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Correspondence Treatment – Squint – Stories From The Clinic; 108. Don’t be Afraid by Emily A. Bates –
Questions and Answers
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF
IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
Many letters are received from people
in various parts of the world who find it impossible to come to New York and who believe that something might be done for
them by correspondence treatment. I do not advocate correspondence treatment as a general rule, as the results are uncertain.
There is always the possibility that the patient will not practice correctly the things which he is told to do.
patient has had one treatment at my office or at the office of one of my representatives, it is possible to treat that patient
more intelligently through correspondence.
Some years ago a gentleman living a thousand miles from New York called and
asked if anything could be done through correspondence for his wife who was bedridden and suffering with an agony of pain
in her eyes. He described all her symptoms to me and gave me her last prescription for glasses. He was told that if he would
take the treatment in my office, and so learn how to treat his wife, it would be possible for him to aid her intelligently
when he went home. He did this and after taking several treatments, returned. He wrote me later saying that his wife was almost
When my book, “Perfect Sight Without Glasses,” is read carefully, those things which are not understood
may be cleared up by intelligent questions, which I am always pleased to answer. I do not consider this as regular correspondence
By W. H. Bates, M.D.
In SQUINT, the right or left eye may turn in toward the nose while the other
eye may be continuously straight. When the straight eye is covered with a screen, the squinting eye usually becomes straight
temporarily. There are several types of squint, one of which is called divergent squint, in which one or both eyes may be
turned out to a greater or lesser degree. In another type, vertical squint, either eye may be turned upwards, downwards while
the other remains straight. In rare cases both eyes may be turned above the horizontal meridian, or the eyes may be turned
below the horizontal meridian. Squint is usually acquired soon after birth, but a great many children do not squint until
they are three or four years of age or older. Rare cases will acquire squint when past fifty years of age.
The eye which
turns in different directions habitually usually has imperfect sight which is not always corrected by glasses. The vision
of the squinting eye when imperfect is called amblyopia. Amblyopia means blindness without any cause which can be seen or
described by the attending physician. The best treatment is to get rid of the strain which is always present. One of the early
writers on squint, its treatment and cure, said that the blindness of squint was a condition in which neither the patient
nor the doctor could see anything wrong with the eye. Lack of use of the squinting eye lowers its vision
and, also the brain turns of the image from the squint eye to remove the unbalanced vision, incorrect, double… image
produced by the squint eye.
Amblyopia is a condition of imperfect sight in which the retina, the optic nerve,
and other parts of the eye show no organic change. The blindness of the squinting eye may be so great that the patient may
not be able to see even daylight. These cases may develop absolute blindness with no perception of light and yet have been
cured by treatment, by doing away with the strain. It should be emphasized that eyestrain has been frequently found in all
kinds of squint and this eyestrain is sufficient to lower the vision until even light perception is lost. Palming,
shifting, central fixation, improving the memory, imagination, relaxing the mind, eyes, equally activating and integrating
the left and right brain hemispheres and other Bates treatments cures amblyopia, squint.
Eyestrain, which is
a mental phenomenon, is capable of producing in the eyes organic changes which are sufficient to cause total blindness. By
relieving the eyestrain the vision always improves until it may become normal. The men who for years have published in books
or in various periodicals that the blindness of squint cannot be cured should investigate the facts by the aid of modern scientific
methods, which prove that the blindness of squint is not very difficult to cure.
In searching through the literature
for facts I found some very queer statements. One very prominent ophthalmologist published in a medical journal the statement
that the blindness of squint could not be cured. In the very next sentence, he gave the history of a patient born blind with
amblyopia, squint, and cataract who obtained perfect sight by treatment. The patient was forty years of age. The cataract
in both eyes was operated upon successfully. The patient had never seen letters and could not read a newspaper, even with
small size headlines. (Misprint? should be large size headlines or does it mean simple headline
with only few words?) He could see flowers of different colors but he did not know the names of any of them. He was
taught the names of familiar objects that he saw and in a very short time his eyesight seemed to be normal.
The eye surgeon
called attention to the fact that the imperfect sight was improved to the normal by treatment of the eyestrain. The surgeon
described how the cataract was removed and how the patient became able to read by being taught by school teachers who discovered
the difference in the vision of each eye. The eye which habitually turned in had very imperfect sight. The vision of one eye
and later both eyes improved to the normal by eye education which relieved or cured the eyestrain. Some of the readers of
this doctor’s article asked him embarrassing questions and he finally stated that he now believed amblyopia could be
cured by eye education. He had unconsciously practiced my method. The amblyopic eye was blind from eyestrain and vision was
restored after the eyestrain was relieved by relaxation treatment.
