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Some success, but still a long way to go
#1
I don't know, whether the 'success stories' are the correct place for this post - I definitely have achieved some success, but there is still a long way to go. On the other hand, I had not expected to get an improvement so quickly and see concrete, motivating results. This is importat specially for 'beginners', who often loose their motivation, when the progress is too slow. Therefore I decided to publish my experience, so that others might profit too.

After an operation in my right eye (retinal detachment) in January 2011, I began eye training - mainly to prevent my left eye to get in the same trouble some day.
I read Dr Bates and E.Liermans books (and in eye-training forums) and started with a very simple exercise to imrove the sight of my left eye in short time, which I would like to share with you:

In my laptop I tried to read the bottom line (20/16) of the eyechart enlarged to 100% in the distance, in which - after palming and relaxing my eyes - I just could get it clear enough to make out the letters, which was 70 cm in the beginning.
I marked the place, where to put the laptop, with a small piece of scotch an practised at that distance at least twice a day for one week. Then I pushed the laptop 10 cm foward for the practice of the next week and so on.
Now I have reached 1,40m, which is the double of the beginning distance - next week it will be 1,50 = 5/8 (feet, as the line is to be read at 8 feet = 2,40m for a normal sighted person - at 100% the whole chart is to be read at 10 feet).
During this short time, I could reduce my contact lense (which I was wearing only during a part of the day) from -4,5 (which was not really strong enough when I started training) to -3 and then -2,5. I tested my sight with a printed eyechart placed on the wall at 10 feet and could read all the lines. After that I stooped wearing contact lenses and instead wore spectacles attached to a string around the neck, which I only put on, if absolutely necessary.

During my exercises, my first aim was to relax my eyes, the improved sight I took more as an 'indicator' for a successful relaxation, I called it: 'my meditation with letters'. I always tried to look at a small point in one corner of the letter and waited till it cleared up. When I had enough time and concentration (mainly in the morning), I proceeded 3 letters forward and then 2 letters backward, again 3 forward....to see always the middle of the 3 best, as it it seen more often. When I was tired or didn' t have much time, I preferred to see only some of the letters very clearly - instead of going quickly over the whole line, more guessing than really recognizing the letters (which of course I know by heart now).

I don't know, whether I can keep up that 'speed' of 10cm/week 'till the end'; I also have to concentrate a bit more on my operated, much weaker eye, which gets tired very quickly. A few days ago, I started to practice it seperately at 50 cm....still a long way to go.
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#2
Hi,

I've suffered a retinal detachment also. This happened because I was severely short sighted and the retina stretched so thin (lattice degeneration) due to the elongation of the eyes that it detached. I have a scleral buckle in one of my eyes which squishes it - making it even more elongated and hence short sighted.

I have no doubt the Bate's method would have prevented retinal detachment and have restored the eyes to their normal shape if I had discovered this before my retinal detachment. I can attest that the buckled eye does not change it's shape due to the surrounding buckle and that my unoperated eye can.

However, there are two things I have observed:
1) Clear flashes resulting from the relaxation of the lens (this is because despite the buckle I have been able to see about 50/20 and am certain the eye did not change shape but rather one of the lens muscles relaxed allowing lens to accommodate); and
2) Clear flashes resulting from the relaxation of the muscles which elongates the eyes (you can tell because it literally feels like a grip releasing from around your eyes and the eyes can be felt to move back to their position).

