Natural 20-20 Vision Book (PDF)

May 14, 2016

Read or download the complete book: Relax, Smile, and Enjoy the View — Natural Relief for Eyestrain from Computer Use and Other Activities, self-published, 1997. Copyright 1997 Monica Pawlan. All Rights Reserved.

Most of the book is also available in the postings on this blog.

See also my posting on a vision game that can help improve vision:  ULTIMEYES: A Game to Improve Vision.


Relaxed Breathing & Massage

July 27, 2009

Breathing brings motion into the body and breaks up the mental stare. When under stress, breathing becomes shorter and shallower. This is also true if you strain when seeing. Deep breathing increases the oxygen to the body, and oxygen relaxes the nervous system. Learning to take long, deep breaths relaxes your mind and creates a mental and physical environment beneficial to improving eyesight.

Goal – Relax your body and mind with deep breathing.

Steps – Throughout the day, pause, remove your glasses, and notice your breathing. Drop your shoulders, and let your hands and arms rest loosely at your side.

  • Inhale slowly to a count of 5 and exhale to a count of 10. Release all thoughts as you exhale, and take in warm, clear sunlight as you inhale.
  • Take about 5 of these deep breaths increasing the inhalations to the count of and the exhalations to the count of 15.
  • Once you increase the length, take 5 more deep breaths.

Physical and mental tension from sitting in one position too long while you work, or from a poor home or work environment are all stored in your body as physical tension. These tension tend to collect in your neck, upper back, and the areas in your face around your eyes. You can relieve the tension by massaging the critical areas. Of course, there is nothing like a professional massage from a certified therapist, but you can provide relief for yourself at any time during the day by learning these simple techniques of self-massage.

Goal Relax your body and mind with self-massage.

Steps – Find a comfortable sitting position and remove your glasses. Take a few deep breaths with long exhalations, drop your shoulders, relax your jaw muscles, and become aware of the floor your feet are resting on.

  • Reach around with your right hand to your left neck and shoulder areas and massage the muscles. Do the same with the left hand on your right neck and shoulder areas


The next set of self-massage techniques are commonly used by school children in China.

  • Massage the inside eyebrow corners with your thumbs, and use your other fingers slightly curled against your forehead to massage your forehead.


  • Use your thumb and index finger to massage the bridge of your nose by pressing downward, then upward.


  • Place your thumbs on your lower jaw and place your index and middle fingers against both sides of your nose near the nostrils. Use your index and middle finger to massage these areas. Lower your middle fingers and massage the same areas with your index fingers.


  • With your fingers curled under and your thumbs on each side of your forehead, use the sides of the index fingers to run outward following the pattern 2-3-4-6-5.



Blinking keeps the eyes lubricated, clean, and moist; relieves pressure; and prevents the mind from going into a mental stare. It is very important to blink when working at a computer because the heat and light emitting from the monitor can dry your eyes and cause redness and irritation.

If your work requires long hours of concentration, you might go for long periods of time without blinking. When you stop blinking, your mind goes into a mental stare, and when your mind is in a mental stare, you stop blinking. It is easy to break the mental stare by getting into the habit of blinking frequently. People with normal vision blink frequently and irregularly.

Eye Drops

If your eyes are dry, red, or irritated due to allergies, air conditioning, heating, or the heat and light emanating from your computer monitor, use eye drops for extra lubrication and blinking. There are many good over-the-counter lubricating eye drops on the market. Make sure you get one you can use as often as you like. Read the package to be sure there are no warnings that frequent use of the eye drops can cause eye irritation or redness.

Blink Frequently

Practice blinking whenever you can – waiting for a meeting to begin, waiting for a computer connection, while on hold on the phone, walking down the hallway, walking up stairs. If you find yourself in a mental stare with blurred vision, take some time out and blink rapidly for a few minutes.

Goal – Get into the habit of blinking.
Steps – Find a comfortable sitting position, relax, and remove your glasses.

Take a few deep breaths with long exhalations and drop your shoulders.

  • • Count an irregular rhythm and blink whenever you count. For example, 1,2,3 4,5 6,7,8, 9, and so on.
  • Blink rapidly for several minutes.
  • Cover one eye with one hand and bring the other hand towards the open eye. Imagine a cushion of air is being pressed against the open eye by the hand. When your hand gets very close, let the air cushion push your eye closed. Pull your hand slowly back and allow the air cushion to suction the eye open. Repeat with the other eye.

