The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment
Without Glasses - complete version

The Bates method of vision correction - online book.

By W. H. Bates, M.D. Copyright, 1920

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About This Book

This book by ophthalmologist William Horatio Bates, M.D., is the origin of the "The Bates Method" and probably also the origin for most of the multitude of natural vision improvement systems and courses available today. The Bates method aims to correct vision habits by relaxation techniques, exercises, activities and games, he claimed that his program could improve sight and reverse ocular disorders. His core claim being that mental strain and divergence from the natural habits of seeing are the prime cause of poor eyesight. Although many people claim to have been helped his method, and its later derivatives the efficacy of the Bates method remains controversial.

This original version of the book contains all of the illustrations and text that was left out of the more commonly available abridged version of the book that was published in 1943 by his widow, Emily Bates, under the title Better Eyesight Without Glasses.

This online book was produced by scanning and OCRing, a sadly imperfect process, so please excuse the few errors and weirdnesses. Rod May 2007
The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses, Contents list
deduct 100 from the numbers show to get the original page numbers.
Title Page
Copyright Notice
CHAPTER I, Prevalence of errors of refraction-Believed to be incurable and practically unpreventable-The eye as a blunder of Nature-Facts which seem to justify this conclusion-Failure of all efforts to prevent the development of eye defects-Futility of prevailing methods of treatment-Conflict of facts with the theory of incurability of errors of refraction-These facts com monly explained away or ignored-The author unable to ignore them, or to accept current explanations- Finally forced to reject accepted theories. - 0101
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CHAPTER II Simultaneous Retinoscopy, What the retinoscope is-Its possibilities not realized-Commonly used only under artificial conditions-Used by the author under the con ditions of life on human beings and the lower animals- Thus many new facts were discovered-Conflict of these facts with accepted theories-Resulting investigations. - 0117
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CHAPTER III Theory of Accommodation, Development of the theory-Behavior of the lens in accommodation as noted by Helmholtz-General ac ceptance of these observations as facts-Abandonment by Arlt of the true explanation of accommodation- Inability of Helmholtz to explain satisfactorily the sup posed change of form in the lens-Question still unset tled-Apparent accommodation in lenseless eyes-Curious and unscientific theories advanced to account for it -Voluntary production of astigmatism-Impossibility of reconciling it with the theory of an inextensible eyeball. - 0123
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CHAPTER IV  The Truth About Accommodation, Experiments on the Eye Muscles of Animals, Disputed function of the external muscles Once regarded as possible factors in accommodation-Au thor's experiments demonstrate that accommodation depends wholly upon these muscles-Accommodation prevented and produced at will by their manipulation- Also errors of refraction-The oblique muscles of accommodation-The recti concerned in the production of hypermetropia and astigmatism-No accommodation with one oblique cut, paralyzed, or absent-Paralysis of accommodation in experimental animals accomplished only by injection of atropine deep into the orbit, so as to reach the oblique muscles - Accommodation un affected by removal of the lens-Fourth cranial nerve supplying superior oblique muscle a nerve of accom modation-Sources of error believed to have been elimi nated in experiments. - 0138
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CHAPTER V The Truth About Accommodation As Demonstrated By a Study of Images Reflected From the Cornea, Iris, Lens and Sclera, Technique of Helmholtz defective-Image obtained by his method on the front of the lens not sufficiently distinct or stable to be measured-Failure of author to get reliable image with various sources of light-Suc cess with 1,000-watt lamp, diaphragm and condenser-Image photographed-Images on cornea, iris, lens and sclera also photographed - Results confirmed earlier observations-Eyeball changes its shape during accom modation-Lens does not-Strain to see at near-point produces hypermetropia-Strain to see at distance my opia-Method of obtaining the corneal image. - 0154
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CHAPTER VI The Truth About Accommodation As Demonstrated By Clinical Observations......69 Results of experimental work confirmed by clinical observations-Atropine supposed to prevent accommo dation-Conflict of facts with this theory-Normal accommodation observed in eyes - 0169
