I haven't been trained as a Bates teacher, nor as a vision teacher of any related method. In fact, I've only had one in-person lesson from a Bates teacher. What i know is based largely on my own experience. I've compared my knowledge with Dr. Bates's writings, the writings of others, the experiences of other modern people who have partially or completely cleared up their vision problems, and the way normal-sighted and non-normal-sighted people function (visually and otherwise). I have verified for myself beyond doubt that this method works and that the process of seeing clearly is exactly as Dr. Bates described.
In 2001 I started what was to become this website. At the time, there wasn't a lot of accurate information about the Bates Method available online, and it was time for that to change. The percentage of people in modern society in need of glasses or with other vision problems is staggering, and that fact is extremely frightening to me. The Bates Method does not have the presence it ought to in conventional eyecare, and indeed the majority of Americans have never heard of it. The goal of this website is to help make perfect vision a reality for as many people as possible.
The following is an account of my progress from when I first started learning the Bates Method to the present.
When I was about three months old, I developed intermittent exotropia, a variety of strabismus, which involves the eyes not always being used together. When I was five, my vision was tested for the first time and I was found to be nearsighted. I was given glasses to wear. My vision got worse over the years, as it does in most cases.
By 1998 my prescription was -3.00 OD (right eye), -2.50 OS (left eye). In late 1999 I started getting interested in vision improvement. But I approached it all wrong, trying physical eye exercises I found in a book and completely missing any mental aspect to vision improvement. A year later I started looking into the Bates Method. I still wasn't making much progress, so I stopped wearing my contact lenses altogether in May of 2001. The strabismus started disappearing pretty quick, and I was starting to make progress. In January of 2002 I had a lesson from a Bates teacher, who continued to help me afterwards.
When I began, my visual acuity on my home chart was usually around 10/200 (20/400). As of November 2003, I can pretty consistently read 10/25 (20/50), and often pieces of lower lines. My vision for things at all distances and in various intensities of light has improved, and I have short periods of normal vision.
There is a certain amount that can be learned from books, and I read a few dozen on vision improvement. About half of the books I read about it I consider misguided, while many of the good ones have tons of overlap between them. A certain amount can also be learned through conversations with other like-minded people, and the online vision improvement discussion groups helped me out a lot.
The real value, though, is in the practice and experience of the Bates Method. I've spent time practicing practically every day over the last couple years.
Quality of eyesight is really only one aspect that gets affected by this. It only makes sense that relaxation training, reeducation of conscious control, relieving strain, or whatever you want to call it, affects just about everything, whether it has to do with the visual system or not. Things look better than they ever did when I wore glasses. I can tolerate bright sunlight easier and see better at night. I've been anosmic (unable to smell) my whole life but recently started sensing certain smells. Thinking is more effortless. I'm more relaxed in general. I rarely get sick anymore. It goes on and on. I've changed my whole approach to everything, and I'm still in the process of doing so.
When you understand (at least some of) what mental strain is and how it manifests, it's possible to recognize it, or the lack of it, in everyone around you. I'm not infallible with that, but oftentimes it's obvious. It's in a person's eyes, his face, his voice, the way he moves, what he says, how he reacts to things, in his whole personality.
So that's my basic experience with it all. I hope to make this website as useful as possible for those people wishing to improve their vision.
I own and operate an online store selling fitness equipment.