A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE
PREVENTION AND CURE OF IMPERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES
1. That the drifting swing improves the sight.
Take a record of your best vision
of the Snellen test card with both eyes together and each eye separately without glasses. Now close your eyes and imagine
that you are occupying a canoe which is floating down some creek, river or stream. Imagine that the trees, houses and other
stationary objects on either side are moving in the direction opposite to the way in which you are moving.
in which to practice the drifting swing is as follows: With the eyes closed, recall a number of familiar objects which can
be remembered easily. Sometimes in the course of a few minutes, fifty or one hundred objects may be remembered quickly and
then forgotten. Remember each mental picture by central fixation; that is, think of only one part at a time of the object
that you are remembering. (Shift from part to part, while seeing, thinking of each part, one part at
a time.) Just let your mind drift easily from one object to another, without making any effort. Do not try to hold
each object as remembered; forget it quickly. Notice that after practicing the above methods for a few minutes the vision
for the test card is improved.
2. That the long swing improves the sight, relieves pain, fatigue and many
other nervous symptoms.
Take a record of your best vision of the Snellen test card with both eyes together and
each eye separately without glasses.
+ Stand, with the feet about one foot apart, facing a blank wall.
the body to the left, at the same time raising the heel of the right foot.
Now place the heel of the right foot on the
floor in its usual position;
+ Then turn the body to the right, lifting the heel of the left foot.
+ The head
and eyes move with the body; do not make any effort to see more distinctly stationary objects which are apparently moving.
Practice this fifty to one hundred times, easily, without making any effort. Notice that after practicing, the vision for
the test card improves.
for crossed, wandering eyes
W. H. Bates, M.D.
When one or both eyes are habitually turned in toward the nose, the condition is called internal squint or convergent strabismus.
When the eyes turn out, it is called divergent squint. Sometimes one eye may be turned up, while the other remains straight
or may be turned down. This has been termed vertical squint. Some cases of squint may be a combination of several kinds of
squint, vertical convergent or vertical divergent.
The cause of squint is a mental strain. Internal squint is produced by a different strain from the one which turns the eyes
out, upward or downward. Double vision is produced by a mental strain different from that which lowers the vision or causes
fatigue, pain or dizziness. Normal eyes have been taught to consciously produce all kinds of squint at will. This requires
an effort which is variable in its intensity.
The facts suggest that since squint in all its manifestations can be produced
at will, it should be considered curable by eye education, and this has been demonstrated in all cases. It is a well known
fact that many persons, including children, can learn how to produce squint and become able to relieve permanently all the
varied symptoms of squint. The success of the operative treatment of squint is very uncertain.
TREATMENT. Since squint is always caused by an effort or
a strain to see, mental relaxation is a fundamental part of the successful treatment. This may explain why teaching the eyes
to see better is a relaxation method, which promotes the cure of the squint. If the vision of each eye is about one-half of
the normal, the right or the left eye may turn in. With an improvement in the vision of each eye to the normal, the eyes may
If the good eye has a vision
of 15/20 while that of the poorer eye is only 15/70, improving the vision of the good eye may also improve the vision of the
eye that turns in and the eyes may become straighter.
many cases of squint, double vision can be demonstrated. These cases are more readily cured than those cases of squint which
do not see double. This fact suggests that all cases of squint should be taught how to produce double vision. When the patient
regards a small light with both eyes open, it is possible to encourage him to see two lights with the aid of prisms, (prisms are not necessary) the blue glass over the eye with good sight, when the light seen by the
good eye is very much blurred. If the person is unable to imagine two lights a short or long distance apart, palming frequently
helps. By resting the eyes with the aid of palming, the separation of the two lights is changed. With the help of the swing,
central fixation, the two images approach each other and may merge into one light.
Squint cases are materially benefited
when they become able, by an effort, to imagine the double vision better with their eyes closed than with their eyes open.
They are able to demonstrate with their eyes closed that the image seen by the right eye is to the right of the image seen
by the left eye. This is called homonymous diplopia. By a little training or encouragement, they become able to imagine the
two images closer together by relaxation methods.
When the image seen by the right eye is to the left of the other image,
it is called crossed diplopia and, with few exceptions, divergent squint is present. With the eyes closed, a person with internal
squint may imagine double vision with the images separated or close together. Or he may become able to imagine the images
crossed, or the image seen with the right eye to be to the left of the other image; in other words, he may be able to produce
divergent squint with the aid of his imagination. A number of people have been cured of internal squint by teaching them how
to produce divergent squint.
