Articles about Eyesight
and articles about improving eyesight naturally.
If you have an article that may be appropriate
for inclusion on this page,
please e-mail it to me.
Articles by Esther Joy van der Werf:
Relax into Seeing, Relax into Life
(November 2009) See also 'Lectures
& Workshops' by Esther
- A Different Way of Seeing
- Can Eyesight
Improve Naturally? (2007)
- Natural Eyesight
Improvement (October 2005)
by Dr. W.H. Bates:
collection of 30 medical articles by Dr. Bates is now available
Eyesight Articles by others:
- Any corrective lenses destroy eyesight
(Preventdisease.com, August 2013)
- Smart phones
to blame for increasingly poor eyesight in children (Express,
'environmentally friendly' LED lights cause blindness? (Daily
Mail, May 2013)
- New study links
caffeinated coffee to vision loss (Arvo.org, October 2012)
- New Education about Sugar,
Vision and Dry Eye (Bio-Logic Aqua Research, 2012)
- Can Chinese eye exercises help
prevent myopia? (NBC News, August 2012).
and human health: LED risks highlighted (LEDs magazine,
- Myopia as an Adaptation
by Robert Lichtman NVE (July 2010)
the rules of perception (July 2010) (De nederlandstalige
versie vindt u hier)
gets better with the right mind-set (April 2010)
leafy greens to see clearly (December 2009)
- Eyes right: Three proven ways to
protect your eyes and improve your vision
outside can prevent children becoming short-sighted
- Editorial about Visions of
Joy in 'Networking Times' (September 2008)
- Windows on the Mind
This article was published in Vegan Health & Fitness
magazine, Vol. 3, issue 2, March 2014.
fitness' opens as a PDF document in a separate window.
into Seeing - Relax into Life
This article was first presented as the closing lecture at the
22nd International Holistic Vision Conference in Spa, Belgium, 1
Relax into Seeing
- Relax into Life opens as a PDF document in a separate window.
by Esther Joy van der
(This article was first published in Living Nutrition Magazine,
October 2005, and a slightly revised version was published in Well
Being Journal, Volume 20, No 1, January 2011)
Seeing, like breathing, is something we do without much conscious thought.
However, some of us have stopped breathing fully - now breathing shallowly
instead, and some of us have stopped seeing effortlessly - now straining
to see instead. Somewhere along the line, something interfered with
our natural habits, and we started on a downhill slide. Can you remember
a time when your vision was perfect? What happened when it began to
deteriorate? Were you doing lots of reading or close up work? Did you
go through a stressful period? Was there an accident? When I ask these
questions many people discover a link between the beginning of their
vision problems and a major change in their life. For one person it
was a neck injury, someone else went through divorce, yet another had
a hard time living up to expectations during college, and one person
realized his vision problems began when he got a job involving long
hours working indoors without windows. Tracing the initial cause may
help us understand the current problem and can be the first step toward
healing our eyes.
Improving my own vision
My visual blur began when I was 17 and in a relationship that my parents
didn't approve of. The emotional turmoil caused mental strain, which
caused visual strain, and it resulted in nearsightedness. I really
didn't want to deal with the big picture at that time. I started squinting,
which my parents noticed, and I was sent to an optometrist to get
glasses. I couldn't get used to my glasses, so I decided they weren't
worth wearing, because the slight blur was easier to live with than
the sense of separateness that the glasses caused.
After 16 years of squinting and making do with approx 20/50 blurry
vision, I was fortunate to meet Tom Quackenbush of the Natural Vision
Center at a living foods health expo in San Francisco, where I bought
his book 'Relearning to See'. A while later, during a 14 day water-only
fast, I took the time to read Tom's book and I began using the better
vision habits he described. It only took two weeks for my visual acuity
to get back to 20/20. I was happily surprised. Not only did acuity
improve; colors became brighter also, and depth perception increased.
A few months after that, my acuity improved even further to a delightfully
sharp 20/15. So my own experience proves that clear vision can return
quickly, under relaxed circumstances, and with conscious awareness
of better vision habits.
Can your eyesight improve too?
Can you regain the clarity of vision that you once had? Is there a
chance for you to rid yourself of those cumbersome glasses and contact
lenses, without resorting to the risks of laser surgery? Many students
of the Bates method, including myself, have done exactly that. We
relearned natural vision habits, regained our clear vision, and no
longer need those eye 'crutches'. One of my students went from -2.50
diopter of nearsightedness to passing the DMV eyesight test without
glasses in less than 4 months; she also eliminated her light sensitivity
during that time. One man came to see me because he had failed the
drivers' eyesight test for the first time and didn't want to get glasses.
After one hour of practicing good vision habits he passed the test
easily, his acuity had improved from 20/50 to 20/30. (Most states
in the US require 20/40 vision to pass the drivers test.) Such fast
progress may happen for you too, while others take longer. If it took
years for your eyes to reach your present state of blurry vision,
then you may get frustrated if you expect your eyesight to clear up
overnight. The good news is that natural vision improvement works
at any age and it can help solve or reduce many vision problems, such
as: nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia / presbyopia),
astigmatism, cross-eye (strabismus), amblyopia (lazy eye / suppression)
Have you ever noticed times where your vision is better or worse than
usual? Perhaps you find that sometimes you see clearer in the morning
after a restful sleep, and that your eyesight gradually gets worse
during the day as work requirements demand attention. Or you see better
on a relaxing day spent at the beach in the sun, while indoors under
artificial light you need your glasses all the time. Vision is clearly
not static; it is subject to fluctuation. So, if your visual acuity
can fluctuate, it makes sense that there must also be a way to reverse
the downward visual slide that so many people are on and start improving
your vision on a more permanent basis.
No eye exercises
Natural Eyesight Improvement is not about eye exercises. Seriously!
Why no exercises? Because it is not due to a lack of eye exercises
that your vision became blurry. In the early 1900s Dr. Bates, an eye-surgeon
from New York, discovered that the main cause of functional vision
problems is tension. So I do not recommend "eye push-ups"
- the muscles around your eyes are likely tight already, and adding
strain to tense muscles will not do much good. Seeing is such a natural
function, you just need to learn how to stop interfering with what
your eyes and brain are designed to do effortlessly.
Relaxing your eyes - moving versus staring
Many people associate relaxing with not moving. For the eyes, this
is not appropriate. The eyes like to move, they are designed to be
on the move all the time; shifting 70 times per second is normal for
healthy eyes. Staring is not your eyes' favorite pass-time, it can
actually be painful. My definition of staring is keeping your head
still, your eyes don't move either, you don't blink, and there is
no change in focal distance (i.e. you keep your eyes locked on one
fixed point). Try that. - Okay, how did that feel? My eyes don't like
it at all any more; they hurt when I stare, and the object I'm staring
at quickly becomes blurred. Staring demands that the muscles around
the eyes tense up. Those muscles don't like that, they are designed
to move. Movement helps blood flow; blood flow brings nutrients and
oxygen. Holding tension for prolonged periods is unnatural for eye
muscles. They prefer to shift regularly between near and far vision,
and they generally like to move around.
Staring also reduces the rate of blinking drastically, which can cause
the eyes to become dry and prone to infections. Are you in the habit
of staring? If so, next time you catch yourself staring, shake off
that stare, move your head and eyes, breathe, and return
to regular relaxed blinking. Your eyes will be grateful. Healthy eyes
blink every 2 or 3 seconds. It is a quick, effortless blink, lasting
only 1/40th of a second, which is barely noticeable and does not interfere
with seeing. Blinking lubricates and cleanses the eyes. It also gives
the eyes a mini-rest. Catch up on blinking: do some fast blinking,
or do a squeeze blink; allowing your face muscles to squeeze also,
making funny faces, then return to relaxed mode. Ask a partner/relative/friend
to tell you when you are staring. The more you increase your awareness
of your staring habit, the more chance you have of eliminating it
and the sooner you will return to a healthy blinking habit.
Did you know that the eyes and the brain use more oxygen than any
other part of your body?! A deficiency of oxygen significantly reduces
our ability to think and see clearly. Therefore our breathing pattern
affects our vision, and a return to clear vision requires a return
to natural breathing habits. Those with shallow breathing habits tend
to hold the chest and/or belly area tight and thereby restrict movement
of the diaphragm and ribcage, and thus the ability of the lungs to
expand outward and fill fully with oxygen. A lot of people have different
ideas about how we should be breathing. One thing is for sure; the
more we can use our full lung capacity efficiently, the better our
health and vision will be. I highly recommend checking out the information
put together by Michael Grant White, who is an expert on optimal breathing.
His website is www.breathing.com.
The above will help you set your first steps on the path to natural
clear vision. For more information on natural eyesight improvement
please visit www.VisionsOfJoy.org, where you'll also find suggestions
of books on eyesight improvement, links to many other similar websites,
dates of eyesight improvement classes and a list of natural vision
conferences and events worldwide. Enjoy your path to clarity.
(back to top)
Corrective Lenses Destroy Eyesight - How To Correct Vision Naturally
Without Any Surgery, Glasses or Contacts.
29 Aug 2013
by Marco Torres, PreventDisease.com
Few optometrists will admit
and the greatest majority are unaware that glasses and contacts
are almost guaranteed to destroy your eyesight over time. Unfortunately,
they're not trained on natural and preventative solutions that
improve vision in the long-term because they simply do not understand
the way the eye works. Contrary to popular belief, your vision
doesn't have to decline over time. With regular exercise of the
muscles that control your eye movements and visual acuity, you
can reduce eyestrain and maintain or even improve your vision
without any destructive correctional conventions such as laser
surgery, glasses or contact lenses.
Most writers on ophthalmology appear
to believe that the last word about problems of refraction has
been spoken, and from their viewpoint the last word is a very
depressing one. Practically everyone in these days suffers from
some form of refractive error. Yet we are told that for these
ills, which are not only so inconvenient, but often so distressing
and dangerous, there is not only no cure, and no palliatives save
those optic crutches known as eyeglasses or contacts, but, under
modern conditions of life, practically no prevention.
