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During Sleep – Glaucoma – Treatment, Case Reports – Case One, Case Two - Stories From The Clinic; 95. A
Case of Absolute Glaucoma by Emily C. Lierman – Questions and Answers - Announcement
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE
PREVENTION AND CURE OF IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
Eyestrain During Sleep
people complain that when they awaken in the morning, they are suffering from pain in their eyes or head. They often feel
as weary as though they had been working hard all night long. Many of them do not recover from the pain and fatigue until
after they have been up for an hour or longer. Their vision also may be found to be reduced to a very considerable degree.
Some complain that they see illusions which are occasionally very slow in disappearing. One patient complained that the tiled
floor of a bathroom had a very strange appearance; although the tiles were white, to him they appeared blue and red alternately.
A feeling of strain was always present and did not subside until the illusion had disappeared. It seemed as though the eyes
were under a strain during sleep, because when the eyes were examined with the ophthalmoscope while the patient was asleep,
a strain could readily be observed.
Sometimes, as in the case of many children, other parts of the body may be under
a strain during sleep.
By an unconscious effort, the muscles of the face, arms and limbs may be distorted as may be muscles
of different parts of the eyeball. In some cases, the strain produces accommodation or myopia, while in other cases, hypermetropia
or astigmatism are produced by this unconscious effort. These eyes frequently were found to be normal during the day.
treatment to prevent eyestrain during sleep is not always successful. Some patients obtain most relief by practicing the long
swing one hundred times or more just before retiring and the same number of times in the morning immediately after awakening.
Other patients find that palming for twenty minutes before retiring is a help, and frequently the palms are left in place
with benefit after the patients have lost consciousness.
By W. H. Bates, M.D.
Glaucoma is a serious disease of the eyes which some years ago was considered incurable when chronic.
In most cases, the eyeball was usually too hard and this is the symptom which more than any other was the strongest evidence
we had that the eye was suffering from glaucoma. The field of vision was contracted on the nasal side and the pupil was usually
more or less dilated; the cornea was not as sensitive as the normal eye. Sometimes the anasthesia, or that condition in which
the cornea is not sensitive to the touch of a blunt pointed instrument, was quite marked. One characteristic symptom was the
apparent appearance of colors around the flame of a candle or some other similar light.
Glaucoma is a disease of adult
life and seldom occurs in children. Its uncertainty is unusual. For example, a person with normal eyes and normal sight may
retire feeling perfectly comfortable. Sometime in the middle of the night, he may be awakened by a very intense pain, with
total permanent blindness in both eyes from glaucoma. In a limited number of cases, pain may be absent, although the vision
may be partially lowered. The sudden onset may not occur, but one or both eyes may slowly, without pain, after a long time,
a year or longer, become totally blind.
In the American Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology, the article on glaucoma consists
of 170 pages of solid type, describing facts connected with the symptoms, cause and treatment of glaucoma. These facts are
so numerous that the writer did not have to repeat himself. He emphasized how little ophthalmologists actually knew about
glaucoma. It is evident that many theories cannot all be true.
One authority claimed that the cause of glaucoma was connected
with a loss of the iris angle (that part of the eye which is located at the outer part of the iris), when a formation of new
tissue, resembling scar tissue, formed in the iris angle and acted as a sort of plug preventing the proper circulation of
fluids of the eyeball, when there was less fluid in the front part of the eyeball than is found in the front part of the normal
eye. Many cases were benefited by an iredectome, an operation in which a portion of the iris is removed. This theory went
the way of some of the others when numerous exceptions were observed.
Another authority claimed that dilation of the
pupil was an important factor in the cause of glaucoma. However, many cases were found in which the pupil was contracted as
much, and in many cases more, than in the normal eye.
The results of the various methods of treatment which were suggested
and practiced have been so disappointing, that we hesitate to foretell what may happen after any of them have been practiced.
It was a very welcome discovery made by my assistant, Ms. Lierman, that the relief of eyestrain always lessens tension,
relieves pain and improves the vision. The discovery that relaxation methods cured glaucoma suggested that the cause was due
to eyestrain. Experimental work proved this to be true. All methods of treatment which promote relaxation always benefit glaucoma.
When the vision is good, a stare or strain or an effort made to see, brings on an attack of glaucoma. It is a difficult thing
consciously to produce glaucoma by an effort to see. It is much easier to relax and benefit glaucoma. The writer has always
felt great satisfaction in convincing patients that in order to have glaucoma and blindness, they had to go to a lot of trouble,
work hard, and strain in order to produce it, but to benefit glaucoma was easy and required no effort whatever.
