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Cataract - Cause, Cures
Two ladies contacted me for help with eyesight problems. Both have few different problems and cataract. African ladies, live in other country. Possibly Egypt. One had a blow to the eye and wore glasses but stopped and now cataract, other problems disappearing.

Other lady no cataract until after 1+ year taking a external medicine placed on the eye to stop a irritation of the iris, front of the eye. Never wore glasses, no head, eye injuries. Taught her Bates Method and we are discussing causes of the irritation; dry air, mold... She does have a very stiff neck on the same side/eye the eye irritation, cataract is on. Possible low circulation, neck tension pinched nerve, causing very tense eyes muscle in that eye. She is doing the long swing... to loosen up the neck. Nutrition. Thinking about stopping the medicine if can without a relapse. Suspect this drug caused the cataract.

Eyes very sensitive to sunlight, wearing sunglasses. Advised to stop the sunglasses and get outside, do sunning.

Anyone else have cataract not caused by eyeglasses? People that do not wear glasses?

Lets post some BEM cataract articles and your experience here for people with similar problems;


2. A Case of Cataract


One day as I entered the clinic I found a little white haired woman waiting patiently to be treated. I had not seen her before, and did not know what her trouble was. The usual crowd of patients was waiting for Dr. Bates and myself, so when he said to me, "See what you can do for this woman," I did not ask any questions, for I knew that whatever the condition of her eyes relaxation would help her.
I placed her four feet from the test card, at which distance she read the forty line (read by the eye with normal vision at forty feet), and told her how to rest her eyes by palming and how to avoid staring by shifting from one side of a letter to another. These practices helped her so much that before she left she was able to read the thirty line.
Later I learned that she had first seen Dr. Bates in March, 1919, and that she had incipient cataract of both eyes. In October, 1916, she had visited another dispensary where an operation was advised when the cataracts were ripe. I also learned that in spite of her seventy-three years she worked hard every day for her living, being employed in an orphan asylum where she mended the children's clothes. The fact that she was very deaf I saw for myself, of course, at the first interview, for I had to scream to make her hear. Her courage and cheerfulness under circumstances that might have daunted the bravest spirit were amazing. Her face was always radiant with smiles, and she was so witty, and so appreciative of everything that was done for her, that each one of her visits to the clinic was a pleasure to me.
"I have so much to be thankful for," she said one day. "I know I will see all right again. They are waiting to operate at the other dispensary, and I am waiting to fool them."
The orphanage is about two miles from the clinic, and often she walks the entire distance rather than bother waiting for a car. She insists after these feats that she isn't a bit tired. One day there were no cars running and the walking was so bad that a friend urged her not to go out unless she was prepared to swim. She came just as usual, however. Why should she stay in, she asked, because other people were afraid to go out. She wasn't tired either, and she hadn't even got her feet wet. She just dodged the snowdrifts.
Most patients frown when they cannot see a letter, but my little cataract patient smiles instead and remarks cheerfully, "That's the time you got me."
One day she did not do as well as usual, and I found that the people in the place where she worked had been saying unpleasant things. I told her she must try not to let things of this sort disturb her, because that made her strain and made the cataracts worse.
"Well," she said, "it is mighty hard not to worry; but I'll try not to."
At a recent visit she explained that she wouldn't he able to do very well because she hadn't had time to practice.
"Never mind," I said. "Just do as well as you can." Without her knowing it I placed her two feet farther from the card than usual. Then I told her to palm, and after a short time I pointed to a small letter on the bottom line and asked her if she could see it. She recognized it immediately. Then I pointed to another, but she was so eager to see it that she tried too hard and failed. She closed her eyes for a few minutes without palming, and when she opened them she read the whole line. I then told her that she was two feet farther away from the card than she usually was. She was very happy about this and said, "That's the time you fooled me."
She has since become able to read the bottom line at ten feet, and one day she read it at eleven feet, without knowing it and without having done any practicing at home. On sunshiny days she can read the "W. H. Bates, M.D." on Dr. Bates' card, and for over a month she has done all her sewing without glasses. There is no doubt that she is going to fool them at the other dispensary.
Along with the improvement in her eyes has gone a considerable improvement in her hearing. Noises in her ears which she describes as a "ringing and a singing" are promptly relieved by palming, and she says that the relief, which at first was only temporary, is now becoming more constant. She also says that she hears conversation better than she used to.


