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Practice Time – Rest, Palming, Shifting, Swinging, Long Swing, Memory, Imagination,
Repetition Hypermetropia – Stories From The Clinic; 105. Hypermetropia by Emily A. Bates – Questions and Answers
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF
IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
A large number of people have bought the
book “Perfect Sight Without Glasses” but do not derive as much benefit from it as they should because they do
not know how long they should practice.
The eyes are rested in various ways. One of the best methods is to close the eyes for half an hour after testing the sight.
This usually improves the vision.
With the eyes closed and covered with the palms of both hands the vision is usually benefited. The patient should do this
five minutes hourly.
Shifting: The patient
looks from one side of the room to the other, alternately resting the eyes. This may be done three times daily for half an
hour at a time. The head should move with the eyes and the patient should blink. Shift relaxed, easy, continually from object
to object and part to part on objects.
When the shifting is slow, stationary objects appear to move from side to side. This should be observed whenever the head
and eyes move. A faster shift produces faster oppositional movement.
Swing: Nearly all persons should practice the long swing one hundred times daily.
Memory: When the vision is perfect, it is impossible for the memory to be imperfect.
One can improve the memory by alternately remembering a letter with the eyes open and closed. This should be practiced for
half an hour twice daily.
It has been frequently demonstrated and published in this magazine that the vision is only what we imagine it to be. Imagination
should be practiced whenever the vision is tested. Imagine a known letter with the eyes open and with the eyes closed. This
should be practiced for ten minutes twice daily.
When one method is found which improves the vision more than any other method, it should be practiced until the vision is
By W. H. Bates, M.D.
NEAR-SIGHT or myopia (unclear distant
vision) is acquired in schools. The statistics of many observers show that myopia may increase in frequency. This increase
may be slight or it may be considerable.
HYPERMETROPIA (farsight, unclear close
vision) is the opposite of myopia. The optic axis is shortened instead of being elongated as in myopia.
writers attach very little importance to hypermetropia. They publish that the hypermetropia eye is usually congenital and
not acquired. Risley examined many eyes with hypermetropia. He believed that hypermetropia caused headache, pain, fatigue, dizziness and other symptoms to a greater degree than did myopia. Many statistics showed that in the
eyes of school children about 80 percent had hypermetropia, about 10 percent had myopia, and about 10 percent had good eyes.
It is well that the objections to hypermetropia should be studied and published. It is more necessary to relieve the symptoms
of hypermetropia than those of myopia if for no other reason than the fact that hypermetropia is more injurious to the eyes.
The old methods recommended for hypermetropic eyes are insufficient to obtain the best vision, and to relieve or cure pain,
fatigue, dizziness, double vision or other nervous troubles. Hypermetropia of low degree is quite often as difficult to improve
without glasses as many cases of hypermetropia of a high degree.
What are the limits of improved or cured vision in most
cases of hypermetropia? There is no limit. A hypermetropia of 15 D.00 or 30 D.00 can obtain as good sight by relaxation treatment
as a hypermetropia of 1 D.00 or less. Such claims are open to criticism. They can all be demonstrated by different operations
on different cases.
What is the percentage of cured cases or what is the percentage of failures? A physician in charge
of a physiological laboratory many years ago requested a report on the production or cure of hypermetropia in animals or in
human beings. The report submitted to him stated that 100 percent of all rabbits, dogs, turtles, cats, fish, and other animals
acquired hypermetropia after the recti were advanced or strengthened, while the obliques were divided or weakened.
director of the laboratory asked: "Why do you not publish the facts?'' The answer was: "Because no failures have
been observed.'' He then added that he felt that when successful results occurred in 60 percent of his cases he should publish
the results because they were of scientific value.
A failure was desired before a correct conclusion could be stated,
that is, a case in which hypermetropia was not produced by some form of operation but could be obtained by another operation.
In order to produce nearsightedness in a cat it is necessary to strengthen the oblique muscles with the aid of sutures or
Now when the recti muscles on the outside of the eyeball are strengthened by the advancement of these muscles,
hypermetropia is produced.
In the early days of scientific medicine the facts connected with the changes that might take
place in the hypermetropic eye were studied and they might have been a benefit if the facts were understood, but these men
did not realize the importance of many truths which they demonstrated. In those days, as in our own, science was not governed
by ordinary rules. For example, Donders published in his book the claims of some ophthalmologists that hypermetropia was not
curable because they had never seen any such cases cured. Yet most eye doctors in the early days reported the truth correctly.
