We often receive letters from people who want to comment on their experiences in attempting to get proper advice about the care of their vision. Perhaps the most common comment is, "I wish I had known these things when I started to become nearsighted." Because we find these letters so interesting, we have decided to share some of them with our visitors.
I have enjoyed fairly good vision until the last few years when, at 38, I noticed presbyopia creeping in. I ignored it for a year, then got much eyestrain from computer work. I went to an optometrist who tried to tell me that I was nearsighted and fitted me with minus glasses. I suggested that it was eyestrain and requested vdt (video display terminal) glasses instead. She told me that they were just reading glasses for older people and since I was not 40 I did not need that. After many trips back I realized that she did not know what she was doing. I then went somewhere else and they told me that my eyes were slightly farsighted and I needed vdt glasses, not minus glasses. What a turnabout! The optometrists' strange and unbelievable ideas leave us distrustful of the very people who were supposed to help us in time of need. I have also read some of these false ideas that the first optometrist told me on another optometrist's website. And this is why I pursue eye knowledge.
I have figured out that my right eye has .5 diopters less accommodative amplitude than my left eye. The first optometrist that I went to had also told me that this is not possible. She was wrong about that too. While I do believe that she was not knowledgeable, I have not figured out how to identify this problem with the uneven accommodative amplitude. If you have any ideas or thoughts on what to check for please suggest them to me.
I do not trust eye care professionals. I have no problem with glasses, just with the practitioners who dispense them. I used to think children with glasses looked cute. Now I find low power minus lenses on children offensive. I try to talk to the parents, but the response has been "We make our child wear his glasses all the time because we are worried that his poor eyesight (however slight that may be) will impair his intellectual development." I have seen this same statement marketed on optometric web sites also. I wonder if it is a stock statment given to parents. Thanks for listening. Dave 5/30/99
I am an OD and have been in practice for over 15 years and I don't trust "the powers that be" in my profession anymore than you do so I must leave my name out of this mail for fear that you might post it on your site :O) I have no desire to be singled out in my area except by my patients that know I have their best interests in mind.
IMHO, your statements are accurate and I believe the OD's that are "ticked off" by your site have more of a problem with its inflammatory nature than the facts itself. I think more doctors should practice what you preach and a more mild tone on your part might facilitate that. Bruised egos can stymie common sense. Thank you. 9/21/99
JEANIE BRAVE'S LETTER:
Here are copies of my daughter's eye records and prescriptions. You will never know how grateful I am for you and Mr. Severson. When I stop and think of what could have happened to Shanna had I not found you, my blood starts to boil. I have come to realize that people never question eye doctors as they do medical doctors. We are all at their mercy and do not even know it. You have my permission to give my telephone number to anyone who you feel needs it.
Check-up before school - Shanna received the new contacts on August 5. She puts in -10.0 Diopter and is able to see - she says one mile down the road. I immediately told her to take them out. After begging my optometrist to please give me information to stabilize her vision, he becomes EXTREMELY UPSET. I then went to the libraries and book stores looking for information but I found only William Bates' name.
I then ordered his book. Next I found Mr. Severson and finally you in the back of his book. After reading your books I immediately knew I had the wrong optometrist, so I nicely asked his assistance in obtaining a -6 Diopter lens for studying. The doctor reluctantly gave them to Shanna, telling us to use them for STUDYING ONLY. I then confirmed the focal status of Shanna's eyes, by assisting her in checking her vision against the eye chart - both inside and outside.
8/26/95 20/20 -8.0 RE -7.5 LE
8/26/95 20/100 -6.0 RE -6.0 LE (Provided for reading)
8/31/95 20/40 -6.0 RE -6.0 LE
9/26/95 20/20 -6.0 RE -6.0 LE
Either her vision improved by +4.0 diopters in two months, or the doctor made a very bad measurement. Obviously Shanna will be stuck with the consequences of her eyes adapting to the minus lens for the rest of her life. This is a more typical situation than you can imagine. See the -10.0 D prescription below.
Since she was seeing so well on 9/26/95, I told her to remove her contacts and then come back outside. Without ANYTHING on she stood 20 feet away and could focus on the 20/70 and 20/50 line for about 2 or 3 seconds. Then she said it would flash or float away.
THE -10 DIOPTER LENS OFFICIALLY PRESCRIBED BY AN OPTOMETRIST
Patient: Shanna Brave, Birth Date: 3/2/82
-10 D Prescription by Bob Smyeth, Optometrist, Dated 8/5/95
20/20: -10.0 RE -9.5 LE.
