Failing vision is regarded as one of those unavoidable symptoms of getting older and in December 2004 although my kids gave me a lovely magnifying glass for Christmas, I was convinced then there must be options to just slowly going blind. Over the years I have had a number of pairs of reading glasses prescribed from me and always found the prescriptions were far too strong or the depth of vision was wrong, and in some cases I couldn’t wear the prescribed glasses for another four or five years after the event.
In 2005, my beautiful cat Teng Sing Tung went blind but the vet said he had detached retina. (I have some lovely stories to tell about that boy! Teng Sing Tung, not the Vet!) My retinas are intact but my eyesight, even then, was awful at close range. Faraway, I can see a bird in a tree! I want something better than just stronger glasses when it comes to reading.
Around that time, I discovered a link to some websites on health issues and read about the theory of “pinhole glasses” for improving sight. Like all alternative therapies that digress from mainstream medicine, there were lots of “for” and lots of “against” stories and you have to make up your own mind.
This is a direct quote from one of the websites that I read at the time: “looking through the pinholes makes blurred vision sharper, even though they look as if it could be obscured. This could help people focus in the distance, watch TV, or see close or small print where they had previously needed glasses. Studies have shown that wearing them for only 15 to 20 minutes a day helps the focusing muscles of the eye to grow stronger. There are noticeable improvements within a few weeks. In many cases, eyesight has been corrected back to 20/20 vision, alleviating long and shortsightedness….” The principal and the theory behind pinhole glasses of central focusing have been around for the last 100 years, and there is special website on Myopia that recommends them. It is totally dedicated to educating people about how many of us can improve our vision by diet, exercise and using these pinhole glasses.
Of course, I understand that physical problems like glaucoma and cataracts are way outside what I am considering, but they are not issues that affect my eyes today.
Well, you know me. It has to look good as well as do good and some of the glasses on offer in 2005 were pretty ugly, with prices around the world varying from $25-$80 per pair. I bought some reasonably attractive ones that were shipped to me from Hawaii for about $40 and I did start wearing them for a time. There are much more attractive ones available now, but I will wait and see what happens this time around.
I can tell you what happened after I had been wearing the glasses for a while. I had been using them for about an hour a day for a week and the most extraordinary thing happened. I was at the bi-annual meeting of the Midland Chamber of Commerce at the Rose and Crown hotel in Guildford when I picked up the agenda and began reading without my glasses. At first, I didn’t even notice that I was not wearing them.
A day or so later, I took my Dad to the Doctor in Mundaring. In the Doctor’s surgery, I picked up a National Geographic and read it without my glasses. It was so funny. I said, “Dad, listen to this … “and started to read aloud. He was trying to pick up on the story I was reading and said “what’s it all about (Alfie)?”
I laughed out loud. “What it is about, Dad, is that I am reading without my glasses!”
In New Zealand, Peter Grunwald has published a book, Eyebody – The Art of Integrating Eye, Brain and Body – and letting go of glasses forever! as well as many articles on the integration of physical activity, posture and general well-being having an impact on our ability to see well. It is a fascinating website with a wealth of understanding and information and people of all ages and walks of life appear to have been using his methods successfully. His story alone is enough to convince me that there is merit in the idea that I might be able to get rid of my glasses.
The initial experience is a bit disconcerting, because you have a form of “insect vision”, with distinct but multiple images overlapping in a rather confusing way. You see things a bit like a fly does!
As part of my fabulous paper flow project, which is cleaning up and organising my office, I have rediscovered my pinhole glasses. Notwithstanding I have recently spent an inordinate amount of money on buying very fashionable frames for two new pairs of glasses, I have decided to order Peter’s book, practice better posture, train my eyeballs and see what happens. Since my previous experience was definitely positive, and I have no medical problems with my eyes such as cataract or glaucoma (as do both my parents) I am going to give it a go. It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be.