December 1st

Eye Exercises  ⁄  Controlling the Visual Axes

To improve your vision, it is important to understand the direction of the visual axes and the intersection point when looking at visual objects at different distances. In the last exercises, we found out that while gazing at close objects, the visual axes converge, and while moving the gaze to far-away objects, the visual axes diverge.  When people with myopia are looking into the distance, a lot of them do not visualize an intersection point for the object. One myopic person told me: «When I look at people, I direct my sight not at their faces, but at the air between me and them.» I was surprised that he understood how he saw things. Usually myopes do not clearly understand how they use their eyes. I have observed many people with myopia and have noticed that in most cases they can not play the inner game of vision. This term was created by the tennis coach Timothy Gallwey in his book The Inner Game of Tennis:

“In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.”

I mean The Inner Game of Vision when I tell you about extraocular muscle sense, warm-up exercises, relaxation massage, imagining visual axes and an intersection point, the fusion of left and right eye images. All this skills are relating to the level 1 of the inner game for developing the basic conditions. Soon I will tell you about some techniques to create flashes of clear vision, zooming of eye sight and other techniques relating to the level 2 of the inner game. The highest level 3 will be presented with The Space Games. In this lesson, you will learn how to control divergence with the help of your imagination and muscle sense. I will show you pictures to help you imagine (inner game) and pictures that you can see (outer game).

Lesson 14 – Controlling the Visual Axes

Look at the picture below. Direct your sight at the cross between the circles. When your visual axes are crossed on the monitor, you see one red and one green circle.


Hold your index finger between your nose and monitor. If you see it doubled and both images of the finger are equally bright, it means that both eyes participate equally in the visual act. The picture below shows what you can see in this case of The Outer Game of Vision:


Now the visual axes are converged and you can feel strain in the extraocular muscles at the bridge of the nose. The medial rectus muscles are working. In the diagram below you see the direction of the visual axes. If you feel the muscles and imagine the direction of the axes, you’re beginning to play The Inner Game of Vision:


Now relax the medial rectus muscles and move the intersection point of the visual axes from the cross to an imaginary point behind the monitor as if you are looking into the distance. If both eyes participate equally in vision, the image of each circle will double. Ok, the divergence is complete. You can see two red circles, two green ones, and two crosses between them as in the picture below. You will notice that during divergence of the visual axes, the strain of the medial rectus muscles at the bridge of the nose decreases. If a person finds it easy to do this exercise, then he usually has a low degree of myopia. If it is hard to do this exercise, the person usually has medium or high myopia.  The picture below is what you should see while doing this exercise and it shows The Outer Game of Vision:


Now incline your head a little to the right or to the left so that both pairs of circles unite at one level. Control the medial and lateral rectus muscles. Try to fuse the middle circles. The picture below shows what you can see with fusion of the middle circles if both eyes work simultaneously. Such eyes work is called the ambidexterity. Middle circle opalescence shows the retina’s struggle for leadership. It is an impressive show of  The Outer Game of Vision:


The diagram below shows the placement of the visual axes like part of  The Inner Game of Vision:


It is necessary to understand that the intersection point of the visual axes is actually behind the screen surface. Most of these exercises are based on imagination, understanding, and control of the intersection point of the visual axes. If  both eyes participate in vision, the images fuse and the intersection point is a point of binocular fixation. In looking around at objects, we move a point of bifixation in three-dimensional space by means of smooth pursuit movements and fast saccadic movements.

Love your eyes. Respect your eyes. Take care of your eyes.

Dr. Arkadiy Davydov

14 Responses

  1. Controlling the visual axes | The Inner Game:

    11.12.2009 at 14:20 #

    Controlling the visual axes. In this article, posted in the For Better Vision blog, Dr. Arkadiy Davydov shares his theory on the “Dynamic Fixation Method to Control Nearsightedness”

  2. Doc:

    12.12.2009 at 10:59 #

    Thanks, Mr. Gallwey! I’m teaching my daughter to improve her tennis with help of The Inner Game of Tennis. I’m teaching my myopic patients to play The Inner Game of Vision for better eyesight. Great concept!

  3. mat:

