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Vision improvement “aerobics”

This post is also available in: French

Anyone can improve their vision. For 47 years I always wore glasses, which were continuously getting stronger until after the age of 50. By pure chance, I first learned about and began the trip to better vision.

You can do the same at any time in your life whether your problem is presbyopia, “Old Age Sight”, Myopia “short sightedness”, or hyperopia “long-sightedness”.

Since the pioneering work of New York opthamologist, Dr. William Bates at the turn of the century it has become evident that you can improve your vision by your own efforts. Dr. Bates noted that the principal cause of visual defects was stress. He developed a simple series of exercises to reduce stress which improve your vision.

His pioneering book, which demonstrates these exercises, Better Eyesight Without Glasses, was first published in the United States in 1920 and has been used by millions of people throughout the world ever since to improve their vision. Natural Vision Improvement and Dr. Bates are so associated in the new age consciousness that the mere idea and practice of eyesight amelioration is known as the Bates Method.

Naturally, given the soundness of Bates’ original ideas, and their positive results in practice, he has had many followers who have updated his concepts. Among the most recent of his followers are Janet Goodrich, Ph.D. and Dr. Robert Kaplan. Both have written brillant books on holistic vision improvement; Goodrich’s book is Natural Vision Improvement and Kaplan’s is Seeing Beyond 20-20.

Always wear undercorrected glasses. Dr. Robert Kaplan O.D., M.Ed. writes in Seeing Beyond 20/20, published in 1987: “In my experience as a professor in two professional schools of optometry in Texas and Oregon, I observed the training of doctors of optometry. The primary approach they were taught for dealing with vision problems involved the application of eyeglasses or contacts,” he wrote.

“This traditional viewpoint holds that when your eyeball is defective, you need a “corrective” device to compensate for the imperfection. One would think that “corrective” tools like lenses would eventually be removed once the therapy is complete.

“On the contrary, lens prescriptions typically became stronger! This leads to a greater and greater dependency, as insidious in its own was as a dependency upon drugs, sugar, or alcohol.”

Kaplan said he was a victim of that thinking during his training as an eye doctor and carried this knowledge into his practice.

“After working with thousands of patients as an optometrist in Africa and the United States, on day I realized that I was actually contributing to their loss of visual fitness.”

The wisdom of Kaplan’s advice is evident. If your glasses are at full-strengh, your visual system becomes lazy and the effort is done by the mechanical device, the glasses instead. Would you continue to wear crutches after your broken leg had healed?.

Kaplan found a compromise which gives you reasonably good acuity while exercising your visual system and reducing the gap. Glasses permitting you to see at 20/40 or at 83.6% are the optimal, Kaplan writes. “Thus it seems that the brain ‘prefers’ the 83.6 vision fitness prescription. The brain and the eyes then have a chance to be exercised, just like the older muscles of the body that respond well to being exercised.”…

Contact lenses are to be avoided. They are a foreign body on the eyes and restrict the flow of oxygen. All types are dangerous.

Dr. Kaplan urges us to eliminate meat and dairy products. He gives many examples of people progressing to better vision whose progress was immediately and obviously interrupted by one time eating of meat, eggs or milk. Beans, tofu, soya milk, and other non processed foods, uncooked by preference, are his recommended diet for vision improvement. At least 20 minutes of exercise, preferably aerobic. Use a trampoline and move your head around while jumping. Spend at least 20 minutes outdoors.

Coming from a humanist and not a technical background is the American psychologist, Janet Goodrich, PH.d. Her extraordinary book is “Natural Vision Improvement”. I have just returned from her eight week school for forming Natural Vision Instructors near her home in the tropical forest in Queensland, Australia. Powerfully illuminating is her approach and book that it altered my deepest emotional patterning. On the first day I met this visual magician in Burlington in May, 1990, this poem surged from inside of me:

I thought I’d find a big boss
Instead, what did I see,
An anarchist like me;
My visual negativity,
Transformed, by your dazzling reality.

Virtually unique among self-healing books, is this book’s many pages of solidarity with persecuted pioneering healers and self-healers of the past like great German psychiatrist and author Dr. William Reich who died in an American Federal prison and whose books were burned in Nazi Germany and Democratic United States. 10 years after his death, Reich was rediscovered and this teachings provide the basis for many new age therapies such as rebirthing, bio-energetics, Feldenkrais and others. In addition we learn about pioneering vision improvement pioneers like Dr. William Bates and Margaret Corbett, both persecuted.
Her book is full of powerful positive philosophical approaches. “We teach people to practice humaness without a license, instead of to capitalize on human misery as medical professionals do. I have developed games to maintain and expand optimism.”

Eschewing the traditional word “exercise” she indeed has developed games which do improve your vision. I did them and my vision improved 5 lines down the eyechart in the 8 weeks I was at her vision school. So did everyone of the other 21 people, including three optometrists, from six countries round the world who studied with her.

The games are traditional Bates Method games such as palming and sunning, near-far shifting and rotating of the head. There are pages and pages of games to improve your visual imagination, wellworth reading about.

A holistic method, which includes your environment, your history, all other body parts apart, from the visual system, obviously dealt with in depth, we learn the advantages of periodic fasting, colonic irrigations, appropriate diets and various important attitudinal changes to integrate like: “I never get emotionally attached to outcomes.”

This magic book is abundantly illustrated and inbathed in a consistent pattern of humor, optimism and love, rarely found in personal growth books.

Today I rarely wear my undercorrected glasses -at foreign movies for the subtitles is a rare exception.

It was in the course of a massage from Rebekah Crown that she informed me that you can improve your vision and immediately lent me the “Art of Seeing” by the great English author, who I already liked, Aldous Huxley.

The trip to better vision takes time and effort. But you can do it. Why not begin now? You won’t regret it.