Sassisailor’s Weblog

A description of my journey to improve my eyesight naturally

Sept. 29, 2008 September 30, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 9:25 am

Snellen chart:

midday, full sun: 20/50

I hadn’t done much Snellen chart work in the past month because I’ve been travelling and had taken my charts down from their permanent places to give me a break from the “sameness”.  I’m happy to have them back up again however.

I’m continuing to do my long swings and palming (off and on at work to rest my eyes and at home for longer periods). 

I am very excited because my visual acuity is maintaining a good level, though I feel as if I’m kind of up against a wall so to speak.  I’m at a very awkward stage where only one pair of glasses (-4.25D) don’t give me a headache, and even these are uncomfortable.  I have gotten to the point where none of them are comfortable.  While this may sound like a negative thing I think it’s actually a good sign that my body is “rejecting” glasses.  I can fell my chest collapse in, my neck cranes forward, and I breath very shallow when I wear glasses. 

I’m still able to clear my vision “on demand” and I have decided to explore that in more detail this week.  Last night I did this while looking at my Snellen chart in my house (while also keeping the Eyebody method in mind), in dim light, at night and was able to clear down to 20/50 as well!  So think if I can learn to use my correct vision at all times I will be closer to 20/50 vision at all times which would make it much easier to go completely without glasses.  Until I can learn to do this though I think I will have to keep stepping down my reduced lens strength.  I’ve been experimenting with my -3.75 D computer glasses, but they make me strain so I don’t wear them unless the light is better.


Overview of my vision improvement and the things that worked best September 17, 2008

Filed under: Bates Method,Relaxation Techniques — sassisailor @ 6:11 pm

A reader on my blog requested that I give an overview of what has been most helpful for me during the last 9 months.  I think this is a great idea because for anyone who is just starting to read my blog it would take forever to read through all of my previous posts; there are 145 not including this one!  Everyone’s time is prescious and I would hate for you to miss out on learning something from my experience because you dont’ have time to read my archives.  I probably wouldn’t read them all if I came across this blog!  It would just take too long.   I will make a list as I find lists easier to assimilate and read.

To summarize, I learned about the Bates Method last December from my sister (who is also improving her vision, her screen name is sorrisi).  I began with a prescription of -8 diopters in my right eye and -7.25 diopters in my left eye.  I now can use -5 diopter lenses for any situation requiring 20/40 vision or better (driving, hunting) and wear -4.25 diopter lenses any other time I REQUIRE lenses (work situations, grocery store sometimes, sometimes computer).  All other times I go without.  I am also transitioning to -3.75 D glasses for the computer.  These work for my office computer which is more difficult to see than my home computer which I can usually read without glasses.  I purchased a focometer from InFocus (online) and am using this to measure my refractive error myself.  It is an instrument used by eye doctors to measure refractive error in countries where they don’t have access to the expensive equipment found in an ODs office.  It is easy to use, and has been accurate for me.  The results from my focometer are showing improvement!  I purchase my reduced lenses through Zenni Optical (online). I live in the US though, not sure if they ship overseas?  They are cheap ($8, $4.95 for shipping) and have been working well for me over the last eight months.  I have not worn contacts since I began which is the longest I’ve gone without contacts since I began wearing them at the age of 16; I’m now 29.  I started wearing glasses at age 7 or 8 (2nd grade).  Whew… sorry if that was long-winded!  I want to make sure this is a comprehensive summary 🙂 

  • MOST IMPORTANT to my progress:  going without glasses as often as possible, looking into the distance, and letting my eyes look around and trace objects (shifting and sketching).  Sounds easy, but it’s HARD to learn to let go of these crutches and even harder to explore and push the limits of when they are even necessary.
  • NEXT MOST IMPORTANT to my progress: wearing reduced lenses (at least 0.5 to 0.75 diopters below what is required for 20/20 vision, even more reduced for computer/near work) only when I really need lenses.
  • Autogenics training, though this was incredibly helpful for me I think that palming can be just as helpful if you bring your attention to your breath and body.  I’m glad I did it though, it helped guide me towards a good method for relaxation and taught me about awareness.  See link on my blogroll for free Autogenics Training instructions.
  • Breathing correctly and blinking more frequently and correctly.   I previously had shallow breathing habits and did not blink very often. 
  • Palming, long swings, and sunning.  These three Bates principles have been cornerstones to my improvement because they remind me to relax and remember to not overwork my eyes.  When I am not practicing these three things my progress halts and I can feel tension creeping back into my eyes, face, shoulders and neck.    One thing I’ve become aware of is that I keep using my eyes even though they are tired and require resting.  Palming has been a great tool for taking a break, resting my eyes, and bringing my attention back to healthy natural vision habits (shifting, breathing, and blinking). 
  • Awareness.  Learn to start paying attention to your breath, your eyes, your hands, your posture, your mood, etc… Calm the mindless chatter going on in your head and just be.  This is a life-long pursuit, but has great benefits for vision improvement.  “The Joy of Living” and “A New Earth” or “The Power of Now” are great books if you’re interested in exploring this path.  I include this here as helpful for my vision because it has been an intrinsic part of my life and I am unable to exclude things I do from helping my vision.  Who’s to know exactly what helps and what doesn’t?  I think it can be unique for each person, though there are threads of similarity between every person’s experience.
  • Reading as many books on vision improvement as possible; “Relearning to See” by Quackenbush, any and all articles from Bates’ “Better Eyesight” magazines, “Help Yourself to Better Sight” by Corbett, and “Take Off Your Glasses and See” by Liberman.  My sister would recommend “The Art of Seeing” by Huxley, though I haven’t read it myself. 
  • Take advantage of all the free material on the internet concerning vision improvement — see my ‘blogroll’ for links, one great site that is very comprehensive is the website.  I didn’t find out about this website until about a month ago, but if you are short on time I would recommend checking out this website to get you going.  It has almost everything you would read about in the book list above (excluding some of Liberman’s stuff).  The books are great though too, so if you have time, definitely read as much as you have time for. 

