I've read your entire blog and the new "Finally" edition of your method, but I haven't found a mention of the (universal) swing. I mean observing/imagining the effect of slow short easy movement of the object you are regarding, and the entire field of view.
I wonder why so? Haven't you found the swing working for you?
I'm asking because Dr. Bates placed a HUGE emphasis on the swing. If you asked him how to improve vision, the first thing he'd probably answer would be "See things moving", and the second would be central fixation.
I very much agree with you that the unconscious trying to see things by eccentric fixation is perhaps the main cause of poor eyesight and other disagreeable symptoms. But is it the only one? I wonder if another significant cause could be a similar unconscious attempt to prevent the illusion of movement.
I'm asking this because at times I feel like it's not enough for me to just narrow my attention to a very small point. Sometimes this even causes me an increasing tension around my eyes and nose. And I've noticed that if I slightly move/swing my head while fixating on a tiny point, or otherwise imagine the object moving, I feel like I've jumped on the wave and can fixate on the tiny point longer without the increasing tension. Haven't you had a similar experience?
Oleg, I love the universal swing -- it is so calming and reassuring! When I don't see it on the chart, I know I am not relaxed enough, although I admit I might be giving it too much weight for proving I'm "doing things right", over-achiever that I am. I am just starting to notice all the letters moving in the same rhythm, when they used to be moving in all different directions. This was probably a result of my frantic unconscious eye movements trying to corral the pieces of the view and force everything under my control, lots of strain I wasn't even aware of.
When the Universal Swing has been mentioned here before, some people who have improved their vision faster than I have don't seem to see it, which puzzles me too, since Bates emphasized it so much. David, I second Oleg's question. Do you think the Universal Swing is more important for some types of vision improvers than for others?
Parallax is a part of visual perception that among other things describes how a far object appears to be moving the opposite direction as a nearer object when you're moving. It helps depth perception. So I tend to think of movement as aiding depth perception.
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In some descriptions of Bates's universal swing I don't see any benefit, and I don't really notice things moving except in relation to other objects. But check out the April 1927 Better Eyesight issue, link below. He describes holding your thumb closer to your eyes than the object you're looking at, and moving either your head or your thumb. As usual, he doesn't explain why exactly it's helpful, but I would suggest it has to do with depth perception. And holding your thumb out in front of you as you look at a blurry object should help you move your gaze quickly from point to point without getting lost.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
David, I respectfully disagree with you on the swing mostly being about depth perception. Perceiving the universal swing improves my vision even when looking at largely two-dimensional things such as a page or a picture held close to my face, or looking at patterns on a wall. Maybe depth perception has a role, but it's not the main reason why seeing the swing is important.
I've experienced that even when the primary movement is of all things moving together rather than the parallax effect (e.g., when looking out the window on a train when passing by a wall or row of trees all at the same distance) perceiving the universal movement of all objects improves my vision. If there is parallax due to objects being at different distances (e.g. when the train passes through an open area with far trees and near trees) blocking the apparent relative motion is a strain, but that's different from saying that depth perception is critical to vision improvement.
The "variable swing," as you've described above, helps because the greater apparent motion of the finger is easier to perceive than smaller movements, and because you're intentionally not looking at the finger directly, which helps you avoid subconsciously blocking the movement.
More generally, while there is only one correct way to see, and all techniques work by reducing strain, different things work for different people. Maybe you unconsciously perceive the universal swing without being consciouly aware of its role, but at least for me and some others, consciously noticing the swing demonstrably improves sight.