The articles comprising this book were first published in the monthly magazine “Better Eyesight” during a period of five years. Various eye defects are described in simple and intelligible language, so that those who are interested may follow the practical instructions and Improve their own vision, or that of others.
The stories are drawn from my clinical experience hi the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses. I have been Dr. Bates’ assistant for eleven years, and they were years of a great education in the knowledge of the eye, in health, and in disease.
To Dr. W. H. Bates, the discoverer of the method, I am indebted for his encouragement and help.
I feel honored in being asked to write an introduction to this excellent book, “Stories from the Clinic,” by Emily C. Lierman.
The stories have come directly from Mrs. Lierman’s experience, and consequently are of intrinsic value. The patients, their symptoms of imperfect sight, and the treat-ment are all described in language which is so clear that anyone can understand.
For more than nine years Mrs. Lierman was my assistant in the out-patient department of the Harlem Hospital. She showed a great deal of understanding in treating the patients, adapting my method to each individual case. The cures she obtained were of the greatest value. She was particularly interested in the school children, and was so kind and patient with them that they all loved her. Her cures of imperfect sight without glasses were numerous. The way she treated the patients and the results obtained were a contribution to the practice of ophthalmology. For example, an old lady with absolute glaucoma in one eye, totally blind with no perception of light, visited the clinic to obtain relief from an agony of pain. Many doctors had previously advised the removal of one or both eyes, which has been for many years considered by regular physicians to be good practice. It has also been taught that no operation or treatment can cure the blindness resulting from absolute glaucoma. Mrs. Lierman was told that it was a hopeless case,~but was asked to try to relieve the pain. She immediately treated the woman, and much to my surprise not only relieved
the pain, but also improved the eye until the patient be
came able to see at the distance, and to read fine print
Of course, her work attracted attention and criticism. A prominent physician was sent one day to investigate. We told him the facts and a number of patients were treated for his benefit. He was very much interested in an elderly colored woman with cataract. This patient became able to read diamond type from six to fourteen inches from her eyes without glasses. The doctor, him-self, was wearing glasses for distant vision and a stronger pair for reading. Mrs. Lierman treated him, also, with much benefit. From his personal experience and from his observation of the treatment of the patients by Mrs. Lierman, he was convinced that the method was one of great value. He had been sent to condemn, and remained to praise.
NORMAL VISION is perfect sight at all distances. The Snellen test card is the standard for testing the vision. When the ten foot line of the card can be read at ten feet or further, and fine print can be read at six inches or less, one has normal vision.
MYOPIA or NEAR-SIGHTEDNESS: The vision for near objects is good, while the distant vision is imperfect.
HYPERMETROPIA or FAR-SIGHTEDNESS: The sight is not so good at a near point as It is for more distant objects.
PRESBYOPIA or OLD AGE SIGHT: The vision is imperfect when the patient tries to read fine print at a near point. The distant vision may or may not be good.
ASTIGMATISM is an imperfect curvature of the eye. Usually the front part of the eye has one curve which is different from all the other curves.
CATARACT is an opacity of the lens in the pupil, which interferes with good vision.
RETINITIS PIGMENTOSA is a disease of the interior of the eye, accompanied by the formation of black pigment spots.
FLOATING SPECKS are not real, they are imagined.
IRITIS is an inflammation of the iris, or the colored part of the eye.
CHALAZION TUMOR is a swelling of one of the glands of the eyelids.
MEMORY, or IMAGINATION, is the ability to see or recall letters, or other objects, when the eyes are closed, as well as they can be seen with the eyes open.
The SNELLEN TEST CARD has letters or other objects printed in varying sizes. The smallest letter or picture seen clearly on the card is a measure of the vision.
POT HOOKS ts the name used for test cards which have a letter “E” printed with the opening pointing up or down, in or out. The test letter is made of different sizes similar to other Snellen test cards. It is usually employed to test the vision of children or adults who do not know the alphabet. The smallest “E” which the patient recognizes “pointing” in the true direction, measures the amount of sight.
