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Jake Steiner – How You Could Achieve 20/20 Vision Naturally

Content by: Jake Steiner

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week, I’m excited to welcome Jake Steiner. Jake is a stock trader and investor by day, and moonlights on myopia science, and creating awareness about the reality of human eyesight. Jake entirely eliminated his minus five diopter myopia and in the past decade, has helped over 1.2 million people reduce their dependence on corrective lenses. In this episode, we talk about the everyday practices that could be unknowingly impacting our eye health and the strategies that we can use to improve our eyesight naturally.

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions we ask in this episode:

  • What is Myopia and why does it occur? (02:24)
  • What everyday practices could be unknowingly impacting our eye health? (04:05)
  • Is it possible to improve our eyesight naturally? (24:06)

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Full Transcript

Stu

00:03 Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long lasting health. Now, I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.

Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition and have a range of superfoods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.au and take a look. Okay, back to the show.

This week, I’m excited to welcome Jake Steiner. Jake is a stock trader and investor by day, and moonlights on myopia science, and creating awareness about the reality of human eyesight. Jake entirely eliminated his minus five diopter myopia and in the past decade, has helped over 1.2 million people reduce their dependence on corrective lenses. In this episode, we talk about the everyday practices that could be unknowingly impacting our eye health and the strategies that we can use to improve our eyesight naturally. Over to Jake.

Hey, guys. This is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I’m delighted to welcome Jake Steiner to the podcast. Jake, how are you?

Jake

01:30 Excellent. How are you doing, Stu?

Stu

01:32 Yeah, really good. Really good. Thank you so much for connecting. I think we’re going to be talking about some things today that will intrigue people and prompt curiosity, and want to find out a lot more. So really, really looking forward to this conversation. But first up, for all of our listeners that may not be familiar with you or your work, I would love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jake

01:57 Sure. So I am an investor and a stock trader by trade, and I deal with eyesight more as something that started as a side hobby and a personal pursuit of mine, and that somehow over the years has turned into this big thing of discussing eyesight online with tens of thousands of followers and lots of discussion about myopia and its real causes.

Stu

02:24 Hmm, okay. Interesting. So “myopia,” “myopia.” I don’t even know how to say the word, and I wasn’t even entirely sure of what it meant, but then I did some googling as we all do, but what’s your… So tell us what myopia is. “Myopia.” What’s the description, and why would it occur?

Jake

02:49 Sure. So it’s commonly known either as short-sightedness or nearsightedness.

Stu

02:55 Okay.

Jake

02:55 Basically, it’s a symptom that requires you to wear glasses to see clearly at a distance.

Stu

03:02 Okay.

Jake

03:03 Fun side note, Endmyopia. I went for years and years not realizing that the average person doesn’t even know what myopia means.

Stu

03:03 No.

Jake

03:12 No. Then, we started doing podcasts, and people… It became a consistent question. “So hey, what is myopia anyway?” I realized that marketing-wise, I didn’t make brilliant choices.

Stu

03:22 No. Well, it’s good when people are asking. “Well, what is it?” So then, you’ve got a conversation started there, so that directly relates to me. So I wear glasses for driving and cinema, things like that, and no doubt, there will be hundreds and thousands of people doing exactly the same thing. So what I’m interested in is, is this inevitable that my eyesight will just continue to degrade, or could I knuckle that down to perhaps some everyday practices that could unknowingly be impacting the health of my eyes?

Jake

04:05 So if you’re only wearing your glasses for driving and the cinema, you’re absolutely fine. Your eyesight is not likely is not likely to get “worse.”

Stu

04:15 Okay.

Jake

04:15 It’s going to just stay exactly the way it is, and interesting that you start out there because if everybody who goes to the optometrist and gets glasses would get that advice, then that will be the end of it. It wouldn’t be great for retail optometry because they would never sell you more glasses, but the single biggest tool to prevent your eyesight from getting worse is taking those things off when you don’t need them.

Stu

04:42 Ah, okay. So to…

Jake

04:43 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stu

04:45 So tell me… Yeah, tell me why. Why is that the case?

Jake

04:49 Yeah, and that’s really interesting actually. I recommend for anybody who’s curious about this scholar.google.com. For anyone who’s not familiar, it’s Google’s search engine specific to clinical research and science.

Stu

05:03 Okay.

Jake

05:03 So for me, in general, when I hear something new on the internet and it’s really promising, but at the same time sounds kind of farfetched, the first thing I do is go to Google Scholar and see what the scientific evidence for this might be, right?

Stu

05:17 Right. Yeah.

Jake

05:18 Google Scholar is like your best friend when it comes to the internet and health stuff, so the thing to do is if you go to scholar.google.com and you type in “lens-induced myopia.”

Stu

05:29 Okay.

Jake

05:30 So that means your nearsightedness being caused by lenses, right? You’re going to get like, depending on where you are because Google does its thing, I get about 50,000 search results when I type in “lens-induced myopia.”

Stu

05:46 Wow. Okay.

Jake

05:47 This is not the kind of thing where you go, “Some guy on the internet has a really interesting idea, and let’s see if there’s something to it.” This is a many-decades, well-explored in the scientific community, known fact that the minus lenses that you wear, if you wear them, especially when you’re not supposed to, they will cause more myopia.

Stu

06:09 Okay. Interesting.

