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 December 1925 

Dizziness – Shifting – Stories From The Clinic: 70. Christmas at the Clinic – The Christmas Fairies - An Optometrist’s Experience; A Case of Chronic Headache, Cured in One Treatment, Far-Sight and Astigmatism, Glasses helped This Boy – An Oculist’s Experience – Some Interesting Cases





Dizziness is caused by eyestrain. Some people when standing on the roof of a house looking down, strain their eyes and become dizzy. Usually the dizziness is produced unconsciously. It can be produced consciously, however, by staring or straining to see some distant or near object.
Some persons when riding in an elevator are always dizzy and may suffer from attacks of imperfect sight with headache, nausea, and other nervous discomforts. An old lady, age sixty, told me that riding in an elevator always made her dizzy, and produced headaches with pain in her eyes and head. I tested her vision and found it to be normal both for distance and for reading without glasses. To obtain some facts, I rode in an elevator with her from the top to the bottom of the building and back again. I watched her eyes closely and found that she was staring at the floors which appeared to be moving opposite to the movement of the elevator. I asked her the question: “Why do you stare at the floors which appear to be moving by?”
She answered; “I do not like to see them move, and I am trying to correct the illusion by making an effort to keep them stationary. The harder I try, the worse I feel.”
I suggested to her that she look at one part of the elevator and looking at the floors. Her discomfort was at once relieved, and she was soon cured.
In all cases of dizziness, the stare or strain is always evident. When the stare or strain is relieved or prevented, dizziness does not occur.
With advancing years attacks of dizziness and blindness occur more frequently than in younger individuals. All attacks of dizziness with blindness are quite readily cured by practicing the imagination of the swing, the memory of perfect sight, or by palming.


By W. H. Bates, M.D.

Shifting: The point regarded changes rapidly and continuously.

A man with imperfect sight, who had obtained normal vision by my method of treatment without glasses, called about five years later and announced that the cure had proved permanent. His vision was normal when each eye was tested at twenty feet with Snellen test cards which he had not seen before.
He was asked, “What cured you?”
“Shifting.” he answered.
All persons with imperfect sight make an effort to stare with their eyes immovable. The eyes have not the ability to keep stationary. To look intently at a point continuously is impossible, the eyes will move, the eyelids will blink, and the effort is accompanied by an imperfect vision of the point regarded. In many cases the effort to concentrate on a point often causes headache, pain in the eyes and fatigue.
All persons with normal eyes and normal sight do not concentrate or try to see by any effort. Their eyes are at rest, and, when the eyes are at rest, they are constantly moving. When the eyes move, one is able to imagine all stationary objects in turn to be moving in the direction opposite to the movement of the head and eyes. It is impossible to imagine with equal clearness a number of objects to be moving at the same time, and an effort to do so is a strain which impairs the vision, the memory, or the imagination. To try to do the impossible is a strain, which always lowers the mental efficiency. This fact should be emphasized.
Many patients have difficulty in imagining stationary objects to be moving opposite to the movements of the eyes or head. When riding in a fast moving train, and one regards the telegraph poles or other objects which are seen,—the near objects may appear to be moving opposite to the direction in which the train is moving, while more distant objects may appear to move in the same direction as the train.
The above facts may also be imagined when traveling in an automobile. The driver of the car and others occupying a front seat may imagine the road to be moving toward the moving car. When pain, fatigue or other symptoms are present it always means that the individual is consciously or unconsciously trying to imagine stationary objects are not moving. The effort is a strain.

