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Better Eyesight, July 1919Edit
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
THE FLASHING CUREEdit
Do you read imperfectly? Can you observe then that when you look at the first word, or the first letter, of a sentence you do not see best where you are looking; that you see other words, or other letters, just as well as or better than the ones you are looking at? Do you observe also that the harder you try to see the worse you see?
Now close your eyes and rest them, remembering some color, like black or white, that you can remember perfectly. Keep them closed until they feel rested, or until the feeling of strain has been completely relieved. Now open them and look at the first word or letter of a sentence for a fraction of a second. If you have been able to relax, partially or completely, you will have a flash of improved or clear vision, and the area seen best will be smaller.
After opening the eyes for this fraction of a second, close them again quickly, still remembering the color, and keep them closed until they again feel rested. Then again open them for a fraction of a second. Continue this alternate resting of the eyes and flashing of the letters for a time, and you may soon find that you can keep your eyes open longer than a fraction of a second without losing the improved vision.
If your trouble is with distant instead of near vision, use the same method with distant letters.
In this way you can demonstrate for yourself the fundamental principles of the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses.
If you fail, ask someone with perfect sight to help you.
WHEN the United States entered the European war recruits for general military service were required to have a visual acuity of 20/40 in one eye and 20/100 in the other.1 This very low standard, although it is a matter of common knowledge that it was interpreted with great liberality, proved to be the greatest physical obstacle to the raising of an army. Under it 21.68 percent of the registrants were rejected, 13 percent more than for any other single cause.2 Later the standard was lowered3 so that men might be "unconditionally accepted for general military service" with a vision of 20/100 in each eye without glasses, provided one eye was correctible to 20/40. For special or limited service they might be accepted with only 20/200 in each eye without glasses, provided one was correctible to 20/40. At the same time a great many defects other than errors of refraction were admitted in both classes, such as squint not interfering with vision, slight nystagmus, and color blindness. Even total blindness in one eye was not a cause for rejection to the limited service class, provided it was not due to progressive or organic change, and the vision of the other eye was normal. Under this incredible standard eye defects still remained one of three leading causes of rejection.
Over ten per cent (10.65) of the registrants were disqualified by them, while defects of the bones and joints and of the heart and blood-vessels ran respectively one and one and a half per cent. higher.4 Most of the revelations about the physical condition of the American people which resulted from the operation of the draft law had been anticipated by persons who had been giving their attention to such matters -- and whose warnings had long fallen upon deaf ears -- but it is doubtful if anyone had formed an adequate conception of the truth regarding the condition of the nation's eyesight. That it should be impossible to raise an army with even half normal vision in one eye, and that one man in every ten rejected for military service should have been unable, even by the aid of glasses, to attain this standard, is a situation so appalling that words fail to characterize it, so incredible that only the most unimpeachable evidence could compel belief in it. Under these circumstances it seems to me the plain duty of anyone who has found any means of controlling the evil in question to give the facts the widest possible publicity.
Most writers on ophthalmology today appear to believe that defective eyesight is part of the price we must pay for civilization. The human eye, they say, was not designed 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, but it is not to be expected, we are told, that it should respond without injury to the new demands. By care it is thought that this injury may be minimized, but to eliminate it wholly is considered to be too much to hope for. Such is the depressing conclusion to which the monumental labors of a hundred years and more have led us.
I have no hesitation in stating that this conclusion is unqualifiedly wrong. Nature did not blunder when she made the human eye, but has given us in this intricate and wonderful mechanism, upon which so much of the usefulness as well as the pleasure of life depends, an organ as fully equal to the needs of civilization as to those of the stone age. After thirty- three years of clinical and experimental work, I have demonstrated to my own satisfaction and that of others that the eye is capable of meeting the utmost demands of civilization; that the errors of refraction which have so long dogged the footsteps of progress, and which have made the raising of an army during the recent war so difficult, are both preventable and curable; and that many other forms of imperfect sight, long held to be incurable, may be either improved or completely relieved.
All these discoveries have been published in the medical press, but while their reliability has never been publicly disputed, the medical profession has so far failed to make use of them. Meantime the sight of our children is being destroyed daily in the schools, and our young men and women are entering life with a defect which, if uncorrected, must be a source of continual misery and expense to them, sometimes ending in blindness or economic ruin. Admitting for the sake of argument that I may be wrong in my conclusion that these things are unnecessary, it is time I was proven to be wrong. I should not be allowed to play on the forlorn hope of a suffering world. If I am right, as I know I am, a suffering world should no longer be deprived of the benefit of my discoveries.
