Dreams · Eye Chart · Vision

The Course Of My Vision Improvement

This morning I received a note from a vision student of another teacher, asking me how long it took me to see improvement in my vision once I started the Bates Method. This kind of note always gives me pause. I can say my eyes immediately felt better when I took off my -10 lenses, but I was terrified and everything farther than a foot away was a total fog of gray blur. I don’t want to discourage anyone and make them think their own progress will be as slow as mine seems to have been, nor do I want to lead them to believe that improvement will be steadily upward and linear. I’m also not sure it could be said that I was “doing the Bates Method” 7 or 8 or 9 years ago when I was wearing reduced prescription contact lenses, but still straining a lot and not using my eyes in a healthy way.

Thinking about my visual history more, I could separate it into phases. In 2001 I visited a behavioral optometrist for the first time, where I discarded my -10 hard contacts for good and got reduced soft ones (with no astigmatism correction where it had been -1.75), plus a few pairs of glasses to practice with. I know now I was in a high state of anxiety bordering on constant fear, but I had to start somewhere. For about 4 years I slowly reduced my prescription and was still quite anxious. It was a big success when I could drive with -8 glasses at night (even though I was still wound pretty tight), since the first time I had looked through -8 glasses in 2001 they didn’t seem to make a dent in my deep blur at all.

The second phase was when I stopped wearing soft contacts and transitioned to only glasses. This felt like stepping farther out on the diving platform above the abyss, since with glasses, no matter how strong, it was obvious to me all the time my vision was not clear. I knew this was a necessary phase if I ever wanted to get out of glasses for good, but it was uncomfortable and somewhat scary. I felt more vulnerable with glasses on than I had with contacts, as if everyone could see my “flaw”.

It was about this time, maybe 2004, that I found Robert Lichtman’s forum (Effortless Vision now) and started communicating with other people who were improving vision. Since I was so introverted, this reaching out was a huge step for me. I was still wearing glasses almost all the time, about -5 in the daytime and stronger at night, and doing no dedicated Bates practices, even though by now I had read all the classic NVI books by Jacob Liberman, Roberto Kaplan, Tom Quackenbush, etc. Looking back, I was still mostly “in my head” then.

For a few years I floundered, making no real improvement, only trying to do more things without glasses and getting alternately frustrated and frightened. Even if my vision improved no further and I always needed -6.5 glasses to drive at night, it was still a lot better than it had been for most of my life! I found David’s iblindness forum, started this blog, and found Sorrisi’s which helped me a lot. I finally decided to incorporate the dreaded eye chart into my daily routine — I had avoided it for years because it told me my vision was so poor. Now it’s more like play. I retired from 30 years at my corporate computer job, and started my studies of alternative healing — I had already been studying dreams for about 5 years. I began slowly shedding a lifetime of tension with practices like meditation and receiving regular massage, and was seeing real (eyechart-measurable) improvement in my eyesight.

So here I am today, functioning without glasses and happy to be that way. Yes, I’m still not driving at night, and I sometimes need to be nearer than other people do to see something, but that’s fine, and I expect this to improve as I keep practicing. So “How long did it take you?” could be answered with “10 years, and I’m not 20/20 yet except for flashes”, or “Give me 2 minutes with the eye chart and I can improve my vision right now!”. It’s all in how you look at it.


7 thoughts on “The Course Of My Vision Improvement

  1. Nancy you are an excellent writer! Thanks for giving a full history here, it’s very inspiring to see how you’ve consistently progressed. I always find case histories fascinating and they inspire me to keep practicing.

    maybe make a permanent page like this?
    all my best,

  2. Sorrisi,
    Thanks! How soon can I call you “Doc”? You’re being kind because I feel like my progress has been very INconsistent, but I guess as long as I was mostly going forward, that’s good enough.

    Yes, I also thought of pointing to this post somewhere global, probably in my “About” post at least, as I get this question a lot. Take care.

  3. Nancy,

    I’ve taken the liberty and copied and pasted some of your text here and edited a few words:

    I’m still wearing glasses part of the the time, about -2 in the daytime and stronger at night, and doing less dedicated Bates practice than I should, even though by now I have read many classic NVI books by Tom Quackenbush, etc. I guess I’m still mostly “in my head” at this point.

    For a few years I’ve been floundering, making less improvement than I could be making, only trying to do more things without glasses. Even if my vision improves no further and I always needed -3 glasses to drive at night , it will still be a lot better than it had been in the past years ago!
    It’s amazing how similar the phases are that you went through compared to the one I’m in now! How can I break through faster? Just start using a chart?! I know we’ve discussed this a bit before.

  4. FMR,
    Hi — I’m not surprised that you (and probably others) are in similar stages to those I’ve passed through, or the one I’m still in. I gave part of the answer you’re looking for in my description of the subsequent stage to yours: using the chart regularly (yes, I do think it helps and my next post will probably be about that), greater body awareness, and wearing glasses only when absolutely necessary (I haven’t worn them for months). The other thing I didn’t mention is a growing focus on what I’m doing visually in every moment — I won’t stop squinting, or wrinkling up my forehead, or staring, if I’m not even aware I’m doing it! I’ve been paying more and more attention lately to how I’m using my eyes (and to my posture and breathing), and am often surprised and alarmed to find how detrimental to good vision my automatic habits can be. All I can do is keep noticing what I’m doing, and practicing good habits consistently, so that they take over and the bad ones just fade away.

    Hope this is helpful — keep asking if I’m not hitting it for you.

    1. I started in the second half of 2005. You started in what – 2000? Are our timelines pretty similar or what? Seem to be. The only major difference being lens prescription at the start…which has nothing to do with subsequent progress.

  5. Dear Nancy, reading your journey is inspiring. I’m reading about the link between fear and myopia (Lieberman) and realise more than ever how debilitated I’ve been in my life from this resulting in ME condition and high anxiety and myopia. Do you think you could help with what follows or have any ideas?. I’m minus 6.5 but in the last few months since an adjustment on edges of glasses to make them less reflective internally they’ve got more and more unbearablely obvious to me through all the changes I’ve done to try and get them back to their original not perfect but acceptable state. I’ve now developed a pathological fear of wearing any glasses but can’t function much without them, can’t tolerate contacts, don’t want to risk lazor surgery (and if underlying causes aren’t addressed seems it wouldn’t be a true solution). It’s taking up all my energy and I’ve developed depression and insomnia and dread of putting glasses on. Have you ever heard of this? Just putting glasses on I feel so much fear and panic despite no problems with actual rx itself). Part of me says it’s an invitation to address deeper issues and explore natural eyesight methods I’ve dabbled with in the past… but how to undo brain association so I don’t freak out when I put glasses on…? (As I said rx fine its seeing any kind of edge with or without rims) and feeling them in my face… I know this isn’t rational but its paralysing me so much. I’m just reaching out in the hope there may something deeper to uncover…

    1. H, rational or not, this is a real feeling for you and needs to be respected. I love the thought that this might be “an invitation to address deeper issues and explore natural eyesight methods”, as it feels that way to me too. For me, addressing my deep pervasive anxiety was as important as directly targeting my eyesight issues, and I only started to make real vision progress when I looked at my emotions. If you’d like a free consultation over Skype to see if my work might help you, you can request one here. I’d love to talk to you about your situation at greater length. Take care — there is hope.

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