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- Throw Away Your Glasses – Concentration, Treatment, Prevention of Myopia in School Children – The Use of the
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF
IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
imperfect sight, a mental picture of one known letter of the Snellen test card is seldom or never remembered, imagined, or
seen perfectly when regarded with the eyes open. By closing the eyes, the same mental picture may be imagined more perfectly.
By alternately imagining the known letter as well as possible with the eyes open and the remembering it better with the eyes
closed, the imagination improves the vision and unknown letters are seen with the eyes open.
The improvement of the vision
is due to a lessening of the organic changes in the eye. When the imperfect sight is caused by opacities of the cornea, a
mental picture imagined clearly lessens or cures the disease of the cornea. A large number of cases of cataract in which the
lens is more or less opaque have been benefited or cured by the imagination of mental pictures. Nearly all organic changes
in the eyeball which lower the vision have been improved to some extent in a few minutes; by devoting a sufficient amount
of time, all organic changes in the eyeball, no matter what the cause may be, are benefited or cured by a perfect imagination
of a letter, a tree, a flower, or anything which is remembered perfectly.
I do not know of any method of obtaining relaxation
or perfect sight which is as efficient and certain as the imagination of mental pictures. It should be emphasized that a good
or perfect imagination of mental pictures has in all cases brought about a measure of improvement which is convincing that
the imagination is capable of relieving organic changes in the eye more quickly, more thoroughly, more permanently, than any
Throw Away Your Glasses
By W. H. BATES, M.D.
Note: The following is a reprint from an article which appeared in Hearst's International, September, 1923, which is being
republished in Better Eyesight at the suggestion of some of our readers.)
MORE than thirty years ago, not knowing any
better and being guided by the practice of other eye doctors, I recommended patients with imperfect sight to throw away their
eyes and see with their glasses. Since that time I have made some valuable discoveries which have enabled me to cure people
without glasses. The slogan now is: "Throw away your glasses and see with your eyes."
We are rapidly becoming
a four-eyed nation. The enthusiasm of the eye doctors is putting glasses on many people who do not need them. Just as soon
as we go to the doctor and complain about our eyes or some nervous trouble with our minds and our heads, the stomach or something
else, the doctor prescribes glasses. Fifty years ago the number of persons wearing glasses was very much less than it is now.
Human nature is such that when one person gets glasses we believe everybody else should do as we do and wear glasses. When
prominent people set the fashion the rank and file feel that they must do the same. It is a matter of record in this country
with a population of one hundred and ten million or more, that all persons over forty years of age, according to the old theories,
should wear glasses.
Some eye specialists have gone so far as to say that all children attending school should wear glasses
either to relieve imperfect sight or to prevent their eyes from failing. This matter was considered by the Board of Education
of the City of New York in 1912 and much pressure was brought bear to have it done. I was the only physician that went before
the Board of Education and recommended the method of treatment which had cured and prevented imperfect sight in school children
without the use of glasses.
The craze for glasses has even included nursing babies. It is all wrong, and the evidence
has been accumulating through the years that imperfect sight is curable without glasses. Most of us should have an interest
in the welfare of every child and get busy and investigate the facts. The medical profession has neglected its duty. They
have done noble work in the study and prevention of yellow fever and other conditions, but when it comes to the eyes the doctors
can only recommend glasses. My investigations have demonstrated many facts of great practical importance.
In the first
place all children under twelve years of age with imperfect sight can be cured without glasses. This is a challenge. If there
is one child who cannot be cured by my treatment I am wrong about the whole thing. There is no exception and when a proposition
has no exception we call it a truth.
They can be cured not only by me but by their parents, by their teachers, by anybody
who has normal sight, but they cannot be cured by people who have imperfect sight. The teachers in the public schools have
succeeded by practicing my suggestions with the children, reading the Snellen test card with each eye as well as they can
every day, devoting in most cases only a few minutes daily. Those children whose sight is already normal only need to read
with normal sight, one minute or less, every day to prevent eye-strain and imperfect sight.
One day I visited a classroom
and I said to the teacher: "Can you pick out the children who have imperfect sight?" She selected a number of children
that she thought had imperfect sight. In every case her selection was made because of the way the children used their eyes.
Some of them squinted, some of them strained in other ways.
I tested the sight of these children and found it imperfect.
Then I suggested to the teacher that she ask the children to use their eyes without strain, without making any efforts to
see. I said, "You will find how well they can see when they use their eyes easily, without effort".
her surprise they all read the card with normal vision. Some of these children were wearing glasses. When they removed their
glasses at first their sight was imperfect but after resting their eyes by closing them for five minutes or longer their vision
became very much improved. In one classroom the teacher found that all her children had imperfect sight; but by showing them
how to rest their eyes, by avoiding the strain, and by closing them, the vision of all of them was improved and all obtained
perfect sight except one. I learned that this one also obtained perfect sight a few weeks later. It is impossible to cure
those children while they are wearing glasses.
In all my enthusiasm I felt that it was not proper for me to interfere
with children who were under the care of a physician while wearing the glasses he prescribed. Of course I could not be blamed
if the children lost their glasses and got well without them.
It should be emphasized that teachers wearing glasses have
a larger percentage of pupils with imperfect sight than have the teachers whose sight is normal and who do not wear glasses.
Why is this? The facts are that children, being naturally great imitators, not only consciously or unconsciously practice
the strained look of the eyes of the teachers with imperfect sight, but also the strain of all the nerves of the body. For
the benefit of the school children no teacher wearing glasses or who has imperfect sight should have charge of children in
any public or private school.
Parents wearing glasses are under a nervous strain almost continuously. It can be demonstrated
in all cases that the children's eyes tend to strain and that the sight becomes imperfect because most children, if not all,
imitate consciously or unconsciously the nervous strain of their parents. The future of our country is in the hands of the
children and I believe that we should all make any sacrifice which can be made for their welfare.
It was demonstrated
that all persons I tested wearing glasses were curable without glasses. I have demonstrated this fact, that the eyes of all
near-sighted persons become normal while looking at a distant blank wall without trying to see. The same is true in all other
cases, in far-sightedness, in astigmatism; there are no exceptions.
It can always be demonstrated that when the normal
eye with normal sight makes an effort to see at the distance the eye becomes near-sighted; again, no exceptions. When the
normal eye strains to see at the near point the eye tends to become and does become less near-sighted and produces a measure
The strain in astigmatism can always be demonstrated. One can by will produce in the normal eye any
kind of imperfect sight by the necessary strain. The normal eye is always at rest and nothing is done in order to see. If
anything is done it is always wrong and always produces imperfect sight. This suggests treatment and prevention. Treatment
can only succeed when perfect rest is obtained.
Every physician wearing glasses, like every child, every man, every woman,
has to strain to make his eyes fit the glasses. In every case this fact can be demonstrated. Surely the leaders in this movement
for the benefit of the eyes of the school children can be or ought to be the medical profession, and I feel that we are lax
in our duty when we neglect to study these methods and practice these methods which cure imperfect sight without the aid of
Imperfect sight is usually contagious. Actors on the stage do not feel the need of glasses. Fancy some operatic
star going through a performance wearing strong glasses. The strain would spoil the music.
Many people are afraid of the light. They protect their
eyes with dark glasses when they go to the seashore, they use umbrellas, sunshades; in tropical countries special kinds of
hats are popular, hats which are supposed to prevent the bad effects of the sun. Bookkeepers and people who work by
artificial light wear contrivances of all kinds to shade their eyes from the artificial light. Is sunlight injurious? It is
not. Of course after remaining in a dark room and suddenly going out into the bright sunlight one feels the change, and if
one is at all nervous the effect of the light on the eyes is magnified—exaggerated. Some people believe it injures the
eyes to read in the bright sunlight with the sun shining on the page. They complain that the light dazzles their eyes.
I know a farmer who for fifteen years had never been able to do a stroke of work out in the sun. He complained that the
light blinded him and so he remained in a dark room most of the time and was not as happy as he might have been. He had a
large family and in their sympathy they believed as he did and all the time cautioned him to protect his eyes. If someone
opened the door suddenly and let in the daylight there was a great rush to close the door and protect the gentleman from the
He came to me with his eyes well wrapped up and protected from any light striking his eyes. I darkened the room
and had him look down, and when he looked far down I lifted the upper lid and focused a strong light on the white part of
his eye—first the artificial light and then the strong light of the sun.
