The Photographer's Eye

 

Easy Exercises to Improve Your Vision

 

Lesson Info

The Photographer's Eye

What I want to talk about is what happens when we spent a bunch of time looking at stuff close to us all right so as I mentioned that prior to the break when when we were first discussing this course for creative live they said hey, can you talk specifically about things that happened? Towe artist an artist can be a painter someone to draw someone is doing graphic arts a writer right? Anyone that spends a bunch of time doing close work so I'm gonna ask you guys, how much of your day would you consider just percentage wise as a lot of visual close up work uh eight to ten hours eight to ten hours most of the day I think your cellphone uh the monitor screen type and yeah oh yeah okay and then in the evenings we go home and most people don't go out and walk around all night what do they do? They go into a slightly closer version you know, slightly further close version of work on the tv um gives most of our houses don't have hundred foot long rooms where we're watching tv we're sitting at ...

fifteen to twenty feet from the screen yeah, what about you? Um you know, I had seen majority of like the work day or is spent with close things, but when I get home I think it's better better yeah okay, yeah. So you know, the thing that we kept talking about yesterday in terms of plasticity was how does repetition change the brain? How this practice change the brain and so we want to start to really recognize is that whenever we spend a bunch of time doing close work our entire nervous system and our body is going to adapt to doing what we do most that one clear on that would you say that again? Yeah, the thing our brain body, nervous system, everything will adapt to that which we practice the most. Okay, I mentioned a couple questions came in yesterday about sitting right what's the ideal sitting posture and remember what I said there's no such thing and there is no ideal sitting posture um and so one of the things that a lot of muscular skeletal practitioners talk about is kind of the epidemic of sitting and what it does to what's called the hip flexors the muscles that bend our been their legs up and actually flex our spine and how often that causes problems in the hip and the low back and then the neck. And so the point I'm trying to make is close work have ramifications and as a large part of a working as a photographer, working is doing any kind of artistic work on a computer when you spend eight, ten, twelve hours a day um in a converged state right there a couple different issues that can arise so the first thing we want to think about is if I practice eight or ten hours a day seeing up close what in my brain think that I want to have happen we want to see if you want to focus here so if I were in again I'm going to ask you a couple questions that hopefully just makes sense I mentioned yesterday if I carried around to dumbbells all day eight to ten hours a day and they didn't have to be really heavy but there were five or ten pounds on each side for me you know? One hundred fifty no um five ten pounds on each side and I'm walking around with them eight to ten hours a day what will my biceps do? Well, they tighten up yes and over time if I did that for a couple of years would it become harder for me to actually let my arms straighten that's what we're talking about with the eyes when I spend eight to ten hours a day with my eyes moved in reading stuff up close the internal muscles on the muscles that move the eyes internally there called the medial wrecked I can become overly tight and their muscles on the outside of the eye that pull it out can become over stretched into some degree week that kind of makes sense to you um and that's just a kind of base level muscular adaptation that can occur from a lot of close up work now the other thing that can happen you can really start to develop nearsightedness okay, so the word for that is my opi in a lot of people have heard that myopic or my o pia and I've got a picture and I'll show you here just a second of what a myopic eye does but when this was being researched initially ah lot of vision problems were considered to be hereditary because you'd see things running and family it's like oh well these people seem you know, this whole family they all seem to have my o pia well the fact is the more we have looked at how a lot of these issues develop their tends to the research now shows a lot of it is just how we practice using your eyes I mean if you think about that um close work if I can say it that way often runs in families right? You got parents that love the reading of the computer and then the kids grow up spending a lot of time here and and so you know when we talk about anything that's hereditary if we can't actually figure out what the genes are we have to look at the kind of the familial environments and so I think a lot of that plays that role in here so when we do excessive closer close work we can actually begin to generate through practice my opi in the eyes which is a change in the focal length of the muscles ah lot of visual fatigue um how many of you guys have no thatyou fatigue out by the end of the day like your eyes or just tired okay, you do you can notice it not so much you can depend on what you been doing I get up really early I get up at