So, I’m not sure if you know but I’m nearly crosseyed.
But I don’t think the optometrists in the small town where I grew up knew how bad it was, or what to do about it.
Fast forward to college and my eyesight was getting worse (likely from all the close work and lack of good movement nutrition for the eyes). It was getting increasingly harder to keep a single, fused image, and an hour or two of reading left my eyes funky for the rest of the day.
It was (and is) a constant source of frustration and stress.
But in my junior year of college I decided (with the help of my parents) to drop some serious cash and do 3 months of vision therapy. It helped…kinda. But the doctor said I needed 9-10 months of therapy and I only went for three because it was so excruciatingly inconvenient and boring.
I had to carry around a bunch of vision therapy equipment with me everywhere I went and it required 1 hour of various vision exercises every. single. day. If that wasn’t enough, the hour had to be broken up into six 10 minute sessions spread throughout the day.
But my vision therapist was a smart dude. Here was his reasoning and the lessons I took from it:
1. When you’re rewiring the brain-body connection, FREQUENCY and TIMING are critical.
One 60 minute session is NOT equal to six 10 minute sessions.
The most critical periods for rewiring the brain-body connection happen right after you wake up, 20-45 minutes after you wake up, and right before you go to sleep.
My vision therapist said the other sessions weren’t as important but these three were CRITICAL.
2. Don’t Take Rest Days
I had to do this every single day for three months. No rest days. If you really want to solidify new abilities, daily practice is required.
Within the limits of tissue health and integrity, if there’s something that’s REALLY important to you, do it every day. There are no rest days – only days where you may move a little bit less. There is never a time when your body tissues are not under some kind of load. Gravity is always in effect. (Read Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman).
For me, this means daily movement and mobility work (and daily vision training).
3. Switch It Up (But Not Too Much)
The program from my vision therapist almost reminded me of a strength training program. It had enough consistency to ensure progress but enough variety to avoid stagnation. It was beautifully periodized to avoid plateaus. It’s a fine line to walk but you need consistency within variation, and variation within consistency. Progress always comes from what you HAVE NOT DONE (or haven’t done enough).
What does it mean for you?
How can you apply these principles to your movement practice?
Let me know in the comments.