Walking and Eye Movement, Oppositional Movement
When walking about a room, the head and eyes move in the same direction as the body moves, and the carpet and the furniture appear to move in the opposite direction. However, it can be demonstrated that when the head and eyes are moving forward they are also moving from side to side. Every time the right foot is placed forward the eyes move to the right, while stationary objects appear to move in the opposite direction,—to the left; when the left foot steps forward the whole body, including the eyes moves to the left, while stationary objects appear to move in the opposite direction,—to the right.
Patients with normal vision are able to imagine this movement more readily than those with imperfect sight. The head and eyes also move upwards and downwards as the foot is lifted and lowered. When you raise your foot to take a step, the eyes go up, and everything else that is stationary appears to go down. When you lower your foot or head, the eyes go down, and stationary objects appear to go up.
Shifting when practiced with the best results is usually unconscious. Very few people with normal sight, which may be continuous for many years, ever notice that they are constantly shifting correctly. One may shift in a wrong way, strain the eyes, and fail to improve the vision. What is the right way? The right way to shift is to move the eyes from one point to another slowly, regularly, continuously, restfully, or easily without effort or without trying to see. The normal eye with normal sight has the habit of always moving or shifting, usually an unconscious habit. When, by practice, the eye with imperfect sight acquires the conscious habit of shifting, the habit may become unconscious. When the shifting is done properly, the memory, imagination, mental efficiency, and vision are improved until they become normal.
It often happens that when one consciously or intentionally shifts in the wrong way, a better knowledge of the right way to shift may be obtained. When the eyes are moved to the right, stationary objects should appear to move to the left; and, when the vision is good, all objects not regarded are seen less distinctly than those regarded. When the vision is imperfect, objects not observed may be seen better, or an effort is made to see them better than those directly observed. In fact, it is always true that in all cases of imperfect sight the eyes do not see best where they are looking, and central fixation is lost. To shift properly requires relaxation or rest. To shift improperly and lower the vision requires an effort. When one stares at a point, without blinking or shifting; fatigue, distress, or pain is felt. To continue to stare without shifting is hard work. To see imperfectly is difficult; and, when one regards letters which are blurred or not distinguishable either at the distance,—ten feet or further, or at a near point,—six inches or less, the strain on the eyes can be felt. Imperfect sight or a failure to see requires much trouble and hard work. This fact should be demonstrated repeatedly by the patient until thoroughly convinced that rest of the eyes, mind or body can only be obtained by shifting easily, continuously and without effort.
What is true of sight is also true of the memory and imagination. With the eyes closed, one can imagine that he is looking over the right shoulder for a moment and then shift the imaginary gaze over the left shoulder. By lightly touching the closed eyelids with the tips of the fingers he can feel the eyeballs moving from side to side when the shifting is done right. It can be done wrong when one, by an effort, imagines the eyeballs stationary under all conditions.
With the eyes closed, one can imagine alternately looking from one side of a letter to the other. When the imagination of the shifting is done right, the letter remembered is imagined to be moving from side to side. Two letters close together may be imagined or remembered clearly, provided one is imagined better than the other, or when the attention is shifted to each alternately without effort or strain.
Blinking is necessary to maintain normal vision in the normal eye. When blinking is prevented, the eyes become tired and the vision very soon becomes worse. Some persons, without knowing it, will blink five times in one second as demonstrated by the camera. When regarding a large letter of a Snellen test card at twenty feet or one foot, while blinking consciously, the letter appears to move up while the eyelids close slowly, and to move downwards as the eyelids are slowly opened. This apparent movement is caused by shifting the eyes up and down while blinking. (Blinking causes the eyes to shift automatically.) Many patients are unable to shift their eyes a short distance with benefit. When blinking, they may fail to obtain relaxation, because they too often blink with an effort. It is possible for most patients to demonstrate that the shifting of the eyes up and down improves the vision, when blinking is done easily, without effort. Blinking is very important. It is not the brief periods of rest obtained from closing the eyes which helps the sight so much as the shifting or movements of the eyes. It should be repeatedly demonstrated that the eyes are only at rest when they are shifting.


