Vision Correction Without Lasik: Exercise Your Eyes

by Brad Isaac on October 5, 2008

eyesight I used to wear glasses years ago. My vision was bad.  My glasses were heavy.  As a kid, I felt my glasses were ugly. 

I remember going in to the optometrist one day. I always hated going to the optometrist. My eyes were in bad shape, and they were always putting in those drops that dilate your eyes and shine a big bright light with the power of the sun into my cornea. This was agonizing for me. There was one particular day when I was sitting in the optometrist’s chair and he said Brad, you are about six steps from legal blindness.

This was upsetting. Because every time I went to have my eyes examined, I would end up with a more powerful prescription. Already, my eyeglasses were so thick and heavy they would put pressure on my nose that would leave marks. And here I was, learning that I was going do both get one step closer to legal blindness and two have to wear another thicker prescription.

Also, during this time, my family did not have enough money for glasses. Especially the type I needed which were heavy prescription, heavy frames, and stylish enough that I wouldn’t be bullied at school. Unfortunately, I think we failed to stylish part because I got in so many fights in school, I was lucky if my glasses would last one semester. The old saying and never hit someone with glasses, obviously didn’t apply to me. Because I was often getting cold cocked in the eye, thus breaking my plastic frames. The second I found out my glasses were broken,  I would remember I’d have to suffer with half broken frames for the rest of the school year because my family could not afford new glasses.  I’m not exactly proud of it, but the person who did this was soon to find out what a terrible fate was to be bestowed upon them.

But my looks were not the only problem I had with glasses. As I mentioned I had thick lenses. For them to stay on my face, the optometrist would have to tighten the frames so much that I would often get blisters behind my ears and resulting headaches. That is, until somebody on the school yard loosen them up by breaking off one of the side. I had no peripheral vision.  This led to tunnel vision if you can picture it. Still to this day,  I have to remind myself to move my eyes side-to-side otherwise I turn my head. I’m used to turning my head to see something, when most people would simply move their eyes in that direction.


In high school, I would do anything to be able to wear contact lenses. I got my first job one summer and saved up all my money so I could buy contact lenses. Unfortunately, because of my terrible astigmatism, I had to buy the hard gas permeable lenses. They were, of course, lighter than my eyeglasses, but for anyone who’s worn hard contacts knows what an agonizing adjustment they can be. I remember the woman who tried to fit me into the context for the first time. She patiently guided me on putting in the contacts each time they would go off center and trip to the bottom under an eyelid. If we you wear contacts you know the solution for that right? Simply look up word and with pressure apply your finger into your eye until the contact drifts toward your cornea! 0WWWW! My eyes are watering right now as I think about it. In fact, I think I’m weeping.

And although that seemed painful enough, that was nothing compared to in springtime when a piece of pollen got stuck under the contact lens. I would often be walking down the hallway toward class, when pollen would go under my contact lens. This was so painful I probably appeared to have a seizure right then and there. I would immediately double over because of the fact I knew I had to get that contact lens out of my eye as fast as possible. If the remains under the lens, besides it being agonizing, you have a high likelihood of scratching your cornea. Doctors refer to that as a corneal abrasion. As far as I’m concerned, you might as well refer to it as ice pick in the eye disease. It feels that bad.

I saw a gleam of hope which is amazing because normally I couldn’t see anything without squinting!

But then one day, I saw a gleam of hope. I went to DC to shadow someone who did oceanic studies. This was part of a school project I was doing. And I don’t remember anything about the oceanographic lectures.  However I did have one breakout session with someone who mentioned his daughter doing "eye exercises" and how she had been able to throw away her eyeglasses.

I suddenly became obsessed with finding out more about these "eye exercises". Even though I had a lame pair of eyes, I could still do exercises like the next person. It took much digging around in libraries before I found a few clues. And it wasn’t until 5 or so years later until digging through a library used book sale when I found a copy of Do You Really Need Eyeglasses  by Dr. Marilyn B. Rosanes-Berrett. Based on the Magazines of William H. Bates. I am not really recommending either of those books as Dr. Rosanes-Berrett’s book is dated, out of print and includes methods that are tough to figure out. Especially when Relearning to See  by Thomas Quackenbush is so much better anyway. But Quackenbush’s book wasn’t written when I started eye training.

Thus began my quest for correcting my own vision.

4.5 diopters of correction in my left eye and 5 diopters of correction in my right

When I finally found that book on night training, I decided to commit to the project of improving my vision. For six months without fail I came home from work and spent about 15 minutes to a half hour going through the eye exercises. You might think that I exercises were like push-ups tiring, but they’re not eye correction training is the opposite of what you would think. In fact, they are relaxing. The hardest part of the eye training is making commitment to it.

Much like other goal setting that I’ve covered here exhaustively on this blog, if you’re wanting to correct your own vision, you will want to commit to it. In my early 20s, I had the time and motivation to do it. So like anything else, I set a goal that I wanted to have perfect 20/20 vision.

What’s interesting about eye training is it is a self-motivating activity. After performing some of the exercises in the first week, I would have "clear patches" where for 30 seconds or so, my vision would clear to almost 20/20. I could look off into the distance and see as clearly as when I was wearing my glasses. It was miraculous! And a great confidence builder for future sessions.

At the end of six months, I went in to have my eyes examined. During the exam, we found my glasses were too powerful for me and the doctor noted that I had 4.5 diopters correction in my left eye and 5 diopters of correction in my right. This was of course magnificent news. He asked me what had changed. I started explaining to him that I was practicing eye exercises as taught to me by the Bates method. I asked him what he knew about it. I was amazed to find out he’d never even heard of it. He didn’t even know if it was possible.

So in this series, I’d like to detail the techniques and eye exercises I used to improve my vision and decrease the thickness of my lenses.  If you give them a try, you’ll be able to improve or completely correct your vision too.  Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed so you can get the updates and learn them too. 

This is not medical advice:  Of course, I am not your healthcare provider and I am not giving you medical advice.  Like a gym coach, I am simply recommending exercises that have worked for me.  They are not intended to correct disease, injury or any other eye ailment.  And although they are safe, please check with your eye care professional to make sure they are right for you.

In the interest of disclosure:  I did have LASIK eye surgery in 2000. There are several reasons for this. You may wonder if it is still possible to improve your eyesight is the person preaching I correction techniques went out and had LASIK. Of course you can!  My situation was special.

There were several reasons that I had LASIK. The first and foremost was I went to an ophthalmologist to check my eyes in 1999 he found a imperfection in my cornea and had to call in a specialist from out-of-state to look at it. The diagnoses was that if I did not have surgery soon, there was the possibility that I could never have it. So I decided that instead of taking the risk of never having 20/20 vision I went for the sure thing.

Set powerful goals online with our new online goal management tool


Bruce October 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Interesting story. This was enjoyable reading. Now, to find a cheap solution for eliminating “floaters” in the eyeball.

Brad Isaac October 5, 2008 at 11:16 pm

As I understand it, those floaters are little bands that are in the eye before you were born. Eventually, they break and what is left are floaters. I kind of like seeking one every now and again because they remind me I was a child once…

Ricky Spears October 16, 2008 at 1:52 am

Hey Brad. Loved this “teaser” and I’m just wondering if you have a schedule for the other upcoming articles. I’m especially interested in any exercises that might help us over-40 folks that now have a hard time reading small print in dim light without reading glasses. :o )

Brad Isaac October 18, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Hi Ricky,

I got sidetracked with some projects last week. Hope to have part 2 posted tomorrow.

Also, what I know best are the exercises for myopia, mid aged farsightedness can be improved with them too. But there might be other exercises more specific to farsightedness.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: