A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF
IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
ASKING questions is all too common with patients who have imperfect sight.
There are important or necessary questions which the patient should know in order to bring about a cure. The cause of the
imperfect sight should be emphasized. In all cases of imperfect sight a strain, an effort, a stare or concentration can be
demonstrated. To see imperfectly requires a great deal of trouble. Even the imperfect memory or the memory or imagination
of an imperfect letter is an effort. It is so great a strain that the memory or imagination fail if you keep it in mind for
any length of time. Perfect sight can only be obtained without an effort, without a strain. It is impossible to remember or
imagine things perfectly by an effort.
One may divide questions into (1)—Proper questions; (2)—Improper or
It is a waste of time, an injury to the patient, for him to describe the infinite manifestations
of imperfect sight. To know its history minutely and its variations require an effort on the part of the patient to describe
these things. And this effort increases the imperfect sight. It is absolutely of no help whatever in formulating methods for
its cure. Avoid asking questions about the symptoms of imperfect sight or anything connected with imperfect sight. Any question
connected with perfect sight may be a good thing for the patient to know. One may ask questions as follows:
must one practice a perfect memory, a perfect imagination or study the latest manifestation of perfect sight?
to this question is a benefit to the patient.
W. H. BATES, M. D.
MOST people when they look
at stationary objects believe that they see such objects stationary; but if they observe the facts more closely, they find
that when the normal eye regards a small letter of the Snellen Test Card with normal sight, the letter does not appear to
be stationary, but seems to move from side to side, a distance about the width of the letter. This is called the optical swing.
This is caused by the movement, shift of the eyes from point to point (part to part) on the letter.
During the late war, a soldier, who was rated as a sharpshooter, told me that when he regarded the bull's eye of
a target five hundred yards away or further, that he had difficulty in aiming his gun properly because the bull's eye seemed
to move from side to side a very short distance. Both he and others who had observed it did not discuss the matter with any
The movement of a letter or other object from side to side in the optical swing is so short, so slow,
that most persons with normal eyes have never noticed it. There is no reference to the optical swing in any publication which
I have seen. It is a truth that in all cases of normal sight the optical swing can be demonstrated. In all cases of imperfect
sight the optical swing is modified; it may be lengthened, it may become too rapid and irregular. The swing is a necessary
part of perfect sight. The importance of it has not been realized. With the short optical swing the vision is good while the
mental efficiency and the efficiency of the nerves and muscles is enormously increased.
THE SHORT SWING: When the swing is short, no more than the width of the letter,
the vision is normal; when the vision is normal, the swing is short. One cannot have normal vision of a letter, a normal memory
or a normal imagination, without demonstrating the presence of a short optical swing.
It can be demonstrated that it
is impossible to remember or imagine with the eyes closed a letter, a color or any object without the optical swing. When
the swing is stopped an effort or strain is necessary, which may be conscious or unconscious, and the memory or imagination
becomes imperfect. Normal vision is not maintained continuously without the short optical swing. It is not necessary, however,
for one to be conscious of the swing in order to demonstrate normal vision.
it improves the clarity of vision.)
Methods of treatment which restore the optical swing are a benefit to imperfect
sight. When the short swing can be demonstrated, the vision, the memory and the imagination are normal. One cannot imagine
the short swing and imperfect sight at the same time. One cannot remember or imagine pain, fatigue or any symptom of disease
and the short swing at the same time. For example, the symptoms of acute indigestion have disappeared when the patient imagined
the short swing of a letter or some other object. In some cases, hay fever symptoms have disappeared quickly and permanently,
through the use of the short swing. Bronchial troubles, the cough associated with influenza and whooping cough, have disappeared
quickly when the short swing was imagined quickly.
UNIVERSAL SWING: When you hold the Snellen Test Card in your hand, you can imagine a small letter "o" printed
on the card to have a slow, short, easy, continuous, regular swing. Of course, when the "o" swings, the card to
which it is fastened also swings; when the hand holding the card swings, the card swings and the letter "o" swings.
