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recovery from presbyopia
#1
Hello, dear iblindness community,

I am 58-years-old and have been relying on glasses for presbyopia since age 46. Previously, I always had excellent vision. After presbyopia occurred, distance vision seemed fine but with each new prescription I noticed diminishing acuity of distance vision.

Only two days ago, I began reading Dr. Bates' book and also the postings on this forum. I took off my glasses, determined to rid myself of them by any means necessary, and began to practice palming according to Dr. Bates' instructions. Almost immediately I began to experience temporary clear flashes after palming. I learned about central fixation, shifting, swinging and sunning and began practicing these as best I could.

I have been learning so much about the real nature of eyesight from Dr. Bates and this website. Thanks to Dr. Bates' explanation of the physiology of the eye and the psychology of mind and vision, I realized that it was no coincidence that my previously always excellent vision was lost within two years of experiencing tragic and sudden loss of my youngest son. I had never made that connection before. This realization was experienced in a sort of "clear flash", in other words, a big psychological break-through for me.

I work on computer and also do a lot of reading and writing, but at same time I do not want glasses dependency to unnecessarily slow my progress in Bates Method. I have only worn my glasses when absolutely necessary since the past two days. Yesterday I went out and about without my progressives for first time. It was a wonderfully freeing experience.

Last night, after practicing palming, shifting and sunning for most of the day, with intermittent clear flashes, I downloaded and printed Dr. Gottlieb's Presbyopia Reduction Chart and began working with it. I noticed good improvement in general clarity and increased length of clear flashes after palming. Also, after working with the Gottlieb chart, depth of blackness intensified during palming. I could feel my eyes coming alive. I began "talking" to my eyes and telling them how much I love them and want them to be well and happy. I thanked them for the four-and-a-half decades that they served me so wonderfully well. I told my eyes how sorry I am that they have been suffering and explained to them how together we are now recovering our true vision.

This bright, sunny morning, after some work on the Gottlieb chart combined with palming, I went out with intention to purchase a large enough magnifying glass so as to be able to work and study without afflicting myself with the glasses, as I expected my vision recovery to take some weeks. I do not know if magnifier in lieu of glasses was a good idea or not, but during my trip to the store, my eyes and I experienced a miracle!

When I looked at my ATM receipt, I could read it easily. I did not think anything of it because I was so used to wearing my progressives everywhere! It did not even occur to me that I was not wearing my glasses!

As it so happened, the store was closed. However, I suddenly noticed that I could read the smaller type on every sign. Wherever I noticed smaller type, I walked right up to it and could read it. Everywhere everything was sparkling clear! I walked to the local bookstore with books for sale in cart on sidewalk and picked up a book at random. I was amazed to be able to see the print clearly. Every book I opened, I could see the text without blur and read it clearly. I went inside and opened another book but the type was fuzzy. I carried it outside into the sunlight and then could read the text clearly. I experimented again and again with books and other printed material in this way with same results  -- howsoever small the type was, what I was able to read clearly in sunlight became blurry with indoor lighting.

I purchased some "full-spectrum" lightbulbs but so far these provide very small improvement as compared to sunlight. I can still right now, several hours later, read even the smallest type with ease in direct or even in shaded sunlight but not yet very clearly in indoor lighting.

I am so ecstatic to be experiencing the return of my previously excellent near-vision. It is sheer bliss to be able to see again without glasses! I know with absolute confidence that with continued practice of Dr. Bates' method in conjunction with the Gottlieb Presbyopia Reduction Chart, I am on my way to complete recovery of my near-vision.

My eyes and I would not have made this progress in vision recovery had I not found Dr. Bates book on i-see.org and then iblindness.com. To everyone who posts on this forum, thank you very much for writing! Your messages and stories have been enormously helpful, educative and inspiring.

I am not a theist, but this quotation from the Book of Acts 9:18 really describes my experience: "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith..."