- end of letter -
In subsequent conversations with Jeanie, she stated that her nine-year-old son was just starting into nearsightedness, and that she would do everything in her power to help her son with the proper use of the plus lens to avoid the catastrophic situation that had developed with her daughter. Jeanie wondered why this knowledge is not made generally available to the parents of young children.
"Spectacle lenses alter eye growth and the refractive status of young monkeys", Hung et al, Nature Medicine, 1995.
The single best predictor someone will reach a high degree of myopia refraction is the age at which they first received glasses: "Myopia in teenagers," Jensen H, Acta Ophtal Scand 1995: 73:389-393.
Minus lenses cause myopia in animals, and there's little reason to think their effects on people are any different. I've previously scanned the literature on the effects of minus lenses on people. Didn't find much data. In all these centuries not much study has been made of it. But this might give you some indication: "Effects of spectacle intervention on the progression of myopia in children," Ong E, et al, Opt. Vis Sci., Jun. 1999, (76) 6.
"Although the non-wearers exhibited an age-adjusted 3-year progression approximately HALF [emphasis added] that of the full-time wearers, this difference was not statistically significant. In summary, the present study failed to demonstrate any overall effects of spectacle intervention on the progression of human myopia. Further investigation using a larger sample is warranted."
(Note that the results were "statistically insignificant" because the cohort was only 43 people, divided into 4 groups. Controlling for age, sex, and initial refraction in several groups of n<10 each was naturally impossible. Most of the studies I found of this phenomenon had similar limitations.)
When I was in the 6th grade of elementary school, I wound up in a class taught by a little old lady school teacher who had a relatively small handwriting on the blackboard. Almost immediately, it turned out that two of my friends and I needed to be moved to the front of the class to be able to read her writing on the blackboard.
Notes were sent to our parents about our vision problems and we were all separately taken by our loving parents to different doctors for our visual problems. I wound up with corrective lens eyeglasses for nearsightedness; another friend (Wayne H.) also had eyeglasses but when we later compared our glasses, his had a "clear" section in the bottom part of the lens. He told me his optometrist recommended the clear "bifocal" section so he wouldn't be overcorrected during reading and other close work associated with school.
Our third friend (John M.) didn't get glasses at all. He had to "make do" with straining at the blackboard from the front of the class. He told me his parents took him to a doctor who was aware of some "tricks" for correcting very slight cases of nearsightedness he had learned in the 2nd World War to improve the vision of military flight crewmen. As I understood what he told me at the time, it basically consisted of using very weak "reading glasses", whenever he was reading. This was supposed to improve his vision. At the time, we thought he was seeing a "quack". As we moved through school to graduation, John M's vision never seemed to improve but he was always able to "make do" and never wore glasses.
My eyeglasses seemed to need changing every 6 to 12 months and I could never stay better than 20/30 in either eye. Every time I got a new pair of glasses, I was corrected to 20/20 and astonished at how "clear" everything looked in my new glasses. ...but every time, within a few months, I would always be right back where I started, at about 20/30 vision. It was also interesting that every time I needed new lenses, the optometrist couldn't use the old frames but needed to prescribe new frames, too. If you've never noticed, the price of the frames is about the same as the price of the lenses! Wonder what was going on here? Hmmm....
When I showed up at my 20th high school reunion, I was wearing eyeglasses "like the bottom of coke bottles"; my old friend Wayne H. was still wearing eyeglasses, but much thinner ones. Imagine our surprise when John H. showed up and we learned he not only didn't need glasses of any kind; he apparently had adequate vision to be a harbor pilot on one of the busiest river ports in the southern U.S. Like your early career, I am also an Electrical Engineer doing a great deal of close design work on blueprints; and, today, on PC based CAD systems.
I immediately purchased a pair of bifocal glasses, with the bottom section at a greater + value than I needed. (It took a lot of arguing with an optometrist to get them, too!) Over the last 15 years, I've gone from about -4.5 to -3.5 correction.
When our young daughter started showing signs of nearsightedness in her early teens, I remembered what had happened to me in my early years and I discouraged her from wearing the eyeglasses her doctor gave her. Female vanity must have also helped and she rarely wore them. Today, she still needs some minor correction for perfect 20/20, but she can see well enough to pass a driving test without glasses. After I read what you've said and look at my life, I feel like I've been SCREWED !!!!!