To obtain improved vision with the good eye covered,
one patient wore a shade over the eye which was straight, while the vision of the squinting eye was benefited by eye education.
At the end of a few months it was found that the eye which formerly had looked straight was now turned in. At periodic integrals
the right eye became straight while the left eye turned in. After covering the good eye with a screen, the vision of the other
eye became straight. It required several months before both eyes became straight at the same time and each had good vision.
Eye muscles, eyes learning to work with Brain, left and right hemispheres.
Practice Imagining, Remembering, Creating, Seeing,
Controlling, Moving Double Vision/Images to Cure Crossed, Wandering Eyes.
In the cure of squint without operation
it is important that the instructor become able to practice a few fundamentals in order that the patient may be more readily
taught to do the same.
In all cases of squint, double vision should be imagined at three feet, ten feet, twenty feet
or farther. It often requires considerable practice before the teacher can produce double vision. The best possible vision
should be obtained in each eye before much is attempted to cure the squint.
Most children can see or imagine double vision
by practicing with a lighted candle or other object. In some cases two candles are imagined five feet apart when one is practicing
with a candle at twenty feet. By closing the eyes and resting them, it is possible for the patient to demonstrate that two
objects appear to be five feet apart, by the use of the memory. Images five feet apart can be imagined to be either more or
The eyes of most people are capable of remembering, imagining, or apparently seeing two images one foot
apart at twenty feet. If the objects are on the same level they can usually be controlled much better than when one is higher
than the other. In a case of convergent squint it is quite easy to imagine the two objects as they should be imagined; the
image of the right eye should be to the right, the image of the left eye should be to the left. When the two images are on
separate levels it is well to practice so as to attain the two images on the same level. This makes it easier to control the
two images in other directions.
By alternately regarding the images without effort or strain, they will approach each
other until they touch, overlap or become fused into one object. Then more practice should be done with the object of obtaining
control of the location. By some forms of effort the image of the right eye may be forced to the left while the image of the
left eye may be forced to the right. This should be practiced for half an hour or longer, forcing the images seen by each
eye to appear crossed. At first the images are not controlled; they may cross and separate a wide distance, three feet, or
even six feet.
It is well to practice the production and control of the crossed images in cases of convergent squint
in which the image of the squinting eye does not always reach a position on the opposite side of the image seen by the right
eye. It is interesting to observe how quickly two images can be made to cross, to approach each other, to touch, and to merge
into each other and form one. By practicing the production of crossed images a considerable time each day the crossed images
become consciously, habitually, or permanently crossed (merged into one) when a cure is obtained.
A girl, aged
fourteen, had vision of the right eye of 3/200 while that of the left eye was 20/10. When she was two years old the tendon
of the muscle which turned the right eye inwards was cut. The result was variable. Sometimes the eye turned in as before,
but there were periods when the right eye was straight. Relaxation methods were employed daily with success and the squint
became less when the vision improved.
The method which helped the most was to improve the vision of the amblyopic eye
by remembering or imagining perfect sight of one letter of 20/10 with the eyes alternately closed and open. The vision of
the right eye improved until it became 20/10. The patient was also encouraged to imagine fine print six inches from the right
eye. When she succeeded in improving her vision for twenty feet and later her ability to read fine print at six inches, the
squint disappeared. Both eyes focused on one point at the same time.
one eye at a time to see which eye sees which side of the double image in the peripheral field.
The image that disappears
is the image produced by the eye that is covered, not in use.
If one image is light, blurry, less clear - the eye producing
that image needs vision improvement. The blur can alternate in the left and right eyes depending on the distance the eyes
are looking at. Example; looking at the candle. Distant tree is double. Left image of the tree is less clear, lighter. Right
image is solid, clear. Cover the left eye and the left image disappears=left eye is producing the blurry image. The left eye
needs vision improvement at far distance.
Now look at the distant tree and observe the double images of the candle. Are
they equally solid, clear..? Which eye is producing which image of the candle?
