My uncle supposedly stopped wearing glasses, and his vision went back to normal. I'm curious to see what he has to say about it.
Update: Awhile back I emailed him about it, and I don't think this was necessarily the case. I apologize for the misconception.
Anyone who says you can improve vision with exercises and other similar things doesn't understand the basic mechanism underlying most typical vision problems. In near sighted people (which I am) the problem is with the shape of the eye. Anyone with a basic understanding of optics will figure out the problem immediately. Since the eye is not a muscle no amount of exercise will help. Surgery is the best solution.
Check out the forums at iblindness.org The Bates method does work, I've only been half-heartedly following it and have seen a reduction in prescription from -4.25 in both eyes to -3.50 in just a few weeks and now I feel like I need another reduction. Quackenbush's "Relearning to See" is an excellent book, a great place to start (Bates' writing can be a little dense and hard to read). Pinhole glasses really help, too, especially for computer work, if you don't care that you look like a weirdo :)
Come to think of it, when I first wake up in the morning I sometimes forget to put my glasses on because I can see well enough without them. As soon as I start wearing my glasses, my eyes adjust to them and I can't see without them. I think I might try going without them when I won't be driving and see if that will help.
I didn't wear glasses until I got a job that stuck me in front of the computer all the time.
I had Lasik a decade ago. Love the results; got rid of glasses for both distance and reading. Went back for an eye exam two years ago. 20/20 or better, I forget. These days (age 57) I need reading glasses to read the teeny, tiny print of product ingredient labels: yes, those labels really are getting smaller. Interestingly, sometimes I need magnifier (reading) glasses for the morning paper, but not always. Some days, I can read more easily. It sort of correlates with being rested, focused, attentive.
But you didn't ask about me. You asked the "Is it possible" question. And I think this is truly one of the best questions one can ask. One of my favorite social science researchers, Ellen Langer (Harvard), says: "All it take to prove dogs can yodel is one dog that yodels." So if you can find a way to improve vision without any of the above, you'll teach the rest of us something useful.
Yodel Ay Hee Hoo.
Not to burst anybody's bubble but there can be statistical fluctuations.
I tried eye exercises and those books that claim to get rid of glasses when I hit puberty and got glasses (low prescription that time). It didn't work for me. I was a bookworm devouring 1 novel per day(Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) so looking back I'm sure that contributed to my myopia.
I did do some VT - vision therapy and vision training to help with eyestrain at near/computer work which did help subjectively and objectively (measured with prisms). My mother did the same. But neither of us eliminated our glasses.
There are some genes involved with myopia. I do believe in epigenetics - gene interaction with the environment so I don't think everyone is doomed by their genes.
In my experience, a change within +/- 0.50 in one or both eyes is common from year to year because the refraction for glasses is subjective - and even objective measurements like an autorefractor can have more fluctuation then that!
You could have been slightly overcorrected (sometimes by an entire 1.00 diopter in each eye) in the past. Sometimes when people change eye doctors, this is corrected.
I would also like to see someone cured without refractive surgery (LASIK, and the like) from -3.00 D to 0 (no prescription) in their glasses.
That being said, it seems that Vitamin D and being outdoors affects myopia!
Now high insulin levels can affect myopia. There are other issues that high-carb, glucose, and insulin negatively affect the eye.
Illiterate and less-educated populations have much lower myopia rates vs. more educated and literate populations as shown in China (rural vs. urban) and Israel (Orthodox vs. Reform Jews - the former have to memorize and read a lot more of their holy texts). This is even in populations that share much of the same genes, suggesting the environment of constant near work (computer and reading which was never part of our evolutionary history) and perhaps less sunlight/Vitamin D contributes to myopia.
I think it maybe easier to prevent (especially before the age 18) myopia then to change it afterwards. However, I could happily be proven wrong - track your glasses prescriptions!
Frankly, I have yet to see objective data for refractive error change (myopia, presbyopia, and hyperopia) for the Bates method (eye exercises), so I'm a bit skeptical. Objective data would include corneal topography, axial length changes.
The section on claimed success is all I can support because of the lack of objective data:
" As evidence for the effectiveness of the Bates method, proponents point to the many accounts of people allegedly having improved their eyesight by applying it. While these anecdotes may be told and passed on in good faith, several potential explanations exist for the phenomena reported other than a genuine reversal of a refractive error due to the techniques practiced:
Some cases of nearsightedness are recognized as due to a transient spasm of the ciliary muscle, rather than a misshapen eyeball. These are classed as pseudomyopia, of which spontaneous reversal may account for some reports of improvement.