The effect was miraculous. He smiled and
walked around the room, looked out the window, put on his hat and walked down the street and came back feeling first rate.
Ever afterwards he enjoyed the light instead of suffering from it. All he needed was a little encouragement. Focusing the
strong light in his eyes with the aid of the burning glass and doing it right caused him no pain or discomfort whatever.
I know a white man who lives in Borneo, an island in the tropics. This man
goes around without a hat. He told me that the natives did not wear hats and had no discomfort from the sun and what was good
enough for the natives was good enough for him, and it certainly worked. He has lived there forty years or more and the sun
does not do him any harm. Did he ever suffer sunstroke? No. Did anybody else ever suffer sunstroke in Borneo? There is no
record. Out in the Canadian northwest in the summer time the sun is very strong and the crops mature in a few months. They
raise fine wheat there. Do you hear of anybody being sunstruck working in the wheat fields?
In New York City the papers
publish records of sunstroke from time to time during the hot weather. I have been called to attend such cases. Quite a number
of people living in tenement houses have been ill during the very hot weather and I am quite sure that many years ago I believed
that I was treating cases of sunstroke. It is very queer but many of these cases never saw the sun and most of them had a
breath that we in the days of prohibition might envy.
I do not believe any baseball player or any tennis player in spite
of his strenuous exercise on bright sunshiny days has ever suffered from any bad effect of the sun. Most tennis players do
not even wear a cap to protect their eyes from the sun and you have to have good eyesight to play a good game of tennis. The
light of the sun often shines directly into their eyes when they serve the ball and the experts are able to drive the ball
quite accurately in spite of the sun.
Many years ago I listened to the older and the wiser men who treat the eye and
they complained that something ought to be done to prevent children playing out in the sun without any hats on. We are more
liberal now and treat tuberculosis in children by exposing not only the head and eyes but their whole bodies naked to the
sun and I understand it is a very successful treatment. Miners who seldom see the sun always have disease of their eyes. All
people who wear dark glasses and avoid the bright sunlight always have trouble with their eyes.
I had a patient once
who spent two years in a hospital here in New York many years ago, occupied a dark room and had her eyes bandaged with a black
cloth so that not a ray of light could possibly enter her eyes, and at the end of her treatment left the hospital worse than
she was before. I cured her by having her practice looking at the sun. At first when she did it she was temporarily blinded.
She said that she had no perception of light whatever, but in a few hours she recovered and her eyes felt better.
to caution her by suggesting that she do it gradually not to get too much of the sun at once, to wait until she became more
accustomed to it; but she paid no attention to what I said and went ahead and blinded her eyes again and kept it up every
day, with very rapid improvement in her sight, until it was not more than a week or so before she could look straight at the
sun without suffering any inconvenience whatsoever. Her vision which had been one-tenth of the normal with glasses became
normal without glasses after the sun treatment.
Some scientists in Boston experimented on the eyes of rabbits. They focused
the strong light of the sun directly into the eyes and then examined the retina with a microscope and much to their surprise
found nothing wrong. They tried strong electric arc lights and found that the retina was not injured. They used every known
light on the eyes of these animals and in no case was the light ever an injury.
About ten years ago the Scientific American
published a series of articles on the effect of light on the eyes and published that some of the rays were injurious. I tested
the facts and found that the man who had written the article had neglected to report the exceptions.
Recently an acquaintance
of mine told me that he had seen in the last three months seventy-four cases of disease of the eyes from exposure to strong
light from the electric arc. I told the gentleman that he had had an unusual experience, but in my heart I knew he was not
telling the truth.
For many years it had been drummed into
my mind by my teachers when I first when to school and later by my professors in college, that in order to accomplish things
and to make a success of life, one should practice concentration. Recently in New York I received an advertisement from a
man who delivers popular lectures, an invitation to attend the lecture with the title "Concentration the Key-note to
Success." About the same time one of my patients suffered very much from imperfect sight. The patient bought a book of
500 pages on concentration. He bought the book to improve his memory and sight.
For many years from time to time patients
from the faculties of Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and other colleges come to me for treatment of their eyes.