When the letter "o" swings the card swings, the hand swings, the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, are all swinging
with the "o". If the elbow rests on the arm of the chair, when the chair moves the elbow moves; when the elbow moves,
the card moves. One can demonstrate that a letter "o" pasted on the Brooklyn Bridge moves when the bridge moves,
and when the "o" moves the bridge moves. One may think of many objects, one at a time, each one in turn moving with
the moving "o". This is called the universal swing.
This movement is caused by the movement,
shift of the eyes. Moving the head/face, body with the eyes improves appearance of the movement.
swing has been a wonderful benefit in improving many cases of imperfect sight, in the relief of pain, fatigue and other symptoms
of disease. It can be demonstrated that when one has the universal swing the sight is perfect. If the universal swing becomes
modified, the sight is imperfect. There are no exceptions. This fact has suggested successful treatment for myopia, cataract,
and other causes of imperfect sight.
It is well to remember that some people have difficulty in imagining the universal
swing. They are very apt to separate the letter "o" from the card and imagine that either the card or the letter
moves; and it is difficult for them to imagine the letter and the card fastened together and one unable to move without the
other moving. Of course one can imagine the hand moving and the arm stationary, but when the hand and the arm are in a vise
or fastened very closely together without any hinges, it is difficult or impossible to imagine the hand is moving without
the arm moving as well. Persons who have difficulty in imagining the universal swing should consult others who can demonstrate
it, explain it and help them to accomplish it.
The entire visual field moves ‘swings’
in the opposite direction the eyes move, shift to.
I generally suggest to my patients that they practice the universal
swing twice daily, morning and night; or better still, practice it at all times, in all places, no matter where they are or
what they may be doing.
THE MEMORY SWING:
With the eyes closed you can feel your eyes move under your fingers when lightly touching the eyelids. If you imagine that
you are looking over your right shoulder, you can feel the eyeballs move to the right, and a long distance to the right. When
you imagine that you are looking over your left shoulder, you can feel your eyeballs moving to the left, and far to the left.
One can shorten the movement of the eyeballs by looking a shorter distance to the right, alternately looking to the left.
With a little practice one can feel or imagine one feels, the eyeballs are moving the shortest possible distance from side
to side. The eyeballs can be seen to move under the closed eyelids. The memory swing is a good thing to practice under conditions
which would not be so convenient for the other kinds of swings. One can practice the memory swing in a dark room, on a dark
night, in a dark cellar, in bed, and obtain a mental relaxation or an optical relaxation or a relaxation of the nerves which
is worth while.
Imagine shifting left and right, top and bottom on a tiny fine print letter and
feel the eyes move.
Imagine seeing the swing; the letter appears to move in the opposite direction the eyes shift to.
Produces very clear vision.
SWING: Some years ago a school teacher called for treatment. She had a conical cornea, which is a very serious disease
of the front part of the eye. The cornea bulges and becomes conical. The apex of the cornea becomes ulcerated, and may become
perforated with loss of aqueous. Various operations have been recommended, but the results have been usually very unsatisfactory.
The vision of the patient was 1/20 of the normal. She was very much benefited by the variable swing. The variable swing is
shorter at twenty feet, or further than it is at six inches. In this swing the patient holds the forefinger of one hand to
one side of the temple, and while looking at the Snellen Test Card, the head is moved from side to side a short distance.
The patient when looking straight at the card, was able to imagine the finger moving from side to side an inch or more, while
the test card moved a much shorter distance, or did not appear to move at all. By shortening the movement of the head, the
swing became still shorter, until the finger seemed to move no more than its own width, and the card seemed stationary. It
was very remarkable how her vision improved with the improvement in the swing. At the end of about an hour of the variable
swing, her vision had improved to 1/2 with flashes of normal sight occasionally, which was a great deal better than the vision
she obtained with her glasses.
There are some people who can practice the variable swing and obtain good results, while
there are others who are not able to use it with any help or comfort. It is difficult for me to explain why or how, some people
obtain good results from this form of a swing, while others require supervision with a great deal of mental gymnastics from
their medical adviser.
THE LONG SWING:
The patient stands with the feet about twelve inches apart, facing one wall of the room. He is directed to turn his body and
his shoulders to the right, and in order to do this he lifts the left heel a few inches from the floor. The head is not turned
on the shoulders, and the eyes are not moved in the head. The whole movement is brought about by turning the body until the
shoulders are square with the right hand wall. Then the body is turned to the left, and to promote this movement the right
heel is lifted a few inches from the floor. The body is turned until the shoulders are square with the left wall. It is very
important that moving objects are not observed closely: do not try to see clearly objects which are moving.
