THREATENED WITH BLINDNESS (First Article).
By ELLIS BARKER J.
SOME time ago I went to my optician in the West End to have my eyes tested. The usual reading tests were not satisfactory. Following them, the very experienced optician examined my eyes very carefully with the ophthalmoscope, spending, I thought, an unusual length of time. When his examination was over, he looked at me in an embarrassed way and, after some hesitation, said: “I am afraid there is a peripheral opacity in both eyes.” “Good God, is it cataract?” “I cannot quite make up my mind whether it should be called cataract or not but, if I were you, I would see a first-rate oculist.”
I was thunderstruck. I remembered that my mother had been operated upon for cataract on both eyes with success, that her father had been operated upon for cataract of both eyes, which life him blind in one eye, and that her grand- mother likewise had had double cataract, that operation in her case had been a failure and that she died at the age of 93 after decades of complete blindness.
I did not consult a single oculist, but saw five or six who had been highly recommended to me by my friends. The first man told me quite bluntly that I had cataract on both eyes, that there was nothing for it but operation and that it was awkward that the disease was equally strongly developed on both eyes, that, therefore, the sight of both would probably fail evenly. He informed me that there was no treatment for cataract except operation, that he could give me eye drops or an ointment or such-like things if I wished for them, but that they were entirely useless.
The other specialists told me that I had an opacity, or a cataractal opacity, or a cataract-like opacity, etc., but all agreed that nothing could be done except operation. Last of all I went to consult Mr. Ernest Clarke, of Harley Street. He no doubt noticed how perturbed I was. He very kindly informed me that I suffered from an opacity which he did not call cataract, that I might keep my eyesight for ten years or more and he prescribed for me reading glasses and distance glasses.
I have in my large homoeopathic library Dr. J. Compton Burnetts two books, Curability of Cataract With Medicines and Cataract Its Nature, Causes, Prevention and Cure. I carefully read them through, altered my diet, left off using salt and sugar, stopped smoking, and spent about L100 on oculists, opticians, dentists, etc. I also consulted my friend, the late Dr. John H.Clarke, who gave me a long course of medicine, from which, unfortunately, I derived no appreciable benefit.
My eyes were indeed in a deplorable condition. I had been wearing reading glasses for more than thirty years, as I was troubled with short-sight and astigmatism. In the course of years it happened occasionally that my eyesight had deteriorated concurrently with deterioration in my general health, and that it had improved later on with improvement in my general health. Therefore when my eyesight was steadily weakening, I had put the matter out of my mind, expecting that self-adjustment would take place in due course. I went to my optician only when I discovered that I could no longer read newspaper contents bills printed in the largest type across the street, a distance of about 20 feet.
I rapidly became used to my new reading and distance glasses and found that I had severe discomfort and pain when I went without glasses. I therefore wore distance glasses day and night, even if I went only to post a letter at a near by pillar box, and I bought hats with unusually large brims to protect my indispensable glasses against rain or snow. My dieting and the homoeopathic medicines had failed to improve my eyesight and I felt utterly miserable.
I had been asked to deliver a lecture on homoeopathy in a private room of a restaurant. I was sitting next to a gentleman who noticed that I was constantly changing from distance glasses to reading glasses and vice versa, when looking at the bill of fare and at the people and at my notes. “Why are you continually playing about with those goggles of yours?” “Unfortunately I have to.”
I told him my story. My neighbour listened sympathetically and then said to me: “I am a West End dentist. I have to do a great deal of fine work which involves much eyestrain. I am between 50 and 60. My eyes were giving me a great deal of trouble some time ago I consulted a lady eye specialist of my acquaintance, not an orthodox oculist. She improved my eyesight immensely and now I can do, the finest work and read the finest print without glasses”.
I was given the name of the lady and saw her promptly at her consulting room in Welbeck Street. She made the longest ophthalmoscopic examination of my eyes which I have ever gone through, told me that my eyes were indeed in a very bad condition, but that she hoped to improve my sight immensely and that she might enable me eventually to read without glasses.
