Visions of Joy - Natural Eyesight Improvement - Vision Education
The School of Optimal Eyesight
Improve your vision and overcome the need for glasses or contacts while avoiding laser surgery

See Better Naturally

Blurry vision can change back to clear vision!
cat staring at bee on nose Contrary to what you might expect, blurry vision is not a life sentence, it is only a signal to us that we are doing something wrong and that we need to make a change. We can either ignore this message and wear glasses to compensate for the strain, or we can listen to it and change into better visual habits. The latter approach to eyesight improvement has no negative side effects (actually it has many beneficial side effects!) and it is the cheapest. Also, in my humble opinion, it gives the best results, it just takes a little patience and persistence.

Visions of Joy aims to increase public awareness of this alternative to glasses, contacts or laser surgery. Yes, eyes can heal! You CAN See Better Naturally! Come see for yourself; discover how you can improve your eyesight.   One hint:  It does not involve staring at a bee on your nose... Because that's not relaxing at all. smiley

    Stop straining to see...   

How long will it take?
The typical first question is: "How long before I will 'see' results?"
My answer is: "That depends... "

Learning to see better naturally is different for everyone and the time it takes varies with the strength of the prescription and the number of years glasses were worn.  It depends on how well you understand the principles of natural eyesight improvement, on how much you apply them, on how good your overall health is, how stressed you are and how you deal with that stress.  Furthermore, it depends on the experience and ability of your teacher.  There is no set time.  Everyone is different.  Many people have used corrective lenses for years, or, like me, squinted for years.  As much as we'd like to see clearly NOW, it's unlikely that years of blurry vision will completely heal instantly.

My own experience
proves that 16 years of blurry vision can clear to 20/20 clarity within a few weeks, under relaxed circumstances and with conscious awareness of vision habits.  There have been cases in Dr Bates' clinic who regained perfect eyesight almost immediately.  I've had one man come to me who only needed one hour to see better and was then able to pass the drivers test that he had just failed for the first time. And a nearsighted friend who couldn't see any letters on the eye-chart without his glasses read the 20/50 line without glasses after one month.  This speedy improvement may happen for you too, but it is not similarly fast for everyone.  

In this video I talk about how I released some of my eyestrain:

How long did it take you to get to this point of deteriorated vision??  Often many years of bad habits need to be unlearned, and it takes some determination and persistence to get back to healthy vision.  Ultimately, it is your choice.  The good news is, it does NOT matter how old you are or how bad your vision is, everyone can benefit from natural eyesight improvement, and it usually doesn't take as long to return to clarity as it took to get to your current level of blurry vision.  In my classes, I find that nearly all people experience a temporary improvement in their vision within the first hour, and that most people get lasting improvement of some degree within just a few weeks.  

Despite the many factors that influence your ability to see better, I think the two main factors will be: #1. how well you understand the Bates Method,
and #2. how much you apply it.
You have total control over the second one, while my specialty is to help you with the first one. That's what I am good at and what I love to do.

If you really want a rough time-line before you'll even give the Bates Method a chance, I suggest you use the following equation:  Count on needing at least one month for every diopter of prescription.  Add a week for every year glasses were worn.  Multiply by your levels of health and motivation (1 is best/highest, 5 is worst/lowest).  Subtract a month for every year of experience your teacher has.  If the answer is more than 12 months, you may want to increase your motivation or change teachers... :-)  Okay, I'm just kidding.  Maybe now you understand why it is hard to predict how long it will take.

Before we start
First, let me make clear that I am a teacher - not an ophthalmologist (as Dr Bates was) nor am I an optometrist, therefore I do not diagnose eye diseases nor prescribe corrective lenses, but I do love to help people regain good eyesight in a relaxed effortless way. (Please read the disclaimer)
There is a lot to learn about natural eyesight improvement, and you've come to a good place to start. Visions of Joy will point you in a new direction, whether your problem is nearsightedness, farsightedness, "middle-aged vision" (presbyopia), astigmatism, "cross-eye" (strabismus), "lazy eye" (amblyopia), floaters, or other vision challenges.

You will find links to other related websites, with lists of Natural Vision Educators world-wide. Attending eyesight classes with an experienced Bates teacher gives you the best chance of improving your vision. If you can't take a class just yet, you may want to get started with the suggested book list. Visions of Joy has published several books on the Bates Method, such as the recently added Read Without Glasses at Any Age, and Bates Method Nuggets. Either way, it is nice to have an idea of what to expect, so the following are some basics to get you on your way to clearer vision without glasses.

