BETTER EYESIGHT MAGAZINE by Ophthalmologist William H. Bates (Natural Vision Improvement) 132 Magazines-Index; Year, Month, Article...LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR - Prints and Speaks Better Eyesight Magazine in Italian, Spanish... any languageCopyright, Disclaimer - Introduction, Directions, Video, Dedication to Ophthalmologist William H. Bates, Dr. Bates Biography, Bates Method, Natural Eyesight Improvement History.FREE Original, Antique Un-Edited Better Eyesight Magazine. BOOKS - Paperback, E-Books - This Entire Better Eyesight Magazine Website and 14 Natural Eyesight Improvement Books2 Books; The Cure Of Imperfect Sight By Treatment Without Glasses and Perfect Sight Without Glasses by Ophthalmologist William H. Bates M.D.Stories From The Clinic by Emily C. A. Lierman, BatesUse Your Own Eyes & Normal Sight Without Glasses by Dr. William B. MacCrackenStrengthening The Eyes - A New Course In Scientific Eye Training By Bernarr MacFadden, W. H. BatesMedical Articles By Ophthalmologist William H. 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February 1928 

                                       The Thumb Movement – Fact and Fancy – Stories From The Clinic; 96. Individual Treatment by Emily C. Lierman - Announcement




The Thumb Movement

Rest the hand against an immovable surface. Place the ball of the thumb lightly in contact with the forefinger. Now move the end of the thumb in a circle of about one-quarter of an inch in diameter. When the thumb moves in one direction, the forefinger should appear to move in the opposite direction, although in reality it is stationary. In the practice of the universal swing, everything is imagined to be moving in the same direction, except the eyes. With the aid of the thumb movement, however, one can imagine the spine and the head moving opposite to the direction of motion of the thumb, while the eyes, being fastened to the head, also move with the head and hand.
While watching the movement of the thumb, remember imperfect sight. At once, the thumb movement becomes irregular or may stop altogether. Demonstrate that any effort, no matter how slight, to see, remember or imagine, interferes with the movement of the thumb. The thumb is so sensitive to an effort or strain that the slightest effort is at once recorded by the motion.
While watching the movement of the thumb, remember perfect sight. Notice that the movement of the thumb is slow, short, continuous, and restful - with relaxation of all parts of the body.
Many patients have been successfully treated for pain, fatigue, and dizziness with the help of the thumb movement, after other treatment had failed. Some patients with severe pain complain that when they forget to practice the movement of the thumb, the pain comes back.
Not only have patients suffering from pain and symptoms of fatigue been relieved, but an equal number have been relieved of imperfect sight by the correct practice of the thumb movement.
Thumb movement done in various directions and with the left and right hands also activates, integrates the left and right brain hemispheres and eye movement, shifting.

Fact And Fancy

By W. H. Bates, M.D.

The attention of the editor was called to a copy of the “British Medical Journal” of October 8th, 1927, page 641, in which my discoveries on the cure of imperfect sight without glasses were adversely criticized. The following is the article in question:

“There are some who deny that the world is round, and some who still believe in the mystery of Joanna Southcott’s boxes, so that it is not altogether a matter of surprise that there are others who deny the facts of physiology and of experience. There is a book before us, written by one W. H. Bates, M.D., which for boldness of denial and strangeness of assertion rivals the others. The title of the book is ‘The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses.” but that on the cover is ‘Perfect Sight Without Glasses.’ The author would have us throw away our useful glasses, and beguile ourselves into the belief that we see better without them. Trail shows that we do not and that his alleged treatment is no more than a beguilement that does not stand the test of experience. To practice judgment of what is seen is one thing, to see that same thing better is another. To ‘palm’ the eyes-otherwise make use of familiar and refreshing massage - is one thing; to alter anatomical defect another. But then this author denies anatomical facts and alleges that all errors of refraction are merely functional. Strangely enough, he admits the use of glasses for patients who have no lenses as the result of cataract operation but denies the use of the lens in accommodation, despite the evidence of Purkinje’s figures, which he has heard of, for he reproduces the classical picture in his pages. His cult extends to the assertion of the value of small print, even that which is so small that it cannot be read: ‘those who cannot read such type may be benefited simply by looking at it.’ Excessive light, he alleges, is not injurious, but actually beneficial; therefore look open eyed at the sun. Reading in bed is ‘beneficial rather than injurious’- perhaps when the print is not seen! But, strangely, black has its virtues: ‘It is possible to perform surgical operation without anesthetics when the patient is able to remember black perfectly.’ Perhaps the author got somewhere near a truth in a sentence in the last paragraph of this book: ‘The fact is that, except in rare cases, man is not a reasoning being.’
“We met one of this cult recently; a parent had been summoned to attend a certain place owing to his persistent refusal to provide his child with glasses for school use. The child had myopia of 3 D; without glasses vision was 1/60, with glasses 6/6. The child appreciated the value of the glasses, but the father would not allow them to be worn, alleging other treatment. But the recalcitrant parent wore glasses himself for an equal degree of myopia. It seems a pity good paper should be wasted on such a book, or that our columns should give space to its notice. But there have been inquiries and so this review.”

