Numerous people have expressed an interest in knowing more about Donald Rehm's background and career, perhaps to help themselves decide why they should believe him and not what they are told by their beloved doctors. For many, it is difficult and painful to admit that the trusted advisors they turn to with their health problems are, in fact, more interested in their money than their health. These doctors are also, more often than not, sorely lacking in important knowledge of their own field of work.
Keeping in mind that this crusade is not about self-promotion but about saving the vision of hundreds of millions of children the world over, here is some personal information that may help explain how he became involved in this work.
- He was born in Champaign, Illinois and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- While earning a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University, he began to become myopic. The usual distance glasses were prescribed, but he decided not to purchase those glasses. The explanation that eyes suddenly become too long because of some inherited defect was illogical. He knew of other people who wore glasses and who had to get stronger lenses every year or two, and felt that such glasses would just make his vision worse. Some of these people seemed to be nearly blind without their glasses.
In the university library, the only books that did not explain myopia as an inherited
defect were several books on the Bates system. If these books were to be believed, myopia could be corrected by somehow relaxing the eyes. To investigate this further, he even went to New York City to visit a practitioner of the Bates Theory. He came away realizing that he had just had an encounter with a con man who had taken his money and gotten rid of him quickly but who had not given any advice of real value. He did, however, resolve never to wear glasses unless it became absolutely necessary.
The information available about myopia thus consisted of two opposing theories. The
ordinary practitioners claimed that myopia was inherited and that glasses were the only answer. The Bates practitioners claimed that glasses could be discarded and the myopia eliminated with eye exercises. It was obvious that both these theories were completely wrong, and he became determined to find the correct answer.
- While working as an engineer in Sweden and Switzerland, he expanded his research into the environmental cause of myopia and built the prototype of the Myopter, a device that eliminates accommodation, convergence and stereopsis when reading.
- He returned to engineering work in the US and, using his own meager funds, built the Myopter and put it on the market in 1972. It was introduced it to the optometric profession at the 1973 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry in San Francisco. His paper, "The Myopter Viewer: An Instrument for Preventing, Improving and Eliminating Acquired Myopia", was subsequently published in the May, 1975 issue of the American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics. It can be read on this site at Myopter Research Paper.
- He introduced the instrument to optometrists of other countries in a paper he presented by simultaneous translation into other languages at the 1973 Congress of the European Society of Optometry in Copenhagen, Denmark. This paper was subsequently published in the September, 1974 issue of the Journal of the Scottish Association of Opticians.
- In 1974, when it had become apparent that eye doctors had no interest in prevention,
he formed the International Myopia Prevention Association to take the message directly to the public.
- On May 13, 1975, he obtained US Patent 3,883,225 on the Myopter.
- Working with Sidney Heller, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania optometrist in 1974, he was the first person to ever provide documented evidence that plus lenses could prevent and reverse myopia development. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 were given Myopters to use and all experienced an improvement in their vision. Improvements of up to ONE DIOPTER were noted.
- In 1975, based upon the revolutionary Pittsburgh data, he filed an application with the National Eye Institute for research funds to test the Myopter further. The application was rejected without discussion, indicating how little interest the NEI had in this subject.
- In 1981, he published The Myopia Myth himself, after being turned down by all the major publishers. They said that the only books the public bought on vision were about the Bates System of eye exercises. He decided that, profitable or not, the book needed to be published to expose the charlatans who were destroying our vision. The book includes case histories which document the successful use of the Myopter.
- After years of little success in making a public issue of the myopia tragedy, he recognized the potential of the growing Internet and put myopia.org online in April, 1998 and nearsightedness.org in April, 2000. For details on this activity and the Internet in general, see Awards, Principles and "Truth on the Internet."
- During 1998 and 1999, his article "The Truth About Nearsightedness" was published on the Nurturing Magazine website www.nurturing.ca, in the Sun Coast Eco Report (Sarasota, Florida), and in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.
- On September 3, 1999, he challenged and ended the decades-long suppression of pinhole glasses by the eye doctors and optical industry by offering a full line of such glasses to the public via the Internet site pinholeglasses.org. Within a year several products were offered to the public that were never available before:
- Pinholes sized for children
- Snap-on pinholes
- Modern pinholes that look like sunglasses
- In the February 2000 issue of Primary Care Optometry News, the leading clinical newspaper for optometrists, he contributed an article in answer to the question, "What do you recommend for a child whose myopia is progressing rapidly?" That article can be read on the Primary Care Optometry News page.
- In April, 2001, he first published The Myopia Myth as an eBook, making it easily and quickly available to anyone in the world.
- On July 1, 2004, he put preventmyopia.org online. This is a simplified presentation of the myopia problem that can be easily understood by children as well as adults. Animation is used to make the information more appealing to children.
- On myopia.org in November, 2004, he was the first to offer a line of reading glasses sized for children. Such glasses are not available in stores like adult reading glasses, and eye doctors are often unwilling to prescribe them.
- In March, 2005, he filed a petition with the FDA, presenting evidence about the dangers of minus lenses and demanding that warnings be required whenever such lenses are prescribed or sold. Due to pressure from the optical industry, the petition was rejected.
- In April, 2007, he gave a 30-minute Internet radio interview on Break For News with the title The Great Eyeglasses Scam.
- In March of 2009, he wrote a series of articles for NaturalNews.com, a widely-read Internet provider of news about health matters.
- In April of 2010, he put preventcataract.org online, exposing how the optical industry is ignoring a promising method of dissolving cataracts with eyedrops rather than resorting to risky surgery.
- He wrote the leading article for the natural health publication Veritas Wellness in its first issue in September, 2011. The article dealt with myopia prevention. For the December 2011 issue, he contributed an article on pinhole glasses.
Donald Rehm, author of The Myopia Myth, president of the International Myopia Prevention Association, and inventor of the Myopter (an instrument that eliminates the harm of excessive reading), Modern Pinhole Glasses, and Snap-on Pinhole Glasses.