They all say that not only are they unable to use their eyes for any length of time but that they are also ill in a great
many other ways, physically, mentally, with their nerves all shot to pieces. They complain that they have lost the power to
By investigating the facts I find that invariably they have been teaching concentration. It does me a great
deal of good personally to get square with them because these are the people who cause so much imperfect sight. It can be
shown that all persons with imperfect sight are trying to concentrate. I have repeatedly published and described the evidence
which proves conclusively that concentration of the eyes is impossible.
Trying to do the impossible is a strain, an awful
strain and the worst strain that the eyes can experience. So many people have a theory that concentration is a help and if
we could all concentrate we would all be much better off. The trouble is that concentration is a theory and not fact. If you
try to concentrate your mind on a part of a large letter of the Snellen test card at ten feet or twenty feet it can be demonstrated
that the effort fails and the vision becomes imperfect.
The same is true of the memory and of the imagination. The dictionary
says concentration is an effort to keep your mind fixed on a point. I have tested a great many people and not one of them
was ever able to accomplish it for any length of time, and the result is always bad for the eyes, the memory, the imagination,
the nerves of the body generally. If the professors of concentration were wise they would avoid trying to practice it. It
is only in that way that they can avoid trouble.
If you have imperfect sight and desire to obtain normal vision without glasses,
I suggest that you keep in mind a few facts. In the first place the normal eye does not have normal sight all the time, so
if you have relapses in the beginning do not be discouraged.
It is normal for the clarity of vision
to fluctuate: clear, less clear, back to clear. Avoid eyeglasses. The vision will return to normal on its own.
test your sight with a Snellen test card with each eye at twenty feet, then close your eyes and rest them. Cover them with
one or both hands in such a way as to shut out all the light and do this for at least an hour, then open your eyes for a moment
and again test your sight with both eyes at the same time.
Your vision should be temporarily improved if you have rested
your eyes. If you vision is not improved it means that you have been remembering or imagining things imperfectly and under
a strain. With the eyes closed and covered at rest, with your mind at rest, you should not see anything at all—all should
be black. If you see colors—red, green, blue, or flashes of light—you are not resting your eyes, mind but you
are straining them.
Some people when they close their eyes let their minds drift and think of things which are pleasant
to remember, things which come into their minds without their volition and which are remembered quickly, easily and perfectly.
Some patients have great difficulty in improving their sight by closing their eyes and trying to rest them. If you fail, get
someone with perfect sight to demonstrate that resting the eyes is a help and who can show you how to do it.
with normal eyes have normal sight they suffer no pain, discomfort, headaches or fatigue. When a person with imperfect sight
closes the eyes and rests them successfully the eye becomes normal for the time being. When such a person looks at the distance
and remembers some letter, some color or some object perfectly the eyes are normal and the vision is perfect. This is a very
remarkable fact; it has been tested in thousands of cases and one can always demonstrate that it is true.
One of the
quickest and most satisfactory ways of improving the sight is a perfect imagination. The normal eye at twenty feet imagines
it sees a small letter of the same size as it does at one foot. The eye with imperfect sight on the contrary usually sees
a letter at twenty feet larger than it really is.
The normal eye imagines the white of a Snellen test card at twenty
feet, ten feet, as white as it is at one foot. The eye with imperfect sight sees the whiteness of the card less white or a
shade of gray.
The white centers of the letters are imagined by the normal eye to be whiter than other parts of the card,
while the eye with imperfect sight imagines the white centers of the letters to be less white than the margin of the card.
Persons with imperfect sight have been cured very quickly by demonstrating these facts to them and encouraging them to imagine
the letters in the same way as the normal eye imagines them.
When reading small print in a newspaper or in a book the
normal eye is able to imagine the white spaces between the lines whiter than they really are. The whiter the spaces are imagined
the blacker the letters appear and the more distinct do they become.
Persons with imperfect sight do not imagine the
white spaces between the lines of fine print that they are endeavoring to read, to be as white as the margin of the page.
The above sentence may be a misprint or not perfectly clear.
When sight is imperfect, the
person might imagine the white spaces between sentences to be as white as the margin of the page or a gray blur which is less
white than the margin.
Persons with perfect sight imagine, see the white spaces between sentences perfectly clear, and
as a glowing, bright, white , brighter, whiter than the margin of the page, whiter than areas of the page away from the black
Also, the edge of the outer area of the page, the papers edge does show a thin white, bright glowing line.
