Natural Vision Improvement
- home -
- intended for nearsighted pilots who wants a clean medical !
( If you can read this, you may peek as well :-)
Why should natural vision improvement techniques work ? If it does, why do opticians exist in the trade at all ? If it worked for so long, why didn't I know of it before ? See the end of this text for more of these sceptical questions.
These were questions I asked myself, but willing to give it a go, I tried it. And it does work. When you read about why, then maybe you can see the logic too.
Let me first show this analogy between dentists and opticians and what they will do to you in your childhood and teens.
Optician: He will discover an emerging problem in vision, mainly nearsightedness for teens. He will issue a pair of glasses/contacts that corrects the vision back to normal WHILE looking through these glasses/contacts. The eyes, in turn, will get used to the glasses, and whatever caused the nearsightedness in the first place, will most likely continue. So the next visit will give stronger glasses and so on. $$$£££
Dentist: He will discover (amongst many other things) uneven teeth, and issue braces for this. The braces will work opposite the uneven teeth, forcing them back towards even teeth (whether natural or not). After a while, the braces can be taken off, and the teeth are normally back at a more even position. As you will come back with your cavaties and other dental problems $$$£££, the dentist is not dependant on your wearing braces all your life.
This is two different approaches of correcting the body from going off track. Of course, the dentist cannot correct as the optician does (lucky me, I used braces for half a year in my teens). But would it not be better if the optician had said "You are starting to develop nearsightedness. I suggest you use reading glasses +1 or +2 in strength whenever you do near work as reading, using the computer etc. This will also put less strain on your eyes. Avoid holding items you look at closer than necessary. Also, watch your diet. If you are not getting enough vitamins and trace minerals, it can impair your vision. Come back after 6 months, and I will test your eyes again to see if you should stop using reading glasses for near work.". The optician is merely curing the symptoms, not the cause. The same goes for OK contact lenses ! (OK = OrthoKereaology or something - lenses that reshape your eye temporarily to compensate for poor vision)
What went wrong ?
What went wrong - why did your eyes deteriorate in the first place ? Since there is no proof of anything YET (to my knowledge), I believe the following - after reading various sources:
The eye dox accept that to focus near, you tension the eye muscles, and to look far, you relax them. OK, this is where I start to assume: What if these muscles becomes to tense or too short ? Then you can't relax these same muscles to look far ! How could that happen ? Well, since "we" invented books and computers, "we" are spending a lot more time doing near eye work. The nearer, and the longer and consecutive periods it is, the more you tense your eye muscles. Just like if you exercise, without doing stretching exercises afterwards. If you don't stretch your muscles regularily, then they become more tense - and shorter.
Why should I think that this does NOT also apply for the eye muscles ?
That is why I wear my glasses as little as possible - in fact, now I only wear them when I legally have to, or if I really want to enjoy detail at a far distance (back row of a large cinema). And I wear reading glasses, +2.0, while writing this, just like I do - when possible - when using my computer or reading.
If you instead keep on wearing your normal prescription glasses, you will stretch your muscles EVEN harder when doing near work, and over time, you will need stronger glasses again. So, to break this evil circle, read on ...
When I was 17, I found out that I needed glasses, when I "stole" a pair af glasses from a friend at school. Suddenly I could see the cracks in the bricks 20 meters away - I was amazed, but also on my way into the world of eyesight correction. I started out with R -0.75 L -0.50 and some astigmatism that I don't remember the angles of. This was the end of my plans of trying to become a military pilot.
After studying for two years in a business college, I found out that I could become a civil pilot with up to +/- 3.00, of which I was well within. So I started flying in 1991, aged 22, as it was my life long dream to fly. But from 17 and up to 30 years of age, my need for correction developed from R -0.75 L -0.50 to R -1.50 L -1.25, a 0.75 increase in strength on both eyes. If this was to continue, I could risk some day loosing my certificate because of that. And what would not an employer think of that tendency when hireing, knowing the same facts about this medical issue ? When I started with theoretical aviation school for my commercial certificates, I talked to a fellow collegue-to-be who used to need -4.50 correction at the worst stage, but he trained his eyes with exercises down to about -2.00, so he got his medical. I also remembered my grandmother putting her reading glasses away (she was farsighted, but that is also correctable) in her 60'es after revising her diet and doing eye exercises. Still, I didn't have the patience or (enough) interest and belief to go ahead with this myself. Not until the middle of 1999, as I just passed the 30 year milestone. And that was not long after my most recent increase in needed eye correction.
A new era for me
I bought two sets of books, and after reading them, I threw away the hocus-pocus exercises, but kept the ones that really gave meaning to me. Swinging my arms from side to side with eyes closed while visualizing mountain ranges en masse didn't seem right to me. What I did, and what I can recommend other nearsighted people, is what follows below. If you are farsighted, most of it applies as opposite, but I have no experience with farsightedness that I can tell about. But it is all in the books, see the links somewhere on this page, if interested. Because you, ageing captain, to whom the instruments are too small and the print unreadable in low light, you can also do exercises and change habits and diet to see without glasses.
