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March 1928 

First Visit Cures – The Period – Stories From The Clinic; 97. The Story of Jacqueline Sherman and How She Was Benefited by Emily C. Lierman – Case Report, Editor’s Note, Letter To Emily C. Lierman from W. B. MacCracken, M.D. Berkeley, California



MARCH, 1928

First Visit Cures

The word “cures” is used advisedly. It is a fact that some people have been cured of myopia in one visit, after relaxation of the nerves of the eyes and other parts of the body was obtained.
Suppose the patient is near-sighted and can only see the big letter “C” at fifteen feet, a vision of 15/200. Let the patient walk up close to the card until he can read the bottom line. The distance may be three feet, five feet or farther. The first letter on the bottom line may be the letter “F.” With the eyes open, it is possible for the patient to imagine the letter “F” quite perfectly, but with the eyes closed, he is more easily able to remember and imagine he sees the letter “F” much better.
Palming is a great help when remembering or imagining the letter “F” with the eyes closed. By alternately imagining the letter “F” with the eyes open, and remembering or imagining it better with the eyes closed, the memory, the imagination and finally the vision for the letter “F” is very much improved.
If the patient becomes able to see the letter “F” at three feet, or to imagine he sees it quite perfectly, he should be encouraged to walk back and increase the distance between the eyes and the letter “F” about one foot. When the patient becomes able to imagine the letter “F” at four feet, he should go back another foot, alternately imagining it with his eyes open and remembering it much better with his eyes closed. By gradually increasing the distance of the eyes from the letter “F,’ all patients who practiced this method obtained normal vision temporarily at the first visit.
The length of time required to obtain a permanent cure is variable. Some patients with not more than one or two diopters of myopia may require many weeks or months of daily treatment before they are permanently cured, while others with a higher degree of myopia sometimes obtain a cure in a much shorter time.

The Period

By W. H. Bates, M.D.

Of all the methods employed in obtaining normal vision, the memory and the imagination of the small black, white or any color period is among the best. The period may be an optimum for some persons who can obtain relaxation with its aid after other methods fail.
When the period is seen perfectly, it is not stationary but moves in various directions with a slow, short, easy swing. It is a fundamental fact that a period is seen best when it appears to move a distance of about its own diameter. When the period has a slow, short, easy swing, the eye is at rest and when it is at rest it is always moving to prevent concentration, trying to see and other efforts to improve the vision. The eyes shift point to point (small part to small part) on the period, causing it to show oppositional movement.
It has been demonstrated that when the vision is good, any effort, no matter how slight, always impairs or lowers it. When this truth is demonstrated, it follows that normal vision cannot be obtained when an effort is employed. When a period is seen, remembered or imagined perfectly, central fixation is manifest or the period is not seen in all parts equally well. When the eyes of the patient move a short distance to the right of the period, the period should appear to the left of where he is looking. When he looks to the left of a period, it should appear to be to the right of where he is looking, and the left side of the period is seen best while all other parts are seen worse.
Many patients complain that they find it difficult or impossible to remember a mental picture of a period. They say that the period is blurred or indistinguishable. To them the larger letters are apparently clearer than small print or a period. It is difficult to make some patients understand that the large letters may have blurred outlines of a fraction of an inch or more, if an effort is made, and the letter may still be distinguishable, whereas any effort to remember the period perfectly will cause a blur which is sufficient to make the small period indistinguishable. With perfect sight, no blur is seen, and the eyes are at rest.
When a patient has perfect sight, it is usually continuous. One may see a large letter quite perfectly and by covering over one half of it, the uncovered half is just as black as the whole and may be remembered, imagined or seen as black as the whole letter. Then if a small area is blocked off, with the help of a screen, one quarter, one eighth, one tenth-any part in fact-is just as black as the entire letter.

