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.


Motion and Centralization

September 22, 2009

Centralization and motion are key to correcting eyesight. Some people work better with one or the other. Centralization is being fully present and aware in the moment. Motion is not being attached to any point by moving to the next.

An awareness of motion promotes flexibility because it causes your mind to stop trying to make things happen. If you are so flexible that you lack focus and direction, practice central fixation with an emphasis on awakening your interest in detail. This will make your sense of motion more precise.

If you try so hard to be focused that you lack flexibility and are unable to move on to new things, improve your central fixation by emphasizing the periphery, developing an interest in motion, and dodging.


Edging is brushing around the outline of shapes with your nose by letting your eyes follow the brush (your nose). The key to edging is to keep a relaxed sense of the points flowing into your mind while your attention moves around the outline noticing detail. Edging is a technique of motion and central fixation.

Goal – Incorporate central fixation and motion to see details along a line.

Steps – Practice edging to refine your sense of motion and centralize your mind.

  • •Remove your glasses and relax.•Find a line in your environment at a comfortable distance so you do not strain to see it. It can be the line where a wall joins the ceiling or floor, the edge of a table, door, or other piece of furniture in the room.
  • Feel your feet on the floor, close your eyes, and relax.
  • Open your eyes and move your head and follow your nose along the line noticing every point as you go and that the point you are on is the point you see best.
  • When you get good at this, add motion.
    – Notice each point as it comes into view, and notice the present point moving away as the next point comes into view.
    – Notice the point in view is the point you see best, and keep a feeling of the points moving into and out of view as you brush along with your nose.

Explanation – The eyes and mind must coordinate to take in small points of detail without skipping over any points in the line. You also have to be completely present in the room and interested in what you are looking at to not skip any points.

Hints – Maintain a smooth motion with your eyes and head. Do not jump over points in the line. If you find you jump over points, take a few deep breaths and palm. It might help to find a line at a more comfortable distance.

If you have worn or currently wear glasses, you probably have an unconscious mental habit of straining and you might strain when edging. If so, practice for short periods only, palm before and after edging, and keep an awareness of motion and see one part best while you practice.

Edging and Swinging

When you become proficient with edging, add swinging.

Goal – Use swings to widen your field of vision.

Steps – Your eyesight should be fairly good before you attempt this technique because if it is not, this technique will can create a strain.

  • Remove your glasses and relax.
  • Find a line in your environment at a comfortable distance so you do not strain to see it. It can be the line where a wall joins the ceiling or floor, the edge of a table, door, or other piece of furniture in the room.
  • Get a short swing going across the joint using a head swing or body sway.
  • Once you have the swing going, notice an object in your periphery and keep it swinging with you.
  • With the object swinging in the periphery, find an area along on the joint and see one part best.
  • Keeping the peripheral swing going, edge along the joint seeing the point you are on best, noticing the point move away and the next point moving into view.
  • Edge along the joint in both directions several times.

Explanation – This technique lets you see points along the joint the way a person with normal vision would see them: with relaxation, motion, central fixation, and peripheral vision.

Hints – Make sure you keep breathing and do not strain. Keep the points along the joint moving and the object in your periphery moving.

Dim Light and Night Vision

When your eyesight improves, you can refine your vision for dim light and night vision. Contrast is more subtle in dim light. At a distance where your vision is clear, dim light does not affect your ability to see. It takes imagination to see in dim light or at night at a distance where your vision is not clear because your eyes are not shifting or centralizing. People who practice central fixation see more contrast and see better in dim light.

One man who had a keen interest in shapes used this interest to improve his night vision by contrasting the lights and darks by searching for the lightest light and the darkest dark. Once he became good at this, he started to look for colors while contrasting lights and darks. Over time as he became good at seeing details in dim light, his vision improved tremendously.

If you are having trouble seeing in dim light or at night, your peripheral vision is shutting down, you are not noticing details, or both.

  • If you see in the periphery, but have trouble seeing one part best, you need detail work.
  • If you see one part best, but are unaware of objects in relation to other objects, you need periphery work. See “Peripheral Vision” on 41

Accept What you See

Goal – See objects in dim light as they are.

Steps – Sit in a dimly lit room and let dark things be dark and light things be light.

Explanation – This reduces the strain of trying to see objects in dim light in a way other than how they really appear.

Hints – Do not strain. If you find yourself straining, palm or swing.

Awaken Interest in Details

Goal – Wake up an interest in detail, shapes, and color in dim light.

Steps – You can practice this technique alone or with a partner. If you have a partner talk to each other about the details you see in the dim light.

  • Sit in a dimly lit room and start noticing dark, the light within the dark, and go on to contrasting light and dark.
  • As you progress, find smaller and smaller areas of light and dark, and then start contrasting colors.
  • Add motion as you move from light to dark, dark to light, and from color to color.
  • Notice different bands and continuation of color.
  • Compare hues and be aware of shapes.
  • Drift over the memory of details.

Explanation – The peripheral vision shuts down in dim light due to strain. Noticing details alleviates this strain and opens the peripheral vision.

Hints – Start with details that interest you.