I think this is all; if I remember something I forgot to mention I will edit this post and add things in italics below this text here.  If you have questions or are curious about my experiences please don’t hesitate to post a comment.    Best of luck in your own vision improvement!


Additional notes:

Sept. 19, 2008:  I forgot to mention two very important points that Nancy and Ram brought up.  1. I have not used sunglasses since I started my vision improvement.  It took some time to readjust to the natural light levels, but now my eyes are not sensitive to outdoor sunlight (which should be natural!).  and 2. I try to get as much natural light as possible.  Our vision is best in natural light, so I frequently read outside and keep the curtains open in my house at all times to help let in more light.   Luckily at work there are some big windows, but they are north facing.  I also have been practicing closed-lid sunning for the past 9 months and this continues to be tremendously helpful.   Never, ever, ever look at the sun directly or do closed-lid sunning while wearing glasses.  Just remember the idea of burning ants with a magnifying glass and that should be enough incentive.  I think this is how many people develop such sensitivity to the sun because lenses create a much stronger light on the retina than is normally experienced without glasses.  Then they start wearing sunglasses and it easily becomes a cycle of dependence on the sunglasses.

September 24, 2008:  One of my friends is also doing natural vision improvement and has successfully ordered glasses from Zenni and they were shipped to Ireland.  So in case anyone is wondering, Zenni can ship anywhere in the world. 


September 14, 2008 September 14, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 6:53 am

I’m FINALLY done travelling… agh — it’s been a long few weeks, and very hard on my eyes as I posted earlier.  While visiting my mom I helped drive quite a bit (much much more than I do at home), and obviously had to wear my strong glasses (-5 D) for this.  It was actually an awful experience having to do this, though it made me so very thankful that I can go without them so often in Wyoming.  I’m back home now and am feeling my eyes starting to relax again.  It’s really cloudy this morning so I’ll have to wait and read my Snellen later today.  I did a lot of extended palming last night and could tell it helped my eyes tremendously.  My eyes are just balls of stress lately and I need to spend some time decompressing.

I’ll post more later today after I’ve had a chance to read my Snellen. 

Glasses are so destructive to vision!!!  I can’t stress this enough.  I’m even more motivated now than I was before to keep them off.  Part of this is probably my fault because when I was travelling I didn’t take time to swing and palm throughout the day and after wearing glasses.  I probably could have counteracted the effects of wearing my glasses longer by doing these two things more often.   I apologize if this post isn’t very uplifting 🙂  I would never lie to anyone and say that being dedicated to the Bates method is easy in these modern times.  We live in a fast-paced, competitive culture and it can be difficult at times to change habits, go without glasses, and accept this intermediate stage of seeing only so-so for an extended period while the eyes are learning to see normally again.  It’s worth it!!! please don’t get me wrong, but it is not for the weak-willed for sure 🙂  I find myself questioning what the heck I’m doing, and why I’m voluntary putting myself through this, but I know deep down that it’s something I’ll never give up even if it’s takes 20 years or my whole life!  Given my quick progress in the past 9 months I don’t think this will be the case, but it’s important I think for me to let you all know that I do have these discouraging moments just like anyone else.  I really appreciate all of the encouraging comments you leave, it does inspire me to continue and to remember I’m not alone in this pursuit.   The internet has provided me with a free support system while going down this untraditional path and it has made all the difference!  Believe it or not, we’re pioneers on a path that will one day lead to a society free of negative lenses.  We’re doing something that many professionals and authorities would tell us can’t be done and I don’t take this light-heartedly.   It is not easy to learn to think for oneself. educate yourself on an unpopular method, and take your visual acuity in your own hands and learn to do what is right for your own vision.   I am so thankful that there were so many pioneers before me to keep the Bates Method alive and circulating and now each and every one of us doing the Bates Method today are part of that living history.


Sept. 7, 2008 September 7, 2008

Filed under: My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 8:38 am

Well, hunting season opened on Sept 1 up here in Wyoming and unfortunately I had to wear my glasses. The good news is that I got 3 blue grouse! This is my favorite upland bird by far, the meat is amazing, and I had a wonderful time up in the mountains. A secret goal I have held since January was hoping I would have good enough unaided vision by hunting season to go without glasses. Unfortunately I’m not quite there yet… and it was cloudy, foggy, rainy and THEN snowy! So the lighting conditions were so poor that I had to wear my -5 diopter lenses for hunting and wore them A LOT over the extended labor day weekend. It’s been a downward spiral since then as I am traveling to visit my mom and have been wearing my glasses more and more. The addictive cycle is such a trap! It has been foggy and very dim at my mom’s and as a result I can’t see very well and being in a new, unfamiliar place has made me very uncomfortable; so I’ve been wearing my glasses more here than I should as well.

I’m really sad that I got back into this trap again and it has been hard trying to decide what I should do about this whole hunting season. I will have to wear glasses when I hunt, so the question is; do I not hunt in order to keep my lens time to a minimum; or do I hunt (wear glasses) and take the consequence of slower progress with my vision improvement? I’m still struggling with this…

**NOTE** I have been reading the comments you all have posted and apologize for not responding to your comments in the past couple of weeks. I will find time to respond in the next week. Thank you all for the information, encouragement, and support! I really enjoy hearing from you all! 🙂 **