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Improvement over 1 year timespan
#1
While I haven't yet reached perfect vision, I consider my improvement over the last year a definite "success story" and wanted to share the progress I've achieved so-far, along with my thoughts about the Bates method and other things I've read & heard.

This all started in September 2008, when I had decided to go for laser vision correction. I had been wearing contacts for 20 years, and glasses several years before that. My refractive measurements before deciding on laser correction were 5.50 diopters (contacts) in each eye, spherical. For glasses, they would have added correction for astigmatism, but for contacts this was not necessary. So I assume my astigmatism wasn't too much. The optometrist was about to increase my prescription to 5.75 after I ran out of contacts, so clearly I was not showing signs of improvement.

I went to the first laser center to hear I couldn't do lasik, only PRK. I was told 20/20 correction was a realistic expectation if they performed the surgery. I wasn't totally impressed with the whole experience, as they did not dilate me. They put the drops in, but I know what dilation is like (things very bright and cant read good) and I clearly was NOT dilated. I read that dilation is a necessary step in the examination for laser correcton, so I knew their exam was not thorough since I wasn't dilated.

So I went for a 2nd opinion. The 2nd place said I was 20/200 at best, and could do either PRK or Lasik. I was told I could expect 20/30. However there was only 1 shot -- I could not have "adjustments" made later because there wasn't enough cornea. Since I got conflicting info, I decide on a 3rd opinion.

The 3rd place said I could do either PRK or Lask, could expect 20/20, and adjustments would be fine. Can anyone explain to me how I got 3 different measurements of my cornea depth and different options for which surgeries I could/could not do? Short answer, one or all laser centers were wrong about my eyes, and I was not willing to take a chance and "guess" who was right. I decided to put off everything, lost trust in both laser correction centers AND my optometrist, and got determined to try something I read about long ago, called the "Bates Method".

I instantly started reading Bates material, and ordered a book called "Relearning to See". I was at first put off by Bates' materials, since they were written so long ago and the language was confusing to me, to say the least! But I read anyway while I waited for my new book to arrive, and discovered a site called IBlindness.org Smile

Since I had gone for laser vision exam, you should know I had already went almost a month without contacts by the time I had my 3rd opinion. Thats the first thing they tell you to do before you come for an exam, spend at least 10 days without contacts on.

After the last exam I printed myself a Snellen and measured myself. Not quite 20/200 as they said, I was more like 20/150. A couple weeks later I was around 20/100. At this point my book arrived, (Relearning to See) and I read it end to end.

I want to say up front, while Relearning to See may contain some useful information, and seems to get rave reviews at Amazon,I am thoroughly unhappy with it as a guide. My personal belief is that people who improve from this book, probably do so simply by removing their glasses for several weeks while reading it, and not so much by the book itself. This is a good point to talk about the DOGMA I've discovered with all the newer "bates" material. That is, not Bates himself, but everyone who has based their work on his:

It occurred to me while reading RtS and other books, the real reason why "bates" work doesnt seem to work so well for people anymore. I believe his work has been watered down by a bunch of dogma created by others. The whole time I read RtS something didnt seem right -- Do this, Don't do this, Sketch, Trace, Breathe, Blink, Centralize, Right way to Palm, Wrong way to Palm, (you must put your left hand FIRST ya know!) Don't Tilt the HEAD!? C'mon guys. Isn't this the exact same line of "control freak"ness that got us into trouble to begin with? First of all Blinking and Breathing are not things you're even supposed to do consciously. And don't tell me people with perfect sight never tilt their head!

It was once I realized this DOGMA, and decided to throw it out of my life permanently, that I achieved my best improvement and clearest clear flashes! Flashes of 20/30 to 20/20 are not uncommon now. What did it? I believe it was deciding that improvement wasnt about what you DO, or DONT DO, or even HOW you do it. The point was to relax yourself, let the eyes relax, and stop trying to control everything. Now I don't worry about how I palm, how I shift, how I swing ... only how I feel and how my EYES feel!

I will be sharing much more along the way, especially as I continue to improve, but I wanted to share this revelation with the good people on this forum, thank you for all your contributions (you've made a HUGE difference in my sight!) and ask what the rest of you think about the "dogma" theory I explained above.

Comments are very welcome. Thanks again.

