Subject:  In order to understand the problem of myopia – it is necessary to understand its history.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” –   George Santayana

Issue: The minus lens, used by Kepler on himself – is a simple “default”.  It works, but with adverse “secondary effects”.  We need to challenge the idea that this simple “default” method, is not the solution,  but a “part of the problem”


Kepler, J., (1571-1630) “Dioptice: Seu demonstration eorum quae visui et visibilibus propter conspicilla non ita pridem inventa accidunt”, Augsburg, 1611


J. Kepler: Dioptice : A demonstration of the things that happen to the sight and the visible was found not so long ago for the sake of conspicilla “, Augsburg , 1611

Item:  In doing my own research, I found it difficult to get a consistent history of preventive efforts.

Item: The Development of Alex Eulengerg’s site

First, I will thank Alex for his extensive library, and insights.


One issue that I think needs to be improved, is the history of various research efforts, and their consequences.

This history should not be exclusively “medical”, but must included “objectors”, to the traditional minus lens.

I would start this process by a review of Johannes Kepler, who in about 16 years, un-intentionally induced negative status in his natural eyes, by intensive close work. This was his great challenge, and he did very well with his research.

He also knew the character of a lens, (minus and plus), and when he noticed his refractive state was mildly negative, he used a minus lens to ‘clear’ the stars he viewed.

That basic practice, and the effectiveness of the minus, has not changed at all in the last 400 years. In the pressure of the “moment”, the default minus will always be used in that manner.

In 1865, two men, Helmholtz and Donders, simply “formalized” what Kepler had discovered. This became the Helmholtz “theory” of the eye. He just took the eye to be a “box camera”, and all refractive states (plus or minus) were all called errors.

In 1900, Dr. Bates took this absolute theory to task, as being an “error” itself. He judged that the minus was a “poor idea” at best, and was probably making the eye even more “negative” than is would be – if the person did not wear a strong minus all the time.

His published efforts, in 1912, achieved a degree of success. But there was no “follow up” on his concept, or the need for the person to be intellectually involved in the preventive process.

I would be willing to further enhance this history, and maybe Alex can help – because I judge that those who fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Please feel free to add your own commentary and knowledge to this interesting subject.


Efforts at Prevention.


Details can be found under, “PAPERS” on this site.


3 responses to “HISTORY

  1. History of the first analysis of the eye as a camera by Johannes Kepler – before the camera was developed.

    Synopsis: The Optics (1603-1604) was a product of Kepler’s most creative period. It began as an attempt to give astronomical optics a solid foundation, but soon transcended this narrow goal to become a complete reconstruction of the theory of light, the physiology of vision, and the mathematics of refraction. The result is a work of extraordinary breadth whose significance transcends most categories into which it might be placed. It gives us precious insight into Kepler’s thought during this crucial period, an insight all the more valuable in that most of his working papers from that time have been lost. Second, it is the culmination of a long and rich tradition in the science of optics, in distinct contrast with the new optical thought represented by Descartes. And third, it presents discoveries in the physiology of vision, photometry, and the geometry of conic sections which have become part of our intellectual heritage. Especially notable are Kepler’s discovery of the inverted retinal image, his theoretical grounding of the inverse-square photometric law, and his insights into the relations between the various conic sections.

    From the Inside Flap: Kepler’s Optics is one of the most important optical treatises ever written. It is both the culmination of the perspectivist tradition of the Middle Ages and the first modern optical work. It encompasses metaphysical and theological speculations about light, the mathematical treatment of refraction, a novel approach to the geometry of conic sections, a study of the physiology and anatomy of the eye, a historical study of solar eclipses, and many other fascinating topics. Despite its importance, this book has never before been translated into English or (except for selections) into any other modern language.

  2. Here is the official, Box Camera Theory of the eye:
    Final Version – of OD arrogance – and scientific blindness.

    Posted on Todd Becker’s site.

