Magic Eyes: Vision Training For Children


The Magic eyes program was developed in response to the immense need for an easy and effective methodology to address the growing prevalence of vision problems in children all over the world. Research shows that virtually all children (98.8%) at age 6 have normal eyesight. However from age 7 or 8 to the mid teen years children with near sight (myopia) skyrocket to about 25% at age 16.
In some Asian countries, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, more than 80% of school children are near sighted. One study showed that 25% of seven year olds and an astonishing 87% of high school children in Taipei, Taiwan, was near sighted. Clearly something has to be done or in a few generations we all become totally dependent on glasses.
  • Magic eyes program focus on what makes a difference. 
  • The parent child relationship is the focal point.
  • Natural clear vision is a birthright and everyone has it. 
  • Vision skills are like any other skill - it's learned.
  • If one child can do then everyone can do it.
    Progress is at the speed of life. Not faster, not slower.
Parents know that these glasses needs to be changed sometimes more than once every year. The lens power keeps getting stronger and stronger. Obviously the solution to good eyesight is not found in optics. The glasses do correct for the lack of vision, but you are still near sighted when you take the glasses of. Nothing has been done about the real problem.
Leo Angart, the creator of Magic eyes, thought for many years that there was nothing that could be done about deteriorating vision. He himself wore glasses for near sight (-5.5 Diopters) for 26 years. In 1991 he discovered how he could regain his normal vision and from 1996 onward he started on a journey to let people know that it is possible to regain your natural eyesight. There is no reason why you should not be reading your 80th birthday cards without glasses.
In a workshop in 1998 Leo was astonished to discover that children could improve their eyesight with amazing speed, sometimes within minutes. One such example was a 14 year old boy in Mexico. He came to the Magic eyes class to get rid of his 20/40 near sight. In one hour he could see the 20/16 line of the eye-chart. Fifteen years later he can still see the 20/16 line, which is better than 20/20 vision. The astonishing fact is that this young man regained his natural eyesight in an hour. This may seem unbelievable - yet it is a story that has been replayed again and again in many countries around the world.
The typical childhood vision problems like near sight (myopia), far sight (hyperopia), astigmatism, eye-coordination, lazy eye (ambliopia), and deviating eye (strabismus) all respond to vision training. Magic eyes classes are especially effective if they are introduced early on.
The Magic eye program focus on the fundamental principles that works. No expensive equipment is needed, there is nothing you need to take, no surgery, only simple exercises you can do with your children at home. Think of Magic eyes exercises as "Tai Chi"for the eyes. If the exercise are too complicated or require various equipment then it becomes a therapy or rehabilitation. In some cases this may very well be what's required. However, in most cases and especially if the problem is addressed early on, children respond beautifully and walk away with Magic in their eyes.

Why are Magic eyes programs not available in every school? If it is so easy, why don't the eye care professionals teach us that?

These are great questions. Unfortunately there are no great answers. Ophthalmologists do not believe that there is any scientific evidence that support eye exercises or vision training. Medical school focus on treatments using drugs or surgery. For example, Strabismus (divergent eye) can be treated effectively with Vision training. Research, since the 1940’s, shows a better than 80% success rate in restoring complete 3D vision.
The medical approach, still today, is first to try to use bifocal lenses then surgery. Cutting the eye muscles of a child will in most cases only restore the appearance of normal vision. However, more than 80% of the children who undergo strabismus surgery only see through one eye. Clearly, it is much more lucrative to perform surgery than to simply teach parents how they can restore their children's normal vision at home.
Understandably, most parents are reluctant to have anyone cut their children eyes. Many parents are very upset when they realize that there are far simpler and vastly more effective ways of treating strabismus. This is not to say that surgery is useless. In some cases surgery may indeed be necessary and appropriate.
Another fallacy that is banded about is that strabismus and ambliopia (lazy eye) can only be treated before the age of 7. While it is easier to treat earlier on, there are no age limit. Vision training is equally effective with children and adults.
Optometrists are trained to measure eyesight and prescribe corrective lenses. Most general practice optometrists find it difficult to believe that you can simply exercise away most common vision problems. It may actually be threatening since people will no longer buy glasses if they could just doe some exercises.
Visiting a behavioral optometrist involve a much more elaborate testing of vision than you will normally receive. After your child's visual skills have been established a special program is designed. This program consists of exercises and work with various pieces of equipment, red / green filters, and various optics.
The actual therapy sessions are usually done by a vision therapist. A person trained in how to lead your child through the exercise drills. Vision therapy sessions are usually about an hour and may cost anywhere from US$ 75 to 120 per session. You may need anywhere between 30 to 90 sessions. The financial part of this project is not insignificant. In some cases insurance will pay part of the cost or even cover all of it, otherwise the parents must pay.
In contrast to the therapeutic model, the Magic eyes approach is to empower parents to do the exercises with their children at home. The experience we have from Magic eyes workshops is that a few exercises, usually 2 or 3, are what's really making a difference. Parents responsibility is to encourage and motivate their children to do the exercises. Do whatever it takes. One father promised his son that he would get the money to spend that his new glasses would cost. This is a powerful motivation for a 10 year old.
The appropriate exercise done for a few minutes but many times, at least 10 times, during the day is far more effective than one or two hours a week. Physiologically most children can easily adapt and will respond very quickly. If it's fun they will do it!
Be part of the force that enables our children to sees the future clearly. Every day we are subjected to thousands of attempts to persuade us to believe something, do something or buy something. Everyone use their most per- suasive language. Often to the point of the ridiculous.
When it comes to children's eyes you would think that the various professional fields would have, if not similar views at least be cooperative about what is the best approach. Unfortunately that is not the case. Each profession or sub-section of a professional field often have a dogmatic view of what is right and wrong.

