3. The Eyes
3.1 Failing Eyesight and Vision Problems
What causes a person to be near-sighted or far-sighted? Why do so many older people require glasses? What is astigmatism? What are cataracts and how are they caused? Poor eyesight and vision problems affect almost every person alive today. Most of these problems could be prevented or corrected if the causes of poor eyesight are understood. Let’s look at the most common complaints about the eyes and sight:
3.2 Is Failing Eyesight Natural?
Your vision often seems to deteriorate as you grow older. People that never wore glasses in their early years often succumb to using reading glasses around the age of fifty. Does the power of vision naturally falter with passing years? Yes and no.
Your eyes can focus on both faraway and closeby objects because the lens of the eye can be “stretched.” The lens itself is composed of a strong, elastic capsule of proteinaceous fibers. Ligaments attach to the lens which allow it to be contracted and relaxed. As the lens changes shape by the ligaments pulling on it, the eye adjusts so that it can look at both objects in the distance and those that are close up.
As a person grows older, the lens loses its elastic nature and becomes more and more solidified. This is probably because the protein composing the mass of the lens becomes denatured. As the lens loses its elasticity, it can no longer quickly adjust in its focusing.
Around 45 to 50 years, the lens can only move about one-eighth as much as it could at birth. Finally with advanced age, the tens of the eye loses all elasticity and remains permanently fixed and focused at one distance.
This condition is called presbyopia and it simply means that the person has reached a stage where each eye remains permanently focused at an almost constant distance. The distance that the eyes continually focus on depends upon the physical characteristics of the person’s eyes.
What this means is that a person may be able to see moderately well for objects that are three to thirty feet away, but cannot read or see distant objects without glasses. Although similar to “farsightedness” or “nearsightedness,” the condition known as presbyopia is strictly speaking not the same. This vision problem affects only the older segment of the population, and occurs as a result of gradual deterioration instead of any congenital defect.
Does this mean that you must have poor vision by the age of fifty? Absolutely not. Although the lens of the eye does gradually decrease in elasticity, it can be slowed down enough so that it is almost imperceptible.
The proteinaceous denaturement of the material that makes up the lens of the eye occurs because the body is focusing its healing and regenerative energies on the more vital body areas. There is no reason why the materials making up the lens cannot be rejuvenated or maintained at their present level.
If the body is unencumbered by toxins, stress, or disease, then it can rebuild its weakest parts—including the eyes. If, however, the individual is in the state of toxicosis or is leading an unhealthy lifestyle, then the body never has a chance to revitalize the eyes. Instead, all the body’s energies are directed simply toward keeping itself alive.
As long as the health of the body is in a critical state, then the type of rejuvenation that is required to correct failing vision cannot occur. Perfect eyesight is not an absolute requirement for the survival of the organism. Consequently, the body always tends to correct the most pressing problems first. For most people, this means that the eyes and eyesight are low on the body’s list of priorities for revitalization and healing. Until you can “get ahead” in rebuilding your health, your eyesight will remain at its current level.
The most effective method known for restoring failing eyesight is a prolonged and supervised fast. This allows the body to reverse the deterioration and denaturation of the eye lens because the fast provides the necessary physiological rest for this to occur.
Old age doesn’t mean poor vision. Perfect eyesight, along with perfect health, is your birthright and heritage. A failing of the senses is not “natural” any more than any illness or disease is natural. Most people believe that poor vision goes along with increased years. Fasting, an optimum diet, and freedom from stress are the only requirements for improving your eyes. No matter what your condition, these steps will give you some noticeable improvement in your vision.
3.3 Can You Throw Away Your Glasses?
A man or woman who lived a thousand years ago would find the twentieth century to be a very strange place. The first thing that such a time traveler would notice is that about one out of every two people walking around his pieces of glass tied together and strapped across the nose. We call these things “eyeglasses” and we take them for granted.