This is the
long swing, and it can be done with great benefit, because it relieves symptoms of pain when other methods do not succeed.
When the patient is suffering from a severe pain, it is not easy or always possible to imagine the short swing. The long swing
is the only one available under these conditions. The long swing is always a relief to some extent; and furthermore, it enables
the patient very soon to obtain the short swing, which gives even greater relief from pain than the long swing. Besides relieving
pain, the long swing benefits or relieves fatigue.
It is a matter of great interest, that the long swing relieves pain,
without necessarily correcting the cause of the pain. Pain from an injury or from a foreign body, can be relieved by the long
swing. The long swing does not usually give complete relief of pain, but it paves the way to the practice of the short swing,
which is a greater relief.
The long swing is also a benefit to imperfect sight. The central vision is improved, and what
is also unusual, the long swing improves the field of vision. It improves night blindness, it improves day blindness. The
long swing has improved opacities of the cornea so dense, that vision was reduced to perception of light. Yet, although the
opacity of the cornea was so dense in some cases, that the pupil could not be seen, it would clear and the vision become normal
after some weeks or months. The long swing also helps glaucoma, cataract, diseases of the optic nerve, diseases of the choroid,
detachment of the retina.
One needs a sufficient amount of light in order to practice the long swing.
THE DRIFTING SWING: One day there came to the office a patient,
who was among the worst that I have ever seen. In the first place, the pain that he had in his head, his eyes, his shoulders,
his back, and pretty much in all parts of his body, was the most severe that any of my patients has ever described. It was
so severe that I have often suspected that he used a dope of some kind. Beside the pain, he complained of great depression.
To hear him talk, he gave you the impression of being very miserable; and for some reason or other, he could describe the
condition of general misery more vividly than I have ever had the pleasure (?) of hearing it described before. His misery
was mitigated to some extent, he said, when he took long walks with one or more friends, and became interested in their conversation.
(Patient difficult to treat, cured)
This case was remarkable for several reasons.
With all my knowledge of various methods of resting the eyes, he failed to obtain the slightest benefit from them. In fact
he said that when he tried the treatment, the pain, the depression, and his general misery, were increased alarmingly, and
instead of being a rest, it was actually an injury. He did not see a dark shade of black when he closed his eyes, but rather
various colors—red, blue, etc.
I tried to have him practice the swing, and I exhausted my knowledge of the various
kinds of swings, but was unable to have him practice successfully any swing that was of the slightest benefit; in fact, the
more he tried to follow my suggestions, the worse he felt. Again I tried him with memory, encouraging him to tell me of the
experiences he had had in Europe, in New York, and in his home town. He had absolutely no mental pictures, and although I
had usually been able to teach people how to imagine mental pictures, in this case I failed ignominiously.
I tried many
things that I knew and after I had exhausted the things that I had already practiced, I realized that I was up against it,
and had to devise and have him practice with benefit, something that I had never recommended before. As he could not think
of anything continuously without discomfort, I suggested that he let his mind drift. As he had a very active mind and was
continually thinking of a great many things, I suggested that he make no effort to keep his attention fixed on any one thing,
but let his eyes keep shifting from one object to another. I asked him not to strain his eyesight to see the things about
the room at all clearly, but rather to remember or specialize or think about objects in some other room. For example, when
he looked at a chair in the waiting room, I asked him to remember some other chair or other object that he had seen in some
It is not easy to describe what I mean by the drifting swing. Of course when he looked from right to left,
the objects seen moved from left to right; when he looked up the objects moved down, and the whole time that he spent in shifting
his eyes continuously to various parts of the room, some of the objects moved opposite to the direction of his shifting. His
mental pictures, if he had any, were remembered with so little responsibility on his part, that he felt no discomfort. Part
of the time he spent talking to some of the patients in the waiting room, and I encouraged him to take things easy, and to
be as comfortable as he knew how.