Central Fixation Cures Squint
CENTRAL FIXATION or seeing best a letter or other object regarded (object
the eyes are looking directly at, in the center of the visual field) while all other points are seen worse, is a successful
method of curing squint and improving the sight in cases of squint.
very remarkable patient, a girl aged eight, was treated more than fifteen years ago. The vision of the right eye was 2/200
while that of the left eye was 10/200. The right eye turned in most of the time. The vision of the left eye was improved without
glasses by alternately resting the eyes.
An attempt was made to teach her how to see best where she was looking. She
very soon acquired the ability to practice central fixation when the larger letters were regarded. The child became much interested
when she realized that her eyes felt better, while the vision and squint improved. She practiced central fixation on smaller
letters and other objects. The strain which was manifest by the contortions of the muscles or her eyes, face, and other parts
of her body disappeared. Her voice became more musical with the improvement of her vision and the subsidence of the squint.
It was remarkable how well she became able to practice central fixation on very small letters and other objects. She
would hold a glass slide on which a small drop of blood was mounted, and claim that she saw the red cells, the white cells,
and other minute particles with her right eye while the glass slide was pressed against her eyelashes. She was able to read
each letter and period in photographic reductions of the Bible, by central fixation.
Many people have complained that
they could not see black or imagine a black period for an appreciable length of time. This patient, when palming, stated that
black was seen and that with the aid of central fixation even the smallest black periods were seen but they were always moving
a distance nearly equal to the width of the period. An effort to see always failed. Distant objects were seen as far off,
by central fixation, as it was possible to imagine them.
This patient was able to produce at will, consciously, and continuously,
internal squint of the right eye with the left eye straight or could keep the right eye straight while the left eye turned
By Emily A. Bates
heard many patients who came for first treatment say “I am afraid.” This remark is usually made when we suggest
that the patient should stop wearing glasses immediately in order to receive a permanent benefit. I have known of patients
who only had a minor defect of vision who were uncomfortable at work unless they wore their glasses. Those who have worn glasses
for just a few years and received little or no benefit while wearing them would go to many doctors with the hope that they
would obtain the proper eye glasses which would relieve them of their tension and pain.
Most of our cases are chronic
and they appeal to Dr. Bates or to me to help them when all others have failed. I hope to be able to reach such cases through
this article, and if what I am trying to explain will be of just a little help, it will be worth while.
A patient came
to us recently who had traveled three thousand miles to see the Doctor, but when he was told that he could not possibly be
helped unless he removed his glasses at once and did not wear them again, he became panic stricken and wept. Doctor is at
a loss sometimes when such things happen and he usually appeals to me for assistance. Encouragement is not always enough for
a stranger who comes to us not feeling at all sure that he is in the right place, even if he has been well recommended. He
wants facts and he wants to meet others who have gone through the same ordeal that he is expected to go through.
there was a patient in the next room who overheard the conversation I had with this man. He came to the door of our room and
asked if he might talk to this patient and tell him of his own experiences. He explained how he had traveled many miles to
see what Dr. Bates could do for him. He had worn glasses many years and they helped him for some time, but even with glasses
on, his vision became worse for the near point. He did not need glasses at all for the distance but at the near point he was
unable to distinguish large objects clearly enough to know what they were.
When our new patient first met Dr. Bates,
who in his quiet way started right in to treat him, there was a fear in his heart that he had perhaps made a mistake in coming.
He wanted things explained to him. He was afraid that sooner or later his vision, even for the distance, would become impaired
and that in time blindness would surely overcome him. He was afraid. The older patient explained to this man how Dr. Bates
had kept him for two hours in his office during the first visit and how, after he left the office, he was able temporarily
to read finer print than newspaper or book type. He wanted to save time and expense and did not come again for several days,
which was a big mistake, and he realized that it was.
He could not practice so well at home by himself and he became
discouraged and put on his glasses again. When he called for another appointment he had to go right back to where he started
from. He had wasted two precious hours and the fee besides, because he had been afraid. During the second treatment, however,
he was able to read finer print with less difficulty that he had during his first treatment. This encouraged him very much.