By seeing one part of a letter best and all the rest of the letter not so
well (central fixation), the letters of the Snellen test card appear improved to the maximum. Sometimes one has trouble in
imagining central fixation of all the letters. On a card at fifteen feet, a patient with glaucoma could not imagine the letter
“F” by central fixation, but the figure “6” of the same size and at the same distance was imagined
by central fixation quite readily. The patient became able to imagine a period on the top of the figure “6” and
the rest of the letter appeared worse. Usually, however, when looking at the letter “F,” a period could not be
imagined on any part of it. Sometimes, however, after the figure “6” was seen by central fixation, the patient
could, by alternately shifting from the “6” to the “F,” imagine the letter also, by central fixation.
I might say that there were times when the figure “6” was an optimum and the letter “F” a pessimum.
Then, there were other occasions when the figure “6” was not an optimum and the symptoms of glaucoma were variable,
changing, increasing, and diminishing. It is well to remember this truth, because when the patient found which letter was
an optimum, or could be seen by central fixation, he was enabled to improve his vision for other letters, together with simultaneous
improvement in the glaucoma.
Some of the best methods of producing relaxation are the practice of the long swing, the
variable swing, the sway, palming and sun treatment. There are some people who cannot practice a certain swing correctly until
after weeks of instruction. They are full of excuses and are quite ready to find fault with the method rather than with their
own lack of practicing properly.
(The above mentioned methods have been described from time to time in previous issues
of the magazine.)
Glaucoma may be produced solely by the memory of imperfect sight. If a person with normal eyes and
normal vision presses lightly on the eyeballs through the closed eyelids and remembers or imagines a letter “O”
with a gray, blurred outline very imperfect, the eyeball can be felt to increase in hardness. When the patient remembers a
letter “O” perfectly, the hardness of the eyeball disappears and the eyes become normal as they were before. These
experiments are offered as proof that the memory of imperfect sight is a strain which may produce glaucoma, and the memory
of perfect sight a relaxation, which will relieve glaucoma. When the eye shifts, moves and uses central
fixation the eye has normal softness and pressure.
One patient with acute glaucoma together with cataract could
not distinguish 10/200, or the large “C” at the top of the Snellen test card. By looking at a light off to one
side and flashing 10/200 alternately, the vision improved almost immediately to 10/30. She was able to remember the light
when regarding the Snellen test card for a few seconds only. By alternately looking at the light and regarding the Snellen
test card, her memory for the light improved, while her memory for the letters of the Snellen test card also improved.
She seemed to need supervision, because when practicing by herself, she did not flash the letters or look at them for a
moment only. She stared at the light and the Snellen test card and instead of her vision improving, it became worse and it
required encouragement to induce the patient to flash letters or other objects.
The memory was also improved by the
practice of central fixation. When she looked at the first letter of a line of letters (placed in the
center of the visual field) on the Snellen test card, she saw the other letters on the same line (in
the peripheral field) not so well; the memory of letters and other objects seen by central fixation became very much
better in a short time. The patient’s memory was also improved by the imagination of the halos, that is, when she regarded
a white center of a letter “O” and imagined that she saw it whiter than the rest of the card, her memory and the
halos also improved.
A woman, fifty years of age, was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, incipient
cataract and chronic glaucoma. After daily treatment for six months, the vision was improved from 10/200 to normal. Palming,
shifting and swinging gave the best results. She acquired the habit of imagining stationary objects to be constantly moving.
The objects in her rooms, the furniture, window shades, the rugs, the ceiling, in fact all stationary objects seen could be
imagined to be moving whenever she moved her head and eyes. Alternately looking at the sun and stationary objects in the house
improved her sight. When she was out of doors, she imagined the sidewalk to be coming towards her, or if she looked to one
side, that the buildings or other objects were moving in the opposite direction. (Oppositional Movement)
Another method which helped her was to stand before a window and imagine the curtain cord to be moving in the
opposite direction as she swayed her body from side to side, while a building in the distance appeared to be moving
in the same direction as the movement of her body.
Oppositional Movement = When moving the eyes,
head, body left, right, up, down, any direction: close objects appear to move in the opposite direction, distant objects appear
to move in the same direction the eyes, head, body move to and close and distant objects appear to move against eachother
in opposite directions.