In this I believe, he succeeded, because when I invited him to go into another room,
where he could test his sight with the Snellen Test Card, he was smiling, a new experience for him. His vision for distance
was normal, and the speed with which he read all the letters on the test card was gratifying. The rest had given him, at least
temporarily, perfect sight for the distance, whereas before even with his glasses on his vision was less than one-half the
normal. He was also unable to read diamond type with or without his glasses. After practicing the drifting swing he read the
diamond type rapidly, perfectly and without any apparent effort, at less than twelve inches. Then he said to me,
do you think you can help me?"
I answered him, "Did you read the test card and the fine print perfectly?"
"Yes," he answered and blushed.
That was the first time I ever saw a man blush under such circumstances.
The blush was to me an admission that he realized that I had given him a temporary cure.
He sends me patients from time
to time, who report that his eyes seem to be cured without glasses.
All this happened some years ago, and I have been
able in many other cases, to obtain good results with the drifting swing, when other treatment had failed.
FAILURES: There are some people who have great difficulty
in demonstrating the illusion of stationary objects moving. Persons with imperfect sight do not ever imagine perfectly the
optical swing. By practicing resting the eyes, testing the memory and imagination, they may after some weeks, months, or a
longer period, become able to imagine a short, as well as a long swing. The failure to imagine that stationary objects are
moving, is always due to a stare or strain. One can stare in looking straight ahead with the center of sight, and one can
stare by trying to see with the sides of the retina, eccentric fixation.
The normal eye is only at rest when it is moving,
and the optical swing can be demonstrated.
Modern improved, combined version of most of these swings
is the 'Infinity Swing, Figure Eight'. See pictures at www.cleareyesight.info
Stories from the Clinic
47: My Young Assistant
By EMILY C. LIERMAN
ONE evening while treating some patients in my home, Baby Ethel, aged three,
who had been living with us for over two years, came into the room and sat in a big armchair observing the treatment and listening
to every word that passed between the patients and myself. She has large blue eyes, and when she is excited or interested
in anything her pupils dilate and the iris seems to change color.
When I told one of the patients to palm for ten minutes
Ethel placed her hands over her eyes also. She kept perfectly still for about two minutes and then we heard a pitiful sigh.
I watched and presently two little fingers of her right hand began to separate and she peeped. When she saw me smile she quickly
removed her hands from her eyes and for a while she sat quietly. Presently she left the room to join other members of my family.
After my patients had departed I discovered her in a room ordering the head of the household to palm. She was pointing with
her little finger to an imaginary test card on the screen door. The head of the house certainly needs to do some palming and
also to practice other things to improve his imperfect sight. Sometimes those whom we love are not easily persuaded to do
the things that benefit them, but here was this little three-year-old very seriously giving him a treatment. Then she demanded:
"Take down your hands and read the card. Do you see the R? Now close your eyes and 'member it," she demanded. He
did so in all sincerity. "Now open your eyes and read some more." He mentioned several letters and then she said:
"Swing your body, side to side, and see letters swinging opposite."
He got up and swung as he was told, as
all of us looked on in amazement, not daring to laugh, knowing that the little lady was very sensitive.
said she, "sit down and read some more letters."
He read very faithfully, following her little finger as she
touched various parts of the screen door. All of a sudden she complained: "You are staring. You shouldn't stare; that
"Well," said he, "what must I do, then?"
"You must blink your eyes. Just
let me show you how."
She stood before him, blinking and swinging her body from side to side, looking as serious
as a judge. At this moment, to our sorrow, we all laughed. I myself could not hold back a moment longer. That broke the spell,
and my little three-year-old assistant began to cry. But since then her efforts have not been in vain, for I notice that her
patient still keeps up the treatment. I am grateful to Baby Ethel in that she was able to accomplish more for him than I could
While we were sitting in our garden one day an aeroplane passed over our place, and as it traveled on he was
able to see it miles away until it became so small to our view that it looked like a small black spot. He then closed his
eyes for a while and afterward he read a newspaper for a half hour or so. It has been a long time since he was able to read
for that length of time.
When our friends called on us Baby Ethel was ever ready to show them how to palm and swing.
She directed her mother to palm if her head ached or if she suffered any pain. Ethel was sincere about it all, because, as
she explained it, "Dr. Bates helps big people and little people that way in his office."
