Preface vii


Introductory 1

Prevalence of errors of refraction - Believed to be incurable and practically unpreventable - The eye regarded as a blunder of Nature - Facts which seem to justify this conclusion - Failure of all efforts to prevent the development of eye defects - Futility of prevailing methods of treatment - Conflict of facts with the theory of incurability of errors of refraction - These facts commonly explained away or ignored - The author unable to ignore them, or to accept current explanations - Finally forced to reject accepted theories.


Simultaneous Retinoscopy . . . . . 17

Retinoscopy the source of much of the information presented in this book - What the retinoscope is - Its possibilities not realized - Commonly used only under artificial conditions - Used by the author under the conditions of life on human beings and the lower animals - Thus many new facts were discovered - Conflict of these facts with accepted theories - Resulting investigations.


Evidence For the Accepted Theory of Accommodation . . . . . . . 23

Development of the theory - Behavior of the lens in accommodation as noted by Helmholtz - General acceptance of these observations as facts - Abandonment by Arlt of the true explanation of accommodation - Inability of Helmholtz to explain satisfactorily the supposed change of form in the lens - Question still unsettled - Apparent accommodation in lensless eyes - Curious and unscientific theories advanced to account for it - Voluntary production of astigmatism - Impossibility of reconciling it with the theory of an inextensible eyeball.



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The Truth About Accommodation As Demonstrated By Experiments on the Eye Muscles of Fish, Cats, Dogs, Rabbits and Other Animals 38

Disputed function of the external muscles of the eyeball - Once regarded as possible factors in accommodation - This idea dismissed after supposed demonstration that accommodation depends upon the lens - Author's experiments demonstrate that accommodation depends wholly upon these muscles - Accommodation prevented and produced at will by their manipulation - Also errors of refraction - The oblique muscles of accommodation - The recti concerned in the production of hypermetropia and astigmatism - No accommodation with one oblique cut, paralyzed, or absent - Paralysis of accommodation in experimental animals accomplished only by injection of atropine deep into the orbit, so as to reach the oblique muscles - Accommodation unaffected by removal of the lens - Fourth cranial nerve supplying superior oblique muscle a nerve of accommodation - Sources of error believed to have been eliminated in experiments.


The Truth About Accommodation As Demonstrated By a Study of Images Reflected From the Cornea, Iris, Lens and Sclera 54

Technique of Helmholtz defective - Image obtained by his method on the front of the lens not sufficiently distinct or stable to be measured - Failure of author to get reliable image with various sources of light - Success with 1,000-watt lamp, diaphragm and condenser - Image photographed - Images on cornea, iris, lens and sclera also photographed - Results confirmed earlier observations - Eyeball changes its shape during accommodation - Lens does not - Strain to see at near-point produces hypermetropia - Strain to see at distance myopia - Method of obtaining the corneal image.


The Truth About Accommodation As Demonstrated By Clinical Observations . 69

Results of experimental work confirmed by clinical observations - Atropine supposed to prevent accommodation - Conflict of facts with this theory - Normal accommodation observed in eyes under influence of atro-

Contents xi


pine for long periods - Evidence of these cases against accepted theories overwhelming - Cases of accommodation in lensless eyes observed by author - Reality of the apparent act of accommodation demonstrated by the retinoscope - Evidence from the cure of presbyopia - Harmony of all clinical observations with views of accommodation and errors of refraction presented in this book.


The Variability of the Refraction of the Eye . . 75

Refractive states supposed to be permanent - Retinoscope demonstrates the contrary - Normal sight never continuous - Refractive errors always changing - Conditions which produce errors of refraction - Variability of refractive states the cause of many accidents - Also of much statistical confusion.


