Visions of Joy - Natural Eyesight Improvement - Vision Education
The Joy of Seeing with Natural Clarity!
Improve your vision and overcome the need for glasses or contacts while avoiding laser surgery

On-Site Solutions on Sight

"A man is getting along on the road to wisdom
when he begins to realize that his opinion is just an opinion."

This page aims to give an explanation of specific vision challenges, their possible causes (also see nutrition), and their possible natural solutions. 

The natural eyesight solutions presented below have been gathered from a combination of my own experience, from students' experiences, from the writings of Dr W.H. Bates, from various colleagues in the field of Natural Vision Education or from other health professionals who I personally know.
We are all unique beings, and what works for one may not always have the same effect on someone else, so please keep this in mind when you learn how to improve your eyesight naturally. Also please read the disclaimer.

Click on any underlined text for more information about a subject, or scroll down the page. (More subjects will be added to this page in due course.)

Cataracts
Computer eye strain
Dry eyes
Floaters
Glaucoma
Keratoconus / Conical Cornea
Light - full spectrum / sunlight
Light - sensitivity to bright light
Macular Degeneration (wet / dry / diabetic related / age related)
Nystagmus
Ocular headache
Presbyopia ('middle age' farsightedness, or 'my arms are too short' syndrome)

Retinitis Pigmentosa
Stye on eyelid


Cataracts

In his Better Eyesight Magazines Dr Bates describes many cases of cataracts that are cured by his relaxation techniques.  In the January 1921 issue he states: "It is quite evident from the foregoing facts that the cause of cataract (other than traumatic) is strain, and I have found much other evidence, both clinical and experimental, to the same effect.  ...  In experimental animals I have produced cataract by operating upon the external eye muscles in such a way as to increase their pressure, and have then relieved it by cutting these muscles."  
In the June 1926 issue there is a similar story, where he describes the creation of a cataract in a rabbit's eye.  The cataract remained so long as the pressure was maintained on the muscles on the outside of the eyeball.  When the pressure on the eyeball was released, the cataract disappeared.  Bates continues: "If cataract can be produced in a rabbit's eye experimentally, one would expect the same thing to occur in the human eye.  Treatment which relieves pressure on the eyeball is always beneficial.  It is very interesting to discover that all cases of uncomplicated senile cataract have been benefited by relaxation or rest, at first temporarily, later more continuously or permanently."

In "How to improve your sight" Margaret Darst Corbett (a Natural Vision Educator trained by Dr Bates) describes how a student who reduced his cataracts through relearning natural vision habits, was examined by an eye doctor with an ophthalmoscope.  In one eye the cataract had cleared completely, in the other a small amount of cloudiness remained, but, when the man took a better breath, it cleared the lens! Each time he remembered to breathe well, the sediment dissipated, each time he held his breath, a little murk clouded the lens once more.

If cataracts react to relaxed natural vision habits and optimal breathing like that, then they must be caused by tense vision habits and inefficient oxygen supply due to tense breathing muscles.  Instead of waiting for the cataract to 'ripen' and replacing the lens with an artificial one, you could be relearning good vision habits and optimal breathing and thereby save your eyes!

More recently, Peter Grunwald, a vision educator from New Zealand also made the connection between the eyes and breathing.  He writes in his book 'Eyebody' that the lens is connected with the diaphragm.  He believes that cataracts can be linked to a collapsed or rigid chest.  Obviously, a cataract operation does not address such corresponding breathing problems.  The solution is found in combining natural vision improvement and optimal breathing development.

To receive an e-book (57 standard size pages, in PDF format) with extensive information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of cataracts, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Cataracts" e-book

See also: nutritional connection to cataracts.
See also: Cataract, glaucoma and other eye disorders; Prevention and cure with proven natural methods


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Computer Eye Strain

When you work with computers a lot, you may notice that your eyes tire out quicker.  In order to see better at the computer, all the information given on See Better applies, i.e. Relax, Blink, Breathe, and use Central Fixation, which is the awareness that only a small detail in the center of your field of vision can be seen best.  The rest of the screen, as well as your peripheral vision, is seen with less clarity. 

Staying aware of your peripheral vision while working at the computer will greatly help your eyes relax, as will Computer Break Reminder software
Another great program that reduces computer eyestrain is SwingWindows (free download!).  Set it for a small, slow, circular or oblong motion, and imagine that motion continuing even when you switch SwingWindows off!  
Two more programs, also available for free download: Eyes Relax. or EyeLeo
Some people find it helpful to adjust screen brightness after sunset. This f.lux software can do this for you automatically.