With one accord ophthalmologists tell us
that the visual organ of man was never intended for the uses to
which it is now put. Eons before there were any schools or printing
presses, electric lights or moving pictures, its evolution was
complete. In those days it served the needs of the human animal
perfectly. Man was a hunter, a herdsman, a farmer, a fighter.
He needed, we are told, mainly distant vision; and since the eye
at rest is adjusted for distant vision, sight is supposed to have
been ordinarily as passive as the perception of sound, requiring
no muscular action whatever. Near vision, it is assumed, was the
exception, necessitating a muscular adjustment of such short duration
that it was accomplished without placing any appreciable burden
upon the mechanism of accommodation.
While primitive man appears to have suffered
little from defects of vision, it is safe to say that of persons
over twenty-one living under civilized conditions nine out of
every ten have imperfect sight, and as the age increases the proportion
increases, until at forty it is almost impossible to find a person
free from visual defects. Voluminous statistics are available
to prove these assertions.
What Glasses and Contacts
Do To Us
Roughly 2.5 billion people have perfect
20/20 vision. For the other two-thirds, more than 80% of vision
problems worldwide are preventable and even curable. In developed
nations, more than 90% of aging related deterioration of vision
before the age of 50 is due to diet and the daily use of corrective
lenses. Meaning the more people lack nutrition and the more frequent
the use of glasses or contact lenses, the worse vision will become
The fact that glasses or contact
lenses cannot improve sight to normal can be very simply demonstrated
by looking at any color through a strong convex or concave glass.
It will be noted that the color is always less intense than when
seen with the naked eye; and since the perception of form depends
upon the perception of color, it follows that both color and form
must be less distinctly seen with glasses than without them. Even
plane glass lowers the vision both for color and form, as everyone
knows who has ever looked out of a window. Women who wear glasses
for minor defects of vision often observe that they are made more
or less color-blind by them, and in a shop one may note that they
remove them when they want to match samples. If the sight is seriously
defective, the color may be seen better with glasses than without
That glasses or contact lenses must injure the eye is evident
from the facts given in the preceding chapter. One cannot see
through them unless one produces the degree of refractive error
which they are designed to correct. But refractive errors, in
the eye which is left to itself, are never constant. If one secures
good vision by the aid of concave, or convex, or astigmatic lenses,
therefore, it means that one is maintaining constantly a degree
of refractive error which otherwise would not be maintained constantly.
It is only to be expected that this should make the condition
worse, and it is a matter of common experience that it does. After
people once begin to wear glasses their strength, in most cases,
has to be steadily increased in order to maintain the degree of
visual acuity secured by the aid of the first pair. Persons with
presbyopia who put on glasses because they cannot read fine print
too often find that after they have worn them for a time they
cannot, without their aid, read the larger print that was perfectly
plain to them before. A person with myopia of 20/70 who puts on
glasses giving him a vision of 20/20 may find that in a week's
time his unaided vision has declined to 20/200, and we have the
testimony of Dr. Sidler-Huguenin, of Zurich that of the thousands
of myopes treated by him the majority grew steadily worse, in
spite of all the skill he could apply to the fitting of glasses
for them. When people break their glasses and go without them
for a week or two, they frequently observe that their sight has
improved. As a matter of fact the sight always improves, to a
greater or less degree, when glasses are discarded, although the
fact may not always be noted.
That the human eye resents glasses is a fact which no one would
attempt to deny. Every oculist knows that patients have to "get
used" to them, and that sometimes they never succeed in doing
so. Patients with high degrees of myopia and hypermetropia have
great difficulty in accustoming themselves to the full correction,
and often are never able to do so. The strong concave glasses
required by myopes of high degree make all objects seem much smaller
than they really are, while convex glasses enlarge them. - These
are unpleasantnesses that cannot be overcome. Patients with high
degrees of astigmatism suffer some very disagreeable sensations
when they first put on glasses, for which reason they are warned
by one of the "Conservation of Vision" leaflets published
by the Council on Health and Public Instruction of the American
Medical Association to "get used to them at home before venturing
where a misstep might cause a serious accident." Usually
these difficulties are overcome, but often they are not, and it
sometimes happens that those who get on fairly well with their
glasses in the daytime never succeeded in getting used to them
All glasses contract the field of vision to a greater or less
degree. Even with very weak glasses patients are unable to see
distinctly unless they look through the center of the lenses,
with the frames at right angles to the line of vision; and not
only is their vision lowered if they fail to do this, but annoying
nervous symptoms, such as dizziness and headache, are sometimes
produced. Therefore they are unable to turn their eyes freely
in different directions. It is true that glasses are now ground
in such a way that it is theoretically possible to look through
them at any angle, but practically they seldom accomplish the
You can read
the entire article here.
Phones 'to blame for increasingly poor eyesight in kids and young
16 Aug 2013
by Sophie Alexander, the
CHILDREN as young as seven
are at risk from ‘screen sightedness’ due to excessive
smartphone use, a study has shown.
Since the launch of smartphones
in 1997 there has been a 35 per cent increase in patients with
advancing Myopia (short-sightedness), according to a leading laser
David Allamby, founder of Focus
Clinics, has warned that Myopia in young adults and children could
increase by 50 per cent within the next 10 years and the trend
has led him to dub the condition "screen sightedness".
A lifestyle spent watching hours
of TV, browsing the internet, texting and playing games means
that young people and children in particular are at risk from
permanently damaging their eyesight.
Almost half of all Brits own a
smartphone and spend on average two hours per day using them.
"People need to ensure they
limit screen time wherever possible even by going outside without
their phone for a period of time each day."
David Allamby, founder of Focus Clinics
Research has shown users hold their handsets only 18 - 30cm away
from their faces, compared with newspapers and books which are
held 40cm away from the face when reading.
Mr Allamby said: “People
need to ensure they limit screen time wherever possible even by
going outside without their phone for a period of time each day
(Getting out into the sunshine has been shown to reduce the progression
of short-sight), and also seriously consider the age at which
they give their children a smartphone."
Mr Allamby also added that today’s
generation of children are most at risk of Myopia, with children
as young as seven being given their first smartphone.
It is predicted that by 2014 teenagers
aged 12-17 will be the second biggest market for smartphones,
behind 18-24 year olds.
The express.co.uk have contacted
the smartphone providers and are awating response.
'environmentally friendly' LED lights cause blindness? (Daily
Mail, November 2014).
By Rachel Reilly
You can read
the complete article here.
- Spanish research has shown that blue LED light can irreparably
damage the cells in the eye's retina
- This is not the first time energy-saving bulbs have been criticised
- fluorescent bulbs emit dangerous UV light
LED lights may damage your eyes, according to new research.
A study has discovered that exposure to LED lights can cause irreparable
harm to the retina of the human eye.
LED lights have been touted as a super-efficient alternative to
traditional bulbs because they use up to 85 per cent less energy
and each bulb can last up to 10 years.
In April, Philips, the world's biggest lighting maker, reported
a 38 per cent jump in LED light sales from last year.
They are already widely used in
mobile phones, televisions, computer screens and can also be fitted
as a replacement for traditional lighting in the home.
LEDs are much more expensive that traditional bulbs - costing
around £25 for an equivalent 100w compared to around £1
for an incandescent bulb - although manufacturers claim that consumers
make their money back because the use such little energy.
The government announced it was
phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2007 after an EU directive banned
their use. The 100w bulb was the first to go in 2009 and lower
wattage bulbs continue to be phased out gradually.
The ban caused public outrage as customers were forced to spend
large sums of money on lighting that not only gave an unpleasantly
'cold' light but also caused some people to report symptoms of
itchy skin and headaches.
The government's Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which was
brought in to help cut UK carbon emissions, is also pushing the
use of LED lighting by offering businesses added tax relief if
they use LED and other low-energy bulbs.
Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos, of Complutense University in Madrid
and who led the study, explained that light from LEDs, or light-emitting
diodes, comes from the short-wave, high-energy blue and violet
end of the visible light spectrum.
She said that prolonged, continuous
exposure to this light may be enough to damage a person's retina.
The retina is composed of light-sensitive tissue that is responsible
for detecting light and in turn allowing us to see.
‘This problem is going to get worse, because humans are
living longer and children are using electronic devices from a
young age, particularly for schoolwork,’ Sánchez-Ramos
‘Eyes are not designed to
look directly at light — they are designed to see with light,’
Her comments are partly based on her 2012 study that was published
in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology.
The study found that LED radiation caused significant damage to
human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro.
Sánchez-Ramos added that modern humans have their eyes
open for roughly 6,000 hours a year, and are exposed to artificial
light for the majority of that time.
Some experts have called for the LED lights to have built-in filters
to cut out the blue glare.
This is not the first time energy-saving lights have come under
scrutiny for safety reasons. Compact fluorescent light bulbs,
or CFLs, have been criticized for the high levels of mercury they
contain as well as the UV radiation they can emit.
LED lights have also been blamed for the changing hues of masterpieces
in art galleries.
A study carried out by the University of Antwerp earlier this
year found that LED lights were bleaching the paint on works by
Van Gogh and Cézanne.
study links caffeinated coffee to vision loss, 3 October
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (arvo.org)
the original article here.
Rockville, MD – A new study suggests caffeinated coffee
drinkers should limit their intake to reduce their chances of
developing vision loss or blindness. According to a scientific
paper in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, heavy
caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with an increased
risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, the leading cause of
secondary glaucoma worldwide.
The study, The Relation between
Caffeine and Coffee Consumption and Exfoliation Glaucoma or Glaucoma
Suspect: A Prospective Study in Two Cohorts, is the first to examine
the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in
a U.S.–based population.
“Scandinavian populations have the
highest frequencies of exfoliation syndrome and glaucoma,”
said author, Jae Hee Kang, ScD, of Channing Division of Network
Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Because
Scandinavian populations also have the highest consumption of
caffeinated coffee in the world, and our research group has previously
found that greater caffeinated coffee intake was associated with
increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, we conducted this
study to evaluate whether the risk of exfoliation glaucoma or
glaucoma suspect may be different by coffee consumption.”