“There are some who deny that the world is round” and we hold such misguided ignorant people more or less in contempt, because they appear to ignore the learning of other people who are very highly respected for their scientific knowledge. It so happened that an ignorant man said to me: “Doctor, do you know that they found out that the world was not round?” I answered, “No, I had always believed that it was round.” “Well,” he said, “my boy came home from school one day and told me that the earth was flattened at the poles,” and then he showed me his son’s geography. The book stated very clearly that the shape of the earth is not a perfect sphere, but because it is flattened at the poles, it is an oblate spheroid. Since then I have not learned that the man was persecuted who called the earth an oblate spheroid and published the facts in a book which was used as a text by school children all over the world.
Reference has been made to Joanna Southcott by my worthy critic, and he probably suggests that I am no better than she. I looked up the history of Joanna Southcott and found that she was a domestic servant born in Devonshire, England. She joined the Methodist Church in 1790 and in 1792 announced herself a prophetess giving forth revelations. At one time she sold 6,400 sealed packages or boxes warranted to secure salvation to the purchasers. She prophesied that she would give birth to Shilo or the Prince of Peace on a certain day, but failed to do so.
I deny that I ever attempted to beguile anybody into an error. When a patient comes to me wearing glasses, I usually test his vision without glasses and tell him that the treatment consists of eye education for the purpose of improving his sight so that he can, without glasses, see as well as, or better than he can with them. It never occurred to me that any of my patients would call this beguilement. The word, however, is a good one and may be useful in the future as a substitute for the word imagination. My practice is built up by the recommendation of patients whom I have cured without glasses.
If my critic had read the chapter on palming more carefully, he would not have made the mistake of calling it massage.
I have been criticized for denying an anatomical fact. I do not deny that in myopia, the eyeball as well as the optic axis is elongated; that in hypermetropia it is lessened; that in astigmatism its form may be modified, or that in presbyopia, glasses improve the vision. Eyeglasses for presbyopia, close vision quickly increase vision impairment at all distances resulting in stronger and stronger eyeglass lenses. My book describes how errors of refraction are curable and have been cured by eye education. The cause is an effort or strain. When this effort or strain is corrected, all errors of refraction disappear and the patient becomes able to see as well, if not better, without glasses than he formerly did with them.
When a patient with normal eyes and normal sight regards a blank surface and makes an effort to see, an error of refraction can always be produced and demonstrated with the aid of a retinoscope. When a patient with imperfect sight looks at a blank surface without trying to see, the retinoscope demonstrates that the error of refraction has disappeared temporarily or more permanently. It is a fact that it is possible to teach patients, who have progressive myopia of 16 diopters, how to cure their myopia by relaxation. What is true of myopia is also true of hypermetropia, astigmatism and presbyopia.
Although some years ago I usually prescribed glasses for the benefit of the sight after cataract extraction, I do not do so at the present time. With the aid of eye education, such patients become able to read diamond type without glasses at six inches or nearer to their eyes or eighteen inches or further. These facts are offered as evidence that the lens is not a factor in accommodation, because the eye can change its focus within wide limits after the lens has been removed.
In my investigations, the figures of Purkinje were studied. For some years, I tried to obtain a perfect image, reflected from the front part of the lens, which was sufficiently clear and distinct to be photographed or measured accurately. The pictures I obtained were very much blurred and one could draw wrong conclusions from their behavior during accommodation, as well as imaginary ones which “proved” a great many theories. In short, one may say that as a result of studying these blurred Purkinje figures, almost any explanation of how accommodation was brought about might be imagined erroneously. Helmholtz was not satisfied with the pictures he obtained by photography, and his illustrations of the behavior of the images of Purkinje were usually in the form of diagrams, which I do not consider good evidence of the truth of his conclusions. My book has described the work of Helmholtz in this field and I would respectfully offer that to the reader’s consideration for criticism.
About a year ago, a friend living in England attended a meeting of one of the optometric societies. The speaker of the evening considered the cause of accommodation. He obtained photographs of the reflection of the image from the front part of the lens before and after accommodation. I was very glad to receive these photographs, but was very much disappointed when some experts who were taking moving pictures for me pointed out that the photographs of the optometrists were retouched.
While working in a physiological laboratory, the director suggested that I repeat the experiments of Helmholtz on accommodation, with the end in view of finding out how he made his mistakes. This seemed a very difficult problem to solve. After some years of hard work I became able to obtain photographs of images reflected from the front part of the lens both before and after accommodation. These images were clear and distinct and furthermore I learned how to arrange an apparatus by which an observer could see a clear image reflected from the cornea, iris, the front part of the lens, the front part of the sclera and from the different parts of the outside of the eyeball. There was no change in the image reflected from the front part of the lens during accommodation.
The director of the laboratory was able to demonstrate with his own eyes, with the aid of this apparatus, the truth that the lens is not a factor in accommodation.

