Did you know that the eyeglasses or contact lenses are in fact our enemy? This might sound a little bit like fantasy at the first sight, but there is a lot of proof.
The truth is out there
When people suffer from some refractive error, their eyes are unable to focus objects at various distances. Therefore, eyes are trying through different mechanisms to fight back refractive errors and restore vision. When people wear eye glasses or contact lenses, eyes don’t have to get used to imperfection, because they are already seeing clearly and this is the reason why eye glasses and contact lenses do very little to improve vision and stop further progression of refractive disorder.
Who is Bates?
William Horatio Bates (born in 1860 in New Jersey) was a well known ophthalmologist of the early twentieth century. The “Bates Method” involves the use of therapeutic eye exercises in order to correct vision problems, thus excluding the need for glasses or contact lenses. Patients practice eye exercises aimed at strengthening and training their eye muscles in an effort to overcome such problems as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or “lazy eye”. In 1885, he received his medical degree and began practicing in New York City. He discovered that myopia, for example, which is caused by a refractive error, could become better or worse for no apparent reason.
Traditional ophthalmologists believed that the lens was responsible for the eye’s focus. Bates believed that eye strain caused vision to deteriorate, and his treatment was simple: like any other muscles, the eye muscles need time for rest and train in order to achieve optimal performance. The set of exercises developed by Bates are fully related in this article.
Palming is done in order to calm the visual system. Patients close their eyes and cover them with the palms. The hands should be cupped so that no pressure is put on the eyeballs. The warmth of a person’s hands, combined with blocking out all light, will relax a pair of tense eyeballs. Sitting at a table is a good palming position. While palming, patients should imagine a relaxing scene, such as a sunrise or ocean. We suggest palming in 5-10-minute sessions, at least once a day. From our own experience, we can recommend palming when eyes become tired, especially for those who spend most of the time in front of the computer.
By swinging, you must train your eyes not to stare. The rigidity of staring is bad for the eyes. One should focus on a fixed object then swing the head or the entire body from side to side while keeping the object in view by moving the head instead of the eyes.
Sunning is for reducing light sensitivity. The sun has a therapeutic effect, so patients are asked to close their eyes and face the sun. Practice sunning techniques at sunrise and sunset for short periods of time.
Centralization involves training the eyes to focus on a single point, rather than an entire picture. Bates believed that looking at an entire picture created strain, causing bad eyesight. The eye has a point in the middle of the vision field where vision is sharpest. It is aimed at training people to look only at that point. This is not a special exercise, but rather something patients should do all day long.
Color Days practice involves looking all day for a specific color. When looking at a color, patients are asked to focus on the color, not the form. Colors change every day.
An advantage of the Bates method is that the treatment is relaxing. If patients stick to the routine and eye improvement is gained, they may benefit by being able to discard their corrective lenses, escaping a lifetime of costs for glasses, lenses, and contact solutions. The treatment is also much less invasive than refractive surgery, which is costly and has risks, just like any other operation.
The exercises themselves are simple. Even so, Bates insisted that it takes discipline and attention to detail in order to achieve improvement.
The Bates method received acclaim several years after Bates’s death (1931), when author Aldous Huxley boasted that after two months on the Bates program, he went from being almost blind to being able to read without wearing glasses.