Research has confirmed that when nearsighted subjects remove their corrective lenses, over time there is a limited improvement (termed "blur adaptation") in their unaided visual resolution, even though autorefraction indicates no corresponding change in refractive error. This is believed to occur due to adjustments made in the visual system. One who has been practicing Bates' techniques and notices such improvement may not realize that simply leaving the glasses off would have had the same effect, which may be especially pronounced if the prescription was too strong to begin with.
Visual acuity is affected by the size of the pupil. When it constricts (such as in response to an increase in light), the quality of focus will improve significantly, at the cost of a reduced ability to see in dim light. This is known as the "pinhole effect".
Some eye defects may naturally change for the better with age or in cycles (ophthalmologist Stewart Duke-Elder suggested that this is what happened with Aldous Huxley).
A cataract when first setting in sometimes results in much improved eyesight for a short time. One who happens to have been practicing the Bates method will likely credit it for any improvement experienced regardless of the actual cause.
Some studies have suggested that a learned ability to interpret blurred images may account for perceived improvements in eyesight. Ophthalmologist Walter B. Lancaster had this to say: "Since seeing is only partly a matter of the image on the retina and the sensation it produces, but is in still larger part a matter of the cerebral processes of synthesis, in which memories play a principal role, it follows that by repetition, by practice, by exercises, one builds up a substratum of memories useful for the interpretation of sensations and facilitates the syntheses which are the major part of seeing." Lancaster faulted ophthalmologists in general for neglecting the role of the brain in the process of seeing, "leaving to irregular, half-trained workers the cultivation of that field".
"Flashes of clear vision"
Bates method enthusiasts often report experiencing "flashes" of clear vision, in which eyesight momentarily becomes much sharper, but then reverts back to its previous state. Such flashes are not the result of squinting, and can occur in one eye at a time or in both eyes at once. Observation has suggested that both the quality and duration of such flashes can be increased with practice, with some subjects holding a substantial improvement for several minutes. Tests of such subjects have found that the temporary improvement in visual acuity is real, but per retinoscopy is not due to any change in refractive error. A 1982 study concluded that such occurrences are best explained as a contact lens-like effect of moisture on the eye, based on increased tear action exhibited by 15 out of 17 subjects who experienced such improvement. A more recent series of studies have proposed that such flashes may be caused by "negative accommodation" (i.e. an active flattening of the lens by the ciliary muscles).
I doubt it especially for refractive (light bending) disorders of the eye. Lens correction helps the light focus on the back of the retina, otherwise the focal point where the light actually hits the retina may be off alignment.
The lens of the eye also naturally deteriorates as you get older getting cataracts (cloudyness of the lens) and presbyopia (the eye doesn't focus change as well).
Granted I work in an eye doctors office so I could be biased too.
In my own experience, my eye problems were related to fatigue. When I was in grad school and reading tons I needed glasses to see far distances. Once I got out of school I didn't need them anymore. Then I got a job that involves a lot of staring at a computer. Now I'm starting to think I need glasses again.
Obviously this doesn't apply to people with serious eyesight issues, but it's something to consider that some of the need for glasses may be lifestyle related and not physiological.
From what I've read, it seems that nearsightedness can indeed be cured without surgery, at least in some cases. There's a Finnish opthalmologist named Kaisu Viikari who is using a very unconventional approach towards this problem: gradually decreasing the strength of minus glasses, and eventually wearing plus glasses for reading etc. Check this out: http://www.kaisuviikari.com/testimonials.htm
The treatment is based on the theory, that myopia (nearsightedness) is often really "pseudomyopia", not caused by a lengthened eyeball but instead a spasm of accommodation, a cramp of the ciliary muscle resulting in overaccommodation. When this muscle cramp is released, the patient can again see far-away objects sharply, since the light focuses on the retina and not in front of it. (Or something along those lines, I'm not an opthalmologist and might not know the correct terms... Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
To me, Dr. Viikari's texts make a lot of sense. I had perfectly good eyesight as a child, and only got my first pair of (minus) glasses at age 13. That was a couple of years after starting to spend significant time in front of the computer, my eyes thus focusing more on nearby objects than before. And since then, my eyesight has been degrading, although more slowly with age. Now at 26 I have a -4.25 lens on my right eye and -7.00 on the left. I don't want to wear glasses or contacts for the rest of my life, so eventually I'll either end up in laser eye surgery or find another way to correct my eyesight. Dr. Viikari's approach definitely seems like an interesting possibility.
Dry eyes can change your prescription significantly. Curing your dry eyes will "fix" the vision changes brought on by the dry eyes. Common causes of dry eyes are low Omega 3's and low thyroid. My opthamologist was very impressed with the improvements my eyes have made since going paleo. Now if I could only fix the thyroid.
I recommend this piece: http://gettingstronger.org/2010/07/improve-eyesight-and-throw-away-your-glasses/ I tried the training and noticed an improvement.