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July 1925

Swaying – Astigmatism – Stories From The Clinic: 65. Cataract – Palming – The Dream King – Announcements - Suggestions to Patients: The Use Of The Snellen Test Card by Emily C. Lierman (8 Steps) – Dark Glasses – Questions and Answers



July, 1925


It is a great help in the improving of vision to have the patient demonstrate that staring at one part of a letter at ten feet or further is a difficult thing to do for any length of time without lowering the vision and producing pain, discomfort, or fatigue. With the eyes closed it is impossible to concentrate on the memory or the imagination of a small part of one letter continuously without a temporary or more complete loss of the memory or the imagination.
When an effort is made to think of one part of a letter continuously with the eyes closed, the letter is imagined to be stationary. When the imagination shifts to the right of the letter a short distance and then to the left alternately, every time the attention is directed to the right, > the letter is always to the left, < and when the attention is directed to the left < of the letter, the letter is always to the right >. By alternating, the patient becomes able to imagine the letter is moving from side to side, and as long as the movement is maintained the patient is able to remember or imagine the letter. It can be demonstrated that to remember a letter or other object to be stationary always interferes with the perfect memory of the letter. One cannot remember, imagine, or see an object continuously unless it is moving. The movement must be slow, short, and easy.
When patients stare habitually, the eyes become more or less fixed, and are moved with great difficulty. When the patient stands and sways the whole body from side to side, it becomes easier to move the eyes in the same direction as the body moves. No matter how long the staring has been practiced, the sway at once lessens it.


By W. H. Bates, M.D.

The word has frightened a great many people. When a patient has astigmatism, it means that the shape of the eyeball is changed from the normal sphere to one that is lopsided. One may be near-sighted and have in addition a certain amount of astigmatism. The same is true in the far-sighted eye, which may have at the same time a certain amount of astigmatism. In most cases the front part of the eyeball, the cornea, is the part affected.
In making the diagnosis of astigmatism, the so-called astigmatic chart has been highly recommended. It has been used for more than fifty years and is still popular. The chart consists of vertical, horizontal, and oblique lines. When a patient has astigmatism, the lines running in one direction appear more distinct than the lines running in other directions. I do not consider the astigmatic chart a very good or reliable test, because many patients with no astigmatism have imagined the lines in one direction to be much plainer than the lines at right angles to them. Also, in many cases of astigmatism, all the lines may be seen with equal clearness. Another objection to the test is that when some patients with normal eyes and with no astigmatism, regard the astigmatic chart, a high degree of temporary astigmatism has been produced, which was demonstrated by other tests - retinoscope, ophthalmometer.
The instrument for the diagnosis of corneal astigmatism is called the ophthalmometer. When the normal eye was examined with its aid, the curvature of the cornea has been found to be normal in all directions. When the eye was under a strain, the curvature changed, sometimes being more convex in one meridian than in all the others, or one meridian might be flatter than the other meridians. The axis of the astigmatism produced by a strain has been observed to vary, increase or diminish, while the instrument was being used.
When the patient remembered perfect sight, no astigmatism was manifest and the curvature of the cornea remained normal. When a letter or other object was remembered by the patient, one part best-central fixation, no astigmatism was produced. When astigmatism was present, the amount was lessened or it disappeared altogether when central fixation was remembered or imagined. It can be demonstrated that no astigmatism of the cornea can be observed with the aid of the ophthalmometer when the patient is able to remember or imagine letters or other objects by central fixation.
It is also a truth that when things are remembered or imagined to be moving with a slow, short, regular, continuous, easy swing, no astigmatism is present when the cornea is examined with the ophthalmometer. The demonstration cannot be made by an observer who does not understand what is meant by the ocular swing.
Rapid blinking also lessens or corrects corneal astigmatism temporarily or more continuously when done properly. When done under a strain, astigmatism may be produced or increased. The ophthalmometer demonstrated the facts.
Sun-gazing, when practiced in such a way as to improve the vision, also is followed by an immediate benefit to the astigmatism, as observed by the ophthalmometer.
It has been noted that after the eyes are closed (palming) for some minutes or longer, and rested, when they are first opened, an immediate improvement in the astigmatism is manifest.
Any form of treatment which was a benefit to the vision of the patient was also a benefit to the astigmatism, as demonstrated by the ophthalmometer.
The textbooks on the eye have for many years published that most, if not all, cases of astigmatism occur at birth, or that they are congenital. It was supposed to be a permanent condition, but further study of astigmatism has shown that it may be acquired at any age. School children have been observed to acquire astigmatism at the age of eight, ten, fifteen years, or older. When the eyes were examined periodically, the astigmatism in many cases had changed. It is capable of increasing or of decreasing. It is an interesting fact that some cases do recover without treatment. This suggests the possibility of successful treatment.
In the normal eye astigmatism can be produced by a strain to see either at the distance or at the near point. At first it is temporary, but later may become more permanent. Astigmatism can always be corrected by relaxation or rest. When the imperfect sight of astigmatism can be corrected by glasses, it is called regular astigmatism, but when the vision cannot be improved to the normal in this way, it is called irregular astigmatism.
Many scientific articles have been written on irregular astigmatism which are offered as evidence that it is incurable. The men who wrote these articles did not cure irregular astigmatism and, therefore, being authorities in the medical profession, they stated that nobody else could cure it; and, furthermore, anyone who claimed to be able to cure this form of astigmatism must be a charlatan, and should be expelled from the medical profession.
Irregular astigmatism is produced by eyestrain and relieved or cured by relaxation or rest. Most cases of ulceration of the front part of the eyeball, the cornea, produce a scar which is more or less opaque. Irregular astigmatism is also caused by ulceration of the cornea.