In CATARACT, the pupil instead of being black becomes a light gray or some other color, due to the opacity of the focusing lens of the eye, which is just behind the colored part of the eye, the iris. Rays of light which enter the eye pass through this lens and are focused on the back part of the eye, the retina. When the lens becomes opaque, the rays of light from different objects do not pass through the lens and the vision is consequently lowered and the patient becomes more or less blind. If one places six sheets of glass, one on top of the other, so that all are parallel, it is possible to see through them. If, however, one or more of the glasses form an angle or is not parallel with the rest, the layers of glass become cloudy, just like the layers which form the crystalline lens in cataract.

CAUSE. Cataract has been observed for many thousands of years by the people of India, Egypt, and in various countries of Europe. The theories of the cause of cataract are very numerous. The lens is composed of transparent layers. When these layers are squeezed or when the eyeball is squeezed, the layers which form the lens become cloudy or opaque. It is a very simple experiment to take the eye of some animal which has just been slaughtered and to hold it with the tips of the fingers of one hand. By pressing the eyeball, the lens at once becomes cloudy and a white mass, which can be seen twenty feet or further, usually appears in the pupil. With the cloudiness of the lens, there may occur at the same time, a cloudiness in the front part of the eye, the cornea. Just as soon as the pressure is removed from the eyeball, the area of the pupil becomes perfectly clear and the lens becomes perfectly transparent. It is such an easy thing to try and is so convincing that I wish that more ophthalmologists would study it.
Pressure of the eyeball may come from the contraction of the muscles on the outside of the eye, which are quite capable of keeping up a continuous pressure for many years, without the patient being conscious of it.
Cataract has been produced in normal eyes by the memory or the imagination of imperfect sight. The memory of imperfect sight produces a strain of the outside muscles of the eyeball, which is accompanied by a contraction of these muscles, and cataract is produced.
Almost any kind of opacity of the lens has been produced by pressure. The area of the pupil may become varicolored, due to the difference in pressure. The strain of the eye or mind which produces cataract is a different kind of strain than that which produces glaucoma. Every symptom of eye trouble is caused by a separate strain. The strain which produces near-sightedness is a different kind of strain than that which produces astigmatism or inflammation of the cornea or inflammation of the colored part of the eye, the iris. The strain which produces pain is not the same strain which produces squint. One may practice the strain which produces squint continuously without necessarily producing pain. The stain which produces cataract does not produce pain. Cataract is a disease of the eye which is never accompanied by pain unless the patient with cataract also strains in a way which produces pain. The strain which produces cataract never produces pain.

TREATMENT. Palming, swinging, sun treatment, and other methods of relaxation treatment*1 cures cataract because it relieves eyestrain which is the cause of cataract.
September 1927

*1- Described in the book “Perfect Sight Without Glasses,” by W.H. Bates, M. D., and previous issues of “Better Eyesight” Magazine.

Some years ago a friend of mine called to see me and to learn about my experiments. I said to him: “Doctor, would you like to see a case of cataract produced and cured’?” I took him into a dark room where one of my patients, a woman about seventy years of age was seated. After he had seen her he recognized her as one of his former patients. He told me in a low voice that arrangements had been made for taking her into a hospital and operating upon her eye.
I gave him an ophthalmoscope with a plus 18 convex glass which produced a very much enlarged image of the cataract. I asked the doctor if he could see the cataract, and he replied that the area of the pupil was completely filled with the cataract, and that there was no red reflex. He said that he believed that one would be justified in operating for its removal.
“Before we do that,” I said, “suppose we look at the lens again.” So we looked at the lens again with the ophthalmoscope and again he showed me that it was a proper case for operation.
“Well,” I said, “suppose we keep looking at the cataract for a few minutes.” I asked the patient if she had a good memory for flowers. She replied that she had. I asked her what flower she could remember best. She answered: “I believe I can remember a yellow chrysanthemum better than any other flower.” I then said to the doctor: “how is the cataract?” ”Why,” he said, “it has disappeared.” He was evidently very much puzzled.
I then asked the patient if she could remember my first name. She answered: “No.” I said. “Suppose you try.” She immediately began to stare and the upper part of the lens became opaque and all the muscles of her face were under a strain.
We investigated this case for half an hour or longer and came to the conclusion that the memory of perfect sight was a cure for cataract and the memory of imperfect sight, which is usually associated with a stare, the cause of cataract.
The relief of eyestrain or the stare has benefited so many heretofore considered incurable cases that the conclusions made should be investigated. If it is true that the stare can cause so much pain or suffering it is a breach of medical ethics for any doctor to deprive a man or women of relief by the use of such simple successful methods of treatment.
Cataract number


January, 1921


A Report of a Case

From "A Case of Cataract," by Victoria Coolidge, in "Better Eyesight" for June, 1920.
The treatment prescribed was as follows:

+ Palming six times a day, a half hour or longer at a time.

