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March 1929

                       The Period – Sympathetic Ophthalmia – Stories From The Clinic; 109. Hypermetropia by Emily A. Bates – Case reports – Squint - Questions and Answers



MARCH, 1929

The Period

Many people have difficulty in obtaining a mental picture of a small black period. They may try to see it by an effort which always fails. They may persist in their efforts to see or remember it, paying little or no attention to their failures or the cause of their failures. As long as they continue to strain by trying to see, they will always fail; the period becomes more indistinct.
A small black period is very readily seen. There is no letter, no figure, no object of any kind which can be obtained more easily. Demonstrate that an effort to see a small black period by staring, concentrating, trying to see, always makes it worse. Rest, relaxation, the swing, shifting, are all a great help. Practice with a large black letter. Imagine that the upper right corner has a small black period. Do the same with other parts of the large letter. This practice will enable you to understand central fixation, seeing best where you are looking. Central fixation can always be demonstrated when the sight is good. When the sight is poor or imperfect, central fixation is absent.  Shift from black dot to black dot on various parts of the letter. Shift easy, continually, relaxed. Blink.
The benefits which can be obtained from the use of the period are very numerous.

+A perfect memory can only be obtained when the sight is perfect.
+A perfect imagination can only be obtained when the sight and the memory are perfect.

The period is the smallest letter or other object which is perfect or becomes perfect by perfect memory or perfect imagination.

Sympathetic Ophthalmia

By W. H. Bates, M.D.

I have been asked by the readers of this magazine what “sympathetic ophthalmia” really is. Many definitions of sympathetic ophthalmia have been given in my book and other publications. I will try, if I can, to explain it again in still simpler language. In sympathetic ophthalmia, the eyeball is soft when pressed lightly by the fingers of the attending physician. It is a serious symptom and unless it is corrected by treatment is followed by loss of sight. The reduced tension of the eyeball is usually due to an inflammation of the ciliary body - cyclitis - with loss of function.
The function of the ciliary body is to supply fluids to the inside of the eyeball. When its function is modified, lessened, with less fluid excreted, the tension or hardness of the eyeball naturally becomes less. It is also a truth that when the ciliary body supplies more fluid to the inside of the eyeball than usual, the tension of the eyeball is increased with the symptoms of glaucoma. In sympathetic ophthalmia, the activity of the glands of the ciliary body may be variable. For example, the increased tension of the eyeball may be due to an increased amount of fluid secreted by the ciliary body, while in other cases the amount of fluid secreted may be less than normal and the eyeball may be softer than it should be. The stimuli which regulate the activity of the ciliary body are variable. The mind controls the symptoms of strain.
When one eye is injured by a blow or by a foreign body lodged inside the globe, the other eye, from sympathy, becomes inflamed and diseased with loss of vision.
After the foreign body is removed one naturally expects benefit or complete recovery of both eyes. This rarely occurs. In a large percentage of cases the injured eye may heal and regain good vision, while the other eye may acquire a severe inflammation and become blind. When there is a doubt in the mind of the attending physician whether to remove the foreign body or not, the opinion of the patient may be valuable. If an eye containing a foreign body is removed, it is less dangerous to the other eye, which may heal more quickly. It is well to keep in mind that it is dangerous to practice a waiting policy, because one or both eyes may be lost from neglect. If the patient travels long distances he is likely to have trouble with one or both eyes. Soldiers, sailors, engineers, conductors, forest rangers, or others occupied without supervision, may be attacked at times or in places where no help can be obtained promptly. These people, for their own safety, are justified in having the eye with its foreign body immediately removed. It is far better to have the use of one eye than to be blinded in both.
For more than forty years I have been an eye surgeon and have removed injured eyes which contained foreign bodies which were not removable by an operation. It is only within recent years that I have been unable to operate because of a serious tubercular inflammation of my right elbow. Therefore when such cases come to me, I immediately refer them to other eye surgeons for proper surgical treatment.
One patient with sympathetic inflammation had an interesting history. At the age of twelve years he was accidentally struck in the right eye by a small lead shot which was followed almost immediately by a severe inflammation of the iris and ciliary body. The foreign body might have been readily removed had it been of a different metal, such as steel, which responds to the attraction of a magnet and may be removed with its help quite readily. (A construction worker in California also told me this; while working, if he gets a small piece of metal stuck in his eye, he moves a magnet in front of the eye and the magnet pulls the metal out of the eye. In some cases only a doctor can remove a foreign object, as in cases where a blood vessel is cut and removing the object incorrectly can increase bleeding, cause more injury...) This patient, with the lead shot still in the right eye, recovered from the inflammation at the end of a few weeks, but with poor sight. Six years later at the age of eighteen, the vision of the right eye had improved, while the vision of the uninjured left eye was also improved.
When he was thirty-five years old he was brought to my office. For some unknown reason the uninjured eye, the left, had been removed. The patient was reluctant to explain why the good eye was removed, but some members of the family volunteered the statement that at the time of the operation the left eye was decidedly more inflamed than the right or injured eye. The vision of the injured eye was reduced to one tenth of the normal. Glasses did not improve his vision. The field was normal with the ophthalmoscope; the optic nerve and retina were seen, at first momentarily - later they were seen more continuously. I talked to the patient and learned many things. He told me that he was a day watchman in a gas company. His sight was too poor to do any work at night. When I told him that he was curable if he would only visit me at least once a year or once in two years, he showed signs of overwhelming gratitude.