Hints – Leave yourself a note on your monitor, on your desk, at home, and in your car to remind you to practice blinking.

Healthy Mind and Body

Vision problems can be made worse by poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and insufficient exercise. You need a healthy, well-rested mind and body on which to build the new habits of seeing you will learn in this book. Check your local health food store, book stores, and health clubs for information on eating properly, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.


Always take a meal break during your work day. If you cannot leave your office, at least sit away from the desk or computer so you are not tempted to eat and work at the same time. The break will relax your mind, body, and eyes and promote better digestion. If you are stumped over a problem, the solution might come to you as you relax and take your mind away from the problem. Avoid snacking on junk food while you work. Keep healthy foods like apples, carrots, or crackers and cheese around if you must snack.


Avoid staying up late working. It can be hard to go to sleep or your sleep might not be restful. You should stop working early enough so you have a time to unwind and be with loved ones before going to sleep.


Aerobic exercise and/or weight training are important to combating the mental and physical tension that comes from sitting in one position for long periods of time. Try to incorporate regular physical activity into your life. Some large companies have fitness centers or provide access to public fitness centers and health clubs for a discount. Take advantage of this important benefit if possible.

If you do not like to exercise, get into the habit of moving your body more. For
example, you can move your legs while you sit, stretch your arms in the air
and arch your back, walk rather than drive, get an exercise machine to use at
home while on the phone or watching television, or use exercise videos.

Mental Stress

Mental stress can result from environmental pressures (job, fast pace of life, deadlines, juggling work and family responsibilities), and mental control must be regained to handle the stress effectively. Try to identify stressful areas in your life and change them or your attitude towards them so they are less stressful. Learn to slow down, prioritize, and take things as they come.

For example, if you find you do not have enough time to accomplish everything causing you mental anguish, take a class in time management. If certain people aggravate you, take a course in handling difficult people or arrange your life so you do not encounter these people very often.

Why Relaxation Clears Blurred Vision

July 20, 2009

Clear vision requires light to pass unobstructed through the cornea and lens, and focus precisely on the retina. For the light to focus precisely on the retina, the six extraocular muscles that control eyeball movement must be relaxed. Emotional, mental, or physical stress tenses the extraocular muscles which can change the shape of the eyeball and cause the image to focus in front of or behind the retina.

This figure shows a simplified eyeball anatomy including the superior rectus and inferior rectus extraocular muscles. Consult an anatomy book for a more detailed anatomy and explanation, and the names and locations of the other four extraocular muscles.


Nearsight is when the eye focuses the incoming image in front of the retina, and farsight is when the eye focuses the incoming image behind the retina.


Corrective lenses for nearsight and farsight make images strike precisely on the retina in spite of the amount of tension in the extraocular muscles. By learning to relax when you see, you can relax your eye muscles and let light strike precisely on the retina without corrective lenses or laser surgery.

Relaxation is the key to improving vision because the normal state of the senses is at rest. Your eyesight is best when your sense of sight is completely relaxed. Tense eye muscles put the mind into a mental stare, and when the mind is in a mental stare, the eye muscles cannot relax. The relaxation and vision building techniques presented in this book both relax the eye muscles and break the mental stare to clear blurred vision.

Relaxed Acceptance

The first step to relaxation is to accept your vision for the way it is now. Take off your glasses and pay attention to details. Notice what you do see; not what you do not see. Be aware of images flowing through your eyes and into your mind. Do not judge the images as blurry or clear, but just let them flow into your mind without effort. After doing this for awhile, you might find that no matter what your current vision is, you actually see quite a lot already!

Accepting your vision for the way it is also means accepting the fact that you do not see the same level of detail at every distance. It is common for people toblur their vision by straining to see the same level of detail in an object far away that they would see in it if it were up close.

One afternoon in 1988 I was sitting at my dining room table with two friends discussing these exciting new ideas in vision improvement.

One of my friends is extremely nearsighted with astigmatism and I asked him to take off his glasses. We talked about the techniques and I had him take a few deep breaths, massage his face around his eyes, blink, and accept his vision for how it is right now without glasses. As we all continued to talk about the relationship between relaxation and vision, he must have been listening very carefully because he suddenly exclaimed that he had experienced a flash of clear vision and then everything went blurry again, but not nearly as blurry as it was when he first removed his glasses.