four. Thirty so it's hard to tell just from total body right? Just big in general or versus eyes well, one of the ways toe maybe better think about this is how many of you are really kind of irritable at the end of a long day like of looking at stuff now none of you may in here may uh go yeah that's me but a lot of people that have visual fatigue and there were job requires him to spend a lot of time using their eyes they end every day not only physically fatigued but mentally fatigued and they can get really irritable it's actually one of the kind of the hallmark signs that we've looked for s o these are some like I said common components of things we run into with anyone that that's close work now I'm gonna talk about some different ideas to help you start to deal with your computer work I expect so these are just little tips things that I personally practice and I'm going to suggest that you begin playing with you might want if you're not if you don't have the key note I want to write him down alright that's really important so number one I like to have people play with their computer brightness gently speaking, what I find is that over time people make the computer screen as bright as possible, right, brighter and brighter and brighter and brighter you get up in the morning and like I can't see it turn the brightness up turn the brightness up uh it is very rare for people unless they're trying to fall asleep at night while reading on their computer, which by the way is not a really hot idea doesn't seem doesn't really call me brain down like we like for it to um just that exposure to a light you got to be careful of that, but very people unless people are in a dark room, they really don't turn their computer screens down now once again from a vision training perspective, what we telling our brain that it can on lee really see well in this high contrast situation you guys remember yesterday I mentioned something called contrast sensitivity okay contrast sensitivity is basically your ability to determine detail in lower light conditions or listen this is really important or higher speed conditions now, when would low light and high speed detail be really important driving at night? Yeah, right on dso nighttime driving is actually really uncomfortable for a lot of people with visual disorders or with, uh, an increasing amount of visual weakness. And the main reason for that, like I said, is that as our contrast sensitivity begins to decrease, we have two things working against us. Number one we don't see is well when it's dark, but number two, because when things move faster, we also lose contrast sensitivity it's kind of a two edge sword that's really getting us or a vicious cycle. So one of the things that you could do is you can actually spend time every day in using your computer screen with a reduced amount of light. Now, I don't suggest going from the brightest section down to the lowest brightness because that's probably gonna be too overwhelming, but if you can move it down a couple of notches and over the course of a month or two, get more comfortable, working with different stages or different levels of brightness could be a huge, huge benefit for you. You win the bet for me, okay, where my roommates and I are watching the movie in the living room, some of us want some of the lights on some of us want the lights off right, which is better to see with and or which is better for my eyes in the long run. There's actually, no definitive answer for that one I'm sorry, defending what's going on with your eyes, okay, yeah, that is an interesting question that comes up and like I said, it just depends on what's going on, so ok, but come up with a different one, I'll help you win a bet. Thanks. All right, does this make sense to you? Um, it's interesting, because most of us spend eight to ten hours a day with a tool that we could use to improve our vision, but because we're so focused on other task, we forget to use the tool so it's simple as this may sound, you will not again. Twenty thousand people later, I'll tell you, you will not do it if you don't set a reminder, you have to set something in place, put a post it note up, andi, have you guys ever tried stuff like that? Like I'm gonna put a proposed a post it note to remind me to get up every thirty minutes or you've done something, but I actually use an egg timer from my writing, ok? And I I'll set it for two hours and I won't leave my desk until it okay, cool now timer's actually worked way better than other things but was really interesting that I found that again this is just kind of brain stuff most people have to change their reminder mechanism about every three to four weeks because we start to ignore it the first time that you ignore that post it note that says hey get up from your desk every thirty minutes your brain goes well obviously wasn't important or it wasn't a big enough like reminder so using timers could be really useful you can't ignore it any time yeah neckties too loud but what is interesting even placing it right if you put it right beside you where you can quickly turn it off because you're right in the middle of a thought you think in the first time that you start breaking that habit it gets a little bit harder so I just recommend that you number one give yourself a little bit bio feedback device to use a time or something