Warm regards, best wishes and many thanks, Catherine
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#2
Thanks for sharing, Catherine. It won't be long now before you see well indoors too. I think it often happens that way, better outdoor vision preceding indoor vision.

David
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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#3
Hello Catherine,
    Congratulations on your progress.
    What was your last prescription, and was the distance portion  plus for farsightedness, or minus, for nearsightedness, and do you have any astigmatism correction.
    I would refrain from using a magnifing glass for any close work, as it is the same as using the lower portion of your progressive glasses.
    If you have read my postings on farsightedness, they may be of some help to you. Wearing minus lenses may help you. You can purchase them online. If you list your last prescription, I could recomend what power to use.
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#4
Hello again Catherine,
    One other question,how is your distant vision without glasses?
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#5
Hello, dear Bifocal,

Thanks for writing. I went on an archaeological dig and excavated my most recent prescription (August 2003). It would be enormously helpful to me if you could help me interpret it (the "eye doc" never did).

OD: Sphere +050; Cylinder -075; Axis 067; ADD +250
OS: Sphere +075; Cylinder -075; Axis 093; ADD +250

There is nothing written in the category Prism that would indicate astigmatism and I never had that type of refraction error except briefly (2 days) during Bates Method practice. Imagining white halos cured that. This experience gave me an idea of what astigmatism must be like. I am certainly glad I never had that problem!

When I first got glasses, there was no correction whatsoever required. With my second prescript there was some correction for distance. The above is my third, last and final prescription.

Like Bates, I have "quite an outfit of glasses": 2 pairs of progressives (3rd and 2nd prescriptions), 1 pair single vision 3rd prescription near-vision (for reading); 1 pair intermediate single vision 3rd prescription (for working on computer). I wore my progressives simply because I did not ever want to not be without near-vision.

I never noticed any problem with distance vision, but this was found to be the case in my 2nd and 3rd eye exams. Since this 3rd prescription, my near vision was getting worse, but distance always seemed OK, although I am certain it too would have become increasingly problematic.

Yes, magnifying glass was simply not a viable work-around! Now, if I cannot see whatever, I just do not try -- it's my cue that it's time to shift and/or palm for a clear flash. My goal is to make entire repertoire of Bates Method skills second nature, an integral part of my lifestyle and mode of seeing-being.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don’t think I need minus lenses, do you?

Cheers!
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#6
Dear Anonym,

Subject:  Almost need NO distance "correction".


OD: Sphere +050; Cylinder -075; Axis 067; ADD +250

OS: Sphere +075; Cylinder -075; Axis 093; ADD +250

I suspect your distant vision is very close to 20/20 -- if
you would check.

This prescription can be reduced to a "Spherical" equivalent.

You just take 1/2 the cylinder and add it to the sphere.

Thus + .5 - .37 = about +.25

And the left about the same.

This is almost a "plano" prescription.

When Dr. Bates said "...throw away your glasses",
I think this is the type of "prescription" to toss out the
window.

The +2.5 is for reading only. 

I think the OD who gave you this wanted to make
your distant vision very, very sharp.  And that is
what he did.

If it were me, I would read a Snellen myself just
to confirm 20/20 for distance.

Just one man's opinion.

Otis
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#7
Hello, dear Otis,

Many thanks for this information about my so-called "prescription." It has helped me to understand why my near-vision is so now much improved in sunlight but still problematic with indoor lighting (although that is also improving).

Firstly, I was shocked to realize that my eyesight is actually afflicted with a degree of astigmatism. I went directly to Dr. Bates and re-read "Causes and Cure of Errors of Refraction" with a new understanding. As he explains, 

"In an eye with previously normal vision a strain to see near objects always results in the temporary production of hypermetropia ... or some form of astigmatism is produced of which hypermetropia forms a part. ... ... and if these changes take place unsymmetrically, astigmatism will be produced ...."

If I understand correctly, my blurring at near-vision under indoor lighting is the type of astigmatism that occurs when light is of a particular wavelength. This likely explains why my near-vision first cleared in sunlight.

