METRO PLUS

Better vision sans specs

Aruna Yadav guiding a kid.  

Every year there are scores of youth who are disappointed as they cannot even try their luck for admission into the Armed Forces.

Reason? They wear spectacles either for myopia (short sight) or hypermetropia (long sight). Wearing glasses for correction of refractive errors is a disqualification not only for seeking admission into the Armed Forces but also in civilian areas like Merchant Navy.

Unfortunately, there is a growing incidence of school-going children using specs to overcome their sight problems. Three decades ago, one could hardly find any child with spectacles in schools. The incidence of children wearing glasses at the primary level was a rarity. Today, one could find at least a couple of children in almost every classroom suffering from vision problems.

The common causes of most of the eyesight problems are excessive close vision work, faulty reading habits, unhealthy diet and mental stress. The strain on the eyes has increased all the more due to factors like television, computers, pollution and glare from lights. It has become almost a rule that people over 40 need reading glasses.

While spectacles provide a remedy for failing eyesight, they are not known to prevent progression of the refractive error and most of the time, one ends up using stronger prescription lenses with the passage of time.

Though surgery is an option, the prohibitive cost and the risk involved is a deterrent to many. What then is the alternative?

The nature vision improvement method, pioneered by W.H. Bates, in New Jersey in 1919, is the best remedy to overcome the problem.

Chandrasekhar Yadav of Uran, a small town near Mumbai, was a bright student at school. He, however, failed in his examinations and his teachers and parents had dismissed it as sheer negligence on his part. Chandrasekhar was finding it difficult to read and his parents were not willing to believe that a child could suffer from vision problems.

That was about three decades ago. Years later he was advised by doctors to wear spectacles. Five years ago he opted for surgery and was operated on in Mumbai. While the vision in one eye had improved, it left a permanent scar and loss of vision in the other.

His wife Aruna C. Yadav, an alternative medicine practitioner, got the shock of her life when her school-going daughter was asked to go for spectacles for myopia. She came to know of Sri Aurobindo School for Perfect Vision in Pondicherry and took the daughter there. She was cured and can now see perfectly without glasses.

A year-and-a-half ago, Aruna's husband was transferred to Visakhapatnam from Mumbai. The miraculous cure of her daughter made Aruna to think of extending its benefit to the people of the city.

She approached the school in Pondicherry and told the organisers about her intention to start a similar school in the port-cum-steel city. After undergoing a crash course and reading the material available on the subject, she organised two free camps for children of Naval personnel at Nausenabaugh and in 104 Area during August last.

The participants undergoing various exercises under the candle light. --Photos: K.R. Deepak

The participants undergoing various exercises under the candle light. --Photos: K.R. Deepak  

The camps drew very good response and it gave tremendous boost to Aruna to start the Prerna School of Perfect Eyesight at Siripuram (Tel: 939 3114248).

Yeshwant's parents were worried when their son, who is at present in Std.X, complained that he was unable to see distant objects.

They took him to an eye specialist and when the ophthalmologist suggested specs, they went for a second opinion from an eye hospital.

"I cannot say anything about the efficacy of the course in the long run. But, my son has experienced immediate relief after doing the eye exercises. We withdrew him after two weeks as he had to study for his examinations," says R. Subrahmanyam, father of Yeshwant who has undergone the vision improvement course.

"As no drugs are used, one can be sure that there are no side effects. But even after improvement of vision, we were told that the eye muscle exercises have to be continued regularly at home for about 20 minutes every day.

"I came to know of the school through a friend and told my parents about it. I was made me do eye exercises and now I feel perfectly okay, says Yeshwant, who is taking his SSC examinations."

Says Aruna: "Ninety-five per cent of our treatment lies in education. We give advice on proper reading habits, correct way to watch TV, taking proper diet and proper illumination, eye relaxation and muscle exercises."

The duration of the course ranges from two to six weeks, depending on the type and extent of the problem.

The classes are held for 60 to 90 minutes every day.

B. MADHU GOPAL