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 cleareyesight.info 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!
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.