The study was composed of two cohorts: 78,977
women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 41,202 men
from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) who were
at least 40 years of age, did not have glaucoma and reported undergoing
eye examinations from 1980 (for NHS participants) and 1986 (for
HPFS participants) to 2008. The research team used questionnaires
to obtain and validate the consumption of beverages containing
caffeine and reviewed medical records to determine incident cases
of exfoliation glaucoma, which contributes to elevated pressure
sufficient enough to damage the optic nerve, or [incident cases]
of exfoliation glaucoma suspect that have milder or only suspect
optic nerve damage.
A meta-analysis of the two cohorts showed
that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups
or more of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk
of developing exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. The researchers
did not find associations with consumption of other caffeinated
products, such as soda, tea, chocolate or decaffeinated coffee.
The results also showed that women with a family history of glaucoma
were at an increased risk.
Kang, along with his colleagues, report
that this study represents a much needed effort to better understand
the causes of exfoliation glaucoma, which are largely unknown.
“Because this is the first study to
evaluate the association between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation
glaucoma in a U.S. population, confirmation of these results in
other populations would be needed to lend more credence to the
possibility that caffeinated coffee might be a modifiable risk
factor for glaucoma,” said Kang. “It may also lead
to research into other dietary or lifestyle factors as risk factors.”
and human health: LED risks highlighted, 15 Nov 2010
by Tim Whitaker, editor of LEDs Magazine
Issues relating to the effects on health and well-being of artificial
light are discussed in three recent publications; including one
that says the blue-light component in white LEDs causes toxic
stress to the retina.
It is now accepted that artificial night-time lighting has various
effects on humans (not to mention wildlife) and that exposure
to optical radiation affects human physiology and behavior, both
directly and indirectly. Many areas are not well understood, and
a position statement from the Illumination Engineering Society
(IES) emphasizes mainly the need for further research. At the
other end of the scale, a French government report emphasizes
the risks of LED lighting and makes various recommendations.
ANSES highlights risks from LED
ANSES, the French Agency for Food,
Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, has published
a report entitled (in English): " Lighting systems using
light-emitting diodes: health issues to be considered," which
focuses squarely on potential problems caused by LED lighting.
The full report is available in
French only, but the report summary (in English) says that risks
have been identified concerning the use of certain LED lamps,
raising potential health concerns for the general population and
professionals. "The issues of most concern identified by
the Agency concern the eye due to the toxic effect of blue light
and the risk of glare," says the report, adding that the
blue light necessary to obtain white LEDs causes "toxic stress"
to the retina.
Blue light causes a photochemical
risk to the eye, says the report, the level of which depends on
the accumulated dose of blue light to which the person has been
exposed, which is generally the result of low-intensity exposure
repeated over long periods. "Blue light is…recognized
as being harmful and dangerous for the retina, as a result of
cellular oxidative stress," says the report, adding that
3 groups are particularly at risk; children, populations which
are already light-sensitive, and workers likely to be exposed
to high-intensity lighting.
The other main risk is from glare.
The report say that, for indoor lighting, it is generally agreed
that luminance higher than 10,000 cd/m² causes visual discomfort
whatever the position of the lighting unit in the field of vision.
Because the emission surfaces of LEDs are highly-concentrated
point sources, the luminance of each individual source can be
1000 times higher than the discomfort level. The level of direct
radiation from this type of source can therefore easily exceed
the level of visual discomfort. Other risks related to the use
of LED lighting systems have also been raised, but futher study
The report says that the photobiological
safety standard (EN 62471) seems ill-adapted to lighting systems
using LEDs, and that the Unified Glaring Rate used for the other
types of lighting is unsuitable for LEDs. Among various recommendations,
ANSES says that only LEDs falling into risk groups similar to
those of traditional lighting systems be available to the general
public, and that the highest risk lighting systems be reserved
for professional use under conditions in which it is possible
to guarantee the safety of workers.
Manufacturers and integrators of
lighting systems using LEDs are encouraged to use optics or diffusers,
for example, so that the beams of light emitted by the LEDs cannot
be seen directly, to avoid glare. Manufacturers should also take
account of the progressive wear of layers of phosphor in white
LEDs, which in time could lead to devices being moved from one
photobiological risk group to a higher one, according to ANSES.
You can read
the complete article here.
Education about Sugar, Vision and Dry Eye (Bio-Logic
Aqua Research, 2012)
by Sharon Kleyne
"In my research, I have discovered
that aside from causing health problems such as obesity and diabetes,
sugar is also addictive, dehydrating and a significant factor
in dry eye and other vision problems. I strongly advocate increased
research and public education." -Sharon Kleyne, Feb 2, 2012
Sharon Kleyne, host of the Sharon
Kleyne Hour Power of Water has been researching the harmful effects
of over-consumption of sugar for decades. Since 2007, on her radio
show, she has discussed the adverse effects of sugar with numerous
diet, health and vision researchers. The consensus is that sugar
consumption is a major contributor to the current worldwide diabetes
and obesity epidemics and can be a factor in dry eye disease,
macular degeneration and other eye problems.
Sugar intake, Sharon Kleyne notes,
is a known factor in adult onset diabetes, metabolic rate disorders,
hormonal imbalance, high blood pressure, poor liver functioning
and increased use of prescription medications. According to Mrs.
Kleyne's research, every one of these disorders can cause eye
diseases such as macular degeneration or dry eye, or dehydration
(systemic water loss) that can lead to dry eye.
According to Mrs. Kleyne, refined
sugar, fats and salt can also set up unhealthy food cravings that
may be difficult to overcome. These foods are all dehydrating
when consumed in excess. .
Several past guests of the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water radio
show have talked with Sharon Kleyne about health and vision problems
caused by excessive sugar intake.
Philip Paden, MD, an Ophthalmologist
in Medford, Oregon, appeared on the show as an advocate of the
vegan diet. He specializes in cataract surgery and eye damage
from diabetes (macular degeneration). It is well known, according
to Dr. Paden, that diet, especially the over-consumption of sugary
foods, is the primary cause of adult onset diabetes.
Dr. Paden recommends 10% of calories
from fat in a 2,000 calorie daily diet, and 5% to 10% of calories
from protein. We eat far too much protein, he states, which stresses
the kidney and liver. We need fat, protein and carbohydrates for
energy but all in moderation. But the main food to avoid is sugar,
especially foods containing added or processed sugar (including
juices that contain fructose). According to Dr. Paden, stevia
(in moderation) is a good replacement for refined sugar. Sugar,
however, is sugar, no matter where it comes from.
Allen Taylor, Ph D., of the Tufts
University Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research,
also appeared on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water. Dr. Taylor
stated that healthy food and nutrition, including water, can be
helpful in natural sight preservation.
Dr. Taylor's diet recommendations
for eye health are the same as for overall health: Keep weight
down, get plenty of exercise, drink sufficient water, avoid refined
sugar or heavily sugared products, and eat five servings of fruits
and vegetables a day for anti-oxidants and fiber. He recommends
cutting down on most other foods. Vegetables are best eaten raw.
Juice is fine in moderation if there is no added sugar or additives.
Sugar is associated with macular degeneration, poor liver functioning
Dr. Taylor notes that many meat
proteins are modified in the body to sugars that accumulate and
interfere with absorption of beneficial proteins.
Sharon Kleyne concludes that sugar
is dehydrating and can be harmful to eye health and overall health.
She observes that as research continues, more and more problems
seem to be arising from excessive sugar consumption. Mrs. Kleyne
strongly advocates additional research and increased public education
to raise awareness.
You can read
the complete article here.
Chinese eye exercises help prevent myopia? (NBC
News, August 2012).
You can read
the complete article here.
BEIJING – Zhang Xinyu meticulously completes her eye exercises
twice daily. Her teacher tells her they will help keep her eyesight
sharp. At age 12, Xinyu has already been wearing glasses for two
For 49 years, the Chinese Education Ministry has required students
to exercise their eyes in the name of the Communist Revolution and
to combat myopia, or short-sightedness.
The prevalence of myopia, however, is skyrocketing.
An estimated 80 to 90 percent of Chinese are short-sighted by
the end of high school – triple the U.S. rate. Few Chinese
questioned the effectiveness of the eye exercises over the past
five decades – until a recent post challenging the exercises
was published earlier this summer on Sina Weibo, China’s
widely popular answer to Twitter.
“China has had eye exercises
for 49 years,” posted a microblooger under the alias “Live
from Shanghai.” “Of all the countries in the world,
only China uses these eye exercises. The eye exercises are no good
for people’s vision. Today, more than 360 million Chinese
teenagers have myopia, the second largest percentage in the world.”
can read the rest of the article here
As Dr. Bates said 100 years ago, myopia and blurry vision in general
are due to eye strain, not weak eye muscles. Which is why eye exercises
(or eye "push-ups") are unlikely to have much effect.
Visual relaxation is what these Chinese kids need. If for nearly
50 years you keep doing the same thing yet expect a different result,
it may be time to change to a better approach... How about they
learn and use the Bates Method for the next 50 years and then compare
Myopia as an Adaptation (July
Written by Robert Lichtman, Bates method teacher and vision researcher.
Posted with his permission. Read Robert's excellent insights on
Myopia as an Adaptation.
This link opens as a PDF document in a separate window.
the Rules of Perception
University, 29 July 2010
(Hetzelfde artikel in het nederlands vindt u op Universiteit
The adult brain has more plasticity than previously
The human brain never stops adapting to its
environment in a constant quest to formulate what the mind perceives
based on what the eyes see, according to findings from a research team
that includes two Vanderbilt neuroscientists. The article, "Experience-driven
plasticity in binocular vision," is slated for the July 29 issue
of Current Biology.
The findings provide further proof that adult
brains are capable of learning new "rules" for seeing, said
co-author Randolph Blake, Centennial Professor of Psychology.