What I did
After 3 months of casual practising and changed habits (see below for instructions), I am back to the strength I used 13 years ago. I use the first glasses I ever had for driving, and I see everything as clear as with my latest issued glasses. So my cruise climb from 0.00 to R -1.50 L -1.25, descented back worth 13 years of worsening in only 3 months. And I didn't practise daily (lazy me), but I did change some habits as suggested below. A few weeks after the test that showed that my need for strength decreased, I tried to put a pair of +1 reading glasses on top of my normal nearsigted glasses. That equals wearing glasses with a strength 1.00 lower. And I saw everything just as clear with or without the reading glasses on top of my normal glasses !
December 28th 1999 I went to get me medical renewed, and I could see 3 more lines on the eye chart than before. They were somewhat puzzled, but said that there was no chance for me to bring it even lower down, at least not within a year. I say we'll see about that, january 2001 I am due with a full medical test (you don't take all tests every time), and then my eye correction needs will be tested. But I know already now that it has improved, and continues to do so.
(All the text below assumes glasses, but the same should apply for contact lenses)
Disclaimer: Do this on your own risk, and use prescribed glasses when driving, flying or walking the beach "enjoying the nature".
1. Depending on your need for correction, do what suits you with regard to any combination of
a) Wearing your glasses as little as possible *)
b) If too nearsighted for a), using glasses with less strength *)
c) Using reading glasses for near work (+1 and +2 should do)
*) Beware of legal considerations here with regard to driving, flying etc
2. Do the following exercises whenever bored, waiting for the bus/plane/whatever:
Without glasses (or with weaker glasses if necessary), focus on something in close (ie your thumb at an arms length), then focus (best effort) on something further away that you can see without glasses. Focus back to near, and so on, 50 times if you can (it's tough for the eye muscles in the beginning). Do it with either eye, and do it with both eyes.
Without glasses (or with reading glasses) you can also look at something in close, then pull it slowly out until out of focus, wait and refocus, then again slowly out as far as you can, then back into focus. This will take your eyes to max possible focus distance.
When you read and do near work, keep objects as far as you can and still focus. Don't read in bed with your nose buried in the book !
Hints to the nearsighted
* Note: The more light, the less the need is for strength. Thus you could have a pair of weaker day glasses and stronger night glasses. This is the same for a photographic camera. The more light, the smaller the hole where the light goes through can be, and this gives more depth focus. The depth focus is what makes you able to focus better with more light, and what makes some people with (apparently) normal day vision, be "night blind".
* Never wear your glasses when not necessary - can you read this without glasses, do it ! If you can read it only with glasses of lesser strength, do it !
* If you can, wear reading glasses for near work. Next best is reading without any glasses, and then in 3rd place comes reading with weaker glasses (if you need very strong glassses and can't see a thing at any distance beyond 10 cm). Reading glasses (also know as "Computer glasses") are opposite of your nearsighted glasses, and they will force your muscles to go to that extreme that they never go when you wear your normal glasses. You will without effort or waste of time exercise your eyes, while reading, using your computer etc. Reading glasses can be found cheaply at many supermarkets, pharmacies or even gas stations.
* Get out your old glasses with weaker strength, and use them when you are not forced to use your approved prescription glasses. If you don't have them, get some, preferrable without astigmatism. My next glasses will be either -0.50 or even -0.25 on both eyes.
* If you read in bed, don't bury your head in the book for comfort reasons, like lying on the side with the book 10 cm from your eyes. Especially not with your normal glasses on ! Use reading glasses, if possible, and keep the lighting good.
* At any time while doing near work, try and read without glasses and keep the object as far away where you can still focus on the text. If you are just out of focus, try and blink and relax, and see if you can refocus after some seconds.
* If you wear contacts and are not pleased with removing them all the time, then bear in mind that corrections are additive, that is, if you have for instance -3.00 in you contacts (or glasses for that sake), you can wear a +1.00 set of glasses to go down to -2.00 in total correction.
Questions for the sceptical
What did our ancestors do before glasses ? How could a person go and hunt game if blind beyond 10 meters ?
Why is the need for glasses mainly arising in the teens, a period where most of us do a lot of near work like computers and reading ? Why is it that many nearsighted people need stronger and stronger glasses, ending up with bifocals or trifocals at age ?
Why is it that the length and intensity of studying makes the occurence of glasses amongst people more common ? A Japanese survey revealed that university students had nearsightedness more often and to a more severe degree than common workers and school dropouts.
Why do you trust opticians that claim that there is nothing to do about your eyes and their need for correction ? Have you any idea that the more often you need to have new glasses, the more opticians can stay in business ? And universities are often sponsored by companies in the trade, does that encourage to study the use of lenses in a way that may lead to lower sales ? Like asking cigarette companies to prove that tobacco is a health hazard ...
If you can exercise and stretch the muscles of your arms, legs and back, why can't you do the same to the muscles of your eyes ? Other parts of the body adjusts to the environment, so does the eyes, but if they adjust through correction, then they adjust to a false environment, and then you depend on the correction. This is treating symptoms, not causes !
