I can't see very well...
March 7, 2009 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Are there ways I can improve my vision? Or at least stop it from deteriorating?

I am 29 years old. I have far-sightedness and an astigmatism. I have worn glasses or contacts since I was two years old. Apparently, I have an extremely severe prescription -- more (or is it less?) than 8.00 in my left eye and 7.5 in my right eye, though I am not really sure what that means. I visit the eye doctor at least once a year to get new contacts and glasses. At my last visit, she told me that my eyesight seems to be getting worse as I age, and that I will eventually be legally blind with corrective lenses. Also, I am apparently not a candidate for Lasik.

Anyway, this is heartbreaking for me to think about. Is there any way to exercise the eyes to make them stop getting worse? Is there any truth to the old wives' tale that eating carrots can improve the vision? I am just so worried. I already can't drive at night without problems.
posted by waywardgirl to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Not really. The eyes aren't really operated with muscles in a way that you can exercise. If anything, using your eyes too much can lead to eyestrain, which will deteriorate your eyes even faster. The best I can suggest is to avoid reading for long periods of time, to use large print wherever possible, and make sure you are reading in optimal conditions, i.e. well-lit, properly placed materials for limited periods.

But there is a final option: lens replacement. This is common for cataracts, where the lens gets cloudy as you age. Eventually, it gets to the point that you can't see anything at all; at that point, the lens is replaced with an artificial one. Not only does this correct the cataract, but it also improves your vision drastically. Both my grandmother and my father had lens replacement in the last few years and their prescriptions--both of which were massive--dropped to the point that they barely need correction in that eye.

Needless to say, this isn't exactly an ideal option, and no ophthalmologist is going to do this just because you want it done. Lasik this is not. But once your vision stops being correctable with lenses, this probably will become an option for you.
posted by valkyryn at 10:15 AM on March 7, 2009

I have far-sightedness and an astigmatism too. Mine was getting worse and worse every year. But last year my eye doctor was delighted that it had not only stopped getting worse...it got better. I'm wearing 2006 lenses now.. I chalk it up to an improved diet with more veggies and less empty carbs, but I also started taking omega-3 fatty acid fish oil pills and that fatty acid is known to be important for eyesight. I've also read here and there that insulin spikes can hurt eyesight, so I don't drink much alcohol or eat much sugar either.

Could also be good luck? But it can't hurt to try these things. There are lots of reasons to take omega-3 supplements.

Science stuff
posted by melissam at 10:41 AM on March 7, 2009

Was this person an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

I know you are just looking for ideas, but it seems really irresponsible for someone to say offhand that you will be blind without giving you any other information (like, what should you do, how can you prepare for this, are there any treatments available, is there anything causing this). That makes me think the person was not an MD? If he or she wasn't a graduate of medical school, I'd make an appointment with a doctor right away.
posted by Houstonian at 10:43 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you are interested in the book CrayDrygu recommends, you can read about the method here before making a decision.
posted by Houstonian at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2009

Parts of the bates method is looking directly at the sun. Unless you want to go blind at age 29 I highly suggest you do not subscribe to its quackery. See a real ophthalmologist about this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:03 PM on March 7, 2009

I am slightly more nearsighted than you are farsighted, so I too have been to a bunch of ophthalmologists and optometrists.

Yours sounds like a jerk. You should find a new one, preferably an MD who can talk to you sensibly about what's going on with your eyes. Dropping "you'll be blind in a few years" on you is terrible doctor-patient behavior.

Don't bother with the Bates method. My ophthamologist told me it was bunk last time I was in. (He also haurrumphed about vitamin A and lutein.) His rationale? If they worked, there would be data. If they worked, he would recommend them. They don't work.
posted by purpleclover at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2009

Maybe you could adapt the exercise from this site in a reverse style, in other words, using minus lenses instead of plus lenses, and moving the print toward you instead of away. You could probably get the minus lenses cheap from here.
posted by Theloupgarou at 5:23 PM on March 7, 2009

posted by tiburon at 8:08 PM on March 7, 2009

Or just avoid parts that are obviously nonsense. One part that's obviously nonsense doesn't make the entire thing quackery

Right, because the guy who thinks staring into the sun is a good idea must be full of other "great" ideas. Great logic there sport.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:28 PM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think there is a way to improve your vision.

Also from what I've read that whole "don't read in the dark" idea that focusing on things in the dark or reading/watching something for extended periods of time in some way hurts your vision is untrue.

But then again I'm not an optometrist so what do I know.
posted by Allan Gordon at 3:37 AM on March 8, 2009

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