If you don't have a scleral buckle than I reckon you have a high chance of reversing the elongation of your unoperated eye. Keep up the Bate's method because it's vital you maintain the vision of your good eye.
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#3
Hi,
Thanks for your reply.
If I had read Bate's book a little earlier, it would have spared me a lot of trouble, too.
In fact, I 've got interested in eye training already some years ago, when I started to take off my contact lenses for a part of the day (as I have very dry eyes) and from time to time had flashes of clear vision - which sometimes even lasted for a few hours. I then read the book of Janet Goodrich and was very disappointed, as I found no explanation of this phenomena (clear flashes), nor any way to 'reproduce' them systematically. The exercises seemed not very helpful to me.
When after my operation I wanted to start a new attempt of eye training and discovered Bates book, I thought immediately, that's exactly what I had been looking for.
Concerning the operated eye, I am not as 'pessimistic' as you are, since the increased length of eyeball which causes myopia is is only very small. A normal eye measures 23-24 mm, and it's estimated, that each mm more results in +3 diopters. Maybe even an 'buckled' eye will be able to alter its shape 1 mm (or 2 or even 3). And if it's really completely immobilized, maybe the lens will be sufficiently flexible to counteract 'the dammage'.
I read about a person with really high myopia 22 and 23 diopters, whose eyeball-length was measured 27 and 28 mm. That means, the lens must be responsible for 11 or 13 diopters.
If the lens is flexible enough to go so far in the wrong direction, I think it should also be able to go in the other direction to correct a few diopters, too.
So I am a bit more confident concerning the 'self-healing-capacities' of our body.
And I think, that our brain plays a very important role in the process of seeing and it is able to accomplish an astonishing amount of repair work - for example when parts of the brain are damaged by accident, other parts can take over.
When I compare my improved sight to the blurry vision before, I find, that the blurry vision is still there, but there is also a clear image, which becomes more and more distinct and dominant by the eye-training. It is as if the brain would pick up some small clear pixels to build up a clear picture and all the blurry rest remains visible in the background where it will slowly 'fade out' (so I hope at least).
When I look at distant houses or cars (in 1 km) for example I can see clear contours, even of the windows in the houses and beneath the clear building a big blurry spot, like the reflection of it in troubled water. When my eyes are really relaxed, I can even read the small subtitles in TV (with my contact lenses I had sometimes difficulties to read them, but I think, my c lenses were not really strong enough in the end) and beneath, just one line below, there is a blurry image of the same writing.
But even if my optimistic expectations won't come true, in any case, eye-training will not be a waste of time even for the operated eye, as the achieved relaxation is the best thing I can do for my eye and therefore I continue to train both eyes.
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#4
It took Thomas Edison and his team of investigators THOUSANDS of different trial-and-error attempts before they figured out the electric lightbulb.
How many different ways have we tried to figure out and control clear flashes? Probably not more than a couple of dozen so far... But like T.E. and David, I think, feel, believe, and know that we here at David's version of the Menlo Park lab, are going to figure it out. We already have the Bates Methods to start from. But that wasn't quite good enough. It was sort of like having all the straight-edged puzzle pieces and a lot of the picture, but needing to fill in the rest of the jigsaw puzzle. I think we are almost there.
My current level or stage or phase of normal visual system development has to do with equalizing the eye dominance. I'm still training my non-dominant (in my case, worse) eye to participate/share in the leadership. And it is working.

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals_iv/sections/text_thomas_edison.html">http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/americ ... dison.html</a><!-- m -->
Thomas A. Edison's Patent Application For an incandescent light bulb, 1879
"Genius is hard work, stick-to-it-iveness, and common sense." Thomas A. Edison
Thomas Edison propelled the United States out of the gaslight era and into the electric age. Out of his New Jersey laboratories came 1,093 patented inventions and innovations that made Edison one of the most prolific inventors of all time.
In 1878, the creation of a practical long-burning electric light had eluded scientists for decades. With dreams of lighting up entire cities, Edison lined up financial backing, assembled a group of brilliant scientists and technicians, and applied his genius to the challenge of creating an effective and affordable electric lamp. With unflagging determination, Edison and his team tried out thousands of theories, convinced that every failure brought them one step closer to success. On January 27, 1880, Edison received the historic patent embodying the principles of his incandescent lamp that paved the way for the universal domestic use of electric light.
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#5
JMartinC4 Wrote:My current level or stage or phase of normal visual system development has to do with equalizing the eye dominance. I'm still training my non-dominant (in my case, worse) eye to participate/share in the leadership. And it is working.

I'm also trying to train my weaker eye, but it has not completely recovered from the operation yet, there is still some liquid which troubles my vision (which will - hopefully - disappear gradually).
I'm not quite sure, but it seems to me, that - unfortunately - my operated and now much weaker eye is actually the 'dominant eye'; in the clear flashes I had the impression, that I could see better with my weaker eye than with the 'good one'.
So I have to be patient and in the meantime do, what is still possible.
At least I'm trying to read the bottom line at 2 feet (instead of 8 ) and relaxing as much as possible.
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#6
noneother Wrote:I can attest that the buckled eye does not change it's shape due to the surrounding buckle and that my unoperated eye can.

However, there are two things I have observed:
1) Clear flashes resulting from the relaxation of the lens (this is because despite the buckle I have been able to see about 50/20 and am certain the eye did not change shape but rather one of the lens muscles relaxed allowing lens to accommodate); and
2) Clear flashes resulting from the relaxation of the muscles which elongates the eyes (you can tell because it literally feels like a grip releasing from around your eyes and the eyes can be felt to move back to their position).