If you consider laser surgery, look here first ! Ortho-K lenses: As I am told, they only work when used on a regular basis, giving a "tempo 9999". You will keep depending on them, because you should wear them several nights every week. The latter as told by an OK lens user who emailed me.
What is written above should be enough for most to stall or reverse the otherwise escalating eye corrections, but if you want to find out even more, check the links below. The book to be obtained from Bettervision is well laid out, and has a good section on nutrition and diet, but also some weird exercises that might work, I don't know, but they seem like hokus-pokus to me. The VisionFreedom and its author seems only destructive for the promotion of this idea, as he shows clear signs of anarchism, armageddon fixations and generally he and his book is a mess ! Yet his book can be used, if you like, though it is quite expensive. The glasses he mentions are nothing but ordinary reading glasses in +1.00 +2.00 and +3.00 strength. Can be bought everywhere locally significantly cheaper than 100 dollars :-). As for the remaining books on the market, I don't know, so I can't say anything about them. This book should have had good revirews: http://www.nvcsf.com/books.html#RTS anchor
A note from an optometrist, Steen Aalberg, www.synspleje.dk
I received this via email:
Hello, just read about your visual training. I'm glad some of my patients are able to read your page. I've been practicing visual training based on the why's instead of the symptoms for the last 10 or 12 years now - I have only one consern about your advise regarding reading glasses - to have optomum effect they have to support your visual system as a tool and not as a crutch. This is obtained by ensuring just the right amount of plus is worn. Even a little too much will often produce the adverse effect and moove you further in to nearsightednes. For the rest you're on track. I suggest you look at www.covd.org - College of Optometrists in Vision Development, all optometrists and O.D.'s supporting visual training and offering vision exams based on vision development and not on the symptoms alone. www.oep.org also offers good information on the topic. Sincerely Steen Aalberg
New good link: I-See.org : www.i-see.org
http://www.mindandsight.com/ - new link added july 2001
(In alphabetic order - a ! means free information is offered, a $ sign means they have something they want to sell)
!$ Asia-View (Very good
explanation of how the eye works and why we use glasses when we shouldn't)
$ Back be Nimble - Special training glasses for sale - do they work ?
!$ Bettervision (has tapes, charts and a $20 book that is mainly quite OK on this subject, except for the - in my opinion - hocus-pocus exercises)
! Blakesys - (Link removed, page does not exist, but see the link to the right) Many good things, including a 2.3 MB Word document of the entire Bates original book !!!
!! Buena Vista (Laser surgery warning)
!! Buena Vista (links to Vision improvement topics)
!$ Colormax - color defiency, not allowed to be used by pilots, I have been told.
!!! EyeKnowWhy Home Page "I Know Why Refractive Surgeons Wear Glasses" says it all - a very complete and comprehensive paage
!$ Eyeexercises.com - An example of an Behavioral Optometrist doing vision therapy
!!$ Myopia.org - See how eye dox lawyers react ! In my opinion: Normal reading glasses will do instead of what he sells.
!! Myopia prevention home page - Also a very good site (maybe related somewhat to Myopia.org ?)
Natural Vision Center of San Francisco
$ Vision Aerobics -
!$ Vision Educators
!$$ VisionFreedom (a pure lunatic and armageddon-doom day freak. Not recommended)
$ Blakesys - complete William Bates book to download in Word format - for free !
$ Cygnus Books
!$ Oldeyes book links
$ Yuhoo bookstore
Links to critics of Natural Vision Improvement:
(I don't care what they claim, it works for me !)
another quack from quackwatch
Misc new links (april 2000):
Other links to eye stuff:
US military explanation of vision related subjects
AAO Patient education page.
The Achromatopsia Network. Information on vision disorder achromatopsia.
Blepharospasme. Blepharospasme and ocular dystonia.
Brian's Eye Index
Cataract: Information for Patients. National Eye Institute Information for Patients.
Cornea and Corneal Disease: Information for Patients. National Eye Institute.
Developments in Ophthalmology .Table of contents, latest volume.
Diabetic Eye Disease. Patient Information on Diabetic Retinopathy from the NIDDK.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Information for Patients. National Eye Institute Information for Patients.
Excimer/LASIK: My Personal Experience, Steven Michael Friedman, M.D.
Eye condition and diseases.
Eye conditions, disorders and treaments, Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Eye Conditions and Diseases, Greece. Patient Information Brochures.
Eye Disease Information Resource
Eye Diseases, Karolinska Institute.
Eye Diseases, Oregon Health Sciences University
Eye Diseases and Conditions, American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eye Care FAQs for Patients.
Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat. The University of Iowa Family Practice Handbook.
Glaucoma. The Glaucoma page.
Glaucoma Disease Information
Glaucoma: Information for Patients. National Eye Institute Information for Patients.
Histoplasmosis and the Eye: Information for Patients. National Eye Institute.
How the Eye Works, Emory Vision Correction Center
Macular degeneration. Macular degeneration Home Page.
Macular Degeneration. Information for patients of the Columbia Visual Health and Surgical Center.