Your very helpful response is much appreciated!
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#8
Dear Catherine,

"Lighting Conditions

People with normal vision, who consistently do their seeing and perceiving in a condition of dynamic relaxation, can afford in large measure to disregard the external conditions of seeing. Not so the men and women whose sight is defective. For them, favorable external conditions are of the greatest importance, and the failure to secure such favorable conditions may do much to increase their disability,or, if they have undertaken a course of visual re-education, to retard their progress towards normality.

The most important of all the external conditions of good seeing is adequate illumination. Where lighting is poor, it is very hard for people with defective vision to get better, very easy for them to get worse.

The question now arises, what is adequate illumination?

The best illumination we have is full sunshine on a clear summer's day. If you read in such sunshine, the intensity of the light falling upon the page of your book will be in the neighborhood of ten thousand foot-candles - that is to say, the light of direct summer sunshine is equal to the light thrown by ten thousand wax candles places at the distance of one foot from the book. Move from full sunlight to the shade of a tree or house. The light on your page will still have an intensity of about one thousand foot-candles. On overcast days, the light reflected form white clouds has an intensity of several thousand fool candles: and the weather must be very gloomy for general outdoor intensities to fall as low as a thousand foot-candles.

Indoors, the light near an unobstructed window may have an intensity of anything from one hundred to five hundred foot-candles, depending on the brightness of the day. Ten of fifteen feet away from the window the illumination may fall to as little as two foot-candles or even less, if the room is papered and furnished in dark colors.

The intensity of illumination diminishes as the square of the distance. A 60-watt lamp will provide about eighty foot-candles at one foot, about twenty at two feet, about nine at three feet, and, at ten feet, only about four-fifths of one foot-candle. owing to this rapid falling off in intensity with increase of distance, most parts of the average artificially lighted rooms are very poorly illuminated. It is common to find people reading and doing other forms of close work under an illumination of one or two foot-candles. In public buildings, such as schools and libraries, you will be lucky if you get as much as five foot-candles of illumination.

That it should be possible to do close work under illumination so fantastically low compared with those which met out of doors in daytime is a remarkable tribute to the native endurance and flexibility of the sensing eyes and the perceiving mind. So great is this flexibility and endurance that a person whose eyes are unimpaired, an d who uses them in the way that nature intended them to be used, can submit for long periods to bad lighting conditions and suffer no harm. But for a person whose eyes have undergone some organic impairment, or whose habitual functioning is so unnatural that he can see only with effort and under strain, these same conditions may be disastrous.

In his book, Seeing and Human Welfare, Dr Luckiesh has described some very interesting experiments, which demonstrate the undesirable consequences of poor lighting. These experiments were designed to measure nervous muscular tension (an accurate indicator, as Dr Luckiesh points out, of 'strain, fatigue, wasted effort and internal losses') under varying conditions of illumination. The task assigned to the subjects of these experiments was reading; and the amount of nervous muscular strain was recorded by a device which measured the pressure exerted by two fingers of the left hand resting upon a large flat knob. the subjects were kept unaware of the nature and purpose of the investigation - indeed, were deliberately thrown on a wrong scent. This eliminated the possibility of any conscious or voluntary interference with the results. A very large number of tests showed conclusively that, in all cases, 'there was a large decrease in nervous muscular tension as the intensity increased from one to on hundred foot-candles. The latter was the highest intensity investigated, because this is far above prevailing levels of illumination in the artificial world. There was impressive evidence taht this tension would continue to decrease if the level of illumination were increased to one thousand foot-candles.' In other tests the subjects were exposed to improperly placed lights that threw a glare in their eyes. This glare was not excessive - just the average, moderate glare that millions of human beings habitually work and play by. nevertheless it was quite sufficient to increase the tell-tale nervous muscular tension to a marked degree.

