PERSONS coining to this country from Europe are always struck by the number of people using artificial aids to vision, for the United States seems to have pre-empted the position formerly held by Germany as the land of the eyeglass. Thousands of people in this country wear glasses whose vision for reading and distance is normal without them. What more they could expect of their eyes and why they wear glasses it is difficult to understand. They will tell you that glasses remove strain, enable them to read longer, or to do work that their eyes could not be expected to do without them. The fact is, as has been explained, that glasses can never remove strain, but must, on the contrary, be a cause of strain. It is also a fact that glasses, though fitted by the best of oculists, can never give as good vision as the normal eye enjoys without them.
Or they will tell you that they put on glasses in the first place because they were subject to frequent headaches, and as the pain was above the eyes, they were convinced that they were due to eye strain. This may have been true, because a very slight error of refraction will sometimes cause a great deal of discomfort. But the trouble may have been a temporary one that would have passed away if the patient had not resorted to glasses, and headaches may be due to many things besides eye strain: improper diet, indigestion, constipation, lack of fresh air, insufficient exercise and too little sleep being the usual causes. Glasses have probably caused a great many more headaches than they have cured, and an oculist's prescription for those conditions is extremely illogical. A correction of their harmful, energy-dissipating habits of living would soon convince the majority of such persons that there was little or nothing wrong with their eyes. All that stands between them and eye freedom, probably, is a few days of discomfort, the natural consequence of the readjustment to ocular self-dependence.
Whether the vision is normal or not, everyone who wears glasses should discard them as quickly as possible, and those who understand the facts will surely not delay a day longer than is necessary in doing so. It can be done in all but a very few cases, and has been done by thousands. If one makes his living by the use of his eyes, and cannot see to do his work without glasses he cannot, obviously, discard the latter at once, but some people are able to make progress in spite of this handicap, reducing the strength of the lenses as their refraction improves, if necessary, while others may be able to make the necessary start during a vacation. The transition from glasses to no-glasses may be unpleasant, but usually the discomfort is not serious, and if glasses can be completely discarded, does not last long. The wearing of glasses for work and other necessary purposes is a complication that had better be eliminated if it is in any way possible, because the refraction may change very quickly, and we all know how uncomfortable it is to put on glasses not adapted to our eyes for even a moment. Myopic persons have a great advantage in the fact that they can see at the near-point without their glasses, and near vision is the kind most needed under modern conditions. Hypermetropic persons can often see well enough at the near-point to read without glasses, but are more likely to have headaches when they first try to get on without them than are the myopic.
Most people heartily dislike glasses, because of their effect on personal appearance, their inconvenience, and the imperfect vision secured through their use. Persons who have worn them for any length of time know by the evidence of their own senses that their eyes have grown steadily weaker under their influence. That the conditions for which they are worn are curable cannot be disputed by any one who will impartially examine the facts. Yet, most people cannot be persuaded to give the new way a trial. Ignoring even the facts of their own experience, they cling to their glasses for fear they may lose their eyesight if they go without them. The process of cure, moreover, is often tedious, though in the majority of cases it takes only a moderate amount of time, and many people would rather put up with the inconvenience of glasses than make the necessary effort to get rid of them.
For all these reasons the gospel of no-glasses spreads slowly, and opticians who have accepted it say they have no fear of its injuring business.
There remains, however, a considerable minority who insist on doing their own thinking, no matter how much their conclusions may be opposed to the teaching of tradition and authority, and who are willing to take as much trouble as may be necessary to preserve that most precious of all possessions, their sight. To them this book is addressed, and on them we must depend to lead the way where a new generation will follow.
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