I have two important things to share today!
First: I was taking a short break at work and went out of my office and walked around the halls. While I was out of my office I was certain I had grabbed my -5reduced glasses (just in case I needed them). I put them on in the hall because I saw someone I wasn’t sure if I knew and I was seeing just as if I had my -5reduced pair on. But when I got back to my office I saw my red glasses (the -5reduced) on my desk! Immediately I realized I had on my stronger pair and I then was able to see everything much sharper! So I had had on my 20/20 pair of glasses accidentally but I was seeing like I do with my -5reduced pair!!! I couldn’t believe that my mind could see “poorly” with my sharpest glasses on just because I thought they were my reduced pair. It was an unbelievable realization of how powerful the mind is and the role it plays in our vision. I only wish that someone could put fake lenses in my glasses without me knowing it to see if I could actually see well thinking that I had full strength lenses in.
The second thing that I experimented with today was the black period that Bates talks so frequently about. I read two chapters in his book Perfect Sight Without Glasses, the chapter on Memory as an aid to vision, and Imagination as an aid to vision. I was reading about the profound effectiveness of being able to visualize a perfectly black period and holding this imaginated image while looking at letters on a test card. So I took some very white 3″x5″ index cards and with a black sharpie I drew a period on each index card, of different sizes, in the center of the card. Next, I would look at an index card, close my eyes to image it, then look at the card again, imagine what I saw etc. I kept doing this for about 30-40 minute (I’m not sure how long). Then after doing this I looked at a small test card approximately 2.5 feet away (I didn’t measure). What I noticed over the course of less than one hour was that I went from being able to see only the top letter to being able to almost read the fourth line! It was not a clear and permanent state, but when I would look at the period and then visualize it, my vision was clearer after I opened my eyes. I would not continue staring at the test card however, but would switch to looking at the period I had drawn, then imagine it in my mind, and look at the test card. I was utterly surprised and excited at how well this helped to clear my vision. After I finished looking at the periods I looked at my big test card on the wall from 10 feet and was able to read the second line for a few minutes! Then it went away because I stopped thinking about the black period and was “seeing” with effort. Here are some good quotes from the PSWG book (available online in its entirety at http://www.central-fixation.com):
“The condition of mind in which a black period can be remembered cannot be attained by any sort of effort. The memory is not the cause of the relaxation, but must be preceded by it. It is obtained only during moments of relaxation, and retained only as long as the causes of strain are avoided; but how this is accomplished cannot be fully explained, just as many other psychological phenomena cannot be explained. We only know that under certain conditions that might be called favorable a degree of relaxation sufficient for the memory of a black period is possible, and that, by persistently seeking these condition, the patient becomes able to increase the degree of the relaxation and prolong its duration, and finally becomes able to retain it under unfavorable conditions.” PSWG Chapter XIII: Memory as an aid to vision
“Imagination is closely allied to memory, although distinct from it. Imagination depends upon the memory, because a thing can be imagined only as well as it can be remembered. You cannot imagine a sunset unless you have seen one; and if you attempt to imagine a blue sun, which you have never seen, you will become myopic, as indicated by simultaneous retinoscopy. Neither imagination nor memory can be perfect unless the mind is perfectly relaxed. Therefore when the imagination and memory are perfect, the sight is perfect. Imagination, memory and sight are, in fact, coincident. When one is perfect, all are perfect, and when one is imperfect, all are imperfect. If you imagine a letter perfectly, you will see the letter and other letters in its neighborhood will come out more distinctly, because it is impossible for you to relax and imagine you see a perfect letter and at the same time strain and actually see an imperfect one. If you imagine a perfect period on the bottom of a letter, you will see the letter perfectly, because you cannot take the mental picture of a perfect period and put it on an imperfect letter. It is possible, however, as pointed out in the preceding chapter, for sight to be unconscious. In some cases patients may imagine the period perfectly, as demonstrated by the retinoscope, without being conscious of seeing the letter; and it is often some time before they are able to be conscious of it without losing the period.”
PSWG Chapter XIV: Imagination as an aid to vision.