What Glasses Do to Us 81

The sins of Salvino degli Armati, reputed inventor of spectacles - How glasses harm the eyes - Sight never improved by them to normal - Always resented at first by the eye - Objects of vision distorted by them - Disagreeable sensations produced - Field of vision contracted - Difficulty of keeping the glass clean - Reflection of light from lenses annoying and dangerous - Inconvenience of glasses to physically active persons - Effect on personal appearance - No muscular strain relieved by them - Apparent benefits often due to mental suggestion - Fortunate that many patients refuse to wear them - At best an unsatisfactory substitute for normal sight.


Cause and Cure of Errors of Refraction . . 89

All abnormal action of external muscles of the eyeball accompanied by a strain to see - With relief of this strain all errors of refraction disappear - Myopia (or lessening of hypermetropia) associated with strain to see at the distance - Hypermetropia (or lessening of myopia) associated with strain to see at the near-point - Facts easily demonstrated by retinoscope - Effect of strain at the near-point accounts for apparent loss of accommodation in the lensless eye - Mental origin of eyestrain - Accounts for effect of civilization on the eye - Lower animals affected as man is - Remedy to get rid of mental strain - Temporary relaxation easy - Permanent relaxation may be difficult - Eyes not rested by sleep or tired by use - Rested only by resting the mind - Time required for a cure.


Strain 106

Foundation of the strain to see - Act of seeing passive - Same true of action of all sensory nerves - Their efficiency impaired when made the subject of effort - The mind the source of all such efforts brought to bear upon the eye -

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Mental strain of any kind produces eyestrain - This strain takes many forms - Results in production of many abnormal conditions - Circulation disturbed by strain - Normal circulation restored by mental control - Thus errors of refraction and other abnormal conditions are cured.


Central Fixation . . . . . . . 114

The center of sight - The eye normally sees one part of everything it looks at best - Central fixation lost in all abnormal conditions of the eye - Cause of mental strain - With central fixation the eye is perfectly at rest - Can be used indefinitely without fatigue - Open and quiet - No wrinkles or dark circles around it - Visual axes parallel - With eccentric fixation the contrary is the case - Eccentric fixation cured by any method that relieves strain - Limits of vision determined by central fixation - Organic diseases relieved or cured by it - No limit can be set to its possibilities - Relation to general efficiency and general health.


Palming 123

Relaxation with the eyes shut - With light excluded by palms of the hands (palming) - Evidence of complete relaxation in palming - Of incomplete relaxation - Difficulties of palming - How dealt with - Futility of effort - All the sensory nerves relaxed by successful palming - Pain relieved in all parts of the body - Patients who succeed at once are quickly cured- A minority not helped and should try other methods.


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Memory As an Aid to Vision . . . . . . 136

Memory a test of relaxation - Memory of black most suitable for the purpose - Application of this fact to treatment of functional eye troubles - Sensation not a reliable index of strain - Memory of black is - Enables the patient to avoid conditions that produce strain - Conditions favorable to memory - Retention of memory under unfavorable conditions - Quick cures by its aid - A great help to other mental processes - Tests of a perfect memory.


Imagination As an Aid to Vision . . . . . 148

Retinal impressions interpreted by the mind - Memory or imagination normally used as an aid to sight - In imperfect sight the mind adds imperfections to the imperfect retinal image - Only a small part of the phenomena of refractive errors accounted for by the inaccuracy of the focus - Difference between the photographic picture when the camera is out of focus and the visual impressions of the mind when the eye is out of focus - Patients helped by understanding of this fact - Dependence of imagination upon memory - Coincidence of both with sight - Perfect imagination dependent upon relaxation - Therefore imagination cures - Method of using it for this purpose - Remarkable cures effected by it.


Shifting and Swinging 159

Apparent movement of objects regarded with normal vision - Due to unconscious shifting of the eye - Impossibility of fixing a point for an appreciable length of time - Lowering of vision by attempt to do so - Inconspicuousness of normal shifting - Its incredible rapidity - Staring an important factor in the production of imperfect sight - Tendency to stare corrected by conscious shifting and realization of apparent movement resulting from it - Conditions of success with shifting - The universal swing - Methods of shifting - Cures effected by this means.