Jake

06:12 Unquestionably, like when you go to a retail optometrist, and I love to come retail because they hate that, and you ask them what causes myopia, and they say, “It’s genetic,” or, “We don’t know,” that is beyond nonsense, right, because you go to Google Scholar and apparently, we do know. The fascinating thing is these 50,000 search results saying, “Hey, we know what causes myopia,” they’re generally published in clinical… in journals that are written for the ophthalmology and optometry industry.

Like on the website, I cite this research and these peer-reviewed published studies that are in optometry journals. So basically, these are like the magazines that optometrists are supposed to read, so they’re supposed to know that, that once you start wearing glasses, your eyesight is probably going to get worse.

Stu

07:03 Okay, so what sets off in the first place then?

Jake

07:10 Hmm, so in the beginning, it’s not anything. In the beginning, it’s a muscle spasm. There is a focusing muscle in your eye that moves a flexible lens, depending on how close you look at something.

Stu

07:10 Okay.

Jake

07:23 That muscle is completely relaxed when you look at a distance, and the closer you look at an object, the more that circular muscle tenses up to shape the lens. It’s kind of like a camera lens, except it’s more flexible in a way. Right?

Stu

07:23 Yeah.

Jake

07:39 So the closer you look, tenser the muscle gets, and it’s not really intended… The biology is not intended for you to stare at a phone screen for four hours or watch Netflix on your iPad for the entire evening. That muscle is meant to be in motion and relaxed for majority of the time. So if you look at something very, very close, the muscle is very tense, and if you do so for many hours, what happens is kind of logical. Once you stop looking up close, that muscle doesn’t completely relax.

Stu

08:10 Right.

Jake

08:11 Temporarily.

Stu

08:12 Got it.

Jake

08:13 By the way, Google Scholar calls this one pseudomyopia.

Stu

08:18 Right.

Jake

08:19 Pseudomyopia. Another really common, but complicated-sounding term is near-induced transient myopia, which is more descriptive. Near-induced meaning caused by closeup, and transient meaning temporary, right? So myopia that’s temporary and caused by closeup is literally how the term is defined. Again, when you look that up in Google Scholar, you’re going to see 10,000 search results discussing that initial myopia is just transient, meaning temporary and caused by closeup in most cases.

Stu

08:53 Right.

Jake

08:53 So what happens is if the first time, instead of going to the optometrist, you went hiking for the weekend, that myopia would most likely be greatly reduced or possibly gone.

Stu

09:04 Hmm, fascinating, but…

Jake

09:07 Right.

Stu

09:08 When you were describing exactly what myopia is, initially, I was thinking… I was looking down at my desk, and I’ve got this thing. So for everybody on the podcast, I’m just holding up the iPhone, and we are all so bound, it seems now, as a nation to smartphones and spending more, and more, and more time, starting at an earlier age as well because with iPads, and devices, and even those things that are making their way into school. Is that something then that you are seeing as much more of a problem now in terms of the amount of people that are having to visit the optometrist because of eye strain, myopia, or anything else that could be caused by over-using our screens?

Jake

10:01 Hugely. I can barely put enough emphasis on it. Endmyopia has turned into this really significant resource, so I get hundreds of emails a day. Like I have an email admin that deals with most of them like… In some days, it’s like 700 plus emails.

Stu

10:18 Wow.

Jake

10:18 I get this report that says what topics the emails were about, and parents talking about their young children, four years old, five years old, seven years old, sometimes younger, being “diagnosed” with myopia has skyrocketed. Literally, not one single day goes by without me getting an email from parents going, “Hey, I’m freaking out. My five-year-old was just told that they have myopia and needs to wear glasses.”

My follow-up question to that for the longest time used to be, “Well, how does a day look like with your child?” Invariably, what turns out is cartoons on iPad, cartoons on smartphone. A lot of times, the child itself holding the device, so the length, the distance. Remember, the muscle gets tighter as you get closer, so the child has very short arms. Holding a smartphone, watching cartoons is inevitably going to cause this near-induced transient myopia symptom. Inevitably. Now, it’s to the point where in Hong Kong, over 90% of school-aged children are myopic, so pretty much everybody, and this is…

Stu

11:29 Wow. Boy oh boy.

Jake

11:30 Yeah. This is purely caused or not purely, but a very, very significant contributor is this permanent screen-nears that we’re super addicted to.

Stu

11:42 Yeah, so optometrists must be doing very well out of… Yeah, in this…

Jake

11:50 I own a fair bit of lens stock and related stock that I’ve bought largely years ago when this was trending up, and it has been very good to me like it… That industry has been really, really on the upswing, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Stu

12:08 Well, you need to stop what you’re doing then because you’re affecting your shares.

Jake

12:13 I talk about this all the time, and the thing is it really helps my personal disposition because when people are negative about it, or hating, or promoting the mainstream, I’m like, “This is good for me financially, so by all means.”

Stu

12:26 Yeah. So let’s say then just for argument’s sake that the culture and use of smartphones and digital devices isn’t going to change. In fact, it’s probably going to become much more of a frequent addition to each and every hour of our day. What can we do to support that in terms of… Do we look away every 15 minutes? Do we focus on something on a wall, a printout on a wall? Do we go out for a walk? What would you suggest?

Jake

13:07 Well, so there’s two pieces to this. One is my longterm focus has always just been on the mechanics of reversing myopia. I used to have minus-five diopters, so I was wearing very thick glasses. I reversed all of that, and then I spent years, and years, and years refining the process with the help of lots of people who were doing it themselves and experimenting with different things, and we built this very generally predictable process of reversing myopia.