She knew Doctor very
well and would talk to him about reading the test card to help children's eyes. She has perfect sight. Her eyes are never
still and she blinks unconsciously all day long. If only adults would follow her example there would be less eye strain. I
am very grateful for what she accomplished for my husband. Does not the Bible say: "And a little child shall lead them."
Some Clinic Cases
By DR. J. M. WATTERS
IN the two years we have been using Dr. Bates' eye system in our offices
we have discovered that our most interesting and unusual cases are to be found in the free Clinic. When this Clinic was opened
last October we expected a few scattered patients to take advantage of our offer of free treatment, but great was our surprise
on the first evening to find our offices and even the corridors of the building filled with men, women and children of all
descriptions, each one pathetically eager to take one more chance at saving his eyesight. The variety of cases was great,
ranging from simple refractive errors to various forms of squint, cataract and glaucoma.
One very interesting case which
we treated was that of a man thirty-one years old, who ten years previous had been hit in the right eye with a golf stick.
He had been advised many times to have the eye removed surgically, as the eyeball was constantly inflamed. When we first examined
him his vision was dim at 10/70, and his near point negative. When our Clinic closed for the summer his vision had improved
to 10/15, the inflammation was no longer present, and his near point was positive.
Another interesting case was that
of a young man with congenital cataracts of the zonulur type in both eyes. The cataract in the right eye had apparently remained
stationary, but the left had started to spread, which was his reason for coming to the Clinic. At that time the vision in
the right eye was 10/30 and in the left 10/40. His near point was 12". After eight visits his vision was 10/10 in both
eyes and his near point 6".
A man sixty-six years of age, suffering from glaucoma, came for treatment after being
told by six different specialists that only an operation could help him. We examined him and found the distant point 10/30
in both eyes, his near point negative, and a tension of 40 mm. of mercury in both eyes. At the time the Clinic closed his
vision was 10/15 in both eyes, near point positive, and tension reduced to 25 mm. of Hg.
Another case of glaucoma that
was of special interest was that of a man sixty years old who showed the hemorrhagic type of this disease in the right eye,
with total loss of vision and a tension of 40. There was also a complicating cataract. The vision in his left eye was 10/30
and the near point was negative. When he discontinued treatment at the Clinic his left eye was normal for both the distant
and the near point. In the right eye the hemorrhagic condition had entirely disappeared, the tension was reduced to 23, and
the cataract was beginning to disappear. I believe that eventually the right eye will clear up entirely. The astonishing feature
of this ease was that an operation had been advised as the only means of relief, and one physician had even suggested removing
We had a number of hyperopic, presbyopic and myopic patients, all of whom responded readily to treatment.
Among the myopic type we found several patients with a vision of only 10/200 in both eyes, and in a very short time they were
able to read 10/15 and 10/10. Hyperopic and presbyopic patients who were unable to read diamond type when they first came
in for treatment were soon able to read fine print as they could large headlines in a newspaper. Patients who complained of
constant pain in their eyes, or of the inability to read or sew without discomfort, were greatly relieved and in many cases
absolutely cured after a few visits.
We reopened our Clinic on the evening of November 6 at seven o'clock, in our offices
at 2 Lombardy Street, Newark, New Jersey. The work will be continued throughout the winter and spring on Tuesday and Friday
evenings. We trust that readers of Better Eyesight will take a personal interest in this Clinic and help to make it an even
greater success than it was last year.
Report of the League Meeting
By MAY SECOR, Recording Secretary
THE November meeting of the Better Eyesight League was held on November 6th,
at 383 Madison Avenue. Dr Clinton E. Achorn, an osteopathic physician of this city, was the speaker of the evening. Dr. Achorn
is a former pupil of Dr. Bates and has now been practicing the Bates' Method for some time.