Patients who cannot stand the light, photophobia, suffer very much from eyestrain. These cases acquire astigmatism which is usually corrected by encouraging the patients to become accustomed to the strong light of the sun. Ulceration of the front part of the eye occurs quite frequently in young children who live in the tenement houses where the light is poor. Astigmatism is found after the ulcerations have healed. Irregular astigmatism has usually been cured by the sun treatment with the aid of the swing, central fixation, and the memory of perfect sight.
Advanced cases of conical cornea have irregular astigmatism, which heretofore has not been relieved by various kinds of operations, glasses, or any other form of treatment. In this disease the front part of the eyeball becomes much thinner and an opening may form with great harm to the eye. In one of my early cases conical cornea occurred in both eyes with one very much worse than the other. It reminded me that when the eyeball is elongated in nearsightedness or myopia, the bulging appears at the back part of the eyeball, which has been called Posterior Staphyloma. These cases have recovered after a long period of treatment. A temporary cure has been demonstrated with the aid of the ophthalmoscope by the memory of perfect sight. The same is true of conical cornea, which also disappears temporarily with the aid of the memory of perfect sight. These cases become worse by the memory of imperfect sight. Staring always increases the bulging and makes the vision worse.
Conical cornea with its irregular astigmatism, occurs not only in adults but, like near-sightedness, is found also in young children. For such cases the swing has been a great benefit. The mother or nurse can stand facing the child, take both hands and sway from side to side for several minutes or longer. Teaching the child to dance is also a great help. Playing games requiring movement, like running, prevents the stare or strain in most cases. It is well to remember, however, that when the child is moving more or less rapidly from one place to another, the stare is always possible. Encourage the child to look from one place to another. The old-fashioned game of “Puss in the Corner” is a great benefit to the eyes. In this game the child is constantly shifting his eyes from one place to another.
The child should enjoy the games, especially when adults join in the game. Often times a young patient will become quite boisterous and scream with excitement and pleasure. He may be as noisy as he likes. He may play, laugh, and scream and become very much excited with great benefit to the astigmatism. It is well to exclude all children who carry around with them a grouch, or who make the patient uncomfortable by teasing him.
In my office there have been times when a child made so much noise that my other patients were interested, and too often, perhaps, disturbed. Between the mother, the child, and myself, we have had quite a riot with a great deal of noise and loud laughter on the part of the child, but always the astigmatism improved. Anything that helps the child is justifiable. Don’t forget that children, as a rule, enjoy themselves more when they are allowed to make a noise than when they are expected to stay quite. The kindergarten methods of teaching should be practiced. The Montessori system is also a great help in relieving irregular astigmatism from any cause, as well as conical cornea.