And the research adds credence to the notion that
adult brains can be retrained following trauma or surgery or even from
the effects of aging or eye misalignment, said Jan Brascamp, a
Vanderbilt psychology department research associate. He and Blake were
part of the research team that included Chris Klink and Richard Van
Wezel, both of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
The research involved the use of binocular rivalry.
Participants in this study viewed radically different images presented
to each eye at the same time over a prolonged time period. For
example, one eye might view a house while the other viewed a human
face. Even though each eye was "seeing" a different image,
the brain tended to focus on just one of the images at a time for the
first few minutes.
After that, however, participants began seeing
something new. In addition to periods of exclusive perception of a
house or a face, people also started to experience mixtures of the two
images, either as two entire views superimposed or as bits and pieces
that seemed to form an ever-changing jigsaw puzzle.
"These new perceptual experiences imply a form
of learning where the brain revises its scenario of what the eyes
might be looking at. Evidently it takes a while for the brain to
accept the different views provided by the two eyes," said
Brascamp. "The fusion of the two images is an indication that the
brain is starting to come up with a solution to this confusing
situation." Fusing the two views, he said, may be a more natural
behavior compared to focusing on one of the two images exclusively.
The second part of the experiment involved patching
one eye for about 24 hours after the eyes viewed two "rival"
objects. Brascamp and Klink subjected themselves to this kind of
"monocular patching" to test the team's initial theories.
The researchers found that the brain continued to
stick to the same newly learned solution while the patch was in place
and the participants went about their normal activities. In other
words, after the brain had learned to fuse the "rival" house
and face images, this ability did not change while they viewed the
world through only one eye. When the patch was removed and the
participant again viewed the rival images, the brain immediately
"saw" the fused image, implying that learning had not been
Why did a new way of seeing take over the brain's
normal way of perceiving "rival" images? Blake explained
that the brain recalibrated to the unusual input and began to accept
it as the norm.
The researchers concluded that the brain had
learned a new way of seeing. "It's this sensory recalibration
that makes our results fascinating," said Blake.
"Moreover, the brain doesn't give up on that
revised view easily," he said. "The only way to reset things
again is to provide coordinated binocular vision where both eyes again
view the same scene."
In order to reset the previous learning, the patch
was removed and the research participant was allowed to retrain his
brain by conducting normal activities, thereby exposing the brain to a
conventional view - called matching binocular input. The
participants were then once again exposed to the rival house and face
images, and now they promptly experienced full suppression of one of
the images, just as they did at the start of the experiment. This
period of matched binocular input, in other words, prompted the brain
to abandon its newly adopted rule in favor of its previous mode of
Among the exciting findings
for the researchers was the fact not only that the brain can be
retrained in the way it "sees" an image but that the retraining
had lasting effects as long as visual experience did not contradict
what the brain had learned.
"The message is simple but fascinating,"
Blake said. "Our brains never stop adapting to our environment.
In this sense, the mystery entailed in visual perception never gets
Once again scientists are slowly catching up to old news... I
have known for years that adults can regain binocularity, because I
experienced it myself! I'm not the only one either. Sue
Barry published a book about her experience called "Fixing my
Gaze", and many others have done the same 'miraculous' act of
regaining their 3-D vision even though scientists thought it was
impossible until now... Oh well, at least scientists are now
moving in the right direction, so perhaps we shall applaud them for
that :-) Thanks guys!
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Gets Better With The Right Mind-set
by Bruce Bauer, Science
News, 27 April 2010
Eyesight improves when people expect to have especially keen vision
Imagine seeing better by thinking differently. That's a vision with
a future, according to Harvard University psychologist Ellen Langer.
Eyesight markedly improved when people were experimentally induced
to believe that they could see especially well, Langer and her
colleagues report in the April Psychological Science. Such
expectations actually enhanced visual clarity, rather than simply
making volunteers more alert or motivated to focus on objects, they
Langer's new findings build on long-standing evidence that visual
perception depends not just on relaying information from the eyes to
the brain but on experience-based assumptions about what can be seen
in particular situations. Those expectations lead people to devote
limited attention to familiar scenes and, as a result, to ignore
unusual objects and events.
In perhaps the most eye-popping of Langer's new findings, 20 men
and women who saw a reversed eye chart - arranged so that letters
became progressively larger further down the chart, with a giant
"E" at the bottom - accurately reported more letters from
the smallest two lines than they did when shown a traditional eye
chart with the big letters on top. All volunteers had normal eyesight.
These results reflect people's expectation, based on experience
with standard eye charts, that letters are easy to see at the top and
become increasingly difficult to distinguish on lower lines, the
Participants who said they thought that they could improve their
eyesight with practice displayed a bigger vision boost on the reversed
chart than those who didn't think improvement was possible, but only
for the next-to-smallest line. Both groups did equally well at reading
the smallest, topmost line.
Another set of experiments included 63 members of the Reserve
Officers' Training Corps at MIT. Eye testing determined that their
vision ranged from below average to excellent.
An experimenter told a group of 22 cadets to assume the role of a
fighter pilot while operating a flight simulator. During this
exercise, participants tried to identify letters shown on four plane
wings of approaching aircraft. Each wing contained one of the bottom
four lines of an eye chart.
Another 20 cadets performed the visual task while pretending to fly
a plane in a simulator that they were told was broken. Ten other
cadets read a motivational essay before the exercise. A final group of
11 cadets didn't use a simulator but practiced eye exercises that
researchers described as capable of improving eyesight before taking
an eye test.
Vision improved substantially for nine of 22 simulator pilots
compared with none of those who pretended to fly, two of 11 eye
exercisers and one person in the motivational group. Simulator pilots
did so well relative to the others because they more thoroughly
adopted a mind-set of being real fighter pilots with presumably
superior vision, the researchers posit. An initial survey of ROTC
members found that they attributed particularly good vision to fighter
Simulator pilots with below-average vision displayed the biggest
jumps in visual performance, perhaps because they had more room for
improvement, the researchers suggest.
These results suggest that if eye exercise programs designed to
improve vision work for some people, it's not because of any physical
effect on the eyes or brain. Such regimens "may be effective
because they prime the belief that exercise improves vision,"
Langer and her colleagues write.
Mind-set may boost visual performance without sharpening vision
itself, comments psychologist Daniel Simons of the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Experimental manipulations in the new
study, such as reversing the arrangement of an eye chart, may have
made volunteers more willing to guess when they felt a bit unsure,
Simons says. Such guesses stand a good chance of being right, in his
As usual, scientists are proving Dr. Bates right, even if they think
they have discovered something new... :-)
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Greens to See Clearly
31 December 2009
by Deana Ferreri, on Dr.
Fuhrman's Disease Proof Blog
Carotenoids are pigments
present in fruits and vegetables. An interesting fact about carotenoids
is that carotenoids exert their beneficial effects by traveling
to and then concentrating in specific tissues in the body. For
example, lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, travels to
the prostate, where it has potent anti-cancer effects.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in leafy greens like kale,
travel to the central area of the retina (called the macula),
and are the only known carotenoids located in the human visual
system. Previous research has shown that these pigments are protective
against age-related macular degeneration. Scientists now have
evidence that these macular pigments also play important roles
in visual performance.
Light must pass through lutein and zeaxanthin before being transmitted
to photoreceptor cells that will produce a message from the light
to send to the brain. As light passes through, some short wavelength
(blue) light is absorbed by the macular pigments. For this reason,
there was a theory that macular pigments have a light-filtering
function in vision.
An analysis of several studies on the subject of macular pigments
and visual performance confirms this theory. The authors evaluated
the evidence and concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin likely improve
the following visual functions by acting as light filters:
- Discomfort glare –
For example, experiencing bright light after being in a dark room.
The wavelengths that macular pigments are capable of absorbing
produce the least discomfort, suggesting that macular pigments
protect the eye from this overstimulation by filtering the light.
- Disability glare – Subjects with higher levels of macular
pigment show improved visibility of objects in the presence of
- Photostress recovery – Elevated macular pigment values
decrease the time necessary to recover vision following exposure
to bright light.
- Contrast – Macular pigments increase visibility and edge
definition of objects in the atmosphere, possibly by absorbing
blue sky light.
Right: Three proven ways to protect your eyes and improve your vision
The human eye is a miracle of optical
engineering. It's amazing to think that these tiny spheres, which
are slightly less than an inch in diameter and weigh just a quarter of
an ounce, can far outperform the most expensive modern camera. On a
clear night, with their aid, we can pick up the faint flicker of a
candle burning thirty miles away. Automatically they will accommodate
to variations in light intensity, providing crystal clear images in
brilliant sunshine as well as darkened rooms. The flexibility of their
lenses enables us to look at stars which are millions of light years
away, and a few seconds later view miniscule objects which are with
arms reach. This makes it possible for an expert calligrapher to write
the Lord's Prayer thirty-four times on a standard-size postage stamp
without the aid of a microscope or magnifying glass.
Their performance is truly amazing,
but they must be treated with care if they're to work at peak
efficiency. At the end of the nineteenth century Dr William Bates, an
eminent American ophthalmologist, published a book which claimed that
the majority of visual defects are functional in origin. They arise,
not because the eyes are structurally defective, but because they're
badly used. Correct the habits of faulty use, he said, and the visual
problems will quickly disappear. Unfortunately not all the
recommendations included in the original Bates Method of eyesight
re-education have stood up to scientific scrutiny. However, three of
his tips have been thoroughly substantiated. These three practices - which I'll call Bates' Triad in his honour
- should become part
of our daily health routine.