Stu

13:35 Okay. Okay.

Jake

13:36 That’s my core focus and like I try to not get philosophical. I try to not get into the weeds with weird topics. I try to be as… Like remember, I’m a numbers guy and I’m a charts guy, so I’m like, “What’s the simplest way to get from A to B?” That’s been my focus, right? For that, what you’re doing is take the glasses off when you don’t need them. If you’re wearing a low enough diopter glasses, that you can take off and see a screen fine without them. If you always do that, you’re minimizing the degree of potential impact like you’re probably not going to get very high myopia if you have a really good habit of recognizing to always take those things off.

Stu

14:16 Right.

Jake

14:17 For the most part, right?

Stu

14:19 Okay.

Jake

14:20 Reducing myopia also is mostly a question of recognizing the ciliary muscle strain during closeup and then gradually reducing your diopter-dependence for distance. Right? That’s kind of another bigger topic because there’s a fair amount of detail, but generally speaking, reversing your myopia is not complicated. It’s just you slowly reduce your dependence on the degree of correction that you use while challenging your eyesight.

Stu

14:48 Okay.

Jake

14:48 So that’s side one like that’s pretty… It’s pretty straightforward. We can get more into that certainly. But then, there’s this other half that I’m really resisting to get into, which is the screen addiction. Right?

Stu

15:00 Yeah.

Jake

15:00 I don’t want to because it’s like I’ve been around addicts a fair amount of time of other substances, and I may have myself had various of these kind of issues, so I recognize that addiction is a very powerful thing, and the first thing that we do with addiction is refuse to recognize it. Right? Touching on that subject, I feel like, is a really kind of a, “I don’t want to go there,” but even though…

Stu

15:27 Sure.

Jake

15:28 If we do go there for just, literally, just one minute is you need to find better things to do with your time than scrolling through Facebook.

Stu

15:36 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jake

15:36 Right? Like what happened with us is that if you turn off your phone and you sit in a room, you’re going to go crazy because you’re so addicted to this ongoing flow of new content, new information, new validation, new interaction, new, new, new, new that the time, the reality of time seems to get so slow, and so boring, and so tedious that you just… you can’t deal with it. Right?

Stu

16:00 [inaudible 00:16:00].

Jake

16:00 So I always tell people like, “How about finding something else to do that is tempting enough, that instead of just scrolling through the screen, you’re like, ‘I need to get in my car and drive to this thing to do this thing?'”

Stu

16:11 Yeah.

Jake

16:11 Right?

Stu

16:11 Yeah.

Jake

16:13 That’s the bigger topic, but that’s something really that I hesitate to get into because I feel like that’s just a risky subject. Again, talking about… We’re talking to addicts who don’t even want to recognize that they’re addicts.

Stu

16:26 Oh, look, absolutely right. It’s a can of worms. Obviously, we’re in a very digital society at the moment, and we’ve interviewed some really interesting and intriguing people on that particular topic of trying to get away from the mobile phone. We’ve got science journalists on there that written books as well, so it’s… Yeah. For anybody that wants to do that, then just browse our podcast real and you’ll find a lot of information there, but I totally see where you’re coming from. So then, just to backtrack, when you were talking about fixing myopia, you mentioned the phrase, “Challenge your eyes,” and I want to know what that means and how we might challenge our own eyes to help our eyesight from a natural perspective.

Jake

17:18 So what happens naturally if you’re not wearing glasses is our eyesight isn’t “perfect.”

Stu

17:26 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jake

17:26 Right? Like one of the… There’s two mechanisms in the eye that regulate acuity like how clear you can see. One is the focusing muscle that determines the distance in the short-term, and the second is the length of the eyeball. So the eyeball length continuously adjusts based on environmental stimulus. It’s trying to be the right length so that the light focuses on the retina in the back of your eye correctly.

Stu

17:53 Yeah.

Jake

17:54 When you’re a baby, you start out hyperopic. You start out farsighted actually, and that mechanism…

18:04 [inaudible 00:18:04] regulating a shortening, but then that remains active through your whole life. So, the eyeball length is always part of the ongoing mechanism to self regulate.

And so yeah, our eye sight is not generally perfect, our environments change, lighting changes, winter comes and it’s darker. We can’t see as well. If you don’t wear glasses, you’re aware of this, right? Like a heavy night of drinking and you wake up in the morning and your alarm clock is blurry. If you’re not a lens wearer, then you’re familiar with this in general, that sometimes your eyesight is not as good as others. Right?

And then at that point you have to, you blink at your alarm clock, right? You’re like, “Oh,” and then it clears up and you’re like, “All right, I’m back.” And this kind of effort that is familiar to people that don’t wear glasses, right? Like blink and refocus or knowing that something is not supposed to be blurry that’s blurry at the moment. You have an ability to refocus to a small extent, right? Everybody does. We lose the awareness of this ability with lenswear because the lenses are made to be so strong that they give you clear vision no matter what. So, we kind of lose this connection too, while this shouldn’t be blurry, I’m going to stare at it until it clears up.

We call it active focus because I couldn’t find any existing terminology for this. If you’ve been wearing glasses forever, it takes a while to figure this out. But in general, it’s just, you look at something, a text, it works easiest with text, it’s a little bit blurry and you blink at it and then it clears up. Maybe not perfectly, but it becomes more legible.

Stu

19:38 Okay.