If the patient holds his forefinger six inches in front of his face and moves his head and eyes from side go side, it is possible, without looking at the finger, to easily imagine that the finger is moving in the opposite direction to the movement of the head and eyes. This is called the variable swing, because the amplitude of the swing varies within wide limits. At six inches from the face, the amplitude may be three or four inches, while a similar object held at five feet or further will have a very short swing-so short that it is not always apparent. A small period, likewise, at six inches may appear to move within an amplitude of several inches, while at ten feet it may appear to move less than one half of its diameter. At times, the movement may be so short that it cannot be distinguished at ten feet, although it is present. Since a short swing improves the vision more than a long swing, the benefit of the short swing of the period at the distance is manifest.
The vision of a perfectly black period may be used to improve the vision of large letters or other objects. By practice, one becomes able to remember or imagine a perfect period at all times and in all places when desired. An imaginary period, when placed on the top or some other part of a large letter, improves the vision of the letter. Imagine a black letter is composed of hundreds of small black periods. Shift continually, easy from one period to another. Use central fixation – see one period (small part, tiny point) at a time darkest black and clearest in the center of the visual field and shift/move the center of the visual field from period to period (point to point).
The memory of a perfect period is a benefit to other conditions than the sight. When the eyes are tired, the perfect memory of a period at once brings a feeling of perfect rest. Symptoms of various diseases of the eye have been relieved at once by the memory of a perfect period.
It has been published more or less frequently that the memory of a period brings quick relief to pain. A man may have a broken arm which is ordinarily very painful, but the perfect memory of a period always relieves the pain, so that he is not conscious of the broken arm. One may suffer considerable discomfort or pain in a dentist’s chair. The memory of a perfect period brings instant relief. It is impossible for a patient to suffer pain while his teeth are being treated, provided he is able, in spite of his surroundings, to remember a perfectly black period. A severe cough is usually relieved very promptly by the memory of a perfectly black period after other methods have failed.
There are many diseases which cause a great deal of suffering in which the memory of a perfectly black period has brought relief. A most interesting case was that of a nervous woman who complained that she suffered from a variety of symptoms. She could not imagine the cause which produced the symptoms of her trouble.
She said to me: “Doctor, I am a great sufferer with pain, fever, loss of appetite and from one thing in particular which I am unable to describe.”
I remonstrated with her and said: “How can you expect me to treat you unless I know what is the matter with you?”
She answered: “That is what many other doctors tell me.”
This case interested me very much and I said to her: “Your unknown disease is causing you much suffering, but I can promise you complete relief, provided you are able to remember a period which is perfectly black.”
She said that she didn’t think that she could do so because her memory was not good, and so I spent a great deal of time with her trying to improve her memory and imagination of black, white, blue and other colors. I had her look at a black letter and imagine one part best and the rest of the letter worse.
Under my instruction she became able to see quite perfectly a letter “O” which was about one quarter of an inch in diameter, and to see it quite perfectly if it were near enough to her eyes. With the aid of a screen, she became able to see one half of the “O” as well as the whole of it. By further use of the screen, the part of the “O” which she saw best became very small, until it was reduced to the size of a small period. This seemed to help.
Then I gave her a rubber ball and told her to go down to the seashore, near which she lived, when the tide was going out, throw the ball in the water and watch it recede from the shore. She was also directed to note that the ball appeared smaller as it gradually floated out to sea.
When the relief came, she at once telegraphed the glad tidings to me. At once I telegraphed back to her to practice with a rubber ball in the same way each day until her memory of the ball floating out to sea and appearing to be the size of a small black period was perfect. After her memory of the rubber ball becoming the size of a period became perfect, she found that she could obtain a mental picture of the small black period without using a rubber ball. She believed that she had been cured of her unknown malady.