Distant objects actually appear to move opposite but move so slow in the opposite direction that
they appear to move in the same direction the eyes, head, body are moving to. The function of oppositional movement helps
the brain determine depth, distance, placement, space of objects at different distances, dimension, 3-D vision, binocular
vision, fusion, ability to calculate the time it takes to travel to, from a object… and other functions of the brain,
body, visual system. (Opposite movement of distant objects can be seen when looking at-shifting on the object with only a
small head movement with the eyes no longer than the shift of the eyes.) If you increase the head movement, as when doing
the sway or the long swing, then the distant object will appear to move with the eyes.)
very interesting to observe that the pigment spots of the retinitis pigmentosa were disappearing from view; the symptoms of
glaucoma also disappeared gradually. When she remembered perfect sight, one could, with the ophthalmoscope, see the cataract
immediately becoming less. When she remembered imperfect sight, the cataract became very opaque. Besides obtaining normal
sight for the distance, she became able to read diamond type at six inches without glasses.
In the beginning of the treatment,
the left eye was the better eye. However, the left eye was treated for more than six months before normal vision was obtained,
while the vision of the right eye improved from 10/200 to 20/20 after only one week of treatment.
This patient was very
grateful for the benefit she received and could not understand why many of the ophthalmologists whom she had consulted previously
did not refer her to me. Her constant question was: “If these other doctors could not cure me, why did they not send
me to the doctor who could?”
A physician had been in the habit of attending a gymnasium and after he had finished with his exercises
he usually bathed in the pool. The exercise and the bathing seemed to agree with him perfectly and although he had been taking
these baths almost daily, no injury to his eyes could be detected. One night he was awakened by a severe pain in both eyes,
which stopped only after the use of morphine. In the morning he was practically blind.
The doctor whom he consulted said
that he was suffering from glaucoma and iritis. The iris was inflamed and the pupil opaque from the presence of inflammatory
exudation. The eyeballs were very hard. This severe inflammation continued for more than six months. Accidentally, he heard
of my method and came to see me, very hopeful. He told me, after relating the above, that he had had my book read to him and
that he had felt decidedly encouraged.
Upon examining him, I found the eyeballs very hard, his field of vision contracted
more on the nasal side than elsewhere; the pupils of both eyes contracted and his sight reduced to 1/200. He asked me if I
thought that his eyes had been infected or if he had injured his eyes by striking the water when he dove into it. I told him
that I did not believe that had anything to do with it, and that his trouble was brought on by mental strain.
was advised to practice at home those measures which had already improved his sight while he was at my office, palming, swinging
and sun treatment. At his second visit, a few days later, he was further encouraged. The redness of the white part of the
eyes had entirely disappeared. The pupil was no longer contracted, but was dilated to the same extent as is found in most
He was much pleased that the sun treatment had been of marked benefit. He said that he had read in many
eye books that persons suffering from iritis should protect their eyes from the injurious effects of the light by wearing
dark glasses. He also said that he was convinced that the sunlight and other forms of light were a benefit to his iritis and
not an injury.
His condition continued to improve, and in a few days he was able to read the large type of a newspaper
without discomfort. I said to him: “why don’t you read the small type?” He answered that he was afraid he
would strain his eyes. My answer to this was to hand him a card on which was printed some sentences of diamond type. He was
able, much to his surprise, to read the diamond type at about six inches. This amused him so much that one could hear him
laughing almost a block away. He compared his ability to read fine type with his ability to read the large type of a newspaper
and found that the diamond type was easier. He said: “Why is it that I see the diamond type easier than I do the large
print?” I replied that it was because in order to read the diamond type, his mind had to be relaxed. If he strained,
he could not read it. If he could not read it, he strained. He was advised to read as much diamond type as he had time for.
The patient was encouraged to keep up the treatment until a complete cure was obtained.
A Case Of Absolute Glaucoma
By Emily C. Lierman
This article contains descriptions, directions for a variety of Bates Treatments
A man, aged 68, with absolute glaucoma was brought to me by his physician,
who was quite sure that the Bates Method could do nothing to restore his sight. This man had had three operations on both
eyes; the first operation was performed in the year 1924. He had no perception of light in the right eye and could see but
very little with his left eye, not more than 1/200. The doctor who brought him was the most skeptical person I have ever come
in contact with. His manner in regard to the method was almost insulting, and I resented his attitude very much. I had a conversation
with him over the telephone previous to the appointment which was made with his patient. He was to give me an hour with this
man, and if at the end of that time I could improve the patient’s sight, even a particle, he would believe that Dr.