Jake

19:39 That’s the challenge. The challenge is just having just a little bit of blur in your life at the further distances that you still use, where you’re like, “Okay, I can clear this up with a little bit of effort.” And once you discover that you always wear glasses that are strong enough that you function fine, but not so strong that you don’t have that little bit of edge where you go, “Oops, that’s not clear. Let me clear it up.”

Stu

20:03 So, how long did it take you then? You mentioned that you wore quite thick prescription glasses. How long did that process take for you to be quite comfortable in taking them off?

Jake

20:15 It took forever.

Stu

20:16 Okay.

Jake

20:16 It took forever. There was no precedent, and I started this before the internet was really a thing.

Stu

20:16 Yeah.

Jake

20:22 And I started it on a hunch and it involved a lot of digging in libraries and talking to optometrists. I was traveling at the time, so I found like Russian optometrists for some reason and Italian ones were the ones who started me in this whole like if you wear your glasses, your eyes get worse thing. And then biology books that would tell the two things we talked about, the length of the eyeball, the ciliary muscle.

Stu

20:47 Yup.

Jake

20:47 Kind of led me on this theoretical like there’s something here, but then figuring out how to translate that into improving eyesight took me a long time. Like five years ago, I was still wearing glasses part of the time.

Stu

21:02 Okay.

Jake

21:02 Right? And I’ve been at this for 20 years. It was down to the point where it was just at night and driving motorbikes through big cities and like these kinds of more intense adventures, but it took me a long time because I didn’t really have the perfect approach. Especially where you’re at. Like, that really low myopia is hard to get rid of.

Stu

21:20 Right.

Jake

21:21 Like, if you’re at minus five, getting from minus five to minus one is a piece of cake relatively speaking. Getting from minus one to 20/20 is its own thing. And by the way, I really, this is not, not on you, but people say prescription glasses, it makes me anxious because it’s such a amazing sales trick that that industry has figured out. They’re clear curved pieces of plastic. Right? Like, if you think about it, how is that a prescription? Like you can buy like these painkillers over the counter that if you take too many of you are going to die, right? And nobody can save you. Like, we can take some dangerous substances over the counter, but a clear curve piece of plastic requires a prescription. That is a genius, genius sales, because the other thing, and there’s a great article in the LA Times talking about how big of a rip off glasses are.

And I have friends, acquaintances that sell lenses wholesale to optometrists and for your listeners who are not aware, a solid pair of lenses with all the coatings costs your optometrist about $1.50, maybe $2.

Stu

22:37 So, there’s a reasonably good mark up there.

Jake

22:41 Yeah. So, they charge you hundreds of dollars and the way you don’t question that is it’s a prescription, right? You go to a mall, a shopping mall and the optometrist is next to a shoe store and the store is full of fashion brand frames. Like it’s clearly a retail store and then you’re presented with a bill for $300 but it says prescription, right? So, it’s like mandatory. Like, you’re not going, “These shoes are too expensive,” you’re going, “Well it’s a prescription,” right?

Like, if you think about it like a cute, clear curved piece of plastic, that is only- The only thing adopter is like this prescription number is distance to blur. Like, how far can I see before there’s blur is the only thing an optometrist measures. And a diopter, so the strength of those glasses is a simple conversion. Just a very simple formula of how far can I see before there’s blur. So, even a diopter is not a medical term, right? It’s a scientific term. It’s a term of physics of how does this change a refraction of light. But through the magic of lobbying, right? Like this is all become a thing that you can’t question like, “It’s $300 sir. It’s a prescription.” And so you’re like, “I’ll get my prescription filled,” even though you’re buying like a retail sales product in a shopping mall.

Stu

24:06 So I’ve got a few questions as well that I’m sure are going to send you down another route in a minute. But if our listeners decided I’m going to give this a go, you know, I have got X strength glasses that I wear for whatever reason. Tell me where I need to go. Tell me what I need to do to start my journey. So, where do we send them? Like, do you have a like a roadmap that we can follow to be able to try and improve our eyesight naturally?

Jake

24:43 Yes, yes and no. Yes, and we’re right in between these. Up until now End Myopia has existed as a collection of resources and I’ve structured it purposely not like a step-by-step thing-

Stu

24:57 Yes.

Jake

24:57 Because I want people to understand what’s going on. Like, whenever people are like, “Just give me the steps.” I’m like, “That’s how you wound up with glasses.” Like, my goal has always kind of been to teach you to think for yourself and that’s why I mentioned Google Scholar so that you don’t fall into the next trap. Right? Like Bates method eye exercises and eye vitamins and all this stuff that just doesn’t work that you would never try if you knew how to question how this stuff works. So, End Myopia, go ahead, sorry.

Stu

25:26 Just to throw something in there. If I spend more time on Google Scholar, I’m going to be spending more time on a device and looking at screens.

Jake

25:36 But it’s a gateway to freedom. You have to crawl through the hole.

Stu

25:40 I want to fast track that. Tell me what to do. Tell me what to do.

Jake

25:45 Yeah, so the basics is don’t change your glasses for a start.

Stu

25:49 Okay.

Jake

25:50 And we’re working right now on making End Myopia a little bit more step-by-step, easy to use, and less all research.

Stu

25:57 Yep.

Jake

25:57 The first thing is to measure your eyesight, right? Like, this is a very theoretical kind of thing and people listen to this and they go, “Oh, that’s fascinating. I’m going to tell my wife about this.” But where is the entry point? And the entry point really is understanding that those glasses and “prescriptions” and all these numbers and stuff, you can measure them at home by yourself super easily.

