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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Can we improve our vision with this device?

What are you kids looking at? More pictures here.

Well, it has been four month's since I took the drastic step to experiment with Bates Method for eyesight improvement. The thing about this project of mine is that it takes forever to see the results (did I say see?), which is why I have not posted any updates on this until now. There are people who zealously post their progress almost daily for a number of years! See the blog sections in this forum. Wait, if you think I have made any important breakthrough, you will be sorely disappointed. Then again, I have not done any of the 'exercises' recommended by Bates or Quackenbush in his book for the last two months. See? I didn't follow proper instructions. Anyway, it was pointed out to me by a nice teacher that Bates program should be 'naturally' implemented in your daily routine. That is, it need not be some exercise per se. It is about using the correct habits for seeing. No staring or any visual habit that creates strain to your eyes. Frequently blink, relax and abdominal breathing (like pranic breathing, I suppose). These are some of the things I have mentioned in my earlier post. Oh, one more thing - the vision teachers prefer you to call these routines as "habits" rather than "exercises".

Anyway, the reason I am bringing up this subject today is because I came across a product whose company claims can improve the eye vision. Now, there are quite a number of such products out there if you do a google search. They come in a variety of form. One such product is known as the "See Clearly Method" kit and was sold in tens of thousands by a company for $350 apiece. The kit consisted of manuals, charts, videotapes and audiotapes demonstrating eye exercises and other techniques. Apparently, the product did not meet the customers' expectations and when they tried to return it, they were rejected. Hence, a lawsuit was launched against the company for some of the following allegations:

"The lawsuit alleges that Vision Improvement Technologies uses a combination of misleading and unfair marketing tactics to sell their kits, including exaggerated claims of effectiveness, false implications of scientific validity, and misleading consumer testimonials in advertising. ..."

I also found a related discussion in this forum post.

Now, this is the product that I was introduced to. It is called the EyeRelax.

Does this work? EyeRelax product

If you check the website of one company marketing this product, it says on its page that:

"EyeRelax is developed based on extensive research in the areas of bio-spectrum and our eye visual fields. The technologies behind EyeRelax is patented. By treating both the accommodative system and the vision neuro system, EyeRelax is the most complete in its prevention of myopia and improvement to our eyesight. It is with this beneficial innovation that EyeRelax was awarded the top international awards. EyeRelax helps to improve your eyesight, reduce visual fatigue and improves the overall health of your eyes. ..."

That's a lot of technical terms there. Basically, it claims to help you by allowing your eyeball to change shape. I believe this is what is termed as treating the accommodative system. However, being a skeptical person (well, since I was trained as one), I took the liberty to run through the web and stumbled upon a website called QuackWatch where I found an article related to Bates method. This non-profit organization aims to inform simple folks like us about the fake stuffs. It's not my intention to dismiss Bates method altogether and I do hope there is value in this investigation. After all, I would like to get my 20/20 back. But there are other Bates teachers who also admitted Dr. Bates made some mistakes in his theory of accommodation. Here's QuackWatch says regarding the theory:

"The Bates theory of accommodation collapses on other grounds. It would be theoretically impossible for the extrinsic muscles to alter the structure of the eyeball so as to meet the requirements of accommodation. The outside, white coat of the eyeball (the sclera) is not resilient and elastic, as shown by tests in the laboratory. Furthermore, when pressure inside an eye is increased by more than 500 per cent, the volume of the eyeball hardly changes, as shown by measurements (the increase is only 0.007 per cent of the original volume). This proves that the sclera does not yield very easily to pressure. Finally, the sclera becomes even more rigid and less resilient with age, especially after the age of 40. ..."

So, if this statement is true, then EyeRelax's claim regarding the accommodation system and its purported vision improvement is contradicting. Also, looking through its catalog, it says people with vision of less than 300 degrees (that is, 3.0DS) will benefit the most and have the highest likelihood of regaining normal eyesight (20/20). It does not say that the same benefit for people with extreme myopia like me (>6.0DS).

Marketing catalog

Here's a marketing video of the EyeRelax product I found on youtube:

Well, it is sad that you find many children (some as young as four years old) wearing glasses. Is it genetic or is it due to poor reading habits? In my time, there were very few bespectacled kids around. Mostly these kids are wearing one because they can afford it. I wasn't wearing any until I went to Penang where I did my primary four. It is true that I wasn't able to see clearly in class and I had to strained my eyes to read the letters on the blackboard. One time I had to plead my Indian classmate sitting in front of me to help me with the writings. He agreed only after I offered to pay him 5 cents (or was it 1 cent?)! This is one embarrassing incident I can never forget.

And so, I was taken to the optician to have my eyes checked. Why wear glasses? Being a stupid kid, I thought it was cool to put on one - like in the TV movies. See, watching too much TV is bad for you. Also, most of my relatives (uncles, cousins etc.) were wearing one. Ouch! Those days before they had the computerized equipment, the optician would continue adding the glass pieces until you feel your eyes have been adequately compensated. Being a bit 'kiasu' (local dialect for extreme behavior), I wanted more and more clarity to the point where I think the floor seemed like it was under the swimming pool. As a result, I was prescribed my first pair of glasses with 3.0DS or 300 degrees. Thinking back, I probably needed 1.0DS (100 degrees) or less. Well, you can't change history....

We can learn from history. My personal experience has shown me that it is important to explain to kids the reasons and effects of wearing glasses. They need to be explained how much compensation is good enough, should they need one. But I guess there are not many stupid kids out there like me.

Another important thing that I want to point out from my recent experience. I mentioned in my earlier post that after a few weeks of not wearing any glasses at all, my eyesight naturally improved by 0.5DS or 50 degrees. Comparing this result with some testimonials of people using the EyeRelax product, I wonder if the product really helped at all. And that is the problem with things like this, they almost always rely on testimonials as proof of success and validity.

Testimonial? Hmmm....

To make a long story short, I think it is great if we can find ways to improve our health. Actually there are all kinds of ways on the market. And like all things in life, you will find genuine products as well as fake ones. Now, I am not saying this EyeRelax is a fake one. I will be glad to hear from you if you or your friends have used one. The journey to normal eyesight is a long and uncertain one, I can tell you from my own experience. It is filled with frustrations and it is disruptive to normal life. Yet, like any endeavor in life, one must strive hard in order to succeed. If we don't try, we never know.

I am thirsty now...where's my susu kacang? Maybe settle for Milo tonight....sigh....


Erin said...

I wanted to know if by any chance you would be interested in doing an unbiased review of our product.

If you agree we will send you a product sample so that you can try it and then write a review about it.

Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you

Susu Kacang said...

hi erin

thank you for visiting my humble blog. i have not been updating my blog for quite some time now due to health reasons.

i am really surprised that my blog post caught your attention. i was just expressing my view based on my own findings and i did not mean to give any product review.

being a curious person, i would be eager to evaluate the product. after all, i am all for natural vision.... ;)