+ Reading the Snellen test card at five, ten, and twenty feet.

+ Reading fine print at six inches, five minutes at a time, especially soon after rising in the morning and just before retiring at night, and reading books and newspapers.

+Besides this, he was to subject his eyes, especially the left, to the sunlight whenever an opportunity offered, to drink twelve glasses of water a day, walk five miles a day, and later, when he was in better training, to run half a mile or so every day.
The results of this treatment have been most gratifying. Not only have his eyes improved steadily, but his general health has been so much benefited that at eighty-two he looks, acts and feels better and younger than he did at eighty-one.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

Cataract is a condition in which the lens becomes opaque. It is commonly associated with advancing years, but may occur at any age. It may also be congenital (present at birth). The opacities take many different forms, and may occur in a hard or a soft lens. According to the orthodox teaching the condition is incurable except by the removal of the lens, although in the earlier stages it is sometimes ameliorated by means of drops that expand the pupil and by glasses. The text-books are full of statements to this effect.
Yet it is perfectly well known that cataract does sometimes recover spontaneously. Many such cases are on record, and probably most ophthalmologists who have been practicing for any length of time have seen them. Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I was assistant surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, I collected, at the request of the surgeon, Dr Henry D. Noyes, a large number of records of such cases.
The removal of the lens, when it is soft, is usually accomplished by the operation of needling, whereby the tissues are broken up so that they may be absorbed. A hard lens is extracted through an opening at the margin of the cornea, and the best results are believed to be obtained when the opacity has become complete. Otherwise part of the lens substance is liable to be left behind and cause trouble. Thus the patient may be kept for years in a condition of semi-blindness.
The results of the operation are not always as satisfactory as might be desired. A considerable proportion of patients regain what is considered to be normal acuteness of vision with very strong glasses, and the results are considered good when they become able to read large print at the near-point and 20/50 at the distance. The patient is obliged, usually to have two sets of glasses, one for distant vision to replace the focusing power of the lost lens, and the other for reading to compensate for the impairment of the accommodative power which usually follows the operation.
This impairment of accommodative power is not due to the removal of the lens, which has nothing to do with accommodation, but to the fact that the patient strains so to see that the muscles that control the shape of the eyeball fail to act properly. In some cases it is regained, after the patient becomes accustomed to the new situation, without treatment, and in rare cases patients have become able to do without glasses entirely, because the eyeball elongated sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the lens.
I began to treat cataract by the operative method, because I did not know anything better to do. Then I learned from Dr James E. Kelly of New York that incipient cases would yield to hygienic treatment. My first inkling of the value of central fixation in such conditions came to me through a patient who had incipient cataract in one eye and hypermetropia (farsight) in the other. By the time the error of refraction had been relieved the cataract had disappeared. After this I had many similar experiences, but it did not occur to me that a ripe cataract, or a congenital cataract, could by cured by this or any other treatment.
In 1912, however, a young girl of seventeen came to my clinic with the left eye enucleated and a congenital cataract in the right. The left had been operated upon for the same condition, and, having become infected, was taken out to save the better eye. The latter having recently become worse, the patient had come to have it operated upon. Before performing the operation I thought it best to treat her by the method of relaxation, for the purpose of improving the condition of the eye as much as possible so that the operation might have a better chance of success. To my surprise the vision improved and kept on improving, until in three months it was normal and the cataract had disappeared.
One day, some half a dozen years later, a lady, fifty-five years of age, came to me to be cured of presbyopia (old-age sight.) Her distant vision in the right eye was 20/20, and in the left she had only light perception. This was due to the presence, in this eye, of a mature cataract. I began to treat her by the aid of the memory and imagination for presbyopia, and, in order to prove to her the relation between these mental faculties and the state of the vision, I asked her to cover her right eye and note that she could not remember or imagine a black period as well as when it was open. She replied that she could, and I said it was impossible. She insisted that, nevertheless, she did it. Thinking that at the near-point she would realize the imperfection of the sight of the left eye more clearly than at the distance, I brought the card closer and said:
"You cannot remember the period looking at this card with your good eye covered."
She replied: "I can, and what is more, I can read the card," which she did, both at two feet and at twenty.
This was naturally a shock to me. It did not seem to me possible that a mature cataract could melt away in such a short time, but the ophthalmoscope confirmed the statements of the patient. When she remembered a period perfectly I could see the optic nerve and other details of the eye-ground. Since then I have cured a great many similar cases, one of the most remarkable having been reported in Better Eyesight for June, 1920.
I had another shock when a few months ago a traumatic cataract began to melt away under the influence of relaxation treatment. The patient came to my clinic with an eye which had been completely blind for four years from traumatic cataract complicated with detachment of the retina. The opacity completely covered the pupil, and with the ophthalmoscope no red reflex (light reflected from the retina) could be seen. After a few treatments the patient became able to see the movements of his hand on the temporal side. Later he became able to see the hand in all parts of the field. Now he is beginning to read.
Another case of the cure of traumatic cataract is reported in the following article.
These cures are very remarkable. A traumatic cataract is one which follows an injury (trauma) to the lens, the opacity being due largely to the formation of connective tissue in the pupil, and, in advance of the event, I should have pronounced the cure of such a condition impossible, although I had previously demonstrated that when patients practice central fixation connective tissue is absorbed in the optic nerve, retina and cornea. In the retina and optic nerve the circulation can be seen to improve as the connective tissue disappears, and I can only assume that this is the cause of its disappearance.
Equally remarkable is the cure of diabetic cataract without relief of the disease. A patient with such a cataract came to me on April 29, 1918, her vision being 10/200 — in the right eye and 20/30 — in the left. She had been seen a year and a half previously by a well-known ophthalmologist who had advised several operations, but, fortunately, she had not submitted to them. By the aid of palming, swinging, imagination and memory, her vision improved rapidly. On May 15 that of the left eye was 20/70, while later it became normal. On May 22 the vision of the right became normal temporarily. Since then she has had slight relapses in the right eye, but few or none in the left. The general diabetic condition has not changed, and it is remarkable that when it is at its worst there is very little lowering of the vision.
It is quite evident from the foregoing facts that the cause of cataract (other than traumatic) is strain, and I have found much evidence, both clinical and experimental, to the same effect. I have not been able to produce cataract in a normal eye by strain, but in a cataractous eye I have seen the opacity come and go according as the mind of the patient was relaxed or under strain. In one of these cases the opacity was so dense that no red reflex could be seen. Another doctor who was present looked at the eye and made the same observation. I asked the patient to remember a swinging O perfectly black, with a perfectly white center. This meant perfect relaxation, and when she did it I saw some of the details of the retina and the optic nerve, while the other doctor again confirmed my observation. I then asked her to think of the O as stationary, with grey outlines and a clouded center. This meant great strain, and while she did it neither I nor my colleague could see the red reflex. In experimental animals I have produced cataract by operating upon the external muscles in such a way as to increase their pressure, and have then relieved it by cutting these muscles.