    From: Otis Brown

    Subject: Ph.D. Optometrist – his commentary. (Extreme arrogance – about pure science – always blocks any learning process. )

    Dear Peter,

    cc: Keith

    Subject: The eye is not, and never was a frozen box camera. It is a proven dynamic system. That is science – not medicine.

    Posted on Todd Becker’s site.

    (This is extreme arrogance – of course. It allows for NO DISCUSSION at all. )

    I have NEVER said “cure” nor “exercise”, nor have I used the failed words, “error”, when I mean an un-desired refractive
    STATE of the natural eye.

    Here is the commentary – by Donald Lasher (Ph.D. Optometrist – I presume)

    Can someone please explain something to me. These exercises are supposed to reduce or eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. After 4 years of undergraduate work, 4 more at Berkeley getting a doctorate in eye care and 26 years of experience helping people see as best as they can, I have a pretty good idea about how the eye functions. Nearsightedness results when the cornea is steeper than ideal, putting a far image in FRONT of the retina. Minus lenses move that image back to the retina and therefore, put it in focus. LASIK flattens the cornea, and so fixes this problem. If the eye is longer than ideal, the same effect occurs. A distant object focuses in FRONT of the retina and is out of focus when it reaches the retina. So exercises that “fix” nearsightedness must do the same. They either flatten the cornea or lengthen the eye. Farsighted eyes have corneas that are too FLAT or the length of the eye is too SHORT. But the guys promoting eye exercises do not distinguish between the two. The same exercises that fix nearsightedness should make farsighted eyes WORSE.
    Astigmatism is usually the result of the cornea having a different curvature vertically compared to horizontally (like half a football as compared to half a baseball). How do these exercises change the radius of curvature of the cornea (like LASIK does) and why doesn’t it make that problem WORSE as often as it makes it better? The same exercises work for ANY refractive error? That’s like an MD giving the SAME prescription medication to patients with both low and others with high blood pressure. Does that make any sense?

    As always – educated self-flattery – does not solve difficult problems.

    Yes – Donald Lasher – is correct. After you INDUCE, “negative state” in your normal eyes – it is easy to hold up a strong minus lens,
    and say – there you can SEE BETTER.

    Take your minus lens – and bless me for solving all your problems for you. That will be $300. Pay at the desk.

    This is the “walk on water” concept – that refuses to understand that the natural eye is a proven dynamic system – and
    ANY wearing of a minus lens (negative state of normal eye) only accellerates that “down action” of the normal eye.

    No intelligent discussion of science – is possible with this type of person.

    It was Raphaelson and Prentice – who said that an intelligent person – could avoid entry.

    But prevention must START before you even start wearing any minus lens.

  3. Why does the “Medical Mind” go so blind towards the proven behavior of all natural eyes? Commentary by Alex Eulenberg:

    Hi, John, thanks for passing that along. That Jake guy has done a good job of repackaging and hyping up the same papers I have been pointing to for some years. But Optometry Science is not really “admitting” anything. Yes, you can read between the lines and extract a sympathetic message. But the Optometric authorities will never come out and say that the glasses they prescribe for myopia are a major part of the myopia problem. Here’s something I’ve been meaning to share for a while, an excerpt from linguist Suzette Elgin’s book “The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense” where she explains how you will never get people to agree with you on something that is against their interest. Her example is a simple cure for illiteracy, but I’m sure you can see how this could be applied to the idea of reading glasses for myopia (opposed, I might add, by optometrists and Bates Practitioners alike):


    I want to close by discussing briefly how to proceed when you have the _worst_ case to deal with: when you know in advance that the people you are speaking or writing to are going to react negatively, and that they have their minds absolutely made up to reject what you propose.

    Sometimes this happens because of nothing more than a strong dislike for you personally, but this is very rare; most of the time what is perceived by you as a rejection for personal reasons is in reality caused by something else. In most cases, the something else will be one of these two factors: (a) what you are proposing or presenting would create severe cognitive dissonance; or (b) there are negative real-world consequences for your listeners-readers if they allow themselves to be persuaded by your language. Worst of all, of course, is the situation in which both of these factors are involved. If you go into a language interaction like that unprepared, you are going to fail in your communication goals; in addition; you may be in for a very unpleasant experience. More than run-of-the-mill rhetorical skills are needed.

