3 Reasons You Might Not Apply What You Learn

You May Not Realize What's Holding You Back

It’s often said we learn something new every day.  But do we?  If we don’t apply what we’ve learned, then hasn’t the lesson failed?

School Closed

Unfortunate News

Last week I saw a patient who has macular degeneration.  Although his eye disease has been stable for years, this checkup revealed it had gotten much worse.  He’s done all the right things:

  • Vitamin therapy with a proven product
  • UV protection in his glasses
  • A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens
  • Regular checkups for testing of the eye health and vision

But when I told him he needed a retinal specialist, he refused to go.  I explained that if he wanted to save his vision, he didn’t have a choice.

I taught him the importance of proper care, and scheduled his appointment with the retinal specialist.

Lesson Learned?

I don’t know if he will go or not.  In the past, he did learn what to do about his macular degeneration, and he applied what he learned.

But this latest situation was a new lesson.  I explained the change in his eye disease and the steps needed to protect his vision.  It was a new opportunity to learn.  Will he apply what he learned again?  Or will he refuse to get additional treatment and end the lesson?

What About You?

The most important part of any lesson is in the application.  If we don’t apply the lesson, have we really learned anything?

There are several reasons we might not apply what we’ve learned.  Some are external and I’ll cover those in a future post.

There are also important internal reasons we might fail to apply a good lesson.  Here are three:

Beliefs.  Everything we’ve learned affects our beliefs, and our beliefs affect everything we’ll learn in the future.  Studies show we’re programmed to listen to and learn from people and sources that support what we already believe.  We might refuse a lesson if it doesn’t agree with our beliefs.  So our beliefs may cause us to ignore good teaching.  As the adage goes, don’t believe everything you think.

Bias.  Studies show we have a natural bias towards negativity and mistrust.  Just knowing this means you can decide to listen to a lesson, learn from it, and apply it to your life.  As an example, a high school teacher of mine once told me optometry was a dying profession.  Briefly, so did I.  But when I finally opened up enough to find out for myself, I discovered a world of new people and possibilities.

Fear.  Vision is our most precious sense, and many people fear losing it.  I can see how someone might be afraid a certain visual lesson might not “work.”  And many of my patients fear hearing the worst.  In this case, it helps to think about the “opportunity cost.”  In other words, what do you risk if you don’t apply the lesson?  For example:

  • Those computer glasses have a cost, but so does eye strain and loss of productivity.
  • Regular trips to the retinal specialist are troublesome, but losing vision is much more so.
  • Eating healthy seems difficult, but what about recovering from heart surgery?

These are just a few reasons we might find it difficult to apply what we’ve learned.  Or, they may make us think what we’ve learned isn’t valuable enough to apply in  the first place.

One way to overcome each one is to be more open.  Slow down and think.  Recognize your internal tendencies.  Be willing to consider a new person, new idea, or new lesson on its own merits, rather than against what you already believe.

We’re complex people, and the three reasons above barely scratch the surface.  Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll detail some external factors that can influence our learning.  And, I’ll reveal the secrets to applying what you’ve learned in any situation.

Question: Have you ever had a time in your life when your beliefs influenced what you learned?  What happened?  Please comment below.

The One Thing You’re Forgetting When You Learn Something New

It May Mean You're Not Really Learning

Think of everything you’ve ever learned.  Between formal education and the school of hard knocks, it’s a lot.  But there’s one secret to learning you just might be missing.

Books 3

Nervous Vision

I once had a desperate patient.  She was a professional in her mid fifties with a good career and a nice family.  But she needed help.

She said, “My eyes make me nervous.  I have blurry vision sometimes.  Even when I do see clearly, then my eyes are uncomfortable.  It’s affecting my work and home life.”

“It has got to stop,” she concluded.

I discovered some simple problems with easy solutions.  But I understood her frustration.  I often tell patients, “When your eyes are miserable, so are you.”

I prescribed separate glasses for work for clear vision and better productivity.  I explained how OcuSoft eyelid cleanser could help.  I added Systane lubricating eye drops as a moisturizer.  Simple, right?

In defeat, she said, “Do I really need to do all that?”

I scheduled a checkup, which she skipped.  I never saw her again.

It’s All In the Application

There’s a crucial moment where she went wrong, and many of us do the same without knowing it.

To be fair, she did some things right.  She had questions and sought professional help.  She wanted to learn what would solve her problems.

But she didn’t apply what she learned.

Which begs the question: did she ever really learn anything at all?

Many doctors know this about their patients.  It is not their skill, knowledge, or years of experience that determine your success.

It’s you.

You are responsible for the outcome after you visit your eye doctor.  You choose whether to hear the same instructions or get a high-five at your checkup.

