Eye Doctors for Vision Improvement
The following eye doctors are actively helping people see more clearly and comfortably without glasses or surgery. Their clinical experience has shown them that with the right visual environment and eyeglass prescription, myopia (nearsightedness) can be prevented or reduced. In addition to prescribing special therapeutic glasses and vision training programs, some of these doctors address emotional, nutritional, and other general health issues that affect vision.
Steve Gallop, O. D., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
“Dr. Gallop specializes in myopia reduction. He has helped countless people prevent, reduce or eliminate the need to wear lenses to see clearly in the distance. Nearsightedness (myopia) frequently gets worse due to wearing the lenses prescribed by most doctors to ‘correct’ the problem.” (from Dr. Gallop’s home page) . . . “Lenses that are worn to see clearly in the distance do not accomplish the goal of seeing comfortably and efficiently close up. Specially prescribed near lenses are required. These lenses will increase comfort, productivity, and endurance. They will, in many cases, permanently increase distance clarity as well.” (from Dr. Gallop’s article on nearsightedness).
Read Dr. Gallop’s article on myopia reduction and other articles on vision improvement
Merrill Bowan, O.D., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
“The main factors in preventing nearsightedness are proper nutrition, preventive lenses to protect normal farsightedness, proper visual hygiene, and stress reduction techniques . . . Preventive lenses - “Plus 50” or “Plus 75” reading lenses are powerful tools against myopia for most students, beginning as early as second grade for most, though some students are showing signs of this developmental nearsightedness by the middle of first grade . . . There are no guarantees that preventive lenses will work for any particular individual, but research shows that they do work 60-70% of the time. Our only other option is to do nothing and watch the 60-70% of at-risk people get worse and worse vision.” (from Dr. Bowan’s article on preventing nearsightedness.)Joel Roffer, O.D., Farmington, Connecticut:
Read Dr. Bowan’s collection of articles on myopia
“I have been practicing for 33 years and I believe in plus lenses and undercorrecting myopia for myopia reduction and stabilization.”Donald Janiuk, O.D., Poway (metro San Diego), California:
“I always tell myopic parents I want to try to prevent their children from ending up like us myopes. If I see their hyperopia dropping near plano, I will always suggest plus lenses to relieve near point accommodative stress as well as give them behavioral and environmental suggestions that will reduce the accommodative stress of their school work” . . . “Based on over thirty years of clinical experience I have found that those myopes who remove their distance Rx, and/or if necessary wear an appropriate stress relieving near Rx rarely progress to any significant degree. Those myopes who continue to wear their distance Rx for prolonged near work will almost universally develop more myopia than those who remove their distance Rx for near work.”
James B. Mayer, O. D., Thousand Oaks (metro Los Angeles), California:
“In some cases, problems with eye focusing, eye coordination, or visual function can contribute to the development or progression of nearsightedness. In such cases, a program of Vision Therapy can be used to slow the progression or reduce the severity of nearsightedness. Vision Therapy is used to treat both children and adults.” (from Dr. Mayer’s page on myopia) . . . “The basis for natural vision improvement is that visual stress results in vision changes. Some people that do a lot of close work gradually become more efficient in close seeing but sacrifice distance vision. They are called nearsighted or myopic. The opposite is true of farsighted or hyperopic patients - they have a difficult time in bringing in near focus. Folks with astigmatism have difficulty at distance and near. As we mature, presbyopia becomes a problem because reading becomes blurry. Clinically we find that lens prescriptions can often be reduced substantially.” (from Dr. Mayer’s page on vision therapy)
Larry A. Jebrock, O. D., Novato (metro San Francisco), California:
“I’ve been offering therapy for the prevention and treatment of nearsightedness, astigmatism, farsightedness, and other vision problems since 1971. The first step in transforming your eyesight, healing your vision, and improving how you think and feel is to understand your visual behavior patterns. I work with my patients on breaking up the behavior patterns that lead to vision problems, and help them train the muscles in their eyes to become more flexible so that they can see more clearly without glasses. I offer integrated and comprehensive treatment plans, which include Orthokeratology as well plus lens therapy for nearsightedness, visual behavior modification, nutritional balancing, and transformational imagery.”
