Reading the sad report on an eye operation gone wrong (WDDTY vol 9 no 3), I felt I should relate my own experience with "near sightedness".
From early adolescence, I began to have trouble seeing school blackboards, and at 16, I began to wear glasses. A year later my mother, herself very nearsighted, gave me the original William H Bates book, Perfect Sight Without Glasses. I tried the exercises and followed the advice. The exercises didn't seem to help much, but I believe the advice not to try to see has stood me in good stead. For years I wore my glasses only in the classroom, cinemas and for driving. After the age of 20, the prescription never seemed to require changing. I could even pass the lax British vision test for driving.
Having lost my glasses a few years ago, I decided to manage without and have found my distant vision has improved considerably with age (I am now 71). Unlike most of my contemporaries and much younger friends, I can read quite well without glasses. Without glasses I have learnt a trick or two almost unconsciously. My left eye is better for distance, my right for close up. With both open I adjust automatically for near and far.
My four children have all fallen for the glasses racket, wearing them a great deal. One daughter has mastered the doubtful art of wearing contact lenses for a considerable period of time disposables being her latest. My oldest son prefers to wear glasses only as necessary, but at 41, his vision is not as good as mine.
It is possible that my improved distant vision is due to some slight shrinkage of the eyeball with age. Anyway, I am grateful to Bates and his successors for resisting the vision aid lobby and saving me a lot of trouble and plenty of money.
I hope my experience will help some people resist the lure of risky operations and the glasses "crutch" which leads to ever stronger prescriptions. R F, Stroud.