One of my worst cases of irregular astigmatism occurred in a woman, seventy-five years of age, who gave a history of ulcerations of the cornea, for a long period of years. After each attack, opacity of the cornea appeared, and with repeated attacks the opacities increased until the patient was unable to count fingers. She was recommended to sit in the sun with her eyes closed, holding her head in such a way that the sun shone directly on her closed eyelids. Most of the time while she was awake, she practiced the long and the short swing alternately. After a number of months her vision improved so that she became able to thread a needle and do some sewing. She became able to read fine print without the aid of glasses. Her vision for the Snellen test card was also materially improved.


No. 65: Cataract

By Emily C. Lierman

Mother Jones

A friend of mine who knows me very well, perhaps better than I do myself, asked me if I ever got tired of clinic work, do I ever tire of treating obstinate cases – those who take a long time to cure. No, indeed, I do not. The harder a case is to benefit, the better I like it. I never tire of my patients, but I get tired myself. We appreciate rest all the more when precious work like ours makes us tired.
Mothers of the clinic, that is, most of them, are restful to me. I love to treat them. To see tenderness, the loving expression come to their faces, always brings a perfect mental picture of the Madonna to my mind. When Mother Jones comes, she gives me that picture.
Her first visit was on November 1st, 1924. She brought with her a note written by her pastor. Dr. Bates had cured many of his friends, so he was sure we could do something for Mother Jones. Her age was sixty-seven and she was troubled with cataract in both eyes. Her vision became defective about four years ago. Dr. Bates' examination with the ophthalmoscope showed a red reflex in the right eye, but none in the left.
After Dr. Bates had left the room, Mother Jones began to talk. I believe as long as I live I shall always remember the sound of her voice. When I compared her with the Madonna, I was not trying to give the impression that Mother Jones is beautiful of face or form. She is of the ordinary motherly type. But the impression one receives while looking at her, listening to her tender voice, suggests something holy. She did not know of anyone who had been benefited by the Bates method, but her pastor had sent her, that was enough. She is very poor, but her son and family are taking care of her. When I told her that the only way for her to be cured was to practice faithfully every day, and to do exactly as she was told, she promised to do her part. When I tested her sight with the test card, she read 10/70 with both eyes together. Her vision with the right eye was 10/70, but she could not see the card at all with the left eye at ten feet.
She was instructed to palm and to think of something pleasant, something easy to remember. I left her by herself for about ten minutes, and when I returned she had not stirred, and her eyes were still covered with the palms of her hands. I told her to keep her right eye covered, but to open her left eye and tell me what she could see. I held the test card five inches from her left eye, and at that distance she saw the 200 line letter C. She sighed with relief when she discovered that her left eye was not really blind, but was made so by strain and tension. In this short time the benefit she received from palming proved to her that her cataract was caused by strain.
I placed her in the sun, and while her eyes were closed, I used the sun-glass on her eyelids. I could see her relax, and she smiled as she felt the warmth of the sun's rays. I led her back to her chair and told her to open her eyes and read the test card. Her vision had improved to 10/30, reading with both eyes. She was instructed to practice ten minutes many times every day, alternately palming, blinking, and flashing letters on the test card.
Mother Jones came once a week without missing a treatment, and each time her vision improved with but two exceptions, when it remained the same as on the previous visit. On her second visit she read 10/30 after palming, and on the third treatment 10/20.
This dear mother appreciated the sunshine more than any cataract case I ever had. On dark and rainy days, she was always despondent and nervous, but the sound of her voice never changed. Once when she failed to appear for treatment, I feared she was ill, and I worried about her. I had noticed that her clothes were none too warm during the cold days, and thought perhaps that was the reason for her absence.
While I was thinking about my bank account, a letter came from a private patient who is also one of my adopted mothers. She comes from Ohio, where I have many friends. Her gratitude for the great benefit she has received from Dr. Bates prompted her to send a sum of money to be used in making my clinic family happy. Mother Jones and another poor mother with a big family, and dear old Pop, who lives in a home for the Blind, shared in the loving thoughts of my mother from the West.
Mother Jones soon returned to thank me for the gift and to explain why she had been absent. Her son had become a daddy, and both the mother and baby were doing fine. After my joy had been expressed over this great event, I produced a strange test card which she had not seen before, and placed it ten feet from her eyes. Some of our readers may doubt it, but I do believe that the little stranger from heaven had something to do with the improvement in the vision of her grandmother. She read 10/20 with her left eye.
Soon after, I was called upon to take charge of our private practice because of the illness of our dear Dr. Bates. Captain Price of London, England, who is practicing the Bates system successfully in his country, was in our office at the time and offered to help me and my wonderful assistant of the clinic, Miss Mildred Shepard. I placed Mother Jones in his care. His record showed on February 7, 1925, right vision of the white C card - 10/20, left vision - 10/20. At her second treatment by Captain Price, her right vision was 10/15, left vision 10/15, reading white letters on black card.
Some ophthalmologists would certainly appreciate this, if they would only study and practice the Bates system. What further proof is necessary to convince those of pessimistic minds, that our method of curing people without glasses is a purely scientific one?
Mother Jones is still under treatment, but it will not be long before she will enjoy normal sight. She tells everyone who will listen to her, about how much better she sees and how much better she feels, since she knows how to relax and relieve her eyestrain.


