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August 1927 

School Number - Demonstrate – The Prevention of Imperfect Sight In School Children: Palming, Central Fixation, Swaying, Fine Print, Shifting, Swinging, Blinking, Memory and Imagination – Stories From The Clinic; 90. School Children by Emily C. Lierman – Davey, Esther – A School Teacher’s Report - Announcement



AUGUST, 1927


That glasses lower the vision.
Stand fifteen feet from the Snellen test card and test the vision of each eye without glasses.
Then test the vision of each eye with glasses on, after having worn them for half a hour or longer. Remove the glasses; test the vision again and compare the results. Note that the vision without glasses becomes better, the longer the glasses are left off.
Test the eyes of a person who is very nearsighted. Remove the glasses and test the sight of each eye at five feet, nearer or farther, until the distance is found at which the vision is best without glasses. Now test the vision for five minutes at this distance, which is the optimum distance, or the distance at which the vision is best. For example, near-sighted people see best when the print is held a foot or nearer to the eyes. If the eyes see best at six inches, the optimum distance is six inches; but if the distance at which the eyes see best is thirty to forty inches, the optimum distance is then thirty or forty inches.
In near-sightedness, glasses always lower the vision at the optimum distance. The same is true in far-sightedness or astigmatism. For example, a near-sighted person may have an optimum distance of six inches. If glasses are worn, the vision is never as good at six inches as it is without them. This demonstrates that glasses lower the vision at six inches, or the optimum distance in this case. In far-sightedness without glasses, the optimum distance, at which objects are seen best, may be ten feet or further. If glasses are worn and the sight is improved at the nearer point, the vision without glasses at the optimum distance becomes worse.

The Prevention Of Imperfect Sight

In School Children

By W. H. Bates, M.D.

Eye education has been proved to be effective in preventing and improving defective vision in school children.
A negative proposition is one that cannot be proved. You cannot say that any methods, recommended for benefiting the vision of school children, prevent imperfect sight and the use of glasses, because the vision of the children might remain good if no measures were employed for their benefit. However, a positive proposition is something that can be proved to be true. For example, if the eyesight of school children is imperfect, eye education always improves the imperfect sight.

A SNELLEN TEST CARD was used for more than twenty years as a means of preventing and improving imperfect sight. This card was placed on the wall of the classroom. Every day, while sitting quietly in their seats, the children were encouraged to read the Snellen test card, with each eye separately, covering one eye in such a way as to avoid pressure on the eyeball. This required only a few minutes and did not interfere with the regular schoolwork. The results obtained from this simple practice were very gratifying.
In one high school, a teacher became interested in eye education and, with the consent of the principal, introduced the method into her own classes. She made it a rule not to treat a child, unless he were willing to remove his glasses permanently. Besides curing children, she cured many teachers who were wearing glasses. Each teacher, who had learned the method, surreptitiously cured all the children in her classes who had imperfect sight. In this way an endless chain was formed. After a number of years, the method became known to the parents of the children and also to a number of physicians. As a result of this publicity, the teachers were asked to stop treating the children by the use of eye education. It is difficult to understand why eye education should be condemned when voice education is encouraged and teachers are appointed to educate children for the relief of stammering. Many teachers of voice culture have found that their pupils were suffering from nerve tension, because of eyestrain. When the eyestrain was relieved, the nerve tension disappeared and the stammering was corrected.