Good posture will reduce neck tension and improve breathing.  Looking away from the screen on a regular basis will give your eyes a change of focus, which they'll appreciate. Having your computer near a window will allow for more distant focusing when you look up, while any movement outside may distract you from that strained habit of staring at the screen with tunnel vision...

NOTE FOR I-MAC USERS WHO SUFFER FROM COMPUTER EYESTRAIN:
The following is something I read in 'The flat-screen iMac for dummies', and it may or may not apply to other Mac computers, so check this for yourself.
"Text on your iMac's screen generally looks extra smooth, as though everything you type has been professionally typeset. That's because the Mac OS-X slightly blurs the edges of every letter.  But at smaller type sizes, some people feel that this text-smoothing business actually makes text less readable.  If the smoothing bugs you... there's an option to turn it off for font size X (your choice) and smaller.  You'll find this option in System Preferences, General."
And you thought your eyes were causing the blur... it may just be that 'smooth' display!


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Dry Eyes

In Dr Bates' days (1920s) dry eyes were not a problem, at least he never wrote about dry eyes at all.  This surprised me, considering how common it is nowadays; just look at the variety of eye drops for sale to remedy all these dry eyes!  
Of course contact lenses were not in use at that time, nor was laser surgery, and I guess they did not have airconditioning either.  These three may be the biggest factors in causing dry eyes, especially if the blinking rate is below average.

Before you try any eye drops, check if you are blinking regularly or if you tend to stare a lot.  A return to regular relaxed blinking may be all that's required.  You are probably not suffering from an eye-drop deficiency....  Ensure that you drink plenty of water, that you obtain enough essential fatty acids from your diet, and eliminate or reduce the intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol (which dehydrate the body).  Under air-conditioning or in heated rooms or cars, the eyes will want to blink even more to overcome the drying effect of the air.  A good yawn here and there may help too!

See also: nutritional connection to dry eyes.


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Floaters

Floaters are spots in the visual field that seem to move around in the field of vision.  Most people see some floaters when looking at a uniformly bright surface, like a bright blue sky or a sheet of white paper on which the sun shines. According to Dr Bates, "this is because most people strain when they look at [bright] surfaces of this kind. The specks are [only] seen when the eyes and mind are under a strain, and they always disappear when the strain is relieved. If one can remember a small letter on the Snellen test card by central fixation, the specks will immediately disappear, or cease to move; but if one tries to remember two or more letters equally well at one time, they will reappear and move."

There are various other opinions on how floaters are caused, one of them is that there is debris floating in the vitreous humour (center of the eyeball) which throws shadows on the retina.  This means general toxicity of the body is the problem, which may be solved by a cleanse in the form of a juice-fast or water-only fast.  As for nutrition; floaters may be related to a deficiency in Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E, Calcium, or Copper. 

To receive a booklet (21 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of floaters, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Floating Specks" e-book.

See also: nutritional connection to floaters


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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to various eye problems that lead to damage of the optic nerve, which results in loss of vision.  There are said to be a variety of causes, amongst which are high intra-ocular pressure (which is high pressure in the eyes), high stress levels, genetics, digestive problems, use of various drugs including anti-depressants, and extreme nearsightedness or extreme farsightedness.  Such causes need to be addressed, obviously, and therefore each case will require a different approach.  For people who wish to aid the healing process with natural methods, the Bates Method of relaxed seeing is a good choice.  When practiced correctly, the Bates Method can help significantly reduce pressure in the eyes. 

The following quote comes from the June 1924 issue of Better Eyesight Magazine, written by Dr W.H. Bates:

"Quite frequently I have seen cases of absolute glaucoma which came to me for treatment, and which were completely relieved by palming and obtained normal vision in a very few days or weeks, some in even a shorter time.  One such case, about ten years ago, had pain so severe that he was unable to attend to his business, and had been strongly advised to have the eye removed.  He came to me as his last resort.  After a half hour of palming the pain disappeared, and has not returned since in all this time.  I saw the patient a few days ago and he is still full of gratitude for the benefit he received."

To receive an e-book (40 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of glaucoma, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Glaucoma" e-book


See also: Nutrition and glaucoma
See also: Article on coffee link to glaucoma
See also: fiteyes.com, a site where people with glaucoma connect and share ideas and solutions
See also: Cataract, glaucoma and other eye disorders; Prevention and cure with proven natural methods


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Keratoconus / Conical Cornea

When the front part of the eyeball becomes conical in shape, it is called conical cornea or keratoconus.  This can be a very painful condition and can distort vision greatly.  It often begins as astigmatism or myopia before progressing to conical cornea.  In 1922 Dr Bates discovered that the relaxation methods he used could drastically improve the condition, with the variable swing found to be especially effective.  The wearing of glasses for even short periods of time would make the condition worse again.  