(Miss Elisabeth Hansen of Chicago, a teacher in the sixth grade, has done wonderful things for her pupils. She has taught them palming, which has relieved their nervousness, improved their memory and imagination, and their sight. The testimony of these children is so interesting, that we feel some of it should be published. The children not only benefited themselves, but they also benefited other children, their parents and their friends. – W.H.B.)
Palming is the greatest discovery I have read about. It has made me so happy. At first I could not see a thing. I spent money trying to cure my eyes, but nothing could help me. I heard of a great doctor teaching imagination and memory. So I wished for that doctor to teach me how it was to be done. My teacher knew of him and inside of a month palming four times a day, my imagination was getting better and my memory brought back the day when I was younger and I remembered the time l played with my eyes. But when I am old enough I shall travel to all parts of the world to show people how to use and take care of their eyes.
Joseph De Fiore.
I think palming is the best thing in the world, because it makes your eyesight good. I’m sure that if I keep palming all the time my brains and nerve will get better. The first time I never liked to do it, but then I got used to it and now I do it every day and every second I get. One day while I was going home I met my girlfriend. We were talking about our eyesight and I told her that my teacher teaches all the room every day. I told her that I would teach her how to do it, if she wanted to. So she took my offer and she said to me, “Come on Margaret, let’s go to my house, I went and she said, “Teach me how”. I taught her how to swing and palm. Her name was Marie. She thanked me very much. The next day she brought other girls I knew and I taught them the same thing.
Margaret Micalett.
Palming has done a great deal for me. I can read the smallest letters on the chart. I do much better imagination than I used to do. I have learned better English and can read better, etc. I have taught my two sisters how to palm. One of them used to get terrible headaches. And since she started to palm she is getting rid of them. I have also taught them to swing and to read the chart. Now they are doing better.
Adeline Valentine.
One day a boy friend of mine dropped a half-dollar. He was looking for it, but could not find it. Of course he had had trouble with his eyes for over a year. I walked out of my yard and asked him what he was looking for and he told me about the half-dollar. I looked on the sidewalk and found it the minute I laid my eyes on the walk. He asked me how I came to have such strong eyesight, and I told him that our teacher taught a lesson to keep eyes in good condition. He asked me to come to his house. I told him that by palming, his eyes would be better. He asked me how many times a day. I told him six times or more. Then I heard my mother calling me. I went home. Inside of a week the boy took off his glasses, threw them in a box and told his mother he would never put them on again.
John Marshall.
Many years ago I had poor memory. I was persuaded by all nurses to wear glasses. One day my father bought me glasses. I tried in vain not to wear them, but I had to. Finally I got poorer memory and became sick. I told my father the glasses made me sick. The very minute my father broke them. My teacher taught me how to palm and swing. Soon my memory got to be good. I could see as good as any child in the room. This proves palming and swinging is good for memory and imagination.
Edward Yonan.