Respectfully, J. S. S., P.E. 8/29/00
The eye doctors interpret the problem erroneously. By aiding people to settle in with their problems, adapting to a condition that actually gives in to the problem, what they are doing is feeding addictions. Sight, of course, is a need, and how we see now becomes entrusted upon those who are truly morbid. I say they are morbid because they offer absolutely no hope for improvement. After twelve and 1/2 years, I can see thru these people. I remember how pleased I was to get my blurred vision "instantly" fixed when visiting the eye doctor. I was too young to realize that quick, sensational fixes have a long term detrimental effect. (That could be something I could use if I wanted to press charges.) Problems can be painful when we choose to face them, but sometimes by choosing to face a problem, feel the pain, there may be hope. What I see is that eye doctors avoid problems. When I was young, having a problem with my vision and believing (big mistake) that eye doctors are the ones to help, what they did is give me a stronger medication. I've become addicted to their medicine. That stronger dose just kept me on that downward spiral. All that did was just make me numb and my problem became internalized, seemingly cured.
Well that's my story, no different than most. I'm doing something quite bizarre, very non-conventional. I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try. I want to let you in on the results of it. I'm being tight-lipped, waiting, being patient for the results, letting that speak instead of my personal feelings. I just may be that one who speaks out when it's said and done, but I'll need help and advice. Wish me luck. x-man
Questioning our naturopathic physician about our children, he referred me to the Bates eye exercises. Also, read in a VERY OLD nature book that caged animals lose their distance vision, and the author stated that eye exercises would restore vision. This has been mulling over in my mind until I came tonight upon an old book from Prevention Magazine (from the 70's I think) and an article on how nearsightedness in children can be prevented, crawled out of bed, got on the internet, found your site, and here I am. Your website leaves me almost in tears, because there is help out there to be had. Where are the doctors that follow your ideas?
I have 2 children who have an identical prescription -400 & -425 in each eye. They are ages 14 & 11. I am very persistent and determined. Do you think I could do this for our children without a dr's help?
Thanks for listening & thanks for being there. You are doing a fantastic service to the general public, only they don't know it yet. Don't give up, because there are many of us who think outside of a box and are looking for help.
J. P. 8/24/2001
I was fitted with myopia correcting glasses at age 11. The realization of the mechanism for this event has only come home to me upon reading the story of another submitter to your excellent web site.
A new school year, grade five, saw me and my contemporaries in a class in which the teacher wrote upon the blackboard in light small characters. A number of the children in the class had difficulty reading from the blackboard and in response the teacher performed a class seating shuffle; those more adept at reading her script being moved toward the rear to accommodate the rest including myself. She must have submitted a report on our deficiencies as in due course an eye examining "nurse" came to the school and a number of students, myself among them, were sent to be examined by this person. We were found to be myopic and were presented with a prescription to take home and were referred to the nearest optician in a neighboring town. I was told about how my eyes would get gradually weaker as I grew up, needing ever stronger glasses, and would stabilize when I became an adult. A nice guaranteed income for the optician and his cronies. My well meaning mother followed the direction of these education and health care professionals and presented my unhappy self to the optician for the fitting of my new glasses.
No one ever seems to have questioned why it should be that all of a sudden several children "needed" glasses at the same time. That this teacher's blackboard writing was unacceptably poor seems to have not been considered. In my honest memory I do not recall any sense of the unusual being evinced over the sudden explosion of bad eyesight in one class. Indeed it appears that it was not unusual in this school for children to first receive in grade five the glasses they would wear for life. Today at age 47 I have a -4.25, -4.5 eyeglass prescription.
In that school class a boy from the indigent population was among those that were told he needed glasses but never got any, his parents being drunkards and not diligent about the child's welfare as expressed by the school nurse They just didn't get him the glasses he "needed." He does not wear glasses today (36 years later). Perhaps a unique example of poor parenting doing a child some good.
Thanks to information I have read on a site called surgical eyes, which supported with documentation and real experience stories the gut feeling I had about laser surgery, I have decided against rolling those particular dice and will just live with the glasses that kind teacher long ago assisted me to plant on my face. Thanks again for being here in this public forum.
M. S. 10/17/2002
I just wanted to send you an encouraging testimony. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that she does not need to rely on glasses. Her Dad did get glasses at 5. His eyes are so bad now that he can't do anything without his glasses.
T. D. 5/7/2006
I understand now why no optometrists, MD's are interested in this material coming public. They will be exposed for the frauds that they are. I was very emotional while reading your book, knowing how many young people have been harmed including myself by being prescribed minus glasses and how many unsuspecting adults will fall prey to eye disease, and in some cases blindness in the future. Makes the nazi experiments seem not so bad in comparison.
I have a couple books on vision improvement that had positive reviews by people who had improved their vision. I know now why none of the behavioral optometrists would not return my call when I mentioned myopia improvement. If they did it probably bring the first class action lawsuit against their profession.
C. F. 1/26/11
J. M. 11/13/12