Young children, two years of age, have been cured of all forms of squint by swinging the
whole body in a circular direction and swinging them strongly enough to lift their feet from the floor. While swinging, the
hands of the child are held by the hands of an adult who may be swinging them. At the same time the child is encouraged to
look upward as much as possible. The little patients always seem to enjoy this form of exercise. Games of all kinds have been
practiced with much benefit to the squint in children.
One can obtain small toy animals of various sizes and colors.
The names of the animals and their colors can be taught to the children. In the beginning they learn the names of the animals
more readily when they are close, about two feet away. When the child recognizes each animal correctly at this distance, one
can, by gradually placing each animal further off, improve the vision for a greater distance. The more perfectly the child
becomes able to see the animals, the less is the squint.
Teaching children with squint the names of the different colors
at a near or greater distance is a benefit. In the beginning, the size of the colors may need to be large to help the memory,
imagination or sight. As the sight improves, the child becomes able to distinguish the colors of very small objects. One may
need to spend half an hour or longer daily for some weeks in order to improve the vision for colors to the maximum. Numbers
and letters of the alphabet can also be taught to the child who has squint, with benefit.
Not all children are conscious of seeing stationary objects multiplied. When they reach the age of
six years or older, double vision, when it occurs, is usually very annoying. Adults with double vision and squint are usually
more seriously disturbed than are young children.
One of the best remedies for double vision is palming for longer or
shorter periods of time. It is well to remember that while double vision often requires the vision of each eye, one may have
multiple images referred to each eye alone.
Any method of treatment which secures relaxation, corrects the double vision
and lessens the squint. Some patients are benefited by standing with the feet about one foot apart, the arms and hands hanging
loosely at the sides, while they sway the body slowly, continuously, easily, from side to side. The swaying of the body from
side to side lessens or prevents concentration or other efforts to see. Since double vision can be demonstrated to be caused
by concentration or some other effort to see, the prevention of effort by the sway naturally lessens or corrects double vision.
Should this not be sufficient to cure the squint, one may practice blinking, palming, or the memory or the imagination of
The Snellen test card may be useful in the cure of squint. While swaying from side to side, standing
a few feet from the card, all stationary objects in the field of vision may appear to be moving in the opposite direction
to the sway. More distant objects, that have no background, may appear to move in the same direction as the movement of the
body. When practicing with a white card with black letters, the whiteness of the card improves in whiteness, while the blackness
of the letters becomes darker and the vision improves.
tropometer is an instrument invented by Dr. George T. Stevens, of New York, to measure the strength of the muscles of the
outside of the eyeball. It is a very valuable instrument for some cases. For example, a patient, a young man of about twenty-three
years of age, came to me suffering from an alternate squint of a very high degree. I measured the strength of the muscles
which turned the eyeball in. He had the maximum strength of these muscles. A free incision was made through both muscles and
the result was negative. The eyes turned in as much as they had before the operation.
In order to increase the effect
of the operation, I removed a quarter of an inch of the internal rectus muscle and then measured the effect produced with
the aid of the tropometer. Much to my surprise, the tropometer measured little or no diminution of the strength of the internal
rectus to turn the eyeballs in. I then proceeded more or less cautiously, alternately using the tropometer to measure what
progress I was making.
When the tropometer indicated that the strength of the internal rectus was reduced to normal,
functional tests demonstrated that both eyes were straight, with single vision. I exhibited the patient before the Opthalmological
Section of the New York Academy of Medicine. Every ophthalmologist, and there were many prominent men present, made the statement
that the eyes would turn out within a very short time. Twenty years later, a large, heavy man came up to me after I had finished
a lecture on the cure of the eyes at one of the public schools of New York. Although I did not recognize him, he was the same
patient. He had had no relapse during all these years.
Dr. Bates main treatment is to avoid cutting
the eye muscles. Natural Bates method doctors have learned to use relaxation, shifting, central fixation, movement, left and
right brain hemisphere activation, integration, (professional alignment of the neck vertebrae and skull/eye socket bones only
if necessary) and other natural treatments to cure cross and wandering eyes.
About fifteen years ago, a southern lady came to me with her daughter, age
ten. When she arrived at the office, she found a number of patients who had come to be cured of their bad eyesight without
glasses. She was one of those nervous people who disliked above all things in this world to have to wait, especially in a
doctor’s office. When my secretary advised her not to wait, she took a firmer grip on the arms of her chair and resolved
to see it through.
