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Portrait of the Author

 

Strengthening

the EYES

A System of Scientific
Eye Training

BY
BERNARR MACFADDEN

AUTHOR OF "MACFADDEN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA or PHYSICAL CULTURE,"
"EATING FOR HEALTH AND STRENGTH " "HAIR CULTURE"
"MANHOOD AND MARRIAGE," "PREPARING FOR MOTHERHOOD"
"PHYSICAL CULTURE FOR BABY," "THE WALKING CURE,"
AND OTHER WORKS ON HEALTH AND SEX

NEW YORK
MACFADDEN PUBLICATIONS, INC.
1925
 


COPYRIGHT 1924
By MACFADDEN PUBLICATIONS, INC.
NEW YORK CITY
In the United States, Canada and Great Britain

L. H. Jenkins, Inc.
Edition Book Manufacturers
Richmond, Va
printed in U. S. A.

 

 

PREFACE

Eyes speak all languages; wait for no letter of introduction; they ask no leave of age or rank; they respect neither poverty nor riches; neither learning nor power, nor virtue, nor sex, but intrude and come again, and go through and through you in a moment of time.—Emerson.

NEARLY twenty-five years have passed since my interest was aroused in the problem of strengthening the eyes. It was the result of an experience that came near to being tragical.

   No one can adequately measure the value of sight; but when we feel it failing we can in some degree realize what that value is. Such was my case on the occasion referred to. At the time I was assuming unusual responsibilities in the editorial and business management of the PHYSICAL CULTURE MAGAZINE, the publication having recently leapt into a prominent position, making the work extremely difficult. I had also undertaken to write an important book, the correspondence I was receiving having led me to see that there would be a large demand for the information that I expected to include therein.

   Before having done any work on the book, except to divide the important phases of the subject into chapters, I advertised it, thinking it could well be finished and printed, ready for sale, at the time announced. My other duties, however, were so exacting that I was unable to begin writing when I expected to.

   The demand for the work was extraordinary; orders poured into the office at the rate of two or three hundred a day, and further delay was out of the question. No one could assume my particular duties in editing and publishing the PHYSICAL CULTURE MAGAZINE; and moreover, at that time I had no assistant editors, or proofreaders, to relieve me of details. Therefore, in order to get any time for the book I was obliged to labor far into the night. By working night and day, however, I was able to finish it in about thirty days.

   But the morning after the last corrected proof had been returned to the printer, I was appalled by the condition of my eyes. Vision was imperfect in many ways, and on picking up a newspaper, the printed page appeared like solid black.

   I realized in a few seconds the value of my eyesight, and I did some rapid and serious thinking.

   I had no faith in oculists and less in other doctors; the thought of consulting them did not even occur to me. I knew that my eyes must have been affected both locally and constitutionally, for not only had they been subjected to extreme overwork, but this overwork had lowered my general vitality. Whatever my business responsibilities might be, I saw that a vacation was now necessary, and I accordingly took it.

   After returning to my duties in about two weeks, my eyes were greatly improved, but their condition was still far from satisfactory. I finally concluded to take a fast of one week in order to cleanse thoroughly my physical organism. This benefited my eyes tremendously. Thereafter I began to experiment with various eye exercises together with the eye bath, massage, etc., and my eyes soon acquired their former vigor.

   Oculists with whom I came in contact during this period warned me of the dangers of adhering to my views. Blindness, they said, would surely be my fate.

   In recent years I have been informed on numerous occasions that the eyes naturally begin to deteriorate after forty years of age, and that total blindness might result if I did not assist them with glasses. About ten years ago (I am now in my fifty-fifth year), when I was treating hundreds of patients at the Bernarr Macfadden Healthatorium in Chicago, one of my patients, an oculist, was very emphatic in his warnings as to the danger I was running by not wearing glasses, and he finally induced me to promise him that I would try a pair if he sent them to me after he returned home. The glasses arrived in due time, but after wearing them for about ten minutes my eyes pained me so severely that I had to discard them. No doubt they were not adjusted to the condition of my eyes, but I did not try to improve upon them. I have refrained from adopting the "eye crutch" up to the present time, and I hope that for many years to come I shall be able to avoid them. As a result of the natural methods of treatment already explained, my eyes are excellent and I work strenuously with both brain and eyes regularly six days per week, and long, tedious days at that.

