Use Your Own Eyes

by William B. MacCracken, M. D. Use Your Own Eyes was first published in 1937.



CHAPTER II


THE BACKGROUND


What is the real explanation of the vernacular word "Eyestrain", which is not found in technical books? The specific word that does describe the condition referred to is Asthenopia. It is a made word, from weak and sight. Asthsnopia has many manifestations, that is, complications.


This condition ("weak sight") is described as a sense of strain or weariness in the eyes and head, set up by the use of the eyes. It may be simple, that is, alone, or it may be associated with blurred vision, which may be continuous or only transient. Print may run together, and then become clear again. There may be double, or multiple images. Flashes of light, or floating specks may be seen. It is stated that the condition may be caused by refractive errors, in accommodation (focusing), by anomalous conduct of the six muscles surrounding the eyeball, or by hysteria or neurasthenia, by improper illumination, or by morbid conditions of other organs.


Those predisposed to the condition find that it readily occurs, so we are told, in any concentrated use of the eyes, or when motoring, or train riding ("panoramic asthsnopia"), or in public crowds, at games, moving pictures, et cetera..


But we are told also, presently, that reflex disturbances may be caused in the system by the presence of the condition itself; for example, remote pains, nausea, tics (twitchings), et estsra.


We are told, finally, that asthenopia is the commonest of all eye symptoms, and the one that is most readily relieved by proper treatment. The treatment is the removal '.. of the cause.


The discussion in the books thus becomes confusing.


We know that most of those who are wearing lenses have been told that their abnormal vision has been caused by eyestrain. No morbid conditions have been found in other organs. They are apparently in normal health. More confusion.


There are several types of these prevalent disturbances of vision. There is a tragic condition which is the ultimate extreme of such abnormal functioning. It is called psychic blindness. This catastrophe is not common but it is well known. Also, quite frequently, it likewise is recovered from spontaneously. Such spontaneous recoveries generally occur after all deliberate efforts to relieve it have failed. In those cases of record where it has been relieved by deliberate effort, the cure has been effected by endeavors to influence the mind.


The cause of psychic blindness is always a mental shock. Tts occurence may crash instantaneously, or may take months to develop; and likewise the recovery may occur in a moment, or may take years.


A woman's husband threw a cup of hot coffee in her face. In that instant she became blind. Fortunately, the doctor consulted was a clever fellow. He told the patient that the coffee had caused a film to form over her eyes. He said he could clear it off by painting the eyeballs with a solution, and covering the eyes for an hour with a heavy surgical dressing. The solution, he said, would dissolve the film. When finally be took the dressing off, the patient's sight was normal. Of course there was no film on the eyeballs. The film was in her mind.


A man who had spent his life building up a large enter. prise, found himself finally promoted into the honorary office of Chairman of the Board of Directors. His unhappy discontent caused gradually a complete loss of vision.


Finally his physician persuaded him that mental depression had caused this remarkable condition of his sight, suppressing the normal reaction of the central control of vision in the brain.


The physician explained that one hour of unconsciousness, under the effects of ether, would quiet this extreme reaction because it would silence the haunting humiliation he felt, being thus deprived of direct control of the enterprise which constantly filled his thoughts.


His troubled mind accepted the promise. When he recovered consciousness, the physician held out his watch, and the patient told him the time.


Even a very little deliberate consideration of the import and the indication of records such as those, makes one realize their significance.


Those who are troubled with nearsightedness, or farsightedness, or astigmatism, or other symptoms of eyestrain, report that the degree, and even the nature of the affliction, varies with an irregular irregularity.


The standard books explain that eyes which are crossed make changes often, temporary or permanent, in the direction of the squint. Such changes may occur in one eye, or in both eyes. They occur without the consciousness of the owner of the eyes.


This marvelous, exquisite mechanism of human vision, this faculty which is next to thought, is, so much of it, so beyond our conception that the most erudite descriptions cease to describe it. Their explanations terminate in crude speculation, very little beyond the border where "radiant energy is transformed into another form of energy", which cannot be described, when it "contacts the retina", the lining membrane of the eye, and as a strange new force, carries a message to the brain.


Did you ever deliberate over the process by which the size of a sky scraper building is taken into your eyes, and you can "see" how big it is? Can you explain at all how a glance at another human face may give you some specific conception of the thoughts in the mind of the owner of that face?


The eyeball itself is only the beginning of the mechanism of vision. Wonderful as it is, the eyeball, with the muscles which encircle it and change its shape, comprises only the comparatively trivial end organ. That end organ receives and directs the waves of light, determining their distribution and contact with the retina. In the retina biological chemistry accomplishes the transformation which is known, but cannot be described.