Do You Need or Wear Glasses Now?

July 14, 2009

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, the information in this book does not replace your eye doctor, but goes with the care you are already receiving. If you do not wear glasses or contact lenses and have noticed changes to your vision, you might want to have your eyes checked for medical problems and measured for refractive errors by a professional.

If you need and choose to wear corrective lenses, the methods described in this book work best if you get glasses rather than contact lenses because glasses can be removed more easily. The techniques are practiced using your eyes without glasses and the more often you practice, the better and faster the results.

Wear your glasses only when you absolutely need them such as for driving or reading. Find ways to wear your glasses less often. For example, you can use a magnifying glass to read, and find locations during meetings and presentations where you can see the white board or overhead slides without glasses.

If you work at a computer, change the font size for the print on your monitor, choose background an foreground colors that provide good contrast, and make sure your work space has the appropriate lighting to minimize screen glare.

If you have very poor vision, you might have trouble removing your glasses at first because your mind has to learn to think in a new way without the glasses. As you practice the techniques in this book and begin to go without your glasses more, you will gradually become accustomed to the new you and your new way of thinking without glasses.

Understanding Diopters

Vision is measured at 20 feet. The reading 20/40 means that you see at 20 feet what a person with normal sight sees at 40 feet. The reading 20/10 means you see at 20 feet what a person with normal sight sees at 10 feet.

Diopters refer to the amount of correction needed in the glasses or contact lenses to restore vision to 20/20. The number of diopters is never the same for every person with the same vision. A person with 20/200 vision may need 2 diopters correction, while another person with 20/200 may require 4 diopters correction.

How Glasses Affect Your Mind

Everyone’s vision has natural fluctuations. Some days the vision is better than others, and some people have better vision at certain times of the day.
Corrective lenses keep your vision at the level it was when you were tested for the lenses. There is no opportunity for fluctuation in your vision as long as you wear the lenses.

When the vision is prevented from fluctuating, the mind goes into a mental stare. Your mind and your vision are very closely connected and when the natural behavior of one is affected, the natural behavior of the other is also affected. The higher the prescription, the greater the mental stare.

You can reduce the mental stare and restore the natural fluctuation in your eyesight by reducing your prescription and wearing your glasses as little as possible. The relaxation and vision building techniques described in this book use the natural fluctuation of the eyes and mind to alleviate eyestrain and clear vision.

I worked with a man in the summer of 1987 to help him relieve eyestrain and improve his vision. He was a computer programmer with an extreme case of nearsight. Over the summer, he came twice a week for lessons. One day he came to me and related this story:

Last night I was in a very happy mood for hours going about the house and doing many things. Some hours later I went into the bathroom to prepare for bed and saw my glasses sitting in the soap dish where I had apparently left them when I showered earlier in the evening. All of a sudden, my vision blurred when I realized I was not wearing my glasses! Up to that time I could see everything perfectly without my glasses!

My comment to him was, “That is a great experience because now you know it is possible to be free of eyestrain and see clearly without your glasses!”

Vision and Relaxation

July 10, 2009

Is your vision blurry? Is it blurry all of the time, or does it only become blurry after several hours of a very concentrated activity? If you work at a computer, have you noticed a gradual blurring in your vision since you started using the computer regularly? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably have eyestrain. The good news is there are a number of things you can do to alleviate the eyestrain and clear your vision naturally.

Eyestrain occurs when the mind is in an unrelaxed state and unconsciously tries too hard to see. Rather than letting images flow through the eyes and into the mind where they are passively perceived, an unrelaxed mind unconsciously grabs at and hold onto images. If your mind is not relaxed, any
activity that requires concentration can cause eyestrain and ultimately blur your vision.

If your eyesight is blurred, your mind and eyes are probably straining in one or more of the following ways:

  • You focus at the same distance for many hours at a time.
  • You try to take in everything you see at once and at the same level of detail rather than centralizing your mind and accepting your vision.
  • You sit or stand in one position for long periods of time without moving your body, head, or gaze.
  • You become completely absorbed in what you are doing and lose the sense of yourself in the world and a sense of space around you.

The theory and techniques to be presented in this blog teach you how to relax your mind and establish the healthy habits of seeing that can relieve eyestrain and clear vision.