DIAMOND TYPE is one of the smallest types used in printing and helps to improve the vision if it is read every day.
1. If the vision of the patient is improved under the care of the doctor, and the patient neglects to practice, when he leaves the office, what he is told to do at home, the treatment has been of no benefit whatever. The improved vision was only temporary. Faithful practice permanently Improves the sight to normal.
2. If the patient conscientiously practices the methods, as advised by the doctor, his vision always improves. This applies to patients with errors of retraction, as well as organic diseases.
3. For cases of squint we find that the long swing is beneficial to adults and to children.
4. When a patient suffers with cataract, palming is usually the best method of treatment, and should be practiced many times every day.
5. All patients with imperfect sight unconsciously stare, and should be reminded by those who are near to them to blink often. To stare is to strain. Strain is the cause of imperfect sight.
The following rules will be found helpful if faithfully observed —
6. While sitting, do not look up without raising your chin. Always turn your head in the direction in which you look. Blink often. /
7. Do not make an effort to see things more clearly. If you let your eyes alone, things will clear up by themselves.
8. Do not look at anything longer than a fraction of a second without shifting.
9. While reading, do not think about your eyes, but let your mind and imagination rule.
10. When you are conscious of your eyes white looking at objects at any time, it causes discomfort and lessens your vision.
11. It is very important that you learn how to imagine stationary objects to be moving, without moving
your head or your body.
12. Palming is a help, and I suggest that you palm for a few minutes many times during the day, at least ten times. At night just before retiring, it is well to palm for half an hour or longer.
AIDS TO PERFECT SIGHT BY TREATMENT WITHOUT GLASSES
Dr. W. H. Bates has made many remarkable discoveries relative to th« prevention and cure of Imperfect sight without the aid of glasses during his thirty-eight years of research and experimental work. Among the most Important of these discoveries, and one that he has proved again and again. Is the following:
FINE PRINT IS A BENEFIT TO THE EYE — LARGE PRINT IS A MENACE.
It Is Impossible to read microscopic or very fine print by making an effort to mv.r. It, It can only be read when the mind and eyes are relaxed.
The above chapters are written in diamond and microscopic type. At first It may seem difficult to become accustomed to the fine print, but by looking at
it without trylnw to read It, the print will become discernible.
[NOTE: The diamond and microscopic type is not shown here. Any specimen will serve the purpose. – DK]
Some people find It beneficial to imagine the white spaces between the lines, whiter than the margin. When one imagines the white spaces perfectly white, the
print becomes very black and legible, apparently of its own volition.
Large print Is detrimental to perfect sight because the eye tries to see the whole letter at once. When one is looking at an object, for instance, a chair, the object blurs If the whole Is seen at once. You cannot possibly see the arms, legs, back and body at a chair all at once. You either see the back first or the seat. This Is Central Fixation. Seeing best whore you are look In jr.
We know that if these instructions are carefully followed, tho above articles will prove
TEST CARD PRACTICE
1. Every home should have a test card.
2. It is best to place the card permanently on the wall in a good light.
3. Each member of the family or household should read the card every day.
4. It takes only a minute to test the sight with the card. If you spend five minutes in the morning practicing, it will be a great help during the day.
5. Place yourself ten feet from the card and read as far as you can without effort or strain. Over each line of letters are small figures indicating the distance at which the normal eye can read them. Over the big C «t tha top of the card is the figure 200. The big C, therefore, should be read by the normal eye at a distance of two’hundred feet. If you can read this line at ten feet, your vision would be 10/200. The numerator of the fraction is always the distance of the card from the eyes. The denominator always denotes the number of the line read. If you can only read the line marked 40 at ten feet, the vision is 10/40.
6. If you can only see to the fifth line, for example, notice that the last letter on that line is an R. Now close your eyes, cover them with the palms of the hands and remember the R. If you will remember that the left side is straight, the right side partly curved, and the bottom open, you will get a good mental picture of the R with your eyes closed.
This mental picture will help you to see the letter directly underneath the R, which is a T.