Memory and Imagination
He promised to come once a week, or until he was temporarily cured. I improved his vision to the normal temporarily in a very short time. It was an unusual thing to do. The patient was not expecting it.
The vision was improved by the following method:
He was told to imagine one letter, eye open, for a second, then close his eye and imagine the same letter for ten seconds and alternate, until one known letter is imagined correctly with the eye open. When this is done properly the one unknown letter becomes known and other letters of the same size are seen, not imagined. One can demonstrate that the imagination of a known letter improves the sight when the eyes are closed for ten seconds or longer. When this unknown letter is imagined sufficiently with the eyes closed it will be seen when the eyes are opened, and also other letters of the same size, at first for only one second with the eyes open and later more frequently or continuously.
The patient was able to see a large letter of the Snellen card at two feet from his eye, but the letter was not seen perfectly; when he closed his eye and rested it with the aid of a memory of a more perfect letter his vision was temporarily improved for a second when he opened his eye. With the aid of rest, alternately closing his eye for ten seconds and then opening his eye, he imagined for two seconds an improvement in his sight. On the second line of the Snellen card he improved his vision with the aid of his memory and imagination.
He was told that the letters were a benefit to his memory and imagination and by alternately closing his eye and resting it, he became able to distinguish what the letters were when viewed at two feet. On the third line were three letters. He was told that the first letter was a letter T. When he closed his eye he was able to remember or imagine a better letter T. By practice, the letter improved and was distinguished farther off with the aid of his memory and imagination until he saw it quite clearly at ten feet. With practice he became able to see quite clearly other letters of the card, not with the aid of his memory or imagination but with the aid of his sight.
All the letters of the fourth line were blurred to such an extent that he could not recognize one of them. He was told that the last letter of the fourth line was a letter O and that it had a white center which was whiter than the rest of the card. Staring lowered his vision, while blinking was a benefit. He was asked to look directly at the unknown letter O and to imagine it was stationary. The patient did not feel satisfied and complained that it was impossible to imagine the unknown letter as being stationary. His vision became worse even for the known letters and he demonstrated that the more he tried (used effort) to imagine or to see better, the worse his vision became. Conversely, when he did not try to imagine or to make his sight better or avoided all efforts to stop the swing, his vision improved.
At one time as his eye was being examined while he was remembering, imagining a letter quite perfectly, the cloudiness of the interior part of the eye became less and his vision improved. If the patient had cataract, it could be demonstrated that, with the aid of the ophthalmoscope, with a good memory of one known letter, the cataract in the injured eye would become less and the vision would improve.
In many cases, patients with sympathetic ophthalmia are usually affected periodically - not continuously. Sometimes the affected eye will have relapses quite frequently. The prevention of relapses is often very difficult. A continuous memory of the optical swing can be demonstrated to be of great benefit.
One of the most difficult conditions to relieve is cyclitis in which the affected eye has become soft. In these cases the ciliary body has atrophied, which is followed by loss of the fluids of the eye. It is difficult, very difficult, in such cases, even with conditions most favorable, to bring about a sufficient amount of relaxation to promote a continuous flow of the normal fluids of the eye.