and keep changing that every every few weeks teo to make it novel in fresh second thing that I want you to think about in terms of kind of counter acting some of the close work problems that we run into is what's called the twenty twenty exercise, which is again really simple idea every hour you get up and basically you've picked something that's further away than what you've been looking at twenty feet you look at it for twenty seconds all right, so you just get up look try to relax the eyes now in addition in this course what else have we done to talk to work on my relaxation? Remember the exercises? Thes we started off with our I massage four points underneath in the center on the outside and on the top and we're just a massaging around the bone, right, right. That was number one. What was the second one? Yeah, paul me little eye pressure right where we just put our just literally fingertip pressure right on the center of the eye with my eyes closed. Andi I mentioned yesterday that's related to this called ocular cardiac reflex that when we press on it it actually calmed us down a little bit so that was good. You got kind of sleeping with that one couple of yesterday. Um what else? The palm homing right? So we cover the eyes. What is the goal of the palming to get rid of the stray lights that are great, right? We close our eyes and covered up it's black. It should just be black, so we want to sit there, try to relax and let uh create as much darkness as we can um in that one and we had one more blinking, blinking right fast blinking, so intentional fast blinking ten twenty seconds just blinking as fast you can now the cool thing about the blinking is that when I do it it actually creates a little blur in the environment and I said earlier that sometimes creating blur is a good thing right because whenever things get a little bit blurry the brain goes I need to clean up that picture so all of those different reset exercises would also be awesome to do when you do in this little twenty twenty exercise okay, so first of all change your computer brightness number two uh work on the twenty twenty with your visual reset drills number three stuff that we covered earlier mobilize the jaw immobilize the neck mobilize the spine um what most people don't notice like especially in this setting because you guys are here and we're having a conversation and you're moving and doing other things most people have not yet connected how much vision visual or I tension is linked to all the rest of the tension in their head and neck and shoulders by the end of the day um I cannot tell you I've worked with a ton of musicians hundreds and hundreds of people that are computer workers and if you touch their shoulders and their neck at the end of the day it usually feels like bricks they have so much muscle tension that's built up and if you are trying to kind of counter act all this close work that you're doing a large part of that needs to be go beyond just doing eye exercises it needs to be hey, relax your jaw, relax the neck, move the shoulders, move the spine. Okay, that could go a long way to helping you get rid of some of the stuff that comes up from their last one. This is one of my of all is the cool stuff that you can do with an ipad and iphone computer in terms of improving your vision, changing the font size, maybe one of my very favorite things. Um now, once again, most people when they're reading on their ipad or their kindle or whatever, and they're having a hard time seeing what's the what's the thing that they do increase the funds increase if on size bringing closer yeah, well, they have to do this. And if that's not working the increase of on size and they turned the computer rightness up screen brightness, the fact is that you have all these built in mechanisms to be challenging your eyes every single day, right? So let's, do a little let's do a little test, go grab your multi size font charts again, and we're going to this very first drill that we did yesterday. Okay the very first real you weren't here so we're going to show you how to do this one okay, so you could do it either glasses on or glasses off to begin with but we're gonna do the blur drill okay, so here's how this works you take on and I want you to read down as far as you comfortably can. All right? So pick the lowest line that you comfortably can that you can read fully and then give me a number see where you guys were out today so there's a handful of photographers in the chat rooms yes they're talking about this the computer brightness there it's a little tough for them to edit photos and to do the right color correction unless the brightness is said to a particular level would you recommend that they do that specific work maybe with the brightness where they needed to be and then for there you know stuff that's not you know needed for that they turned it down and I mean that's just that's one of the hazards of of some jobs meaning if you have to have it at a certain level of brightness in order to do editing then by all means go ahead and do that but given any opportunity if you're going to switch off for a half hour to answer email if you have to do any kind of other document work turn the screen brightest down during that period of time and like I said that's just one of the hazards of some of the jobs too like this light like that