TO SEE OR NOT
TO SEE - NATURAL VISION CORRECTION
Nearly 75% of British adults wear
glasses or contact lenses to correct vision. But there are some who
believe that perfect vision, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Inside Out takes a closer look alternative vision improvement.
With almost 17 million eye examinations taking place
in England last year, vision correction is big business.
Many glasses wearers are now choosing to ditch the traditional
specs and are opting for contact lenses or even laser corrective surgery.
Neither option comes cheap so an alternative approach
to vision correction is bound to grab attention.
A closer look
The theory of alternative vision improvement is by no
means a new one. It was created by Dr William Horatio Bates, an American
ophthalmologist, almost a century ago.
firmly believes her vision is improving|
Known as the Bates method, the technique, which is "educational"
rather than medical, involves relaxation, eye-exercises and eye-care.
Users of the method claim to reduce the magnitude of
their lenses and in some cases, become entirely spectacle free.
With no medical evidence to prove his controversial theory,
Bates was shunned by the medical profession.
That did little to deter the practice developing however
and Inside Out's very own be-spectacled Jess Whittaker is putting the
theory to the test.
|"All of a sudden my eyesight cleared
and I could walk down the street and see faces and eyes - amazing!
|Alex who practises the Bates method|
Users of the Bates method claim fairly dramatic improvements
in their vision.
"My vision is getting better on a week by week basis,"
"I've only been at it (Bates method) six months,
and I'm very hopeful that the day will come when I can discard my glasses
With a lack of medical evidence to support these claims,
Inside Out's Jess Whittaker prepares to undertake a three month course
of the relaxation technique Palming, to see is she can ditch those specs
sceptical about the Bates method|
Eye Consultant Simon Hardman Lea from Ipswich Hospital
carries out Jess' initial eye test.
Simon confirms that she is indeed short-sighted and admits
to being sceptical of alternative vision improvement treatments.
"If the theory doesn't fit the available facts then
the theory is probably wrong," he says.
"The theory Dr Bates put forward 100 years ago flew
in the face of all scientific evidence of the time and since, so the conventional
medical answer is we wouldn't expect Bates to make any difference to your
Eyes in training
June Godfrey of Chelmsford would be the first to defend
the Bates method. She is one of 30 people teaching the technique in the
Colour, light, movement, meditation and children's toys
are used to retrain the eyes to see surroundings differently.
The relaxation technique of Palming is the exercise June
many other glasses wearers, Jess would like to be spectacle-free|
Jess can perform this exercise as often as she likes
and over time, June believes it will help enormously.
And, according to Jess, it does.
Three months on and Jess admits she can feel an improvement
in her vision. She suspects however that it may be a case of mind over
June is quick to dispel this.
"We see with our mind so emotions will affect the
eyesight. But if you mean "am I imagining it?" No certainly
"You've proved to yourself that you're seeing better
and that is what really matters."
The end of glasses?
It may be all that matters to those who experience improvements
in their sight, but the medical profession insists on evidence so it's
back to the opticians for Jess.
|"I've never been convinced and
looking at your tests before and afterwards, there is no evidence
that it works."|
|Simon Hardman Lea,
Eye Consultant |
Although Jess says she felt an improvement in her vision,
Simon reveals that there is no change in her vision test results.
With no measurable improvement in Jess' eyesight the
Bates method remains controversial and unsuccessful in the eyes of the
Many who practise the Bates Method however, remain convinced
that their vision is improving, but for Jess - it's back to the glasses.