I had some time to kill this morning so I decided to work on improving my eyesight. I sat down and tried focusing on some distant things. Affter an hour or so my eyesight dramatically improved. Whereas before anything more than a couple feet away from my face was blurry and fuzzy, I began to be able to see distant cars, people and buildings. I hadn’t been able to see this good in years without glasses. What follows is the not-so-exciting story of what I did during that hour.

I sat down under a shady tree and set to work…or more accurately, rest. I tried to read the address on the house across the street. No luck. I tried to read some street signs. Nothing. I looked at some signs at the bank one door down. Fuzzy.It’s hopeless, I thought.

I kept at it and slowly noticed that if I relaxed and tried to focus on the words they’d get less fuzzy. I tried this on several things without much effect.

I decided to test just how bad my eyesight was. I picked a sign that said:


as I will likely never forget. I started walking backwards… good, good, good… then fuzziness. I relaxed and tiried to focus and suddenly the words became clear. I kept walking backwards and got a fair distance before I was distracted. Ugh, everything was fuzzy again.

I walked back up until it came into focus and started walking back again. I repeated this process, walking forwards and backwards along the grass next to the sidewalk for a while (I wonder what the people thought of me) and noticed I was getting fathter each time! Wow, I was past the tree where I first sat down and couldn’t see anything. Suddenly cars and flowers came into focus better than Ithey’d had before at this distance. I was able to read some of the street signs if I tried hard.

I couldn’t believe my eyes (quite literally!) even without working to focus I was still able to see things better than usual. I decided to pick a shaded “NO PARKING any time” sign (it was much harder to see shaded things) and try my luck with that. I got a good distance back before I had to go home.

As I walked home I thought about the eye doctors—how could they sell people glasses when there was a workable alternative? Why wouldn’t they educate people like me about their eyes, or at least do more research into it? I cynically decided that they didn’t want to put the profits they made from selling glasses and eye prescriptions into jeopardy by teaching people how to make their eyes better instead of worse.

My parents thought my scheme was crazy nonsense. Some sort of placebo effect or some weird thing that wouldn’t work for anyone else. All I can say is that I can really see the difference now. Even measurements I’ve set up at home to test my eyes are now not only readible but clear.

I hope to continue this practice whenever I have time to spare or take a break. I’m sure I’ll report on my findings here.

posted July 20, 2002 10:12 PM (Personal) #


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A cure for nearsightedness?
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Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)