No. 70 - Christmas at the Clinic

By Emily C. Lierman

We had a lively time at the clinic last Christmas. Many poor souls were made happy at that time, because of the generous contributions received throughout the year for the clinic fund.
I still keep up the old custom of telling a Christmas story to my younger patients. Every time they come for treatment, I tell them to palm their eyes, and then I try to improve their memory and imagination, which always improves their sight. It is necessary to remind a child of pleasant things, and what is more wonderful to the child mind than a Christmas tree laden with toys and candies? While I am treating boys and girls at the age of twelve or older, I talk about ice skating or sleigh rides, hills of snow, the pure whiteness of the drifts, or I tell them to imagine they are making snow balls. This helps to improve their vision for the test card and relieves tension or pain. Young men and women who work in shops usually find it a benefit to imagine that objects about them are moving all day. I tell them to blink slowly, but constantly, and shift their eyes while blinking. This stops the stare which causes so much body fatigue. If I have had a hard day, treating the most difficult cases, I find it a great help to palm and remember some of my childhood days. I think back to the night before Christmas. Mothers will find it a great help in improving their own sight if they make a daily habit of spending ten or fifteen minutes with their children, palming and resting. Children can easily form mental pictures while palming, especially remembering the Christmas decorations in store windows, the funny mechanical toys, and animals that move about when they are wound up. Recalling or imagining such things, while their eyes are closed, helps to relieve the mind of school studies, which sometimes cause strain. Adults, especially mothers, listen to me while I am describing such things to the children in the clinic. When it comes time to treat the older patients, I find it quite easy to have them remember how surprised their children were on Christmas morning, when the tree and toys were discovered.
It was necessary to find out the ages of the children so that we could purchase suitable and useful gifts for them. There were sewing baskets for the older girls, and handkerchiefs, three in a box, for mothers and fathers. For the little girls, we had the dearest dollies, which we purchased at a reasonable price. Little boys received games and toys of all sorts, and enough money was given to a mother to buy a pair of baby shoes for her youngest.
One mother, who came quite regularly for several months before Christmas, was made very happy the day of our festival. She was invited to bring all of her children. There were seven and not one boy among them.
Dear old Pop from the Blind Men's Home of Brooklyn, was too feeble to be with us, but we remembered him just the same. Good smoking tobacco and some wearing apparel were sent to him and he was overjoyed.
While we were distributing the gifts, I suddenly remembered about the little rich boy who enjoyed a poor boy's gift the year before. There were a few toys left, and no more boys to receive them. The last little girl had received her doll and departed. There was one doll left behind. She was perched among the lower branches and looked rather lonesome. There was no one to claim her. I was rearranging the lights on the tree while all was quiet. When I turned away from the tree, I saw a little rich girl from the West, admiring the lonesome dollie. Dr. Bates also appeared on the scene, and when he nodded his head toward the little girl and then the doll, I understood what he meant. Both arms of the little girl reached out for a poor girl's gift. She held that dollie as though it were the only one in the world. I have learned so much about private and clinic patients, and I am glad to find that all boys and girls feel the same whether they are rich or poor.
Many thanks to my friends who make our clinic family happy at Christmas time.


