How To Avoid Nearsightedness
We have met the enemy and they is us. - Walt Kelly
It is difficult for us to change our habits of thought and practice, even when they lead to unhappy consequences. Very few of us will accept an uncommon proposal if that proposal involves the use of a preventive lens on the (almost) normal eye.
You must eventually decide how worthwhile maintaining normal 20/20 vision (focal state 0.0 to +1.5 diopters) is to you. If a plus lens is thrust upon you and you do not understand the reasons why you must use the lens, it is unlikely that you will persist in the effort long enough to achieve the desired result.
Only you can know how much effort you have actually put into your plus lens use. It is you who must verify that your eyes were 20/40 when you started using the lens and that your eyes have changed in value from 20/40 to 20/20 after several months of intensive plus lens use.
Up to the 1960's there was no high quality experimental data available by which one could judge the normal eye's behavior. For the last 25 years, increasingly better quality experimental data has been presented which does establish the fundamental behavior characteristic of the eye. To my knowledge, this information has never been made clearly and consistently available to the layman who has a compelling desire to avoid myopia. Such a person, with proper assistance, is most likely to make effective use of the recommended approach described in this book.
The analysis in the book concerns only nearsightedness that results from the fundamental behavioral characteristic of the normal eye. Since most nearsightedness is of this type, major emphasis is placed on the study and resolution of the normal eye's behavior.
We should learn from the man who successfully defeated the myopia situation. Dr. Stirling Colgate details his struggle and success with the problem in the following paragraphs.
"Science has progressed to understanding this mechanism of slow adaptation of the relaxed focal length (focal state) of the eye to its average focal environment. A significant number (several dozen) professional people in ophthalmology and related disciplines have empirically and intuitively come to the same conclusions (that nearsightedness is preventable) and unsuccessfully attempted, even with the dedication of a lifetime, to reverse the orthodox view of solely genetically determined eye focus."
"Many individuals in the ophthalmology profession have not yet recognized a mechanism of slow adaptation of the relaxed focal length (focal state) of the eye to its mean focal environment for various reasons. Among these reasons are:"
"Now I assume that you are young, 8 to 20 years old; have recently (within months) started or gone nearsighted and don't want to go on with thicker and thicker negative lenses for distant vision. You buy and wear positive lens reading glasses for all your reading -- or anything up close, and even for some of the rest of the time. You might get a bit of a headache at first; if so, decide which comes first -- the headache or myopia, and adjust the use of the positive lenses accordingly. Monitor your own mean relaxed focus, i.e., distance vision at least once a day.
"I may or may not be average but it took me only 2 weeks when I was 14 years old to return my initial myopia (about 20/80) to normal vision, i.e., (20/20) eyesight. (20/20 vision means that you can see at 20 feet what a "normal" person sees at 20 feet.) Twenty feet is almost the same as infinity; (20/80) vision is the start of myopia. I could see at 20 feet what good eyes could see at 80 feet. I was studious, slightly shy, introverted type -- which also included, fortunately for me, a course in physics at that age. That is when I first understood the simple facts about lenses and optics and the absurdity of using a negative lens when I was becoming nearsighted.
"I bought my own reading glasses in the dime store. They were plus 2.5 diopters and stronger than I needed, but they did the trick in a hurry. If you catch the start of myopia before the lens muscle spasm leads to irreversible lengthening of the eyeball (change of focal state), then it seems that the eyesight returns to 'normal' rapidly.
"If you make up your mind what value the mean relaxed focal distance you want in life, you can manage or lead your eye to that condition. When several times I lost my reading glasses during the war (World War II), I could not get them replaced by military optometrists because my glasses were not orthodox. I rapidly became myopic again; at 17 I read a lot in the Merchant Marine. I restored my vision to 20/20 as soon as I could purchase positive lens reading glasses when I returned to the States.
"During the war there was much social pressure to get into the officers' college training programs, but 20/20 was required. A few optometrists recognized the need and they prescribed positive lens glasses for myopic young people who desperately wanted to get into the Navy V-12 training program. This technique worked for many who were moderately myopic. An optometrist at Cornell was surprised that I had been doing this successfully since the age of 14.