The Illusions of Imperfect and of Normal Sight . . 172

Normal and abnormal illusions - Illusions of color - Of size - Of form - Of number - Of location - Of nonexistent objects - Of complementary colors - Of the

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color of the sun - Blind spots - Twinkling stars - Cause of illusions of imperfect sight - Voluntary production of illusions - Illusions of central fixation - Normal illusions of color - Illusions produced by shifting - The upright position of objects regarded an illusion.


Vision Under Adverse Conditions a Benefit to the Eye . . . 183

Erroneous ideas of ocular hygiene - Conditions supposedly injurious may be a benefit to the eye - No foundation for universal fear of the light - Temporary discomfort but no permanent injury from it - Benefits of sun-gazing - Of looking at a strong electric light - Not light but darkness a danger to the eye - Sudden contrasts of light may be beneficial - Advantages of the movies - Benefits of reading fine print - Reading in moving vehicles - In a recumbent posture - Vision under difficult conditions good mental training.


Optimums and Pessimums . . . . . .. 198

All objects not seen equally well when sight is imperfect - The eye has its optimums and pessimums - Some easily accounted for - Others unaccountable - Familiar objects optimums - Unfamiliar objects pessimums - Examples of unaccountable optimums and pessimums - Variability of optimums and pessimums - Test card usually a pessimum - Pessimums which the patient is not conscious of seeing - Pessimums associated with a strain to see - How pessimums may become optimums.


The Relief of Pain and Other Symptoms by the Aid of the Memory


No pain felt when the memory is perfect - All the senses improved - Efficiency of the mind increased - Operations performed without anaesthetics - Organic disorders relieved - Facts not fully explained, but attested by numerous proofs - Possible relationship of the principle involved to cures of Faith Curists and Christian Scientists.

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Presbyopia: Its Cause and Cure . . . 210

Failure of near vision as age advances - Supposed normality of this phenomenon - Near-points expected at different ages - Many do not fit this schedule - Some never become presbyopic - Some retain normal vision for some objects while presbyopic for others - First and second of these classes of cases explained away or ignored - Third not heretofore observed - Presbyopia both preventable and curable - Due to a strain to see at the near-point - No necessary connection with age - Lens may flatten and lose refractive power with advancing years, but not necessarily - Temporary increase of presbyopia by strain at the nearpoint - Temporary relief by closing the eyes or palming - Permanent relief by permanent relief of strain - How the author cured himself - Other cures - Danger of putting on glasses at the presbyopic age - Prevention of presbyopia.


Squint and Amblyopia: Their Cause .221

Definition of squint - Theories as to its cause - Failure of these theories to fit the facts - Failure of operative treatment - State of the vision not an important factor - Amblyopia ex anopsia - Association with squint not invariable - Supposed incurability - Spontaneous recovery - Curious forms of double vision in squint - Invariable association of squint and amblyopia with strain - Invariable relief following relief of strain - Voluntary production of squint by strain.


Squint and Amblyopia: Their Cure. . 227

Squint and amblyopia purely functional troubles - Cured by any method that relieves strain - Relaxation sometimes gained by voluntary increase of squint, or production of other kinds - Remarkable cure effected in this way - Strain relieved when patient is able to look more nearly in the proper direction - Proper use of a squinting eye encouraged by covering the good eye - Children cured by use of atropine in one or both eyes - Examples of cases cured by eye education.

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Floating Specks: Their Cause and Cure . 236

Floating specks a common phenomenon of imperfect sight - Their appearance and behavior - Theories as to their origin - A fruitful field for the patent-medicine business - Examples of the needless alarm they have caused - May be seen at times by any one - Simply an illusion caused. by mental strain - This strain easily relieved - Illustrative cases.


Home Treatment . . 242

Many persons can cure themselves of defective sight - Only necessary to follow a few simple directions - How to test the sight - Children who have not worn glasses cured by reading the Snellen test card every day - Adults of the same class also benefited in a short time - Cases of adults and children who have worn glasses more difficult - Glasses must be discarded - How to make a test card - Need of a teacher in difficult cases - Qualifications of such teachers - Duty of parents.