Seeing is a purely passive process. It
doesn't require effort. There's never a need to screw up the eyes
to view a distant object. Relaxation is the secret of effortless
vision, just as it is with other psychomotor skills like singing and
golf. Our vision deteriorates whenever we adopt a fixed stare. The
sharpest visual image is obtained when light is focussed on the
maculae lutea. This is the yellow spot at the back of the eye which
has the densest concentration of cones, the cells responsible for
daylight vision. Since we can't take in an entire scene with one
fixed gaze, we must build up a composite picture in the same way that
a digital photograph is made up of a number of pixels. This can only
be done if we leave the eyes free to carry out an easy-going scanning
process. If we fail to do this, and present our retinas with the same
boring picture, our perception will wane just as it does when we cease
to notice the clothes we wear through prolonged habituation to the
same sensory stimulus.
Our accuracy of vision relies on the
eye's prodigious ability to change its focal length. This facility
is controlled by the ciliary muscles, which encircle the lens. When
this ring of muscular tissue contracts the aperture is narrowed, which
means the lenses bulge. This enables us to focus on nearby objects.
When they relax, the lenses are drawn thinner, which has the effect of
increasing their focal length. Throughout the day these muscles are
constantly adjusting to our needs, making them two of the busiest
muscles in the body. According to one estimate, we would need to walk
fifty miles to give our leg muscles the equal amount of exercise as
our ciliary muscles get in an average waking day. It's a fallacy to
think that our eyes are damaged by regular use. Sportsmen and country
folk generally have above average eyesight, largely because they're
constantly varying the focus of their gaze. Eye strain tends to occur
when we tense our ciliary muscles by staring too long at nearby
objects. Anyone involved in such tasks - paper work, embroidery or
peering at computer screens - should make a conscious effort to
relax their eyes from time to time by looking into the distance.
The final tip is to make sure that you
never get so preoccupied with staring at one particular object that
you forget to blink. Blinking serves a number of vital functions. In
the first place it acts like a windscreen wiper, to keep the eyes free
of dust and grit. It also offers the eyes an impressive amount of
cumulative rest, for while an individual blink lasts no more than
three-tenths of a second, we blink about twenty times a minute. This
means that we normally shield our eyes for ten per cent of the waking
day. More important still, our tears serve a nutritive function. The
corneal layer covering our eyes is only one cell layer thick and gets
its food and oxygen from the tears which lubricate its surface. These
tears also contain lysozyme, a natural bactericidal agent which kills
germs and keeps the eyes more sterile than most other body surfaces.
When diseases occur which dry up the tears, or paralyse the blinking
mechanism, this protective function is lost and the eyes become prone
to corneal ulcers.
Our eyes are so wonderfully made, that
Charles Darwin feared that their complexity negated his theory of
evolution. As he admitted toward the end of his life, the idea that
the human eye 'could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I
freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.' They are the most
versatile organs we possess, and the ones which are most uniquely
ours. Finger prints have thirty-five measurable characteristics,
whereas our irises have 266. This makes them invaluable for
identification purposes, since we're never like to meet anyone who
shares the characteristics of our irises. They'll serve us well
providing we don't tamper with them. One useful rule is never to
touch them with anything but your elbows. Over the years the vogue has
been to doctor them with a wide variety of lotions, ranging from drops
of castor oil to dried hen's dung. In the eighteenth century an
English nobleman suffered from eye strain and his physician advised
him to 'abstain from all conjugal intercourse with his wife' for a
period of twelve months. When the year was out his eyes were still
tired and weak, and his wife was pregnant. This unfortunate outcome
might well have been avoided had he adopted Bates' Triad of Tips.
This is a regime we should all adopt: using our eyes in a relaxed
fashion, varying our focus between near and distant objects, and
maintaining a healthy blink rate.
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dramatically cuts a child's risk of becoming short-sighted, research
Spending two or three hours outside each day halves the chance of
developing the condition.
It challenges the belief that short-sightedness is caused by computer
use, TV watching or reading in dim light.
Myopia usually develops during childhood but many adults' eyesight
worsens after they start jobs in an office.
The Australian government researchers believe that sunlight triggers
the release of chemicals that prevent the distortion of the eyeball -
which causes the condition.
They compared the vision and habits of six and seven-year-olds in
Singapore and Australia. Thirty per cent of the Singaporean children
were short-sighted - ten times the Australian rate.
A similar pattern emerged when the analysis was limited to children of
Chinese descent, meaning the difference could not be explained by
Both groups spent a similar amount of time reading, watching
television and playing computer games. But the Australian children
spent an average of two hours a day outdoors - 90 minutes more than
their Asian counterparts.
Professor Ian Morgan, of the Australian Research Council's Vision
Centre, said: 'We're seeing large increases in myopia among children
in urban societies all around the world - and the outstanding common
factor may be less and less time spent outdoors.
'The idea that reading makes you short-sighted has been popular for a
couple of hundred years. But recent data shows that the time spent
indoors is a more important factor.'
Professor Morgan believes natural light - which can be hundreds of
times brighter than indoor light - triggers the release of dopamine.
The chemical stops the eyeball from growing out of shape and
Analyses in India and the US have come to a similar conclusion.
A study of Sydney children carried out last year found those who
spend the most time outdoors had the best eyesight.
It concluded that three hours of natural light a day could halve the
risk of short-sightedness.
Professor Morgan said humans were naturally long-sighted but there
was a dramatic rise in myopia once people began intensive schooling
and spent little or no time outdoors.
'In some East Asian cities 80-90 per cent of children are affected
- and governments and the World Health Organisation are very worried
about it,' he said.
Researcher Dr Kathryn Rose said: 'Our
evidence suggests that the key factor is being outdoors and it
does not matter if that time is spent having a picnic or playing
'Both will protect a child's eyes from growing excessively, which
is a major cause of myopia.'
similar article based on the same research appeared on May
article was submitted by R. in London,
I totally agree that more time spent outside is healthy and good for our
vision, and this goes for ALL of us, not just children. The
last line in this article is a shame, as it is incorrect and just
repeating a long-standing myth. Myopia is not caused by eyes
'growing excessively'; it is simply due to eye-strain, and releasing
that strain will bring the eye-ball back to its normal shape and clear
(back to top)
Times', September 2008
Visions of Joy
As we were creating this issue on midlife, aging and retirement, my
birthday came along. A few days prior, at my local health food store,
a flyer on the message board titled "Visions of Joy" had
caught my eye.
I've always believed it possible to maintain perfect vision throughout
the aging process, and here was my birthday gift: a program on natural
Being in my mid-forties, I was experiencing the first symptoms of
presbyopia or middle-aged vision:
when trying to read in the early morning or at night, small print
would appear blurry.
I had mentioned this to my healthcare practitioner and asked if
anything could be done, and she had said, it's a battle you can't win.
The muscles that bend and straighten the lenses weaken with age,
making it harder to focus as the eyes move from one point to another.
Why do the muscles weaken? Research indicates this is a functional
problem, a consequence of incorrect usage of the vision apparatus.
What if we could retrain the eyes to behave the way they were meant
to? I offered myself a session with a natural vision educator, and
here's what I learned:
- To see clearly, we need to relax our eyes. Straining to see
better actually causes more blur, not sharper vision. When we stop
trying, seeing comes to us.
- The blur is our friend: it signals us to become aware of
strained vision habits: staring, squinting, infrequent blinking,
- Relaxed vision habits include seeing from the back of the head,
central fixation (focusing on one small point at a time) and
palming the eyes while breathing deeply.
Since I adopted these basic principles, I no longer need reading
glasses! During this healing process I was also enjoying Marianne
Williamson's latest book, The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New
Midlife. Here are some insights I received from connecting the
- Age forces us from moving fast and furious to living more
slowly, deeply and with greater focus.
- The major challenges we face today require not more effort, but
more wisdom. More than ever, we need to remember the way we were
meant to live.
- If the most creative work we can do is the work of
consciousness, then there is no point in straining or hurrying to
"get more done."
The new midlife is a time of commitment to one's highest values,
characterized by an appetite for new beginnings and personal
reinvention. Today, millions of baby boomers are reaching the age of
wisdom, slowing down to start living the dreams of their youth, aching
to make the world a better place. With its potential for personal
growth, financial freedom and social contribution, your business
opportunity could be their ultimate vehicle to manifest their visions
DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is Cofounder and Editor in
Chief of Networking Times.
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Once scorned as
nervous tics, certain tiny, unconscious flicks of the eyes now turn
out to underpin much of our ability to see. These movements may even
reveal subliminal thoughts.
As you read this, your eyes
are rapidly flicking from left to right in small hops, bringing each
word sequentially into focus. When you stare at a person's face,
your eyes will similarly dart here and there, resting momentarily on
one eye, the other eye, nose, mouth and other features. With a little
introspection, you can detect this frequent flexing of your eye
muscles as you scan a page, face or scene.
But these large voluntary eye
movements, called saccades, turn out to be just a small part of the
daily workout your eye muscles get. Your eyes never stop
moving, even when they are apparently settled, say, on a person's nose
or a sailboat bobbing on the horizon. When the eyes fixate on
something, as they do for 80 percent of your waking hours, they still
jump and jiggle imperceptibly in ways that turn out to be essential
for seeing. If you could somehow halt these miniature motions
while fixing your gaze, a static scene would simply fade from view.
And yet only recently have
researchers come to appreciate the profound importance of such "fixational"
eye movements. For five decades, a debate has raged about whether the
largest of these involuntary movements, the so-called microsaccades,
serve any purpose at all. Some scientist have opined that
microsaccades might even impair eyesight by blurring it. But
recent work in the laboratory of one of us (Martinez-Conde) at the
Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix has made the strongest case
yet that these minuscule ocular meanderings separate vision from
blindness when a person looks out at a stationary world.
The article goes on to describe how saccadic movement is necessary for
vision, that these movements are linked to our attention, and
that staring means fading of vision. Dr William H
Bates, MD knew all this a century ago and wrote about it in his
1920 book Perfect Sight Without Glasses. Although this
information obviously isn't 'new', it's a pretty good article.
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(April 18, 2007) - Prevent Blindness America today released
a new report estimating
the costs associated with adult vision problems in the United States
at $51.4 billion. The Economic Impact of Vision Problems: The
Toll of Major Adult Eye Disorders, Visual Impairment, and Blindness on
the U.S. Economy provides both the costs to the individual and their
caregivers, and the impact on the U.S. economy of vision conditions
including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetic
retinopathy, primary open-angle glaucoma, refractive error, visual
impairment and blindness.