After extraction of cataract, the amount of hypermetropia is about 10 D.00. In most cases they admitted that the hypermetropia
became less without any treatment, and that the eye, after extraction of cataract, had been observed to become normal without
any hypermetropia, when the patients were able to not only obtain perfect sight for the distance but also were able to read
fine print or diamond type at six inches from their eyes without any difficulty.
One doctor stated the changes which
took place in eyes which had considerable hypermetropia. It is difficult to understand why it is that this doctor published
that an effort to see always increased the amount of hypermetropia and for that reason no treatment could be expected to help
these cases. One physician, whose scientific attainments were unusual, published statements like this: “I have never
cured hypermetropia and because I have never cured hypermetropia nobody else can.” Another so-called authority, after
testing results obtained from massage of the muscles of the eyelids, could see no benefit from this treatment. He was asked
by a friend: “Are you still using massage?” He answered: “Yes.” Then his friend said: “Does
it do any good?” The doctor answered “No.” “Why do you do it then?” “Because there is
nothing else to do.”
An effort always increased the hypermetropia and makes the sight worse. This is a fact so
universally true that it is unfortunate that the physicians who found that a strain was bad did not try the opposite of strain
- relaxation. Those people who become able to read at a distance of less than twelve inches are unable to read by an effort.
With a vision lowered by hypermetropia at twenty feet or farther it is very easy to demonstrate that a strain to see by concentration
or some other effort always increases the hypermetropia. A strain to see at the near point produces hypermetropia, while a
strain to see at the distance produces myopia.
Rest when properly employed cures all forms of imperfect sight. The great
difficulty is that all people are not able to rest their eyes properly.
It has been found that the
tendency of most people is to concentrate or stare. Concentration or an effort to concentrate is a strain which produces almost
all cases of imperfect sight. When one letter of the Snellen test card is regarded continuously,
without blinking, shifting, or a part of one letter of the Snellen test card is regarded continuously,
without blinking, shifting, imperfect sight is produced. Trying to keep the eye immovable causes imperfect sight. The
normal eye when it is at rest is always moving and sight becomes imperfect when an effort is made to imagine the letters or
other objects stationary. It is not possible to keep the eye stationary without an effort. It is impossible to move the eye
and keep it under a strain at the same time.
When the eye moves ‘shifts’ relaxation
and clear vision result.
If the patient stands with his feet about one foot apart and sways the body, head, and
eyes from side to side, it is possible to obtain a movement of the eyes which is a rest to the eyes and a benefit to the vision.
When the sight is good continuously, the movement of the eyes is slow, short, easy, and continuous.
(Saccadic - very fast, high frequency shifting also occurs automatically.) When things are seen wrong or when the vision
does not immediately improve, one can by touching the upper lid with the forefinger lightly, feel all kinds of movements of
the lid muscles and this movement effects the eye itself. The proper movement which is beneficial can only be obtained when
stationary objects are imagined to be moving.
Some patients obtain benefit from moving the eyes in a circular direction
because when the eyes move continuously, there is no stoppage of the swing and no opportunity to stare. (Infinity
For years it has been observed that many cases of hypermetropia changed to myopia. The number of
theories as to how this was brought about were numerous and not one of them would stand criticism for any length of time.
One of the most important theories that was published was by Risley, who mentioned that a large number of cases of hypermetropia
became changed to mixed astigmatism in which one meridian of the eyeball was more fixed than any of the others. This astigmatism
was changed at first into mixed astigmatism. Later on it became a retraction of myopia. It was a very attractive theory which
lost its value when it was found that no one case was observed continuously until the hypermetropia became changed to mixed
astigmatism and finally myopia.