PALMING. Resting the eyes by palming is one of the best methods we have for obtaining relaxation and improved vision.
Many children suffer from headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. When the eyes are closed and covered with the palms of both hands, it is possible to obtain rest and relaxation of the nerves of the eyes and of the body generally, provided the palming is done properly. Palming is successful when all light is excluded and no light or colors are imagined. When a child with normal eyes and normal sight enters a dark closet, where all light is excluded, no light is seen or imagined. (This sentence means: no light is seen through the fingers/hands and no colors are seen on the black field of the closed eyes. Modern teachers say that it is ok if a little light gets through the fingers. The hands must not be pressed hard against the face, and do not touch the eyes. Also; moving colors are seen sometimes when the eyes are first closed, often when the mind and/or eyes are under strain, tension or after looking at a bright light. Do not worry about the colors. Just relax, think pleasant thoughts and these colors will fade. Remembering, imagining different colors, colored objects, scenery when palming is beneficial. See the Color Breathing Relaxation Chart in the book; Do It Yourself – Natural Eyesight Improvement. The same is true when the normal eye practices palming; no light is seen or imagined. Black is imagined easily, without strain; but any effort that is made to see black is wrong. Most children are fond of pleasant memories and when they palm, they usually think of pleasant things, which help them to palm successfully. When school children learn by experience that palming is a benefit to their sight, headaches, nervousness, or other disagreeable symptoms, they will practice palming very frequently without being encouraged to do so.

CENTRAL FIXATION. Those children, who have trouble in obtaining relaxation by palming, are benefited by practicing central fixation, which means seeing the point regarded best, and other parts not so clearly. For example, in remembering a pet dog, one child liked to think of his curly tail, then of his long silky ears, or of the black spots on his legs. When conditions are favorable, that is, when the light in a classroom is neither too bright nor too dim, eyestrain is less manifest. The children are more relaxed and become able to palm more successfully.

SWAYING. Another method used is to have the children stand with their feet about one foot apart and sway the whole body from side to side. When this is practiced, the stare, strain or effort to see is prevented and the vision is always benefited.

FINE PRINT. When school children are able to read fine print at the distance from their eyes at which they see it best, the eyestrain is relieved as fine print cannot be read with an effort. The distance where fine print is seen best varies with people. All children should not be encouraged to see fine print at the same distance from their eyes.

With practice, relaxation, people can see fine print up close to the eyes, even seeing it in a ‘microscopic view’ close to the eyelashes of one eye at a time. Bates teaches to switch back and forth, close and far, shifting on the fine print up close and a distant object with both eyes, then one eye at a time, then both together again. Switching on two fine print cards at close distances about 3 inches to 1 foot apart also improves close vision.

SHIFTING. When the eyes are normal, they are completely at rest and when they are at rest, they are always moving, which prevents the stare or strain. When looking at an object, do not try to see all parts of that object equally well, at once. That is, when you look at the back of a chair, you see that part best, and the seat and legs not so clearly. But do not hold the point regarded longer than a second.
Remember to blink, as you shift rapidly to the seat and then to the legs of the chair, seeing each part best, in turn. When the eyes stare and an effort is made to see, the vision is always lowered.

SWINGING. When the eyes move slowly or rapidly from side to side, stationary objects, which are not regarded, appear to move in the opposite direction. Like many things, the swing can be done wrongly as well as rightly. When done wrongly, the blackness of the letters and the whiteness of the spaces, between the lines of the Snellen test card, become imperfect. When the swing is imperfect, the vision also becomes imperfect. To be able to practice the swing perfectly is a great help to the sight of school children. The teacher can direct the children to stand beside their desks while swaying from side to side. The pupils can notice that the desks in front of them, the blackboard, and the Snellen test card are all moving in the direction opposite to the movement of their bodies. When the pupils look out of the window, the curtain cord and other parts of the window will appear to move in the opposite direction, while more distant objects, buildings, trees or mountains, will appear to move in the same direction as they sway. When walking straight ahead, children can notice that the floor appears to move towards them. If the children are conscious of the movement of the floor and other objects, the stare and strain is prevented, and the vision is always improved; but if the pupils do not notice the movement of objects when they, themselves, move, they are apt to strain and the vision is always lowered.
When pupils imagine the Snellen test card to be moving from side to side, the imagination of the black letters or of the white spaces is improved. If the head and eyes are moved an inch or less from side to side, the Snellen test card and the letters on it will also appear to move an inch or less. With the aid of the short swing, it is possible for the pupil to remember, imagine or see each and all the letters of the Snellen test card correctly and continuously, but if the letters do not move, an effort is soon manifest. The children then find that trying to see a letter, or part of a letter, stationary, requires a strain and is difficult. It seems strange, although it is true, that to fail to have perfect sight requires an effort, and hard work. In other words, perfect sight can only come easily, and without effort; while imperfect sight is obtained with much discomfort and effort.