[edit:]
I forgot to mention my current "refractive state" is anywhere from 20/60 to 20/32 on most days now!
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#2
After one year of bates methods practices, how long does your clear flashes of 20/20 or 20/30 last? and what's your standard everyday vision rate at? i.e would you be safe to drive without any correction lenses for example?

I'm new to the bates teachings and would like to try it out but I've read a lot of skeptical info on the topic regarding it being effective and certainly not a permanent solution. Would like to find out lots more tho.
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#3
Good job! That's scary how close you were to surgery. I've heard of people getting different refractive measurements for myopia/hyperopia/astigmatism with each eye doctor they visit, but I hadn't heard that bit about corneal depth measurements being off. I wouldn't think it would change, so I would suspect their measuring methods were unreliable or there was some deception going on because it's such a lucrative business. For all the polished high-tech looking TV commercials, you would think they have it all down to an exact science, but you have to remember that it's complex human tissue they're operating on, which doesn't like being cut up, even if the math is right.

Dave
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#4
Congrats on your improvement. I guess getting 3 different opinions worked out better for you in the long run! Going from 20/150 to between 20/30 and 20/60 is excellent and you did it without any risk, which you would have had if you chose the surgery.
Your approach to the Bates method seems to be working well for you. For the longest time I wasn't seeing much improvement, because I was always trying to swing correctly, or blink correctly, and the biggest mistake I probably made was that I was constantly looking at objects, almost testing my vision to see if I could see any clearer from the day before. After I realized that nobody with perfect vision tries to see and tests their vision constantly, I stopped doing that and then I started getting improvements. When I wake up in the morning now I am probably about 20/20 and when I finish the eye chart exercises its easily 20/20, but there's still some times during the day where it seems to be around 20/40.
How much time do you spend each day on swinging, palming, sunning etc?
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#5
sindakit Wrote:After one year of bates methods practices, how long does your clear flashes of 20/20 or 20/30 last? and what's your standard everyday vision rate at? i.e would you be safe to drive without any correction lenses for example?.

My last 20/20 flash lasted about 20-30 minutes. 20/30 I don't really call a "clear flash" anymore. Its getting to the point where my vision changes so much during the day, things I used to call "clear flash" I no longer call this. Literally my vision is in a state of flux, one hour it could be around 20/80 and the next hour 20/40 or even 20/30. I feel this is a good thing though, the average is continuing to improve and at least it's not fixed "bad" vision like I had before I started. If you can commit a little time every week or even daily, and you're willing to be patient with yourself, you should definitely not hesitate to give the method(s) a chance. You don't have much to lose besides time.

Safe to drive? Depends who you ask. I have driven without glasses before with no problem, but usually I still wear a -2.00 or -3.00 while driving depending on light, conditions, etc. I think safety is really more about you and less about your current state of vision. Reading road signs may be difficult at times, but if you know where you are, not much of a problem.

David Wrote:Good job! That's scary how close you were to surgery.

Yeah, I can't believe I almost did something which would have been so permanent, and probably bad in the long-run. Shame on me for even thinking about it, but I guess sometimes we get to very desperate places before we make "right" decisions ;D Looking back, the fact they still refer to it as a "cosmetic" surgery should have clued me in that they don't take it very seriously. How much would you guys sell your eyes for? For me, no price seems acceptable, even when they were seeing much worse.... something for you to think about if anyone is reading this and considering surgery.

Mike82 Wrote:For the longest time I wasn't seeing much improvement, because I was always trying to swing correctly, or blink correctly, and the biggest mistake I probably made was that I was constantly looking at objects, almost testing my vision to see if I could see any clearer from the day before. After I realized that nobody with perfect vision tries to see and tests their vision constantly, I stopped doing that and then I started getting improvements. When I wake up in the morning now I am probably about 20/20 and when I finish the eye chart exercises its easily 20/20, but there's still some times during the day where it seems to be around 20/40.
How much time do you spend each day on swinging, palming, sunning etc?

Exactly, the dogma of thinking about the "do's" and "dont's" seems like it was holding me back. I did the exercises long enough to get the points behind them, but it was after I stopped "exercising" that I got my best improvement. Instead of thinking about doing these things, I just ALLOWED myself to do them. Instead of breathing, just allowed myself to breathe, blink, etc. If I'm not thinking about breathing, and I'm not turning blue, then its probably happening on its own, right? ;D So yeah, I just "allow" things to happen now, instead of thinking about it.