She told me that eyesight depended very largely on the functioning of the various eye muscles, and that, by appropriate exercise of the eyes, massage, electrical treatment, etc., my eyesight might be vastly improved. I listened to her with the deepest scepticism. I said to myself that if it should indeed be possible to improve the eyes very greatly by exercises, etc., one of the five or six leading specialists whom I had consulted ought surely to be acquainted with the fact and ought to have told me what to do. However, a drowning man will clutch at a straw. I resolved to follow the ladys directions. That was about eight months ago.
The change which since then has occurred in my eyesight has been very striking. One might describe it as miraculous. Formerly I went about with four pairs of glasses, two pairs of reading glasses and two pairs of distance glasses, so that I should have a second pair of either, should I lose or break one of them. I was absolutely dependent upon my glasses.
And now I have given up my distance glasses several months ago. Formerly I experienced eyestrain in going about without my distance glasses. Now I experience very severe eyestrain if I try to use my distance glasses. As regards reading, my progress has been even more notable. In a good light I can read without glasses a book with medium sized type or The Times for an hour or two without tiring. The other day, when returning from the Continent, I read during four or five consecutive hours in the train a book while my reading glasses remained in my pocket.
Some months ago I called upon Mr. Ernest Clarke as I wished him to re-examine my eyes. After a careful examination he looked at his notes, taken at my previous visit and said: “I cannot understand it at all. Your eyes have wonderfully improved since you came here, but they ought to have deteriorated as you are considerably over 60. You must not wear the glasses which I prescribed for you last time. They are far too strong for you.” “Indeed, Mr. Clarke, I have not worn them, although I had them made and I hope the time will not be far distant when I shall be able to do without glasses altogether”.
A good old proverb tells us that “the exception proves the rule.” My personal experience of eye exercises might be the one exception, or one of the few exceptions. I meant to find out whether the new eye treatment was generally beneficial and I sent a considerable number of people to my eye practitioner, ranging in age from tender childhood to people of 60, 70 and over. In every case wonderful improvement took place.
A Mr. F.W. Gosling, of Kingston-on-Thames, a business man, 69 years old, who has given me permission to use his name, complained about cataract on both eyes which had been increasing for years. The fact that he had no proper control over his eye muscles clearly showed that eye muscle exercises should prove advantageous in his case. In practically all cases of bad eyesight, whatever the cause, there seems to be insufficient control of the eye muscles. On the 12th August he was given a diet sheet and homoeopathic medicines, and was sent to the Welbeck Street practitioner.
He looked a healthy man, but he had a high blood pressure, suffered from giddiness, especially on rising in the morning, significant headaches at the back of the head, and very pronounced varicose veins. He had many brown spots on the body, and he lived on a diet poor in vitamins, took large quantities of white sugar, much salt, salts for bowel regulation and he was a typical Natrum muriaticum subject. He was given Sulphur 6x night and morning and Natrum muriaticum 30 twice a day between meals.
Three days after he wrote: “It may seem rather absurd to remark that there is an improvement of vision already, perhaps due to a cleansing up of the system.” After the first week he wrote: “I am sending you my first weekly report. The improvement in vision is most remarkable. I have tried to attribute this to fancy and to undue optimism and hopefulness, but there can be no doubt of a great improvement. I opened the newspaper this morning and found myself reading with comparative ease type that for several months I could not have attempted to read”.
Of course it is a moot point whether Mr. Goslings progress was due to a diet rich in vitamins and mineral essentials or whether it was due to the homoeopathic medicines, or to the eye exercise. Probably it was due to all three factors combined. However, I have not the slightest doubt that the eye exercises have been of vast benefit to him, for in my own case the eye exercises have proved potent when strict dieting, homoeopathic medicines, and use of Cineraria instilled into the eyes had failed to benefit.
There is a new hope for those afflicted with poor sight and cataract and every doctor and every thoughtful layman ought to be acquainted with the new method of treating the various defects of vision. Further details about the treatment will be supplied in a subsequent article or articles.