The refracted light rays, which comprise the stimulant to the ultimate tendrils of the optic nerve, become the determining factor which conveys to the mind the presentation that makes possible the conception impressed on the consciousness.


Psychic blindness is a disturbance which suppresses the ultimate function of the mechanism of vision. That part of the process which normally so impresses the micro. scopic brain cells in the visual center, that the mind itself L becomes conscious of the message coming in from the world outside.


This central control has demonstrated its ability to correct, spontaneously, such lapses into helplessness. There is official record, sufficient, that deliberate scientific effort has acomplished the same recovery. That is done by securing what Emile Coue described as autosuggestion. For years he secured analagous results, in that same way, that are recorded today as fine scientific achievements.


Is it not clear that the recovery of normal function, in those subordinate factors In this mechanism of vision, that is, the correcting of abnormal conduct of muscles which are receiving improper nerve impulses, is a trifling matter, when compared with the recovery from collapse of the control center itself?


In other words, since no one would, or could deny the recovery from psychic total blindness, upon what grounds ran anyone persist in claiming that there will never be any cure found for the simple, almost fashionable, variety of eyestrains with which our people are being supplied?


In the civilizations that had appeared, and had been lost again, in the mists of time, long ages before the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, man had learned how to make telescopes, and how to study the stars, billions of light years away in the vast firmament. But the art of making telescopes had been lost.


Since that long ago age, the mechanics have learned how to make great improvements on the glass that was made eons before the records, or the imagination, of present day man had any conception of them.


Since that time, too, anatomists and physiologists and psychologists have uncovered for eye specialists of the medical profession today many mysteries of which the wise men of old China had no knowledge.


But in their treatment of the varieties of abnormal vision designated as eyestrain, those specialists, the world over, are found to be still congealed in the same footprints on the sands of time as Marco Polo found in the civilization of ancient China.


During the fifty years of my own personal experiences concerning abnormal vision, like Omar Khayyam, I have heard great argument


About it and about: but evermore


Came out by the same door where in I went.


L that is, the correcting of abnormal conduct of muscles which are receiving improper nerve impulses, is a trifling matter, when compared with the recovery from collapse of the control center itself?


In other words, since no one would, or could deny the recovery from psychic total blindness, upon what grounds can anyone persist in claiming that there will never be any cure found for the simple, almost fashionable, variety of eyeetrains with which our people are being supplied?


In the civilizations that had appeared, and had been lost again, in the mists of time, long ages before the ` Egyptians and the Chaldeans, man had learned how to make telescopes, and how to study the stars, billions of light years away in the vast firmament. But the art of making telescopes had been lost.


Since that long ago age, the mechanics have learned how to make great improvements on the glass that was made eons before the records, or the imagination, of present day man had any conception of them.


Since that time, too, anatomists and physiologists and psychologists have uncovered for eye specialists of the medical profession today many mysteries of which the wise men of old China had no knowledge.


But in their treatment of the varieties of abnormal vision designated as eyestrain, those specialists, the world over, are found to be still congealed in the same footprints on the sands of time as Marco Polo found in the civilization of ancient China.


During the fifty years of my own personal experiences concerning abnormal vision, like Omar Khayyam, I have heard great argument


About it and about: but evermore


Came out by the same door where in I went.


Back to the same door. Astigmatism is not curable. But Coud cured many thousands with much more serious afflictions.


Milton H. Berry, a plain kind of a genius in Los Angeles, left a medical record of three thousand cases of various kinds of paralysis which recovered the power of their muscles, all of them after their various medical advisors had informed them they were incurable.


If we would deliberately consider circumstances which are common knowledge, it would clarify many vague, almost unconscious mental impressions concerning this most im portant personal subject.


Multitudes who never heard of Dr. Bates have dis. carded their spectacles, often after wearing them continu. ously for years. That the majority of wearers have not discarded them proves only that they are still wearing them. Their experience confirms the habitual promise of the apsc !.list that their eyes, with the spectacles on, will become more and more helpless, without the ┬░stronger' and stronger glasses. The current explanation of the condition is the coined word "Eyestrain". The simple practices of the Bates Method teach the patient how to correct said strain. The mental discipline learned in that endeavor is illuminating. The freedom from the spectacles, and the eyestrain, is not the only value discovered.


How often one bears a direct, or a covert sneer at the possibility of "disciplining our thoughts". Those who have that mental attitude are ignoring not only the priceless privilege endowed in their inheritance, but as well the cost of that "thoughtless" surrender.


1Yot a few of those seeking relief from glass lenses are obstructed by the unconscious build-up in their minds, ac complished by the current propaganda against the possi. bility of securing a correction of the abnormal condition of their vision. Suppose you consider your own conception.


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