   When my book, "STRONG EYES," was first published, the principles presented therein were to a certain extent new, but I was thoroughly convinced of their correctness and thousands of readers have attested their value since the first edition of the book was issued. More than fifty thousand copies of the book have been sold, and in no instance have I heard of an injury to the eyes because of the use of the methods outlined therein; but, on the other hand, thousands have borne witness to extraordinary benefit derived from them, while numbers have been able to discard their glasses altogether as a result of their use.

   Consequently this book is presented, not as a mere set of complex and untried theories, but as an aggregation of definite and practical facts.

   Some years ago I came in contact with the work of a prominent eye specialist who is a scientist of high standing in the field of ophthalmology and a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. This physician began his studies in connection with his revolutionary theories in 1886. It was in this year that he cured his first case of myopia (near-sight). Encouraged by this success, he treated many patients at the New York Eye Infirmary with benefit, accomplishing some complete cures. While he was at the New York Post Graduate, his success was such as to bring about the loss of his position, the eye specialist in charge there maintaining that such cures were impossible, and this notwithstanding the fact that the proof was there for investigation.

   In 1903 this physician discovered that teachers could not only prevent the occurrence of myopia among their pupils, but could cure it by the use of the "Snellen test card." This was the first successful method for the prevention of myopia and other cases of imperfect sight in school children, and in itself is a discovery that will greatly benefit humanity. (See New York Medical Journal, July 29, 1911.) In 1912 this method was introduced into some of the public schools of the city of New York, the results being published in the New York Medical Journal, August 30, 1913. The teachers cured one thousand children of imperfect sight without the help of glasses.

   During the last ten years, this scientist has made many experiments on rabbits, fish, cats and dogs for the purpose of gaining information about the action of the external muscles of the eye. By this means he has been able to bring to light many facts which are entirely opposite to the theories about the eye published in text books at the present time. These experiments, some details of which may be found in the New York Medical Journal for May 8, 1915, together with his untiring studies of the human eye, have further led this physician to formulate a system of eye training by means of which not only errors of refraction but almost every irregularity of the eye can either be cured or materially benefited without the help of glasses.

   Directly opposed to the methods and theories of orthodoxy, this system is not only revolutionary in character, but far-reaching in its practical importance.

   I feel sure that in adopting the ideas of this eminent scientist I have been able not only to stamp my own theories with the approval of up-to-date science, but to present to the public a course of eye training which will bear the most searching criticism.

   It is scientific and practical, and has been proven conclusively to be of inestimable value. It should enable you to so strengthen your eyes that glasses will not be needed later in life, while in many cases it will enable you to discard the glasses which you may now be wearing; it should also enable many to avoid the loss of a possession priceless in value—the sense of sight.

   This book is sent out in the hope that it will be a boon to many who need the invaluable information which it contains. That its methods sometimes require considerable time and patience for their successful practice should not lessen their value. The rewards which await those who follow the instructions given will be beyond price.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

                   PREFACE
    I. STRONG, BEAUTIFUL EYES
   II. THE ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN EYE 
  III. HOW WE SEE: THE PHYSIOLOGY AND PHYSICS
          OF VISION
   IV. ASTHENOPIA: WEAK EYES 
    V. THE IMPERFECT SIGHT OF THE NORMAL EYE 
   VI. ERRORS OF REFRACTION: THEIR CAUSE
  VII. ERRORS OF REFRACTION: THEIR CURE 
 VIII. AMBLYOPIA
   IX. COLOR BLINDNESS 
    X. STRABISMUS: SQUINT
   XI. SAVING THE SIGHT OF THE CHILDREN
  XII. COMMON DISEASES OF THE EYE
 XIII. INJURIES TO THE EYE
  XIV. EYE EXERCISES
   XV. EYE-FOCUSING EXERCISES
  XVI. EXERCISES FOR THE PUPIL OF THE EYE
 XVII. EYE MASSAGE AND RESISTANCE
XVIII. THE EYE BATH
  XIX. EYE STRENGTH THROUGH SUNLIGHT
   XX. CONSTITUTIONAL IMPROVEMENT FOR 
           STRENGTHENING THE EYES
  XXI. EXERCISES FOR CONSTITUTIONAL IMPROVEMENT
 XXII. EATING FOR HEALTH AND STRENGTH
XXIII. EYE REST THROUGH SLEEP
 XXIV. FRESH AIR, BATHING AND OTHER
           HEALTH FACTORS
  XXV. EYE HYGIENE
 XXVI. TEST YOUR OWN EYES
XXVII. A FINAL WORD TO THOSE WHO WEAR GLASSES