Peripheral Vision

September 16, 2009

Practicing central fixation establishes peripheral vision because to see one part best, there must be other parts on the periphery within the scene that you see less clearly. As your eyes learn to shift over a wider area, the periphery becomes wider. When you look with interest, your attention is effortless and you see one part best with an awareness of details and motion in the periphery.

Peripheral vision practices help farsighted persons get interested in seeing one small detail in relation to the entire scene, and nearsighted persons open up to the world around them rather than closing peripheral details out of their field of vision

Opening Peripheral Vision

Goal – Keep the peripheral vision open when practicing central fixation.

Steps – Isolate an object in the picture or on your computer desktop and notice whether the object is more interesting by itself or in relation to other objects in the picture.

Explanation – This allows you to use your whole field of vision and see more details. For some people, the peripheral perception comes gradually after moving from point to point has been practiced for awhile.

Hints – If the point you are looking at is less clear than the point in the periphery, you are practicing eccentric fixation. Eccentric fixation is when the diameter of the center point is so wide is has blurred from the effort to concentrate at the center. Since central fixation is an involuntary technique, eccentric fixation diminishes and finally goes away if you allow interest to come up while you shift between points of interest. Be sure the picture you have is colorful with a lot of interesting details, or play with the background and colors on your monitor to make your computer desktop more interesting.

Seeing Points in the Periphery

Goal – Think of the points you are not looking at directly as less clear than the point you are currently looking at (the reverse of seeing the point you are looking at best).

Steps – Shift over a card, picture, or your computer desktop from point to point seeing the point not looked at as less distinct. Move the card or picture further away or move your chair back from your computer and repeat, but now be aware that the card, picture, or computer is in the room as part of the whole scene.

Hints – Ask yourself if you see a difference in clarity between the point looked at directly and the points not looked at. As your vision clears with practice, start comparing closer and closer points. Cultivate a sense of space around you to widen your field of vision when you notice points in the periphery. Do not move to close points if you feel a strain. Blink and palm to prevent or alleviate any strain.

Short Swing

Pick an object in your environment and be aware of it moving in your periphery all day.

Notice the obvious motion of close objects in your periphery as you look at more distant objects that do not appear to be moving. This will transfer the sense of motion to the distant objects.

Universal Swing

The Universal swing helps farsighted persons get interested in seeing one small detail in relation to the entire scene, and helps nearsighted persons open up to the world around them rather than closing peripheral details out of their field of vision. Practice the Universal swing with music for 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of the day and carry the swing with you throughout the day.

Practice Hints

The following suggestions for practice involve noticing color, contrasts, and details in a picture at a comfortable distance. Practice these suggestions as described, then transfer them to your computer desktop.

  • Notice detail in front of you. Take a picture and seek out the details. Take the picture away and describe the picture. To remember something, you have to scan around and see every point with one part best. Different details appeal to different people. Close the eyes and remember the details. Open the eyes and search out what you do not remember.
  • Play music while looking at the picture. Incorporate the movement of the music with moving around in the picture and picking up detail. Let the music light up a point in the picture.
  • Be aware the point left behind is less distinct. The awareness of less distinct can be an easy awareness of some detail that is missing.
  • Alter the distance by moving it out a few inches.
  • Practice central fixation on different objects and faces. This transfers the experience to something off the paper.
  • Practice central fixation with letters.
  • Widen out the sense of peripheral vision. Be aware of the whole scene at one point in time, but do not try to see it.
  • Look at a picture and pick up the subtlety of the shades.
  • Bring the attention to contrasting colors. It is necessary to remember to contrast and compare.
  • Look at an object and get a sense of perspective by placing perspective lines going in toward the object. This makes the mind aware of things farther away appearing smaller than they appear up close. Check the appearance by measuring with your fingers.
  • Mentally train your mind to see things larger and smaller. Put objects back and forth in front of your face and call out, Larger! or Smaller! If you have difficulty seeing the objects, contrast colors instead. This may help you to see the objects.
  • Pick a color in the picture and be aware of it as you drift over the picture with open eyes and closed eyes.
  • With closed eyes remember the points in the picture and the details.
  • Be aware of contrasts between colors and textures in the picture.
  • Notice shapes.

Explanation – Drifting over a picture and picking up details breaks the stare and tendency to try to take in the entire picture at once. It also gets the mind involved in seeing. The eyes do not see, they take in light. The mind sees.

Hints – The attention is what focuses the eyesight on objects. Central fixation is being attentive where you are looking.

Centralized State of Mind

September 10, 2009

A centralized state of mind is when your mind focuses with a relaxed interest on one tiny point at a time, and moves quickly, but unconsciously, to the next point. When you have a centralized state of mind, you see best where you are looking and less clearly where you are not looking. The state of seeing one part best is also called central fixation.

Central fixation can be demonstrated by looking through a pinhole in a card. The objects seen through the pinhole appear clear because your mind is looking through a tiny point which forces it to centralize. When your mind is in a state of central fixation, your eyes shift over the entire scene taking in crisp, clear details one at a time without judgment. Judgment prevents a centralized mind because details judged are details not perceived as they are.