This time he made no promises to the Doctor that he would not wear his glasses, but he was determined that he would not. He
explained to our new patient how some days he could not practice as successfully as he could on previous days, but he kept
right on remembering what the Doctor had directed him to do and he did it. Two weeks of daily treatment have given him almost
normal vision. All he needs now is a little more knowledge of what he has to do when a relapse comes and then he will be rid
of glasses for all time. This talk with the other patient helped Dr. Bates to manage his new case more easily and with more
confidence in the Doctor, I feel sure that the patient will win out.
long ago I had a patient who came from Chicago to be relieved of a swelling eyelid condition and a burning of the eyes whenever
she read for an hour or longer, or when she did a little sewing of any kind. Even threading a needle was painful to her with
her glasses on. She had received treatment from one of our students in Chicago with some benefit. She assured us that her
lack of complete success was not the student’s fault, but her own in not understanding just what to do first for the
relief of pain and discomfort.
After Dr. Bates had examined her eyes with the ophthalmoscope he found
that her condition was mostly mental; she strained hard to see the print of the book or newspaper she was reading. She did
not realize that she was staring at the letters instead of looking at the white spaces directly below the sentence she was
reading. (As mentioned previously; looking at the white spaces when reading the letters is not advised
by modern Natural Vision Improvement teachers, but; taking a break and looking at the white spaces, blinking, shifting, looking
to the distance occasionally to relax the eyes when not looking at/reading the print is beneficial.)
readers or those who are obliged to read in a poor light can read without strain if they do not stare at the print and if
they remember to shift their glance to the text and back to the white spaces below the sentence they are reading.
(And look to the distance, shift on distant objects occasionally.) Public speakers often make mistakes in reading to
an audience, even if they have beforehand studied the subject of their paper so well that they could almost say it by heart.
They become unable to memorize and become mixed up in what they are saying or reading because they unconsciously stare at
the print in order to read it, mostly because they are afraid they may make a mistake. As soon as we teach them to dodge (avoid
staring at) the print and pay more attention to the white spaces between the lines of type (or look
to distant objects if the eyes start to feel tired), they are soon cured and no longer need glasses to help them.
A few months ago a mother brought her daughter from high school where they had noticed that she was squeezing her eyes almost
shut in order to see the writing on the blackboard. It is unusual to see a young girl sixteen years of age with many wrinkles
in her forehead. It was so noticeable to others that she was soon made unhappy because of this. The authorities at the school
that she attends notified the mother that her eyes must be examined for glasses. Neither her grandparents nor her mother or
father had ever worn glasses and it was a shock to the mother to think that the daughter would have to wear them. The girl
became depressed and unhappy and felt, as did her mother, that there must be some way in which to relieve her trouble so that
she would not have to wear glasses.
As Dr. Bates has so little time to explain the reason why, he often calls upon me
to do the talking if it is necessary, or even when it is not necessary. I thought I had convinced the mother that her daughter
would not have any more trouble with her eyes if she would learn to do what we had told her, and that if she would practice
every day the treatment we would outline for her while at school and in her home, she would enjoy good sight and not need
her glasses. I was much surprised when the mother answered me like this:
“How can you possibly understand the discomfort
that patients have who need glasses or who ought to wear them when you have never had imperfect sight yourself?”
Emily Lierman/Bates Experience with Eyeglasses and How Dr.
Bates Cured her Vision
myself and laughed at the remark and then I explained to the mother how for thirteen years I had worn glasses to do my work.
When it was first noticed that my eyes were not functioning correctly and that I was making mistakes in my work, which was
matching colors and combining them, my employer suggested that I should be examined for glasses. He explained to me that the
mistakes were minor ones but that from day to day I would perhaps make more serious mistakes and I would lose my position.
That was a shock to me, and immediately I went to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at 13th street and 2nd avenue, where
I was placed in a dark room after drops had been applied in each eye. I explained to this mother how I had been forgotten
and left in that dark room much longer than was necessary and it seemed hours to me. The thoughts that went through my mind
were mostly fearful ones. I was afraid that my eyes were going back on me. The doctors at the infirmary did not explain a
thing to me before they gave me the drops.
The eye glasses which were fitted for my eyes suited me very well for two
years and then my eyes began to trouble me more than ever and the glasses had to be changed. I did not go in the Eye Infirmary
the second time but I went to an optometrist who had the most elaborate apparatus I ever saw for examining the eyes. After
an hour of much fussing on his part I was given glasses which did not at first suit my eyes. I tried them for two weeks or
a little longer, I believe, and then I went back to him and complained that they did not suit my eyes.
said he, “you must get accustomed to the glasses; your eyes will sooner or later be adjusted to them.”
no further encouragement or help, I tried again for a short time, always afraid when I was crossing the street that I would
have an accident, because before I reached the curb I thought I was there and would step up. At other times I reached the
curb sooner than I thought I would and I stumbled a few times and almost fell.