Read the rest of
According to Richard Wallingford, OD, president of the American
Optometric Association, approximately 25 percent of all school aged
children have vision problems.
percent of people aged 65 and over have cataracts nationwide, and that
(percentage) increases with age" says
John Ciccone, director of
communications for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive
Surgery in Fairfax, VA,
numbers are an indication of the enormity
of the problem of vision deterioration. I've heard estimates
that more than 80% of the population in the USA has vision
problems. Our eyesight challenges seem to be getting worse, not
better, despite well over 32,000 optometrists (according to the AOA
website) currently in practice in the United States alone. What
is wrong with this picture?!?
advise us to have regular, preferably annual, eye exams, so they can
prescribe compensating lenses at the earliest sign of vision
deterioration. However, the obvious tendency is for vision to
get worse, not better, when glasses or contacts are worn.
Glasses are a nuisance, contacts are not much better, and in general
most users of compensating lenses are not satisfied with having to use
these crutches for the rest of their lives. Out of despair
people turn to laser operations in large numbers, while cataract
sufferers wait for the 'ripening' of their cataracts so they can have
lens replacement surgery.
Is there another option? Is there a natural approach to solving
these many vision challenges?
Dr William H
Bates, MD, discovered that eye-strain is the major cause of vision
deterioration and he set out to find the solution. He concluded
that the tension on the muscles around the eyes could be released by
simple relaxation techniques, and that applying these techniques
resulted in a speedy return to clear vision for most people. His
methods are still taught today, even if few teachers have a thorough
understanding of how to apply it. Still, the key to reducing the
cost and number of vision problems IS available. Those who have
eyes to see, will find it...
(see also a
more extensive article on this subject written by Esther Joy van
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Orders Vision Improvement Technologies to End Sales of "See
Clearly Method" Kit
(Iowa Office of the Attorney General,
2 November 2006)
DES MOINES. The Polk County District Court has ordered
Vision Improvement Technologies, Inc., to stop all sales immediately
of its so-called natural vision improvement kit called the "See
Clearly Method." The Court also ordered the Fairfield company to
pay $200,000 for consumer restitution.
The Court order resolves a
consumer fraud lawsuit filed last year by Attorney General Tom Miller,
which alleged that the company could not substantiate claims that the
"See Clearly Method" improved people's vision so much that
they would no longer need glasses or contact lenses.
The "See Clearly
Method" was a kit of manuals, charts, videos and audio-tapes
demonstrating eye exercises and other techniques, such as focusing
eyes using special charts or props, facing a bright light with eyes
closed at a distance of a few inches, covering eyes with hands for
sustained periods, and applying hot and cold wash cloths over closed
eyes. The company sold tens of thousands of the kits for about $350
"The company made
dramatic claims for its product that it could not substantiate,"
Miller said. "They represented that consumers who used the method
could quickly and easily free themselves of having to wear glasses or
contact lenses. They used illegal tactics including exaggerated claims
of effectiveness, false implications of scientific validity, and
misleading consumer testimonials in advertising," he said.
"We also alleged that a
so-called 'risk-free' 30-day trial period was deceptively presented
and ended up forcing many consumers to pay hundreds of dollars apiece
for a product that they wanted to return because it did not help
them," Miller said.
I agree with the court order, and I am glad this product will
no longer be for sale. I am eager for people to learn about
natural vision improvement through the Bates Method, yet products like
the See Clearly Method mislead many people into believing that natural
vision improvement involves eye exercises. It doesn't.
People who have good vision do not do eye exercises. Blurry
vision is not due to a lack of eye exercises! Therefore eye
exercises are not the solution. Muscles that are tight from
strain do not need exercises put on top of their strain. They
need relaxation first and foremost. Learn the Bates Method from
an experienced teacher, and you'll soon know the difference.
Actually, you'll SEE the difference.
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little off-track, but hey, forgive me...
This image is
titled 'The Eye of God' and was taking by NASA's Hubble Telescope.
Worth seeing, wouldn't you agree?
Now that we're on this subject...
I heard that the Universe has a few 'Black Holes' in it somewhere, which
gobble up light, which is then never to be seen again.
I think those scientists are definitely looking beyond their own noses
(that's a Dutch expression), because we all possess a couple of black
holes, which gobble up light, never to be seen again....
those black holes are right in the middle of our very own irises...
I'm talking about:
The harder you look, the less you see 30 September 2006
|The harder you focus on something, the less well you may
actually see it, US researchers have discovered.
This paradox, described in Nature Neuroscience,
might explain how it is possible to miss visual cues.
Volunteers asked to pay close attention to black
and white stripes were less able to discern them as a result.
The New York University team believe prolonged
attention to an unchanging image effectively 'exhausts' vision
after helping it initially.
Sustained attention can actually worsen perception
Usually when we attend to something performance is
better. But not always"
~ Researcher Marisa Carrasco
Researchers know that it is easier to see
objects when there is more contrast between their lighter and
Previous work has suggested that paying closer
attention to or focusing on an object makes it easier to see by
effectively increasing this contrast. Although focusing your sight on an object is
helpful initially, investigators Samuel Ling and Marisa Carrasco
found that this benefit soon fades.
Dr Carrasco explained: "Usually when we
attend to something performance is better. But not always. "If, for example, you are monitoring a
screen and all the time you attend to a particular location on
that screen then you are not going to be sensitive after a while. "It's really paradoxical because you would
think you are doing your best by focusing your attention."
The researchers believe this paradox may have an
evolutionary advantage. For example, tuning out visual information that
you have already processed frees up the brain's limited resources
to detect changes in other parts of the environment - a necessary
ability for animals preyed upon in the wild. But this can also backfire, Dr Will Curran, from
the School of Psychology at Queen's University of Belfast, pointed
out. Predators can take advantage of this too,
staying still for prolonged periods between intermittent advances
on their prey until they are within striking distance, he said.
Professor Peter McOwan, professor of Computer
Science at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "These
results show a fascinating new kind of attentional illusion - the
longer you 'look' the less you 'see'. "Discovering and examining illusions like
these will really help us understand how human perception works.
"Visual attention helps us decide what's
important, and understanding how this works in humans may allow us
to build smarter computer vision systems that know what to look
The researchers stressed that their findings
should not be any cause for real concern in everyday life.
Did they really
think they discovered something new here? The 'longer
you look', the harder you try, the more you stare, the
worse the image gets! Dr Bates knew this a century
ago! He said we should never try to see anything.
Well, they finally figure something out that's true, and then
downplay the truth by saying there "should not be any
cause for real concern in everyday life". So please
ignore this discovery, keep staring, else we'll have an
increase in people who see well...
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TV can make you myopic
The Hindustan Times, January 5, 2006 (thanks to Adam Schwarz for
submitting this article)
A new study has revealed that an excessive indoor lifestyle is the
sole reason for the epidemic proportions of myopia in East Asian countries.
According to the researchers, children who spend most of the time
indoors, either glaring at their computer games or glued to the television
or read excessively, are most likely to suffer from myopia.
"As kids spend more time indoors, on computers or watching telly,
we are going to become just as myopic," Ian Morgan of the Australian
National University in Canberra was quoted by New Scientist as saying.
In countries like Singapore, the problem of short sightedness has
increased to such an extent that departments like the police are having
problems in finding
people who meet their requirements of 6/6 eyesight and the number
of myopic men in army has gone risen to as high as 80 per cent.
To unravel the reason behind such a high number of myopic cases in
this region Ian Morgan and Kathryn Rose from University of Sydney
studied 40 cases and have refuted the conventional view that people
here suffer from sight problems
due to genetic causes. For instance, 70 per cent of 18-year-old men
of Indian origin living in Singapore have myopia, while in India itself
the rate is roughly 10 per cent. "The simplest explanation is
that you have a massive environmental effect that
is swamping out the genetic influence," Morgan added.
Good to see that the idea
of myopia being due to genetics is under scrutiny. I believe that
those who spend many hours watching TV or computer screens can avoid
nearsightedness if they learn to use their eyes correctly.
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Nearly Triples Risk of Age-Linked Vision Loss
Smoking greatly increases the risk of vision loss due to age-related
macular degeneration, and that risk hits both smokers and people who
live with them, a new study shows.
Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that is the leading
cause of partial vision loss and blindness in the United States and
many European countries. Reporting in the current issue (December 2005)
of the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers studied 435 people
with end-stage macular degeneration and 280 people who lived with them.
People who regularly smoked a pack of cigarettes or more a day for
40 years had nearly triple the risk of age-related macular degeneration
compared with non-smokers. Smoking increased the risk of both of the
two main types of macular degeneration, the researches noted. However,
quitting smoking for 20 years or more reduced the risk to a level
comparable with people who'd never smoked. The study also found that
non-smokers who lived with smokers for five years or more had nearly
double the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
The macula, located at the center of the retina at the back of the
eye, is crucial for the fine central vision necessary for tasks such
as driving and reading.
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Grace Halloran - Obituary
The Family, friends and associates wish to share with you the
life and accomplishments of Dr. Grace Halloran. Following cardiac
arrest Grace passed away on June 23rd and a celebration of her
life was held on June 27th. It is our hope to continue The Visual
Healing Program and setup a foundation in her memory so that her
important work will continue.