Dr. Bates writes about Conical Cornea:
"The question has often been asked if relaxation treatment benefits conical cornea with its large amount of irregular astigmatism. The contraction of the superior and inferior oblique muscles squeezes the eyeball and increases the length of the optic axis.  As s result of this pressure, the back part of the eyeball becomes thinner and bulges backwards with the production of irregular astigmatism.  The scientific name for this bulging of the back of the eye is "Posterior Staphyloma."  Less frequently, the front part of the eye, the cornea, may bulge in the form of a conical mass and is accordingly termed "conical cornea."
Since a strain causes the bulging of the back part or the front part of the eyeball, rest or relaxation of the strain should be and is followed by relief."  (Better Eyesight magazine, June 1927)

To receive an e-book (33 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of conical cornea, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Conical Cornea" e-book



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Light - Full spectrum / Sunlight

Sunlight is perhaps the most important nutrient for our eyes.  John Ott made some amazing discoveries years ago, about how plants will not grow healthy if part of the full spectrum of light is missing.  He tested his theories on animals and the results showed a variety of adverse health reactions in different types of artificial light.  He concluded that it wasn't the artificial light itself that was harmful, but the lack of the rest of the light spectrum caused health problems.  When he replaced the artificial lamps with full spectrum lamps, healing took place.  He then brought full spectrum lamps into classrooms and observed hyperactive children become eager students.

Natural sunlight taken in through our eyes and skin helps us stay healthy, it helps keep a bunch of health problems at bay. Glass filters out part of the full spectrum of sunlight.  We can get natural sunlight into our eyes by simply being outdoors without glasses or contacts, there is no need to look directly into the sun at all.  If you can't yet walk around without glasses, at least take them off while you sit outside in the sun.

Here is a page explaining the effect of sunlight on eyes, which does away with the myth of Galileo going blind from observing the sun.

See also Full Spectrum lamps on the Vision Aids page.


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Light - Sensitivity to bright light

John Ott recounts in Health and Light an interesting experiment. The researcher fitted a person with one UV-blocking and one UV-transmitting lens. Indoors, the pupils of the person's two eyes appeared the same. Outdoors, "under natural sunlight, there was a marked difference. The pupil covered with the ultraviolet transmitting lens was considerably smaller. This would seem to indicate that the photoreceptor mechanism that controls the opening and closing of the iris responds to ultraviolet wavelengths as well as visible light." Ott then continues, "When the ultraviolet wavelengths are blocked from entering the eye, the pupil remains larger than it would normally be and the visible part of the spectrum would then seem brighter. This could explain why some people feel a greater need for dark glasses."

Most contact lenses are made of UV blocking plastic. Contact lens wearers are therefore likely to want to wear sunglasses.  I'm told that O2 Optix makes disposable contacts without UV protection called 'focus daily', so if you do need to wear contacts, it may be worth switching to those until you can get back to clear vision naturally.
Glass blocks UV, so even standard glasses should be taken off outdoors for some 'UV breaks'.  

From personal experience I've concluded that sunglasses do more harm than good.  Whether they are made of glass or plastic, they trick the pupils into staying open wider than they should, which can cause eyestrain, and they create increased light sensitivity by dulling the pupil contraction response.

sun wearing sunglasses During my years as a sailing instructor I used to wear sunglasses regularly, and I eventually became dependent on them in even dim light conditions.  I've since found that it is better to wear a wide brimmed hat to shade eyes from bright light.  To avoid becoming sensitive to light, it is wise to only use sunglasses in extremely bright conditions (such as skiing or sailing on a bright sunny day).

Myself and other Bates teachers have helped many people overcome light sensitivity through simple sunning practices, adjusted for individual levels of sensitivity.  Sunning is done safely with closed eyelids, not by staring into the sun!

A cautionary note: a healthy diet and lifestyle play a major role in our ability to deal with bright sunlight.  Skin and eyes need to be well hydrated and well nourished to function correctly.  A diet high in junk foods, fats, sugars, artificial ingredients and pesticides may cause major health challenges including skin and vision problems.  
If, following any sunburn, such dehydrated and undernourished skin isn't able to repair and heal itself anymore, we blame the sun....  The sun isn't harmful, it's the diet that's harmful.  Common sense does dictate that we avoid sunburn, but nature didn't intend that we slap on sunscreen instead of covering our skin or moving into shade. 
If, following eyestrain due to light sensitivity, we develop vision problems, we blame the sun...  The sun isn't harmful, it's the many hours spent indoors or behind (sun)glasses, the chronic lack of exposure to natural light, that's harmful.  Our indoor lifestyle causes our eyes to become overly light sensitive, resulting in strained vision habits, and that's the problem.    Just remember, that we humans are essentially 'outdoor animals' and our eyes are designed to receive sunlight under all conditions.  The more we deviate from our natural lifestyle the more our bodies struggle to stay healthy.