Persons with imperfect sight do not become able to read fine print until
they become able to imagine the white spaces between the lines of letters to be whiter than they really are. (Whiter than
areas of the white page that are farther away from the black print)
When people with normal vision have normal sight
they are always able to see one letter best or one part of a letter better than all the rest. It is impossible to see a whole
letter at one time perfectly. One has to imagine different parts best. Persons with imperfect sight, when they regard a line
of letters that they do not read, discover that they do not see best one part of the line of letters, but rather they see
most of the line a pale gray with no separation between the letters.
By Central Fixation is meant the ability to see
best where you are looking. When one sees a small letter clearly or perfectly it can be demonstrated that while the whole
letter is seen at one time, one sees or imagines one part best at a time. The normal eye when it has normal vision is seeing
an illusion and sees one letter best of a line or one part of one letter best at a time.
shift from part to part on the letter, seeing one small part at a time best, clearest in the center of the visual field. The
center of the visual field moves with the eyes from part to part. The eyes can shift so quickly, that the whole letter, all
parts appear equally clear at the same moment. The center of the visual field is clearest due to the fact that the macula
and fovea centralis in the center of the retina produces the clearest vision in the center of the visual field. The part of
the object the eyes are looking at is placed in the center, clearest area of the visual field. Moving the head/face, body
with the eyes, same direction, improves central fixation and shifting.
We do not see illusions, they are imagined.
Central fixation is a truth to which there are no exceptions and yet it is all imagination. The more perfect the imagination,
the more perfect the sight, the more perfect is central fixation.
It is interesting to realize that the truth about vision
in all its manifestations, does not obey the laws of physiology, the laws of optics, the laws of mathematics, and to try to
explain in some plausible way, why or how all these things are so, is a waste of time, because I do not believe anybody can
explain the various manifestations of the imagination.
Most people have an imagination that is good enough to cure them
if they would only use it. What we see is only what we think we see or what we imagine we see. When we imagine correctly we
see correctly, when we imagine imperfectly we see imperfect. People with imperfect sight have difficulty in imagining that
they see perfectly at twenty feet the same letter that they do at one foot or less.
It can be demonstrated that when
one remembers a letter perfectly one cannot at the same time remember some other letter imperfectly. The same is true of the
imagination and of the vision. This fact is of the greatest importance in the treatment of imperfect sight without glasses.
If one can remember perfectly a mental picture of some letter at all times, in all places, the imagination and vision for
all letters regarded are also perfect.
One can improve the memory by alternately remembering a letter with the eyes closed
for part of a minute or longer and then opening the eyes and remembering the same letter for a fraction of a second. Unfortunately
it is true that many people with imperfect sight are unable to remember or imagine mental pictures perfectly. The treatment
of these cases is complicated.
One patient when he looked at a white pillow saw it without any difficulty. He thought
he saw it all at once. When he closed his eyes he could not remember a mental picture of the pillow.
With his eyes open
I called his attention to the fact that he did not see the whole pillow equally white at the same time but that his eyes shifted
from one corner that he saw best to another corner or to another part of the pillow and that he successively imagined one
small part of the pillow best. With his eyes open he could not see two corners of the pillow best at the same time. He had
to see it by central fixation, one part best, in order to see it perfectly. I suggested that when he closed his eyes he remember
the pillow in the same way, one corner at a time or one small area best at a time.
He immediately for the first time
in his life obtained a mental picture of the pillow. Afterwards he became able to remember or imagine a mental picture of
the pillow with his eyes closed by practicing the same methods. He became able to imagine mental pictures of one letter at
a time. Always he found that he could not remember the whole letter at once. The strain was evident and made it impossible.
By alternately remembering a mental picture of a letter with his eyes closed and remembering the same picture with his eyes
open for a short fraction of a second he became able to remember the mental picture of a letter when looking at a blank wall
where there was nothing to see, just as well as he could with his eyes closed.
It required many hours of practice before
he could remember the letter perfectly when looking anywhere near the Snellen test card, because he could not remember one
letter perfectly and imagine one letter on the Snellen test card imperfectly without losing the mental picture. In other words
he could not imagine one thing perfectly and something else imperfectly at the same time.