Correspondence Treatment . . . . . . 246

Correspondence treatment usually regarded as quackery - Impossible in the case of most diseases - Errors of refraction, not being diseases, admit of such treatment - Glasses successfully fitted by mail - Less room for failure in correspondence treatment of imperfect sight without glasses - Personal treatment more satisfactory, but not always available - Examples of cases cured by correspondence - Need for the co-operation of local practitioners in such treatment.


The Prevention of Myopia in Schools: Methods That Failed . . 251

A much debated question - Literature on the subject voluminous and unreliable - All that is certainly known - Studies of Cohn - Confirmation of his observations by other investigators in America and Europe - Increase of myopia during school life unanimously attributed to near work - Inadequacy of this theory - Failure of preventive measures based upon it - New difficulties - The appeal to heredity - To natural adaptation - Objections to these views - Why all preventive measures have failed.

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The Prevention and Cure of Myopia and Other Errors of Refraction in Schools: A Method That Succeeded . . . . . 259

Production of eyestrain by unfamiliar objects - Relief by familiar objects - Facts furnish the means of preventing and curing errors of refraction in schools - By this means children often gain normal vision with incredible rapidity - Results in schools of Grand Forks, N. D.; New York, and other cities - Improvement in mentality of children as eyesight improved - Reformation of truants and incorrigibles - Hypermetropia and astigmatism prevented and cured - Method succeeded best when teachers did not wear glasses - Success would be greater still under a more rational educational system - Prevalence of defective sight in American children - Its results - Practically all cases preventable and curable - Inexpensiveness of method recommended - Imposes no additional burden on the teachers - Cannot possibly hurt the children - Directions for its use.


The Story of Emily . . . . . . . 270

Cure of defective eyesight by cured patients - Cures of fellow students, parents and friends by school children - Remarkable record of Emily - An illustration of the benefits to be expected from the author's method of preventing and curing imperfect sight in school children.


Mind and Vision . . . . . . . . 274

Poor sight one of the most fruitful causes of retardation in schools - More involved in it than inability to see - The result of an abnormal condition of the mind - This cannot be changed by glasses - Memory among faculties impaired when vision is impaired - Memory of primitive man may have been due to the same cause as his keen vision - A modern example of primitive memory combined with primitive keenness of vision - Correspondence between differences in the faculty of memory and differences in visual acuity - Memory and eyesight of children spoiled by the same causes - Both dependent upon interest - Illustrative cases - All the mental faculties improved when vision becomes normal - Examples of such improvement - Relief of symptoms of insanity by eye education - Facts indicate a close relation between the problems of vision and those of education.

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Normal Sight and the Relief of Pain for Soldiers and Sailors . 284

Growth of militarism in the United States - Demand for universal military training - Lack of suitable material for such training - Defective eyesight greatest impediment to the raising of an efficient army - None more easily removed - Plan for correcting defects of vision submitted to Surgeon General during the war - Not acted upon - Now presented to the public with some modifications - First requisite eye education in schools and colleges - Eye education in training camps and at the front also needed, even for those whose sight is normal - How school system might be modified for military and naval use - Soldiers should not be allowed to wear glasses - Importance of eye training to aviators - Eye training for the relief of pain.


Letters from Patients . . . . . . . 290

Army officer cures himself - A teacher's experiences - Mental effects of central fixation - Relief after twentyfive years - Search for myopia cure rewarded - Facts versus theories - Cataract relieved by central fixation.


Reason and Authority . . . . . . . 304

Inaccessibility of average mind to reason - Facts discredited if contrary to authority - Patients discredit their own experience' under this influence - Cure of cataract ignored by medical profession - Expulsion of author from N. Y. Post Graduate Medical School for curing myopia - Man not a reasoning being - Consequences to the world.