Today let’s look at a nice one year progress report involving high myopia as well as a cataract.
Debbie is attempting this one in part as alternative cataract treatment, to lower her myopia before considering potentially surgical options. This one is somewhat complex since it involves work with a cataract (and interesting progress with eye drops), high myopia, and high astigmatism. Worth a read since it shows just how much you can accomplish before ever considering cataract surgery and potentially limiting your need for high diopter artificial lenses.
Let’s dive right in (bold emphasis, mine):
Today it is 12 months since I joined Endmyopia “Back to 20/20”, so it is a good time to look back at my progress. My prescription at that point was L-5.75, -2.25 and R -8.50, -2.25. The right eye in particular bothered me, as it seemed to be getting worse and worse. Only a few days after joining Back to 20/20, I learnt at the optometrist that I had a cataract in my right eye, which explained the worsening vision. So because of this, I am now going to summarise my progress in each eye separately.
So to start in April 2016, I was -5.75, -2.25, with a starting cm measurement of 15cm. Initially I focussed on reducing my spherical correction. In August 2016, I started gradually reducing my astigmatism correction, and over time alternated between reducing spherical and cylinder correction. As this process went on, I started to feel like my eyes were constantly fighting with my glasses, so in late December 2016, I decided to remove all cylinder correction (the remaining -1.25), but added in rough spherical equivalent of -0.50. The first time I put my new glasses on that didn’t have any cylinder correction, my eyes felt instant relief! However, it was lucky that I did this around the Christmas/New Year period when I didn’t have to work, or drive much (my husband was able to drive if I needed to go out). It took my eyes and brain 12 days to decide that it was ok to have glasses without astigmatism correction. Three weeks later, I put my old glasses on with the cylinder correction, and felt my eyes contorting to try and adjust, so quickly took them off again; my eyes were already so much happier. At that stage my left eye script was a straight -5.50.
It is now April 2017. I think that I do still have a bit of astigmatism, but with my -5.00 glasses, I can read 20/25 with active focus, and my eyes are starting to fight the glasses, so time for a change. My best cm measurement is 21cm. This weekend I am planning a trial move to my new Normalized of -4.75. After starting off last year by not being able to read anything on the Snellen without glasses, I can now read 20/200 with some active focus. I am really pleased with my progress, because as well as going from -5.75 to -4.75 (hopefully), I have eliminated -2.25 of cylinder prescription as well
My initial cm reading for my right eye was 7cm. It seemed more difficult to get a clear measurement with this eye compared to my left eye, but when I found out a few days later that I have a cataract in this eye, I then understood that this causes multiple vision and a view like looking through a smeary window. Once I understood the artefacts in vision that a cataract can produce, I found it easier to get a measurement. My cm measurement is a lot more now, but as my vision becomes faded with distance, it is hard to know the exact cm. To start with, I couldn’t even see the Snellen chart, let alone read it, but I can now read 20/200, and sometimes 20/100 if the light is right.
I am reluctant to have surgery on my eye. For a number of months I tried eye drops with n-acetyl carnosine in them, with no apparent effect. I then read on Endmyopia about a new type of eye drop that has lanosterol in it. I have been using this for 3 months, and started to notice an improvement in my vision about 7 weeks after starting the drops. I have a tapestry from Peru in my bedroom. Every few days I stand next to my bed, about 1.5 m from the tapestry, and look at it. To start with, it was just a blurred mess of colour. The pattern is gradually now being revealed to me, with slow but steady improvement. I think that it will be many months though before I have any meaningful vision in this eye.
As a result of being more aware of what my eyes are doing, I noticed one day that if I looked outside the house during the day, without my glasses, I could actually see things with sharp edges much more clearly with my right eye (cataract) than my left eye. As a consequence, and in consultation with Jake, I decided to decrease the prescription in my right eye fairly quickly. So from a high of -8.50 last year, I moved rapidly to -3.00 by the end of 2016, and am wearing -2.00 in the right eye. The first few jumps down were a little disorientating to adjust to, but after that my eye seemed to appreciate the decreases. I am not sure yet where I am going to end up with my right eye, but it is definitely heading in a good direction.
I did a lot of measuring and logging initially, both on Endmyopia and on my own spreadsheet. I don’t write things down quite as often now, but am acutely aware of what is going on with my eyes.
The regular habits that I try to follow include:
• 20 minutes of no glasses every morning
• A few hours of no glasses on the weekend if I am able to, but hard at the moment with still so much blur
• Walking around the block, first without glasses, then wearing my differentials, then my normalized, each time noticing what I can and can’t see/read, with peripheral vision awareness when not wearing glasses
• Regular active focus
• Astigmatism swings using the same writing/distance each time
• Timing myself when on the computer, and trying to have a 5 minute break every 30 minutes which includes active focus out of the window into the distance, with a longer break after a few hours
• Sniper stare with clear flashes
• “What can I see” activity
• Regular Snellen and cm measurement (even if I don’t log all measurements)
I have really appreciated the Back to 20/20 program; the step-by-step lesson style has really suited me.
That’s an amazing amount of progress!
Cataract Treatment Alternatives
Most mainstream options for cataract treatment are all about surgery. Cut the eye open, implant an artificial lens, get paid.
But what are the cataract treatment alternatives?
If I had the beginnings of a cataract as well as high myopia in the eye, I would absolutely 100% do what Debbie did. Work on lowering your myopia, and consider some of the less invasive options that may be available to you. Otherwise you’re really exposing yourself to potentially wearing an artificial lens implant with those -8.50 starting diopters and all the unnecessary negative consequence that may come with that decision.
I can’t overstate the importance of this. You take a year and see what’s possible with alternative cataract treatments, before even considering invasive surgery. The technology with these drops is also just coming to pass and is looking quite promising.
For the full thread in the BackTo20/20 support forum, click here.
Debbie refers to the post that discusses lanesterol as an alternative cataract treatment – I’m not advocating this option specifically. It does however look interesting and may be part of your own exploration of treatment options for your cataract.
As always, this isn’t medical advice. It’s not advice of any kind. I’m not advocating treatments and this is quite fringe even for us. This site is about natural myopia control and I’m only pointing out these experiences to potentially point you in directions of your own cataract research. There’s a whole lot to the cataract subject that we absolutely don’t cover here – so, posts like this one are simply a sign post, a footnote of things to explore.
Note that I’m also keeping in touch with students who are trying these alternative methods for dealing with cataracts, at least to varying degrees. Let’s see how much data we can collect on that front. It’s otherwise very difficult to assess the realities of cataract treatments and alternatives, since everybody is highly biased and intent on selling you something – be it surgery or magic fluffy unicorn plants and mystical Chinese herblets.
Got cataracts? Post in our darling Facebook group, or add your experiences in the support forum.