Central fixation is absent when there is no sense of motion, the mind and body are not relaxed, and there is no central point of vision because the mind and eyes grab and try see too much at one time. The only way you see more is to be relaxed and present with a centralized state of mind. The goal of central fixation is to see with sharp clarity, not to just recognize shapes. To see with sharp clarity, central fixation must be practiced without effort.

Vision building techniques for central fixation do two things: build interest in
detail and bring up the peripheral vision. You can alternate between both types of techniques. It is not necessary to be good at one to practice the other.

One Saturday after a hard week I was in my backyard spraying weeds. My mind was off dealing with tensions and unresolved issues from the previous week when I became aware of the fact that I had lost eye and mind coordination and was not practicing the healthy habits of seeing. My vision was very blurry, but I realized I was in the perfect situation to practice the healthy habits of seeing, regain my eye and mind coordination, and clear the blur. Actually every situation where you see can be considered a perfect situation for practicing the healthy habits of seeing.

I started to look for motion as I moved around in my backyard with the weed spraying apparatus and immediately felt some relaxation. As I moved the nozzle over the weeks, I looked for one part best and noticed how one point falls away as I moved to the next point. I also noticed the colors and varieties of the weeds in my backyard.

My mind really wanted to take me away into my tensions, but I just kept the healthy habits going and after 15 or 10 minutes my eyestrain was relieved and my vision lost its blur. However, I was very careful to not fix on the clear vision because fixing causes clear vision to blur. I maintained my eye and mind coordination by looking for motion and seeing one part best and gradually thoughts started to flow into my mind without taking me away
with them.

Relaxed Awareness of Detail

Goal – Look for interesting details in your daily life.

Steps – Practice this technique at all times, and especially at the computer.

  • Get a picture that you like with a lot of color, contrasts, and details. It can be a photograph from a book, a calendar, or magazine.
  • Hold it at a comfortable distance so you can see it without glasses.
    • If you are very nearsighted, the comfortable distance is going to be very close, perhaps up against your nose and you will only be able to see part of it at a time.
    • If you are farsighted, the comfortable distance is going to be as far out as it has to be for you to see it.
  • Remove your glasses, take a few deep breaths, and relax.
  • Begin looking at the picture by recognizing shapes, colors, and lines – whatever you find interesting.
  • Let your eyes follow your nose as you shift over the entire scene picking up interesting details.
  • Close your eyes and palm.
  • Open your eyes and repeat, but this time notice details you missed the first time.
  • Practice this technique at different distances (closer if you are farsighted and farther away if you are nearsighted).
  • Transfer this technique to your computer desktop. That is, let your eyes follow your nose as you shift over your computer desktop picking up interesting details.

Explanation – When you notice what you see, you see more because you are present and centralizing on more details.

Hints – Do not focus on what you do not see, but on what you do see, and do not strain to see what you cannot see.

Seeing One Part Best

Goal – Learn to focus on one point at a time.

Steps – See one part best as you go about your daily life.

  • • Find a shape on the picture and shift your eyes over it noticing that the point you are looking at is the point you see best.
  • Do not stop on the point you see best, but continue to the next point
  • Transfer this technique to your computer desktop. That is, shift your eyes over something on your desktop seeing one part best.

Explanation – Central fixation helps you see with the fovea of your eye. The fovea is the part of the retina capable of the most acute vision.

Hints – Never test your vision. Instead, see one part best or notice motion.

Being Aware of Motion

Goal – Be aware of motion as you shift around the picture.

Steps – As you see one part best and shift over the picture, make sure you move your head and notice the part you just looked at moving away as your eyes focus on the next part. Transfer this technique to your computer desktop.

Explanation – The field of vision is focused at a constantly moving point. This requires eye and mind coordination where the conscious mind is centralized and the unconscious mind is aware of the periphery.

Hints – Notice that the previous point is less distinct from what the eyes are
currently noticing. Cultivate the state of mind where something is always
being left behind. Move on (shift) without being stuck (even partly) on the last point. Point with your nose, move your head, and allow interest to be there. Do not test your vision. Instead, see one part best or notice motion.

Varying the Distance

Goal – Have a centralized state of mind and an awareness of motion when looking at pictures at different distances.

Steps – When you become comfortable at one distance seeing one part best and shifting over the picture with an awareness of motion, move the picture closer to you if you are farsighted or farther away if you are nearsighted. Transfer this technique to your computer desktop by moving your chair closer or further away, or changing the size of the screen font.

Explanation – Details perceived in the distance are different from details perceived close up.

Hints – Focus on what you do see rather than on what you do not see. Keep looking at one part best with an awareness of motion at the new distance. If you strain, you will not be able to do this. If yofind you are straining, change the distance to a comfortable distance.

Sunning and Central Fixation

Goal – Use full spectrum lighting to practice central fixation.

Steps – Sun using two full spectrum lights where one light is brighter than the other. As you move your head, notice the difference in the brightness of the lights and that one light moves away as the second light comes into view.

Explanation – This is a useful technique if you tend to strain when practicing central fixation on pictures or objects.