A Case of Cataract

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Lelouch, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Lelouch

    Lelouch Guest


    By Victoria Coolidge

    After I had made one visit to Dr. Bates, I was so much encouraged that
    I asked him if he could do anything for my father, eighty-one years
    old, who had cataract in each eye. He said he could, provided the
    patient had all his faculties and would follow directions. I replied
    that he was not only in full possession of his faculties but that he
    was blest with vigorous health besides, and I felt sure that he would
    be willing to do anything to restore his sight.

    When I went home, I told my father what Dr. Bates had said, but the
    treatment seemed so simple for such a difficult case, and his mind was
    so throroughly imbued with the idea that nothing but an operation
    would help him, that he did not make up his mind to see Dr. Bates
    until four months later.

    He remembered having remarkably keen vision as a young man, and in
    1862 passed as normal the army eye test, which was very strict at the
    beginning of the Civil War. When he was about fifty years old,
    however, he began to have trouble in reading and other near work, so
    he put on glasses to correct this difficulty, and seems to have had
    the same experience that so many people have—they were nearly, but not
    quite right. He went from one doctor to another, but the result was
    always the same. Finally, in 1907, he consulted a well-known
    specialist in Albany, who, in 1919, at his request, sent him the
    following record of his case as it was at the time of that visit:
    R. V.—20/200 corrected by glasses to 20/50.
    L. V.—20/50 corrected by glasses to 20/30.
    Ophthalmoscopic examination showed in each eye incipient cataractous
    changes, which were more marked in the right eye. Otherwise the
    interior of the eye appeared normal. Nothing was said to him
    personally regarding this condition, for frequently it remains
    unchanged for years.

    He was well pleased with the glasses obtained at this time, and for
    years had more comfort with them than with any he had ever worn; but
    after a while he began to have trouble with his right eye again. In
    1917 he noticed that there seemed to be hard deposits in his eyes. He
    consulted a prominent specialist in his own locality and learned from
    him that he had a fairly well developed cataract in the left eye, and
    an incipient cataract in the other. The doctor prescribed glasses for
    him, and asked him to visit him once a month so that he might watch
    the progress of the cataracts. He said that nothing but an operation
    would help the left eye, but he would advise an operation only in the
    event of a loss of sight in both eyes, as would be the case if the
    cataract in the right eye should also progress, because unless both
    eyes were operated on at approximately the same time, they would not
    focus together. He called on the doctor faithfully every month for
    about a year and a half, when he finally became tired of hearing the
    same discouraging story: the left cataract was rapidly developing, but
    the doctor would not operate unless both cataracts were ripe. And so
    he discontinued his visits.

    It was about six or seven months after his last visit to this doctor
    that he called on Dr. Bates. The sight in the left eye had become so
    dim by this time that he could not recognize the members of his family
    across the table. He could see that there were people there, but he
    could not distinguish them. Dr. Bates made the following report of his
    condition at the time of his first visit:
    January 1, 1918:
    R. V.—20/100
    L. V.—Perception of light—unable to count his fingers.
    At subsequent visits the following records were made:
    January 2.
    R. V.—20/200, artificial light.
    L. V.—Counted fingers at six inches.
    Improved by shifting, swing, rest, palming (best).
    January 4.
    R. V.—14/30.
    L. V.—14/200.
    Reads large print.
    January 8.
    R. V.—14/15.
    L. V.—14/200+.
    Reads some words fine print continuously.
    January 13.
    R. V.—14/10.
    L. V.—14/40.
    He reads in flashes the fine print with the right eye and some
    larger print with the left. His improved sight helps his hearing at
    January 18.
    R. V.—14/10.
    L. V.—14/20 in more continuous flashes.
    He is reading large print more continuously with the left eye.
    April 30.
    Obtains flashes of the fine print with the left eye better than
    with the right.

    The treatment prescribed was as follows: Palming six times a day, a
    half hour or longer at a time; reading the Snellen test card at five,
    ten, and twenty feet; reading fine print at six inches, five minutes
    at a time, especially soon after rising in the morning and just before
    retiring at night, and reading books and newspapers. Besides this, he
    was to subject his eyes, especially the left, to the sunlight whenever
    an opportunity offered, to drink twelve glasses of water a day, walk
    five miles a day, and later, when he was in better training, to run
    half a mile or so every day.

    The results of this treatment have been most gratifying. Not only have
    his eyes improved steadily, but his general health has been so much
    benefited that at eighty-two he looks, acts and feels better and
    younger than he did at eighty-one.


    Better Eyesight
    A monthly magazine devoted to the prevention and cure of imperfect
    sight without glasses
    Copyright, 1920, by the Central Fixation Publishing Company
    Editor—W. H. Bates, M.D.
    Publisher—Central Fixation Publishing Co.
    $2.00 per year, 20 cents per copy
    342 West 42nd Street, New York, N. Y.
    Vol. II - June, 1920 - No. 6

    Lelouch, Aug 3, 2009
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