen an optometrist throughout your improvements? Have they confirmed your findings, if so, what do they say? I have an appt coming up and am REALLY hoping they find I’ve improved a little!

  17. Nadia says:

    Hey Liam,
    I was searching for ways to get rid (or rather reduce) my myopia and I stumbled across your interesting article. I’m 19yo and -4 on both eyes and I don’t wear my glasses unless I’m using technological devices. I don’t need them to read because I can see clearly everything. Would you recommend that? What can I do to improve my eyesight?

    • liamchai says:

      Hi Nadia,

      If you can read without wearing glasses then yes that is recommended. The -4 would have been prescribed so you can see clearly in the distance and wearing them for close up will create a huge strain on your eyes.

      The next step to actually start improving is to learn how to active focus:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QzzkC6qIpV0

      Then you can start working out how to get a normalised prescription for yourself. If you search for that on the endmyopia.org website that would be a good place to start,

  18. Frank says:

    hi, could you just tell me what Todd’s mail is?

  19. Richa says:

    Hi
    Actually i could not understand what we have to to do to remove spectacles.
    Please give me a reply

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