This patient was first seen on October 18, 1920, when her vision in the right eye was 20/100 and in the left 14/200. She had compound myopic astigmatism in the right eye, and the pupil of the left eye was covered by a traumatic cataract which prevented ophthalmoscopic examination of the eye-ground. On December 6, the cataract had been absorbed except for a spot about the size of a pin-head, and I was able to see the optic nerve and the retina clearly. With a glass to replace the focusing power of the lens—convex 7.00D.S. combined with convex 3.00 D.C., 75 degrees—she was able with this eye to read 20/40, and on the same day, after palming and swinging, she obtained temporary normal vision in both eyes, the left eyeball having elongated sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the lens. The fact that astigmatism should have developed in the right eye after the injury to the left is interesting, as astigmatism has been supposed, until recently, to be congenital.
When I was thirteen years of age a bullet from an air-gun, rebounding from a tree, struck my left eye and injured the lens. This resulted in the formation of a cataract which was operated upon three times. After the third operation about one third of the cataract remained, but the doctor was afraid to operate again. I was now able with this eye to distinguish, with the aid of a strong glass, only the outline of near-by objects.
Previous to the accident my eyes had been straight, and the vision of both normal, so far as I was aware. After the last operation, however, I found myself unable to read writing on the blackboard at school. I went to the specialist who had performed the operations and he was astounded to find that I had a bad case of astigmatism in the good eye. He gave me the following glass: convex 3.00 D.C., 105 degrees, combined with concave 2.50 D.C., 15 degrees. Later my left eye began to turn out.
I wore my glasses constantly, putting them on the first thing in the morning, and taking them off the last thing at night. I went swimming with them, and if they were lost or broken, I remained in my room until they were found or repaired. My condition caused me much unhappiness, and I was particularly disturbed about the squint. I wrote to every medical journal that I knew about and to many other publications, asking if there was any cure for squint; but none of them was able to suggest anything but an operation. A few months ago I happened to hear about Dr. Bates, and I resolved to see him as soon as an opportunity offered. At the beginning of the season I came to New York from my home in Texas to study music, but with Dr. Bates in the background of my mind. Nevertheless I did not look him up immediately.
One day in the elevator of a department store my glasses were swept from my face, disappearing as completely as if they had never existed. I went to the Lost Property Office, but after waiting there a long time failed to recover them. It was a horrible experience, and the realization of my helplessness without glasses depressed me terribly. However, it resulted in my looking up Dr. Bates immediately, it was a good thing.
I went to him with the hope that he might be able to cure my squint and astigmatism, but I never dreamt that he could cure cataract also. When he told me he could do so I hardly knew what to think, but I resolved to do everything I could to help him cure me. I carried out the swinging treatment so vigorously that I used to get dizzy, and fall over on my bed. Of course I was not doing it right, but the doctor had told me to swing, and I was determined to do so. I was positively terrified when he told me to palm and remember all sorts of strange things, such as the letter F on a piece of white starch, because I thought he was trying to hypnotize me, but I did my best, nevertheless, to carry out his instruction. Later I bought and read all the back numbers of the magazine, and learned the scientific principles on which the treatment is based.
My eyesight is now steadily improving, and I intend to keep up the treatment until I have normal vision. I have given up the music for the time being—my eyes are more important, ten times more important—and the ridicule of my friends does not disturb me. As long as that old cataract continues to melt away nothing else matters.
In addition to the improvement in my eyesight I have noticed an improvement in my memory. My memory for the things I learned out of books at school was always poor, while my memory for music has always been exceptionally good. I suppose the difference was due to the fact that one set of impressions reached me through my eyes, and the other though my ears. Now that my vision is improving I can remember the things that I see better.
I wish everyone could know of this remarkable method of curing defects of vision. I know in the end it must surmount all opposition, but meantime how many persons as afflicted as I once was will remain unhelped! It is right that we should be dubious of the new, but to hang so tightly to tradition as the medical profession seems to do makes progress unnecessarily hard.