There is, so far as I know, only one kind of electric light bulb from which one can obtain a thousand foot-candles of illumination without excessive consumption of current. That is the 150-watt spotlight, described in the chapter on sunning. Te parabolic and silvered back of this bulb acts as a reflector, and the light issues in a powerful beam, in which reading, serving and other tasks requiring close attention and precise seeing can be performed in the best possible conditions.

During the daytime, people with defective sight should always make use of the best illumination available. Whenever possible, close work should be done near a window or out of doors. I myself have derived great benefit from reading for long periods at a stretch in full sunlight, either falling directly on the page, or, if the weather was too hot, reflected by means of an adjustable mirror, so that it was possible to sit in the shade, or indoors, and to enjoy the advantage of seven or eight thousand foot-candles upon the book. For some months, indeed, after giving up the waring of spectacles, it was only in full sunlight, or under a spot lamp, that I could read comfortably for any length of time. But as vision improved, it became possible for me to make use of less intense illuminations. I still, however, prefer the spotlight to all others, and frequently work in full sunlight.

When reading in full sunlight, it is necessary to keep the eyes thoroughly relaxed by means of periodical brief sunning and palming. Many people will also find it easier to read if they make use of a slot cut in black paper, as described in an earlier chapter. When these precautions are taken, reading under ten thousand foot-candles can be very helpful to those who vision is defective. Falling upon the center of sight, te image of the intensely illuminated print stimulates a macula which has become sluggish and insensitive through habitual wrong use of the organs of seeing. At the same time, the clarity and distinctness of the sunlit letters exercise a most wholesome influence upon the mind, which loses its habitual strained anxiety about seeing and acquires instead an easy confidence in its ability to interpret the sensa brought to it by the eyes. Thanks to this confidence and to the stimulation of the sluggish macula, it becomes possible, after a time, to do one's seeing no less effectively under lower intensities of illumination. Ten thousand foot-candle reading is a preparation and an education for hundred foot candle reading.

Owing sometimes to organic defects of the eyes, sometimes to ingrained habits of improper functioning, sometimes to generalized ill-health, certain persons are peculiarly sensitive to intense light. For these it would be unwise to plunge directly into ten thousand foot-candle reading. Following the techniques described in the chapter on sunning, they should gradually accustom themselves to tolerate greater and greater intensities of illumination, not only directly on the closed and open eyes, but also on the printed page before them. in this way, they will come by slow degrees to be able to enjoy the advantages of good lighting - advantages from which their organic or functional photophobia had previously cut them off, forcing them to strain for vision in a perpetual twilight.

In conclusion, it seems worth while to say a few words about the fluorescent lighting, now so extensively sued in factories, shops and offices, on account of its cheapness. There is good evidence that this kind of lighting adversely affects the vision of a minority of those who have to to close work under it. One reason for this must be sought in the composition of the light itself, which does not come from an incandescent source, as does natural sunlight or the light from a filament bulb. Nor  is this all. Fluorescent lighting throws almost no shadows. Consequently the element of contrast, so immensely important to normal seeing, is conspicuously absent from rooms illuminated by fluorescent tubes. Shadows, moreover, help us in our estimation of distances, forms and textures. When shadows are absent,w e are deprived of one of our most valuable guide-posts to reality, and te accurate interpretation of sensa becomes much harder. this is one of the reasons why the organs of vision tire so much more easily on a day of uniform high cloud than on one of bright sunshine. Fluorescent lighting produces an effect somewhat similar to that produced by the diffuses glare reflected from high think clouds. To eyes that have been evolved to adapt themselves to light proceeding from an incandescent source, and to mind that have learnt to make use of shadows as guides to correct interpretation, perception and judgment, fluorescent lighting cannot but seem strange and baffling. The wonder is that it is only a minority of people who react unfavorably to such lighting.