life waiting all day I got a nice tan those little more vitamin d yeah. All right, so what number were you? I was at nine nine without the glasses yeah, yeah, the most comfortable one is fifteen fifteen most comfortable okay and you can kind of work your way down from the I actually make out eleven okay, we got eleven where you at sixteen or eighteen? Sixteen or eighteen. Okay, so good. Now the drill from yesterday was this you find the line that's nice and clear and you can either stay on that line or go down one and you're gonna pick a letter, not a word all right? Pick a deer bee or something that you can see right? And then the drill was, why do you remember to switch between small and big? No, we did this. We actually took the page and we brought it in until it got blurry until the letter got blurry and we pushed it out right until the letter got blurry. Can you do that? Nice and slow, all right, so that's what I want you to do, I want to have you work on that for about thirty thirty, forty five seconds to pick a letter, bring it in close to you, and then push it out until it blurs as well. So doing color correction work because we're talked about that in photo shop, um, turns turning down the brightness. Is there any anything that you could do? Teo? Is there anything that we can do? Anything we could do to help just the nature of the beast if they're willing to do some experimentation on this kind of gets a little, especially for photographers, people that are doing any kind of color corrected and work it requires some adaptation, but someone mentioned earlier one of the questions colored lenses. Um, there are a couple of companies that sell a wide variety of colored lenses, and very often what I find with people that work at computers is using an amber colored lens can do two things number one, it can increase the sharpness of what they're seeing on the screen, which allows them to lower the brightness. But like I said, there is some challenging that because if you're doing color correction, you're having another color there's a learning phase that you have to go through, right? But I do think there are some things that you can do to kind of reduce some of the impact of the computer screen. Overtime that's number one thing that would do another thing that some people have had some benefit with they were more popular years ago but you can actually get us covers on glare covers for computer screens and once again some of the photographers that I've dealt with an artist they're like no no no it just messes up my clarity of what I'm looking at too much to do but those are two things I would recommend at least experimenting with see if it was it's more comfortable for the eyes I think you guys did your little blur exercise now did that change how far down you can get if you go back to testing so you were at sixteen before eleven I I'm still loving okay yeah I'm the same moment night ok did it change the clarity at all it's hard so when I pull it away I can still can't give it far enough to make it blurry you can get it I don't know how big of a difference that makes that does make a difference yeah okay okay all right, well we'll figure out a way for you to do that. All right. All right. Now could you imagine doing the exercise that you just did with your ipad with your iphone where you go all right I'm gonna take and I'm gonna knock the font size down until it's actually getting a little bit hard to read and then I can doing literally the same exact drill with my technology I don't have toe have these cool little sheets they're easier I mean they're convenient but like I said, you're actually equipped almost all day every day with something that will allow you to do a ton of different visual drills with a little bit of this a little bit of forethought um I was sharing with someone earlier today I read a statistic um and I statistic was something around eighty plus percent of people in the united states with a smartphone spends twenty three hours a day with it uh within three feet of their body that's how prevalent all this stuff is so there's a lot I think is that there's so much that we we can think about how to use that technology not just to get us you know, better pictures of cats which is what most people seem to do with their phones. Look, I found another picture of a cat uh but but to actually utilise it for exercises for things that might actually enhances physically so do these make sense to you just manipulating brightness, manipulating font sizes are very, very important most of people in the vision training field the number one thing they're going to continue to bring up is step away take the time to move away it's like sitting there is no perfect posture for sitting the only way to remedy sitting is to stop sitting so much so you have to get up. You have to move a lot, I said in most of research, if I try and find an ideal posture for sitting, I can't find one the least impactful thing to do while sitting is to squirm, cross your legs, switch, cross your legs over the side, maneuver side, move forward, move back, change, keep changing it because the more we're moving and not staying in a fixed position or fix strain for a period, the better off it is are the better we do with it. I think the same thing can be said for our visual processing because I spend so much time at my desk I in the