So what is this all about? What are you getting into?
The Bates Method
Here’s the skinny. My approach is based heavily on the Bates method as written by Dr. Bates a century ago. If you have the time, I highly recommend you read his book, Perfect Sight Without Glasses, free online here. And if you want to just call my method the Bates method, that’s fine too!
Dr. Bates’s book is great, but too often people read it and come away uncertain as to what to do, so that’s one reason I’ve laid out concepts and exercises in a different way where you know what you have to do. He was a pioneer, and I think he wanted his book to maintain a very professional, scholarly tone, to be taken as seriously as possible, but it’s also directed towards average folks, so he toned down the medical jargon quite a bit.
But society has changed since his day. We see the world differently and use different words than we used to, and it’s important for us to use modern terms and ideas to minimize misunderstandings with the subtleties of the method. My approach incorporates modern ideas from vision improvement teachers, spiritual gurus, my own experience, and feedback from other people. I attended lectures and connected with other people working on their vision. So in these pages is my best effort to give you everything you need. If I die tomorrow, I want to have all my important ideas right here and not have to regret leaving anything out.
And I think I have put together a pretty good plan for most people.
But it’s never perfect.
What I hope is for you to read these pages, understand it, apply it, and then run with it, adding some additional steps that make sense to you based on the principles you’ve learned. And then I hope you’ll share them with everyone and help us all develop a more workable plan. And of course that’s already happening without my help. Other people have incorporated discoveries and theories from other areas of study such as light therapy, posture, nutrition, eye exercises, massage, drugs, positive thinking, or various schools of psychology. You can spend a lifetime getting lost in it all. Everyone’s experience is limited, but this is mine, so here it is.
You know, it’s funny; modern researchers involved in medical science and technology have delved into just about everything vision related that anyone could conceive of except for the idea of vision improvement by means of altering the way we use our eyes. It’s a confusing subject, and they just don’t explore things like this. It’s not their style. Perhaps no drug companies are interested in funding the research. Anyway, what we have now is the fact that eye doctors (optometrists and ophthalmologists both) with conventional training are as ignorant of these concepts of good vision as the average layman is. So the best knowledge comes from those of us who have been deeply involved in the subject of natural vision improvement, and that’s not a whole lot of people.
Normal Eyes vs. Your Eyes
Light passes through the clear cornea at the front of the eye, through a hole called the pupil, and falls onto the retina, a surface on the inside rear of the eye that is composed of light receptor —
Hold on a minute. Do you really want to know all this? If you do, here’s a good page to start with on Wikipedia to get all the geeky details you want about the structure and function of the eye. The “experts” may be wrong about functional aspects of vision, but they’re right about the structure and basic function of the eyes, so you really can’t go wrong learning about it from the conventional medical sites if you want to.
Here’s what you need to know. Light comes into your eye and hits the retina inside your eye. You see best in the center of your visual field, because those light receptors in the middle of the retina are set up for the most high resolution vision. The very center is the most defined, representing an extremely small area of your visual field, smaller than you may realize.
Scientific studies on the subject of the maximum capabilities of the eye’s central vision seem to treat everyone the same and don’t follow Dr. Bates’s example of finding people with unusually good vision to see how they perform on the tests. The thing is, most vision problems are functional disorders, and a person’s quality of vision, including refractive error and other aspects, correlates with the way they use their eyes. Scientists don’t see much difference between a person with ordinary good vision and a person who has myopia and is wearing a corrective lens to ‘correct” the condition. It follows that they do not see much difference between a person with ordinary good vision and a person with extraordinary vision, or they see extraordinary vision as nothing but a lucky part of the Bell curve.
Dr. Bates recognized long ago that the smaller the point you pay attention to, the better your vision. He knew that the physiology of the eye dictated this, and that people with extraordinary vision take advantage of this fact with the way they have become so good at using their eyes. Conversely, he also knew that there were consequences if a person deviated too far from this fact.
This fact of course explains why we naturally move our eyes towards what we want to see. We see best where we are looking, and this becomes more true the smaller the point you look at. But is that what you do?
If you have a refractive error such as myopia or hyperopia, try to demonstrate something right now. Look at a detailed object 20 feet away. How big is the area you see equally clearly?
What happens? Let me guess. If you have your glasses or contact lenses on, an area much larger than 1/4 inch at 20 feet appears equally clear. If you don’t have your glasses on, similarly, an area much larger than ¼ inch at 20 feet appears equally blurry.
But that means your observation conflicts with what I’m claiming here, right? Why did I say above that it’s easily verifiable that someone with normal vision sees this way, when you can demonstrate that you don’t see this way? What makes you different from someone with normal vision?
And with that we come to the principles of good vision. The principles work together, and by understanding them and following my suggestions you will be using your eyes in a way that promotes clear vision. Clear vision is not only attainable, it’s unavoidable if you do things right.
How to Use This Guide
At the bottom of some pages are suggestions for putting the ideas into practice. The suggestions make the most sense once you have read the material, and the more of the rest of the guide you read, the more the earlier suggestions make sense. They all blend together. At the end of the guide is a page with all the suggestions consolidated into a quick reference, to give you something to come back to as a reference when you need some more quick ideas.
You will need something handy to look at and practice many of the exercises with.
It isn’t absolutely necessary, but I highly recommend getting an eye chart to hang on your wall to practice the exercises with. Many of the exercises can and should be practiced with other, more interesting objects as you get the opportunity, but the eye chart is really handy because of the clear feedback it provides on how well you can see. You can download and print one out, but if you have a few bucks I’d recommend buying one, because it’s printed on a nice plastic that doesn’t reflect glare and works in a wide range of lighting conditions.
So here we go! On the following pages you’ll learn the principles and how to apply them.