Experiments on Outer Eye Muscles and Clarity of Vision
day the physician in charge of the physiological laboratory made a tour of inspection. He asked for information or for statistics
of the experimental work that was performed on a rabbit to find the cause of accommodation. He desired to know why results
of experimental work on the rabbits which were 100 percent successful were not offered for publication before. He was told
that these had not been published because there had not been a failure. A few days later a failure came. Electrical stimulation
did not produce myopia in the rabbit with hypermetropia. Here was the failure that we had been waiting for. There was much
excitement when we failed to obtain myopic refraction. However, it was found that the rabbit was born without any inferior
oblique. When the function of the inferior oblique was obtained with the use of sutures, with the aid of the retinoscope myopic
refraction was obtained as readily as in eyes which had nothing wrong. The director told us that when his experiments were
60 percent of the truth that they could be considered a contribution to the science of medicine and should be consequently
published. The director was told about the failure and he agreed with us that the publication of the failure was a very necessary
thing to do. It might have ended here perhaps but it was believed that the 100 percent of successful operations were worthy
of investigation, but so far as is known no one else has performed similar experiments to determine the truth of the results
There are some facts which ought to be emphasized. In the first place, hypermetropia is the most frequent cause
of discomfort, pain, or imperfect sight. The medical men of the last century tried to prevent the harm done by hypermetropia
just as they are still trying to prevent the harm that comes from near-sightedness or myopia. The younger men of today are
not encouraged to work in this field, when some of the authorities can stand up and say: “If I fail no one else can
succeed; I know all there is to know about the eye.”
There are a number of people at the present time who are studying
hypermetropia, but it is not being studied as much as it should be. I believe that every school, public and private, should
devote a short time frequently to the prevention and cure of imperfect sight. I am very much opposed to the practice of most
ophthalmologists who fit each patient with imperfect sight with glasses which are not indicated.
For some years I have
found that a large number of cases of myopia were suffering from hypermetropia which produced disagreeable symptoms. It is
really surprising that so many cases of hypermetropia have been neglected. They are more readily cured than the myopic cases,
but when a man at the head of a medical department of the schools tells me that it is useless to treat hypermetropia because
he failed, it means that he will do all that he possibly can to injure or to interfere with the methods practiced by other
When studying the works of Donders forty-five years ago I was very much impressed when he gave the histories of
quite a number of patients who had been cured of hypermetropia and other errors of refraction by one or more operations and
by other treatment. This was an encouragement to me to keep on studying the facts which occurred in hypermetropia. I wish
to state here that I feel very grateful to Donders for the many things which he taught me. That which pleased me the most
and benefited me more than anything else that I learned from other doctors was his claim that there were some cases of hypermetropia
and other errors of refraction which could be cured by treatment. I am sure that he did not know how voluminous were the writings
on the use of glasses or the importance of wearing glasses which were written under his name. It seemed as though there were
many articles on the cure of hypermetropia which were not written by him.
Hypermetropia is curable. Being curable it
can also be produced, increased, diminished, or modified. If it were not curable it would be difficult or impossible to do
The cure of hypermetropia is very simple. When one practices in the right way, a cure is always brought about.
It takes no more time to practice in the right way than the wrong way. Hypermetropia is cured by rest, and cannot be benefited
by an effort. When one regards near objects or parts of a letter at the near point, hypermetropia is always increased. (If diffusion, strain, effort, staring is applied.)
Practice with fine print is one of the best
methods of relieving hypermetropia. The fine print is held first at the distance from the eyes at which the patient sees best
and gradually brought closer until the patient can read it at six inches from his eyes. He should not look directly at the
letters; he should look at the white spaces between the lines and imagine that there is a thin white line beneath each line
Look at the white spaces,
thin white line before reading the print. When the print appears clear; then
look directly at the print and read it. If it blurs again, look back to the white spaces,
line or at another object seen easily,
clear, close or in the distance to relax the eyes. Then, when relaxed and close vision is clear again, return to the
print. Notice, look at the white areas anytime, let the eyes (vision)
jump back and forth from the white line to the print.
Reading fine print is one of the simplest, easiest cures for unclear close vision but opticians,
eye surgeons have been hiding
this fact for years. With practice of the Bates Method, sunlight and
nutrition, fine print can reverse, prevent cataract and other eye,
vision conditions. It improves circulation in the eye. It also improves clarity of distant vision.
Correct practice with fine print daily has
By Emily A. Bates
A woman, aged 63, who had been wearing glasses for twenty years decided to
try the Bates Method and do without them.