BLINKING. The normal eye, with normal sight blinks frequently, easily and rapidly, without effort or strain. If children do not blink frequently, but stare and try to see things with the eyes open continuously, the vision is always impaired. At first the child should be reminded to blink consciously but it soon becomes an unconscious habit and the vision is improved. (Correct, Relaxed, Natural Vision Habit)

MEMORY AND IMAGINATION. The scholarship of children is affected by their memory of mental pictures. Measures which have been practiced by many school teachers for the preservation or the improvement of memory are quite numerous. When children learn how to remember some things perfectly, the memory of other things is improved. With a perfect memory, it is also possible to have a perfect imagination. We see only what we think we see, or what we imagine. When the imagination is perfect, the sight is perfect and when the sight is perfect, the memory is perfect. These and other clinical observations have demonstrated the truth that sight is largely mental. Perfect sight or imperfect sight is due to the condition of the mind. When the mind is healthy and active, perfect memory can usually be demonstrated, but when the mind has lost its efficiency, the memory becomes impaired. The memory is benefited by those methods which bring rest and relaxation. With the eyes closed, the memory is usually better than it is with the eyes open.
After regarding a letter which is seen imperfectly at a distance of ten feet or nearer, the student can remember the same letter more perfectly by closing his eyes. When the child can remember a perfect letter at ten feet with the eyes open, he soon becomes able to see and remember the same letter at eleven feet, and can gradually increase the distance to fifteen or twenty feet. Practicing the sway, alternately with the eyes open and with the eyes closed, is a benefit to the memory and the sight, because when the eyes are moving, a stare, strain or effort to see is more or less prevented.
When a line of letters on a Snellen test card can be read easily, it is usually possible to read some of the letters on the line below. However, if this cannot be done, have the child come closer, until all the letters of the bottom line are seen at a distance of five or ten feet. When a child cannot read all the letters on the 10 line at ten feet, he may be able to remember or imagine all the letters of the 10 line, with the eyes closed, better than with them open. By alternately closing the eyes for part of a minute or longer, and then opening them for only a moment, the vision improves.
A child may be able to see the first letter on the bottom line of the card when he is told what the letter is. Although he may not know what the second or third letters are, he may be able to actually see them and other letters on the bottom line by improving the vision of the first letter so that it is imagined perfectly. When the memory and imagination of the first letter is quite perfect, or sufficiently perfect to be distinguished, the eye becomes normal and the other letters are really seen and not imagined.
A child, at some previous time, may have had an inflammation or disease of the eyeball, which caused his imperfect sight. For example, a scar, sufficiently thick to interfere materially with the vision, may have formed over the front part of the eyeball. A perfect memory or imagination of a letter with the eyes closed, always lessens the opacity, and the vision is always improved, at least temporarily. By repetition, the short periods of improved vision occur more frequently and last more continuously.
The imagination is very important, much more so than many of us believe. Some people think imagination is simply another word for illusion. However, it is possible to imagine correctly as well as to imagine incorrectly. Some people can imagine a truth perfectly, but react differently when they imagine things imperfectly.
A girl, twelve years of age, had unusually good vision. She was able to read the 10 line of a strange card, which she had never seen before, at fifty feet. She said that she could look directly at one letter of the 10 line and see it continuously, but when her eyes were observed while she was doing this, it was found that she shifted almost continuously.
Her memory was also unusually good. She was the only member of the party who could remember the names of the officers on the different steamers on which she had traveled to Europe. She remembered the numbers of her staterooms, as well as the numbers of the staterooms of the other members of the party. However, when she imagined all these things incorrectly, she felt decidedly uncomfortable, but when she remembered to imagined things perfectly, she felt no discomfort.
At school, her teachers considered her stupid, because she disliked some of her studies and devoted no time to those lessons. Her poor scholarship disappointed her family very much. She was very unhappy and decided to prove what she could do. About a week before the examinations, she read through her Latin textbook and remembered it perfectly. She also read her other textbooks and remembered what they contained. She asked to be examined in all her subjects and much to the surprise of the teachers, she passed the examinations with unusually high honors.