Helmholtz Theory
The great trouble with the physiology of the eye is that most of us feel that after a man like Helmholtz finishes a job, that it is not possible that he has made any mistakes. I believe that he has made a monumental blunder and I do not hesitate to say so. Helmholtz was a great man and he helped things along very well, but his “Physiological Optics” has almost spoiled everything else that he wrote. Someone has said that the pupils of Helmholtz were thoroughly convinced that the lens is the only factor in accommodation, while he himself was more conservative. In short, he published a statement to the effect that he did not prove that the lens was the only factor in accommodation.
My critic says; “His cult extends to the assertion of the value of small print, even that which is so small that it cannot be read, ‘those who cannot read such type may be benefited simply by looking at it’.” People with imperfect sight are benefited by looking at fine print, provided no effort or strain is made. I recommend this treatment to my critic if he is suffering from presbyopia.
“Excessive light, he alleges, is not injurious, but actually beneficial, therefore look open-eyed at the sun.” It is very wonderful how much the vision may be improved by sunlight, also by some forms of electric light. It does not naturally follow that I believe looking directly at the sun is indicated. People with normal eyes are able to look directly at the sun without discomfort, whatever, provided that no effort is made, while others with imperfect vision are made worse temporarily. Shift, move the eyes (do not stare) when looking at/near the sun.
“Reading in bed is beneficial, rather than injurious.” Reading in bed without effort is a benefit. If one makes an effort while reading, it is an injury.
It is a fact that it is possible to perform a surgical operation without anesthetics when the patient is able to remember black. I have repeatedly operated on the eyes and other parts of the body painlessly when black was remembered perfectly.
The patient whom my critic mentioned who wore glasses for myopia and denied the same practice to his son is certainly open to criticism.

I do not see why my critic has published so much against me without a proper scientific investigation, and without conclusive evidence that I am wrong. If John Doe says that myopia is incurable, before accepting this as true, we would like to know what his evidence might be. In my book are published many facts which are of sufficient importance, I believe, to be investigated. My critic has said very little about the evidence which has been offered there by me to prove that my statements of the truth are correct.