To give publicity to these discoveries and arouse discussion regarding them is one of the objects for which this magazine has been started. At the same time its pages are open to everyone who has any light to throw upon the problem. It has too long been the custom of ophthalmologists to disregard every fact at variance with the accepted theories. Such facts, when observed, have usually not been published, and when published they have either been ignored or explained away in some more or less plausible manner. The management of this magazine wishes to make it a medium for the publication of such facts, which, it may safely be asserted, are known to every, ophthalmologist of any experience, and which, if they had received proper consideration, would long ago have led us out of the blind alley in which we are now languishing.
While I think it may be truthfully said that many of my methods are new and original, other physicians, both in this country and in Europe, have cured themselves and others by treatment without glasses. Lay persons have done the same.
In The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, Oliver Wendell Holmes published a very remarkable case of the cure of presbyopia.
"There is now living in New York State," he says, "an old gentleman who, perceiving his sight to fait immediately took to exercising it on the finest print, and in this way fairly bullied Nature out of her foolish habit of taking liberties at five-and- forty, or thereabouts. And now this old gentleman performs the most extraordinary feats with his pen, showing that his eyes must be a pair of microscopes. I should be, afraid to say how much he writes to the compass of a half-dime, whether the Psalms or the Gospels, or the Psalms and the Gospels, I won't be positive."5
An officer in the American Expeditionary Forces, whose letter is published elsewhere, wrote to me about a year, ago that he has cured himself of presbyopia, and after half a lifetime of misery was entirely free from eye discomfort. There must be many more of these cases, and we want to hear of them.
1 Havard: Manual of Military Hygiene for the Military services of United States, third revised edition 1917, p. 195.
2 Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the First Draft under the Selective Service Act, 1917.
3 Standards of Physical Examination for the Use of Local Boards, District Boards and Medical Advisory Boards under the Selective Service Act, Form 75, issued through office of the Provost Marshal General.
4 Second Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Selective Service System to December 20, 1918.
5 Everyman's Library, 1908, pp. 166 and 167.
For about seventy years it has been believed that the eye accommodates for vision at different distances by changing the curvature of the lens, and this theory has given birth to another, namely, that errors of refraction are due to a permanent organic change in the shape of the eyeball. On these two ideas the whole system of treating errors of refraction is based at the present time.
My experiments and clinical observations have demonstrated that both these theories are wrong.1 They have shown:
(1) That the lens is not a factor in accommodation;
(2) That the change of focus necessary for vision at different distances is brought about by the action of the superior and inferior obliques, which, by their contraction and relaxation, change the length of the eyeball as the length of the camera is changed by the shortening and lengthening of the bellows;
(3) That errors of refraction are due to the abnormal action of these muscles and of the recta, the obliques being responsible for myopia and the recta for hypermetropia, while both may combine in the production of astigmatism;
(4) That this abnormal action of the muscles on the outside of the eyeball is always due to mental strain of some kind.
This being the case it follows that all errors of refraction can be cured by relaxation. All methods of treatment, therefore, are simply different ways of obtaining relaxation. And because it is impossible to relax the eye muscles without relaxing the mind--and the relaxation of the mind means the relaxation of the whole body--it also follows that improvement in the eyesight is always accompanied by an improvement in health and mental efficiency.
The fact that all errors of refraction are functional can often be demonstrated within five minutes. When a person with myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, looks at a blank wall without trying to see, the retinoscope, with a plane mirror, at six feet, indicates, in flashes or more continuously no error of refraction. The conditions should be favorable for relaxation and the doctor should be as much at his ease as the patient.
It can also be demonstrated with the retinoscope that persons with normal sight do not have it all the time.2 When the vision of such persons becomes imperfect at the distance it will be found that myopic refraction has been produced;3 when it becomes imperfect at the near point it will be found that hypermetropia has been produced.
1 Bates: The Cure of Defective Eyesight by Treatment Without Glasses. N. Y. Med. Journ., May 8, 1915. A Study of Images Reflected from the Cornea, Iris, Lens and Sclera. N. Y. Med. Journ., May 18, 1918.