Ray Gottlieb, O.D., Ph.D., Rochester, New York:
Dr. Gottlieb has invented eye exercises and written articles on myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (bifocalsightedness), syntonics (color) therapy, behavioral optometry, education (curriculum development), and brain theory (the phase-conjugate, optical brain). He has written two books: Attention and Memory Training for Children and The Fundamentals of Flow in Learning Music (with Rebecca Penneys). His exercise to eliminate presbyopia has been translated into five languages and has also been made into a video program called “The Read Without Glasses Method.” ... In Rochester, New York he practices vision therapy working with learning and attention disorders, brain trauma, myopia and presbyopia prevention, and cross-eye/lazy-eye. He is Staff Optometrist at the Rochester Psychiatric Center, and Consultant-Trainer for the Rochester City School District. (from Ray Gottlieb’s page at RebeccaPenneys.com)
Steve Leung, Optometrist, Hong Kong, China:
“The minus lens is merely an aid to vision, i.e., compensation by external means. In the majority of cases, naked-eye vision gets worse with the traditional minus lens correction. . . . At times, the best that I can do is to emphasize that the use of (minus lens) glasses be restricted to chalk board, and always must be removed after class. . . . The earlier age you begin wearing the minus lens, the faster vision deteriorates. The minus lens can make vision worse all by itself! Many scientists, engineers and health workers have formed this opinion — that the minus lens is definitely harmful to young kid’s long-term vision. . . . . My goal is to look to the future and begin preventive methods which can be effective for the child who is on the threshold of myopia. Today, I make it clear that my mission and task is to try my best to discuss the alternate opinion on the therapeutic use of the plus lens — instead of the compensatory use of minus lens. . . . I have supported several hundred children with the plus lens since 2001. The long term effect of the lens is developing, and results will become better as the use becomes more complete. Most of the children retain their current refractive (focal) status and few of them achieved significant vision improvement. Although it is unusual, there have been several cases of complete vision recovery!” (From his article on awakening to the possibility of preventing myopia on ChinaMyopia.org)
Thomas Aller, O.D., San Bruno (Metro San Francisco), CA:
“I was taught in school that myopia is a genetic condition. There were no effective means to control myopia progression, at least none that were proven in controlled trials, and there was no point in trying as myopia was genetic. When Goss and Grosvenor published a reanalysis of their original bifocal paper showing that bifocal spectacles do, in fact, work for children with esophoria, I started using bifocal and progressive spectacles for that type of patient with much more frequency and with more confidence. I found a little under 50% reduction in myopia progression rates in these patients as compared to their rates when wearing single vision lenses. When a somewhat inexpensive bifocal soft contact lens was introduced in the early 1990’s, I started using it and started to track progression rates. It was very exciting and gratifying to find that there was a 90% reduction in progression rates, and it has been my primary method for treating myopia ever since.
Why they work as well as they do is still subject to much speculation. The primary theories are: 1. Bifocals work for esophores, bifocal contacts work better because their bifocal power is available no matter how they are used; 2. Bifocal contact lenses expose the retina to conflicting images, i.e. an image in front of the retina (anti-myopia stimulus) and an image on the retina (myopia-neutral); or 3. Bifocal contact lenses lessen peripheral retina hyperopic defocus and lessen a primary stimulus to growth characteristic of all spectacle and contact lens corrections for myopia. Or maybe all three, or it is something else, but in any case in my mind it has been settled that they are very effective.
As to whether there are methods for preventing myopia, prior to myopia, it’s a little more difficult to say and I have no studies to report. I do consider a gradual reduction in hyperopia in a child of age 6-8 to be the same as a progression in myopia — they are just starting on the other side of zero. So, particularly for children that exhibit eso fixation disparity at near with no hyperopic correction in place, I will prescribe reading glasses usually at the level necessary to eliminate the fixation disparity.
I expect that these research findings will cause major changes in how myopia is treated and if implemented widely will result in much less myopia and eventually, less blinding complications of high myopia. As a result of ongoing and future research, there will be contact lens corrections and other types of corrections that will be able to reduce myopia progression, yet offer better vision quality than existing bifocal contact lenses. I hope my colleagues will adopt these new strategies and I expect that they will, once the (new) studies are widely reported.”
(see Bifocal soft contact lenses as a possible myopia control treatment: a case report involving identical twins by Thomas A. Aller and Christine Wildsoet)
David L. Guyton, M.D., Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore, MD:
“According to old-wives’ tales, wearing glasses makes the eyes worse. Generations of ophthalmologists and optometrists have told their patients just the opposite, that the eye’s development is predetermined by genetics and cannot be affected by glasses. A growing body of animal and human research, however, suggests that the old wives were right after all.” (From Dr. Guyton’s 1995 article The Dilemma of Early Myopia, in HealthNews from the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine; read more...)Diane Serex-Dougan, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., Parkville (Metro Baltimore), MD:
“Although I have no hard data to substantiate my practice, I resist prescribing correction for myopia in children until the uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity decreases to the point of beginning to cause difficulty in school, usually when it becomes worse than 20/30, which occurs when the refraction reaches about -1.50 D. I then prescribe close to the full minus correction, perhaps 0.25 to 0.50 D less, but I admonish the children to use the glasses only when needing to see clearly in the distance. When doing any prolonged reading or other activity up close, including computer work, I encourage them to take their glasses off. Nevertheless, I find that the glasses are soon used full-time, and the myopia progresses.
Empirically, the only method that I have found to provide clear distance vision while slowing the progression of the myopia, short of the chronic use of atropine, is the prescription of flat-top bifocal lenses with +3.00 or +4.00 D adds, with the tops of the segments placed quite high, actually dividing the pupils in straight ahead gaze. The difficulty with these is the cosmetic stigma of the line in the lenses, and within 1 to 3 years these often have to be abandoned when contact lenses are demanded.
Once we eventually determine the biologic and neurochemical mechanisms causing the progression of myopia, we shall likely be able to devise preventive measures that are actually effective.” (personal statement, June 2008)
“I have worked with many young people who are in the early stages of myopia development. I don’t necessarily treat the ‘myopia’ per se. I treat the reason why the person is becoming myopic. Usually these individuals have problems with the integration of their binocular (convergence/eye teaming) system with their accommodative (focusing) system. Additionally, they may have gross motor issues, spatial issues, etc. Those are the visual problems I work with. In general, when most of those problems are resolved, the acuity improves.
I usually also prescribe a pair of nearpoint/stress relieving lenses also for their close work.
Can myopia be reduced? Basically the answer is ‘yes!’ Prescribing corrective lenses is like treating diabetes (Type II) with meds only. The best approach is to work with the patient to reduce the stress on the pancreas. I work to reduce the overall visual stress that the patient has. ” (personal statement, July 2009)