But are they natural? Going through life with a pair of glass lens perched atop your nose or stuck onto the eyeball itself (if contact lenses are used) is the same as using crutches or a cane to walk around with. Why are there so many ‘vision cripples?”
Most people who wear glasses do so usually for one of these three vision problems: near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. Are these conditions natural, and what can we do about them?
3.4 Seeing Near and Far
The most common eye problem is near-sightedness, or myopia. This means that the eyes cannot focus properly on anything beyond a certain distance, and can only see objects that are “near”—hence the term, near-sightedness.
Interestingly enough, near-sightedness most generally occurs in children and gradually worsens until around the age of 20 or so. Why is this? Some researchers have speculated that diet may be the clue in the myopic mystery.
In the Pennsylvania Medical Journal, Dr. Hunter J. Turner singles out soft drinks or carbonated soda water as the number one cause of near-sightedness in children. The carbonic acid in these drinks is one of the worst enemies of the eyes, and Dr. Turner believes he has discovered a strong link between soft drink consumption and the incidence of near-sightedness.
What will help a near-sighted person? Exercise. But not only general body conditioning, but a special set of exercises that are performed exclusively for strengthening the muscles of the lens of the eye.
For example, the Bates System of eye exercises has been used for years with moderate success. According to the International Record of Medicine, “a specific course in visual training may improve visual acuity, size of visual field, refractive errors, and even reading speed in selected individuals.” Additional references to these series of eye exercises are at the end of the lesson. The good news is this: near-sightedness can be overcome by proper exercise of the eyes. Among children, the results are especially impressive. You can throw those glasses away.
What about far-sightedness? Can it be corrected? Farsightedness is also known as hypermetropia. In this condition, the person cannot focus on objects close to them (such as a page of a book), but can see things in the distance as normal.
This is rarer than near-sightedness, but it is also caused by a weakened lens system. Both far-sightedness and near-sightedness are “corrected” by placing glasses or contacts over the lens so that the light is refracted in a different way.
Many far-sighted people have corrected their condition by not wearing glasses. In other words, they regularly exercise their eyes and try not to rely on any “crutches” or aids that might hinder their progress. Exercising the eyes and following an optimum diet (with periodic fasting) are effective and harmless ways to improve the vision.
If you wear glasses continuously, start off by removing them when it is not essential that you have clear vision. Gradually become used to not wearing glasses, and work your eyes. Focus on objects as far away as possible. Look at mountaintops, faraway trees, or signs. Then turn your eyes to objects less than three feet away. Practice regular rotation and exercise of the eyes for two to three periods a day. At the end of such exercising, press the palms over the eyes and keep them closed and relaxed. If you make a serious effort to exercise and relax your eyes in this manner (along with a regular program such as the Bates Vision System), you should quite literally see some improvement. Don’t forget that an excellent diet and fasting program should be used along with your eye exercise program in order to correct near- and far-sightedness.
3.5 What is Astigmatism?
Like myopia (near-sightedness) and hypermetropia (far-sightedness), the eye condition known as astigmatism is due to a refractive error of the lens system. People with astigmatism have a “fuzzy vision”, and things often appear out of focus, whether near or far.
Due to the nature of this condition, it can never be completely corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses because an astigmatic eye can never bring the light rays from all angles into focus at one time. The eye is said to be “lazy.”
What can you do with a “lazy” or astigmatic eye? Exercise it! Astigmatism responds best of all to a regular eye exercise program. In fact, one method of correcting a single astigmatic eye is to cover the other good eye with a patch for certain periods of the day. This forces the “lazy” eye to do its share of the work and so become gradually strengthened.
3.6 Cloudy Vision: Cataracts
Cataracts are a common abnormality among older people. A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye. In advanced cases, the lens may be completely covered by a milky-like coating. Eventually this coating becomes so heavy that light can barely enter the eye, and vision is seriously impaired.