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

SUBJECT
Portrait of Author    Frontispiece
Sectional View of the Eye
Diagram of Retina
Muscles and Arteries of Eye
Section Through Eight Eye
Illustrating Refraction of Light
Refraction of Light-rays Becoming Divergent
Refraction of Light-rays Becoming Convergent
Refraction of Light-rays from Distant and Nearby Points
Diagram for Demonstrating Blind Spot
Blind Spot Experiment
Diagram Illustrating Near-sightedness
Diagram Illustrating Far-sightedness
The Lens Not a Factor in Change of Focus
Astigmatism Following Change in Shape of Eyeball
Diagram Illustrating Central Fixation
Palming to Relax Eye Strain
Normal Vision and Forced Astigmatism
Seeing Without Strain
Typical Case of Squint or "Cross Eyes"
A Case of Divergent Verticle Squint
Squint or "Cross Eyes" Cured
One Part of Treatment for Squint
Method of Removing Cinders, etc.
Exercising the Eye Muscles
Exercising Eye Muscles; Looking Upward
Exercising Eye Muscles; Looking Downward
Exercising Eye Muscles; Looking Upward, Obliquely to Left
Exercising Eye Muscles; Looking Downward, Obliquely to Right
Exercising Eye Muscles; Looking Upward, Obliquely to Right
Exercising Eye Muscles; Stretching Obliquely, Downward to Left
Exercising Eye Muscles; Rolling the Eyes
Exercising Eye Muscles; Squeezing Closed Eyelids
Diagram for Exercising the Eyes
A Second Diagram for Exercising the Eyes
A Third Form for Exercising the Eyes
Eye-focusing Exercise for Both Eyes
Eye-focusing Exercise; Using Eyes Alternatively
Eye-focusing Exercise; Closing and Opening the Eye
Combination Eyeball and Eye-focusing Exercise
Another Form of Eyeball and Eye-focusing Exercise
Exercising the Pupil of the Eye
Using Heel of Hand for Eye Massage
Using Thumb and Finger for Eye Massage
Another Form of Eye Massage
A Gentle Resistance Exercise for Eyes
Another Form of Resistance Exercise for Eyes
Wash Bowl for Taking Eye Bath
Taking the Eye Bath in a Basin
Taking the Eye Bath With an Eye-cup
The Eye-cup
No Injury to Eyes When Looking at the Sun
Reading in Direct Sunlight
Sunlight as an Eye Curative Agent
Exercise for Body; Hips Bent Forward
Exercise for Body; Bending Backward
Exercise for Body; Bending Sideways
Exercise for Body; Twisting from Side to Side
Exercise for Body; Raising Up on Toes
Exercise for Body; Squatting Position
Exercise for Body; Raising Knees
Exercise for Body; Lying on Back
Exercise for Body; Lying on Back, Raising Legs
Exercise for Body; Raising Hips and Back from Floor
Exercise for Body; Lying Face Downward, Raising Feet and Legs
Exercise for Body; Lying Face Downward, Raising Head and Shoulders
Exercise for Body; Squatting and Jumping
Exercise for Body; Raising Body from Toes and Hands
Exercise for Body; Shadow Boxing
Exercise for Body; A Stationary Run
Exercise for Body; Neck Resistance Exercise
Exercise for Body; A Simple Neck Exercise
Exercise for Body; Free Movement Neck Exercise
Testing the Eye With the Retinoscope
A Simple Home-made Retinoscope