The Bates Method is a method of vision reeducation through relaxation of eyes and mind to regain normal, effortless eyesight. Which is comprised of both central clarity and expansive peripheral vision. And unlike what you might have heard, it’s quite the opposite of eye exercises!
The Bates Method is about changing your visual straining habits that caused your eyesight problem. The only way to see better permanently is to apply those natural, healthy habits all day. And this needs to be practiced by first even feeling the strain. Almost 100% of my clients are initially not even aware of the strain in their eyes and mind. So creating that awareness and attention is the first step, just like in any other transformational process.
The Bates Method defies the traditional belief that that vision problems are genetic or age-related and therefore unavoidable. Ophthalmologist Dr. William H. Bates has shown that eyesight is highly variable and can be improved as much as it can be worsened by conscious choice and unconscious habits. Consciously reversing the habits and choices you made to get your eyesight to were it is today is the key to success. This is not a quick fix! And unfortunately there is none (I will do a blog post about LASIK soon).
He was driven by a desire to find cures for diseases by understanding the causes. Traditional medicine was and is to this day the practice of using surgery, prescriptions and medications to treat symptoms when disease has already been established. He wanted to not just cure diseases but learn how to prevent them.
But his initial work and teachings were following the traditional and accepted “treatment”:
“At the very beginning of my practice as an ophthalmologist, I noticed that patients with myopia often recovered their vision spontaneously. This was not a new observation. Every ophthalmologist had noted such cases, but it was customary to explain them away. If a case of myopia recovered, a mistake in diagnosis had been made….Instead of being explained away and ignored, it seemed to me that such facts ought to be investigated.”
Therefore his own curiosity led him to further investigate and question the traditional ophthalmologic teachings. Namely that only the lens is responsible for accommodation (focussing) of the eye and that eyesight, once faulty, cannot be restored without surgery or prescribing glasses to the patient.
In 1921 he published an article in the American Journal of Clinical Medicine. In this article he outlined his four year intense experiments of not being able to reproduce the results of the prevailing theory of accommodation through curvature of the lens alone (Helmholtz theory from 1855). And he had much better equipment than Helmholtz, who used light reflections on the cornea and lens surfaces to prove this theory. A theory that all modern optometry is still based on! Despite the fact that Dr. Bates proved to a live audience of eye doctors at a meeting of the Ophthalmological Section of the American Medical Association that the eye muscles create accommodation by changing the size of the eyeball.
Dr. Bates concluded what is now confirmed by neuroscientific research: Emotions and mental strain translate into body tension. And for a lot of people this body tension manifest as eye strain which in turn creates vision problems. Relaxation of the mind on the other hand, improves the eyesight. Traditional medicine is still not accepting this fact, and treat eyesight challenges as if the eyes were a separate entity from our brains and bodies.
He believed that his method would work only for myopia (nearsightedness). When a friend pointed out to him that the fact that he wore reading glasses wasn’t making sense if his theory was based on strain causing eyesight problems (not age), Bates found himself in a conundrum. And decided to work on his own eyesight. Teaching a minister friend to use the retinoscope, he found out that his eyes adjusted to the distance when he was making an effort to read. Only when he relaxed his mind without making an effort (see my post on “trying”) the type cleared up.
It took him almost a year to be able to read microscopic type (2 pt type size) at 4 inches from his eyes. He claimed that it never took him that long to have his patients to the same.
Or experience this amazing method yourself by booking a FREE 60 Minute Phone Consultation with me. Find out if the Bates Method will work for you and how you can get the best results. While you can accomplish a lot by studying the books, it’s not easy to become aware of eyestrain and other poor vision habits by yourself. You will have more and faster success with the help of a teacher. That said, I encourage my students to read Dr. Bates’ original teachings, but it’s not necessary to be successful in improving your eyesight.
My teaching lineage connect directly to Dr. Bates: My teacher, Margaret Montgomery, who has been teaching the Bates Method since 1985, was taught by Evelyn B. Sage in London, who was trained by Madeleine Fousset, a student of Dr. Bates.
In addition to the Bates method, I am trained in working with binocularity challenges (something Bates didn’t really address) such as strabismus, amblyopia and diplopia. I also include breath practices, massage techniques, yoga and nutrition into my teachings if appropriate.