A student obtained high grades in history by creating movie pictures in his mind of every story, event he read in his history book.
He stole the history book for the next school year, read it during summer vacation (without pressure from teachers to hurry and get a perfect grade). In September he entered that class and earned all A’s on his history papers.

School Children

By Emily C. Lierman


Davey, eight years old, was very near-sighted, and the glasses he was wearing, made him nervous and irritable. His father had been told about the Bates Method and what could be done to restore perfect sight without wearing glasses. Davey’s father brought the boy to me, although he was skeptical and his mother was even more so. I could tell by the little boy’s attitude toward me that the Bates Method had been much discussed in the home circle, and that I was considered a sort of mystic worker.
The first question Davey asked me was, “What are you going to do to me?”
I answered, “I am not going to do anything to you, but I will try to do a whole lot for you. I will help you to get rid of your thick glasses that I am sure you don’t like.”
His answer was, “O, yes, I would like my glasses if I could see out of them. Father said that if you don’t help me, he will try to find other glasses that will help.”
I let the little fellow talk for a while, because I thought it would help me to understand him better. I told him I was especially interested in children and that it was always my delight to give school children better sight. I said I would not interfere with him, if glasses were what he wanted most. He said that he was afraid to play baseball or other games which might not only break his glasses, but perhaps hurt his eyes.
I tested his vision with his glasses on, and found that at ten feet from the regulation test card, he could see only black smudges on the white, but no letters. Then I placed the card six feet away. All he could see at that distance was the letter on the top of the card, seen normally at two hundred feet. I then had him take off his glasses to see what he could read without them. He could not see anything at all on the card. I asked him to follow me to the window and to look in the distance and tell me what he could see. To the right of me, about one hundred feet away, there was a sign. The letters of this sign appeared to be about three feet square. One word of the sign had four letters. The first letter was straight and the last was curved, and had an opening to the right. I explained this to Davey, as I told him to look in the direction in which I was pointing, and then to a small card with fine print that I had given him to hold. I told him to read what he could of the fine print. He read it at two inches from his eyes. Under my direction, he alternately followed my finger as I pointed to the fine print and then to the building sign. He told me he could not see anything in the distance.
Davey felt very uncomfortable because of his poor sight and became rather restless. I told him to hold the fine print card closer, and not to read the print this time, but to look only at the white spaces between the sentences, and to blink often. He shifted from the white spaces of the fine print to the sign in the distance, watching my finger as I pointed, first to the near point and then to the distance. Suddenly, he got a flash of the first letter of the first word on the sign. This practice was continued for twenty minutes, and then we had a rest period. Davey sat comfortably in a chair and palmed his eyes. Children are very apt to become bored with anything that takes time and patience, and I know that Davey had little patience with anything regarding his eyes.
I asked him questions about his school work, and what subjects he liked best. He said he just loved arithmetic. I asked his father to give him an example to do while he palmed. The little fellow thought this was great fun, and without hesitation he gave his father the correct answer for each example. This gave Davey a rest period of fifteen minutes. His mother remarked that this was the first time she had ever noticed him sit quietly for so long a time.