Stu

26:23 How do we do that?

Jake

26:25 It’s just basically if you have a measuring tape, I even have one on the site that you can print out and cut out as directly diopters, not even centimeters.

Stu

26:35 Yes.

Jake

26:35 And you just put one side at the corner of your eye and the other end to your screen and see how far you can move back from the screen before text becomes a little tiny bit blurry.

Stu

26:46 Okay.

Jake

26:48 Works better with a book actually. Book is ideal and you hold it close enough to where the text is perfectly clear and then you slowly move it back, move it back and then you start noticing the text is not as clear anymore. That’s where your myopia starts.

Stu

27:00 Okay.

Jake

27:00 Right? So, you can measure that and there’s something incredibly empowering in making that measurement because now you just did what the optometrist does and that looked so complicated. You just did it at home.

Stu

27:13 So-

Jake

27:13 And then-

Stu

27:14 So-

Jake

27:14 Then you do it. Go ahead.

Stu

27:17 I was going to say, so I’ve done that. I’ve got this magic number and I’ve done it in the comfort of my own home. What do I do with that number?

Jake

27:26 You do it again and-

Stu

27:28 Oh, okay.

Jake

27:30 You’re like, “No, I’m not doing it again.” The second interesting part about this measurement is see how much it changes. Right?

Stu

27:39 Right.

Jake

27:39 Do it in an artificially lit room at night while you’re watching Netflix. Do it in the morning next to a window and see how much range there is to that number.

Stu

27:49 Yes.

Jake

27:49 Right? And then on the End Myopia website there’s a calculator where you can convert the centimeters to diopters. So, it will tell you exactly like this would be your diopter number that you wouldn’t [inaudible 00:28:01] perfect.

Stu

28:04 Right.

Jake

28:05 Right? So, now you’re at a point where- Did we? Okay, we’re still good.

Stu

28:09 Yeah.

Jake

28:10 So, now you’re at a point where like you just did the entire optometrist exam for myopia at home and you e:know what strength glasses you need.

Stu

28:18 Yes.

Jake

28:19 Now, in your case like you make the comparison. Okay, sit next to a window and I work and my apparent myopia is much lower, right? If you do this in a barely lit almost dark room, your myopia will appear higher.

Stu

28:34 Right.

Jake

28:34 This is why you need glasses during movies, right? Your pupils are wider open and the eyes use contrast detection to work out focus. So, the less light there is, the more that that focal plane air becomes apparent. Right? So, now what’s really interesting about this is now you’re disassembling this problem and you’re realizing where is my issue, right? Like, where does my myopia start? Once you do all this, it’s much harder to go back to just wearing glasses because now you’re aware of if you wear your driving glasses during computer use, you’re way over correcting that distance.

Stu

29:13 Right.

Jake

29:13 Right?

Stu

29:14 Yeah.

Jake

29:14 You can probably actually feel that strain because you don’t wear them normally. Most people don’t. Most people wear them all the time so they no longer feel that strain.

Stu

29:22 Yeah.

Jake

29:22 And then you can start optimizing that measurement by going, “Okay, is Jake, right about this act of focus thing?” Right? Like, if you go outside and you go for a walk and you see car license plates and they’re a little bit blurry at some distance, stop and see if you can make them appear more clear than they were.

Stu

29:41 Right.

Jake

29:42 You know what I’m saying? Like start finding that act of focus, which can take a day. Maybe you already have it. Some people, it takes a few weeks to figure out, but then apply that challenge, right? Different for people who wear strong glasses, this is for you because you don’t wear them, but you have some myopia.

Stu

30:00 Yeah.

Jake

30:00 And then measure again in a week, right? If you’ve been doing this active focus thing semi-regularly and you’re making a little bit of a fun project out of it, a week or two from now, that centimeter measurement, maybe 5%, 10%, 15% better than it was when you started.

Stu

30:17 Okay.

Jake

30:18 Right? So, now you have a tangible, non subjective way to quantify your eyesight and you’re starting to have access to these tools that are meant to improve your eyesight and you have a way now to see if they work.

Stu

30:33 Could I print off an eyesight chart, let’s say, onto a piece of [inaudible 00:30:37] paper, stick it to the wall and then practice reading it every single day. And perhaps as time goes on, just step back a little bit and a little bit and just see how that works as well. Would that be something that might be beneficial?

Jake

30:53 Yes. I have eye charts on the website. They will get made just so people could test their eyesight.

Stu

31:01 Okay.

Jake

31:01 Two things about that, one, it’s a great baseline. It’s a great like control for you to go having a consistent experience. The lighting is always the same.

Stu

31:01 Yes.

Jake

31:11 The distance is always the same, the writing on it is always the same. It’s a great control.

Stu

31:16 Yeah.

Jake

31:17 But then you want to take that practice into the outside world because what improves your eyesight and what maintains good eyesight isn’t an exercise. It’s applying this into your life in general, right? Like, active focus becomes a thing that you just use and you might find that you get into nighttime and you’re doing something not like driving where you’d normally wear glasses and you go, “Hey, I can read those street signs that I couldn’t read last month.”

And that’s in part how that low myopia starts to disappear is as you pursue that ongoing challenge with everything around you and you build a habit, right? Like, I’m to the point where I’m just like a dog chasing a ball. If I’m outside and I see a license plate, I try to make sure that I can read it. Right?