2 Bates: The Imperfect Sight of the Normal Eye. N. Y. Med. Journ., Sept 8, 1917.
3 Bates: The Cause of Myopia. N. Y. Med. Journ., March 16, 1912.
An invariable symptom of all abnormal conditions of the eyes, whether functional or organic, is the loss of central fixation. When a person with perfect vision looks at a letter on the Snellen test card he can always observe that all the other letters in his field of vision are seen less distinctly. He can also observe that when he looks at the bottom of even the smallest letter on the card, the top appears less black and less distinct than the part directly regarded, while the same is true of a letter of diamond type, or of the smallest letters that are printed. When a person with imperfect sight looks at the card he can usually observe that when he can read a line of letters he is able to look at one letter of a line and see it better than the others, but the letters of a line he cannot read may look all alike, or those not directly regarded may even be seen better than the one fixed.
These conditions are due to the fact that when the sight is normal the sensitiveness of the fovea is normal, but when the sight is imperfect, from whatever cause, the sensitiveness of the fovea is lowered, so that the eye sees equally well, or even better, with other parts of the retina. Contrary to what is generally believed, the part seen best when the sight is normal is extremely small. The text-books say that at twenty feet an area having a diameter of a quarter of an inch can be seen with maximum vision, but anyone who tries at this distance to see every part of one of the small letters of the Snellen test card-- the diameter of which is about a quarter of an inch--equally well at one time will immediately become myopic. The fact is that the nearer the point of maximum vision approaches a mathematical point, which has no area, the better the sight.
The cause of this loss of function in the center of sight is mental strain; and as all abnormal conditions of the eyes, organic as well as functional, are accompanied by mental strain, all such conditions must necessarily be accompanied by loss of central fixation. When the mind is under a strain the eye usually goes more or less blind. The center of sight goes blind first, partially or completely, according to the degree of the strain, and if the strain is great enough the whole or the greater part of the retina may be involved. When the vision of the center of sight has been suppressed, partially or completely, the patient can no longer see the point which he is looking at best, but sees objects not regarded directly as well, or better, because the sensitiveness of the retina has now become approximately equal in every part, or is even better in the outer part than in the center. Therefore in all cases of defective vision the patient is unable to see best where he is looking.
This condition is sometimes so extreme that the patient may look as far away from an object as it is possible to see it and yet see it just as well as when looking directly at it. In one case it had gone so far that the patient could see only with the edge of the retina on the nasal side. In other words, she could not see her fingers in front of her face, but could see them if she held them at the outer side of her eye. She had no error of refraction, showing that while every error of refraction is accompanied by eccentric fixation, the strain which causes the one condition is different from that which produces the other. The patient had been examined by specialists in this country and Europe, who attributed her blindness to disease of the optic nerve, or brain; but the fact that vision was restored by relaxation demonstrated that the condition had been due simply to mental strain.
Eccentric fixation, even in its lesser degrees, is so unnatural that great discomfort, or even pain, can be produced in a few seconds by trying to see every part of an area three or four inches in extent at twenty feet, or even less, or an area of an inch or less at the near point, equally well at one time, while at the same time the retinoscope will demonstrate that an error of refraction has been produced. This strain, when it is habitual, leads to all sorts of abnormal conditions and is, in fact, at the bottom of most eye troubles, both functional and organic. The discomfort and pain may be absent, however, in the chronic condition, and it is an encouraging symptom when the patient begins to experience them.
When the eye possesses central fixation it not only possesses perfect sight, but it is perfectly at rest and can be used indefinitely without fatigue. It is open and quiet; no nervous movements are observable; and when it regards a point at the distance the visual axes are parallel. In other words, there are no muscular insufficiencies. This fact is not generally known. The text-books state that muscular insufficiencies occur in eyes having normal sight, but I have never seen such a case. The muscles of the face and of the whole body are also at rest, and when the condition is habitual there are no wrinkles or dark circles around the eyes.
In most cases of eccentric fixation, on the contrary, the eye quickly tires, and its appearance, with that of the face, is expressive of effort or strain. The ophthalmoscope reveals that the eyeball moves at irregular intervals, from side to side, vertically or in other directions. These movements are often so extensive as to be manifest by ordinary inspection, and are sometimes sufficiently marked to resemble nystagmus. Nervous movements of the eyelids may also be noted, either by ordinary inspection, or by lightly touching the lid of one eye while the other regards an object either at the near point or the distance. The visual axes are never parallel, and the deviation from the normal may become so marked as to constitute the condition of squint. Redness of the conjuctiva and of the margins of the lids, wrinkles around the eyes, dark circles beneath them and tearing are other symptoms of eccentric fixation.