Long Swing and Sway
Davey was then shown how to swing, by moving his body slowly from left to right, and getting only a glimpse of the letters on the card, at six feet. When he looked longer than an instant at the card, he leaned forward and strained to see better, but failed each time. When he learned not to stare, but to shift and blink while he swayed, his vision improved to 6/50. We returned to the window. I told him to shift from the white spaces of the fine print, which I held close to his eyes, then to the distant sign, and he became able to read all of the sign without any difficulty.
Much had been accomplished in one treatment and both parents were grateful. Davey was given a card with instructions for home practice. He returned three days each week for further treatment. Every time he visited me, I placed the test card one foot further away. Eight weeks after his first treatment, he read all of the test card letters at ten feet. This was accomplished by reading fine print close to his eyes, then swinging and shifting as he read one letter of the card at a time.
This boy has sent other school children to me as well as a school teacher with progressive myopia, who practiced faithfully until she was cured. Every week, she sent me a report about her eye treatment and the progress she made. Her pupils noticed that she had discarded her glasses, and after school hours she invited some of them, who had trouble with their eyes, to practice the Bates Method with her. In eight weeks’ time, her vision became normal, and all her pupils, with the exception of three, are improving their vision without the use of glasses.


Esther, aged seven, first came to me in January, 1927, to be relieved of squint. She had worn glasses since she was three years of age for the relief of squint in the right eye. Her parents noticed, after she had worn glasses a short time, that she was more nervous than before. Later, they were much concerned because she acquired bad habits, such as holding her head to one side instead of straight, especially while studying and reading her school lessons. Her glasses were then changed. It was thought that wrong glasses had been prescribed because she still kept her head to one side as before, and her nervousness became more pronounced. The parents were told that in time the squint would be corrected if Esther wore her glasses all the time.
The squint continued to get worse instead of better, so the parents brought her to me. The vision of her right eye was 10/15, but in order to read the letters of the test card, she had to turn her head so that it almost rested on her right shoulder. Her left vision was 15/15 and she read the letters of the card in a normal position. I tested her right eye again, placing the card up close. She turned her head just as much to one side as she did when the card was placed ten feet away. I asked her mother to hold the child’s head straight, and again told Esther to tell me what the letters were. I held the test card two feet away while she covered her left eye. She said everything was all dark, and she could see nothing.
It did not take me long to find out that Esther was a bright child, and that she would willingly do anything for the benefit of her poor eye. She said to me, “It is too bad that my sister should have two good eyes and that I should have only one good one.” I encouraged her to follow my directions closely and I told her if she continued to do so and practiced as often as she should at home, that we would then try to correct the vision of the poor eye.

Palming, Memory, Imagination
I found her to be quite an artist. When her eyes were covered, I asked her if she could remember a drawing of some kind. “Oh, yes,” she answered, “while my eyes are closed and covered I can imagine that I am drawing your picture.”
I said, “All right, you keep on imagining that you are drawing my picture and later on I will let you sit at my desk and draw a picture of me.” We talked about pleasant things for five or ten minutes while she had her eyes covered.
Long Swing
I then taught her to swing her body from left to right, glancing for only a second at the test card, and then looking away to her left. I purposely avoided having her swing to the right, because she had the desire, while reading or trying to see more clearly to always rest her head on the right shoulder. I drew her mother’s attention to the fact that, as she swung, both eyes moved in the same direction as her body was moving. When she stopped blinking, which I had encouraged her to do rhythmically with the swing, her right eye turned in and her head also turned to one side.
After she had practiced swinging for a little while, I noticed that she gaped a few times, which meant that she was straining. It is good for parents to notice this, in helping the child practice for the relief of squint, and to stop all practice with the exception of closing the eyes to rest them.

When practicing the Long Swing for the first few times, for some people with squint, (wandering/crossed eyes) the eye may wander, cross. This occurs due to the Long Swings function of removing different types, multiple layers of strain from the mind, eyes, eye muscles and correcting left and right brain hemisphere function, integration and eye movement. A negative thought, emotion, experience may have initially caused the first strain, slight blur, then the person worries about the blur, starts squinting, staring and this causes a additional, different strain: worry, eye muscle, eyestrain. Blur is increased, wandering/crossed eye occurs or increases and more worry, strain, staring, squinting and trying to force the eye straight occurs=a third type of strain.
The Long swing and other Bates activities will remove all these strains and reverse the condition back to normal - straight eyes, clear vision.