After your post, I started to doubt, whether it really would be possible to train my operated eye at all.
I then began to train it at a distance of 50 cm and found it much harder than with the other eye, I could only train for a very short time, it soon became very tired (and the sight would blurr completely) or it started watering.
Therefore I practiced for a few days longer than a week at the same distance and now I get a really clear sight at 80 cm ( the letters clear up rather quickly and I had only some minor mistakes - if at all - like confounding K and X or I and J) and can continue practice for a much longer time.

The eye is fixed with a buckle, a rail and a cerclage; the macula had slightly been lifted on one side and there is still a little rest of liquid near the makula, which has to be absorbed and which troubles the sight a bit.

Maybe due to the deformation, the last letter always clears up very easily when I look at the first or second letter and it's rather difficult to get the first letter clear.

But on the whole, I very happy to see such a progress...
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#7
Update

I've continued my eye-chart practice (as described above) and have reached now 1 m for my right eye and 2 m for my left eye. In the end I had to 'slow down' a bit (proceed only 5 cm/week or stay at the same distance for 2 weeks).
Then I had a very busy and stressful time (and sometimes not much sleep); so I didn't proceed further. I was glad enough to maintain the distances, and even then my vision was fluctuating so much, that sometimes I could not get the letters clear at all.

But this was not the only reason for me not to push the eye-chart further away - with the increasing distance the double images in my left eye increased too and became more pronounced. So, I decided to give my eyesight more time to get stabilized and practice at the same distance at least for some more weeks, maybe even till the end of the year.

At the same time I'm now concentrating more on my eyesight in every day's life, that is when I am not practicing with the eye-chart.
The double images are giving me the most trouble, even though I see that my eyesight has very much improved.
I got more and more the impression, that I was directing and controlling my eyes too much, always trying to keep them as relaxed as possible, move them as much as possible, looking at smallest details all the time...always asking myself, if I really see for example the traffic signs or the number plates today better than before...
When I read about persons with multiple personalities needing different prescriptions in different personalities (or no glasses at all) and the possibility of being cured from myopia by going back into the childhood by hypnosis and experience the 'feeling' of perfect eyesight (see: <!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.iblindness.org/community/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2198">viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2198</a><!-- l -->), I then asked myself, how I would look differently at the world, if my eyesight was perfect - trying to remember how I was seeing as a child and bringing that memory back with the help of imagination (instead of hypnosis) with the result:
Quote:The result was, that my eyes felt very light and moved a lot more than usual, as if they were dancing and flying over the landscape. The blurry double images were reduced and gave me less trouble; I could more easily concentrate on the clear parts.
Now in the evening, my eyes are less tired and feel good. I think, I'll try to make this a new habit...

Of course I am still trying to keep my eyes relaxed, avoid staring and look at small details - but in a less obsessive way.
And I concentrate more on relaxing my state of mind, not only my eye muscles.

My prescribed glasses (in February) were -4,5 with -1,5 astigmatism left and -8 right after operation for retinal detachment.
I never ordered them, but instead a pair of under corrected glasses -3,5 and -6 and another pair with -2 and -5 without any astigmatism correction. When I finally got them, I was a bit shocked, because I saw much worse with them than with the under corrected contact lenses I had tried in the meantime. With -2,5 contact lens I could very soon read the whole eye-chart, whereas with the -3,5 glass only about half.And with the -2 glass I saw hardly any better than without glasses...Maybe the reason is that I had been constantly weary contact lenses for the last 30 years.

But I did not want to wear contact lenses any more and glasses only if absolutely necessary and as short as possible; So I first used the -3,3/6 for about 1 and 1/2 month, then 'reserved' them only for 'dangerous driving situations' (bicycle, I don't like driving a car and avoid it if possible) and used the -2/5 for the 'rest' . After some time I discovered, that on the rare occasions when I put on the stronger glasses my eyesight was overwhelmingly clear - even clearer than with my contact lenses during the last years - and I enjoyed these moments very much.
It worried me a little that that apparently with the weaker glasses I could hardly 'see' any improvement at all. Then I read in the forum, that this is not unusual:

Quote:Glasses are just a different way of seeing, don't be fooled into thinking that if you can't see better out of your glasses, that your eyes aren't getting better. That is why I recommend to record your progress WITHOUT glasses. Otherwise reduced prescription glasses can be frustrating if you expect to see better out of them.
(<!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.iblindness.org/community/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=793">viewtopic.php?f=8&t=793</a><!-- l -->)

So, I didn't expect much change, but today I was surprised to discover that the letters of a writing in some distance have become much clearer with only very little double image left. When I put a 40 watt 'spot-light' on the eye-chart, I can read it till the 20/20 line.
This is really a big step for me, because, when I got my first glasses at the age of 11 or 12, I already needed a stronger prescription than that (I managed to hide my weakening eyesight for quite some time, because I hated the idea of having to wear glasses).
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#8
great progress!