The child was suffering from well marked alternate internal squint. Sometimes the right eye would
turn in so far that the pupil was covered over by the inner corner of the lids. At other times, the child was observed to
be afflicted with internal squint of the left eye. Her mother told me that they had been to several large cities, including
the capitals of Europe, where she had hoped to obtain a cure for her daughter’s squint.
The child was an avid reader
and had read many books. Her memory was unusually good. She also had a very good imagination. She could read the 10 line of
the Snellen test card at more than twenty feet in a good light. When the light was poor and her vision was tested with the
aid of a strange card, she was able to imagine correctly each of the four sides of any letter. For example, the letter “E”
was the fourth letter on the fifth line of the test card. When the test card was placed thirty feet away in a poor light,
she was unable to distinguish the letter as a whole.
After closing her eyes and covering them with the palms of both
hands (palming), she imagined the left side of the “E” to be straight. When she imagined the left side of the
“E” was curved or open, she strained. She imagined the top straight, and the bottom straight, and the right side
open, which was, of course, correct. When any of the sides were imagined wrong, she always strained and was more or less uncomfortable.
She was then asked to imagine the fourth letter on the sixth line. She was still practicing palming. She was able to imagine
the left side of the unknown letter to be straight, the top straight, the bottom open and the right side open. She imagined
that the letter was an “F” and was correct.
She was then tested with diamond type at about ten feet from
her eyes, a distance at which it was impossible for her to read the letters. She was then told to palm. While palming, she
was asked to imagine the first letter of the fourth word, on the fifteenth line of the diamond type. With her eyes closed
and covered, she was able, without effort, by imagining each of the four sides correctly to demonstrate a letter “M.”
She imagined this letter so perfectly that she was able also to imagine other letters of the same word correctly. The exercise
of her imagination was continued for an hour during which time she imagined correctly a number of lines of the diamond type.
The result was very gratifying, because the squint disappeared in both eyes and the relief was manifest two days later.
Imagine and see one letter clear and all letters, objects become clear.
The mother supervised
the imagination of the fine print for half an hour daily for many days and weeks, with the result that at the end of six months,
the child’s eyes were still straight. The treatment was then discontinued, and at the end of five years, her eyes still
A girl, age twenty-five,
was afflicted with a complicated squint of various muscles of the eyeball of each eye. She habitually looked straight with
the right eye, while the left eye turned down and out. When the right eye was covered, the left eye looked straight, and the
right eye turned down and out. She had a vertical divergent squint in each eye. At times, she turned the left eye up and inward.
She was instructed to produce all forms of vertical, internal or external squint. With her eyes closed, she was directed
to place her fingers lightly on the outside of the closed eyelids. With the help of her imagination, she became able to move
the right eye in, while the left eye remained straight. When the left eye turned in, the right eye remained straight. She
could produce every imaginable form of squint with her eyes closed, better than she could produce a squint with her eyes open.
With her eyes open, she was able to do it in flashes or temporarily and later more continuously. It was interesting to observe
how readily the patient could tell by the sense of touch whether the eye was looking in, out, down, up, or straight.
Many patients have been cured of internal squint by teaching
them how to produce divergent squint, either with the eyes open or with the eyes closed. There were times when it was difficult
for the patient to produce some forms of squint. With the aid of a small candle light, with the eyes open, the patient could
imagine she saw two candle flames. The one seen by the right eye was to the right of the one seen by the left eye when one
or both eyes turned in. By practice, she became able, with an effort, to increase the distance between the two candle flames.
By lessening the effort, she became able to bring the two candle flames closer together, which was evidence that the squint
required an effort and that a cure could be expected when the eyes were relaxed.
There were times when her ability to
produce internal squint with her eyes open was not always easy. With her eyes closed, her imagination of the two candle flames
was better. With an effort, she was able to imagine the candle flame seen by the right eye to be to the left of the candle
flame seen by the left eye. In other words, the two candle flames were crossed. With her eyes closed, she could imagine the
crossed images farther apart, or she could bring them closer together by relaxation until they merged into one. Her ability
to produce all kinds of squint helped her to do those things which were necessary to correct the squint. She devoted many
hours to the production of vertical squint which enabled her to quickly correct divergent squint. When she became able to
produce internal squint, it was not long before she was able to correct external squint.
When the patient began treatment,
she was wearing glasses for the correction of imperfect sight. After her eyes became straight by eye education, her vision
became normal without glasses. Because of her wonderful control of her eye muscles, very satisfactory photographs were obtained
of her eyes.
Shifting, central fixation, relaxation, no effort to see clear, no effort, strain
to keep the eye straight corrects Strabismus, Squint.