Over a span of thirty years Grace sought ways to improve and maintain
her vision and the vision of her family members who had Retinitis
Pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition. Grace set out to help others
around the world that
were losing their sight and their hope. Through her many years of
research, study and seeking answers Grace gained the knowledge to
develop The Visual Healing Program. Grace proved to be an inspiration
to so many people facing visual challenges, and made a difference
to thousands. It was both rewarding and uplifting for Grace to hear
about the improvement and the success that came to the Visual Healing
patients. This was the beginning of
an incredible journey for our 'Amazing Grace' that eventually reached
all parts of the world. Her life's work revolved around education
on eye health and giving hope to others wherever and whenever it was
We know that Grace was here to advise and encourage any of you, whether
she had just met you or worked with you for many years. We hope Grace's
spirit will remain with you reminding you that "you are doing
a great job, keep up with the Micro Stim, exercises, nutrition and
The family and staff at The Visual Healing offices will remain available
to accept your calls and emails as your questions may arise. Please
continue to check the website, www.visualhealing.com, for program
and foundation information updates.
The family and friends of Dr. Grace Halloran
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Are Essential for Healthy Eyes
What Are Phytonutrients? Phytonutrients are chemicals that plants
use to perform metabolic functions. It more recent use has come
to mean plant chemicals that humans eat for nourishment and therapeutic
Classifications under Phytonutrients include: phytosterols, saponins,
phenoics, pectins and soluble fibers. Examples from each subgroup
include flax, pumpkin and sesame seed (phyotsterols), fenugreek
and ginseng (saponins), cherries and green tea (phenolics), apples
and prunes (pectins), and oat beta glucan and rice bran (soluble
Carotenoids are a fat soluble groups of naturally occurring plant
pigments under the classification of terpenes. They act as powerful
antioxidants and immuno-potentiaters. Diets rich in carotenoids are
linked with a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and degenerative
eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Two of the
most important carotenoids for degenerative eye conditions are lutein
and zeaxanthin. Leafy green vegetables contain mostly lutein and zeaxanthin.
Carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes and squash contain mainly carotenoids.
The yellow yolk of eggs is rich in lutein, and the astaxanthin group
from red algae is what makes salmon pink.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids identified in the
macula. There they filter blue light from the retina and inhibit oxidative
damage. Such damage leads to macular degeneration, the leading cause
of blindness in those over 65.
There are approximately 600 known carotenoids, 50 of which are present
in our diets. Mostly from fruits and vegetables. Chemically, carotenoids
are classified into two main groups, carotenes and xanopylls (for
example lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. Others include
alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin which are the main
vitamin A precursors). Carotenoids are considered potent membrane
antioxidants due to their reactivity with singlet oxygen.
What is singlet oxygen? Singlet oxygen participates in oxidative
reactions which can impair or destroy important cellular components,
such as membranes, nucleic acids (DNA), and enzymes. In addition,
singlet oxygen reactions can generate free radicals which lead to
further damage. Singlet oxygen often contribute to damage in the retina.
In a healthy retina, singlet oxygen is neutralized naturally by phytonutrients
as described above.
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Offers New Evidence That Leafy Green Veggies Protect Eyes and
Prevent Damage to the Lens of the Eye
Source: Chitchiumroonchokchai, C. Journal of Nutrition, December
2004; vol 134: pp 3225-3232
In a recent study published in the December issue of the Journal
of Nutrition, researchers examined the effects of lutein and
zeaxanthin on samples of human eye lens cells in the laboratory.
They also compared the effects of these antioxidants on the
cells to the effects of another antioxidant thought to improve
eye health, vitamin E. Researchers treated the cells with various
concentrations of the antioxidants and then exposed them to
"The dose of UVB radiation we used on the cells is about the
same amount a person receives when they get a mild tan," says
Bomser. Adding lutein and zeaxanthin to the cells reduced signs of
ultraviolet damage by 50%-60%. Vitamin E reduced the same signs of
damage by 25%-32%.
"Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina and in the lens
of the eye, but we're not sure how they reach the eye in the first
place," says Bomser. "They travel through the bloodstream,
but the lens doesn't have a blood supply."
This study provides new evidence that these antioxidants, which are
found in plants such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, can indeed
help prevent cataracts by protecting the eyes from the damaging effects
of ultraviolet sunlight.
Dr Marc Grossman's note:
Along with lutein and zeaxanthin, we recommend
nutrients that help build glutathione and vitamin C in the lens of
the eyes which have been shown in studies to be significantly deficient
in the eyes lens of those with cataracts. For more information, go
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Heavy Computer Use Linked to Glaucoma
Source: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, December 2004;
vol 58: PP 1021-1027
Spending too much time looking at a computer screen may raise your
risk of the vision-robbing eye disease glaucoma, particularly if you're
nearsighted, according to a new Japanese study.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that ultimately cause damage to
the optic nerve. It can lead to blindness if not treated. Heavy computer
users who were farsighted or nearsighted seemed to have a higher risk
for visual field abnormalities, say the researchers.
Dr Marc Grossman's Note: The reason why computer users may have increased
risk of glaucoma is very possibly due to the excess strain on the
eyes due to prolonged focusing for long periods of time on the computer.
This may overtime increase intracular pressure (IOP) resulting in
One helpful way to preserve vision for computer users is to
Break Reminder software on your computer, and learn natural
vision habits to reduce eye strain. See the Solutions
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Exposure at Levels Commonly Seen Linked to Cataracts
from Journal of the American Medical Association, December 8,
2004, with comments of Dr Mercola
It's long been known that exposure to lead, even at low levels,
might increase the risk of numerous age-related diseases. Now,
to add one more to the list, a study in the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA) has found that long-term lead exposure
increases the risk of cataracts, cloudy areas in the lens of the
eye that cause vision problems and even blindness.
The study, which included close to 800 men in their late 60s and
spanned nine years, was prompted by the fact that lead causes oxidative
damage in body tissues, and cataracts are known to be related to such
It was found that men with the most lead in their bones were 2.7
times more likely to have cataracts than those with the least lead.
Bone lead levels, which are more stable over time, were used in order
to determine the effects of long-term exposure, as lead levels in
the blood can vary over the short term. No link was found between
cataracts and lead levels in the blood, which suggests the incidence
of cataracts was associated with exposure to lead over several years
Researchers said being exposed to lead over time at levels commonly
experienced by U.S. adults appears to be an important risk factor
for cataracts. They suggested that reducing lead exposure could help
to decrease the "global burden of cataract," but added that
additional studies are needed to confirm the finding.
They also pointed out the importance of protecting yourself from
lead exposure in your environment by taking the following measures:
Don't use lead-based paint
Make sure there's no lead in your drinking water
Don't smoke (there's lead in cigarette smoke)
Minimize work-related lead exposure
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
In another article in this newsletter issue I shared some results
from a comprehensive study about mercury and, sadly, how its toxicity
is still very much up for debate on the side of conventional medicine.
How lead, as mentioned in the above article, merits concern and mercury
is downplayed makes no sense to me whatsoever. But I digress ...
The fact that health problems associated with environmental exposures
to heavy metals like lead are being addressed is a positive step.
As I wrote in a past article titled Five Common Toxic Metals to Avoid
the major sources of lead in the environment are
Manufacturing of lead batteries
Glass and other lead-containing products
Lead oxide fumes that result when industrial buildings are demolished
Living near an incinerator or toxic dump
If you're thinking that it sounds difficult to avoid lead exposure
given this long list of sources, you are correct. It is very difficult,
if not impossible, to completely avoid environmental contaminants
like lead and other heavy metals. But there are some things that can
- Check your tap water for lead (low-level exposure to lead, such
as through drinking water is associated with brain dysfunction in
children, neurobehavioral changes in adults, hypertension and chronic
- Purchase a shower filter to reduce absorption of lead through the
skin, nose and mouth
- Beware of peeling or flaking paint, especially in older homes that
used lead-based paints
- Eat as much organic food as possible, and don't eat food from lead-soldered
- Avoid dishes with ceramic glazes that could contain lead
- Don't smoke -- cigarette smoke contains lead
- Avoid lead crystal dishware
- Children are more susceptible to lead absorption than adults, so
it's especially important to keep them away from toxic areas like
demolition sites or dumps
- If you are exposed to lead while on the job, consider changing occupations
(more than 800,000 U.S. workers are exposed to lead through their
- Don't wrap food in the printed side of plastic bags -- the ink may
contain lead that could leach into your food
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Blamed for Rise in Myopia in East Asia
(Thanks to Dror Schneider for submitting
Wednesday July 7, 2004) - A rise in myopia, or nearsightedness,
in east Asia is due to lifestyle changes and not genetics, a science
magazine said on Wednesday.
Genetic variations that make people more susceptible to myopia
were thought to be the cause of the increase in the vision problem
in countries such as Singapore and Japan where cases have risen
But Ian Morgan, of the Australian National University in Canberra,
said there is no evidence to support the genetic theory and added
that the rise in myopia is due to lifestyle changes, particularly
hours spent indoors reading or in front of a computer or television.
"Children now spend much of their time focusing on close objects,
such as books or computers," New Scientist magazine said. "To
compensate, the eyeball is thought to grow longer. That way less effort
is needed to focus up close, but the elongated eye can no longer focus
on distant objects."
People with myopia have difficulty seeing objects at a distance,
or reading signs but can do close-up tasks and read. The magazine
said the rate of myopia in India is about 10 percent but that 70 percent
of 18-year-old men of Indian origin in Singapore have myopia.
Morgan and Kathryn Rose, of the University of Sydney, also cited
a study in Israel which found that 80 percent of teenage boys studying
in religious schools that emphasized reading texts had myopia, compared
to 30 percent in state schools. "As kids spend more time indoors,
on computers or watching telly, we are going to become just as myopic,"
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Roberto Kaplan, OD, FCOVD, speaks at
United Nations in Vienna, 24 June 2004
Dr. Roberto Kaplan was invited to talk about his integrated approach
to vision therapy at the Vienna International Center at the U.N. in
Vienna, Austria. Along with New York, Geneva and Nairobi, Vienna is
one of the four Headquarters duty stations of the United Nations.
More than 4,000 employees from over 100 countries work for the Vienna
International Center (VIC) - based organizations.
Dr. Kaplan shared his ideas of the causes and development of nearsightedness
and its implication on the consciousness of the citizens of the world.
