Medicus Curat: Sungazing Versus Spectacles?

Francesca Albini & Michele Augusto Riva

… In 1920 William Horatio Bates (1860–1931), a successful American ophthalmologist, who studied at Cornell and Columbia universities, published the book Perfect Sight Without Glasses, which claims that all sight problems are due to eye strain, and lays out a method of improving eyesight through various techniques—palming, visualiza- tion, movement, and, most controversial of all, sunning, i.e., sungazing.

… We are still wearing glasses or contact lenses, and the advice not to stare at the sun with the naked eye still stands strong. Yet, some of the points raised by Bates are being revisited in a new light (pardon the pun). Age related macular degeneration and chorioretinal conditions are now treated with photodynamic therapy, where a medicine is used which is activated by near infrared light [6]. Other forms of light treatments are the subject of photobiology, and some improvements in the sight of patients with macular degeneration has been noticed when exposed to low-level light therapy or photobiomodulation—where patients look into a beam of light shined into their eyes by a special device.

… Many studies are carried out that seem to indicate that increased time outdoors is effective in preventing the onset of myopia, and in children and adults when they lead and active life in general, keep their weight healthy, but also undergo controlled vision therapy.

Image: NEOM @ Unsplash

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