 O who's who??
 Ophthalmologist / Oculist - this is an eye surgeon
 Optometrist - an eye doctor who examines your eyes, and who can prescribe glasses
 Optician - the technician who grinds the lenses, makes glasses and fits them to your face
 Optimist - you and me, who believe we can happily live our lives without glasses

What happened?
Seeing, like breathing, is something we do without much conscious thought.  But as we grow up, we don't all keep doing it right.  Some of us have stopped breathing abdominally - now using the chest instead, and some of us have stopped seeing effortlessly - now straining to see instead.  Somewhere along the line, something interfered with our natural habits, and we started on a downhill slide.  Can you remember a time when your vision was perfect?  What happened when it began to deteriorate?  Were you doing lots of reading or close up work? (School years are often the start period for nearsighted people.)  Did you go through a stressful period?  Was there an accident?  When asked these questions some of my students discovered a link between the beginning of their vision problems and a major change in their life.  For one person it was a neck injury, someone else went through divorce, yet another had a hard time living up to expectations during college, and one person realized his vision problems began when he got a job involving long hours working indoors without windows.  My visual blur started when I was 17 and in a relationship that my parents didn't approve of.  The emotional turmoil caused mental strain which caused visual strain, and it resulted in nearsightedness.  I really didn't want to deal with the big picture at that time.  Tracing the initial cause may help us understand the current problem and can be the first step toward healing.

We don't see things as they are ~ we see things as we are.
Anais Nin

Is there a way back?
Can you regain the clarity of vision that you once had?  Is there a chance for you to rid yourself of those cumbersome glasses and contact lenses?  Many students of the Bates method, including myself, have done exactly that.  We relearned natural vision habits, regained our natural clear vision, and no longer need those eye 'crutches'.  Now it is your turn to follow in our footsteps.  Although you can not undo your past experiences, you may be able to view those experiences differently, and you can learn to undo the continued resulting strain on your eyes.  There are many simple things we can do to help our eyes cope with the demands we put on them.  Our eyes are designed to last a life time and will serve us perfectly if we know how to take care of them.

No anatomy, no exercises
You'll be pleased to know that there is no need to know much about anatomy, about the Dr. W.H. Batesstructure of your eyes in order to see better.  It may be handy to know some anatomy/physiology basics and understand why Natural Eyesight Improvement works, but that is simply not a requirement for improving your own eyesight.

More importantly, Natural Eyesight Improvement isn't really about doing eye exercises.  Seriously!  
Why no exercises?  
Because it is not due to a lack of eye exercises that your vision became blurry!    

Dr Bates discovered that the main cause of functional vision problems is tension.  So I do not recommend "eye push-ups" - the muscles around your eyes are likely tight already, and adding strain to tense muscles will not do much good.  Seeing is such a natural function, you just need to learn how to stop interfering with what your eyes and brain are designed to do effortlessly.

          Dr. William H Bates

Vision fluctuates
Have you ever noticed times where your vision is better or worse than usual?  Perhaps you find that sometimes you see better in the morning after a restful sleep, and that your eyesight gradually gets worse during the day as work requirements demand attention.  Or you see better on a relaxing day spent at the beach in the sun, while indoors under artificial light you need your glasses all the time.

On one of my trips to the USA from Europe I was stopped at the immigration check point in Atlanta airport.  I hadn't done anything illegal, but the interrogation to which I was subjected was stressful enough that I tensed up, worried about missing my connecting flight.  I noticed my vision deteriorate dramatically, the flight details on the monitor became a giant blur.  My vision returned to normal a few hours later when I was aboard the plane to the West coast and my tension and frustration had dissipated.  Vision is clearly not static.  Vision is subject to fluctuation.  So, if your eyesight can fluctuate on a hourly basis, it makes sense that there must also be a way to reverse the downward slide you are on, and start to see better on a more permanent basis.

The only thing you can change in the world is yourself,
and that makes all the difference in the world.


How to Improve Eyesight

Relaxing your eyes - moving versus staring
Many people associate relaxing with not moving.  For the eyes, this is not appropriate.  The eyes staring Tarsierlike to move.  They are designed to be on the move all the time; shifting 70 times per second is normal for healthy eyes.  Staring is not your eyes' favorite pastime; it can actually be painful.  My definition of staring is keeping your head still, your eyes don't move either, you don't blink, and there is no change in focal distance (i.e. you keep your eyes locked on one fixed point).  
Try that. 

- Okay, how did that feel?  

My eyes don't like it at all any more; they hurt when I stare, and the object I'm staring at quickly becomes blurred.  Staring demands that the muscles around the eyes tense up.  Those muscles don't like that, they are designed to move.  Movement helps blood flow, blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen.
       Staring is out...

Holding tension for prolonged periods is unnatural for eye muscles.  They prefer to shift regularly between near and far vision, and they generally like to move around.  Staring also reduces the rate of blinking drastically, which can cause the eyes to become dry and prone to infections.

Are you in the habit of staring?  If so, next time you catch yourself staring, shake off that stare, move your head and eyes, take a deep breath in, and return to regular relaxed blinking.  Your eyes will be grateful and you may find you see better already.

