Meet Betty … Legally Blind, Yet an Artist Seeing Beyond What’s Clear

Do you have perfect eyesight yet are blind to the world around you? Meet Betty … Legally Blind, Yet an Artist Seeing Beyond What’s Clear.

When I first started practicing optometry, my patient Betty taught me a very insightful lesson. She was vibrant at 74, and an exceptional artist. In fact, I have purchased several of her beautiful paintings for my home.

After completing a comprehensive vision examination, including dilated eyes health check, refraction, and visual fields, Betty said she needed to “fess up.” She said,

I appreciate that you’ve given me such a thorough exam and consultation, but I don’t want my new glasses prescription. I NEVER wear my glasses when I paint!

What! I thought. This doesn’t make sense

I was classically trained as an optometrist and my job was to make sure the patient could see as well as possible. Betty had a very high astigmatism prescription.

Without glasses, her vision was 20/100. I see TOO clearly with those glasses. It seems to constrict my peripheral vision. I need to see the whole picture while I paint. Without seeing as clearly as the glasses create, I am much more open to the beauty of my surrounds. Thanks anyways for the prescription. See you next year!

I was both amused and intrigued as she waved good-bye and left. Lesson learned … Betty wears her glasses only when she needs to see clearly, like driving, or watching television. With her insight, she revealed that there was more to vision than 20/20 eyesight.

Why Peripheral Vision Is Essential

Peripheral vision is the foundation for understanding time, size, and spatial relations. It helps a person integrate movement and balance. Peripheral vision gives information on where we have been, where we are now and where we are going— orientation in the world.

Dr. Sam Berne, a pioneer in Behavioral/Neurodevelopmental Optometry and Vision Therapy, integrative health, and subtle energy therapies, stated in his book, Creating Your Own Personal Vision,

“When peripheral vision is constricted or not open, a person can be accident prone, lose his place when reading, have difficulty copying written material, unsure about moving through the world.”

If you wear glasses, what would happen if I decreased your glasses prescription a little … or give you stress relieving lenses?

  • You might just feel relaxation in your eyes and

your body.

  • Your peripheral awareness might begin to expand.

Do you have perfect eyesight yet are blind to the world around you? Try opening your peripheral vision. The “harder” you try, the more stress you feel and the less you see. The less effort you use to see, the more aware you become.

Find more stories from incredible people who use visualization to enhance their lives in my upcoming book, Expand Your Vision: How to Gain Clarity, Courage and Confidence. Preorders are available Here


Lynn Hellerstein
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