Who are the doctors?

In the eye care professions there are two major professional fields involved. Ophthalmology and Optometry. Both have many specialisation's and sub- categories and both have powerful professional associations. The classification may vary from country to country.

Ophthalmologists

are medical doctors (M.D.) who have taken a four year post graduate course in Ophthalmology, their title is D.O. The training of ophthalmologists is focused on the diseases of the eye, and drugs, and surgery, are their main methodologies. An ophthalmologist undergo about 6 weeks of training in refraction so they can prescribe glasses if necessary. They have virtually no exposure to the ideas of vision training or other aspects like the mental and psychological aspects that influence visual perception. Some ophthalmologists specialise in Paediatric Ophthalmology or in Strabismus. 

Ophthalmic technicians

assist ophthalmologists in surgery and in pre-and post-operative care. They undergo about 2 years of training to become certified.

Optometrists

have completed four years in a professional graduate program. Their title is D.O. The field of optometry is focused on measuring vision and prescribing corrective lenses. Optometrists are also trained in detecting symptoms of systemic diseases that shows up in the eyes. One such example is diabetes which is often first detected in an eye test. Optometrists do not treat such diseases.

Within the field of optometry there are several areas of specialisation. Such as contact lenses, sports vision, developmental behavioral optometry, paediatric optometry, vision training, learning disabilities etc. The majority of optometrists are in general practice and are mostly concerned about fitting and selling glasses and assessors.

Opticians

are the people who actually make the glasses. They are required to do a 1 - 2 year associate degree to become certified. However, this can be optional. Consequently opticians are not extensively trained and are mostly concerned about making and selling glasses and the frames that comes with the glasses.

Behavioral optometrists

are a group of optometrists that has gone through a fellowship program focusing especially on vision training. One such program is offered by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (C.O.V.D.). These professionals focus on visual functions in general and want to minimise the use of optics. There are very few of them. For example, in 2005 there were only 50 members of BOPA the British Behavioural Optometrist Association.

Vision therapists

are trained to design and implement vision therapy programs. They are usually the people that do the actual vision training after the behavioral optometrists has determined what in needed. The training of vision therapists vary and are often in-house training on the job with the optometrists they are working for. Under this category there is also another group of people who are inspired by Dr. William Bates. The Bates Teachers want to completely eliminate lenses of any kind.

Vision trainers,

as the name implies, focus on teaching you the vision techniques that are suitable for your particular vision problems. They also pay attention to the psychological and emotional aspects of vision as well as motivating you to succeed. Leo Angart is one of the best know vision trainers with workshops in 20 countries for more than 20 years.

War between the doctors

Ophthalmologists for the most part do not believe that vision training works. They say that any research supporting vision training is flawed. Eye exercises or vision training is a waste of time and money. In a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Ophthalmology it is written:
"...No scientific evidence supports claims that the academic abilities of chil- dren with learning disabilities can be improved with treatments that are based on
  1. visual training, including muscle exercises, ocular pursuit, tracking exercises, or 'training' glasses (with or without bifocals or prisms),
  2. neurologic organizational training (laterality training, crawling, balancing board, perceptual training), or
  3. colored lenses. These more controversial methods of treatment may give parents and teachers a false sense of security that a child's reading difficul- ties are being addressed, which may delay proper instruction or remediation. The expense of there methods is unwarranted, and they cannot be substi- tuted for appropriate educational measures. Claims of improved reading ... are almost always based on poorly controlled studies that typically rely on anecdotal information. These methods are without scientific validation. Their reported benefits can be explained by the traditional educational remedial techniques with which they are usually combined."
American Academy of Pediatrics, January 1984.
American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus, February 1984,
American Academy of Ophthalmology, February 1984.
Revised and approved September 1998
A total of 24 studies are listed as references to the above statement.