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CHAPTER VII The Variability of the Refraction of the Eye, Refractive states supposed to be permanent-Retino scope demonstrates the contrary-Normal sight never continuous-Refractive errors always changing--Condi tions which produce errors of refraction-Variability of refractive states the cause of many accidents-Also of much statistical confusion. - 0175
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CHAPTER VIII What Glasses Do to Us, The sins of Salvino degli Armati reputed inventor of spectacles-How glasses harm the eyes-Sight never improved by them to normal-Always resented at first by the eye-Objects of vision distorted by them-Disa greeable sensatoins produced-Field of vision con tracted-Difficulty of keeping the glass clean-Reflec tion of light from lenses annoying and dangerous- Inconvenience of glasses to physically active persons- Effect on personal appearance-No muscular strain re lieved by them-Apparent benefits often due to mental suggestion-Fortunate that many patients refuse to wear them-At best an unsatisfactory substitute for normal sight. - 0181
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CHAPTER IX Cause and Cure of Errors of Refraction, All abnormal action of external muscles of the eyeball accompanied by a strain to see - With relief of this strain all errors of refraction disappear-Myopia (or lessening of hypermetropia) associated with strain to see at the distance - Hypermetropia (or lessening of myopia) associated with strain to see at the near-point -Facts easily demonstrated by retinoscope-Effect of strain at the near-point accounts for apparent loss of accommodation in the lenseless eye-Mental origin of eyestrain-Accounts for effect of civilization on the eye -Lower animals affected as man is - 0189
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CHAPTER X Strain, Foundation of the strain to see-Act of seeing passive -Same true of action of all sensory nerves-Their effi ciency impaired when made the subject of effort-The mind the source of all such efforts brought to bear upon the eye-Mental strain of any kind produces eyestrain- This strain takes many forms-Results in production of many abnormal conditions - Circulation disturbed by strain-Normal circulation restored by mental control- Thus errors of refraction and other abnormal conditions are cured. - 0206
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CHAPTER XI Central Fixation, The center of sight-The eye normally sees one part of everything it looks at best-Central fixation lost in all abnormal conditions of the eye-Cause of mental strain -With central fixation the eye is perfectly at rest-Can be used indefinitely without fatigue-Open and quiet- No wrinkles or dark circles around it-Visual axes par allel-With eccentric fixation the contrary is the case- Eccentric fixation cured by any method that relieves strain-Limits of vision determined by central fixation- Organic diseases relieved or cured by it-No limit can be set to its possibilities-Relation to general efficiency and general health. - 0213
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CHAPTER XII Palming, Relaxation with the eyes shut-With light excluded by palms of the hands (palming)-Evidence of complete relaxation in palming-Of incomplete relaxation-Difficulties of palming-How dealt with-Futility of effort- All the sensory nerves relaxed by successful palming- Pain relieved in all parts of the body-Patients who succeed at once are quickly cured-A minority not helped and should try other methods. - 0223
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CHAPTER xiii  Memory As an Aid to Vision, Memory a test of relaxation-Memory of black most suitable for the purpose-Application of this fact to treatment of functional eye troubles-Sensation not a reliable index of strain-Memory of black is-Enables the patient to avoid conditions that produce strain- Conditions favorable to memory-Retention of mem ory under unfavorable conditions-Quick cures by its aid-A great help to other mental processes-Tests of a perfect memory. - 0236
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CHAPTER XIV Imagination As an Aid to Vision, Retinal impressions interpreted by the mind-Memory or imagination normally used as an aid to sight-In im perfect sight the mind adds imperfections to the imper fect retinal image-Only a small part of the phenomena of refractive errors accounted for by the inaccuracy of the focus-Difference between the photographic picture when the camera is out of focus and the visual impres sions of the mind when the eye is out of focus-Patients helped by understanding of this fact-Dependence of imagination upon memory-Coincidence of both wkh sight-Perfect imagination dependent upon relaxation- Therefore imagination cures-Method of using it for this purpose-Remarkable cures effected by it. - 0248