By Emily A. Bates

Two cases of hypermetropia were being treated by me at the same time, and both had to be treated in a different way to obtain permanent benefit. The patients were man and wife and both were over fifty years of age. Such cases as these sometimes require many hours of study in order to relieve the symptoms of imperfect sight. These patients had trouble in reading at the near point and both suffered a great deal of pain which glasses did not relieve.
The man had worn glasses many years and for a time they helped him in his work. He had always been employed in some piano factory and did good work until he became ill with Bright’s disease. After he returned to his work again, he found that his eyesight was impaired. His eyes were examined by an eye specialist of good standing and he was told that the Bight’s disease had affected his eyesight. After some treatment by this doctor, who instilled some eye drops, his sight was improved. Some years later he had a relapse and he called on another doctor who prescribed glasses. These glasses did not do him any good. He was examined by another doctor who prescribed glasses that helped him for some time, when he noticed the sclera or white parts of his eyes were bloodshot. He thought it was just a cold that had settled in his eyes but later the redness in his eyes increased and the watery condition alarmed him, so he came to me.
I tested his sight with the test cards and found the vision of each eye was impaired. His vision was 15/40 with each eye and he stared at every letter that he read. His wife who was with him drew his attention to this fact of which he was previously ignorant. The patient noticed that while he was reading, the watery condition increased. His sight was first tested with a white card with black letters and later with a black card with white letters. He read equally well with both cards, but the black card was more comfortable, so this one was given him to practice with at home.
We have small test cards which are similar to the large ones, for the benefit of patients who are very near-sighted or have diseases of the eyes which prevent them from reading the large card at the distance. I gave him one of these small black cards with white letters, (which was exactly the same as the larger card on the wall fifteen feet away) to hold in his hand. By reading the two cards alternately, his vision improved to 15/20; the redness of the white parts of his eyes was decidedly less, and the patient volunteered the statement that he had not felt so comfortable in a long time. I wanted to see if he could do as well with fine print and all he could read was sentence number 2 of the fundamental card. By closing his eyes frequently and remembering the white spaces between the lines of type, he became able to read number 5 in less than fifteen minutes’ time. I gave him the sun treatment using my sun glass rapidly on his closed eyelids and advised his wife to do the same thing every day for him and to be sure that he did not open his eyes while the treatment was being given.
A month later the sclera or white parts of the eyes were no longer bloodshot and his vision for the black test card was 10/10. I boasted about his being able to read all of the fine print of the Fundamental card but he remarked: “Oh, that was nothing at all; I became able to read that fine print in less than a day.” Sit in the sun, face the sun with eyes closed and move the head side to side. Relax. If you want to relax deeper and fall asleep and still obtain benefits of sunlight, sit under tree branches for partial shade, sunlight to avoid sunburn. When the wind blows through the branches, leaves - saccadic sunning occurs.

His wife, who also had hypermetropia, told me that at times with her glasses on she could see at a distance with no discomfort or pain, but at other times distant objects were very much blurred and seemed more distorted the more she tried to correct the trouble. For instance, a flag pole less than two hundred feet away would wriggle like a snake and there would appear to be two instead of one. She always used glasses while sewing and if the material had stripes or checks, the pattern appeared to come up toward her eyes, which frightened her and made her uncomfortable. She tried a new pair of glasses – bifocals - but she could not become accustomed to wearing them. She then decided to come to me for help.
When the examination was made, cataract was seen in her right eye and I told her about it, but quickly explained how it would disappear by the treatment I would give her. It was a shock to her, no doubt, to learn that she had a cataract but she wanted to know the truth and I could not conceal it. Her vision when tested was 6/200 with the right eye and 10/200 with the left and all the letters were blurred.
Palming helped her, and with her good memory for colors and works of art, while palming, the vision with her right eye which had cataract improved temporarily to 10/100 in less than an hour and her left eye to 10/40. The dear little woman did not worry about the cataract after that. When she found that her sight could be improved in such a short time she did not need much encouragement to practice. She did as I told her to do and in four months’ time she had no sign of a cataract. She could see distant objects clearly at all times if she practiced shifting from an object near by to the distance, remembering always to blink her eyes, which she had failed to do before she began treatment.
Threading a Needle
If she had any trouble in threading a needle she would hold the needle where there was a background, close her eyes for part of a minute, remembering a small letter “o” while her eyes were closed and this would help her to thread the needle without delay or trouble.
The oculist who gave her the bifocals had been an old friend for years and he doubted very much that the Bates Method could give her a permanent relief because he knew she had incipient cataract of her right eye but feared to tell her about it. He believes now that the Bates Method cured her. I hope in the near future he will become a student of Dr. Bates and stop prescribing eye glasses, especially for those who do not like to wear them.

Case Reports

Squint = Crossed/Wandering Eye Conditions Cured Naturally

(The following are reports of cases treated by Mrs. Edith Reid and Mr. Ian Jardine, Dr. Bates’ representatives in Johannesburg, South Africa.)
Squint is a very ugly disfigurement, especially when seen behind glasses. A girl of eighteen had been given glasses when she was three on account of a squint in the left eye. At eighteen the eye was straight, but she was almost totally blind in that eye, and suffered from severe headaches. After a few weeks’ practice of the Bates Method, her headaches were relieved and the sight of the bad eye was about one half of normal.