last eighteen months, I started to use a lumbar roll. Do you endorse that? Um, again, like I said, for some people, they actually feel a lot better. Some people it makes the world, it seems t be a good reminder for me, teo, maintain better posture. Yeah. Now, a lot of people say that feedback makes them sit up a little bit more that's how I feel, which is really good if you're one of the people that flexes like this, right? If on the other hand you're someone that actually is overly arch in the low back you had a lumbar role in all of a sudden you're sitting in the chair and getting uncomfortable okay, so like I said, this is weird because people ask me all the time hey, do you endorse this? Do you like this? And unfortunately my real answer in the real world is it depends on you sure if everything is about we have to test it to make sure that you respond well to and that goes back to one of your first point you made yesterday that this is all all has to be personalized it has to be personalized I wish that I could give you guys like uh the ideal just generic program but there's no such thing on dh said in the fitness industry in the rehab industry, which is where I teach primarily this is one of the big message is that we've been trying to convey for over a decade you cannot give people engineering program and expect everyone to benefit from it it just the human body is too complex it needs evaluation needs assessment in testing all right? Another question absolutely actually said no actually what we're in recommendation mode and yeah, what does dr cobb think about dot dot dot have you ever heard of just get the flux it's f dot l u x a software for your machine? Oh, yeah, for screens. I have not. I've heard of it. I have read cem cem, good reviews about that program. I have never personally experimented with it. That's so I can't give you any personal recommendation, but like I said, I have read about it. And it is on my list of things. Teo, check out there's seven different things. I'm always looking for ways to make computer use less less irritating for people. Okay, cool. And I want from me. So I'm a photographer. Yes, and just let me just kind of throw this out as sort of a big question. Sometimes I mostly always shoot out of my right eye. Should I sometimes switch it up? Let's say, I'm doing an eight hour wedding, right? I left eye and I actually wanna point started wearing an eye patch because I would close my left eye so hard and tight that it was actually putting strain on my on my left eye. And do you recommend maybe opening both eyes when you shoot eight hour wedding along let's say the long shooting days? Yeah, what's your what's, your thought. Ah, long shooting day. My personal recommendation would be trying to use both eyes when possible, um the idea of using the eye patch, though, to reduce eye strain I have used in the past with people, and that can be beneficial. But again, long term, if you're thinking, hey, this is my career, I'm gonna spend the next twenty years just looking with my right eye, um, that khun b come problematic for sure, and so I think for most photographers, you know, if you're if you're using the viewfinder versus some of the other available modes of looking at photos now, but most photographers, obviously you're just using the small viewfinder switching back and forth, right and left is a great idea, okay, but it also could be really challenging. Yes, definitely, you know, causes an artist whenever you're looking at any kind of visual field, you're looking not only you're looking for a lot of detail, and the natural inclination for us is to go with our dominant eye, our eye that sees supposedly better to find that detail to find the shot that we're looking for. So as a professional, I understand that it's going there's gonna be a training period or progression that you gonna have to go through. So I recommend that if you are working that's the time to practice it in the beginning. Meaning, if you're you know you're, you've got three photo shoots in a week. Take a day when you're not actually working and spend some time working on that non dominant eye to get used to the mechanics of it. Because it's, usually the unusual feel for a lot of things that make us not do it, particularly when we're under stress. Okay, so, yeah, and would you recommend shutting one eye and using both eyes, or keeping both eyes open, if you possibly could. I gently trying to have people keep both eyes open when they're shooting, when they're first rate and like, I mean it's it's again, it's, a more challenging for a lot of people. But on the whole, I think it's healthier.

Class Description


If you find yourself squinting at your computer monitor, frequently updating your glasses prescription, or suffering from headaches, this course will help you improve your vision by retraining your brain to better communicate with your eyes.

Dr. Eric Cobb, creator of the Vision Gym, will explain how many vision issues are caused by miscommunication between your eyes and your brain. You’ll learn customizable strategies and exercises that target and improve your specific vision issues. From self-massage to isometric exercises to simple eye chart assessments, you’ll gain an eyesight improvement toolbox that you can implement anywhere and at any time.

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