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CHAPTER XV Shifting and Swinging, Apparent movement of objects regarded with normal vision-Due to unconscious shifting of the eye-Impos sibility of fixing a point for an appreciable length of time-lowering of vision by attempt to do so-Incon-spicuousness of normal shifting-Its incredible rapidity -Staring an important factor in the production of im perfect sight-Tendency to stare corrected by conscious shifting and realization of apparent movement resulting from it-Conditions of success with shifting-The uni versal swing-Methods of shifting-Cures effected by this means. - 0259
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CHAPTER XVI The Illusions of Imperfect and of Normal Sight, Normal and abnormal illusions-Illusions of color- Of size-Of form-Of number-Of location-Of non existent objects-Of complementary colors - 0272
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CHAPTER XVII Vision Under Adverse Conditions a Benefit to the Eye, Erroneous ideas of ocular hygiene-Conditions suppos edly injurious may be a benefit to the eye-No foun dation for universal fear of the light-Temporary dis comfort but no permanent injury from it-Benefits of sun-gazing-Of looking at a strong electric light-Not light but darkness a danger to the eye-Sudden con trasts of light may be beneficial-Advantages of the movies-Benefits of reading fine print-Reading in mov ing vehicles-In a recumbent posture-Vision under diffi cult conditions good mental training. - 0283
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CHAPTER XVIII Optimums and Pessimums......198 All objects not seen equally well when sight is imper fect-The eye has its optimums and pessimums-Some easily accounted for - Others unaccountable - Familiar objects optimums-Unfamiliar objects pessimums-Ex amples of unaccountable optimums and pessimums- Variability of optimums and pessimums-Test card usu ally a pessimum-Pessimums which the patient is not conscious of seeing-Pessimums associated with a strain to see-How pessimums may become optimums. - 0298
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CHAPTER XIX The Relief of Pain and Other Symptoms by the Aid of the Memory, No pain felt when the memory is perfect-All the senses improved-Efficiency of the mind increased- Operations performed without anaesthetics - Organic disorders relieved-Facts not fully explained, but at tested by numerous proofs-Possible relationship of the principle involved to cures of Faith Curists and Christian Scientists. - 0302
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CHAPTER XX Presbyopia: Its Cause and Cure, Failure of near vision as age advances-Supposed normality of this phenomenon-Near-points expected at different ages-Many do not fit this schedule-Some never become presbyopic-Some retain normal vision for some objects while presbyopic for others-First and second of these classes of cases explained away or ig nored-Third not heretofore observed-Presbyopia both preventable and curable-Due to a strain to see at the near-point-No necessary connection with age-Lens may flatten and lose refractive power with advancing years, but not necessarily-Temporary increase of pres byopia by strain at the near-point-Temporary relief by closing the eyes or palming-Permanent relief by per manent relief of strain-How the author cured himself- Other cures-Danger of putting on glasses at the pres byopic age-Prevention of presbyopia. - 0310
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CHAPTER XXI Squint and Amblyopia: Their Cause, Definition of squint-Theories as to its cause-Failure of these theories to fit the facts-Failure of operative treatment-St?'e of the vision not an important factor- Amblyopia ex anopsia-Association with squint not in variable-Supposed incurability-Spontaneous recovery -Curious forms of double vision in squint-Invariable association of squint and amblyopia with strain-Invari able relief following relief of strain-Voluntary produc tion of squint by strain. - 0321
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CHAPTER XXII Squint and Amblyopia: Their Cure , Squint and amblyopia purely functional troubles- Cured by relieves strain-Relaxation sometimes gained by voluntary increase of squint, or production of other kinds-Remarkable cure effected in this way-Strain relieved when patient is able to look more nearly in the proper direction-Proper use of a squinting eye encouraged by covering the good eye- Children cured by use of atropine in one or both eyes- Examples of cases cured by eye education. - 0327
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CHAPTER XXIII PAGE Floating Specks: Their Cause and Cure, Floating specks a common phenomenon of imperfect sight-Their appearance and behavior-Theories as to their origin-A fruitful field for the patent-medicine business-Examples of the needless alarm they have caused-May be seen at times by any one-Simply an illusion caused by mental strain-This strain easily re lieved-Illustrative cases. - 0336
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CHAPTER XXIV Home Treatment, Many persons can cure themselves of defective sight- Only necessary to follow a few simple directions-How to test the sight-Children who have not worn glasses cured by reading the Snellen test card every day-Adults of the same class also benefited in a short time-Cases of adults and children who have worn glasses more diffi cult-Glasses must be discarded-How to make a test card-Need of a teacher in difficult cases-Qualifica tions of such teachers-Duty of parents. - 0342