Most cases of squint are caused by strain and if the strain can be removed, the squint will disappear.
A little boy of six, who had worn glasses for three years and was told that when he was eight he would have to be operated on to have the eye straightened, was able to picture with his eyes closed a white cloud drifting across a blue sky. When he opened his eyes, still remembering this mental picture, his eyes were straight. Having his eyes open and imagining that his dog was in the room with him, immediately straightened the squint. He has now reached the stage where he can make his eyes straight at will. He is reminded to do so, both at home and at school, as soon as the eye turns, with the result that after five months his eye is straight practically all day. His was a very bad squint, the one eye being hardly visible, and with glasses the vision was 10/15. Today, he reads 20/10 easily without glasses and with eyes straight.

Movement of Childs Head Cures Squint

Another little fellow of four who was also threatened with an operation for squint and who had worn glasses for some time had his eyes straightened temporarily by having his head moved from side to side. His mother, who followed the whole proceedings, nearly had hysterics when I took her son’s head between my hands and moved it from side to side. When I stopped, his eyes were straight for nearly five minutes, but he strained again and the right eye ran in almost under his nose. Again I moved his head and again the eyes were straight. The mother was most amused and excited to see his eye being apparently shaken straight just as one would with a doll’s eye which had gotten out of place. After this had been repeated a few times I asked him more jokingly than seriously what he would do at home to straighten his eye when it went crooked. “I’ll do this,” he said, moving his head from side to side, and sure enough the eyes were straight again. This was kept up at home and now the little chap squints only occasionally when he is very tired or angry.
It is rather wonderful to think that so small a thing as moving the head from side to side could straighten a crooked eye when so many eye specialists were able to suggest only glasses or an operation.

A man thirty-eight years of age, whose eyes and health were in a very bad way, visited us on the 21st of October, 1927. He told us that he had been under chloroform 21 times and had had a series of injections for his eyes lasting 18 months. These at the instigation of three eye specialists in South Africa. As a result of the injections, he was compelled to go to bed every day at 12 o’clock, tired out, and every weekend was also spent in bed. He received no benefit. His eyes were so bad that even glasses could not be given him. The right eye, slightly crossed, was blind with cataract and the left eye had been bad all his life. The doctors said that the optic nerve was diseased. His test showed 10/70 and number 4 on the Fundamental card.
He was a printer by trade and had to have everything read to him. Also, he took on an average of two aspirin tablets every day to try to relieve his constant headaches.
He was taught to palm, swing, and to sun his eyes, all of which he has practiced regularly ever since. He was told to blink all day long and to keep his eyes moving, never to stare or look hard at anything, and when he himself moved to notice the apparent movement of the stationary objects about him. All this he has practiced most assiduously, with the result that on the 6th of February, 1928, he was able to read books for himself, sometimes even the newspaper, and was able to do all his own work without the aid of a “reader.” With his blind eye he read the big “C’ of the card one foot away.
Today he rides a bicycle about the city, plays tennis, and is able to thoroughly enjoy himself because of his better health and freedom from headaches.
He is a strong upholder of Dr. Bates’ method and never tires of telling others of the wonderful results he has obtained in his own case. His wife and two children have also benefited by the help he was able to give them.
After reading the above, the patient asked if he might add something and if he might attach his signature to it. This is what he wrote:
“The left eye has been bad from the age of about seven years and I was under the best men in Melbourne, Australia, on and off till the age of 18 years, and they all told me nothing could be done for the left eye, the one I now read with. I have read the above and every word is true. I can never thank Mrs. Reid and Mr. Jardine for what they have done for me, and are still doing. I have hardly had a headache for the last twelve months and I no longer take aspirin. My average weight is now 150 pounds; before coming here it used to be 130-135 pounds.

“Yours with thanks for the Bates’ Method.
“(Signed) Geo. H. Bowden.”

