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William Horatio Bates biography?
Hello, dear iblindness community,

Does anyone know of any published biography (book telling the story of the life and work) of William Horatio Bates? If not, why not?

Warm regards, Catherine
Dear Friends,

I have read his biography, but do not have
the link at this time.

He had an excellent medical background.

There was a major effort to put him "down", and
that is the real problem -- that continues
to this day.

If I can find the link -- I will post it.

The true story of Dr. Bates’ life and work is yet to be told. It is a life that has all the makings of a NYT bestseller. Where and when did he successfully self-treat his own presbyopia? Was his marital situation and family as unsupportive of his work as were the ophthalmologists? Newspaper accounts of his “disappearances� are speculative and sensationalized. He was obviously a person of interest to the general public, yet he chose to remove himself to North Dakota, where his most remarkable research in treating eyesight of children was conducted. He was a member of Atlantic Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Mason. There is no evidence of mental illness. I do not think this remarkable man and scientist ever was or “went crazy�.
why would he be mentally unstable?

If I was under so much pressure from the media and the scientific community, I'd have frequent and prolonged "disappearances" too.
Brief Biography of W.H. Bates, MD

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol 24, pp. 383-4.

BATES, William Horatio, physician, was born in Newark, N.J., Dec. 23, 1860, the son of Charles and Amelia (Halsey) Bates. He was graduated A.B. at Cornell university in 1881 and received his medical degree at the college of physicians and surgeons in 1885. Establishing a practice in New York city, he served for a time as clinical assistant at the Manhattan Eye and Ear hospital and was attending physician at Bellevue hospital, 1886-88, the New York Eye infirmary, the Northern dispensary and the Northeastern dispensary, 1886-98.

He was an instructor in ophthalmology at the New York Post-Graduate medical school and hospital, 1886-91. In his professional work Bates at first devoted his attention to the various organs of the head but finally restricted himself to the eye alone. He resigned his hospital appointments in 1896 and for several years engaged in experimental work. After practicing for several years at Grand Forks, North.Dakota., he returned to New York and was attending physician at the Harlem hospital during 1907-22.

In his researches Bates proved exerimentally that the normal fixation of the eye is central, but never stationary, and the technique developed by him for treating imperfect eye sight without the use of glasses was based on this principle. This technique was the practical application of the psychological theory of the field of consciousness, which is predicated as a point of focus, the so-called point of apperception, surrounded by a field of increasing vagueness.

His method was to develop central fixation by training the patient in the dual art of relaxing and focusing the eyes. While carrying on his experiments he developed a method of photographing the eye to reveal changes in surface curvature as the eye functioned. The work is discussed in "A Study of Images Reflected from the Cornea, Iris, Lens, and Sclera" (N.Y. Med. Jour., May 18, 1918).

His researches on the influence of memory upon the function of vision are described in "Memory as an Aid to Vision" (N.Y.Med. Jour., May 24, 1919). In 1894, while seeking to determine the therapeutic effect on the eye of the active principles of the ductless glands, he discovered the stringent and hemostatic properties of the aqueous extract of the suprarenal capsule, later commercialized as adrenalin.

In 1896 he announced this discovery in a paper read before the New York Academy of Medicine. He introduced a new operation for the relief of persistent deafness in 1886, consisting of puncturing or incising the ear drum membrane.

He published a book, "Perfect Eyesight Without Glasses" (1919), which he had to issue at his own expense, expounding his theories which were for the most part contrary to established ophthalmological practice. He also wrote articles describing his methods. He was a member of the New York State Medical Society and was affiliated with the Dutch Reformed church. He was fond of sports, especially of tennis in which he won several awards and while living in North Dakota was state champion. He was an excellent runner and at the advanced age of fifty-eight was still able to win a prize.

Bates was a quiet, modest man, a serious student of literature and astronomy, with a fondness for children. He was married three times: (1) in 1883, to Edith Kitchell of New York city, by whom he had one son, Halsey Bates; she died in 1886; (2) to Margaret Crawford, who died in 1927, leaving two children, William Crawford, and Milo Bates, wife of Charles McComb; and (3) Aug. 9, 1928, to Mrs. Emily (Ackerman) Lierman, daughter of Robert Ackerman, of Newark, N.J. Bates died in New York city, July 10, 1931.
I have a timeline of his work:

Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Dear David,

Subject: My respect for Dr. Bates

When I mentioned the possibility of prevention (at
age 14 to my ophthalmologist) I got a load
of trash dumped on Dr. Bates.

I wondered about this violent response.  Dr. Bates
could not be THAT BAD, now could he?

There is a tragic tradition in medicine of "not
invented here".  Thus if it was not taught
in HIS med school, it must be WRONG.


At least accept Dr. Bates as the second-opinion,
and let us try to work TOWARDS a preventive

While I admire medical people MOST of the time,
I do not admire this "attitude" towards preventive

Just one man's opinion.



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