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What's the best way to start? Need Help.
Hello all,

I've been reading about the bates method and have already read his book. I've tried doing some of the exercise, but I think my vision is not really improving, due to some problems in doing the exercises. I am able to read the snellen letters up till 10/40 and sometimes 10/30, but the letters would sometimes be blur. I have astigmatism too, though I'm not really sure of the degree, but I see lots of lines coming out of any source of light. At the start, I've tried palming, but did not see much improvement and nowadays when I palm, I come out see things worse (more blur). I've been trying to find ways to relax the tension in my eyelids, but I've always failed to do so when I realise its presence. I've also practiced a bit of shifting. Also, I feel I'm starting to become skeptical about sight improvement... Ok, partly because I don't really have a fixed set of routine and I thought I could get my sight back to normal in a much shorter time (been 2 months); cause I read the book and most people seems to not even be able to view letters on the snellen without glasses. Oh, I read my snellen almost everyday from 10 feet, results would vary according to time of day and even if the times are the same, my eyesight would vary in degrees too. Anyone knows what's the best way to start? To tackle my astigmatism first (I have no idea how to do that, cause there are various methods and bates reckon that normal methods would cure astigmatism, but mine doesn't seem to be imrpoving) or both?

Thank you in advance Smile
Sounds like you have a great basis of learning about Bates. Now you need to figure out how to creatively modify the methods to suit you as an individual. Bates said two things about palming - it may be necessary to learn other methods first, and if it makes your sight worse don't do it. As with all of his methods (and as you seem to know already) there is a right way to do them, and a wrong way, and if you do it wrong you won't improve. It seems like (at least for now) palming isn't for you, so don't bother, try again once you have seen permanent improvement. I would think learning how to improve your sight with shifting or central fixation will come easier. They should help your astigmatism and myopia at the same time. If you try again and still after another two months haven't improved, then don't give up, get a good teacher.

I improved my sight from 5/200 to 20/50 in the first year of practice, and now after another year I have come a bit further and can see 10/20, but not yet 20/40. What I wrote below is what really helped me get from 10/50 to 10/20, perhaps it will help you as well!

I would read the chart from a closer distance like 5 feet where you can see the letters on lines lower than the 30 line. Sway as you read the chart and practice central fixation on each letter of every line (check out his magazine articles on this, and then read that chapter of the book again after practicing). Each week, move back a little bit. Don't worry so much about always reading the lowest letters you can read, but think more about the quality improving of what you are looking at and pay attention to how you feel or what you do differently when you can see something really well. I find the following magazine article really helpful. Go down to the 'Prevention' section. I have recently discovered that these 4 suggestions are the secret to obtaining/maintaining perfect vision with the Bates method. Further down, the article by Emily has an interesting case study of a 35 year old woman that was benefitted by using more than one chart to practice, perhaps try something similar to what is written in that article, increasing the distance each day. Here is the link to both articles:
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As you have observed for yourself, the vision varies quite a lot. Now that you have a good idea of the highest and lowest visual accuity to expect of yourself, write it down with a date! Write which letters were clearest, and how consistently you could read them. After another couple months of practice, write down again what the highest and lowest visual accuity is, it will probably have improved overall. The problem with practicing on the chart without a teacher to encourage you (as well as teach you) is that from day to day, it is easy to get frustrated because we all want to read the next lowest line today. However, you are at 10/40 now. Where can you see the 30 line reliably? Perhaps that is from 7 feet, or 7/30. Well, logically, before you will be able to magically see 10/30 all the time, you will have to be able to see 8/30 and 9/30 as well. The problem is, when you only look from 10 feet, then you miss those intermediate steps and don't realize even if your sight has improved because you wouldn't know if you've improved from 7/30 to 8/30 because you haven't checked it. And this leads to how to fundamentally use the snellen chart. Don't read it with the purpose of 'trying to see the next lower line' because that will almost always end up being a strain. Similarly, don't make a regimented routine of 'I will read this line of letters from this distance and see it on this day'. Each time you look at the chart, the goal should be to improve your current visual accuity. For example, if you look at the chart from 9 feet and can read the 40 line letters well, but not the 30 line letters, but after some shifting become able to read the 30 line letters, then that practice was a success: you improved from 9/40 to 9/30. Even if the next day you can still only read 9/40, you can use what you learned the previous day to reach 9/30 more easily. After a while, you notice some patterns - that you are doing something different that allows you to see 9/30. You make a decision to do that all the time, and pretty soon you have permanently improved to 9/30. That's how it goes, even if you look at the 50 line letters, if you can improve the darkness or clarity of those letters, and learn something from it that you can apply the whole day, then you will gain permanent improvement over time. At some point, you will simply 'notice' that you can read 10/20, you won't have to 'try' to read 10/20. I have 'noticed' the most improvement when I read the chart from a different distance every day (anywhere between 5 and 20 feet) because then I don't have such rigid expectations (ie strain) of what I 'shoud try' to see from that distance and I am relaxed enough to just practice.

best of luck, I write about my progress and answer questions on my blog (link below).
Hihi, thank you for replying! I'll try out your suggestions, I was actually quite confused as to how the snellen chart would help, but come to think of it, sometimes, when I read the chart all the way from the largest letter first, my vision would seem to improve too. I was just too anxious to see improvement. Thanks! The suggestions really pointed me in the right direction Smile
bates also said

''It is very difficult to do palming wrongly because it is so relaxing , ''

or something along those lines

Of course, you could do it wrongly. I am aware some people might do it the wrong way

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