    28.12.2009 at 23:30 #

    Today, the third day on the december 1st exercises, Controlling Visual Axes, I could do it. It was a very pleasant feeling to have the medial muscles uncramp and be able to relax them bit by bit. At the same time something opened up on both sides of the nose bridge, enabling me to breath more freely thru the nose. Then it was revealing to discover that these axes exist and can be played with.
    I also think, that the word ‘intersection’ at the object one is looking at, has literally opened new vistas.
    While looking at houses in the distance, I thought, no wonder so many students end up with glasses: it seems natural that the eyes are made for distant looking and if one spends years and even decades reading etc, at very close distances, the medial muscles go rigid. It is unfair to burden young people with glasses, when it should still be easy to handle this problem. Personally, I feel betrayed by the eye doctors who were so ”kind and helpful”. Last summer, almost 30 years later, I went for a test and this eye doctor advised glasses. I said but what about testing me outside, where I have short and long moments of good vision? She answered that according to the theory she worked with (note: that she said ‘theory’), those changes in sharpness were not possible. While discussing this I had noticed that on the wall chart behind her the oblique muscles were missing on the picture of the eye. From my understandings, those muscles constrict the eyeball in the case of myopia. So I asked her what the other muscles on the picture were for. When she had explained, I asked where those stumps belonged to. She said they belong to the muscles which turn the eye and stabilize it. I forgot to ask why there were ”cut off” on the pic. Another reason why I feel betrayed by these ”helpful” people, is that they go straight ahead and make a constant of something (by prescribing glasses, etc) that is quiet variable. Visual sharpness not only changes inside and outside, but also with the kind of things I look at and with the mood. I am in. I have had moments of acute interest in something popping up and at the exact same time perfect vision without limits in the middle of a big, busy city. It was like landing on earth for the first time. Glasses,etc, never did that. Mat

  4. J.S.:

    09.02.2012 at 01:48 #

    Greetings Doctor,
    Is it possible to “will” one eye or the other for dominance? I can’t quite describe how I do it, whether I’m feeling muscles and nerve firings, but I can switch between the green and red for the center image, as well as get balanced mixes at times.

    I’m myopic somewhere around 2.00/2.25 diopters (as of my last checkup, which was more than a year ago).

    I’m not sure if I’ve experience true “clear flashes” as I ride my bike, but it seems I have.

    Anyways, I’ll keep exercising and praying for the best!


  5. Doc:

    10.02.2012 at 09:22 #

    J.S. – yes, it’s possible and your description “I can switch between the green and red for the center image, as well as get balanced mixes at times” is absolutely correct.

  6. Cristian:

    16.11.2012 at 08:51 #

    Hi Dr. Arkadiy Davydov

    I found your website very very interesting and I really appreciate your effort for all these helpful exercices. Can you please post some exercices for astigmatism or a thread about this subject. I tried to find any type of natural remedies (exercices) for this refraction error but I couldn’t find much (just applying some herbal/plants on the eyes).

    Also I’d appreciate if you can talk a little bit about cone cells in the retina. Why a myopic person has the cone cell spread towards the peripheral areas of the retina and why are they are “migrate” away from the fovea? Or if I’m wrong whats the root principle? Is there a way to turn them off (or dim) the power of them (the ones in the peripheral areas) and let the ones from fovea to become stronger? The reason that I’m asking is because when I was a teenager I couldn’t understand why even with the right pair of glasess I wasn’t able to see the last couple lines on the Snellen chart. Now I know that the “resolution” of our vision is given by those cell cones and I’m trying to regain my “perfect sight”. I’m sorry if this sounds silly but I tried to find this answers online and I couldn’t. Thanks a lot for your time and consideration.

  7. Doc:

    16.11.2012 at 21:48 #

    Hi Cristian, answer_1: the irregular astigmatism, when principal meridians are not perpendicular and refraction in meridian is not constant, can not be corrected by eye exercises. The regular with-the-rule astigmatism can be partly corrected by upward and downward eye movements. The regular against-the-rule astigmatism can be partly corrected by rightward and leftward eye movements. Smooth pursuit eye movements are more useful than the saccadic ones. The idea of this eye exercises is to decrease the corneal overrefraction in the steepest meridian by doing the cornea more flat in the steepest meridian to transform the toric cornea into the spheric one.

    answer_2: in my opinion, the cone cells are “migrate” away from the fovea because myopic persons are using the wide area of active vision. Also we have the extension (stretching) of central retina, particularly in case of high myopia.

  8. Cristian:

    16.11.2012 at 23:59 #

    Thanks a lot for your quick response doctor!

    So, if the cone cells migrate away from the fovea because myopic person is using the wide area of active vision, is there a way/exercise that will push back those cone cells towards the fovea? I’d like to know if those cells are moving around according to the patient’s bad habits (close work) or they just simply become more active due to the close work. I’m trying to understand this complex mechanism of the cells in order to come up with some sort of idea that might help to improve visual acuity. I’m thinking of those cone cells being distributed like the LED’s in a traffic light all of them being connected in series (excluding the series rule that if one goes bad the entire circuit will fail). That said, if the optic nerv (traffic light) sends this X amonts of signal (current) it will be evenly distributed on those LED’s. The light beam will be stronger toward the fovea because there more cones (LED’s). My theory is that if we can turn off (or reduce there intensity) the ones that are in the peri/para(fovea) the once located in the fovea will get a stronger nerv impulse hence the visual acuity will increase. What do you think about that? By doing the oposite of close bright work I’m working on a mask that has two tiny holes which will allow the sunlight rays to be focused only on fovea & foveola. By stimulating those areas in particular and reduce the amount of light that goes into the pari/parafovea I believe the visual acuity should go back to normal. Thoughts?