She called to see me for treatment while I was in the West and asked me when
she first came if I would examine her eyes with the ophthalmoscope. As I was working by myself I was not permitted to use
any instruments to examine the eyes so I did my work just the same and cured my patients without examining the eyes. Some
patients were advised to see an eye specialist who took care of cases where examinations were needed. This patient had had
eye tests made several times by eye specialists and opticians so I knew pretty well what her trouble was without the retinoscope
or ophthalmoscope to help me.
Many cases like hers have come to me both in clinic and in private practice and with a
few exceptions I am usually right after I have tested the patient with the Snellen test card. When this patient gave me a
history of her case, she told me that in the beginning when she first put on glasses her vision for the distance was not bad,
but her sight for reading and sewing was poor and her glasses only helped her for a while. Eye drops and massage treatment
were given her for the relief of eyestrain and headaches, but after a year of this treatment she had her glasses changed on
the advice of her doctor. Her sight was tested again and she was told that her distance vision was impaired. Then she was
advised to wear bi-focals or to have two pairs of glasses with her at all times. She tried bi-focals because she thought it
would be much easier wearing only one pair of glasses, but she could not become accustomed to them so she tried two separate
pairs of glasses.
As I listened to her explaining all this to me in her mild, soft way of talking, I could imagine how
much discomfort she endured without saying very much about it and I could well imagine how anxious she was to get rid of her
glasses altogether after having tried as faithfully as she had for more than twenty years. The last glasses which were given
her for close work helped her to see better at the near point, but the strain and headaches came on periodically just the
same. She tried massaging the eyes, thinking that this might help. She also went to Europe and tried different climates thinking
that the change of air would be of benefit to her, but the pain in the back of her neck and in back of her eyes kept on just
the same and at times became worse.
She obtained Dr. Bates’ book and studied it according to the advice given for
her particular case. She was able to do without her glasses for the near point but as her sight for the distance still troubled
her a great deal she did not know how to go on by herself.
I began treating her by the palming method after I had tested
her vision for the test card. Her vision in both eyes was the same, 10/30. When I placed the test card twenty feet away all
the letters were blurred and she also had double vision when she tried to read the smaller letters.
She had traveled
a great deal and liked to talk, so while she was palming, I encouraged her to tell me about a recent trip she had taken, and
the memory of things which she had seen as she described them to me helped to improve her vision to 15/10 or better than normal
with each eye separately. Before I tried another method I wanted to find out what caused her vision to be lowered at times
and also what caused her pain and discomfort. During the course of a short conversation with her she told me of a very unpleasant
experience she had had with someone whom she loved and who greatly disappointed her. I encouraged this conversation, not so
much to get information from her but to have her talk about this unpleasant thing, which was interesting to her but not to
me because I did not know the person under discussion. The patient palmed for ten minutes and I timed her especially to find
out whether her vision would be the same for the test card after she had explained her unpleasant experience while her eyes
were covered. I kept the test card at the same distance as I had before and when I told her to remove her hands from her eyes
and to look at the test card and read it again, she said that with the exception of the three upper lines of letters all the
rest of the card was blurred.
I knew immediately that speaking of or thinking about unpleasant things was the cause of
a great deal of strain. I did not tell her so right away but she was eager to explain that this was the way her vision was
a great deal of the time. It was lowered at times when she suffered discomfort and pain; then at other times her vision was
good without any sign of strain. She did not realize that while she was palming and explaining about her unpleasant experiences
that the thought of what she was telling me caused all her trouble or a great part of it. (negative,
unhappy thoughts, emotions=mental strain, eye muscle tension, blur…) When I finally explained it to her, she
believed that I was right. I did not have her close her eyes again during her first treatment, but I placed her by the window
where the sun was shining and I gave her the sun treatment while her eyes were closed, using the sun glass on her upper eyelids.
The sun was quite hot so I had to use the sun glass rapidly and for only a few seconds at a time.
After this treatment,
I told her to sway her body slightly with a short sway from side to side, glancing at the test card in my room and then as
she swayed toward the window to look at a distant sign about two city squares away. At this distance she read a sign which
was painted on the side of a large building. She saw all the letters clearly and read them without any hesitation whatever.