Eccentric fixation is a symptom of strain, and is relieved by any method that relieves strain; but in some cases the patient is cured just as soon as he is able to demonstrate the facts of central fixation. When he comes to realize, through actual demonstration of the fact, that he does not see best where he is looking, and that when he looks a sufficient distance away from a point be can see it worse than when he looks directly at it, he becomes able, in some way, to reduce the distance to which he has to look in order to see worse, until he can look directly at the top of a small letter and see the bottom worse, or look at the bottom and see the top worse. The smaller the letter regarded in this way, or the shorter the distance the patient has to look away from a letter in order to see the opposite part indistinctly, the greater the relaxation and the better the sight. When it becomes possible to look at the bottom of a letter and see the top worse, or to look at the top and see the bottom worse, it becomes possible to see the letter perfectly black and distinct. At first such vision may come only in flashes. The letter will come out distinctly for a moment and then disappear. But gradually, if the practice is continued, central 'fixation will become habitual.
Most patients can readily look at the bottom of the big C and see the top worse; but in some cases it is not only impossible for them to do this, but impossible for them to let go of the large letters at any distance at which they can be seen. In these extreme cases it sometimes requires considerable ingenuity, first to demonstrate to the patient that he does not see best where he is looking, and then to help him to see an object worse when he looks away from it than when he looks directly at it. The use of a strong light as one of the points of fixation, or of two lights five or ten feet apart, has been found helpful, the patient when he looks away from the light being able to see it less bright more readily than he can see a black letter worse when he looks away from it. It then becomes easier for him to see the letter worse when he looks away from it. This method was successful in the following case:
A patient with vision of 3/200, when she looked at a point a few feet away from the big C, said she saw the letter better than when she looked directly at it. Her attention was called to the fact that her eyes soon became tired and that her vision soon failed when she saw things in this way. Then she was directed to look at a bright object about three feet away from the card, and this attracted her attention to such an extent that she became able to see the large letter on the test card worse, after which she was able to look back at it and see it better. It was demonstrated to her that she could do one of two things: look away and see the letter better than she did before, or look away and see it worse. She then became able to see it worse all the time when she looked three feet away from it. Next she became able to shorten the distance successively to two feet, one foot and six inches, with a constant improvement in vision; and finally she became able to look at the bottom of the letter and see the top worse, or look at the top and see the bottom worse. With practice she became able to look at the smaller letters in the same way, and finally she became able to read the ten line at twenty feet. By the same method also she became able to read diamond type, first at twelve inches and then at three inches. By these simple measures alone she became able, in short, to see best where she was looking, and her cure was complete.
The highest degrees of eccentric fixation occur in the high degrees of myopia, and in these cases, since the sight is best at the near point, the patient is benefited by practicing seeing worse at this point. The distance can then be gradually extended until it becomes possible to do the same thing at twenty feet. One patient with a high degree of myopia said that the farther she looked away from an electric light the better she saw it, but by alternately looking at the light at the near point and looking away from it she became able, in a short time, to see it brighter when she looked directly at it than when she looked away from it. Later she became able to do the same thing at twenty feet, and then she experienced a wonderful feeling of relief. No words, she said, could adequately describe it. Every nerve seemed to be relaxed, and a feeling of comfort and rest permeated her whole body. Afterward her progress was rapid. She soon became able to look at one part of the smallest letters on the card and see the rest worse, and then she became able to read the letters at twenty feet.
On the principle that a burnt child dreads the fire, some patients are benefited by consciously making their sight worse. When they learn, by actual demonstration of the facts, just how their visual defects are produced, they unconsciously avoid the unconscious strain which causes them. When the degree of eccentric fixation is not too extreme to be increased, therefore, it is a benefit to patients to teach them how to increase it. When a patient has consciously lowered his vision and produced discomfort and even pain by trying to see the big C, or a whole line of letters, equally well at one time, he becomes better able to correct the unconscious effort of the eye to see all parts of a smaller area equally well at one time.
In learning to see best where he is looking it is usually best for the patient to think of the point not directly regarded as being seen less distinctly than the point he is looking at, instead of thinking of the point fixed as being seen best, as the latter practice has a tendency, in most cases, to intensify the strain under which the eye is already laboring. One part of an object is seen best only when the mind is content to see the greater part of it indistinctly, and as the degree of relaxation increases the area of the part seen worse increases until that seen best becomes merely a point.
The limits of vision depend upon the degree of central fixation. A person may be able to read a sign half a mile away when he sees the letters all alike, but when taught to see one letter best he will be able to read smaller letters that he didn't know were there. The remarkable vision of savages, who can see with the naked eye objects for which most civilized persons require a telescope, is a matter of central fixation. Some people can see the rings of Saturn, or the moons of Jupiter, with the naked eye. It is not because of any superiority in the structure of their eyes, but because they have attained a higher degree of central fixation than most civilized persons do.