    The major problem in this situation is that people are not ordinarily consciously aware of the reasons for their determination not to be persuaded by you. They may in fact _believe_ that a personal dislike for you is their only reason. But they cannot present their objections to you either as “because I say so, and that’s the only reason I’ve got” or as “because I don’t like you.” Not without sounding childish or irrational or worse. Therefore, the chances that the reasons you hear for their objections will be the _real_ reasons are very slim, and this means that for you to try to deal with them would be a great waste of time and energy. If you deftly dispose of the phony reasons, you will only have provided yourself with a group of people who now have their backs to the wall and are risking substantial loss of face. Let’s consider a hypothetical example of a situation of this kind.

    In the United States today, it is claimed that there is a “literacy crisis.” Ignore now the question of whether that crisis really exists. If people believe that it exists, and behave as if it exists, there will be serious real-world consequences of that belief.

    Assume that you have discovered or devised a foolproof method for solving the alleged literacy crisis. Let’s go all the way with this — let’s assume that you have devised a system that will allow someone with reading and writing skills at third-grade level or below to improve those skills to the level of the high school graduate, in about three weeks’ time, without the assistance of a teacher.

    You would no doubt be very proud of your work, and you would perhaps take it for granted that when you presented your solution to those struggling with the crisis they would receive you with the sort of respect, admiration, and gratitude — perhaps even financial reward — that people receive who discover cures for diseases.

    You would be wrong. All over this country there are platoons of people deeply involved in the literacy-crisis problem. Most of them are educators or administrators, and most of them have spent many years achieving their _own_ level of literacy. One of the statements that is part of their personal reality, and that is so widely shared as to be part of the reality consensus of our culture, is this one:

    It takes a _long time_ and a lot of _hard work_ to become truly literate.

    If you come along with a three-week low-effort road to literacy, you are going to represent a direct and violent challenge to that reality statement. You are going to represent cognitive dissonance of the very worst kind. That’s your first problem.

    Your next problem is that these people are part of a vast industrial complex in America. The remedial-education industry and the testing industry involve many many thousands of people. There are Study Skills Departments, Basic Learning Labs, literacy volunteers, private coaches and consultants; there are institutes and centers and businesses and publishers and literally packs of experts, ALL OF THEM OWE THEIR LIVELIHOOD TO TWO PROPOSITIONS:

    1. The literacy crisis _does_ exist, and is extremely serious.

    2. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to become literate.

    You cannot expect them to greet you and your solution with the joy they would feel toward a 37¢ cancer vaccine that needed no refrigeration! On the contrary. You, with your quick fix for a problem to which they are devoting their lives, are going to meet the kind of resistance you’d meet if yo walked into the executive offices of a major oil company with a safe and nonpolluting automobile fuel that could be manufactured for a penny a gallon.

    Your opponents in this context will work much harder to prepare arguments against either you or your proposal, or both, and to support those arguments, than they would if they could just admit the truth. And they will make a far greater effort to resist _your_ arguments. Suppose that you, in Blamer Mode and full attack stance, ask them, “Don’t you even CARE if hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to be kept in ignorance just to protect your jobs and your personal fortunes?” If you do that, your literacy cure will never reach the people it could help; and you will find yourself ridiculed, suppressed, unemployable, disgraced, and systematically rejected by one and all. The brief moment of satisfaction you gained from attacking the ethics of the literacy industry would not be worth those consequences. Don’t you even CARE if people go on being illiterate when they don’t have to be, just because you can’t keep your big mouth shut?

    I have chosen an extreme example because it makes the point quickly and clearly. But it is just as accurate when what you propose is no more earthshaking than a longer coffee break at your workplace or a different brand of sandwich bread at your home as when it threatens to destroy an industry. The scale is different, but the principle is the same:


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