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CHAPTER XXV Correspondence Treatment, Correspondence treatment usually regarded as quackery -Impossible in the case of most diseases-Errors of refraction, not being diseases, admit of such treatment- Glasses successfully fitted by mail-Less room for fail ure in correspondence treatment of imperfect sight with out glasses-Personal treatment more satisfactory, but not always available-Examples of cases cured by cor respondence-Need for the co-operation of local practi tioners in such treatment. - 0346
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CHAPTER XXVI The Prevention of Myopia in Schools: Methods That Failed, -Studies of Cohn-Confirmation of his observations by other investigators in America and Europe-Increase of myopia during school life unanimously attributed to near work-Inadequacy of this theory-Failure of preventive measures based upon it-New difficulties-The appeal to heredity-To natural adaptation-Objections to these views-Why all preventive measures have failed. - 0351
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CHAPTER XXVII  The Prevention and Cure of Myopia and Other Errors of Refraction in Schools: A Method That Succeeded, Production of eyestrain by unfamiliar objects-Relief by familiar objects-Facts furnish the means of prevent ing and curing errors of refraction in schools-By this means children often gain normal vision with incredible rapidity-Results in schools of Grand Forks, N. D.; New York, and other cities-Improvement in mentality of children as eyesight improved-Reformation of tru ants and incorrigibles-Hypermetropia and astigmatism prevented and cured-Method succeeded best when teachers did not wear glasses-Success would be greater still under a more rational educational system-Preva lence of defective sight in American children-Its results -Practically all cases preventable and curable-Inex-pensiveness of method recommended-Imposes no addi tional burden on the teachers-Cannot possibly hurt the children-Directions for its use. - 0359
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CHAPTER XXVIII The Story of Emily, Cure of defective eyesight by cured patients-Cures of fellow students, parents and friends by school chil dren-Remarkable record of Emily-An illustration of the benefits to be expected from the author's method of preventing and curing imperfect sight in school children. - 0370
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CHAPTER XXIX Mind and Vision.........274 Poor sight one of the most fruitful causes of retarda tion in schools-More involved in it than inability to see -The result of an abnormal condition of the mind- This cannot be changed by glasses-Memory among faculties impaired when vision is impaired-Memory of primitive man may have been due to the same cause as his keen vision-A modern example of primitive memory combined with primitive keenness of vision-Corre spondence between differences in the faculty of memory and differences in visual acuity-Memory and eyesight of children spoiled by the same causes-Both dependent upon interest-Illustrative cases-All the mental facul ties improved when vision becomes normal-Examples of such improvement-Relief of symptoms of insanity by eye education-Facts indicate a close relation be tween the problems of vision and those of education. - 0374
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CHAPTER XXX, Normal Sight and the Relief of Pain for Soldiers and Sailors, Defective eyesight greatest im pediment to the raising of an efficient army-None more easily removed-Plan for correcting defects of vision submitted to Surgeon General during the war-Not acted upon-Now presented to the public with some modifications-First requisite eye education in schools and colleges-Eye education in training camps and at the front also needed, even for those whose sight is normal-How school system might be modified for mili tary and naval use-Soldiers should not be allowed to wear glasses-Importance of eye training to aviators- Eye training for the relief of pain. - 0384
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CHAPTER XXXI, Letters from Patients, Army officer cures himself-A teacher's experiences- Mental effects of central fixation-Relief after twenty-five years-Search for myopia cure rewarded-Facts versus theories-Cataract relieved by central fixation. - 0390
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CHAPTER XXXII Reason and Authority, Inaccessibility of average mind to reason-Facts dis credited if contrary to authority-Patients discredit their own experience under this influence-Cure of cataract ignored by medical profession-Expulsion of author from N. Y. Post Graduate Medical School for curing myopia-Man not a reasoning being-Consequences to the world. - 0404
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