So to answer your question, not much time spent doing these things. I do like sunning with closed eyes, and I like letting light get into my open eyes. I don't look at the sun with open eyes, but I have swung my central vision pretty close to it and not suffered any ill effects. Palming was nice at first but has lost its appeal to me now. I still do it occasionally if I feel I've stressed a lot. But mostly I think I've come to a point where I can just think about how I feel and the right things happen.

Does my head hurt? Find the source and let it go. Does my neck hurt? Let that go. Then I'll find myself on the right track.
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#6
Sorry for posting 2 in a row.

But since somebody asked what exercises I do & how often, and I don't really "do" exercises anymore, but just "let them happen" on their own, I figured I'd list some of the things i like to do and some observations I've made during a clear flash.

Some things I like to do which seem to improve sight, relax me, and/or sometimes produce a clear flash:

- Get lots of sunlight in the eyes on clear days. Look in bright places or "around" the sun to get as much light as possible.
- On bright or cloudy days, look at/around bright clouds, or snow on the ground. Again to catch as much light as possible.
- Spacing out while looking at something while thinking about other things or nothing at all. ( spacing, not staring )
- Trying to find/notice "tight" muscles and release them simply by consciously thinking about releasing them. Sometimes it helps to put a finger on the muscle with a little pressure so I can feel when it releases. This especially helps with neck, shoulders, head, jaw, eyes.
- Paying attention to how the neck / shoulders / back of head feel and release them if they're uncomfortable. To simply decide that discomfort is unacceptable instead of letting myself get used to it. Funny how we can ignore discomfort when we want to.
- Rub temples / jaw / above ears with base of thumb and/or the palm. Rub like a good massage - not too hard, not gentle either. Good & firm.


---
Some things I notice before and/or during a clear flash: (not all these things happen all the time)
- Itchy/scratchy eyes like I got some smoke or sand in them. More like irritation not pain.
- Watery eyes - sometimes with the above ^ and sometimes not.
- Increased salivation (mouth watering)
- Sinuses drain and/or make "popping" sound. Sometimes it even drains to the point of having a runny nose.
- "Weird" feeling in eyes. Not like strain or a pulled muscle, just weird.
- Shifting/moving the eyes becomes easier and smoother, without the discomfort I usually have when moving the eyes around.
- Blinks become softer, faster, and unconscious. I have to really pay attention to even know I'm blinking.



--
Here's something else I noticed recently, just an observation:
When "tracking" a pencil, that automatic tracking process like if you were watching a fly move around the room, I notice it feels MUCH different than when I move my eyes around manually like when looking around the room. Usually moving my eyes is uncomfortable, but not when I'm "tracking" an object. Don't know why this is -- any thoughts? Should moving the eyes be as comfortable as automatic tracking?

Hoping these observations will help someone or at least be interesting to note.
Comments are welcome!
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#7
Well done on your improvements liquidlight and that's some very useful advise you've given too.

Cheers, John
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#8
liquidlight wrote
Quote:Usually moving my eyes is uncomfortable, but not when I'm "tracking" an object.
I've noticed when I'm consciously sketching or shifting over an object, it's not as easy & relaxed-feeling as when my eyes automatically follow the movement of something. This may be the same thing you're talking about. My guess about this for myself was simply that I must still be trying/straining more than I realize when I shift on purpose (hence the discomfort).
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#9
Nancy Wrote:I've noticed when I'm consciously sketching or shifting over an object, it's not as easy & relaxed-feeling as when my eyes automatically follow the movement of something. This may be the same thing you're talking about. My guess about this for myself was simply that I must still be trying/straining more than I realize when I shift on purpose (hence the discomfort).

Nancy, I believe thats the same as what I'm describing. I'm glad to know someone else notices this too. Perhaps it gives us clues of what to work on -- maybe I should try doing automatic tracking exercises more often. Then the visual system might just start moving the eyes that way all the time. I can't believe there should be any discomfort when moving the eyes, so when I have discomfort when moving but not when tracking, that kinda tells me something.