The common medical solution to cataracts is to cut them out. When this is done, the entire lens of the eye is also removed. Needless to say, when the eyes lens is removed surgically, the eye loses a large part of its refractive power. To compensate, a convex lens is placed in front of the eye.
There is a better way of dealing with cataracts, and that is to not cause them. To do this, you need to understand what causes cataracts.
Cataracts formation occurs as the protein fibers in the eye lens starts to coagulate with age. As the fibers harden, calcium deposits start to occur in the lens which gives the cataract its milky, opaque color. You can think of a cataract as almost like an “arthritis of the eyes” because inorganic calcium deposits play such an important role in both these degenerative conditions.
Inorganic calcium comes from mineralized waters, cooked foods, and of course, dairy products. Can such food items cause cataracts? There does seem to be an impressive connection. In areas of India where yogurt consumption is the highest, there are also more cases of cataracts than anywhere else. The galactose in the yogurt, along with inorganic calcium, appear to be the culprits in fostering cataract growth.
The solution to cataracts: a strict avoidance of dairy products and all other foods containing inorganic calcium. (Calcium becomes “inorganic” when the foods in which it is present are subjected to high heat. Inorganic calcium is also found in mineral water and in all calcium “supplements.”)
3.7 Your Keys To Better Eye Health
Healthy and responsive eyes have the same requirements as any other part of the body: good nutrition, rest, and exercise.
What types of foods build healthy eyes? Carrots? Cod-liver oil? The answer is: none of these. There is no one single food or one single nutrient that insures good eyesight. Nutrition for the eyes is basically the same as good nutrition for the body: an optimum diet of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts.
Your eyes do have a definite need for vitamin A, as well as vitamin C and the B vitamins. Your eyes need certain amino acids for their work. But all of these nutrient needs can be abundantly supplied in a Hygienic diet of primarily raw fruits and vegetables. You do not need to worry if you’re getting the proper nutrients for your eyes if you eat wholesome foods and scrupulously avoid destructive, denatured food products.
Which foods destroy the eyes? Here are, your eyes biggest enemies: dairy products, meat, sugar, alcohol, smoking of any type, white flour products, heated fats and oils and all processed and adulterated foods.
Besides optimum food, your eyes need exercise. Exercise does not mean using the eyes continuously for the same task, such as reading or sewing. People who read, write, or perform closeup tasks often think that they are giving their eyes adequate exercise. After all, they use them all the time. Eyes, however, require different types of exercises just as the body responds better to be a varied exercise routine.
As mentioned earlier, the Bates Eye Exercise system is helpful because it requires the eyes to move in certain patterns that are not duplicated by the common tasks of reading, writing, etc.
Eye exercises can be very simple, however. The prime requirement for an affective eye exercise is that the eye must alternately focus between close and far objects. For example, if you are reading outside, take a few minutes every now and then and look at the farthest object you can see. Stare at it for a few minutes and try to bring it into sharper and sharper focus. Now look back at your book and focus on the text. This alternation between close and far objects forces the eye to exercise.
If you now wear glasses, remove them occasionally and try to focus without them. It will be different at first, but if you make regular efforts to get by without your glasses, your vision will slowly improve (be patient!).
Along with exercise comes rest. Your eyes deserve the best lighting possible. Harsh and direct lights do not allow the eyes to rest to relax. Fluorescent lighting is particularly hard on the eyes and soon tires them. How else can you rest the eyes? Here is a method described by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton:
“The eyes may be refreshed by a simple process. Close the eyes and relax them, and then cup the palms of the hands over the eyes. Press the palms against the eyes, with no pressure on the eyeballs for a few minutes. Palming, as this is called, relaxes and refreshes tired eyes as few things will.”
3.8 The Eyes Have It!
Vision is one of our most precious senses. To keep your eyes at their peak throughout your life, follow the Life Science diet of chiefly raw fruits and vegetables, exercise the eyes, rest them, and stay free from stress and destructive habits. Your eyes will serve you well as long as you follow the teachings of healthful living.