"It is worth noting that old age, no cancer, and good eyesight 
are common factors associated with people living at high altitudes where the atmosphere is thinner and consequently the ultraviolet is stronger."

John N. Ott, in Light, Radiation and You - How to Stay Healthy (p134)

See also: nutritional connection to light sensitivity.
See also Full Spectrum lamps on the Vision Aids page. 
See also: Exploring the Spectrum DVD by John Ott

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Macular Degeneration 
(Wet / Dry / Diabetic Related / Age Related = ARMD)

The macula is a small circular area in the center of the retina, it includes the fovea centralis, which gives us our central and sharpest vision (see Central Fixation).  Macular degeneration means losing that central vision; it causes seeing a black spot in the center and a dependency on peripheral vision instead.
It occurs more frequently after age 65.  The vast majority of cases are slow-progressing (dry/nonexudative), while less than 10 percent are fast-progressing (wet/exudative).
It mostly results from our lifestyle - poor diet (especially too much saturated fats), lack of exercise, poor breathing habits, and an inability to cope with stress.  A 2005 study showed that smoking nearly triples the risk of ARMD. Read article about this.

The Bates Method is known mostly for its effectiveness in overcoming functional vision problems, yet even many diseases of the eye have been relieved by it.  For example, Dr Bates describes the following case in Better Eyesight Magazine of February 1930:

"A woman from Washington came for treatment of disease and blindness of the central part of the right eye.  The left eye was nearly normal, with good vision.  She had been told that the right eye was inflamed to such an extent that it was probable that it would require a long time, many months, before the symptoms were relieved.  When she moved her head and eyes a short distance from side to side, the test card five feet away and other stationary objects appeared to move in the opposite direction.  But when her right eye moved to the left while her head was moved in the opposite direction, pain and imperfect sight were produced.  The sway was practiced daily and in a few weeks her vision became normal in both eyes."

The Bates Method is so effective at relieving strain and relaxing the visual system, that many eye diseases are greatly helped by it because circulation returns to normal when the muscles relax.  In addition, I believe a good nutritional approach will be of great benefit, as well as a general healthy lifestyle and addressing any breathing challenges. 


The following is a case study of a man, age 56, who suffered from diabetic related macular degeneration.  Laser surgery was recommended by his eye doctor.  This man had diabetes for seven years when he began a healthy nutritional program recommended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD.  After following Dr Fuhrman's dietary protocol for diabetes for six months, he lost sixty pounds, and was able to stop all his diabetic medications within the first month.  By month three, his blood sugars had remained below 90 and he now is essentially without diabetes.  At the following eye check with his ophthalmologist, all signs of degeneration to his eye had reversed themselves.  His ophthalmologist was astounded and he canceled the scheduled laser eye surgery.  He had never witnessed a case where reversal of the eye pathology occurred.  Nutritional excellence combined with regular exercises is more powerful than medication at treating and protecting diabetic patients.
(Copied from Health Science magazine, Summer 2005 issue, with permission from Dr. Fuhrman.)


Research at Tustin University in Boston (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) shows that high blood sugar levels are related to an increase in occurrence of ARMD, so it may help anyone with ARMD to cut out all refined sugars and limit foods with a high glycemic index.


For another example of overcoming macular degeneration naturally, please visit the website of Ray Amsterdam.  His site presents a very detailed Case Study of his recovery through Ayurveda - subsequent to being told 'there is no treatment available to restore ... vision'.  The site includes full clinical data, a discussion section, and treatment contact details.


See also: nutritional connection to macular degeneration.


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Nystagmus

In nystagmus, the eyeballs move from side to side, usually continuously, a distance so great that it is conspicuous. The rapidity of this movement may vary. Nystagmus is generally believed to be difficult to cure. In fact, it is so difficult that very few cases have ever been reported as benefited by orthodox methods of treatment. It has usually been considered an incurable symptom of disease of the eye. Dr. Bates found that many of these so-called incurable cases will recover by treatment. Nystagmus has been relieved by conscious relaxation. Using one or more of the various relaxation techniques of the Bates Method is likely to bring good results.