After a patient has become
able under favorable conditions to imagine mental pictures as well with the eyes open as with the eyes closed, his cure can
be obtained in a reasonable length of time. One patient, for example, could not see the largest letter on the Snellen test
card at more than three feet but by practicing the memory of the mental picture of a letter, alternately with his eyes closed
and with his eyes open, he was permanently cured in a few weeks.
In the beginning even with the strong glasses the vision
that he obtained was one-tenth of the normal, but with the help of the mental pictures he became able to read without glasses
at twenty feet a line marked ten on the Snellen test card. School children who have never worn glasses, under twelve years
of age, can easily be cured by their teachers in two weeks or less.
It is very important that all patients who desire
to be cured of imperfect sight should discard their glasses and never put them on again for any emergencies. It is not well
to use opera glasses. Going without glasses has at least one benefit: it acts as an incentive to the patient to practice the
right methods in order to obtain all the sight that seems possible.
All magnifying glass for distant
or close: magnifying glass lens for reading, seeing small objects, microscopes, binoculars (this includes close and distant
eyeglass lenses), cause vision impairment.
PREVENTION OF MYOPIA IN SCHOOL CHILDREN
About fifteen years ago I introduced my method for the prevention of myopia in school children in a number
of the schools in the City of New York. In one year I studied the records of twenty thousand children who had been tested
before and after the treatment. To prove a negative proposition, to prove that something does not occur because something
else is done, is a difficult or impossible proposition. When I recommended my treatment for the school children I claimed
that every child who used the method properly would see better and that no matter how poor the sight might be or how long
the sight had been imperfect the vision would be improved always.
I made the statement that if there were one exception
my method was only a working hypothesis at best or a theory, and that I was wrong about everything I said. Since all the children
who used the method had their sight improved it is evident that imperfect sight from myopia was prevented in those children
at that time.
I have published from time to time reports on results of my method for the prevention of myopia in school
children. These reports are on file in the New York Academy of Medicine and can be consulted by anybody.
In 1912 I read
a paper on this subject before the New York County Medical Association in which I made the statement that every child with
normal eyes and normal sight who strains to see at the distance becomes temporarily or more continuously near-sighted. There
are no exceptions.
If one competent ophthalmologist can prove that I am wrong about one case, I am wrong about all the
statements I have made about myopia. This experiment can be performed in the doctor's office or at his clinic and the facts
determined with the aid of a retinoscope, an instrument used for measuring the amount of near-sightedness which may be present
in the eye.
There were present at this meeting a large number of prominent eye doctors of the City of New York. They
knew that I was going to make this statement and issue this challenge because I sent a copy of my paper to these gentlemen
two weeks before I read it. It would have been very easy for any of them to have tested the matter and determined whether
I was right or wrong, but when the Chairman of the Society called on them to discuss my paper they declined to say anything
about it or to publicly deny it.
I have the records of many persons who threw away their glasses and now have perfect
sight with normal eyes.
They did it.
Everybody can do it.
YOU can do it.
The Use Of The Sun Glass
In using the sun glass, it is well to accustom the eyes of the patient to the strong light by having
him sit in the sun with his eyes closed, and at the same time he should slowly move his head from side to side, in order to
avoid discomfort from the heat. Enough light shines through the eyelid to cause some people a great deal of discomfort at
first, but after a few hours' exposure in this way, they become able to gradually open their eyes to some extent without squeezing
the lids. When this stage is reached, one can focus, with the aid of the sun glass, the light on the closed eyelids, which
at first is very disagreeable. When the patient becomes able to open the eyes, he is directed to look as far down as possible,
and in this way the pupil is protected by the lower lid. Then by gently lifting the upper lid, only the white part of the
eye is exposed, while the sun's rays strike directly upon this part of the eyeball. The sun glass may then be used on the
white part of the eye. Care should be taken to move the glass from side to side quickly. The length of time devoted to focusing
the light on the white part of the eye is never longer than a few seconds. After such a treatment the patient almost immediately
becomes able to open his eyes widely in the light.
Plain sunning without the sunglass is equally
beneficial in most cases. Also, shining direct sunlight (no sunglass) onto the sclera, white part of the eye is healthy. Sunglass
is used only by a experienced ophthalmologist and only in a case of near or complete blindness when plain sunning without
the glass does not improve the sight.