Qualifying to be a Firefighter
by Ciaran Furey
At the age of 28, I applied to become a firefighter. I knew that the sight requirements were stringent and having spent the previous l8 months working at a VDU terminal, I had noticed my eyes seemed weaker and was concerned.
My eyesight prior to this had always been excellent so I found it frustrating to have lost total clarity. A friend’s mother introduced me to the philosophy of the Bates Method. After a few phone calls, I found a friendly voice on the phone, a practitioner, called Liz May. With an open mind and the will to improve my eyesight, my education began.
The basis of the teachings were holistic, making me aware of the many factors that attribute to eye strain: understanding how the eyes worked and how straining the eyes causes the muscles more problems.
Techniques of sunning and palming helped to relax my eyes, and correcting posture and breathing left me able to see visibly clearer and feeling relaxed at the end of the session.
Exercises to remove tension from the frontal lobe, such as imaging the perception of views at the back of my head, helped relieve frowning.
Liz pointed out that I would often tilt my head, putting my strained eye in the middle of my field of vision. This made that eye do all the work and perpetuated the weakness in the other eye. I found this subconscious act very difficult to combat, and am still trying to become more aware of it.
I found the whole experience a benefit – generally teaching me to relax and increase my awareness of my surroundings were both valuable assets. As with any training, it can be hard to maintain, but it you put in the work, you gain the benefits.
Three months before my Fire Brigade medical, I escaped the VDU and toured some South American countries. It was a real adventure and a great place to see.
Liz made me realise that my eyes, like any part of the body, need a little respect and maintenance to maximise their function.
Returning after my travels a more relaxed person with a sense of well-being, I had my entrance medical and was accepted!