Last night I listened into a webinar with well-known Bates vision teacher Greg Marsh. Several people had written in questions beforehand, about whether they could do these practices having had Lasik, or if it would help with glaucoma, or keep them from having to get stronger and stronger reading glasses. Greg, with his gentle manner, kept emphasizing that all these supposedly different eye problems are just different manifestations of visual and mental strain.
Greg spent considerable time talking about and demonstrating palming, urging us to notice how good it feels to let our eyes and looking muscles relax. He also gave a lot of attention to movement, demonstrating the Long Swing. He pointed out how we can get into a frozen posture at the computer for long periods of time, when just slightly moving the head and eyes and shoulders will relieve a great deal of strain and also be healthier for the eyes.
Of the folks who called in with questions, 2 in particular made a big impression on me. The first was a woman in her 40s who had never worn glasses. She was starting to have difficulty reading, seeing some blur, especially in one eye. The eye doctor told her she had a beginning cataract there, and she was determined to avoid cataract surgery and getting an artificial lens. She wanted to read with her natural vision and was hoping Greg could help.
Greg put an eye chart on the screen for us all to follow along, as he asked her which line was blurry. She indicated the next to lowest line. Greg started shining a red laser pointer below that line, sweeping it from left to right, back and forth rhythmically across the chart. He told her to cover her stronger eye, and follow the red light with her other eye, not trying to read the letters, just looking at the light as it moved. He kept talking about movement and relaxation as he swept the light back and forth. In less than a minute the woman exclaimed excitedly that she was seeing the letters more clearly! She said Greg had “given her hope”. I have confidence she will avoid cataract surgery as she continues to learn how to use her natural vision.
The other caller who made an impression on me was a guy who used to wear -4.75 glasses. He was just starting to have reading blur then too, and decided either he’d need bifocals, or he’d learn how to use his eyes properly. Choosing the latter, he started on a course of vision improvement 2 years back. He stopped wearing his glasses completely, and now can do pretty much everything he needs to do without them, seeing quite well. I could tell he was a big inspiration for the other participants. He told a story of being in LAX airport soon after he’d decided not to use his glasses, and getting overwhelmed, afraid he wouldn’t be able to find his way. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply, opened them and started shifting on details. He was able to find his gate and his flight. After this he decided he really didn’t need glasses after all! His question for Greg was how to have instant clear vision, not having to shift for a few seconds to get rid of the blur. My thought was “Wow, what great progress!”, followed by a bit of envy as I can’t always clear my own vision when I want to. I think for me this is because I can’t calm my anxiety sufficiently, so am continuing my focus on relaxation and remaining present.
This session with Greg didn’t teach me any new “tricks”, as much as reinforce the principles I already know, and remind me how to clearly communicate these principles to others. Greg said he’s going to break up the webinar and put parts of it on his YouTube channel, so if you’re interested you can look for it there in a few days. Clear vision is easy and natural, the way the eye and brain were designed to see. We just need to stop the straining habits which are blocking us from connecting with those vibrant images. Let that view in, and enjoy it!