Bates was right when he claimed that glaucoma was curable by his method.
I never felt more determined in my life to do
the best that was in me for this patient. Before the hour of his appointment, I sent him my book, “Stories from the
Clinic” by special messenger to him and asked him to read what I had written about the relief of strain in glaucoma.
When the doctor entered my office with his patient, one could see by his face that he was ready to prove that his patient
would receive no benefit in his sight. I was in a fighting mood myself and my eyes, I feel sure, told him of my determination
to prove that he was wrong and I was right. I informed the doctor immediately that even though his patient was a wealthy man,
I would not accept a fee at this time, but if the patient received further treatment from me or from Dr. Bates, he would have
to pay a bonus in advance besides the regular fee, for the hard work which would be before us. As I look back upon that day
and hour which I spent with his patient, I realize how hard I worked.
The right eye, as I have said, had no sight at
all because the retina was almost destroyed and there were other complications caused by the operations. Because of this,
it was not necessary for my patient to cover his right eye while the left eye was being tested.
I produced the white
test card with black letters, as the patient sat by a window with the sunlight shining on the whole card. I watched to see
what effect the strong light reflected on the card would produce. Immediately the patient drew back, as if the strong light
hurt his sight. I was pleased to note this, as I knew then that the patient was sensitive to the strong light which, of course,
was in my favor, because sun treatment would overcome this sensitiveness and probably improve the vision. The doctor made
no comment. At one foot from his eyes, the patient could flash the 2 (200 line) letter “C”
as he moved the card slowly from left to right before his eyes. More than that, he could not see without causing a great deal
of effort. Then I changed the card and replaced it with the black test card with white letters, placing the card in his hand
as I had the white card. I directed the patient to keep the card moving slowly from side to side and to blink as he moved
the card. By doing this, he flashed the 100 line letters, one at a time. Occasionally, I glanced at the doctor’s face
to see whether he was pleased or not. He might have been a sphinx for the lack of interest which he showed.
My next plan
was to have the patient palm, which I told him how to do, and while he was palming, I asked him to tell me what interests
he had in life. He said he was a banker, so I advised him to remember figures on bank notes as well as he could; also to remember
other things in regard to the work which he is most interested in. I avoided any unpleasant conversation regarding his eye
trouble, which he unconsciously referred to from time to time.
I explained to him that his poor sight worried him more
than he realized, but if he believed in what I was trying to do for him, he would not feel so hopeless in time to come. Jokingly,
and half in earnest, I remarked, “You must have a better attitude of mind than your doctor has at the present time,”
which brought for the first time a smile to the face of the doctor. The patient said he was willing to believe that I could
help him and I know that he meant it.
While the patient was palming, I placed the large black test card with white letters
upon a test-card stand, which I arranged five feet from where the patient was sitting, and in an ordinary light. Again I looked
at the doctor, but he made no sign of being in doubt or otherwise. This would have been discouraging, I know, to most of our
students, but I have had so much experience with people like him, that I paid no more attention to him than if he were not
in the room. It was the only way for me to keep from either weeping or gnashing my teeth.
After the patient had palmed
for more than ten minutes and had removed his hands from his eyes, I asked him to stand. As I held both his arms at the elbow,
I asked him to sway from side to side with me. Of his own accord the patient remarked, with a smile, how relaxing it was to
sway his body, and that he enjoyed doing it. At first he did not recognize the card where I had placed it, and I myself did
not mention to him what I had done while he was palming. I told him that he was to keep up the swing of his body until he
discovered the test card and was able to read some of the letters. I also informed him that he was not to try hard to see
any letter, but to keep up the sway.
Anyone interested in our work can imagine how happy I was to hear him say, “I
think the middle letter of the third line is an ‘O’.” Before I allowed him to go any further, I told him
to sit down again and palm. I felt that the palming had had as much to do with the improvement in his sight as did the swinging
of his body. While the patient was palming, I told him to remember anything which was pleasant, that it did not matter much
what it was. Some patients enjoy remembering a sunset, or a white cloud in a blue sky. I reminded him of these things and
also told him it was necessary for him to shift from one thing to another and not to concentrate on any one thing.
he palmed, he said that he had had a bad habit for years of concentrating or trying to concentrate, which he thought was beneficial,
but now realized that this produced more strain and discomfort. It was nice to hear the patient explain these little things
to me, because it proved to the doctor who brought him that he was anxious to help me in what I was trying to do for him.