If you happen to belong to the unlucky ten or fifteen percent of the population which cannot work under fluorescent light without suffering from bloodshot eyes, swollen eyelids and lowered vision, the best thing you can do, of course, is to find a job which permits you to work out of doors, or by the light of incandescent filament lamps. The next best thing is to palm frequently, and get out of the fluorescence as often as possible for a few minutes of sunning. At night, as a substitute for sunning, take the light of a strong incandescent filament lamp upon the closed and open eyes. The movies constitute another excellent therapeutic measure for those who suffer in this way. Looked at in the proper way, they can be wonderfully restful and refreshing to eyes which react badly to the peculiar composition of fluorescent light and to minds which are baffled by the shadowless world of low contrasts, in which that light compels them to work."

-Aldous Huxley, The Art of Seeing

I hope this is helpful with your situation.

Warm regards,

-Kaze
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#9
Hello, dear Kaze,

Many thanks for posting this excerpt from Huxley. Your positing is indeed very helpful to me and you could not have chosen a day better than today.

I tried to imagine “10 thousand foot-candles� and discovered that is an outdated measurement of luminosity. After poking about the web for more information about Huxley, I found that his “Art of Seeing� is quite the most neglected work in his corpus. Now I definitely must read this book.

There is, on first perusal, a fairly decent entry in the Wikipedia on Bates Method. However, someone mucky-upped it by quoting that absolute hack and literary parasite Bennet Cerf’s disparaging ridicule of Huxley. Huxley was, of course, one of the icons of my generation's immediate predecessors. Amazingly, Huxley overcame total blindness and lived an altogether visionary life.

I am experiencing alternating good and bad days reading by indoor lighting. My apartment is poorly sun-lighted, but I am moving to a well sun-lit situation in two months. If it takes several months, per Huxley, before my indoor near-vision equals clear vision in sunlight, that’s just the price of glasses these days.

I am spending as much time as possible reading in sunlight and practicing sunning. I have begun, when sun is high, to practice as MacCracken suggested: gently holding open the upper eye-lids so as to let the sun’s rays fall on the white of the eyes while looking down. This is the alternative for those who don’t have the technique or hutzpah to safely self-treat with a “sun-glass�. My improving ability to actually read without strain is entirely due to my gradually better understanding of Bates Method. Meanwhile, I am enjoying immensely my recently astonishingly  enhanced overall perception of all terrestrial phenomena both farther and nearer.

I can now almost always clearly see the bottom lines of my “Snellen� charts. I do not yet have a proper Snellen chart but practice  with a downloaded Snellen and pseudo-Snellens that I have laser-printed on 8-1/2x11. I am not concerned about reading from 10 or 20 feet right now, because my distance vision is fine, insofar as I can tell.

Blurring on the smallest print of the Snellen is almost totally gone and much diminished when reading. I will equip myself with a proper Snellen chart, but meanwhile, hyperopic-presbyopic me, books are the Mt. Everest of Snellen cards for me, and so what? Palming and flashing and shifting makes it possible to decipher almost any text, although this would make for unendurably tedious reading were it not for the increasingly frequent gloriously clear flashes.. And it is really a thrill when I successfully shift and see one letter at a time perfectly clearly. Those serif fonts in which almost all books worthy of the name are printed, are excruciatingly perfect for my Bates Method practice.

The now despised glasses sit yonder, beckoning – “put me on your nose and enjoy my imitation of sight.� But I have roped myself to the mast and am successfully resisting their deceiving Siren’s call.

Again, thanks very much for the Huxley. You made my day.

Warm regards, Catherine
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#10
Dear Anonym,

Subject:  FEAR of the word "astigmatism".

These measurements are made in semi-darkness.

Typically, they "Crank" in the minus (or plus) and
then they "tweek" with astigmatism, to make
on line SLIGHTLY sharper.


OD: Sphere +050; Cylinder -075; Axis 067; ADD +250

OS: Sphere +075; Cylinder -075; Axis 093; ADD +250

It is completely possible to have very sharp 20/20,
and astigmatism of 3/4 diopters.

I OFTEN suggest that the person read his
own distant Snellen -- just to check this.

