A rebuttle to psychologically improving your vision

March 28, 2013

Eyes, Health, Sports, Vision

Eighty percent of processed information initially comes through the eyes and vision sense — efficiently or inefficiently — to the brain and back through the eyes to the big muscles for, hopefully, efficient performance.

Eighty percent of processed information initially comes through the eyes and vision sense — efficiently or inefficiently — to the brain and back through the eyes to the big muscles for, hopefully, efficient performance.

by Jeff Eger — 

This is an eye doctor’s rebuttal to an article entitled, “A simple way to improve your vision,” from the Dec. 2102/Jan. 201 issue of AzNetNews, which quoted facts from Psychological Science (PubMed), Discovery News 2010:21(5)0:661-6 and mercola.com. It stated that Harvard University psychologist Ellen Langer and colleagues claim that it is possible to improve your vision simply by changing your mindset and using the power of positive thinking. Their research showed that eyesight markedly improved when people are experimentally induced to believe they can see well.

My first thought was that this psychologist must be related to Cleopatra — the queen of de’ Nile (“denial” — play on words intended). Seriously though, I hope that if her distance eyesight is worse than 20/30 and she takes off her prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, she does not drive at nighttime. Furthermore, without visual enhancement, her reaction time while participating in any sporting activities will be slowed, and if she ever needs to take notes via an overhead projector or chalkboard, her abilities will be challenged.

First, let me explain that vision is not just eyesight. Eyesight is only one of the seven skills of vision, or what I call vision efficiency. These seven skills are eyesight, eye tracking, eye teaming (binocularity), peripheral awareness, near/far flexibility, localization of space (spatially) and visual imagery (what is seen instantly).

Having a background in sports-vision enhancement, orthokeratology and behavioral vision, I know that all vision skills can be enhanced or learned using vision therapy.

Several things can be done to address eyesight improvement. Patients’ eyeglasses or contact lenses can effectively and safely be under-corrected from the normal correction of 20/20, down to a 20/25 or 20/30 correction. Exposure to natural light with the blue-green spectrum or light frequency is beneficial, especially in morning sunlight. The near/far-reading demand for using computers and texting needs to be balanced. For that, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be prescribed because they have a flatter fit than standard lenses. This treatment is called orthokeratology and helps to reshape the nearsighted front of the eyeball or cornea.

It is important for people who are raising their reading materials closer and closer to their faces to use low-powered reading spectacles. They need to practice focusing from near to far for five to 10 minutes a day to relax and flex the accommodative or focusing system. A qualified doctor who performs vision or perceptual training can also teach better vision skills in all seven areas of vision efficiency.

As a sixth grade school teacher during 1969-71, I noticed that children performed better in school and with coordination after they received eyeglasses, contacts or vision perceptual therapy. However, the Arizona Psychological Association states that perceptual therapy does not work. Their investigative committee was very vocal in stating this when I proposed to implement 15 minutes of daily vision exercises or drills for my students after they pledged allegiance to the flag.

Chinese elementary students have been doing15 to 20 minutes of perceptual vision therapy during their formative years for more than 50 years. The results can be seen in terms of their performance. The Chinese people are now thriving in our universities and  workplaces, and are competing in the new global economy. Unlike in the U.S., China does not embrace learning disabilities and does not aggressively dispense psychotic medication to make children well-behaved. Many of the children who are diagnosed with a learning disability in this country are, in fact, just visually inefficient.

Is this distorted emphasis and influence relaxing the rules of discipline and respect for authority in our country? Could it be that this is contributing to the performance decline in graduation rates from high school and college, as more and more children are misdiagnosed as having LD, ADD or ADHD?

Students and athletes of all ages must be visually efficient in all seven areas in order to play and work to their true potential. People I have seen professionally who were enrolled in a vision-efficiency training program have graduated from high school and college. Prior to that, many top athletes I have worked with have wondered what was wrong with their intelligence. I have told them that it is only their vision that is subpar. I cared for the vision of the number one men’s golf team at ASU from 1990 to 1992. Many members of the team were psychology majors who were taught that vision emanates from a psychological basis.

Before looking into the ability of the seven visual skills of an individual, I strongly question the attachment of psychological labels to explain subpar performance, as well as prescribing medication. Eighty percent of processed information initially comes through the eyes and vision sense — efficiently or inefficiently — to the brain and back through the eyes to the big muscles for, hopefully, efficient performance. Light information goes through the eyes first, meaning that you cannot focus mentally until you can focus visually, or ocularly.

Every top athlete I see must repeat my definition of vision efficiency until they know it by rote. Visual efficiency leads and directs physical efficiency (eye-hand coordination). To me, efficiency is perfect performance with the least amount of time and energy. When you are visually efficient, you are able to see the big picture — trust it, feel it (intuitively) and use it to reach your true potential. I have seen 18 “visually intuitive or instinctual champions” improve by using perceptual optimized performance. By completion of the program, they exhibited unlimited scholastic potential, in addition to improved performance in their chosen sports.

I do not agree that you can improve your vision by simply removing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, having a positive mindset attitude and telling yourself that you can see perfectly. Professional eye-care guidance is required during vision therapy. A vision therapist can improve vision through a series of sequential and fundamental steps.

Flip Wilson said, “What you see is what you get.” Mohammed Ali said it better, “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes don’t see.”

 

Dr. Jeffrey J. Eger, OD, FIOS, is an optometrist in Mesa, Ariz., who works with people to see the whole picture. 480-964-6672 or www.allamericansportsvision.com. 

Reprinted from Arizona Networking News, AzNetNews.

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