This seemed a revelation to her because it was something she could not do for many years without her glasses. She kept up
the sway as I directed her, but at times I had to encourage her not to stare as she looked at the test card, while she swayed
She asked me to explain to her why the test card looked more clear to her at times only, so I told her to
do the wrong thing, stare at the letters, for instance, as she looked at the card about ten feet away from her eyes. I also
told her to look off at the distance as she looked out of the window and to stare at the distant sign which she read so easily
just a few minutes before. She did this for only a few seconds when she promptly closed her eyes and asked for more sun treatment
to relieve her pain. She was directed to practice parts of the method which helped her most, but only the method of treatment
which I had given her and to do it as faithfully as she could every day until she was able to return for another treatment.
After a week of silence she telephoned me and notified me that she desired another treatment. She found out that she could
not get along very well by herself with the treatment, so I gave her a special treatment each day for the next two weeks.
Then she was asked to telephone me from time to time. Her reports were encouraging. She could read ordinary type and also
fine type at the near point and she had no more trouble with her distance vision.
The year before she had come to me
for treatment, she had given up in despair the driving of her car. She feared an accident when her vision would fail her for
the distance and did not expect to drive her car again without having someone near to help her in time of trouble. She now
drove many miles every day, she told me, and never forgot what I had advised her to do while she was driving, which was to
shift from the speedometer to the center of the road and notice how the distant road in front of her car came toward her and
finally rolled, as it were, under her car. Then again to shift from the speedometer to the center of the road ahead of her
and to notice the same thing again and again. I explained to her that the roadside to her left and to her right would appear
to move toward her and then move away from her if she would keep up the blinking and the shifting from the near point to the
She called one day while I was out of town and told my secretary that she was helping others with the treatment
of their eyes. She was a person who spent a great deal of time with poor people. The children near where she lived were fond
of her and it was through them that she was able to benefit those who needed help. She purchased from my secretary enough
material to help the young as well as the old folks. She purchased many sun glasses and taught mothers how to use the glass
on the eyes of their children. This helped greatly in improving the sight of children, both for reading book type and also
reading letters on the blackboard. She purchased test cards and took them to the Old Folks Home and those who believed that
she could help them did as she directed them to do. She did a great deal of good work in helping elderly people to read book
type and their newspapers without the use of glasses.
When I saw my patient again I gave her advice for helping various
cases of imperfect sight and I was surprised to hear that she had benefited an old lady who had had cataract for many years
and whose sight was failing fast. The vision of one of her eyes was nearly gone and the other eye was becoming almost as bad
when my patient came to her and helped her. This old lady in time became able to take care of the more unfortunate ones in
the home and to help in arranging personal things in their tiny rooms. This is indeed charitable work and much of it goes
on in many places. If all patients who are benefited as this patient was would just help one other person with imperfect sight
who cannot afford the treatment or who cannot find their way clear to visit an instructor of the Bates Method, much more work
could be accomplished.
Many errors are made by those who try to copy Dr. Bates' articles and mine and try to apply the
same method to people who trust their eyes to them to be helped. It is pathetic to read the letters which come to us quite
frequently with complaints about such things being done. There are some people who have a slight knowledge of the Bates Method
who advertise themselves as teachers in eye training and also use Dr. Bates' name for commercial purposes. Sooner or later
they are found out, but in the meantime many poor souls are made worse because of this practice.
Q - What causes night blindness?
A - It is caused by a form of eyestrain which is different from the eyestrain which causes imperfect sight with other symptoms.
Q - What causes styes?
A - Infection, which is always associated with
Q - Are cataracts curable without operation?
A - Yes.
Q - I am forty-nine years of age and have
had to wear glasses for five years, due to gradual weakening of the eyes. Is this curable?
A - Old age sight is curable,
and you can discard your glasses by following the methods as outlined in the book, "Perfect Sight without Glasses.''
Q - I am practicing the methods in your book to cure myopia and astigmatism.
Sometimes, for short periods, I see perfectly, then things fade away. Can you explain this?
A - This is what we call
getting flashes of perfect sight. With continued practice these flashes will come more frequently and eventually will become
Q - I cannot gaze into the sun without discomfort.
Do I do it incorrectly?
A - Read Chapter XVII in the book. Do not gaze into the sun but at each side of it alternately.
In this way you not only swing it, but allow the rays to shine on the eyes. This is a great benefit.
Q - Can squint be cured by treatment, without glasses after an operation proved unsuccessful? Does
age make any difference?
A - Yes. No, age does not make any difference.