One year later the American Optometrist Association published a special report on "The Effectiveness of Vision Therapy in Improving Visual Function," 1985. They concluded:
"I response to the question, "How effective is vision therapy in remediating visual deficiencies?,"it is evident from the research presented that there is sufficient scientific support for the efficacy of vision therapy in modifying and improving oculomotor, accommodative, and binocular system disorders, as measured by standardised clinical and laboratory testing methods, in the majority of patients of all ages from whom it is properly undertaken and employed. "
"The American Optometric Association reaffirms its long-standing position that vision therapy is an effective therapeutic modality in the treatment of many physiological and information processing dysfunctions of the visual system. It continues to support quality optometric care, education, and re- search and will cooperate with all professions dedicated to providing the highest quality of life in which vision plays such an important role
Position statement on vision therapy, J. Am Optom Assoc, 1985, 56, 782-83.
The above report is supported by more than 230 scientific studies published in respected peer reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Journal of the American Optometry Association, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
The question is just how many scientific studies does it take for something to be real and worthwhile? - - You decide.

What parents say

My daughter Rebecca was diagnosed with strabismus, astigmatism, and long-sightedness at the age of 18 months. She was wearing glasses all day, every day from the age of 21 months. We had many stressful years of patching, drops, and exhaustingly long visits to the ophthalmologist, only to have her scripts get stronger over time. Rebecca could not be without her glasses, and as soon as she took them off, her left eye would turn harshly in. As she grew older, Rebecca began to become more and more self conscious and felt that she stood out because of her glasses. She is passionate about her dancing, and has been performing since the age of 3. However, at the time of each concert she would express concern that she was the only one wearing glasses, and that you could not see her beautiful make-up properly! Yet she could not take them off as her eye would very clearly turn. We discussed her concerns often, and she even tried contact lenses at the age of 8, however she resigned herself to the fact that she would always have her glasses.
Her optometrist kept her hopes up by explaining that there was much research being done, and that operations were always improving. Her father and I were not comfortable with the thought of her eyes being operated on, and we explained that when she was older, the decision would be hers to make.
One night Rebecca saw an ad for a current affairs show which was airing a segment about getting rid of your glasses. She excitedly told me about it, and we made a point of watching it. Following the show, I made contact and booked Rebecca in for a children's workshop with Leo.
After many months of eager anticipation, Rebecca and I attended Leo's Magic Eyes workshop. Leo was able to quickly assess which exercises would be most important for each child in attendance, and we set to work! The results of these simple exercises were almost immediate.
Rebecca was so keen she was trying them in the car on the way home! After only the first session, for the first time in over seven years, Rebecca could take her glasses off and her eye would not turn! This was a very emotional time for all of us, and we cannot thank Leo enough for his help.
We have now been working on the exercises for a few weeks, and not only is Rebecca's turn rarely evident, her near points and far points have improved for each eye, and she has gone from wearing +4.5 lenses to +3 lenses. We still have a ways to go, but we are very determined!
Leo's knowledge is invaluable, and we only wish we had come across the techniques years ago. Our great dream for others is that Leo's strategies become the first point of call for children experiencing difficulties with their eyes. All we can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
P.S. - Rebecca is keenly passing on information about the next workshops to others with glasses, even her teacher at school!
Regards,
Carolyn, Melbourne, Australia.

My son has been using Leo’s exercises for the past couple of years and has, by doing so, gone from a point where we were practically accused of child abuse by his school nurse for ignoring his deteriorating eyesight and not getting him glasses, to the point now where he is learning to drive glasses free, which thoroughly vindicates our belief in Leo’s methods. This is powerful stuff which should be taught in schools – rather than carting kids off to the opticians to condemn them to a life behind glasses. I urge everyone who wants to solve their eyesight problems to try Leo’s methods. Attending his workshop is by far the best way of doing this but, If this isn’t possible, Leo has written 2 books covering his methods:
David Bowman, Crown House Publishing. U.K.

My 9 year old daughter was complaining of headaches if she read for more than 5 mins and had trouble distinguishing between a picture of a fly and the real insect. The optometrist tested her and concluded she had a micro-turn in her right eye. She was recommended glasses for distance vision and astigmatism and was told nothing could be done to reverse her micro-turn and the impaired depth perception.
Monika Cruz suggested I enrol my daughter in the Vision Workshop before getting her glasses. After the workshop she did the string exercise Leo had taught her several times a day. Within 6 weeks she could read without headaches and was reading the blackboard easily. She stopped doing the exercises and I didn't get her glasses.
A year later, the optometrist checked her again. I'm not sure who was more shocked - I or the optometrist! My daughter passed the depth perception test which she'd previously failed, and no longer needs glasses.
The optometrist cannot explain the improvement. She has asked for details of Leo's workshop. We are both recommending the workshops to everyone we know!
Thank you Leo and Monika for running them in Melbourne.
Cheers Joanne, Melbourne, Australia.

Hi LEO
thank you very much for solving my problem I can read and i like read- ing too.
I read COOL it is a book by Michael Morpurgo it is about a kid who gets knocked over by a car and is in a coma and his dog get him back . But just so you know i did not do the X’s 50 times, but it still worked it is like magic thank you.
I’ve told my friend Celeste to do it because she has dyslexia from
ROCKY. (10 years old) London. U.K.


Leo Angart

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