Just today a patient came to me with a diagnosis of chronic glaucoma and told me that the best doctors in this country had advised an operation at once. In my experience, chronic glaucoma does not respond favorably to any operation. This patient was treated by relaxation or rest and obtained normal vision, without glasses, for the distance and became able to read fine print, diamond type (Jaeger No.1) at six inches. She was very grateful for the relaxation obtained and was overjoyed to find that an operation was unnecessary. This case is suggestive and the temporary or permanent cure which she obtained in one visit was a fact that no amount of contradiction can modify or lessen.

Children less than three years of age, too young to learn the letters of the alphabet, have been cured of squint by practicing the swing. Let the mother or father or some member of the family with whom the child associates give the child confidence. They should take hold of both hands of the patient and swing him around and around until his feet are lifted from the floor. The child enjoys this immensely after he has practiced it for a few times. Frequent swinging of the child for a few minutes during the day usually cures squint, divergent, convergent, or vertical - at first temporarily and later on more continuously or permanently. It does not require an ophthalmologist to observe the benefit.

Children less than a year old who are suffering from tension with many forms of eye disease, are relieved of their tension by rocking them in the arms of the mother and by the use of an old fashioned cradle. I believe that the eyes of children are more frequently diseased at the present time than they were when the cradle was used. It should be emphasized that motion is a benefit, not only to children but also to adults.
Adults can use a rocking chair, swing…
All through my book are reports of cases in which patients have been blind from one or more of the numerous diseases of the eyes. They were all benefited by the relaxation treatment. When they recovered and became able to see without glasses, no amount of criticism without facts could shake these persons’ faith in my methods.