The speaker presented a very
encouraging report of the results he has obtained, correcting defective vision without the use of glasses. He emphasized the
importance of the use of the memory and imagination in this work and reported a case in which the vision improved fifty per
cent within twenty-four hours after the patient had secured adequate use of his memory and imagination. Perfect relaxation
is also essential in the correction of visual defects. Sight is impaired by strain, and fatigue follows effort.
cases of defective vision in children may be cured as the result of one lesson; normal use of the imagination and memory,
and the facility with which the child relaxes, are helpful elements in these cases. The absence of mental strain in a child
is due largely to the fact that he usually forgets quickly; when his attention is called to a new object, the former object
of his attention is forgotten, and so on throughout the day. The application of this principle in the correction of defective
vision will prove helpful: one should see best the object or letter at which he is looking; and, proceeding to the next object
or letter, he should forget the former object of his attention.
At the close of Dr. Achorn's interesting address, Dr.
Bates discussed requested subjects. Dr. Bates explained the failure of hypnotism and faith in correcting defective vision
as due to the presence of effort; effort precludes relaxation.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 8th,
1924, at 8 o'clock, 383 Madison Avenue.
a Good Start with Some New Resolutions
By EMILY A. MEDER
remarked recently that "promises were made to be broken." I wonder if the same train of thought is carried out with
New Year's resolutions. How many of us conscientiously adhere to them throughout the year. Yet, the fact that we have made
them is in our favor, for from time to time during the year they spring to life and we renew them for another week, until
Resolutions, however, are made for one's own benefit—either financially, physically or spiritually.
Begin now with the right attitude towards your eyes, and resolve that you will treat them decently. It is not necessary to
pamper them; just give them half a chance and they will do the rest. Resolve that:
1. You will not overwork them by staring.
2. You will relieve them from duty by blinking constantly.
Eyes are like sentinels; they are tense while on duty and must have systematic relief.
3. Palm frequently. This is relaxation
to the eyes and is what play is to the soldier. One always works better for having a little play.
4. Swing and see objects
moving. This is good exercise and keeps the eyes "in trim."
5. Read small print as much as possible. This requires
relaxation. You cannot read fine print very well if you strain. Large print you can read under a strain.
Let these five rules govern your eye action. They aren't difficult, and become
a good habit with practice. After all, your eyes will appreciate it, and perfect sight is worth "resolving" for.
A Glaucoma Case
By DR. HAROLD J. GEIS
MRS. Z., the mother of four children and the wife of a very wealthy farmer,
was referred to me by a local physician who apparently believed what I said when I told him I felt reasonably sure that I
could benefit a glaucomatous case which he had been unsuccessful in treating for several weeks. He wanted the lady to undergo
an operation (an iridectomy) but she refused, thanks to the Lord and Dr. Bates.
When she called on me she felt rather
skeptical, but as she said afterwards, "I was willing to take a chance inasmuch as it did not necessitate an operation."
She was unable to recognize the big "C" at six feet. In fact she could not count the fingers on my right hand
at five feet. When she tried to read the card I noted a slight tilting of the head, and I felt sure this was due to eccentric
fixation. I explained to her that she made an effort to see every character on the card equally well, and that if she wanted
to improve her vision and see perfectly she should see one letter best and all the other letters on the Snellen Test card
worse. I then had her palm for ten minutes, after which she was able to read the 10/70 line. Then I told her to "flash,"
trying not to see the characters all equally well but just the one she was looking at should be seen best and all the other
letters worse. She was enabled by this exercise to read the 10/40. Her husband, who was standing beside me while I was treating
her, said: "Ann, how do you like it?" and she replied, "Dr. Geis has hypnotized me."
treatments she can read, write, sew, and to her most important of all, go to the movies. She thinks her cure is miraculous
and so do her many friends, but as I tell them, "It's all in a day's work" and simple if one understands the fundamental
principle, which is muscular relaxation, of the Bates Method correctly applied.
The Question Mark
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q—When doing the swing, does one move the head or the eyes?
A—The eyes are always
moved; moving the head also may help.
Q—Does massaging help the eyes?
the eyes to become bloodshot? How is it cured?
A—The cause is strain. It is cured by relaxation.
practicing under a strong electric light as beneficial as practicing in the sun?
A—It may be.
the eyes and resting them during business hours as efficient as palming?
Q—Can one remember
perfectly and see imperfectly?
Q—What is the quickest cure for imperfect sight?
something perfectly. If you imagine the white Snellen Test Card perfectly white, you'll see the letters perfectly black. If
you see them perfectly black, you can tell what they are.