Stories from the Clinic

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Lelouch, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. Lelouch

    Lelouch Guest

    Stories from the Clinic

    3. Retinitis Pigmentosa

    By Emily C. Lierman

    I am not a physician, and I know very little about the disease of the
    eyes known as retinitis pigmentosa except how to relieve it. I have
    been told that in this condition spots of black pigment are deposited
    in the retina, that parts of the retina are destroyed, and that the
    nerve of sight is diseased. Eye books which describe the disease say
    that it usually begins in childhood, and progresses very slowly until
    it ends in complete blindness. The field of vision is contracted, and,
    because they cannot see objects on either side of them, patients
    frequently stumble against such objects. In most cases the vision is
    much worse at night than in the daytime. The books say further that no
    treatment is known which helps these cases. Nevertheless Dr. Bates
    reported, in the New York Medical Journal of February 3, 1917, a case
    of retinitis pigmentosa which had been materially benefited by
    treatment through relaxation, and by the use of the same methods, I
    have been able to greatly improve the sight in several cases of the
    same kind.

    My first case of retinitis pigmentosa was Pauline, a little girl of
    twelve who came to the clinic in October, 1917. At five feet from the
    card she could read only the seventy line, and her eyes vibrated
    continually from side to side, a condition known as nystagmus. She was
    very shy and extremely nervous, and appealed to me pathetically for
    glasses so that she could see the blackboard, and the teacher would
    not think her stupid and make fun of her. I have noticed that eye
    patients often suffer from extreme nervousness; but this poor child
    had the worst case of nervse I ever saw, and the slightest agitation
    made her sight worse. If, in asking her to read a line on the test
    card, I raised my voice and spoke a little peremptorily, her face
    would flush, and she would say, "I cannot see anything now." But just
    as soon as I lowered my voice and took pains to speak gently, her
    sight cleared up.

    I began her treatment by telling her to cover her eyes with the palms
    of her hands and remember the letters she had seen on the card. This
    improved her sight so much that before she left she was able to see
    all the fifty line at five feet, and—what thrilled me most of all—the
    dreadful movement of her eyes had stopped. She came quite steadily to
    the clinic, and every time she came I was able to improve her sight,
    so that at last she became able to read the writing on the blackboard
    at school.

    Then I did not see her again for six months. When she came back she
    told me that she had been working in a laundry during the summer
    because she hated school. She had also been ill during the summer, and
    her mother had taken her to a hospital for treatment. While she was
    there an eye specialist looked at her eyes, and this made her so
    nervous that they had started to vibrate from side to side. He said to
    "You ought to have your eyes treated; they are very bad."
    "I am having them treated at the Harlem Hospital Clinic," she
    answered. "I know how to stop that vibration."
    Then she palmed for a while, and when she uncovered and opened her
    eyes the doctor looked at them again.
    "Why they seem all right now," he said. "You had better go to that
    doctor until you are cured. He can do more for you than I can."

    I was very much pleased to find that in spite of having stayed away so
    long, she had not forgotten what I had told her, and was able to stop
    her nystagmus. I tested her sight, and found that it was no worse than
    when I had last seen her. In fact, in some ways, it was better. She
    was not so nervous, and she said that her family and friends noticed
    that her eyes looked better. She herself was now very enthusiastic and
    anxious to have me help her. I told her to palm as usual, and left her
    to treat other patients. Five minutes later she read the thirty line
    at thirteen feet. I now told her to look first to the right of the
    card and then to the left, and to note that it appeared to move in a
    direction opposite to the movement of her eyes; then to close her eyes
    and remember this movement. She did this, and when she opened her eyes
    she read two letters on the twenty line. At a later visit she read the
    whole of the twenty line at thirteen feet.

    The last patient I treated for this dreadful disease was an old man of
    seventy. He came to the clinic on January 14, 1920, and when I first
    saw him was standing with many others, waiting patiently for Dr. Bates
    to speak to him. Our work has to be done very rapidly, because of the
    very short time we have to treat so many patients, and I very seldom
    have time to observe individuals as I would like to do. But because of
    his unusual appearance, I at once singled out this dear old man from
    the crowd. Most men of his age who come to our clinic are unkempt,
    dirty and ragged—pitiable objects generally. But this man was well
    groomed. His clothes, though worn and old, were well brushed; his
    shoes were polished, his collar clean, his tie neatly adjusted. He had
    a great abundance of snow-white hair, neatly parted and brushed, and
    his skin was like a baby's, "pink and white."

    Dr. Bates asked me to treat him with the usual remark, "See what you
    can do for this man," and I placed him four feet from the card, asking
    him to read what he could.
    "I'm afraid I can't see so well, ma'am," he said; "my eyes bother
    me a great deal."
    "I'm going to show you how to rest your eyes so that they won't
    bother you," I answered.
    The best he could do at this distance was to read the fifty line. I
    told him to palm, and in less than five minutes he saw a number of
    letters on the forty line. The next time he came I put him nine feet
    from the card, and at this distance he read all the letters on the
    thirty line. He was so happy and excited over this that I became
    excited too. I forgot that I had other patients waiting for me and
    encouraged him to talk, a thing which I am seldom able to do with the
    patients. I was glad afterward that I did so, for he had a wonderful
    story to tell.
    "Do you know, ma'am," he said, "for two nights I palmed and rested
    my eyes for a long time before I went to bed—and what do you think?—I
    slept all the night through without waking up once. Now I think that's
    great, ma'am, because for years I have had insomnia. I would sleep
    only a little while; then I would get up and smoke my pipe to pass the

    At a later visit I put him twelve feet from the card, and at this
    distance also he was able to read the thirty line. When I told him
    what he had done he was again greatly pleased and excited.
    "You know I'm so much better," he said, "that I didn't even notice
    that I was further away than usual. Thank you, ma'am. God bless you,
    During the practice, when he failed to see a letter I was pointing to,
    I said:
    "Close your eyes and tell me the color of your grandchild's eyes."
    "Blue, ma'am." he said.
    "Keep your eyes covered, keep remembering the color of baby's
    He did this, and after a few minutes his sight cleared up and he saw
    the letter. After we had finished the practice I again encouraged him
    to talk, and he told me more about his insomnia.
    "Do you know, ma'am," he said, "after I had had two night's sleep
    without waking up I didn't dare tell any of my family about it, for
    fear that it wouldn't last and I would only disappoint them. So I
    waited. Now, do you know, ma'am, it is just two weeks that I have
    slept the night through without waking up once, and so I told my wife
    about it. She is so happy, ma'am, I just can't tell you, for it has
    been many years since I was able to do that."

    I wish I could have a picture of his face when he is telling of the
    improvement in his eyesight and general health. It would be a picture
    of love, kindness and gratitude.

    Recently he looked up into my face and said: "I am seeing you better
    now, ma'am. You look younger."

    In two months his vision improved from 10/200 to 10/30. As he made but
    eight visits in this time, I feel that this record is remarkable. I
    also feel that the statements in the books about the impossibility of
    doing anything for patients with retinitis pigmentosa are in need of


    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
    39-45 East 42nd Street, New York, N. Y.
    Vol. II - April, 1920 - No. 4
    Lelouch, Jul 15, 2009
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  2. Lelouch

    Neil Brooks Guest

    As I've often said ... neither of these two idiots (Otis or this
    Zetsu/? character) has even a hint of a conscience.

    They couldn't care less who, or how many, they hurt.

    Neil Brooks, Jul 15, 2009
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  3. Lelouch

    serebel Guest

    I doubt it's a matter of conscience, more of a matter of mental
    serebel, Jul 16, 2009
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