Stu

32:05 Okay.

Jake

32:05 And it takes like this habit building is kind of takes about a month in general. People say to build a sustained habit. But once you have that, you’re going to notice that your dependence on those glasses is going to become less and less.

Stu

32:18 Interesting. So, I’ve got a question for you. I think you’d be the perfect guy to answer this. So, at home I have an infrared sauna and I use it most evenings. So, I do a bit of a sauna session and just chill out. Well, chill out, I don’t chill out, but I relax. And after I’ll come in and I might watch some TV, some Netflix, just to switch off that thinking mind. And when I log onto Netflix, you go through and you can have a look at all of the movies and the documentaries and everything that’s available to you. And if you click any of the icons, you get to see a description of the movie, the documentary. And it just tells you a little bit about it and the writing is quite small and typically it’s always a little blurry for me because of the reading glasses that I don’t actually wear when I’m watching TV. But a few weeks ago I came out of the sauna, sat down and watched some Netflix and went through all of the descriptions and they were crystal, crystal clear as if I had my glasses on. And that happened for maybe two or three days and then it reverted back to being a little bit blurry. And I thought, “Wow, what just happened there?” So, I wondered if you could just shed some light on that as to why that might’ve happened?

Jake

33:44 That’s a tricky one. And the reason I, or before started saying you should start with measuring.

Stu

33:50 Yes.

Jake

33:50 So, that because most people don’t have the experience you have because most people wear the strongest possible glasses.

Stu

33:50 Yeah.

Jake

33:56 And one of the steps in my approach is for them to reduce their distance glasses to where they’re basically at the level that you’re at.

Stu

34:03 Yeah.

Jake

34:04 Right? So, a person with minus five myopia might be wearing minus 4.5 lenses so that they’re at that point where you are aware, they can see clear, but there’s enough variance in that clarity where you can have these kinds of experiences where you go, “What happened there?”

Stu

34:21 Right.

Jake

34:22 Because as long as the glasses are too strong, none of your lifestyle and environment are going to give you clues. Right?

Stu

34:27 Okay.

Jake

34:27 What’s going on? Now, I don’t know. I don’t have enough of a sample size of an experiment with infrared saunas to tell you if infrared saunas improve your eyesight.

Stu

34:37 Okay.

Jake

34:38 I hesitate and say probably, maybe not, but you do. Right? And now you can make a test out of this of if you don’t use the sauna for a few days and you do do the sauna a few days, is there a consistency? Sometimes it’s something as simple as a tear fluid layer in your eyes. Like, if your eyes are dry, you’re going to see less well than if your eyes are properly lubricated by the tear fluid level. That’s the first thing that comes to mind because sometimes heat, right? Like your eyes tend to be maybe a little bit more dryer than otherwise. And when they are it notably negatively affects your eyesight.

So, what you can also do is like if you can make your eyes more teary, some people have that ability, like for example, if you just keep them open.

Stu

35:25 Yeah.

Jake

35:25 And you stare until they feel dry and they start tearing up and then look at that same Netflix screen, you might have a similar experience where everything appears super clear.

Stu

35:35 Interesting.

Jake

35:36 But basically I can’t give you a definitive answer why that happened other than it’s a really interesting starting point in getting your brain working in the direction of what is making my eye sight better.

Stu

35:47 Well, that’s right. And it’s intriguing to know that myopia is not permanent in any sense and can be. That, you know, there are variables to it,

Stu

36:00 Which intrigued me. I thought, wow, that is really unusual. But, so another question-

Jake

36:06 Speaking of.

Stu

36:07 Yep. Go on.

Jake

36:08 Movies with subtitles.

Stu

36:10 Yes.

Jake

36:10 Is a great thing because now you have text that you have to read-

Stu

36:14 Right.

Jake

36:14 And if you put the TV or yourself at a distance where there’s a slight blur, then throughout a whole movie you can be practicing a bit of active focus.

Stu

36:22 Great. That’s a good tip. Okay.

Jake

36:24 Yes.

Stu

36:25 See, ordinarily I might have gone for my glasses if the movie had some titles, but now that you mentioned that I’ll do nothing of the sort. Okay.

Jake

36:35 Yeah.

Stu

36:35 So, laser corrective surgery. So, it seems to be for most people the holy grail of 20/20 vision. So, getting back what they once had reasonably painlessly at great expense, no doubt. What are your thoughts?

Jake

36:56 It is a great idea.

Stu

36:58 Right. Okay.

Jake

37:01 No. So, I’m going to not mention this side effects because you can just Google LASIK complications and that should be enough for most people to go, “Maybe this is not a brilliant idea.” The side effect risks are not to be underestimated. And for anybody who is going to do LASIK, the sales pitch and the positive you’re going to get from the person who’s getting paid to do it shouldn’t be your only input for the risk factors. Number one, like that is, I get so much email from people who tell me horrible stories, horrible stories, and I’m thinking we’re just relatively small in the general scope of internet stuff. And for me to get that much email on LASIK is frightening.

So, do your research on complications. But that said, even if everything goes perfectly, LASIK doesn’t fix anything. The only thing LASIK does is cut a permanent lens [inaudible 00:38:04] from your eye. So, it’s no different than wearing a contact lens other than that refractive state change is cut into your eye instead of applied through a piece of plastic. Right? So, if your eyesight has been getting worse, right? Like if it’s not steady, like if you’ve been at minus five for 10 years and you always wear your glasses and you get LASIK and you don’t have any complications, then you’re fine. But if last year you’re at minus four and now you’re minus five and now you’re going to get LASIK, the next year you’re going to be at minus one again. Meaning LASIK doesn’t stop the progression of myopia, right? So, if your eyesight is on a trajectory of getting worse, getting that LASIK is going to only improve it for the same amount of time that your glasses were improving it before.