Well, let's see what happens!
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#10
This is very good advice i'm glad you posted it!

I notice myself getting too caught up in the rules and dogma also. But instead of realizing this and being inspired to trust myself as you did, i was kind of just overwhelmed and turned away...probably a little too soon since my eyes didnt improve much. These dogmatic writings are interesting, i wonder if the authors have themselves even healed their eyesight...I would bet not since with clear vision seems to come a relaxed trust, not a control freak demeanor. I wouldnt be surprised if the authors were still blurry-eyed.


liquidlight Wrote:But mostly I think I've come to a point where I can just think about how I feel and the right things happen.

Does my head hurt? Find the source and let it go. Does my neck hurt? Let that go. Then I'll find myself on the right track.

besides physical problems, have you had any insights to how your beliefs/frame of mind differs when you're clear compared to blurry? I've heard stories of people having had emotional upsets thru their whole life and then finally have their vision improve once they make sense out of the issues and "see" it clearly and understand.
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#11
spydermann Wrote:besides physical problems, have you had any insights to how your beliefs/frame of mind differs when you're clear compared to blurry?

Spydermann, at first this question seemed simple enough, but after reading it a couple times I realize this is a very good and very deep question.

I guess the quick answer is, I have noticed a change in beliefs/frame of mind when the best, clearest vision comes. However I've not yet been able to pinpoint exactly what those changes are! Does that make sense? If the big flashes came more often, I'm sure I would recognize the similarities and patterns that happen. But since the bigger ones are so infrequent, it is hard to analyze.

I will mention this though -- my biggest flash was (about) last October (2009). I went out boating & crabbing, and while i had a partner that day, he just drove the boat and I ended up doing all the work. It was a long day since it was the end of the season and crabs were scarce, it took us a lot longer to catch enough. Anyway... By the end of the day I was sore (and very tired!) from doing all the work myself. My whole upper body hurt - my back, shoulders, neck, and head.. and my eyes too, from staining to see our traps in the distance with my weaker lenses on.

We finally left and headed home, I just rode passenger while he drove. I was sore, tired, and sore (LOL). All I wanted was to sit there and cause myself as little extra pain as possible on the ride home, until I could get home and go to bed. I remember thinking how I was sitting caused my neck to hurt, so I moved around until I could keep my head upright with less pain. And then I remember thinking how bad I'd strained my eyes that day, and that my vision would likely suffer for the next couple days because of that.

So I remember saying to myself "I dont care how bad things look right now, I'm just gonna look around anyway and do it as easily as possible so I don't cause more pain". And within minutes, the next thing I remember is, you know what? I was looking easily, the pain was gone (in the eyes, anyway) and I was seeing more clearly (with glasses off) than I normally did with -4.00 lenses on! I was reading road signs as soon as they came into view!

The bottom line I guess is, I have noticed a difference in frame of mind during periods of clearest sight. And although I haven't yet pinpointed exactly what that difference IS, I'd say this experience probably has some clues to give us.

A day when I was convinced I had strained myself so much I would see worse for days after, turned into the clearest flash I've ever had. Who would have thought?

I will be keeping your question in mind and let you know if I make any further connections on this, the frame of mind/belief aspect, since you have brought up what is probably the most important aspect of NVI.

And I hope others will do the same here if they make connections. Thanks!
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#12
Great News on the clear flash! Was that the longest one yet?

VERY INTERESTING the way you gained such clarity right once you stopped and let go of the stress and worry towards how bad things looked...

Judging from this and how you gained the best improvement once you REALIZED how dogmatic those approaches were-- I'd say you have a darn powerful mind. Seems like you're able to gain enough relaxation (mentally + visually) through a realization and a simple thought!

liquidlight Wrote:I have noticed a change in beliefs/frame of mind when the best, clearest vision comes. However I've not yet been able to pinpoint exactly what those changes are! Does that make sense?....The bottom line I guess is, I have noticed a difference in frame of mind during periods of clearest sight. And although I haven't yet pinpointed exactly what that difference IS, I'd say this experience probably has some clues to give us.

i imagine it feels more optimistic and positive...but if you can Identify what is your stressor during times when you're blurry, then maybe looking at it during your optimistic clear vision flashes could help you to see a different side/aspect of it, hence you could neutralize the stressor!
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