Better Eyesight Without Glasses - What Is the Bates Method?
Bates Cured his own 'Stone-Hard Presbyopia'
In his 1920s book, Better Eyesight Without Glasses, Dr. Bates writes about his own eyesight improvement. He had been told by various eye specialists that his lens was "as hard as a stone" and that "no one can do anything for you." Through studying his own case intensively, and finding a way to not strain his eyes when wanting to read, he regained an accommodative range of 14 inches. That is the ability to focus on objects between 4 and 18 inches from the eyes. With repeated practice, Bates was no longer suffering from presbyopic blur.
Dr. Bates went on to formulate a new set of theories about eyesight, and he developed a series of eye exercises that later became known as "The Bates Method, Better Eyesight Without Glasses" to help people improve their sight.
According to Dr. Bates, poor eyesight is caused primarily by three things:
- Stress or mental strain
- Poor vision habits
- Wearing glasses
Vision Improvement Exercises
For eyes to look good, they must also function well. Visual impairment can be treated with exercises. When you notice the first signs of eye weakness or imbalance (one eye stronger than the other), begin doing some of the following exercises and you will never need to wear glasses. Are you already wearing glasses or contact lenses? Then wear them less frequently and try the exercises. You will soon find that your eyes will need a weaker correction lens. For the severely visually impaired, the exercises given here will be of great benefit. Even if the exercises may not cure the most severe visual handicaps, they will give improvement and help to delay or arrest further deterioration. For people who have no need for glasses, the exercises will ensure that it will stay that way. Let us begin with "palming."
What Is Palming?
Palming is excluding all light from your eyes to help them relax into a neutral, passive state. The idea is to cover your closed eyes with your hands without putting pressure on your eyeballs. Close the fingers and place them on your forehead leaving the palms of your hands over each eye. Make sure no light gets through. Always begin and finish an eye exercise session with Palming.
You should do this for a few seconds or minutes while breathing quietly—you should see pure black. You will know when to stop; a deep inhale should make you feel exhilarated.
How Does the Eye Work?
Balancing the Eyes
Sitting in a relaxed position, put your left hand on your closed left eye and just carry on reading. Notice if there is any difference between reading with one eye, the other eye, or both. Having a weaker eye is, as they say, perfectly normal. Perfectly normal does not mean it is all right. A weak eye is like a visual limp. It means your strong eye is overloaded with work while the weak eye, relying on its stronger brother, becomes lazy.
Having found out if one eye is weaker than the other, continue reading with your weak eye until it becomes tiresome. You may find that it will become easier after it gets worse. Eyes are living organisms that can change and improve with encouraging exercise. Are you still reading with your weak eye? If not, go back a few times. Practice reading with the weak eye for an increasing length of time on a daily basis. Improvement is often instant as you will find out by working through the focusing exercises that follow.
There are two dots printed on the next line.
. _________________________________ .
Focus on the dot on the right while being aware that the other dot is there,
but appears blurred.
Now reverse: look at the left dot with the right one unsharpened, out of focus. Repeat, changing your focus from one dot to the other while doing it faster and faster. The quicker the eyes are able to change focus, the sharper they will be. Now, try the same thing with the dots closer together:
and closer still:
. _____ .
This simple focusing exercise can be done anywhere, at any time, with any
two or more focal spots. Experiment with spots on posters in the bus or the underground, or on two moving leaves on a tree. With a little imagination, any background can serve as a focal exercise field. You can play around by changing the distance between your focal spots.
Try reading the following sentences printed here in different point sizes.
Experimenting Is Fun and Rewarding
Experiment with reading the above lines with both eyes together, then with one eye at a time. Find out at which point size, if any, your eyes become weak. Read the difficult line again with the strong eye. Memorize not the content of the sentence, but the shapes of the letters as you are reading with the better eye. Now, try reading the same sentence with the bad eye again. The memory obtained of the image with the strong eye will help the weak eye decipher the blur. You may not believe your own eye, but the weak eye learns to focus as sharply as the strong eye in this way.
When you get to a line that is not readable even with the strong eye, get a magnifying glass and look at the shape of the letters. Put the magnifying glass away and recall the meaning of the words to help you memorize and visualize the shapes of the letters. Now, try reading the line again without the magnifying glass. The shapes of the letters in very small type will emerge. Repeat this until you get results, but only to a level of acceptable tolerance. As soon as you feel your eyes getting tired, cover them with the palm of your hands and relax to complete the exercise. Now, what about exploring the depth of focus your eyes are capable of?
Standing by the window, chose a spot or mark on the window pane and focus upon it. Now, without moving your eyes, find a focal point far away through the glass directly behind that mark. Look for some distant object like a tree or a chimney or something on the horizon far away outside the window but aligned directly behind the spot on the window pane.
As in the previous exercises, the object here is to focus alternately between two chosen spots:
- A close-up spot
- A distant spot located in the same area of your vision
Like the zoom feature of a camera, tiny eye muscles are now working to make you focus alternatively between a close-up spot and a distant one to check the depth of your vision.
Here Is a Tip
Once you have established which eye is weaker, you can work on that weak eye without spending any extra time. While you are at home alone or with your family, cover up the strong eye with a pad and carry on with your normal, day to day activities. Covering up the strong eye will train the weaker eye to catch up a bit and give the overworked eye a good rest. Of course, when visitors arrive, make sure you take the pad off or they'll wonder what’s wrong with you.
Well? What's the result?
Have you found which eye is weaker?
Treat Your Self
Those who spend many hours at the computer need to find a way to destress the eyes. With all this new information and the practice exercises, you deserve a treat. A good eye, head, and temple massage can help you relax the eyes and the whole body. It gives great relief and helps to meditate all your worries away.
For more information and the full set of Bates eye exercises, you can order the original book which I have been using for many years to keep my vision in good standing. It is well worth getting the book to learn many more exercises which are fun to practice almost anywhere, anytime. Better Eyesight Without Glasses
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.