Individual Treatment

By Emily C. Lierman

During my year’s experience treating patients in the West, I came in contact with a number of patients who were treated, but not benefited, by those who did not properly understand the method. I finally stopped counting the number of patients who came to me for the relief of presbyopia, cataract, glaucoma and other troubles. I shall try to describe the worst case among all these patients who appealed to me for the relief of pain, so that the readers of our magazine and others will know the truth about things.
One or two so-called doctors or specialists were directly responsible for the pitiful condition of this patient. There was so much wrong with this man that I hardly knew where to begin. This was his story, related before I tested his vision with the test card:
Up to the time he was twenty-five years old (he was now 51) he had good sight for the near point as well as for the distance, but soon after that he found difficulty in reading ordinary type, unless he used a strong light. He decided to wear glasses for reading only and got along with them for a short time. Then his eyes began to smart and pain when he was out in the sun and his sight for the distance became very blurred. He suffered with headaches almost every day for a while and finally was advised to have his glasses changed. Two pairs of glasses were prescribed for him by one eye specialist, one pair for reading and the other for his distant vision.
He said he was faithful to the doctors who from time to time had given him eyeglasses, as he wore them constantly every day for some years. He finally discarded glasses altogether because he found no relief from pain. After obtaining Dr. Bates’ book, “Perfect Sight Without Glasses” and receiving some benefit from what he practiced, he decided to try the complete treatment. He went to a doctor whom he understood gave the Bates treatment, although at this time he was not informed so by the doctor. He had to pay a sum of money in advance for a course of treatment which ended in the spring of the year. By that time his condition was worse than it was in the beginning.
He was told that if he would take another course of treatment, he would surely be cured, and as an inducement he was told of special summer rates of which he ought to take advantage. What a tale for the ears of Dr. Bates!
The patient, however, submitted to another course of treatment, hoping to be benefited. After another month of this treatment, with his condition of health getting worse every day, he found out for the first time that the treatment was not the Bates Method. He questioned the assistants who helped in the treatment if Dr. Bates used all the apparatus and eye muscle exercises that were given him there and he was told by the doctor that the treatment was his own discovery and not the Bates Method. What a pity that he had not been informed of this in the beginning!
On the 20th of July of the same year this patient came to me and the nervous twitch of his shoulders as he talked made me nervous too. It took just one hour for the patient to explain to me just what I have written about him. He not only stuttered but some words were so long drawn out that it took considerable time. He did not blink, but stared all the while he was talking. However, when he finally did blink consciously or unconsciously, I noticed that the nervous twitch of his shoulders subsided.
The patient emphasized the fact that as far as seeing ordinarily, his vision was not bad. The treatment which he had previously received was not a benefit but an injury to his nervous condition. The daily electric treatment, with osteopathy, colored lights and hypotherapy, whatever that might be, was the cause of his nervous symptoms. When he explained the treatment to his friends who had known him for many years, they were convinced, as he was, that the treatment had made him worse instead of better. He told me that other patients as they came to this practitioner for daily treatment were more or less thrilled and impressed because so much was given them for their money. Those who came to me later were shocked to think that so little was given them in the way of treatment for their money and it seemed difficult for them to believe that they could be benefited.
Before I tested his sight with the test card, I made him promise to help me, because at that time I did not know whether or not I could do anything for him. His vision with the test card was normal, 15/10 with the right eye and 15/15 with the left, but the letters were a little blurred. I directed him to palm, which he knew how to do, but I noticed while he was palming that his shoulders twitched continuously all the while he had his eyes covered. After palming for about ten minutes or a little less, the 15-line of letters still looked blurred to him with the left eye, showing that the palming had not benefited him.
I told him to stand and sway his body from side to side and to observe that the Snellen test card and other distant objects were moving opposite to the sway. While swinging with his right eye covered, he again read the 15-line and then the 10-line letters without any blurring.
I then tested his vision at the near point with the fine print on the Fundamental card. At first, he held the card about six inches from his eyes, as I directed him, but drew his head back some distance as though he had been struck. This happens very often while testing a patient for the reading of fine print. I paid no attention to it, but directed the patient to hold the card twelve inches away instead. He was able to read Number 3, or the third sentence from the top of the card, which has good sized type. He said that the words were blurred. As he tried to read the fourth sentence on the card, his shoulders began to twitch again, as they did while he palmed, so I did not encourage him to go any further.
I saw from the beginning that I would have a problem to solve, so I decided to study his case until the next time I treated him. The directions I gave him for home practice were very simple. He was glad to know that what he was called upon to do by himself was simple; he was directed to stand, with his feet one foot apart, and to sway his body with a long, slow, easy swing, not noticing anything that came in his line of vision. He was told not to worry about what line of letters he was able to read on the test card, but to be sure not to try to improve his vision by making any sort of an effort.
He was to remember to glance only at the white spaces dividing each letter on the card and to place himself at least a foot further away from the card each day. Modern teachers state that it is alright to “flash” glance at the letters, shift easy, relaxed on the letters. No effort to see=clear vision. While walking in the street, he was to hold his chin up and look ahead instead of looking down at the pavement, which had been his habit for many years. He was to imagine in this way that he saw the pavement coming towards him as he walked. Automobiles and other vehicles which were not moving but were against the curb were to be imagined to be moving opposite as he looked to the right or left while walking.
