The Life Experimenter : Change Your Life, One Month at a Time

Conclusion #41 – Improve Your Vision By Reducing Your Prescription 50%

By Allen Rinehart

Photo of a blurry phoropter.

It’s been over a year since I traded my contacts in for glasses and it’s been one of my more effective methods of improving my vision.  I’ve gone from -4.0 and -3.5 diopter prescription with a 75 & 83 OD Axis correction for astigmatism to -2.0 in both eyes and no correction for astigmatism.  What this means is I am able to function and even drive after a year with a prescription that is 50% weaker with no correction for astigmatism.  Now my vision is no where near 20/20 with a weaker prescription.  But I’ve proven that your vision can improve by wearing a weaker prescription.  Don’t believe me?  I wasn’t sure myself, so I digged through some copies of old prescriptions and here is what I found:

2010: -4.0 (Right – 0% Improvement),
       -4.5 (Left – 0% Improvement)


2012: -3.5 (Right – 12.5% Improvement),
       -4.0 (Left – 12.5% Improvement)


2013: -3.25 (Right – 7.14% Improvement), 
       -3.75 (Left – 6.25% Improvement)


My four pairs of glasses from the experiment.  Total cost: $100

My four pairs of black rimmed  wayfarer glasses.

Over a three year period my prescription has decreased on average about 17% in both eyes. And these prescriptions are from three different doctors on three separate appointments.  I attribute the reduction in strength from 2010 to 2012 to the eight months I chose not to wear contacts while I was on deployment.  The other decrease come from deciding that I was no longer going to wear contacts and begin wearing glasses that are weaker than my prescription.  Over the last 13 months, I have reduced my own prescription four different times ending up at a strength of around 50% of what it was a little over a year ago.

Wearing weaker glasses has made me realize that your vision is constantly changing and your optometrist is always going to give you the strongest prescription necessary to correct your vision.  I’ve noticed that as I reduce my prescription and try and wear an older pair of glasses that I get headaches.  The prescription clarifies my vision but is so overwhelming that it becomes uncomfortable to wear.  Have you ever tried on a someone glasses with a stronger prescription than your own?  That’s what it’s like.  And this is the very prescription that I was wearing all day only a year ago!

Going Forward

I’m excited about the results so far.  I will continue reducing my prescription as much as I can until I no longer need glasses.  What I like most about using weaker glasses is that it’s a very easy and passive way to improve your vision.  Vision exercises are great, but they involve a certain level of commitment to complete them everyday.  I feel like I’m at a point where my vision improvement has mostly plateaued so I might look into trying some new techniques for vision improvement. But the great news is if you want to improve your vision, wear weaker glasses.

Photo Credits (Flickr)

9 responses to “Conclusion #41 – Improve Your Vision By Reducing Your Prescription 50%”

  1. Soumya says:

    Hey, congrats! Im a -1.00 myopic in both eyes and sadly my younger brother is almost, so you see im more worried about him. I have my old glasses that have -.25 each and one pair with .50 left and .75 right, so i will start weraing them at home. In school its hard to see things so i will continue with my glasses? Will it do some harm? Well thanks for the awesome and honest blog, i will definitely try this now.

  2. Soumya says:

    I mean my younger bro is -4.0 and -2.25 in R and L respectively.

  3. Tom says:

    How much did you reduce the astigmatism each time? I’m trying to figure out how much I should reduce mine.

    • Joel says:

      Hey Tom, my last prescription was left: -4.75 x -1.25 x .90 and right: -4.87, no ast. correction.

      I completely dropped the astigmatic correction from my reduced pairs. In retrospect, maybe it would have been a good idea to have gone a step down, to like -0.75 or -0.5. But as I mentioned in my other long-winded post, I am making small but noticeable improvements in that eye.

      Interestingly, I was looking back through my prescription history, and I used to have astigmatism in my right eye as well(-0.5), but disappeared over a course of 2 years from 2005-2007 as myopia got a little worse. Not sure why, but one possibility is started using contacts more frequently around that time with no astigmatism correction. Then my right eye became more dominant, when I used to be left-eyed. (also left-handed, left-footed.)

  4. Li-Or says:

    I’m so happy to hear your success story! I’m just at the beginning of learning about how to improve vision naturally via undercorrective lenses and eye exercises, and my prescription right now is very similar to what yours was when you first started your journey so I’m really enouraged and excited to read about how well you’ve done with improving your vision with this technique. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Jay says:

    I am also experimenting a similar procedure for my eyes R-2.25 L-2.00. My age is 34. Once i started wearing weaker prescription lenses, i never used my old glasses. I think everyone should follow that. I started reducing my prescription by -0.25 in both the eyes. Will wear the prescription for 4 months on an average. Now i am wearing R-1.75 and L-1.50 after about 5 months. Eyesight will be very less during evenings. Beware of that.

  6. Joel says:

    Yeah, I’ve been trying the same thing. I’ve heard that you can sometimes see a dramatic improvement at first, especially if you’ve been over-prescribed, but that you should really only expect about 1/2 diopter improvement per year if you do everything right, which sounds great if you think about it.

    If you did the bare minimum with reduced prescription, I would think the eyes improve at about the same rate that they got worse at over the years.

    My last prescription was -4.75 & -4.87. What I did is got 2 pairs from zenni, one, at about 80-85%(-4.00) of my full prescription ), I use for night-driving and whiteboard-reading . The 2nd pair is about 60% (-2.75) of full prescription, which I use for computer, TV, and bright-light vision. In addition to myopia in both eyes, I also have astigmastism in one eye, but eliminated all correction for that in both glasses. I also try to only use glasses when I need to, I.e. for work, safety, or social reasons.

    Started this method about 6 months ago, and I’ve noticed 2 improvements:

    1) My astigmatic eye is getting less lazy, more active, and is able to keep up with the other eye better. Still not perfect, but I can physically feel the difference in how it responds compared to 6 months ago.

    2) I’m starting to more consistently and quickly be able to sharply focus the computer screen with the 60% prescription.

    I’m going to stick with this one more a couple more months probably, until my astigmatic eye gets more up to snuff. Then I will reduce my computer prescription even more, from -2.75 to -2.00.

    My hope is that my night-driving prescription will follow-suit in time. Right now I can see good enough with it, but still get halo/multiple images with lights.

  7. Nik says:

    Allen – any progress for vision improvement since last time you posted ? is this “reduced prescription with eye exercises” strategy working ?

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