7. Shifting is good to stop the stare. It you stare at the letter T, you will notice that all the letters on that line begin to blur. It is beneficial to close your eyes quickly after you see the T, open them, and shift to the first figure on that tine, which is a 3. Then close your eyes and remember the 3. You will become able to read all the letters on that line by closing your eyes for each letter.
8. Keep a record of each test in order to note your progress from day to day.
9. When you become able to read the bottom line with each eye at ten feet, your vision Is normal for the distance, 10/10.
10. The distance of the Snellen test card from the patient is a matter of considerable importance. However, some patients improve more rapidly when the card is placed fifteen or twenty feet away, while others fail to get any benefit with the card at this distance. In some cases the best results are obtained when the card is as close as one foot. Others with poor vision may not improve when the card is placed at ten feet or further, or at one foot or less, but do much better when the card is placed at a middle distance, at about eight feet. Some patients may not improve their vision at all at ten feet, but are able to improve their sight at twenty feet, or at one foot. While some patients are benefited by practicing with the card daily, always at the same distance, there are others who seem to be benefited when the distance of the card from the patient is changed daily.
1. Glasses discarded permanently.
2. Central fixation is seeing best where you are looking.
3. Favorable conditions: Light may be bright or dim. The distance of the print from the eyes, where seen best, also varies with people.
4. Shifting: With normal sight the eyes are moving all the time.
5. Swinging: When the eyes move slowly or rapidly from side to side, stationary objects appear to move in the opposite direction.
6. Long swing: Stand with the feet about one foot apart, turn the body to the right – at the asme time lifting the left foot. Do not move the head or eyes or pay any attention to the apparent movement of stationary objects. Now place the left heel on the floor, turn the body to the left, raising the heel of the right foot. Alternate.
7. Drifting swing: When using this method, one pays no attention to the clearness of stationary objects, which appear to be moving. The eyes move from point to point slowly, easily, or lazily, so that the stare or strain may be avoided.
8. Variable swing: Hold the forefinger of one hand six inches from the right eye and about the asme distance to the right, look straight ahead and move the head a short distance from side to side. The finger appears to move.
9. Stationary objects moving: By moving the head and eyes a short distance from side to side, being sure to blink, one can imagine stationary objects to be moving.
10. Memory: Improving the memory of letters and other objects improves the vision for everything.
11. Imagination: We see only what we think we see, or what we imagine. We can only imagine what we remember.
12. Rest: All cases of imperfect sight are improved by closing the eyes and resting them.
13. The closed eyes may be covered by the palm of one or both hands.
14. The normal eye blinks, or closes or open very frequently.
15. As long as one is awake one has all kinds of memories of mental pictures. If these pictures are remembered easily, perfectly, the vision is benefited.
Most ophthalmologists prescribe dark glasses to nearly all of their patients who suffer from the brightness of light. This practice, in my opinion, has been overdone. I remember one patient who was in the hospital for two years in a dark room, with both eyes bandaged with a dark binding day and night continuously. When she left the hospital she was in a very pitiable condition. She was practically blind in the bright sunlight. She went to a great many clinics and eye doctors and all they did for her was to give her stronger dark glasses. In time these dark glasses did not give her any relief. Instead of being helpful to her weak eyes, the glasses had the effect of making them more sensitive to the light than they had ever been before. It has been my experience that all persons who wear dark glasses sooner or later develop very serious Inflammation of their eyes. The human eye needs the light in order to maintain its efficiency. The use of eye-shades and protections of all kinds from the light is very injurious to the eyes.
Sunlight is as necessary to normal eye as is rest and relaxation. If it is possible, start the day by exposing the eyes to the sun — just a few minutes at a time will help. Get accustomed to the strong light of the sun by letting it shine on your closed eyelids. Later, when you can look down sufficiently, by gently lifting the upper lid the white part of the eye can be exposed, while the sun’s rays strike directly on it. It is good to move the head slightly from side to side while doing this, in order to prevent straining. One cannot get too much sun treatment.