Don't worry about the difference between contacts and glasses. It's normal to have a lower contacts prescription. My prescription for contacts was always 1 diopter better than glasses. I had -8 glasses and -7 contacts before improving my eyesight.

keep going Smile
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#9
Thanks for your encouragement!

This is not really a measurable improvement which I am posting now, but I found out about a 'mistake' , a wrong 'habit of seeing', especially during my eye-training.
To identify what's going wrong and to counteract it is the first step to more progress; and perhaps I am not the only one with the same 'mistake', so I'd like to share it with you here.

The simplest way to explain it is the comparison with the sense of touch - which is very similar to the seeing process and sometimes helps to understand it better as it is more obvious.

When I try too hard to see something clearly, I am sort of 'grabbing', trying to get hold of the seen object instead of letting my eyes be receptive and be 'impressed' by what they see, just moving 'softly' and 'scanning' the surface.
In the same way as it helps to imagine the letters to be moving on the eye-chart - which inspires the eyes to more saccadic movements - the 'grabbing' , on the contray, stops every movement. It is a bit like trying to catch the wind; you can't get hold of the movement and will find yourself with nothing in your hand. You have to 'join the dancing crowd' and participate in the movement.
In the same way we often 'chase away' our clear flashes, by 'smashing' them in a tight grip.

I found out about this quite some time ago, but bad habits have the nasty quality of 'sneaking back' once you become less watchful; and the only really effective way to get rid of them is to constantly keep on training good habits to replace them.
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#10
Nini, yes, I like the way you describe this. It reminds me of the way a clumsy baby first tries to grab a pet and hurts it, resulting in no contact or connection. Then it becomes more skillful and learns to touch the pet softly and respectfully, and the pet responds (the letters clear up!).
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#11
thanks for this.
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#12
For a long time, I haven't been in the forum .....

This is just to share a little bit of sucess with you, to encourage everybody to keep on.

My vision continues to improve slowely but steadily.
And last december I had an official proof during my yearly examination after operation.
Usually the vision tests make me very nervous and my tested eyesight ist quite bad. But last time, I managed to read correctly the 20/40 line (50%) even though I felt a lot of strain in my eyes. The 60% line I could not get clear, by than my eyes were straining too much.
This is not perfect, but I am very happy with it. I could not relaxe enough, but still my vision was so much better than should be expected with a former prescription of -4,5 (contacts) or -5.

At home, when I use the eyechart with unknown letters (http://www.smbs.buffalo.edu/oph/ped/IVAC/IVAC.html), I usually start with 20/40 and mostly go up to 20/25, not always correct, but I even managed to get 20/20 correctly - exceptionally. But it takes some time till letters become really clear.

What I find most helpful for clear eyesight is not to concentrate on seeing als clear as possible.
But rather to concentrate not to manipulate your eyes too much in the beginning of the focussing process. Not to worry, when in the beginnig vision is blurry und not to try to get rid of the blur by doing something deliberately with your eyes.
Just lead or guide them to one point in the distance and allow them to do their work and find the correct "setting", give them time and - most important - the relaxation to move freely. When sight becomes clearer and clearer, just follow the the eyes to distinguish more and more details. Not with the aim to see as much and as clearly as possible - but with the aim to relaxe the eyes more and more, getting rid of strain and doing  some good for the eyes, taking the best care of them.

With this idea in my mind, I get the best results. And it feels really good, not only my eys, it gives relaxation for the whole body and mind, a bit like meditation.
Maybe this description can help others too?
I wish you all the best for your vision improvement!
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#13
Thanks for the update, Nini! It sounds like you're doing great.

I like how you describe avoiding manipulating your eyes too much. That's a good way of putting it. It comes as a surprise to people that their vision improves when they do something as simple and unobtrusive as that. They think, wait a minute, surely I must have used my eyes WITHOUT manipulating them to try to see better?

It's about inhibiting the urge to do something with the eyes. It just goes to show how much of a mental change this is and not only about relaxing the eyes. Palming etc helps, but palming by itself doesn't inhibit that habit of manipulating the eyes.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#14
Nini, it's so good to hear from you! I used to really enjoy your thoughtful posts. As David said, it sounds like you're doing very well. Yes, I am also finding that the more I don't "try to see", the more I see. And the habit of trying can be so automatic for me! I just keep noticing it, then gently letting it go, and letting my eyes receive.
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