Not only do all errors of refraction and all functional disturbances of the eye disappear when it sees by central fixation, but many organic conditions are relieved or cured. I am unable to set any limits to its possibilities. I would not have ventured to predict that glaucoma, incipient cataract and syphilitic iritis could be cured by central fixation; but it is a fact that these conditions have disappeared when central fixation was attained. Relief was often obtained in a few minutes, and sometimes this relief was permanent. Usually, however, a permanent cure required more prolonged treatment. Inflammatory conditions of all kinds, including inflammation of the cornea, iris, conjunctiva, the various coats of the eyeball and even the optic nerve itself, have been benefited by central fixation after other methods had failed. Infections, as well as diseases caused by protein poisoning and the poisons of typhoid fever, influenza, syphilis and gonorrhea, have also been benefited by it. Even with a foreign body in the eye there is no redness and no pain so long as central fixation is retained.
Since central fixation is impossible without mental control, central fixation of the eye means central fixation of the mind. It means, therefore, health in all parts of the body, for all the operations of the physical mechanism depend upon the mind. Not only the sight, but all the other senses--touch, taste, hearing and smell--are benefited by central fixation. All the vital processes--digestion, assimilation, elimination, etc.--are improved by it. The symptoms of functional and organic diseases are relieved. The efficiency of the mind is enormously increased. The benefits of central fixation already observed are, in short, so great that the subject merits further investigation.
A TEACHER'S EXPERIENCESEdit
A teacher forty years of age was first treated on March 28, 1919. She was wearing the following glasses: O. D. convex 0.75 D. S. with convex 4.00 D. C., 105 deg.; O. S. convex 0.75 D. S. with convex 3.50 D. C. 105 deg. On June 9, 1919, she wrote:
I will tell you about my eyes, but first let me tell you other things. You were the first to unfold your theories to me, and I found them good immediately--that is, I was favorably impressed from the start. I did not take up the cure because other people recommended it, but because I was convinced: first, that you believed in your discovery yourself; second, that your theory of the cause of eye trouble was true. I don't know how I knew these two things, but I did. After a little conversation with you, you and your discovery both seemed to me to bear the ear-marks of the genuine article. As to the success of the method with myself I had a little doubt. You might core others, but you might not be able to cure me, However, I took the plunge, and it has made a great change in me and my life.
To begin with, I enjoy my sight. I love to look at things, to examine them in a leisurely, thorough way, much as a child examines things. I never realized it at the time, but it was irksome for me to look at things when I was wearing glasses, and I did as little of it as possible. The other day, going down on the Sandy Hook boat, I enjoyed a most wonderful sky without that hateful barrier of misted glasses, and I am positive I distinguished delicate shades of color that I never would have been able to see, even with clear glasses. Things seem to me now to have more form, more reality than when I wore glasses. Looking into the mirror you see a solid representation on a flat surface, and the flat glass can't show you anything really solid. My eye-glasses, of course, never gave me this impression, but one curiously like it. I can see so clearly without them that it is like looking around corners without changing the position. I feel that I can almost do it.
I very seldom have occasion to palm.1. Once in a great while I feel the necessity of it. The same with remembering a period.2 Nothing else is ever necessary. I seldom think of my eyes, but at times it is borne in upon me how much I do use and enjoy using them.
My nerves are much better. I am more equable, have more poise, am less shy. I never used to show that I was shy, or lacked confidence. I used to go ahead and do what was required, if not without hesitation, but it was hard. Now I find it easy. Glasses, or poor sight rather, made me self-conscious. It certainly is a great defect, and one people are sensitive to without realizing it. I mean the poor sight and the necessity for wearing glasses. I put on a pair of glasses the other day just for an experiment, and I found that they magnified things. My skin looked as if under a magnifying glass. Things seemed too near. The articles on my chiffonier looked so close I felt like pushing them away from me. The glasses I especially wanted to push away. They brought irritation at once. I took them off and felt peaceful. Things looked normal.
I see better in the street than I ever did with glasses. I can see what people look like across the street, can distinguish their features, etc., a thing I could not do with glasses, or before I wore them. I can see better across the river and further into people's houses across the street. Not that I indulge, but I noticed an increase of power while looking out of the window in school.