To receive an e-book (22 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of nystagmus, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Nystagmus" e-book


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Ocular Headache

An ocular headache tends to happen in one eye at a time, and the pain is centered around or behind the eye.  There are a variety of possible causes, but whatever the cause, tension in one or more of the eye muscles is likely part of the reason for the pain.  This can often be relieved without resorting to pills to suppress the pain.  

When you experience an ocular headache, close your eyes, and imagine both eyes as large balls that float happily in the space of the eye-sockets.  Tell yourself that there is no need to pull on the eye that hurts; that it is okay to let go of tension there.  Notice the position of your eyes - which direction are they pointed, or, where would you be looking if you opened your eyes right now?  Then think of an object in the opposite direction, and imagine looking that way.  Your eyes should gently follow your attention and move to point in the opposite direction of where you were looking.  For example, if you notice your eyes are focused up close and to the lower right, then think of an object further away in the upper left quadrant of your field of vision.  Avoid any effort, let your eyes move only as much as they are comfortable, then briefly hold them there before letting them return to the original point of focus.  With repetition and gentleness, you'll soon find your eyes cooperating more and moving further without effort.  Notice how the pain changes as your eyes move.  Settle your gaze somewhere half way between the point of pain and the opposite direction and see how well you can relax there. 

If you can now change to happy and positive thoughts, you may find the ocular headache has lessened or gone, and your eyes move freely again along with your thoughts. 


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Presbyopia

The word presbyopia is derived from Latin, it means "old eyes".  Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm's length, blurred vision at normal reading distance, eyes that are slow to focus, and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work.  According to Dr Bates, the true cause of presbyopia is a strain or an effort to see at the near point, or trying to concentrate too long (which is a stare of sorts).

To cure presbyopia, Dr Bates recommended:
- Discard glasses altogether. Break the habit of putting reading glasses on.
- Rest the eyes by closing them, by palming, and by reducing physical and mental strain.
- Use imagination and memory of small letters.
- Practise reading the finest print, starting at a comfortable distance and slowly bringing text
   closer, while using relaxed vision habits, such as central fixation, shifting, blinking.
- Other positive influences are sunning with closed eyelids, exercise, and healthy diet.

For a complete overview of the Bates Method for presbyopia, you may order an e-book (70 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of presbyopia.  
To order it, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Presbyopia" e-book.


Another option is to buy my book "Read Without Glasses at Any Age" which gives all the practical advice you need to overcome presbyopia.

See also: nutritional connection to presbyopia.


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Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (R.P.) is a disease of the interior of the eye, in which small areas of the retina and other parts of the eye are destroyed. They are replaced by small black pigment patches. These black areas are about 1/30 of an inch in diameter and very irregular in size and shape. In severe cases of retinitis pigmentosa, the retina may be covered so thickly by these black specks that the retina cannot be seen.

Retinitis pigmentosa is often present from birth. At first, only a small number of black spots are visible, but after the child is twelve years of age or older, the number of these spots increases gradually. Night vision is often much affected and R.P. often leads to blindness.

Dr. Bates treated a number of people with retinitis pigmentosa and reported excellent results. He watched the black spots disappear from the retina when his patients learned how to use their eyes without strain.

Bates wrote about several case histories with R.P., and those have now been compiled into one ebook. This ebook includes a summary of the methods Bates found most useful in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa.

Grace Halloran had retinitis pigmentosa and went in search of a natural cure. Grace wrote a book about her journey called Amazing Grace, autobiography of a survivor. Grace helped many others with retinitis pigmentosa. A summary of the techniques she used in overcoming her own retinitis pigmentosa is also included in this ebook.

To receive this e-book (26 standard size pages, in PDF format) with information on how Dr Bates used his methods in the natural treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, please make a donation of US$10.00 or €8.00 to Visions of Joy.  
Please send a quick email also, and mention that you are ordering "The Bates Method View of Retinitis Pigmentosa " e-book


See also: nutritional connection to retinitis pigmentosa.


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Stye on eyelid

A stye looks like a red bump on the eyelid.  Use towels to alternately apply hot and cold water to the affected eye to stimulate circulation.  A small amount of salt can be added to the water.  Make sure the temperature of the hot towel is bearable, not burning the eyelid, and keep that hot towel on the stye for about 30 seconds.  Then briefly (a few seconds) apply a towel dipped in cold water or ice.  Alternate between the hot and cold 5 to 10 times.  Gentle massage of the area (stimulating circulation by pressure) may also be useful.  A stye can be caused by a turned-in hair from the eyelashes, in which case that hair will need to be removed.


See also: nutritional connection to sties.

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