"We are fast approaching a world epidemic of blindness of reality
because of myopic perceptions," Kaplan asserted, quoting the
series of papers titled: Seeing Beyond the Obvious, published in the
Journal of College of Optometrists in Vision Development."
It is time for conventional medicine to recognize the power of vision
therapy as being a vital part of complimentary medicine," urged
Dr. Kaplan. The talk focused on his two books: "The Power Behind
Your Eyes" and "Conscious Seeing." Being a conscious
person needs a healthy operating visual system. Vision therapy is
an established scientific discipline within Optometry that has a vital
role to play in helping persons recognize when they are seeing accurately
or misperceiving. Undetected vision problems, especially a lack of
coordination of the two eyes, can cause persons of all ages to see
inaccurately how they are behaving.
Those who heard Dr. Kaplan applauded how the lecture illuminated a
new dimension to the role of vision in being an instrument for enhancing
consciousness. Kaplan sees his role in having vision therapy be more
recognized as a powerful healing discipline in helping accomplish
happier family relationships, less aggression and world peace.
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Dave, for sending this article and for your humorous approach!
From: David Kiesling, of www.iblindness.org
Subject: Study: Not all kids with glasses need them
See the article below. Does it make you want to just pound your head
against the wall? Or, at least, shake your head and marvel at the
utter hopelessness of their approach? I don't know what they think the reason is for all the misdiagnoses,
but the answer is staring them in the face and they don't see it.
So what do you think? Will they actually start thinking that vision
changes over short periods of time? Or will they conclude that it
was the work of improperly wielded power of Refractollo, God of Measurement,
and move onto finding a relationship between glaucoma and some obscure
But no, think loving thoughts... OMMMMMMMMMM.....
Study: Not all kids with glasses need them
By Liz Szabo, USA
TODAY, June 23, 2004
A study out today finds that up to 20% of children with normal eyes
who undergo comprehensive vision exams may be prescribed glasses they
In an article published online in the Journal of the American Association
of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, researchers examined the
records of more than 100,000 preschoolers who were screened through
a statewide program in Tennessee.
More than 3,600 children were referred to specialists for follow-ups
because of suspected disorders, such as lazy eye, according to the
study. About one-quarter, or 890, were found to have no eye problems.
Yet nearly one in five of these children were prescribed glasses.
Some health professionals were more likely to misdiagnose kids than
others, said Sean Donahue, lead study author and an associate professor
of ophthalmology, pediatrics and neurology at Vanderbilt University
School of Medicine. Optometrists prescribed glasses 35% of the time;
general ophthalmologists, 12%; and pediatric
ophthalmologists, 2%, shows the study.
To Donahue, that suggests that optometrists and ophthalmologists
who usually treat adults may not have as much expertise with children.
Many youngsters are slightly farsighted, he said, although most
will grow out of the condition without glasses. (emphasis
added by EJvdW)
While many doctors recommend that preschoolers should be screened
for vision problems, experts disagree about the best approach. Kentucky
requires that youngsters undergo comprehensive eye exams before beginning
Donahue said states should think carefully about such expenses before
following Kentucky's example. Given the high level of misdiagnoses,
Donahue said, such laws could be expensive. Glasses cost about $150;
exams add another $100.
Instead of forcing all preschoolers to get a formal exam, he said,
kids could be screened by doctors, teachers, nurses or others, then
referred to eye specialists for further examination.
Susan Taub, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern
University, said she is concerned that many children suffer from undiagnosed
eye disorders, which can cause permanent damage or hurt their ability
Doctors still do not know which tests or technology work best, Taub
said. "This does need further study," she said. "We
don't want kids to fall through the cracks."
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'helps prevent eye disease'
(Story from BBC
NEWS, Published: 2004/06/14 23:18:30 GMT)
Eating fruit could protect against an age-related
eye disease which can cause blindness, research suggests. Researchers
from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston followed the progress
of over 118,000 people for between 12 and 18 years.
Those who ate three or more servings of fruit
a day were 36% less likely to develop age-related maculopathy than
people who ate less than 1.5 per day. The study is published in the
Archives of Ophthalmology.
Age-related maculopathy, or age-related macular degeneration, is
the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. The condition is
caused by the deterioration of the macula, a part of the light sensitive
layer in the eye called the retina. The cells either break down, or
the tissue is damaged by the growth of blood vessels under the retina.
There is a treatment for the condition, but no cure.
Previous research has shown antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation
protects against the condition, and that supplementation with high-doses
of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc delays its progress.
The researchers in this study looked at how the amount of fruit,
vegetables and vitamins people ate related to their risk of developing
the eye disease. They followed 77,562 women who were part of the Nurses'
Health Study and
40,866 men who were taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-up
Study. All were at least 50 years old when the study began with no
diagnosis of ARM. Women were followed for up to 18 years, and men
were followed for up to 12 years.
Women completed questionnaires about their diets up to five times
over the follow-up period (in 1980, 1984, 1986, 1990 and 1994), and
men three times, in 1986, 1990, and 1994. They also reported their
vitamin and supplement use once every two years. Over the follow-up
period, 329 women and 135 men were diagnosed with early stage ARM,
and 217 women and 99 men with neovascular ARM, a more severe type
of the condition.
While three or more portions of fruit a day was found to significantly
cut someone's risk of developing neovascular ARM - a severe form of
the disease, eating more vegetables did not appear to hold any benefit.
Bananas and oranges were strongly linked with protective benefits.
Researchers also found that levels of antioxidant vitamins or carotenoids
- compounds responsible for the red, yellow and orange pigments found
in some fruits and vegetables - were not directly related to ARM risk.
Food versus supplements
Writing in the journal, the researchers led by Dr Eunyoung Cho, said:
"Fruit intake was inversely related to age-related maculopathy,
particularly neovascular ARM, the form of this disease that frequently
involves severe vision loss. "Since none of the antioxidants
or carotenoids contributed substantially, other factors may also contribute
to the reduced risk."
They suggest other constituents of fruits with potential health benefit
include flavanoids, fibre, folate and potassium.
Catherine Collins, a dietician based at St George's Hospital in London,
said the study findings made sense because certain substances found
in fruit had specific benefits for eye health. She said the beneficial
link with fruit may have been clearer in this study because people
did not eat enough of lutein-rich vegetables such as spinach for them
to have a noticeable effect. She added: "There are substances
in foods which give you extra benefits
compared to vitamin and mineral supplements."
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Shortsightedness may be tied to refined
05 April 2002 Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition.
The food children eat might play as big a role as books and computer screens
when it comes to causing shortsightedness
Diets high in refined starches such as breads and cereals increase insulin
levels. This affects the development of the eyeball, making it abnormally
long and causing shortsightedness, suggests a team led by Loren Cordain,
an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins,
and Jennie Brand Miller, a nutrition scientist at the University of Sydney.
The theory could help explain the dramatic increase in myopia in developed
countries over the past 200 years. It now affects 30 per cent of people
of European descent, for example.
"The rate of starch digestion is faster with modern processed breads
and cereals," says Brand Miller. In response to this rapid digestion,
the pancreas pumps out more insulin. High insulin is known to lead to
a fall in levels of insulin-like binding protein-3, the team points out.
That could disturb the delicate choreography that normally coordinates
eyeball lengthening and lens growth. And if the eyeball grows too long,
the lens can no longer flatten itself enough to focus a sharp image on
the retina, they suggest.
"It's a very surprising idea," says James Mertz, a biochemist
at the New England College of Optometry in Boston. But it's plausible,
says Bill Stell of the University of Calgary in Canada. "It wouldn't
surprise me at all. Those of us who work with local growth factors within
the eye would have no problem with that - in fact we would expect it."
Metz's institution is now planning studies in animals. But there is
already evidence to support the theory. While fewer than one per cent
of the Inuit and Pacific islanders had myopia early in the last century,
these rates have since skyrocketed to as high as 50 per cent. These "overnight
epidemics" have usually been blamed on the increase in reading following
the sudden advent of literacy and compulsory schooling in these societies.
But while reading may play a role, it does not explain why the incidence
of myopia has remained low in societies that have adopted Western lifestyles
but not Western diets, says Cordain.
"In the islands of Vanuatu they have eight hours of compulsory
schooling a day," he says, "yet the rate of myopia in these
children is only two per cent." The difference is that Vanuatuans
eat fish, yam and coconut rather than white bread and cereals.
The theory is also consistent with observations that people are more
likely to develop myopia if they are overweight or have adult-onset diabetes,
both of which involve elevated insulin levels. The progression of myopia
has also been shown to be slower in children whose protein consumption
Journal reference: Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica (vol 80, p 125)
© Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd
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and ambient lighting at night
13 May 1999, Nature magazine
by Graham E. Quinn, Chai H. Shin, Maureen G. Maguire, Richard
the entire article here.
Researchers found a strong association between myopia (nearsightedness)
and night-time ambient light exposure during sleep in children
before they reach two years of age.
The prevalence of myopia and high
myopia during childhood was strongly associated with ambient light
exposure during sleep at night in the first two years after birth.
The relation between refraction and night-time light was dose
dependent, as a greater proportion of children became myopic if
they slept at night during their first two years with room lighting
rather than with a night light.
Esther's comment: According to this research,
a small 'night-light' in the room during the first two years of
life increased the child's chance of myopia three-fold, while
a room-light in those first two years of the child's life caused
a five times higher prevelance of myopia later on.
This is one possible cause of myopia that is easy to prevent.
Remove LED clocks and any artificial light sources that stay on
at night from your baby's bedroom. Block outdoor artificial lights
(street lamps) as much as possible with curtains. The changing
light from the moon is natural and the gradual morning light increase
from sunrise is a benefit to the eyes and to the balance of the
sleep-wake cycle, so if there is no outside light coming in, regular
curtains are sufficient.
Friar Roger Bacon, a Franciscan monk, was imprisoned
for heresy in the late thirteenth century for writing about the
merits of spectacles.
That's from a time when common sense was actually common....
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ready for better vision?
Do you want to know how to improve eyesight naturally?
Check out the classes offered here!