Healthy eyes blink nearly continuously. Each blink is quick and effortless, lasting only 1/40th of a second, which is barely noticeable and does not interfere with seeing.
Blinking lubricates and cleanses the eyes. It also gives the eyes a mini-rest.

smiling and blinking seal Here is a great example of natural blinking by Cheryl Richardson on youtube. She is not aware of her own blinking; it is fast and clearly effortless. Same for Kate Wolf singing her beautiful song 'Green Eyes', she blinks purely with her eyelids, no facial muscles are involved, and her blinking too is fast and with total ease.

Catch up with blinking: do some fast blinking, or do a squeeze blink, and allow your face muscles to squeeze also, making funny faces, then return to relaxed mode.
Ask a partner/relative/friend to tell you when you are staring.  The more you increase your awareness, the more chance you have of eliminating the staring habit and the sooner you will return to a healthy blinking habit.

Blink effortlessly...       

Did you know that the eyes and the brain use more oxygen than any other part of your body??!   A deficiency of oxygen significantly reduces our ability to think and see clearly.  Therefore your breathing pattern affects your vision, and a return to clear vision requires a return to natural breathing habits.

In my classes I give a simple test, and while everyone is concentrating on doing this test, I ask if anyone is still breathing.... Gasp!  To most everyone's surprise, they find that they were so busy doing something new and unusual, that they 'forgot' to breathe.  Breathing tends to become very shallow when people concentrate.  We tend to hold the chest and belly area tight and thereby restrict the movement of the diaphragm and ribcage, and thus the ability of the lungs to expand outward and fill fully with oxygen.  In the second run of the same test, people discover that it is really easy to breathe abdominally while still paying attention, and that the task then becomes more relaxing; less effort is required.  This is a dynamic relaxation: doing more with less effort.
A lot of people have different ideas about how we should be breathing.  One thing is for sure; the more we can use our full lung capacity efficiently, the better our health and vision will be.  For more information, go to the page on natural breathing.

Central Fixation
Dr. Bates wrote in his books about the importance of 'central fixation'.  What does that mean?

eye anatomyWell, when you look at the cross-section of the eye at the right, notice the retina which lines the back of the eyeball (red line).  At the center of the retina is a small indentation named the 'fovea', also known as 'fovea centralis'.  Without getting technical and detailed (come to a class for a more in-depth explanation of this), the fovea is the area of the eye that gives us our clearest vision. With that small central area we see details the best.  
This means that only objects in the center of our field of vision can be seen with total clarity.

Our peripheral vision does not give us a clear picture; it is somewhat blurry and is not designed
to give us vision that is quite as sharp as our
central vision.  Peripheral vision is our safety net;
it is quick to notice movement, and it serves us well in low light, but it can not give us a sharp image.  So central fixation is simply an awareness of seeing best in the center of our field of vision, while at the same time remaining aware of our peripheral vision.

This awareness of best clarity in the center, combined with a continuous relaxed easy movement of the eyes, results in a more relaxed way of seeing, because the eyes are designed to see like that.  Trying to see the whole picture clearly is a strain on the eye, because it simply is not possible for the eye to see everything clearly at one time.  Instead, to get a complete picture, the eyes move all over the picture, picking up details here and there, wherever our attention wanders.

What we see depends mainly on what we look for
John Lubbock

The key
Overall, the key to eyesight improvement is relaxation, and relearning to use your eyes the way nature intended them to be used.  A great way to begin to relax the eyes is called palming, where you give your eyes a complete rest by covering them with the palms of your hands. This 6 minute video explains it:

Take a class
In vision improvement classes we cover the natural vision habits in detail, exploring a variety of ways to relax your eyes. Together we look at the influence of various forms of visual strain, at how the mind affects vision, and at posture, eye & body motion, massage, diet, color lights and sunlight.  You'll learn which of the various vision support tools help you most and you'll soon be well on your way to clarity without glasses.

Throw out your glasses?
Dr. Bates knew that the quickest way back to clear vision is to stop using glasses or lenses altogether. However, many people can not see clearly enough to accomplish their daily tasks without using compensating lenses some of the time.  For these people, it is impractical to throw out the glasses or contacts on day one of their natural vision course.  Instead, they use reduced prescription lenses which correct the vision to 20/40 acuity.  20/40 Acuity is legal for driving in all states of the USA.  This slightly blurry 20/40 vision will allow the eyes some room for improvement.  Through practicing natural vision habits these '20/40s' will gradually give 20/20 vision, which indicates it is time to progress to the next reduced prescription.  This way you can work your way back to clear vision and to that wonderful day when you can ceremoniously discard your glasses forever... Visions of Joy!

The more light you allow within you,
the brighter the world you live in will be.

Shakti Gawain

This is how bright our world is; let your eyes and mind enjoy David Attenborough's
"It's a Wonderful World" video! (Two incredibly delightful minutes...)


Are you ready for better vision?
Do you want to know how to improve eyesight naturally?
Check out the classes offered here!

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