Opera Singers Voice Cured by Dr. Bates

About twenty years ago I had been walking through Central Park and decided to sit down on a bench to rest.
A well dressed man and woman came along and sat down on the same bench. The woman was very much excited and talked very rapidly in Italian to the man. Finally the man turned to me and said:
“Do you know Dr. Bates? We are looking for his office, because it is very important that my brother sing tonight in the opera. My brother’s voice failed and we at once consulted a doctor on the throat who said that my brother’s throat was paralyzed and that nothing could be done. We have just heard that Dr. Bates helped another opera singer by giving him instant relief after his voice had failed.”
I asked the man where his brother was. He replied that he was at his hotel. I then confessed to him that I was Dr. Bates and said that I would be very glad to help his brother.
I told him that I was well acquainted with the people at the opera house, having been the attending physician there for several years and that they would vouch for me.
The man at once called a cab. I asked him if he were going to the opera house first, but he replied that it was not necessary, that he believed that I was Dr. Bates. When we reached the hotel, we went to the singer’s room at once. The man spoke a few words in Italian to the singer who was lying on a bed. He smiled and opened his mouth wide so that I could see his throat, which seemed to be very large. I requested the man to tell him that it was not necessary for him to keep his mouth open.
There was a piano in the room with a great deal of music lying around. I had the patient sit down at the piano while I examined some of the music. One sheet that I picked up was full of complicated music. I asked the lady to let me have her breast pin for a moment and with the aid of the pointed pin, I touched a small black dot which came after one of the notes. Then I turned to the man and asked him to have the singer sing that note.
The singer looked at the note and laughed. I walked up to him and pounded him on the back and said with a laugh: “It’s funny, isn’t it?” He replied: “Yes, it’s very funny.” I said, “Sing it.”
He did sing it. They were all very much overcome and could not express their gratitude enough. They thought that it was the blow on the back which I had given the singer which had restored his voice, or that my finger had a magic touch when I pointed out that particular note of music. They did not know, and I never told them, that he was suffering from paralysis of one or both vocal cords due to mental strain. When he looked at the music and saw the little black dot perfectly black, his mental strain was relieved and his voice came back.