I returned to the optometrist and demanded
a different lens, which he gave me and this I wore until I came to Dr. Bates as a patient nineteen years ago. I was skeptical,
too, just as some of our patients are when they first come to us for help. That is why I try to understand a new patient and
to give him the encouragement and advice that he needs as soon as it is possible to do so.
What a blessing it was for
me to meet Dr. Bates and to be relieved entirely of my eye trouble in six weeks’ time. When Dr. Bates first examined
my eyes, the letters of the test card up to the 30 line were clear and black. The next three lines I could not distinguish
clearly, and every letter had a tail, which bothered me very much. He did not spend very much time with me because he said
I was an easy case to cure and advised me what to do at home.
I did exactly as some of our patients do now. I did the
wrong thing, but one thing I did not do was to put my glasses on again. I put them back in their case and placed them in the
back of my bureau drawer where they remained until sometime later when I displayed them to my friends very much as I would
an antique or a curiosity.
Some of my friends did not like to see me without glasses and told me so. I did not look so
well without them, they said. Others said I would surely make my eyesight worse by not wearing them, while still others said
that I may have been able to do without glasses at any time, and that perhaps I did not have to wear them. Of course, these
remarks were not always encouraging, but just the same I believed in Dr. Bates and was determined to win out. After the fourth
treatment I had more confidence in the Doctor and I made progress from then on, although there were days when I had sudden
relapses and became somewhat discouraged. He often said this to me: “If you are not afraid, you will obtain normal vision,
but fear makes you strain; don’t forget that.”
This mother was grateful for what I had told her of my experience
and we began to treat her daughter with unusual success during her first visit. She went back to school and returned in a
few weeks’ time for more treatment and the first thing I noticed was that the wrinkles had vanished. Various test cards
were given her so that she would not tire of the practice at school and at home. A few months after her first visit to us,
she was pronounced cured. Her vision, which in the beginning was about half of the normal, and her sight for the near point
had both improved to normal. It did not matter to her what size type she was asked to read or how close she held it. She could
read it just as well at any distance. With the familiar test card and strange cards she became able to read 15/10 with each
eye. She wrote us a letter of gratitude which encouraged us greatly.
What applies to the eyes also applies to the mind
and other parts of the body. Fear causes great suffering and often impairs the mind permanently. Relaxation and rest of the
mind can only be obtained when we stop making an effort. With more faith in those who are trying to help us, whether it is
mentally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise, we help to remove all fear of what might happen to us. It is not the thing
that has happened that causes one to be afraid, but it is the unknown that frightens us.
Questions And Answers
Q – When palming and remembering black, is it advisable to keep the image stationary and to
keep the same image, or is it just as good to shift from one object to another?
A – When palming and remembering
black, one should imagine everything remembered to be moving and not stationary. It is necessary to shift from one image or
from one object to another.
Shift from part to part when looking at a object in the mind, memory, imagination;
Notice tiny details – shift point to point on a small imaginary object – a Bee: shift on its yellow and black
fur, eyes, nose, antennas, wings, feet, see it moving its legs, wings, face…, follow it as it takes off, fly’s
around through a field, lands on an apple in a tree, then fly’s to, lands on a flower, see it moving up and down…
as the wind lightly blows the flower, the bee fly’s zig-zagging over a field of tall grass occasionally landing to investigate
a flower, blade of grass, fly’s along the river, over the sparkling water in the sunlight. Shift on each object the
mind imagines as the minds eyes move from object to object, part to part.
Q – Would the reading of fine print at four inches be helpful?
A – The reading of
fine print at four inches is usually helpful.
palming is it necessary to close the eyes?
– Why is the reading of fine print a benefit?
A – Because it cannot be read by a strain or an effort. The
eyes must be relaxed.
Q – My eyes feel fine after
I palm and let my mind drift to various black objects. The period is more difficult, however.
A - Perfect mental pictures
of ordinary objects means a perfect mental picture of a period. To try to see is an effort or strain and produces defective
Q – Are floating specks serious? Sometimes
they just flood my eyes like clouds of dust and greatly frighten me.
A – Floating specks are not serious. They
are always imagined and never seen.
Shifting, central fixation, perfect memory, imagination, relaxation
of mind, body and eyes removes floating specks, floaters.