By George M. Guild

The night before Christmas is the time when most little children are happy, wondering how many of the toys they have hoped for will be found under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. If it were not for the good fairies, Santa Claus would not know what each little child most desires. The fairies are always with the children, although they are not always seen. They know what the children are thinking, and what they are wishing for. The fairies are eager to help Santa Claus whenever he needs them, particularly on Christmas Eve when he is so busy.
In the country, where the snow does not melt quickly, Santa still travels in his sleigh driven by the reindeers. The jingle bells seem to say, “Good Cheer! Good Cheer!” and arouse merry thoughts in the hearts of all. It is different in the cities, where the snow is taken away as soon as it falls. Santa Claus has to use either his automobile or his aeroplane. (Unless he is able to land his sleigh on the roof and go down a chimney.)
In a crowded part of the city, where many poor people lived, the boys and girls were sad and lonely at Christmas time. One little girl, whose name was Mary, had no mother nor father, no sisters nor brothers. She had a great deal of trouble with her eyes and could scarcely see. While the other children in the neighborhood were looking in at the shop windows, wishing for the wonderful toys, little Mary went to sleep on her cot, hopeful that Santa Claus would not forget her. While she slept, the fairies and Santa Claus were very busy. The Queen of the Fairies gathered all the other fairies together. Some were sent to the woods for the largest Christmas tree that they could find. Others were sent to Toyland to bring back stacks and stacks of toys so that all the children could receive what they desired. All night long the Christmas fairies went back and forth from Toyland to the playground, where the large tree was placed for all to see it. They decorated the tree with strings of popcorn, long golden and silver ropes, and beautiful ornaments. The toys were arranged on all the branches and beneath the tree, too. The Fairy Queen touched the Christmas tree with her wand and many colored lights blazed forth. Just then Santa Claus arrived in his aeroplane and was very pleased with the work of the fairies. Soon after that the fairies climbed in the aeroplane with Santa Claus and sailed off to take care of other children.
When daylight came, the children looked out of their windows to see if the snow had fallen in the night. There in the center of the playground stood the beautiful tree. They ran outdoors, calling to their playmates as they went along. Soon an enormous crowd was gathered about the Christmas tree. They were all very excited and made a mad scramble for the toys, and they soon carried off all the presents they wanted. It took Mary longer than the others to reach the tree, because she could not see so well and had to walk slowly and carefully. Then, too, the crowd of children was so large and their eagerness so great that they did not think of little Mary, and she was pushed here and there. Finally, when the children had gone, Mary approached the tree, but she could not see any toys. She sat down and was about to cry when she heard the tinkling of bells and suddenly caught a glimpse of shining lights. She came very close to the tree, and there was one lone toy left among the branches. Mary reached for it and grasped it in her hands. She tried hard to see what it was, but all that she could see were two blinking lights, and each time they blinked they became a more beautiful color. As she continued to look at them, unknowingly she began to blink, too, and all at once she saw a little red and gold jester with cap and bells, and the ugliest face that she had ever seen. That was why all the other children had left it there. But she soon forgot his ugly face when she looked at his eyes again. As they blinked they changed from gold to blue, from blue to yellow, and from yellow to green, and again to a bright scarlet. They danced and twinkled all the while. Then the jester himself began to sway from side to side. This made Mary feel like swaying, and she began to move in time with the movements of the jester. All the while the bells on his cap jingled sprightly tunes for them, making Mary very jolly and gay. Then the jester began to hop up and down, and dance all about, turning ‘round and round’. Mary began to dance, too. They danced here and they danced there, and they danced everywhere. They were circling around the tree when suddenly Mary stood still, surprised. She could see! Everything had become very bright. The jester nodded wisely. He knew it had not happened just then; it had been going on ever since she blinked and swayed and danced with him, but Mary had been too happy to realize the wonderful thing that had happened to her. She looked all about,—the whole playground seemed to sparkle. The Christmas tree had become very green, and she could see even the little needles on the boughs. Mary could not understand all this. The jester chuckled to himself. He knew it was the most natural thing in the world. Fairies just live to help people, and they think nothing of the things that everyone call miracles.
“Why! I believe it is you who have helped me,” Mary suddenly said to the jester. “I do believe you are a fairy!”
The jester nodded, bowed, twirled around gaily and then blinked at Mary.
“I know,” exclaimed Mary, “it is the wonderful things you do with your eyes that have helped me.”
The jester nodded twice this time and bowed low. Mary hugged him tightly and ran to tell the other children about the Fairy Jester. What she did not know was that he was the Prince of the Jesters in disguise and went about curing people just as he had cured Mary.


By Dr. Paul Hotson

Editor’s Note - Dr. Hotson is among the first optometrists to practice the cure of imperfect sight without glasses. This does not mean that he has given up prescribing glasses, but it means that he can now offer his customers a choice of treatment with or without glasses.
For many years people have been taught to believe that there is no relief from eye troubles, except through glasses, and it is hard to make them believe anything else.
Sixteen years ago, I started practicing Optometry, and still hold a license. Fourteen years of that time I swallowed and digested the old theory of refraction, although it is full of contradictions which could be demonstrated to the average optometrist in a few minutes.
According to the old theory, near-sight is incurable, but when you improve the vision of a near-sighted child until it can read two or three lines down on the test card, or even obtain normal vision in one treatment, the old theory falls to pieces. These facts have never been brought to the attention of optometrists in general.
Eyestrain can be cured so easily in the average child by Dr. Bates’ method that it should be against the law to fit children with glasses. I predict that within twenty-five years there will not be a child wearing glasses in either the United States or Canada.


