IN our previous articles we have described some eye disease, explained some of our treatment and given results. We are now going to give a further description of cases with results and comparisons, hoping that sufferers will read this and take heart, realizing that no matter how long glasses have been worn, whatever their age is or how long the disease or trouble has been established, relief and improved sight can be obtained, and in the majority of cases complete cures effected.
A lady came to us in September 1939, just after war was declared, in a highly nervous state. She could not sleep, she was suffering great pain in her right eye, her vision was blurred and her eyes would not tolerate light of any kind. A visit to her oculist and a change of glasses did not improve this condition. Her age was 71, but this lady was young for her years,of charming personality and highly intelligent.
Her health was being seriously undermined by the shock and worry of her rapidly diminishing vision. She was devoted to her husband, but as he was an invalid she spent much time doing very fine sewing while sitting with him. Owing to her eyes, she could no longer do this, and the enforced idleness distressed her greatly.
On examination we found the eyes far from clear. The white part of the eyes was inflamed and sore-looking, and the pupils looked dull. There was the beginning of a cataract in the right eye and the left eye was very strained. The fluid inside the body of the right eye was congested, and black spots were floating about. She was using reading and distance glasses.
This lady was advised to leave off her distance glasses at once. She was taught to use her eyes without strain by the application of various exercises and general advice which should only be undertaken under highly expert guidance.
In a month she was much relieved. More advice was given and a little gentle massage to the eyes, which greatly improved the local condition. After this visit she had no more pain and the eyes began to improve rapidly. She followed out carefully all the instructions, was most conscientious and had every confidence in herself and her ability to apply our treatment.
This constructive outlook and the faithful carrying out of all instructions resulted in a complete cure in ten months. This lady is now 72 and can read without glasses. The cataract has quite disappeared and her eyes are healthy.
The comparison of the two following cases will be interesting. Miss H. was aged 54, a school teacher with a large class demanding a great deal of her nervous energy to keep it up to the standard of the present day. She had worn glasses for reading since she was ten and for distance for about three or four years. The right eye had always been weak and the vision very poor; she had had an ulcer on the eyeball as a child and had had blood poisoning and typhoid and diphtheria. In 1939 she had a very bad attack of flu. Since then she had noticed trouble in the left eye.
We found her excitable and very worried and anxious about her eyes, as they seemed to be getting rapidly worse and she was afraid she might have to give up her career. She slept badly owing to the discomfort and pain in her eyes, and could only work for twenty minutes, then resting her eyes; therefore marking books and correcting papers was a labour to her and at the end of a days work she could scarcely see at all.
On examining this ladys glasses we found her to be wearing prisms in the lenses. These had been prescribed when she was 10 years old as neither of the eyes focussed on the same object at the same time. This is a very uncomfortable condition causing constant strain, and is due to the imbalance of the outer muscles of the eyeball. She had double vision, which is a complication of this muscle imbalance.
The patient also suffered from severe headaches about every six weeks, forcing her to go to bed. The whites of the eyes were yellow and the coloured parts hazy- looking. On examining the inside of the eyes they were smoky and hazy-looking.
We advised this patient to have the prisms taken out of the lenses at once, which she did. We gave her restful exercises, also massage and lessons in using her eyes correctly to prevent further strain. On her next visit, a month later, the patient was looking distinctly better and the eyes were much clearer and looked more natural. There was still some double vision but no headaches.
Further advice and treatment were given and the following month the eyes were again examined and found to be vastly better. The patient was sleeping well and had not suffered from any headache; the double vision still troubled her slightly at times.
She visited the optician and he was able to weaken the glasses considerably. This change made her much more comfortable. She continued to carry out the advice given and only used her glasses occasionally for reading at night. The next month there were no further complaints of double vision and no headache.
The patient was able to read for an hour or two without feeling any discomfortable and her general health had much improved. On her next visit to be optician a month later the report was “muscle balance perfect and no astigmatism”. What a triumph !.
This lady still visits us occasionally. The improvement in her eyes has greatly helped her general health and her school work is a pleasure to her. She no longer complains of being tired and feeling life a burden. She drives a car, swims, walks and in fact has become much younger in every way.
A similar case is that of a young lady aged eighteen, highly strung and hysterical, who had worn glasses for three years and was suffering from severe headaches. On looking at the glasses we found this young patient was wearing prisms. She had marked astigmatism caused by imbalance of the outer muscles of the eyeball. Her distance vision was much below normal: this was due to the astigmatism caused by the muscular trouble.
Already the effect of the glasses was showing in this patients eyes. She was a good-looking girl and had beautiful eyes, but they had lost all expression and were inclined to protrude and had a staring look.
We advised her to leave off the glasses at once and prescribed gentle exercises for the eyes, also palming (which has been described in previous articles) and rhythmic swinging exercises. This advice was followed, and in a weeks time there was a noticeable improvement, though the eyes were still a little tired after using them for some time. This was not surprising, as this patient was studying for an examination and attending school and was therefore always using her eyes for near working.
The following week the improvement was staggering and she was much quieter in herself, as when she came to us first she laughed indiscriminately and was so nervous that it was difficult to treat her. We gave massage for the eyes and neck muscles to relieve the congestion and improve circulation.
This was very soothing and helped the local condition, and the patient, encouraged by this feeling of well being, carried out the advice given and continued to improve rapidly. She found the glasses were no longer of any use to her as she could no longer see with them.
This young lady has now passed her examination and is enjoying perfect health and perfect vision without glasses. It is a happy, thought that this patient has been saved from years of discomfort such as were experienced by Miss H. and will be able to enjoy her good sight.
We have told readers before of the unconscious strain the war places upon their nervous system and therefore on their eyes. The other day an incident occurred which will illustrate this fact very clearly.
A patient was being treated, and his eyes were therefore under close observation, when the air raid warning sounded. No notice was taken of this unwelcome sound, the treatment being continued without break or comment. The patient consciously ignored it, but in a second or so the pupils became dilated, not circularly was would be the case in ordinary surprise, but unevenly, resembling a pear.
They remained like this for some little time, showing the unconscious shock and strain imposed upon the nervous system. This illustrates how delicate and sensitive the eyes are, receiving the shock without the individual being aware of it.
In view of this we would emphasize again the importance of caring for the eyes in these times, as it is the strain of which one is not aware that is harmful, since it may be neglected. Care of the eyes givens mental poise, and enables the nervous system to stand up to the strain, thus helping the general health.
To safeguard the eyes plenty of splashing with closed eyes and cold water should be done; also palming and closing the eyes, whichever suits the circumstances, but expert guidance is necessary. Remember that listening to bad or upsetting news creates this unconscious strain and always palm when doing this.
Simple regular care of the eyes will do much to help people to face up to the troubles of our time and reduce the discomfort caused by lack of sleep.