The Story Of Jacqueline Sherman and
How She Was Benefited

By Emily C. Lierman

The story of Jacqueline and how she was benefited in a very short time is well worth writing about. She came to me with her mother in January, 1927, at the age of seven, and was recommended by a colonel of the United States Army. After he had cured himself of presbyopia and pain caused by eyestrain, he sent many patients to Dr. Bates and to me.
   Because of the great distance from Dr. Bates’ office, the Colonel was unable to visit the Doctor personally and therefore obtained his knowledge of the method from the Doctor’s book. Being an Army officer, it was necessary for him to have good sight and as glasses were objectionable to him, he had to do something to improve his defective vision. After practicing the methods described in “Perfect Sight Without Glasses,” he became able to read book type and also newspaper type without the use of glasses, and then he began to boast about it. Jacqueline’s father, also an Army officer, became interested in the Bates Method through him.
   Jacqueline was wearing very heavy glasses, which she had worn for more than six months. She had difficulty to keep from staring or squinting through them in order to see any distance at all. At fifteen feet, her vision was 15/30 with glasses, proving that glasses did not improve her sight very much, if at all. Without them, her vision with the right eye was 15/200 blurred, and with the left eye 15/50 blurred.
   Although she read up to the 50 line with her left eye, while her right eye was covered, she strained hard to read and twisted her head from left to right in such a way that her mother called her attention to it and asked her to keep her head still, if possible. I was glad to have her mother present, in order to see this, because I felt that she would be of help to Jacqueline in her treatment at home. Her mother told me that she saw the child but once a week, as she attended a school some distance from her home. For this reason, she needed her mother’s encouragement as well as mine to practice enough to keep up her interest in the method for bettering her eyesight after she had left my office.
   Jacqueline had a wonderful memory and it was not hard for me to help her while her eyes were closed, which I had her do, after the test. She palmed for more than five minutes while I was talking to her mother, and as I noticed her becoming uneasy or restless, I encouraged her to keep her eyes closed and covered while I asked her a few questions. I asked her if she could imagine that she was writing her name with pen and ink on a sheet of white paper. She said she could do that quite easily. I directed her to spell her whole name and then imagine each letter, and to place an imaginary period at the end of her name. I asked her next to forget about her name and remember the period, which she was able to do, and then she remarked, “The period seems to move, it doesn’t stand still.” Immediately after that I told her to open her eyes and to read the card with each eye separately. Her vision in that short time improved to 15/30 and she remarked how clear the letters were.
   She was asked to palm again and to describe things which she had seen while her eyes were closed. She told me the different colors of dresses which she had worn recently, and she very readily described each one in detail. This time she palmed for about ten minutes or longer and when she again read the card, her vision with each eye separately had improved to 15/10. Her mother and I noticed that the squinting had stopped and that her eyes were open in a natural way. I gave her test cards and other material necessary for her to practice with and explained to the mother that it was necessary for her to supervise the practice at school and at home if the child wished to be relieved of her eyestrain.
  Jacqueline could not come to see me for some time after that and it was on July 19th of the same year that I saw her again. She had a great deal to tell me and it was good to listen to her explain how the one treatment I had given her had benefited her sufficiently to forget that she had ever put on glasses. It was only when she became excited while explaining things or telling something of great interest to her that she forgot to blink. Then something happened which frightened the mother but which caused me no concern whatever, because this happens very often to children. When she was excited or talked fast and forgot to blink, the pupils of both eyes became very large. This, however, had no effect upon her vision whatever, as her mother soon found out.
   I asked the child if she had been faithful in the directions I had given her, which included the reading of microscopic print which is much finer than diamond type. She immediately produced some of the fine type I had given her at her first visit and placed herself by a window with her back to the sun. In this way the sun shone directly on the card and she read the fine type without any effort at six inches. She said that she never forgot to practice with fine print almost every day since I had seen her.
   I then placed an unfamiliar test card fifteen feet from where she was sitting and asked her to read the card for me. She read every letter on that card with each eye separately and without squinting or straining. Her mother wanted to be sure that her vision for further distances had improved so I placed her by my window and told her to look off at a distance at a sign which was about 400 feet away. From the window, the letters on this sign seemed to be about the same size as the letters on the last line of the card she had just read. She held the card with microscopic type in her hand, and as she shifted from the white spaces of this type, holding it close to her eyes, to the distant sign, she read every word of the sign without a mistake. Her mother exclaimed that such a thing would have been impossible before she had had her first treatment.
   We chose another sign at less than 400 feet away. To prove to her mother and to Jacqueline herself that staring and straining always lowered the vision, I told her to stop blinking for a fraction of a second and to look at the print instead of the white spaces and then to look off at the distant sign we had picked out for her to read. She immediately turned away with a strained expression on her face, and with a great deal of squinting. She objected strongly to doing the wrong thing, as she explained it. (Shift on the print when looking at it and strain is avoided.)