By George M. Guild

Georgie was eight years old. He had never seen the Dream King. His mother had promised to tell him all he wanted to know if for one day he did not lose his temper or cry when told to wear his large, heavy spectacles that hurt his nose and made his eyes pain.
One day he succeeded. While his mother sat in her rocking-chair she had a hard time to keep awake. Georgie spoke to her several times, but she did not hear him. While he sat there fretting, he was surprised to see a nice young man, about his own height, walk into the room, take him by the hand, and lead him away. He told him that he was taking him to see the Dream King.
Georgie jumped up and down with pleasure and laughed all the way. Pretty soon they came to Shadowland, where everything was more or less in the shadow, because the only light that Georgie could see was the light of the moon. Every once in a while the person who was conducting him would disappear and someone else would take his place. Sometimes it was a woman, and finally it was a little, old man. He told Georgie that he was the sand-man, who went around throwing sand into little boys’ eyes to make them go to sleep. But he did not throw sand into Georgie’s eyes. Instead, he kept him awake telling him such queer things that Georgie quite enjoyed his companionship.
Georgie was sorry to see him go when a blue fairy took his place. She led him to a large open space in a forest, where the grass was cut thin, and on which hundreds and thousands of fairies were having a good time. They were playing a very curious game. They had placed an elderly man on a throne and they crowned him with flowers. He held in his hand a short stick which they told Georgie was the wand of the Dream King. When he waved the wand, touched you, and you wished for something, your wish was granted, first in a dream and then later in reality. Immediately Georgie wished that his eyes would not hurt him any more, and that he could see perfectly without glasses.
The Dream King touched him with his wand and at once Georgie began to sway his body from side to side. His glasses fell from his face, and he found that he could see better without them than he had ever seen with them. It seemed to him as though everything were moving in the opposite direction. The trees, the fairies, and even the Dream King, were all moving in time with his movement. He remembered the faces of the boys that he had played with; he remembered his mother’s face-his mother’s face which was so tender, kind, and loving.
He became very much interested in what the Dream King was doing. People from various places were bringing all sorts of queer creatures to the Dream King. One fairy brought him a little duck, a few days old, which was about the ugliest duck that Georgie had ever seen. The Dream King touched it with his wand, and at once it became a beautiful swan. He saw caterpillars, ugly, sticky things. The Dream King touched them in turn with his wand, and they became beautiful moths or butterflies which flew away to where flowers were blooming. He saw children who were cripples and were unable to walk without crutches, but after the Dream King touched them with his wand, they threw away their crutches and left his presence laughing, singing, and dancing. It was astonishing to see all the animals, people and bugs who were relieved of all kinds of imperfections and obtain perfect health.
There was a beautiful fairy standing near Georgie. He spoke to her and asked her why she looked so sad. She told him that she had no soul and could never obtain one unless some mortal fell in love with her. Right away Georgie fell in love with her because she was so beautiful and nice. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, and thanked him for what he had done because now she had a soul and could be like real people.
Georgie was so pleased that he quickly took her to his mother. When he entered the room where he had left her, he found her still sleeping. He climbed up into her lap, threw his arms around her neck and kissed her. She woke and said: “Oh, Georgie, I had such a curious dream. For a long time I have been worried about you, because you had to wear glasses, but in my dream I imagined that the Dream King had cured you. Now that I am awake, I feel that your eyes are troubling you and that you will still have to wear awful glasses.”
Georgie laughed and said: “Oh, no. I never will have to wear my glasses again, because the Dream King has cured me. Although it was only a dream, I believe it will come true when you have the fairies to help you.” His mother said to him, “But you have no fairy to help you.”
“Oh, yes I have,” he answered, and introduced his fairy to her.
The mother looked so bewildered that he was quite sure she did not see the fairy. “Never mind, mother, I know that you do not see my fairy. I dreamed that I found her, and she is so sweet and lovable that I shall always dream, imagine, or believe that I have her. She has promised to help me keep up the swing, and to remember or imagine perfect sight all the time. I love her very much, I will always love her, and I know that I will never strain, stare, or hurt my eyes again.”