This time the patient palmed for about fifteen minutes and then we started the standing sway of the body, having him blink
regularly as he did before. This time, he read every letter of the 5 line (also called 50 line on other
eyecharts), seeing one letter at a time and looking away quickly to avoid staring. A great feeling of satisfaction
came over me as I saw that the doctor was watching the patient closely. Nothing was said, however, because we both felt the
need of silence at this time.
The patient began to strain unconsciously to read the next line of letters, but I avoided
having him read any further until he had again rested his eyes by palming. This time it was not necessary for me to again
remind him to use his memory, for he immediately mentioned how white the letters looked on the black background when he did
not look at the card longer than a fraction of a second: I said that it was a good thing for him to alternately remember the
black margin of the card and then remember the white letters as he saw them, or if he possibly could, without an effort, to
imagine the letters whiter than he really saw them. After he had rested his eyes in this way for ten minutes or longer, I
placed him in the sun, and with my sun-glass I focused the strong rays on his closed eyelids. Some patients draw away when
they first receive the sun treatment, but this patient enjoyed the strong light of the sun from the start, which made it easier
for me to treat him.
After the sun treatment, he again read the test card at the same distance, and this time, he read
all of the 3 line. (30 line) The patient turned to me and thanked me for my efforts and for what I had done for him. He also
told me that he would try to do without the strong magnifying glass which he had been using for a few years to help him in
his work. l explained how dangerous it was for him to continue the use of the magnifying glass even though it helped him to
see things better at the time. As this patient had never heard of the Bates Method before, I am not sure that he realized
the importance of what I explained to him. I really helped him and improved his vision from 1/200 to 1/6 of normal in one
hour’s time under unfavorable conditions, for which he was grateful.
As the time for the treatment was over, I
had to let the patient go, but I had satisfied the skeptical doctor who not only fought me with his mind, but also tried to
prove to me that Dr. Bates’ statements were false when he claimed to relieve tension in glaucoma and also improve the
sight when other methods had failed.
I never saw this patient again, because he lived a great distance from my office,
but I feel sure that the doctor is no longer skeptical, but is at this time helping others in the cure of imperfect sight
Q - I have a high degree of myopia.
Approximately how long will it take to obtain a cure by your method?
A. - It is impossible to say, as people vary so
in their response to the treatment.
Few minutes, hour, day, week, month, year - depending on the
individuals type/amount of strain, understanding and correct use of the Bates Method.
Q - How often should one
with imperfect sight palm during the day and for how long?
A - Palming should be done as often as possible during the
day, ten times at least, for five, ten, fifteen, minutes or longer at a time. Some people obtain more benefit from short periods
than from longer periods.
Q - Am forty-nine years of
age and have had to wear glasses for five years, due to gradual weakening of the eyes. Is this curable?
A - Old-age sight
is curable, and you can discard your glasses by following the methods as outlined in the book, “Perfect Sight Without
Q - If one’s arms become tired while palming, will a black silk handkerchief covering the eyes
produce the same amount of relaxation one gets from palming?
A - No. Palming is the best method for relaxation and improvement
in vision. When tired of palming, the hands can be removed and the eyes kept closed until one feels relaxed.
Q - Can the vision be improved without glasses after the lens has been removed
A - Yes.
Q - Can squint
(crossed, wandering eyes) be cured by treatment without glasses after an eye muscle operation
proved unsuccessful? Does age make any difference?
A - Yes. Age does not make a difference.
Q - Will it still be necessary to continue practicing the method of swinging and shifting after my
eyes are cured?
A – No. When you are cured of eyestrain you will not be conscious of your eyes. However, if you
strain them, you will know what to do to relieve the strain.
– Is it a strain to the eyes to read while riding on a train?
A – No, if there is no discomfort. It is a
good thing to look out of the window and see the scenery moving in the opposite direction to that in which you are going,
and then continue to read.
Q – What causes and cures abnormal watering of the eyes?
A – Strain produces watering
of the eye. Relaxation obtained by palming and swinging will cure this trouble.
tinted, colored, UV blocking lenses, eyeglasses, contact lenses.