Eight days later he came for a second treatment. I used a large card which he had not seen before and placed him eighteen feet away from it. As he swayed, shifting from the test card to a picture on the wall and then back again to the test card, he was able to tell me which way the inverted E’s were pointing on the line, which is usually seen by the normal eye at ten feet. The letters were quite clear to him.
I find that with difficult cases it is good to introduce palming in some way or another. When this patient closed his eyes and placed his one hand or both hands over his eyes, the twitch was very noticeable. If I asked him a question while his eyes were covered, he stuttered even more than he did when he was staring at me. This surely was a problem for me to solve and I will say that I worried a great deal about him. I did not want to fail him as others had. The thing for me to do was to undo the harm that was done to him.
The sun was shining brightly in the window of my office, so I placed him in a comfortable chair and arranged his head so that the sun shone directly on his closed eyelids. The sun is much brighter in the West than it is here in the East and it also has a great deal of healing power. Of course, I expected that the sun would be a great factor in the cure of this patient. I kept him in the sun fully a half hour and then when I placed him in the shade afterward, I told him still to keep his eyes closed for a little while. I did this purposely to get him accustomed to the darkness as well as the bright light while his eyes were closed.
I placed myself in a chair directly opposite him and held the small test card, black with white letters, in my hand. Then I told him to open his eyes and to read one letter at a time and immediately afterward to close his eyes to rest them. While he did this, his shoulders were perfectly still and he mentioned each letter without dragging his words as he did before. He flashed the letters on the line which is marked 5 as I was sitting about five feet away from him. I considered that very good.
I told him to sit in the sun again and with his chin raised and eyes closed, he sat perfectly still for another ten minutes. After that he was able to read the line of letters of the small black card which is marked 4 and each letter was clear to him as he read, with his body perfectly still and relaxed.
Then I spoke to him about palming. I explained that it was not necessary for him to keep his hands over his eyes any length of time, but to try what I have called “instant palming.” He was to hold his hand cupped about a foot away from his eyes and as he drew it toward his face he was to gradually close his eyes and keep them closed as the cupped hand touched his forehead. This worked splendidly. As he kept his hand over his eyes only for a part of a minute, he did not cause any strain as he did before, and he enjoyed doing this because as he explained it, he felt free from strain and tension. It was good to see the patient smile and to listen to his speech of gratitude which I enjoyed and understood very well.
After the treatment was over, I told him not to try palming at all by himself until I saw him again. Sun treatment was advised and he was to get as much of it as he possibly could, always allowing the sun to shine on his closed eyelids, which was best for him. He was told again to imagine stationary objects moving when he moved his body and to remember to blink frequently. I also explained to him that the thumb movement (see page 2 of this issue), which Dr. Bates discovered some time ago, was a benefit in cases where it was difficult to have a patient relax while trying to improve his sight.
One week later he came again for another treatment. He had a tale of woe for me; the sum and substance of his failure in home treatment was that he tried too hard. To begin with, he blinked too fast, which is as bad as not blinking at all. When patients acquire the habit of blinking too fast, they are very apt to stare while they blink. Some of my work with him had to be done over again, because he had tried too hard by himself. He had forgotten something that I had asked him to do and that was to telephone me every day and let me know how he was getting along. It only takes a few minutes to write a short letter or go to a telephone booth and explain the failures or the success in home practice. Because this patient failed to do as he was told, much of what I had already told him had to be repeated over and over.
This case proves again that all patients cannot be treated in a similar way. Each one has to have individual treatment.
I made the next treatment as simple as possible and he spent most of the hour shifting to the white spaces of the large test card and then to the white spaces of the small test card that he held in his hand. Shifting from the near point, where letters were easily seen, to the distant card, brought about a relaxed state of mind and body and we proceeded once more with other things which were to help him permanently. In order to avoid blinking too fast, I told him to again place his hand “cup fashion” about a foot from his eyes. This time he was not to touch his face with his hand but to draw the hand in as though he were going to touch his face. As the hand moved toward him, he was to close his eyelids gently and in this way as he again drew his hand away, he opened and closed his eyes, keeping time with the hand as he moved it backward and forwards. As the hand was drawn away from his face he opened his eyes easily and not too quickly.
I had emphasized that he must not snap his eyes shut or open them too quickly. He practiced this until he became tired, which was more than ten minutes each time and then he would sway as a diversion. This new way of teaching him to blink without blinking too fast helped him to keep his eyes open for part of a minute, while closing them took only part of a second. This helped him to blink one blink at a time instead of blinking rapidly, with a nervous twitch which caused more strain. In order to improve his vision and lessen his strain and tension, I had to give him treatment just opposite to the usual way in which patients are benefited.
He came again one week later for his last treatment, at which time he read the whole of the Fundamental card, reading Number 15, which is fine diamond type, at less than twelve inches, holding the card in the shade. In the sun he was able to read it at less than eight inches. He no longer dragged his words as he had in the beginning when I first treated him, and only at rare intervals did I notice his shoulders move with a twitch when he forgot to blink as he was talking to me.
On July 20, 1927, he came to me for his first treatment in a pathetic condition. On August 25th, about a month later, he was a different man entirely, having no more discomfort or pain in his eyes.


The editor has just received a circular letter from a correspondent in the West, who claims to have invented a new apparatus for improving the sight. I should like to caution readers of this magazine about this apparatus, because there have been others of a similar nature which were a disappointment.