New York.

This patient when first seen had a vision of 20/200 in each eye, and was wearing, for distant vision, the following glasses: right eye, concave 6.00 D.S. combined with 1.00 D.C., 90 degrees; left eye, 10.00 D.S. combined with 1.00 D.C., 60 degrees. Owing to the presence of incipient cataract in each eye these lenses improved his vision only 20/50 in the right eye and 20/100 in the left. For reading his glasses were three diopters weaker. He now has flashes of normal vision. He was helped most by the use of his imagination.
Since boyhood—I am now sixty-five—I have had myopia and astigmatism, for the correction of which I have worn glasses and spectacles. About two years ago cataract developed in my right eye, and a few months later in my left eye. Both were in mild degree, but still bad enough to seriously obscure the field of vision. I had previously been annoyed by vitreous opacities which made little black spots dance in the field of vision. I also suffered from frequent severe headaches. My glasses were often changed without much relief.
About November 1st of this year (1920) I consulted Dr. Bates, of whom I had heard much and favorably. His methods of treatment seemed exceedingly rational, and he gave me great hopes of getting rid of my eye troubles. First of all he made me discard my glasses, which, at first, seemed rather hard, but to which I have gradually become reconciled. Through what I would call a system of progressive education of sight, I have now almost got rid of the myopia, the vitreous opacities do not bother me any more, and, apparently, the cataracts are disappearing by degrees. The headaches have also disappeared. I have resumed, to a great extent, the literary and research work on which I have been engaged since my retirement from active practice, and I have no doubt that, ultimately, I shall be in possession of full visual power. Upon my future progress I will report at a later date.
No. 122 West Ninety-ninth Street

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