Dr. J. L. MacKinnon, a student of Dr. Bates, is using his method successfully in Kingston, New York. The June issue of “Better Eyesight” removed him from Kingston, New Jersey, in error.

Suggestions to Patients

By Emily C. Lierman


1 – Every home should have a test card.

2 – It is best to place the card permanently on the wall in a good light.

3 – Each member of the family or household should read the card every day.

4 – It takes only a minute to test the sight with the card. If you spend five minutes in the morning practicing with the card, it will be a great help during the day.

5 – Place yourself ten feet from the card and read as far as you can without effort or strain. Over each line of letters are small figures indicating the distance. Over the big C at the top is the figure 200.
       The big C, therefore, should be read at a distance of 200 feet.

6 – If you can only see to the fifth line, notice that the last letter on that line is a R. Now close your eyes, cover them with the palms of the hands and remember the R. If you will remember that the left side is straight, the right side partly curved and the bottom open, you will get a good mental picture of the R with your eyes closed. This mental picture will help you to see the letter directly underneath the R, which is a T.

7 – Shifting is good to stop the stare. If you stare at the letter T, you will notice that all the letters on that line begin to blur. It is beneficial to close your eyes quickly after you see the T, open them, and shift to the first figure on that line, which is a 3. Then close your eyes and remember the 3. You will become able to read all the letters on that line by closing your eyes for each letter.

8 – Keep a record of each test in order to note your progress from day to day.


Many people when they go from a dark room out into the bright sunlight are dazzled, and feel uncomfortable. If they put on dark glasses for a time, the eyes are more comfortable, and they are tempted to wear such glasses most of the time.
It is a common practice that when a patient goes to an eye doctor, and complains of the discomfort of the strong light of the sun, the doctor will recommend dark glasses, which are usually comfortable in the beginning. Later on, however, the eyes become accustomed to wearing dark glasses, and will feel uncomfortable when the light is good. They are practically in the same condition as they were when they first put them on.
Miners, who work underground who seldom see the daylight at all, always have diseased eyes. There are some diseases which cannot be cured without exposing the eyes to the light of the sun. No matter how strong it may be, while it may prove temporarily uncomfortable, the sun has never produced a permanent injury.
Many people purchase dark glasses along with their other vacation necessities, because they are afraid that the reflection of the sun on the water will harm their eyes. Others have found that by becoming accustomed to the strong light of the sun, their vision was materially improved, but by wearing glasses to protect their eyes, their vision always failed. The proper thing to do is to become used to the sun at all times and in all places. The eyes need sunlight. If they do not get it they become weak.
One of the best treatments is to focus the strong light of the sun on the white part of the eye with the aid of a burning glass (sunglass), which is kept moving from side to side to prevent the discomfort of the heat, while the patient is looking far down. In many cases treatment has accomplished in a few minutes a complete cure of sensitiveness to light.


Q- I have understood that if glasses are not worn, the sight becomes worse.
A - After wearing glasses and then removing them, the vision is always worse than if they had never been worn.

Q- When people remove their glasses, I notice their eyes look dull and expressionless.
A- It is due to the fact that wearing glasses has increased the stare.

Q- It is said that defective vision is due to a change in the shape of the eyeball. Does a cure by the Bates Method affect the shape of the eyeball?
A- When a person is cured by the Bates Method the eyes become normal and the expression is one of relaxation or rest without any strain. When the eyes are cured, the eyeball becomes normal in shape and is neither too long nor too short.

Q – Is it better for a myopic person to suffer inconvenience by not seeing at a distance without glasses, than to have them for special occasions?
A – When a myopic person desires to be cured without glasses, it is absolutely necessary to discard glasses permanently, and never to wear them even for emergencies.

(Some Modern Natural Vision Improvement teachers allow the patient to wear reduced, weaker eyeglass lenses if necessary for driving and other activities requiring safety. Even reduced lenses block vision improvement but not as much as strong lenses.)