Why did my nearsightedness mysteriously disappear for a few minutes?
June 6, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I am very nearsighted with astigmatism in one eye. I don't know my prescription offhand, but I can't read the alarm clock display less than two feet from my pillow. So I was startled recently, while in the shower, to realize that I could see clearly! I could read the print on the shampoo bottle a few feet away. I thought at first I had forgotten to remove my contact lenses, but I had not. Sadly my eyes returned to normal after a few minutes. Has this happened to any other myopic MeFites? Can you explain why it happened?

I had forgotten about it until I read this article today. As a side question, has anyone tried this Ortho-K? If so, would you recommend it? Thanks.
posted by Fred Mars to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, it happens to me too. I am myopic/astigmatic and contact lens wearing.
The Ortho K article was very interesting. Thanks for the tip.
posted by Carnage Asada at 10:16 AM on June 6, 2007

I used to have that happen sometimes. I always thought it was because I'd gotten a drop of water in my eye; the water acted as a very-short-term contact lens. Then I got lasik.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2007

My thought on the shower is that randomly getting the right amount of water left on the eyelid temporarily changes the shape of your lens. I've had similar effects with contact fluid while putting contacts in.
posted by artifarce at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2007

Eyelid = eye of course.
posted by artifarce at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2007

My younger brother's quite mild myopia (mine is quite pronounced) completely vanished when he was in his teens by doing neck exercises that my Mom read about in some Edgar Cayce book or something equally silly. Docs never could figure out what the deal was. Never worked for me darnit. He's slightly myopic again now pushing forty.

I certainly have no medical explanation other to suggest that perhaps light refraction due to moisture in the air just happened to "correct" your problem briefly.

On preview, what others have said.
posted by elendil71 at 10:27 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Several years ago, there were a few glorious days during which I could see. I thought at first that I had my contacts in and basically scrounged my eyes out trying to find them. But they weren't in there. It was weird and amazing. I was so happy! I thought it was forever. But then, a few days later everything went dim and blurry again.

The OrthoK stuff makes sense but I'm getting these puppies lasered as soon as I can afford it.
posted by bluenausea at 10:28 AM on June 6, 2007

Yup the water acts as a lens...I've noticed that sometimes in pools, I can see underwater with perfect clarity and I am like a -6.5/-7.0 diopter. It is glorious considering I've had glasses for 28 of my 31 years.
posted by mmascolino at 10:49 AM on June 6, 2007

It happened to me once while wearing contacts that were noticeably less powerful than my eyes needed. Within the space of a few minutes, I could see everything fine. It happened at the symphony, after they started playing.

Of course I have no data to substantiate any type of causal link (or even a correlation!), but I'd like to think that the beautiful music brought back my eyesight. :)
posted by invitapriore at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2007

It's entirely possible that water in your eye was acting as a lens - temporarily correcting your sight until it moved away.
posted by alby at 11:22 AM on June 6, 2007

I've had it happen to me in the shower (-7.75/-7.5 w/ astigmatism).

In the early 90's, my Mom woke up one morning to perfect vision that lasted 3 days (her eyes are worse than mine).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:56 AM on June 6, 2007

Wow, if I ever woke up to perfect vision and had it go away again after three days I don't know if I would be able to take joy in the time I had or be totally depressed. (-10 range here)
posted by mikepop at 12:41 PM on June 6, 2007

I am still waiting for this glorious event to occur.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:07 PM on June 6, 2007

This happened to me once. There was a strong WTF moment when I looked in the mirror and saw I wasnt wearing glasses. Thats when I realized I was dreaming. It was one of my first lucid dreams.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:34 PM on June 6, 2007

My experience isn't quite the same as yours, but I went to the opthalmologist for the first time in a few years recently. (I'm supposed to go once per year because I take Plaquenil.) Anyway, I'd noticed lately that my glasses just aren't doing the job they're supposed to, and since I've needed a stronger Rx every visit since I first got specs, I figured it was that time again. Surprisingly, the doctor found that my vision had actually improved significantly since my last check-up, and that my current prescription was too strong. He was so perplexed that he had me come in a week later for another exam, just to make sure. He kept quizzing me as to whether I'd taken any different meds, suffered a blow to the head, etc. He seemed to think it was quite unusual for eyesight to go in the other direction (strengthen rather than weaken) suddenly.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:35 PM on June 6, 2007

My eyesight is pretty atrocious. The only remotely similar thing I have ever had happen occurs when I push on my eyeball in just the right way - then I can see properly.

I know I shouldn't push on my eyeball.
posted by tastybrains at 1:35 PM on June 6, 2007

Really bad sinus pressure seems to change my vision, but usually for the worse.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:46 PM on June 6, 2007

This used to happen to me all the time. I worked for it. There were no water drops involved. Normally my vision would come sharp at 6-8 inches so it was liberating and a little scary to have clear vision- I could see individual tree branches on the mountain ridges!

While Alan Bates' "Better Eyesight Without Glasses" has been attacked for his poor methodology in his experiments, some of his ideas rang true to me and in practice produced results.

-Your vision changes day to day, moment by moment. We all know the usual suspects for poor vision (stress, overwork, etc.). What situations provoke clearer vision for you?

-A relaxed eyeball tends to be round. Changing the shape of the eye will change what is focused on the retina. Conventional wisdom is that all the focusing is done by the lens of the eye. Still, an elongated eyeball will require more correction by a lens to bring distance objects in focus. Bates suggested exercises to relax the eyes. They work.

On my own I worked something similar to Ortho-K. About twenty years ago I found an ophthalmologist that agreed to prescribe hard lenses that were not only a little weak, but had a curve that was a little shallow for my eyes. I thought that this might encourage my eyes to go back to a more round configuration. I wore them during the day. My vision improved. Oh, and his reaction was "You want me to to suchandsuch" so the technique has been around awhile.
posted by pointilist at 12:03 PM on June 7, 2007

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