   I gave her a little sun treatment with her eyes closed, using my sun glass steadily for about five minutes. I next directed her again to shift from the white spaces of the nearby fine type to this sign less than 400 feet away, and to frequently shift from the near-by white spaces to the spaces between the letters of the sign; she read every part of the sign perfectly. Modern teachers state to look directly at, shift on the print – shifting and central fixation. Look at the white spaces to relax the eyes, mind when not reading the print.
It does not require a great deal of intelligence to do what Jacqueline did, nor does it mean that the patient has to be young to accomplish as much as she did. She merely followed my directions and asked no questions as to whether the vision would continue to improve. She accepted everything I said or directed her to do as a positive means of benefiting her sight. Her mother’s silence during the treatment helped me greatly in benefiting the child. It so often happens during a treatment that the parent or guardian will interfere or ask questions regarding the progress that the child is making, and this, of course, does not help the child nor me.
At the time I was treating Jacqueline, I also had a boy under treatment for myopia. He was twelve years of age, almost twice as old as the little girl. Every time the boy came, his mother worried me all through the hour of treatment and because of the mother’s interference it took me twice the length of time to cure him. I am not speaking against this mother; I am only stating a fact. Both mothers were equally fond of their children, but mothers often make the mistake of fussing when it is quite unnecessary.
Jacqueline was again brought to me by her mother four days later as a sort of a checkup. I repeated to her over and over again that staring lowered the vision and that blinking always improved her ability to see without out tension or strain. Every card that I had for testing was used, so that her mother could see for herself that her child had really improved. She did well with the memory of the period whenever it was introduced during each treatment, so I decided that it would be a good plan to teach her mother how to apply the treatment at any time in the future when it seemed necessary.
The mother was directed to tell her to palm and imagine that a sheet of white writing paper was placed in her lap; then to imagine that she was making a small black period, just large enough so that she could imagine it as a small black spot. She did this without any difficulty. Her mother reminded her that she must imagine that the period was moving, so we spoke of the pendulum of a large clock, which moves slowly from side to side, and I instructed the child to imagine that her body was moving just that way. She kept up this movement as she sat perfectly relaxed in her chair and then she was asked to imagine that the period was moving opposite to the movement of her body. Jacqueline enjoyed this very much.
Before she opened her eyes, I placed myself six feet away from her and held in my hand the small Fundamentals test card with the inverted “E’s.” The bottom line of this card is seen with the normal eye at two feet. In the presence of the mother who wanted to be doubly sure that her child was not memorizing instead of actually reading, I placed this small card upside down. In this way, the letters pointed directly opposite from the way in which they point when right side up.
When the girl opened her eyes after the period practice, she said that the “E’s” looked perfectly clear to her up to the fourth from the top line, which, of course, would be the fourth from the bottom line when the card was right side up. She could see the separation between each letter “E” on the other lines but not very clearly. Purposely, I had my hand over the three upper lines, but suddenly I removed my hand. Jacqueline leaned forward in her chair unconsciously, and as she did so, she began to squint her eyes. Her mother checked her before I had a chance to do so, which pleased me.
She closed her eyes for an instant, remembering the swinging period and then opened her eyes and looked toward the card held in my hand. Immediately she exclaimed: “If I remember the swinging period as I look at the card, I can imagine that the first letter “E” on the bottom line is turned the right way.” Her mother came close to the card to see whether the child had made a mistake; she had not. Her mother asked if it were possible that the child could see so small a letter at such a distance when less than a year ago, she had been so terribly myopic. By alternately closing her eyes and opening them, looking at the white spaces between each letter “E,” she could tell in which direction each letter on the top line was pointing. When she closed her eyes for a fraction of a second, she had relaxed enough with the memory of the moving period to see each letter “E” perfectly without tension or strain.
Look directly at the E, shift on it part to part, blink, relax and the E will be seen clear.
At her last visit to me the final test was made. This was on August 1, 1927, As I stood ten feet away from her, I held in my hand a popular magazine with ordinary sized type. She did not know the name of the magazine, nor did she have any idea of what I was going to do. I was standing in a good light and her mother was sitting where she could watch us both. I placed my finger at the beginning of a sentence at the top of a certain page. I told her to watch my finger as I passed it below the sentence and told her not to pay any attention to my finger, but to see the thin white line which separated this sentence from the one below. This was done in a flash and then she closed her eyes again.
I asked her to imagine what the second word of that sentence might be. While her eyes were still closed, she said that it appeared to be a word with three letters and that the first letter appeared to be straight. She said that she could imagine that the word might be “was,” which was correct. Her mother said that it was almost impossible for her to see that word so far away, but when she again mentioned words correctly as I passed my finger along the page of that magazine, her mother was convinced that Jacqueline’s vision had really improved to more than normal average vision.
Jacqueline was what I call an unusual case, but I feel that any child of her age can do as much if not more than she did. This case recalled to my mind something which I had heard Dr. Bates say many times: “There is no limit to vision.”