    Also I tried the experiment with the reading glasses and something weird happened.
    First I have -2.00 D OS (-1 D Astigmatism) and -1 D OD. I wore a pair of +1.5 for close work and for the first couple days I had some eyeball sore but everything became sharper (both central and peripheral vision). After couple days my eye sore disappeared and my sight come back to normal (can’t tell if there is some improvement or not). Im still wear them and I can tell you that my vision is sharper only half an hour after I stop wearing them and than comes back to normal. From what I read I might have a cilliary body muscle spasm but I’d like to hear your opinion. Now I’m wearing +2,25 since my eyes got used to the +1,5. Do you thing that, by wearing this reading glasses I can mess up my focusing abilities? Or is there any long term side effects of doing this? I wanna mention that Im regularly practice focusing exercises (at least 20 minutes a day).

    Thank you for your time and advices.

  9. Doc:

    17.11.2012 at 23:45 #

    Cristian, do you happen to have graduated in engineering science? The stimulation of macula is a good idea. It’s better to use low-level laser therapy (LLLT, i.e. cold laser).

    Link: LLLT led to a significant improvement in visual acuity in adolescent and adult patients with amblyopia caused by ametropia or strabismus.

    Your experiment with plus glasses indicates that you probably have a ciliary body muscle spasm. In my opinion, it’s better to wear plus 2.00 D glasses at the distance of 0.5 meter when you practice the eye exercises: fusion in divergence and fusion in convergence.

    I advise you to visit your optometrist for some routine tests: refractometry and keratometry with no wearing plus glasses. Next the same test after wearing plus glasses when your vision is sharper and final test after half an hour after you stop wearing them and your vision comes back to normal. Also the test with cycloplegia (eye drops for wide pupil) is useful.

  10. Cristian:

    18.11.2012 at 22:04 #

    Yes sir I’m an engineer.
    1) I tried to find more topics or reviews about that LLLT technic but I couldn’t. Looks like is not that common. Any idea how much that treatment costs? (Anyway I think it has an astronomic cost which I probably can’t afford it).

    2) I’ve been doing those focusing exercises for a while and I’d like to ask you when I should stop? I can merge the circles and keep them like that for a while. By doing the diverge exercise and being able to maintain the symbols merged what actually happens with my focus? I’d appreciate if you can explain me the logic of it…that would be wonderful.

    3) I build that mask and now I realized that in order to get some improvements I’ll need to wear it at least 6 hours a day which is impossible. It makes a lot of sense for me that having myopia associated with amblyopia (maybe) over the past 15 years, won’t be cured by wearing a mask for an 1 -2h a day. Since I’m standing in front of the computer 6 h/day I came up with this idea. I selected the smaller resolution possible and I’m looking at the monitor from a arm length away. I believe by doing this I’ll force my eyes to focus more. What do you think about this? What I can tell so far is that my eyes are getting really tired (strain), I wanna find out if they are going in a good direction or not. What type of stress is that eye – brain or just eye?

    4)I know when focusing on an object, the fovea centralis allows an area of focus that is about 1 inch in diameter at a distance that is about arm’s length. I tried to find what is the minimum distance that is considered far, in order to have our eyes relaxed. My PD is 65 mm. Can you please approximate that for me?

    5) I know that when we converge our eyes we use the superior oblique (which I believe is the cause of elongation of the eye => myopia). I read that to only movements that they are not using the obliques muscles are left and right eye movements. If that’s true => by keeping our eyes perpendicular on the working plan (paper/monitor etc) the median rectus muscles will take the tension of the eyes right? So with that being said the alternation of left and right should relax the rest of the extraocular muscles?

    6) Can you please tell me what is eye popping in your opinion? In my opinion it’s a relaxation technic because the extraocular muscles are stretching while doing that? What do you think?

    Thanks a lot again for all your advices and I look forward to hear back from you.

  11. Ady:

    11.12.2012 at 23:18 #

    Hello Doctor,

    I noticed that there are two different types of blurriness or fogginess. One is caused by objects being too far, and the other is caused by objects being too close. How can the brain tell the difference between the two, and how does the brain perceive depth?

    Lot of thanks!

  12. Doc:

    12.12.2012 at 01:35 #

    Ady, using monocular vision the human brain perceives the size of the visual object and the parallax in motion. Using binocular perception it also perceives an effort of convergence by which we measure the angle of convergence and the static (motionless) parallax.

  13. Alex_Myopic:

    26.11.2014 at 21:41 #

    Blue and yellow can help instead of green and yellow if someone has daltonism.

  14. Alex_Myopic:

    02.03.2017 at 17:53 #

    It is much easier to achieve divergence at very small distance (were the eyes normally converge much) and then slowly do further away than trying to achieve divergence immediately at long distance like 0,5 or 1m. I tried to achieve divergence at 0,5m and did convergence instead without even knowing at first and also seeing three (and not four) cycles.

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