I ALWAYS ASK THAT THERE BE NO ASTIGMATISM
IN MY GLASSES -- if I PASS the 20/40 line.

THE NORMAL EYE HAS SLIGHT ASTIGMATISM -- and
this is not a problem, since the eye has 20/20
with 3/4 diopters of astigmatism.

The majority-opinion ODs love to scare the poop
out of you with that word.

Just one man's opinion.

Otis
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#11
“THE NORMAL EYE HAS SLIGHT ASTIGMATISM – and this is not a problem, since the eye has 20/20 with 3/4 diopters of astigmatism.�

Hello and thanks again, dear Otis,

That really bakes my cake!

I am definitely chagrined that I never imagined I did not even need glasses.

Warm regards, Catherine
<|8^) <--me in my dunce's hat & glasses
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#12
The Art of Seeing is the book at got me into the Bates Method some 20 years ago. Sadly as a young man I didn't continue to practise and never overcome my shortsightedness. Now I have rediscovered this method and wish to make it work this time. I am encouraged to see this forum and website!

Vobes
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#13
anonym Wrote:...
Last night, after practicing palming, shifting and sunning for most of the day, with intermittent clear flashes, I downloaded and printed Dr. Gottlieb's Presbyopia Reduction Chart and began working with it...
Catherine

Hello Catherine,

Just in case you are reading this: Thanks so much for mentioning this chart. It is the only exercise that works for me, resp. improves my presbyopia. After just the first few minutes of practicing, I noticed a clearly noticeable improvement in near and far vision. This is only my third day, so there's nothing I could say about long term effects.
Though I do have some problems with relaxing muscles, I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of the palming.
Regarding the shifting, I don't think I quite understand what exactly needs to be done - I guess, I have not found a good explanation yet.
There seem to be various ways of sunning described. How did or do you practice it?
How is your vision now, do you still need to do exercises, and of so, how often and which ones do you still do?

Many thanks again and in advance!
manoka
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#14
anonym Wrote:...
Last night, after practicing palming, shifting and sunning for most of the day, with intermittent clear flashes, I downloaded and printed Dr. Gottlieb's Presbyopia Reduction Chart and began working with it...
Catherine

Hello Catherine (and other presbyopia sufferers),

Just in case you are reading this: Thanks so much for mentioning this chart. It is the only exercise that works for me, resp. improves my presbyopia. After just the first few minutes of practicing, I noticed a clearly noticeable improvement in near and medium distance vision.
This is only my third day, so there's nothing I could say about long term effects.

Though I do have some problems with relaxing muscles, I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of the palming.
Regarding the shifting, I don't think I quite understand what exactly needs to be done - I guess, I have not found a good explanation yet.
There seem to be various ways of sunning described. How did or do you practice it?
How is your vision now, do you still need to do exercises, and if so, how often and which ones do you still do?

Against presbyopia Dr. Bates just seems to have recommended his imagination and relaxation methods, and to practice reading the smallest possible or increasingly smaller print, all of which unfortunately does not seem to work for me.
Also, he repeatedly mentioned "diamond type", a term I don't seem to be able to find an explanation for either.

But maybe also somebody else can contribute some of these missing informations.

Many thanks again and in advance!
manoka
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#15
manoka Wrote:Against presbyopia Dr. Bates just seems to have recommended his imagination and relaxation methods, and to practice reading the smallest possible or increasingly smaller print, all of which unfortunately does not seem to work for me.
Also, he repeatedly mentioned "diamond type", a term I don't seem to be able to find an explanation for either.

Nothing special, just a very small serif - type font. I'm guessing 4-5 pt. size. Print shops probably used that name in the early 1900s, but you will be hard pressed to find it today. He gives a sample in his book:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.central-fixation.com/perfect-sight-without-glasses/chapter-17.php">http://www.central-fixation.com/perfect ... ter-17.php</a><!-- m -->

See Fig. 49
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