Squint, Blindness, Nystagmus Cured and Eye Color (iris) Changed From Pink to Blue

One day in January a little boy was led to the office by his mother. He had pink eyes, white hair, a very white face, and even his lips were pale. Both eyes had squint. He was almost blind and had severe nystagmus. His mother was heartbroken and told of how she had worked her passage from South Africa to London so as to see what could be done for the little chap. Specialists had declared his case hopeless and had said that nothing could possibly be done.
She also took him to several hospitals, always hoping that he would be able to find some doctor who could offer a little hope, but every doctor who looked at the little fellow pronounced his case hopeless. She had to come back to South Africa as it was her home and her husband was there. She returned feeling thoroughly sad and miserable. She was told of Dr. Bates’ method by a friend who had benefited greatly by it, so she came, hoping something could be done for her son. We immediately taught him how to sun his eyes and asked his mother to see that it was done two or three times daily. He was also shown how to rest his eyes by palming. He was a very bright, intelligent child which made it very easy to teach him; he understood and appeared to grasp all we said to him. Both mother and child left the office very happy and full of hope. He was not able to read, so he was given a book of pictures of animals.
At his next visit, which was three days later, he came in with the book under his arm and declared that he was feeling much better and that he was going to get quite well. After that, he was brought every day to get the sun-glass treatment and each day there was a marked improvement in the eyes. They were turning from pink to blue; the blue came in patches which each day appeared to be spreading until the eyes became a beautiful blue. He was being taught his alphabet so that he was able to practice with the Snellen test card which proved that his sight was improving wonderfully. The squint and the nystagmus had also improved very much.

The word squint has two meanings;
1 – squint = strabismus, crossed/wandering eyes.
2 – squint = Squinting - to partly close the eyelids, squeezing, keeping them close together in an attempt to see a object clearer. This gives a temporary state of clearer vision (due to the pinhole effect) while the eyes are squinting but leads to increased eye muscle tension, muscle tension in the face, head, neck, shoulders, disrupts shifting, central fixation resulting in increased vision impairment.
Avoid squinting; Replace it with shifting, blinking, central fixation, relaxation.

Questions And Answers

Q - While palming, is it necessary to close the eyes?
A- Yes.

Q - When I read and blink consciously, I lose my place.
A - This is caused by strain, which prevents one from remembering the location of the letters.

Q - How long is it necessary to read the test card before obtaining benefit?
A - Some patients by palming and resting their eyes have obtained benefit in a few minutes.

Q - How can I prevent the sun from hurting my eyes?
A - By becoming accustomed to sun treatment.

Q - Will you please tell me if results are obtained at all ages?
A - Results can be obtained at all ages.

Q - What is the circular swing and how is it practiced?
A - The circular swing is described in the June, 1928, number of "Better Eyesight.'' Modern Infinity Swing, Figure Eight is beneficial.

Q - I get nervous if I palm for any longer than ten minutes at a time. Can I obtain as much benefit by palming for short periods at more frequent intervals?
A - Yes.

Q - Is there a possibility of palming wrong? I can obtain some benefit, but later I feel strained.
A - Palming may be done properly or it may be done wrong. I would suggest that you read the chapter on palming in my book.

Q - Explain what you mean when you say "imperfect sight, imperfect memory."
A - If you see an object, (letter) imperfectly, blurred or gray instead of black, you cannot remember it perfectly.
You will remember it as you see it.

Q - My left eye turned in and was corrected by operation. Now it turns out. What method will cure this?
A - You need more than one method. Complete relaxation will relieve the strain and correct the squint.
Left and right brain hemisphere activation, integration, neck muscle relaxation, movement.

Q - Is a great amount of floating specks indicative of cataract? When I am weary these look like a flock of bees crossing my eyeballs.
A - No. Your particular strain produces floating specks. A different strain produces cataract.

Q - Would the reading of fine print at four inches be helpful?
A - The reading of fine print at four inches is usually helpful.

Q - Why is fine print beneficial?
A - Fine print is beneficial because it cannot be read by a strain or effort. The eyes must be relaxed.
Fine print activates, improves perfect central fixation, relaxation, tiny shifting. This improves ability to see small, fine details of objects clear at close and far distances.

Q - How can one overcome the stare if it is unconscious?
A – Blink consciously, whenever possible, especially when reading. Never look at an object for more than a few seconds at a time. Shift your gaze; object to object, distance to distance, part to part on objects, small point to small point on parts of objects and on tiny objects.

Q - If type can be seen more distinctly with the eyes partly closed, (squinting) is it advisable to read that way?
A - No, it is not advisable to read that way because it is a strain, causes eye muscle tension, and alters the shape of the eyeball causing incorrect focus of light rays in the eye.

Q - I have attained normal vision, but after reading for a while, my eyes feel strained. Would you still consider I had normal sight?
A- If your eyes feel strained you are not reading with normal vision - Not reading with; relaxation, no interest in the subject, no shifting, blinking.

Q - Are dark sun glasses harmful?
A - Yes. Dark glasses are very injurious to the eyes.