Stu

38:54 Okay.

Jake

38:54 Does it make sense?

Stu

38:55 It does. Yeah. Absolutely. No, that’s-

Jake

38:58 And then the problem now is if you, you can improve your eyesight after LASIK back to that same spot where LASIK started. In order for you to stop a progressive myopia scenario, you have to apply some of the ideas we’re talking about. And the other problem is once you did LASIK, all of this becomes more complicated because now you see 20/20 right? But it’s like wearing your glasses while looking at your screen. So, now you have to correct for that. So, I tell people you have to wear reading glasses basically. Reading glasses are the opposite of distance clearing glasses. All people plus lenses basically.

Stu

39:39 Right.

Jake

39:40 And in order to subtract adopter or adopter and a half from the LASIK that you have now, you would need plus lenses. So, now you need glasses for reading. You don’t need them, but to prevent more myopia you basically have to wear reading glasses to not have that effect. Right? So, while the LASIK in an ideal scenario fixes your distance vision, in order to keep that distance vision, you now need glasses too as a preventative tool. Right?

Stu

40:06 Right.

Jake

40:07 That’s one issue. And then the other issue is your eyeball is elongated. And this gets into a little bit of dodgy territory because people disagree with me about the elongation can be reversed, but it can. Say I and says some amount of science and some amount of research that we’ve done and the actual tests we’ve done that you make the eyeball shorter again. And the problem is as you get high myopia and the eyeball gets longer, you start having problems longterm. Retinal detachment, people may be familiar with the retina is not part of the eyeball, it’s attached to it and as the eyeball grows longer, it gets football shaped so that attachment then becomes strained and that leads to most commonly to lattice degeneration and retinal detachment. No medical advice from me. Just you go to Google scholar and you can look up your risk of retinal detachment increases 500 fold even for relatively mild myopia. Like minus four, minus five doctors, you already have a significantly increased risk of retinal detachment, which you can no longer shorten the eyeball now past the amount that your LASIK has been.

Stu

41:18 Right.

Jake

41:18 So, if you consider LASIK for a quick fix, realize that you’re basically putting a wall there and the football shaped elongation of the eyeball cannot potentially be changed anymore.

Stu

41:31 Okay, interesting. Well, food for thought indeed. On that topic of food, supplementation, what a segue. How about that? So, supplementation, we’re told that carrots are good for the eyes, presumably vitamin A and I’m sure there’s a whole wave of other stuff going on there as well. But do you use any supplements for your eyes in particular? Any foods that you might eat? Do you have an opinion about it? I’m intrigued.

Jake

42:06 I’m not a nutrition guy. Right? So, my knowledge on this is extremely limited. When people ask me, I generally say, I personally go and get a complete blood lab work done to see if I have any deficiencies.

Stu

42:21 Okay. Yeah.

Jake

42:23 But that’s me. Like, we’re not talking about Jake who knows about myopia. This is just me talking about, you’re asking me, I’m prefacing this with saying, I don’t know.

Stu

42:32 Yeah.

Jake

42:32 But then before we start popping a bunch of supplements, I always like to know because like I did and I do blood panels regularly and I started because the first time I did it casually and there were some notable issues that I had no symptoms for. So, now I’m like, wow, that’s fascinating. That said, diet definitely has an impact. Like, diabetes and myopia are definitely correlated and insulin spikes a lot. A lot of people have reported this endless times that an insulin spike notably [inaudible 00:43:05] your eyesight negatively. Right? So, you eat a pizza and have a Coke and all of a sudden that 40 centimeter distance you got before is now 35. Insulin spikes are not great. So, food absolutely has an impact and there’s absolutely vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your eyesight to function properly. Many of which we may not be getting enough of depending on what our diet is like.

Stu

43:29 Yeah. Good advice. I think really smart advice as well because we’re also radically different. We don’t know where we are on our health journey and we don’t want to unknowingly be taking pills and potions because we don’t know what’s happening inside. So, I had a heavy metal analysis, like hair heavy metal analysis test done six months ago and my magnesium levels were off the charts. But magnesium is a really popular go-to supplement. So, it wouldn’t have been out of my mind to run out and purchase more magnesium and start taking that. But now I know, like I don’t need any more magnesium. I’ve got plenty. In fact, I’ve got too much. So yeah, blood tests. Any other tests along those lines. Yeah, it’s good advice. I think know where you are at least then you can test and adjust from that point.

Jake

44:23 Sure. Yeah. And I come from a weird place because most, what I found here, especially with interacting with more people, there’s a lot of internet health stuff comes from a different place, right? Like I’m a number and science guy and the way I make money is quantifying facts and acting on what we know will happen or what we think will happen as opposed to wishful thinking and hopeful stuff. And I’m not saying any of these other ideas are wrong, it’s just I don’t come from that place where a lot of things do. So, people get confused with me sometimes because I’m so pro, like peer reviewed clinical science. And at the same time I’m so far on the spectrum of this sounds like a conspiracy theory.

Stu

45:06 Yeah.

Jake

45:06 Right?