Here are some examples:

  • I teach a lot of people about smoking. It’s one of the worst things you can do to your eyes.  Quitting is essential to eye health.  Many patients reject this concept immediately.  Some say they’ll try, but they don’t succeed.  But some patients are excited about how much less they’re smoking and their eventual quit date.
  • Why does your eye doctor check your height, weight, BMI (Body Mass Index), and blood pressure? They’re essential to eye health.  Vascular disease can lead to serious eye diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.  When I talk to patients about diet and lifestyle, some are already determined not to listen.  But some return after losing ten, twenty, fifty, or more pounds.
  • I’ve been teaching the visual lifestyle for years. There are simple solutions to improve vision, eye health, and visual comfort.  Many people ignore easy solutions even after getting help from a professional.  But some people apply what they learn.  And they are the ones who are excited about how much better they’re seeing, or how much more they’re enjoying their lives.  Just last week a patient told me the high definition, glare free progressive glasses I prescribed transformed her vision and her days.

Most people listen.  Some learn.  But fewer people apply what they’ve learned.  And they’re better for it.  Their health is better, their vision is clearer, and their eyes are more comfortable.

Question: Have you ever had an “aha!” moment when you applied something you learned?  Please describe it in the comments below.

4 Reasons You Need to Switch to New Sensity Lenses

They'll Change How You Think About Changeable Lenses

I’ve been teaching the visual lifestyle for two decades, so it takes some amazing lenses to grab my attention.  But Sensity light reactive lenses have done just that.

Sensity lenses can tame harsh, varied lighting conditions

Sensity lenses can tame harsh, varied lighting conditions

A Change In Photochromics

Corning Glass Works introduced photochromic lenses in the 1960’s.  The world had never seen lenses that darken in the sunlight and become clear again indoors.

It was a practical solution to having separate clear glasses and sunglasses.  But it wasn’t perfect.  Even today, no photochromic lenses will darken in a car.  That is why I still prescribe polarized sunwear for my patients to use when they drive.

Still, Corning’s Photogray lenses went on to dominate the eyewear industry.  And while they enjoyed their day in the sun (pun intended), Transitions photochromic lenses are the most recognized in the world today.

But that is going to change.

The Sensity Surprise

Earlier this year, HOYA surprised the eyewear industry when they introduced Sensity light reactive lenses.  Until then, Transitions led the field in both technology and sales.  The average person probably thought there weren’t many improvements that could be made to the world’s leading photochromic lenses.

But I’m proud to say LaFollette Eye Clinic doesn’t have average patients.  Many of them enjoy photochromic lenses, but here are some reasons they might not be completely happy with them:

  • They weren’t dark enough outside.  This led to sun sensitivity.
  • They weren’t clear enough indoors.  Many people don’t want even slightly tinted lenses inside.  (Call me vain, but this was the kicker for me.  I don’t like a partial tint indoors.  It makes me feel like I’m pretending to be a rock star.)
  • They didn’t change fast enough.  Who wants to walk around the grocery store wearing what appears to be sunglasses?
  • They didn’t change as well in hot weather.  Wait…isn’t summer when we’re outdoors the most?
  • Their power faded over time.  With age, the lenses didn’t change as well either.

When HOYA decided to develop a new photochromic lens, they wanted to solve these problems.  I’ve tried the new Sensity light reactive lenses, and I can say they succeeded.

I still prefer a separate pair of polarized sunglasses for when I’m driving.  But when I’m not wearing sunglasses, I now prefer Sensity light reactive lenses instead of clear glasses.  Here are four reasons why:

UV and blue light protection.  Even when the lenses are actively changing, they still block UV and high energy blue light.

Convenience.  When my sunwear isn’t handy, my “clear” pair of glasses will still give me sun protection when I need them to.

Comfort.  I don’t even notice when my Sensity lenses change.  They do what they’re supposed to without distracting me.

Improvement.  When HOYA set out to improve standard photochromic lenses, they did it!  Sensity light reactive lenses are:

  • Darker outdoors.
  • Clearer indoors.
  • Faster when they change.
  • Temperature independent (meaning, they’re just as powerful in hot weather).
  • Durable (meaning, their power won’t fade with time).

HOYA hit a home run with their new Sensity light reactive lenses.  Just remember they do not change inside a car (cars have UV protection built into the windows, and UV is what triggers photochromic lenses to darken).  So, I won’t be giving up my polarized sunwear when I drive.

Still, because HOYA has so thoroughly addressed the faults of other photochromic lenses, I may never buy clear lenses again.

And one last thing: HOYA doesn’t typically sell their lenses through mass market retailers or websites.  So you’ll need to find an independent eye doctor or optician who can help you get them.  It shouldn’t be difficult.  To find an authorized HOYA dealer near you, click here.

Once you have them, you may wonder how you lived without them.

Question: Have you ever tried photochromic lenses?  If so, tell me what you liked most (or least) about them.  Please leave a comment below.