Esther palmed again for a little while and then I showed her some celluloid toy animals and asked her to name each one of them. She named each one correctly with the exception of the buffalo, so I did not use that one for her case. If a child under treatment for squint is asked to tell things in detail, the child must be familiar with the objects. While she again covered her eyes to rest them, I placed animals on the floor five feet away from where she was sitting. I told her mother to touch each animal and have Esther name them. Out of eight animals, she named three incorrectly. They were among the last ones she tried to see. We then noticed that her head turned to one side in order to see them. All this time her left eye was covered.
Then I had Esther sit at my desk and asked her to draw my picture. The drawing was quite well done for a little girl of her age. She kept her head straight while drawing. When strain is relieved, the symptoms of imperfect sight are relieved also. She enjoyed drawing, therefore it did not produce a strain. When she was asked to read the test card letters, she strained in order to see them and the condition of her eyes became worse.
Esther was encouraged to do something that she liked at every treatment, such as writing figures from one to ten, or drawing a line without using a ruler. At the first attempt, the lines were very crooked and the figures not straight.
Swinging and palming, practiced several times daily, soon improved the right eye to normal. At the last visit, her head remained straight and the squint had entirely disappeared.
The vision of her right eye became better than normal, as far as reading the test card was concerned. She read the bottom line at twelve feet and seven inches. This line is read by the normal eye at nine feet. She did equally as well with the left eye, which, of course, had normal vision in the beginning.
To be sure that the child was entirely relieved of squint, I told her to look at my right eye, then at my left eye, then to my chin and other parts of my face as I pointed with my finger to each part. She followed me with both eyes moving and her head perfectly straight and as yet she has had no relapse.

A School Teacher’s Report

June 12, 1927

As a teacher of Speech Improvement I have found that some of the exercises that are used by Dr. Bates in the correction of poor vision are very helpful in the treatment of stammering. Those who stammer are invariably nervous, and the palming and swaying exercises calm the nerves and help the children to speak more quietly and slowly and therefore without stammering. In all cases where I have introduced the swaying in my stammering classes, the result has been a greater calmness both in reading and speaking and I believe that in this age of nerve tension, relaxation exercises are a boon even for children of school age.
Poor speech and poor sight often go together and it is a happy circumstance that Dr. Bates has devised exercises that will help both defects at the same time. An outstanding case of a child suffering both from defective speech and very poor eyesight was a little Italian boy who was in one of my stammering classes. I asked him to read a sentence from the blackboard and he immediately bent his body away over to one side and stretched his neck as far forward as he could, straining to see the letters. I directed him to cover his eyes for a few minutes and then to sway for a while. He soon found that he could see much better and that he could read without stammering. He was very backward in reading and spelling. Although in the second year of school, he did not even know the names of all the letters of the alphabet. I believe that this was largely due to his poor vision and that the stammering came as he became aware of his inability to keep up with the rest of his class. During the short time that he was with me, his speech and sight greatly improved.
Posture is another thing that may be improved by the swaying exercise. Ordinarily, when you ask a child to stand in good posture he will place his feet close together like an Egyptian statue. In the sway, he is shown that by putting his feet apart he has a broader base for standing and more ease and comfort for moving. I hope that some day we may be able to bring all these beneficial exercises to all the children in the schools who need them.


We wish to call to the attention of our readers, the Bound Volume of the “Better Eyesight Magazine” from July, 1926, to June, 1927. This contains articles written by W.H. Bates, M. D., on his discoveries, relative to the cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses.
Each month, he discusses in detail the causes and treatment of various phases of imperfect sight. Instructions and suggestions for home treatment are also given.
Another article, demonstrating the various truths of Dr. Bates’ discoveries, proves most beneficial in this treatment.
There is also a Question and Answer column in which questions submitted by subscribers and interested readers are answered by Dr. Bates.
We have only one hundred copies and advise all those who wish to keep the book as reference to send in an early order.
Bound in green leather and embossed in gold.
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