Girl, 16 years old, Right eye 10/10, Left eye 10/10 (with one mistake). Had headache constantly for over a year, medicine did not relieve, and at times she was not able to sleep at night on account of the pain. Right eye had turned slightly in and patient saw double. Headache was completely relieved during first treatment by palming and the memory of a dahlia, which was her favorite flower. She came to my office twice a week and was cured in ten days. The treatment consisted of palming, swinging, blinking and the memory of a small letter o. Her vision Improved to 22/10 and both eyes became straight.


Child ten years old. Vision 10/30. After palming ten minutes, swinging improved the vision to 10/10 in each eye during the first treatment.


Girl thirteen years old. Had worn strong specially ground lenses for three years on account of headache. She was instructed to palm fifteen minutes, five times a day, swing small letters on the test card and read her school books by looking at the spaces between the lines. When she came for the third treatment, which was seven days after I first saw her, the headache had disappeared. She is now able to study as long as she likes without the least inconvenience.
(When reading the print; the eyes look directly at the print. Looking at the white spaces is done before reading the print.)


Boy 14 years old. Without glasses he read 12/10 with only three mistakes, and at ten feet he could read all of them with each eye separately. In two weeks his vision improved to 15/10. Headaches disappeared and he had no more trouble with his eyes. Palming fifteen minutes four times a day, and swinging the small letters cured him.
He had worn near-sighted lenses for four years to relieve headaches. While this boy was not near-sighted, he contrived to enjoy great comfort from the lenses. So much so that when he forgot them, he would go back a mile in order to have the glasses for his school work.


By E. F. Darling, M.D.

Editor’s Note - This contribution from an oculist of twenty years’ experience in one of the largest Eye Hospitals in the United States is of unusual interest. He is to be congratulated on his perseverance in going without glasses so long before his sight for reading had sufficiently improved to do his work properly. He has not told of the opposition and loss of many of his old friends because he did not prescribe glasses for his patients.
I have been practicing medicine as an ophthalmologist for the last twenty years. During a period of eighteen years prior to 1923, I spent a large part of my time putting glasses on my helpless patients.

However, for the last two years I have been trying to make amends by removing their glasses as rapidly as possible.
The first time I heard of Dr. Bates’ work was from an article in one of the medical journals about fifteen years ago. The article made some impression on me, because it was entirely at variance with our accepted views as to the cause and cure of defective vision. In the clinic I attended, at one of the largest eye hospitals, most of the men seemed to know nothing about Dr. Bates. Some thought he was a quack, while others said he was insane.
About three years ago I received notice of the publication of his book, “Perfect Sight Without Glasses,” and at that time I decided to purchase the book and see what it was all about. The thing slipped my mind for another year or so, when one of my old patients came into my office without her glasses on and said she had been working with Dr. Bates. Her vision was much improved, and she wanted to know if I could continue the same kind of treatment with her. I was obliged to confess that I knew nothing about his methods, but I believe I at least volunteered the information that he ought to be in jail.
The next day I went over to the Central Fixation Publishing Company and bought the book. When I reached home, I started reading it and didn’t stop until I had finished the whole thing. Here was a plain statement of facts accomplished, and I at once decided to test the matter with my own eyes.
I was wearing convex 2.25 D. S. for distance and convex 4.25 for reading. My distance vision had deteriorated in the eighteen years I had worn glasses, from better than normal to about one-third normal. My near vision had gone back so much that I was wearing the glass which theoretically should suit a person sixty or seventy years old. With the glasses off I could see only the largest headlines on the newspapers. While wearing the glasses, I had occasional headaches and eye aches, and my near vision was at times very defective, so that I had difficulty in doing fine work of any kind.
The first day I went around without glasses everything seemed blurred, but I felt somehow that I had gotten rid of some particularly galling chains. It was pleasant to feel the air blowing against my eyes, and I walked around the whole afternoon trying to get used to the new condition.
In carrying out the suggestions in Dr. Bates’ book, I had a great deal of trouble for the first week or so, especially with the mental images. This was simply due to my extreme eyestrain. In spite of this my vision steadily improved by palming, so that at the end of three weeks I could read the 10/15 line instead of the 20/70 line. I had only an occasional eye ache when I had forgotten to use my eyes properly.
In improving my near vision, I had to make several visits to Dr. Bates, and he overcame most of my difficulties at once. I used many of the methods he advocates in this near work, but it was about three months before I could read fine print. It seemed an extremely long, long time to give up reading, but knowing now the advantages after an experience of two years without glasses I would be willing to go without reading for a much longer period. Many people of the same age get results in a much shorter time than I did. I feel more and more strongly that a person will not have full control of his mental faculties until he gets rid of his glasses. Whether it takes two weeks or two years, the result will pay for the deprivation.
At present I usually read an hour or so in the daytime and three or four hours at night with no eyestrain whatever. Previously I used to walk along with my eyes fixed on the pavement because of the discomfort in taking note of passing people or objects; now it is a great pleasure to examine things minutely. In my work I can go nine hours with about the same fatigue as I felt before in three or four hours. In other words, Dr. Bates’ work his changed me from an old man of forty-eight to a young man of fifty. I now enjoy the practice of medicine for the first time since finishing my hospital internship, as I am absolutely certain that if patients will carry out my directions their whole condition will be improved.
In no case can the time required to obtain normal vision be definitely stated. People of the same age and wearing the same strength glasses vary in time required as much as they differ in color of their hair or size of their appetites. Some get quick results, others drag along indefinitely before they get where they should be.
These slow cases require lots of encouragement, and it sometimes takes all their own and the doctor’s perseverance to keep them going.