Speaking of school, I corrected an immense pile of examination papers the other day, five hours at a stretch, with an occasional look off the paper and an occasional turn about the room. I felt absolutely no discomfort after it. Two weeks previous to this feat I handled two hundred designs over and over again, looking at each one dozens and dozens of times to note changes and improvement in line and color. Occasionally, while this work was common, I had to palm in the mornings on rising.
I use my eyes with as much success writing, though once in a while after a lot of steady writing they are a little bit tired. I can read at night without having to get close to a light. I mention this because last summer I had to sit immediately under the light, or I could not see.
From the beginning of the treatment I could use my eyes pretty well, but they used to tire. I remember making a large Liberty Loan poster two weeks after I took off my glasses, and I was amazed to find I could make the whole layout almost perfectly without a ruler, just as well as with my glasses. When I came to true it up with the ruler I found only the last row of letters a bit out of line at the very end. I couldn't have done better with glasses. However this wasn't fine work. About the same time I sewed a hem at night in a black dress, using a fine needle. I suffered a little for this, but not much. I used to practice my exercises at that time and palm faithfully. Now I don't have to practice, or palm; I feel no discomfort, and I am absolutely unsparing in my use of my eyes. I do everything I want to with them. I shirk nothing, pass up no opportunity of using them. From the first I did all my school work, read every notice, wrote all that was necessary, neglected nothing. Everything I was called upon to do I attempted. For instance, I had to read President Wilson's "Fourteen Points" in the assembly room without notice in a poor light--unusual wording, too,-and I read it unhesitatingly. I have yet to fail to make good.
Now to sum up the school end of it, I used to get headaches at the end of the month from adding columns of figures necessary to reports, etc. Now I do not get them. I used to get flustered when people came into my room. Now I do not; I welcome them. It is a pleasant change to feel this way. And--I suppose this is most important really, though I think of it last--I teach better. I know how to get at the mind and how to make the children see things in perspective. I gave a lesson on the horizontal cylinder recently, which, you know, is not a thrillingly interesting subject, and it was a remarkable lesson in its results and in the grip it got on every girl in the room, stupid and bright. What you have taught me makes me use the memory and imagination more, especially the latter, in teaching.
Now, to sum up the effect of being cured upon my own mind. I am more direct, more definite, less diffused, less vague. In short, I am conscious of being better centered. It is central fixation of the mind. I saw this in your latest paper, but I realized it long ago and knew what to call it.
1 By palming is meant the covering of the closed eyes with the palms of the hands in such a way as to exclude all the light, while remembering some color, usually black.
2 Bates: Memory as an Aid to Vision. N. Y. Med. Jour., May 24, 1919.
ARMY OFFICER CURES HIMSELFEdit
An engineer, fifty-one years of age, had worn glasses since 1896, first for astigmatism, getting stronger ones every couple of years, and then for astigmatism and presbyopia. At one time he asked his oculist and several opticians if the eyes could not be strengthened by exercises, so as to make glasses unnecessary, but they said: "No. Once started on glasses you must keep to them.” When the war broke out he was very nearly disqualified for service in the Expeditionary Forces by his eyes, but managed to pass the required tests, after which he was ordered abroad as an officer in the Gas Service. While there he saw in the Literary Digest of May 2, 1918, a reference to my method of curing defective eyesight without glasses, and on May 11 he wrote to me in part as follows:
At the front I found glasses a horrible nuisance, and they could not be worn with gas masks. After I had been about six months abroad I asked an officer of the Medical Corps about going without glasses. He said I was right in my ideas and told me to try it. The first week was awful, but I persisted and only wore glasses for reading and writing. I stopped smoking at the same time to make it easier on my nerves.
I brought to France two pairs of bow spectacles and two extra lenses for repairs. I have just removed the extra piece for near vision from these extra tenses and had them mounted as pince-nez, with shur-on mounts, to use for reading and writing, so that the only glasses I now use are for astigmatism, the age lens being off. Three months ago I could not read ordinary headline type in newspapers without glasses. Today, with a good light, I can read ordinary book type (18 point), held at a distance of eighteen inches from my eyes. Since the first week in February, when I discarded my glasses, I have had no headaches, stomach trouble, or dizziness, and am in good health generally. My eyes are coming back, and I believe it is due to sticking it out. I ride considerably in automobiles and trams, and somehow the idea has crept into my mind that after every trip my eyes are stronger. This, I think, is due to the rapid changing of focus in viewing scenery going by so fast.
Other men have tried this plan on my advice, but gave it up after two or three days. Yet, from what they say, I believe they were not so uncomfortable as I was for a week or ten days.
I believe most people wear glasses because they "coddle" their eyes.