Stu

45:06 Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely. So, we’ve covered a lot of ground and we’re kind of coming up on time, but just so for everybody out there then that has an interest in actively wanting to try and make change with their eyesight. Now you have a community in myopia so it’s all an online thing. Is that, where should they go if they stumble across your website and they want to dig a little bit deeper?

Jake

45:36 So, endmyopia.org is a good starting point in the process of a lot of revamping right now. But basically every page of the site has a signup for a seven day guide that kind of walks you through a lot of what we talked about but in a little bit more detail. Like, how you measure your eyesight. Here is like links to eye charts and links to measuring tools and how do you convert centimeters to doctors and like a step by step one week thing that should get you started.

Stu

46:05 Okay.

Jake

46:06 After people do that, I generally say it can be a good idea to possibly join a forum or a Facebook group because there’s a lot of people in the same journey and it’s I think really instructive to kind of see what other people are doing. And I think from there it becomes one of those things where you ask yourself, what would I do with better eyesight?

Stu

46:26 Yeah.

Jake

46:26 Right? Like does this actually make sense? Would I want to make this change and how would this change practically affect how I live my life?

Stu

46:35 Okay. Good stuff. Well look, we’ll put all of the links in the show notes as well. So, a question that we like to wrap up with each and every show and it’s going to be directed at you personally and that is if you could give me three top tips that you think could make the biggest impact on our eye health right now, what might they be?

Jake

47:07 The first thing definitely is don’t wear distance glasses for close up.

Stu

47:11 Right.

Jake

47:12 Like, if you get nothing else out of this whole thing is what you wear for distance is super bad to wear for closeup. That would be number one. Number two for me personally is the topic that I said I don’t like talking about is facing the screen addiction.

Stu

47:28 Yes.

Jake

47:29 And I have a huge screen addiction that I’m battling all the time and I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for hobbies. Right? Like, because I travel a lot, I work in coffee shops and I pick coffee shops at the opposite end of town, so I’m forced to spend an hour somewhere like on the way, and I’ve turned my phone into flight mode. Right? I don’t check it if I’m on the subway, I try to interact with people more.

Stu

47:56 Yeah.

Jake

47:56 It’s never a battle that’s complete, but to me personally, that is the thing is like I have this good eyesight [inaudible 00:48:04] and I’m going to use it.

Stu

48:07 Yeah. Brilliant.

Jake

48:09 [inaudible 00:48:09] An ongoing challenge I think. Those are the two, my two main things. I know you said three but-

Stu

48:16 You don’t have to have it-

Jake

48:17 It’s like in school. I was never that great in school. I think those are technically don’t wear your glasses for closeup and more philosophically think about are you wasting your life with this stupid screen?

Stu

48:27 Yeah.

Jake

48:28 Right?

Stu

48:28 Great advice. No, good advice. So, what’s next? What’s next for Jake Steiner? What have you got coming up?

Jake

48:39 In a month we’re going to go kite surfing for a month or so I think. And that’s another one of the, I was never into this idea, but I have good eyesight and that gets you far away from screens. So, what I’m really going to do, like that’s my big plan and on this end myopia front, like we’re really making a lot of changes to make it much more accessible because currently it’s like a big mountain. And I generally just say good luck with it. Right? So.

Stu

49:07 So, you’ve mentioned kite surfing and a question immediately popped into my head. So, you’re out in the ocean, you’ve got the kite and it’s a sunny day. Do you wear sunglasses?

Jake

49:21 No, I don’t. I don’t because it’s one thing that’s going to fly off my head and water drops are going to collect on the front. People do, but to me it’s just, I can’t deal with them. On the subject of sunglasses. I say wear them if you would be otherwise squinting.

Stu

49:38 Yeah. Okay. All right, so simple rule. No, that’s good. I didn’t know whether there, there are two schools of thought. I mean there’s an underground movement that says, you know, sunglasses are really bad and they can cause more problems than they can solve. But then of course there’s another camp, another side to every single story. But yeah, that is good advice. So, how can our audience get more from you? You mentioned Endmyopia.org. Is there anywhere else that you’d want me to send our audience?

Jake

50:11 Endmyopia.org is a great starting point because there’s the links to the Facebook group, our forum, the YouTube channel, everything is collected there.

Stu

50:19 Okay.

Jake

50:20 It’s really, it’s a nice spot to start off with.

Stu

50:20 Yeah.

Jake

50:23 And even if you’re not like ready to jump hardcore into it, it’s at least an anchor point where you start kind of, when you have time, you do a little bit of research and start realizing that without your eyes you would have a pretty limited interaction with the world.

Stu

50:38 Brilliant. Fantastic. Well, look, Jake, thank you so much for your time. It’s been, yeah, really, really intriguing. I think our audience are going to get a lot out of this as well, and I’m certainly going to do more research and have a dig around your site as well because yeah, I am intrigued. I think there is a lot to what you’ve said and I’d like to find out more, so thank you again. Really appreciate your time and hopefully we’ll connect at some stage soon in the future.

Jake

51:06 Yes. Awesome. Thank you so much.

Stu

51:08 Thank you.

 

Jake Steiner

Jake Steiner (SHTY-nuh) is a passionate advocate for eye health with a unique perspective: that we can reverse myopia (AKA nearsightedness) naturally. After a decade of research, Jake compiled enough peer-reviewed academic data to back his hypothesis that we've been looking at myopia all wrong, that the 100-billion-dollar-per-year retail optometry... Read More
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