Where did I leave my glasses?
That irritating question haunted me daily. Until now. I no longer care where my glasses are because I don’t need them anymore. I have a joyous new vision of natural eye health.
A friend of mine did an Improve Your Vision workshop many years ago with Martin Brofman. At the end of the workshop, after wearing glasses since a child, she was able to see clearly for the first time without them. She told me it was so remarkable and so disorienting that she didn’t feel comfortable with her clear eyesight and went back to using glasses again.
My dad started using reading glasses in his late 40s. I watched him progressively increase his usage and strength until eventually he got bifocals and wore glasses all the time. A little voice inside me said, “That doesn’t have to happen.” Even though the prevailing belief was that people’s eyes got worse as they aged, I didn’t want to buy into it, and I knew believing it could make it true.
When I was in my late 40s, I noticed my arms weren’t long enough to hold a paper far enough away to read it. I started using reading glasses, and just like my father, I started relying on them more and soon needed stronger magnification. After a few years optometrists were suggesting bifocals and wearing glasses regularly. Many of my friends got prescriptions and wore glasses full time rather than having to search for reading glasses all the time.
I remembered my friend’s experience of naturally improving her eyesight and started researching. I found a book by W.H. Bates titled, Better Eyesight Without Glasses, which explained the nuances of eye health. My intuition had been right, needing glasses was not natural, nor inevitable. The eyes, like everything else in our bodies, need proper care to function at their peak performance.
Many of the books I read equated using glasses with becoming dependent on crutches when your legs are sore. If I hurt my knee and relied on a brace instead of encouraging my knee to heal, I would become dependent on the brace and my leg would become weaker. I would then continually need a stronger and more supportive brace, as my knee became less able to function.
The year my dad started wearing glasses, he also injured his back. He was doing pull ups on a bar in the doorway, and when the bar fell down and he landed on his back. The wisdom at the time was to move as little as possible, which meant he spent a month in bed, in pain. Physical therapists now recommend that a combination of rest and movement is necessary for healing. It is the same for the eyes. Natural fluid movement is crucial for eye health. Wearing glasses decreases the movement of the eye and limits our peripheral vision. Glasses train our eyes to perceive the world using only the small area in the center of our visual field. This causes a tremendous amount of stress for our eyes and the muscles encircling them.
The first exercise I tried from Better Eyesight Without Glasses, was something Bates calls “palming.” I put the palms of my hands gently over my eyes so that my fingertips rested on my scalp and there was no pressure on my eyes. Bates suggested closing the eyes and imagining blackness, so that the eyes are completely at rest. There is a natural healing energy in the palms of our hands and as soon as I did the palming, I felt my entire body relax to a level I had not experienced in years.
I soon discovered my vision had declined not because I got older but because of the accumulation of stress around the eyes. I had never done anything to relax my eyes, nor encourage their natural expansive movement. Now I regularly do palming, eye yoga, (described in the book: Improve Your Vision), and give my eyes opportunities for peripheral and distance viewing (explained in the book, Vision for Life). When on the computer or reading, I frequently look away from the text or screen to allow my eyes to see in three dimensions, which is what our eyesight was designed for, not the two-dimensional focus which dominates our information driven culture. Most importantly, I have stopped using glasses to allow my eyes to function naturally again.
As a psychotherapist I’ve been fascinated by how my eyes follow what my mind believes. I’ll pick up my phone and be able to read texts clearly, but when my mind says, “Wait! I can’t do that. I can’t see without glasses,” the print begins to blur. One day, in the bank, they handed me a paper with fine print. I started to panic realizing I didn’t have my glasses. The words on the page started to get fuzzy, but then I took a deep breath, relaxed my eyes, and gently reminded myself that I can read it, and needed to read it because it concerned my bank account. My vision cleared and I read the small print.
The latest book I’m reading, Vision for Life, is written by Meir Schneider, who cured himself of blindness related to cataracts. I used to believe cataracts were a natural part of aging, similar to the assumption I’d made that the only cure for poor eyesight was to wear corrective lenses.
Not only am I seeing clearer, and colors are more vibrant, but I can feel my whole body is more relaxed. Just like every other part of my body, my eyes react to stress, and I’d been building tremendous stress in my eyes without ever releasing it for more than 60 years.
Clearing my vision let me see the world with more clarity, not just physically but also related to the power of my beliefs. I’d been under many assumptions regarding the inevitability of poor eyesight and cataracts, and I am now curious to discover what else I am blindly going along with.
You can stay tuned (by following my blog) and I hope to share more ways I am seeing the world with increased clarity and health.
Bates, W.H. Better Eyesight Without Glasses, 1940, Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Brofman, Martin Improve Your Vision, 2004, Findhorn Press
Grunwald, Peter, Eyebody. Living Life Naturally Without Glasses, 2010, Condevis Publishing
Huxley, Aldous, The Art of Seeing, 1942, Montana Books Inc.
Schneider, Meir, Vision for Life, 2002, North Atlantic Books