By Mildred Shepard

Editor’s Note - Ms. Shepard has done much good work in the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses. She came to me as a patient about five years ago and was treated for hypermetropia or far-sightedness accompanied by astigmatism. She had suffered with pain and fatigue whenever she used her eyes. After her sight became normal, Miss Shepard began to treat her friends. She became so interested in curing them of imperfect sight that she decided to take my course.

Ten days ago a lady came to me after having worn glasses for twenty years. She is now forty-five. Her vision with both eyes was 14/70, and with the left eye she read two letters of 14/50.
Her mental pictures were good, and after palming a while she became able by the use of her memory to read 14/20.
When she came for her second lesson, she could read 14/50 easily, and improved to 10/15. She understands the general principles and wants to work by herself for a couple of weeks. I hope that she will have 14/10 when she comes again.

Another near-sighted young lady of twenty-four, a school teacher, read 14/40 and some letters of 14/30 the first day of her treatment. The same day she improved to 14/20. One week later she read 14/15.

Two of my pupils have gone back to their oculists for examinations, the results of which were rather interesting. In one case the man wanted to get a pair of glasses, which he could use when he sat in the top balcony of the Opera House. When the oculist examined his eyes and compared it with the previous examination, he found so much improvement that he refused to prescribe glasses for him. His vision had improved from 10/30 minus with the right eye and 10/40 with the left to 12.5/10 with both.

In the other case the examination showed 1½ diopters of myopia instead of 3¾ which had been present before.
This man had a pair of still weaker glasses made up, to wear while working under trying and unusual conditions.
He hopes soon to discard the glasses altogether. His vision improved from 20/70 to 10/10.

Last spring a young girl of twenty-two came to me. She had worn glasses for nine years. Her vision was 20/200 with both eyes. With the right eye it was not so good. She had six lessons in ten days and became able to read 10/10 on the black card. Six months later she returned. Her vision was still 10/10. She was so enthusiastic that she brought her mother and a friend, both of whom had lessons. She wants to go into the work after she improves her sight still more.

Another girl of fourteen whose vision was 7.5/100 last February can now read 8/10 on the black card, and when she once masters central fixation I know she will get back to normal vision.
Another has improved from 6/200 to 5/30. She still has a long way to go, but she is faithful, and we both are hopeful.
I might go on indefinitely giving other cases, some similar and some quite different.