Case Report

Editor’s Note: We believe that the following letter recently received by Mrs. Lierman will interest our readers. It is from W. B. MacCracken, M.D., Berkeley Bank Building, Berkeley, Calif., who has been very successful in applying the Bates Method to his patients. We would recommend him to anyone living in his vicinity who desires treatment by this method.
February 24, 1928.

Dear Ms. Lierman:
Perhaps you have once or twice wondered why I have not written you anything about the Bates work that I am doing here. I trust you have. There are several reasons why so many long weeks have elapsed and I have not made any report. Tonight I am going to have a little talk with you. And I feel sure I will get to the ear of Doctor Bates himself through you.
First, to put it briefly, I can do some of this work very well. I know this because I have had some very fine success. The reverse side is that nobody wants to have their eyes cured this way. This does not mean that I am discouraged in the least. The ripples are getting a little larger. Last Monday night I had four beginners-two who were about to put on glasses, and two who have worn them for several years. (The following sentence may or may not be a misprint. It is printed here exactly as in the original magazine.) I started them all with a twenty minute talk, and if twenty-five per cent last to the tape I will not feel ugly. It is very encouraging to see evidence accumulating to prove that this little small whisper is beginning to be heard in the din of this wilderness of eyesight moderns.
Referring to the case of little Edith—. She was a very sweet little girl, but at ten years, after eight years of effort and failure, she hated the thought of eye work, and her parents were likewise tired on the last lap. They were very good, but had not the least control over her. When a child tells you that she is determined not to learn how to swim, and then refuses to go through the motions – well, at the end of three months’ work, I had won her confidence and was just beginning to get results, and right there they decided not to give me another month, even though I insisted it was to be free of any charge. I had charged $50.00 a month, and saw her at the house six times a week, although it took me an hour to drive there and back. They paid me $150.00, and one Sunday morning three drunken Mexicans smashed my car on the way there; it cost me $240.00, and they didn’t have two hundred and forty cents. “Sacrifice is the law of progress.” The girl’s parents and I parted the very best of friends. I even hope that someday I will feel competent to take up that case again, when she is a little older.
On January 9th, a Mr. S. came to me, 66 years old, with a cataract in each eye. One had been operated on several months before, and that eye was distinctly worse. He had spent $300.00 in two years. His last experience was $47.00 for a pair of glasses that were useless. He came on Monday morning, and could not read his watch without glasses, nor see the “C” of the small card, and on Saturday morning of that week he read the bottom line of Fundamentals - so much was his “vision benefited” in one week. In one month he had read in one day, without glasses, five pages of the Sunday newspaper, and another day twenty-one pages of a book, and could read big signs two hundred feet away. At the house of a patient of mine he read half a column of a newspaper.
A few days after that, he simply broke an appointment and went off and bought another pair of glasses. A Mrs. Chandler, an old graduate nurse, who is helping me with this work found out from his wife that he decided it would take too long by this method to see without glasses. I believe he got into a mental complex, the crisis of his last few years of misery, and could not realize that another four weeks would probably have had him back at work. Of course, glasses cannot help him, and I will not be surprised if I hear some of these days that I ruined the poor man’s eyes, and that is the reason the new glasses won’t work.
On Saturday last, a Mrs. Kinley came ten miles to me. She is eighty-four and has a cataract in each eye. When I took her glasses off, she could not walk around freely, and could not read the “C.” In a little while, she read four lines. Palming and the sun glass. On Thursday, five days later, she came again on the trolley, and reported that she had not put her glasses on since I placed them in her bag myself, and that she had done all her housework and her marketing and her sight was very much improved. She is a keen, strong woman at eighty-four, and I am hopeful that her earnestness and courage are going to make a better ending than I had with Mr. S. who was only 66.
You once suggested that I get some clinical work. This was actually promised me, in the City Clinic.
I am always mentioning the work to my patients and my friends, and I am more determined than ever to go to New York for a proper training as soon as it is possible. In the meantime, I am learning much here alone, and I trust that Doctor Bates and you yourself will not lose patience with me or my work. Sometimes I feel like the man in the middle of the stream getting things thrown at him from both sides, but as nothing is hitting me, I am really getting some relish out of that side of it, too.
You may be very sure that I will be more than pleased to hear from you at any time, and I hope that when I write again it will be to tell you that I can set the date when I can start for New York.
With kindest personal regards for Doctor Bates, as well as for yourself. Yours most sincerely,

W. B. MacCracken, M.D.

Dr. MacCracken was instructed, certified in the Bates Method by Dr. Bates, cured many patients’ eye problems and wrote two books on Natural Eyesight Improvement; Use your own eyes and Normal Sight Without Glasses. Free at: and in the Book; Do It Yourself – Natural Eyesight Improvement – Original and Modern Bates Method.