(NaturalNews) Few people have even heard of pinhole glasses, although they have been around for a long time. Pinhole glasses are not made of glass at all but of an opaque substance such as plastic. The user looks through any of the many small holes in the material. These holes have the effect of reducing the width of the bundle of light rays (called a "pencil of light") coming from each point on the viewed object.
Normally, the full opening of the pupil admits light. It is the improper bending by the lens of the outermost rays in that pencil of light which causes refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (diminished focusing range with age) and astigmatism to be noticeable. Pinholes can bring about clearer vision in all these conditions. By blocking these peripheral rays, and only letting into the eye those rays which pass through the central portion of the pupil, any refractive error in the lens or cornea is not noticed as much. The pupil may be wide open, but only the central portion is receiving light. The improvement in visual acuity can be striking.
People with cataracts can also benefit from pinholes. As a cataract develops, opacities in the lens cause the light to scatter. By restricting the incoming light to the center of the lens, the scattering is reduced and vision improves. Vision specialists should provide such glasses to their cataract customers, but none do. By using pinholes to delay the day when cataract surgery becomes necessary, you are also delaying the day when you must face the risk of that surgery. A certain percentage of cataract operations result in permanent vision loss, due to infection or other problems. Do not let any vision specialist talk you into cataract surgery before you have to have it.
Pinholes have an important place in Myopia Prevention, an application that has until now been totally ignored. When a person`s eye has become abnormally long due to excessive close work, the outermost rays come to a focus in front of the retina and cause blurred vision. Imagine for a moment the common situation where a child begins to develop myopia and can`t see the board in school clearly. The usual solution of giving the child minus lenses just causes the myopia to increase.
But suppose the child has a pair of pinholes and puts them on just to look at the board. A large area of the board can be seen through just one hole. The cost and the risk involved with minus lenses has been avoided entirely. Suppose the child also leaves them on when reading or looking at a computer screen. This could help greatly in preventing myopia since the accommodative effort is reduced. Such use is not as beneficial as using reading glasses, but it is better than using no protection at all, and certainly better than using minus lenses for reading. Schoolteachers should have several pairs on hand to lend to the students who have difficulty seeing the board.
One limitation of pinhole glasses is that blocking some of the light makes it more important than usual to have good lighting on the viewed object, even though the sharper image greatly compensates for diminished light. When looking at television this is not a problem since the set makes its own light. When reading, a good lamp should be provided nearby.
Pinholes cannot replace prescription glasses in every situation. People with over 6 diopters of myopia will probably not find pinholes useful, because pinholes cannot eliminate all of the blur. Pinhole glasses are not intended to be used when walking around or driving a car. Use common sense and only wear the pinholes when the limited view does not pose a risk.
One group that should not use pinholes, or any glasses that reduce accommodation (focusing effort), is young people who are very farsighted. These people need to accommodate as much as possible in order to reduce their farsightedness to a lower level. This is nature`s dynamic method of refining visual acuity in the growing youngster and it should not be defeated. For the same reason, they should not be prescribed plus lenses until they are on the verge of moving into myopia.
Can you imagine what the eye doctors and the optical industry think about this inexpensive solution? The fact that you don`t find pinholes in optical stores and eye doctors don`t mention them should give you a hint. In fact, it is just this opposition that has resulted in government persecution of those who sold such glasses in the past. It is both enlightening and appalling to look at some examples.
Back around 1991, opticians and ophthalmologists pressured the FDA into conducting an armed raid of Natural Vision International in Manitowoc, Wisconsin for selling Vision Improving Eyeglasses. The FDA, along with two federal marshals, seized 17,000 pairs of pinhole glasses. The charge was that the product was a misbranded medical device and that NVI had failed to file a premarket application with FDA. It was also charged that some of the claims may not have adequate substantiation. NVI stated that a pinhole is not a lens. The outcome was that, although NVI submitted hundreds of testimonials from satisfied customers, the FDA drove them out of business by confiscating WITHOUT A COURT ORDER their stock of books and pinhole glasses with a retail value of over $200,000. The glasses were taken out to the local dump and buried.
In another case, 14 state attorneys got together to close down one such operation that was advertising that pinholes could improve vision. How often do you hear of that many state attorneys getting together to do anything? The recent case where a lawsuit was brought against the tobacco companies is one of the few instances. That might be understandable since tobacco is an extremely harmful product that was costing the states hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs. But pinhole glasses are a perfectly harmless device, even if exaggerated claims about their benefit are sometimes made. Exaggerated claims seem to be the rule in the marketing world. What would create such a massive coordinated attack against a small company selling such a harmless product? The optical industry, obviously.
Does your local drug store get raided by armed federal agents for selling products that claim to grow hair on bald heads or for selling toothpaste that claims to prevent decayed teeth? Of course, it doesn`t. But the sale of pinholes threatened the profits of the optical industry, so they were driven off the market in an attempt to prevent them from becoming known. The FDA marches to the drum of the optical industry, just as it does for the drug and food industries.
Now, in the Internet age, a search for pinhole glasses brings up many online vendors, some of them overseas. The FDA, and the business interests that control it, can no longer suppress them.
Donald Rehm is president of the International Myopia Prevention Assn., with headquarters in Ligonier, PA. He is the author of the book, "The Myopia Myth - The truth about nearsightedness and how to prevent it." The book can be read on his website http://www.myopia.org . There you will find everything you need to prevent myopia in your family as well as his analysis of why this information is being withheld from the public.