I took Rahul to an ophthalmologist for an eye checkup. I was taken aback with the results and was literally on tears when the ophthalmologist informed me that Rahul has a serious vision problem and that it would have been unable for him all these days to see anything beyond 3 feet! He also warned of associated complications like retinal detachment had it been detected still late and also if Rahul pursues without glasses worn all the time hereafter. Come on, he was almost normal all these days bidding bye at school more than 30 feet away from me and was good at distinguishing distant objects when we were out on the streets! He was able to see the distant mountains. He was able to see the jet smoke and the birds flying in the sky with his naked eye. It was hard to believe that his poor vision was so severe given his activities. The doctor prescribed a pair of glasses with powers as listed below and insisted to wear them always except when sleeping and showering, so that the retina gets enough light all over it, to halt advancement of retinal deterioration.
Dist PD RE: 25. LE: 26
OD: Oculus dexter; that means right eye.
OS: Oculus sinister; that means left eye.
DV: Distant Vision
SPH: Spherical power.
CYL: Cylindrical power.
AXIS: A number between 0 and 180 degrees, and means the orientation of the astigmatism.
V/A: Visual acuity.
Dist PD: Pupillary distance while viewing distant objects. (The measurement in millimeters between both pupils.)
Rahul was a full-term cesarean section baby with normal growth and development. He was a TV addict since babyhood and would watch his favorite cartoon channels/programs on TV lying on the bed at a distance of 6 feet or less for many hours a day. As parents, we too didn’t bother because he was occupied with the TV without pestering us!
The other significant history with reference to the eyes that I would like to mention at this point is that the rate of blinking per minute for Rahul is far less than the normal rate of 10 to 15 blinks per minute.
Rahul is allergic to dust and his doctor puts him on anti-allergic medications whenever he is coughing and has runny nose. That is his pertinent medical history.
I had a cylindrical power of -1 diopters in 1980 in my childhood at the age of 11 years when I was in the sixth grade, and it continues the same until now. No spherical power. When I was recommended by the ophthalmologist to increase the power of the glasses in the yearly follow-up visit next year by a meager 0.25 diopters, I abandoned glasses thereafter due to the fear of getting addicted to the glasses. My (younger) brother was myopic as a child, discovered when he too was in the sixth grade. He is still myopic but less severe compared to Rahul, -5 diopters in the left eye, -4 diopters in the right eye. My father had cataract in both eyes at the age of 65 which were removed with phacoemulsification and lens implanted (cataract surgery). Apart from that, none of the members either in my family or my wife’s family are known to be myopic.
I bought Rahul the prescribed pair of glasses and asked him to wear them always as suggested by the doctor. I sought a second opinion with another ophthalmologist. He too confirmed the earlier observations and said Rahul has to wear glasses lifelong! He informed that the axial length of the eyeball of Rahul is 26 mm, whereas for Rahul’s age it should be around 17.5 mm to 18 mm. Only the normal adult eyes should have an axial length of 25 mm.
Even with the glasses on, Rahul was unable to read beyond five lines on the Snellen chart. The ophthalmologist was skeptic about reversing childhood shortsightedness. He further informed that even for performing LASIK after the age of 21, the power should be stable in both eyes and should be below -10 diopters. If it is above -10 diopters, only there is the option of intraocular lens implantation, and not much is known about its long-term side-effects if any.
At the 6-month follow-up visit in December, there was improvement in Rahul’s vision. He was able to read two more lines on the Snellen chart. The retina too showed improvement according to the doctor.
As a medical transcriptionist, I have my own doubts here. The reasons I presume for shortsightedness which make the images fall in front of the retina are:
So the question in my small brain was “Is it justice by asking a patient to wear glasses, which is a temporary solution to mitigate the problem, rather than trying to reverse the cause?” “Isn’t it like taking pain killer to reduce the pain for an organ dysfunction rather than actually trying to make the organ functional?”
It is obvious that there couldn’t be any medicines to rectify shortsightedness; otherwise, the world would have been on it already. Now the question is whether there is any eye exercise or yoga that could potentially reverse the shortsightedness.
While scouring the Internet to clear this doubt, my thoughts were substantiated when I came across the research done by an ophthalmologist, William H. Bates, MD, at the turn of the 20th century in this regard and his interesting book “The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses.” You too can download a copy of The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses by Dr. William H. Bates, originally printed in 1920. After reading the book, I encouraged Rahul to play in the sunlight whenever he can and also to gaze the first rays of the sun in the morning for a couple of minutes, when it was not so bright. However, I didn’t insist to perform other eye exercises said in the book due to Rahul’s young age, instead would encourage him to stay healthy taking all those essential nutrients and vitamins required for growth, especially for the eyes (spinach, carrot etc.). Rahul likes playing badminton and I thought to take advantage of it. I encouraged him playing without glasses so that his vision will be focused on the shuttlecock and its movements, which itself is an eye exercise. He is very good at playing without glasses.
All these contributed to improve his vision. In the latest visit to the ophthalmologist on April 9, 2012, Rahul was able to read all the lines on the Snellen chart with the glasses worn.
I have presented the case of Rahul to you now. Now the pertinent question: “Can short sightedness (myopia) be cured by eye exercises as said in the William Bates method, massage, and yoga alone, without any medicines or surgical intervention?” After fitting Rahul with glasses in last June, I also decided to give Rahul a try on the William Bates method of eye exercises, massage, and yoga. While digging the Internet deep in search of an answer for our pertinent question and for further guidance and training, interestingly I found that a charity institution is providing free training and guidance on this. When I got in touch with them, I was informed that the beneficiaries should be in the age group of 7 to 40. Since Rahul was just only 6 years of age in June 2011 when I initially inquired with them, I had to wait all these days. When inquired about the trustworthiness, though ophthalmologists are not supportive to these health tips, there seemed to be a lot of beneficiaries, and people were reaching there from faraway places, from across the countries and continents in scores to avail of the free coaching classes. No campaigns, advertisements, or marketing but people are still crowding. That means there is stuff in the eye exercises and yoga, it can do the trick, because word-of-mouth recommendation is invaluable. I found a couple of my relatives’ children to have benefited and to be completely free of glasses. So the answer to our pertinent question “Can it be cured?” seems to be “YES” but only with myopia of lesser severity, may be -5 diopters or less. Though I do not expect a complete reversal in Rahul given the severity, my only intention is to bring down his eye power to the acceptable levels for the LASIK to be done, i.e., less than -10 diopters, when he is grown up. Finally I am taking Rahul to that charity institution soon after I write this post. Find the details of the charity institution in my next post.
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