STORIES FROM THE CLINIC
Emily C. Lierman
young mother, who was much worried about the condition of her little boy’s eyes, brought him to me for my candid opinion
as to the cure of squint. When he was two years old, it was noticed that his left eye frequently turned in. At the age of
three, when I first saw him, the right eye seemed to turn in more than the left. The mother had visited many eye specialists
but none of them gave the child permanent relief.
I felt so sorry for the little fellow when he stood before me with
his large rimmed spectacles. He tried to keep his head still while he looked up at me, but he could not. His head moved in
a sort of semi-circle as he tried to see me more clearly, through his glasses. I pretended not to understand what he said
to me, and he really had a great deal to say.
I sat down and took him on my lap. Then I asked him to remove his glasses
so that I could understand him better. “Glasses don’t talk, do they?” he said. “No; but they make
me stare like you do, and I also think they make me a little hard of hearing,” I remarked, jokingly. He looked at his
mother and quietly asked her to remove his glasses so that Ms. Lierman could hear him better.
I had no desire to have
him take me seriously, nor did I want him to feel that he was going to be examined as he had been heretofore. I asked him
his name. “Frank,” he said, and then gave his full name and address and the date of his birthday, which I thought
was bright for a child so young. He had spent many hours and days during the last year being examined and having drops put
in his eyes. He asked me if I were going to put those drops in his eyes and said that if I were, he would run away.
told him that I would not even touch his eyes with my hands. His mother and father were with him, and to prove to Frank that
I really meant what I said, I asked both the mother and father to hold my hands, which they did. In the meantime, Frank slid
off my lap, threw himself on the floor before me, kicked his heels in the air and wept with fear. His father apologized for
his behavior, but I assured him that it was not necessary to make excuses for little Frank, because it was not unusual for
children with squint to act that way.
“Yes,” the father answered, “I noticed that you emphasize that
in your book, ‘Stories from the clinic.’” Nothing could be done until the father threatened to take the
boy from his position on the floor, and even then he kicked and screamed, begging at the same time to be left alone, saying
that he wanted no drops and no examination of his eyes. I asked both parents to leave him entirely to me.
took two packages of chewing gum from her handbag. One package she handed to me, while the other she held concealed in her
hand. I never saw a child move as quickly as he did from the floor for that chewing gum. I said he could not have any of it
until he stood on a chair, ten feet from a test card that I had placed on the wall opposite. This test card is the one we
call the inverted “E” or the “pot hook” card, and is used for young children and patients who
cannot read or write. He willingly consented to do as I wished him to, and without further fuss, he stood on the seat of the
chair opposite the card.
At my suggestion, his mother stood twenty feet away from him and held a piece of wrapped gum
in her hand for him to see. She asked him what the name of the gum was. The mother had previously told me that he could mention
the name on the wrapper of the gum and could tell whether it was Beechnut or Wrigley. He said immediately that it was “Beechnut.”
I watched his eyes as he looked at the gum and both were straight. I then told Frank to close his eyes and showed him how
to palm. While his eyes were closed and covered, his mother replaced the Beechnut gum with the Wrigley.
Frank was then
told to remove his hands from his eyes and look at the package his mother held up for him to see. He said, “Oh, I know
that is Wrigley Spearmint gum.” The mother then placed both hands behind her back and changed the gum from one hand
to the other, then held up both hands for him to name the gum. He mentioned them correctly, saying that the right hand held
the Wrigley and the left hand held the Beechnut. I drew his father’s attention to the fact that when he shifted from
her right hand to her left hand, noticing first the object which she held in one hand and then the object she held in the
other hand, he blinked his eyes, and while swinging and blinking, his eyes moved in unison. The father remarked how straight
both eyes were during this exercise.
After his mother had promised that he could soon have the chewing gum, I told the
little fellow to palm his eyes again. When he removed his hands from his eyes, his right eye turned in decidedly. I pointed
at a letter “E” on the test card for him to see, and he leaned forward, straining hard to see how the letter “E”
was pointing. He rubbed both eyes with his chubby hands and complained that he could not see anything.
I explained to
his parents how unfamiliar objects seen at the distance caused the blindness of squint, while familiar objects seen at the
same distance produced no tension, no strain, and therefore no blindness from squint. The inverted “E” card was
unfamiliar to him and made him strain.
His mother noticed, among other test cards, one that was familiar to him, but
the letters of the card had not been memorized by the child. I placed this familiar test card fifteen feet away and pointed
to the ten line of letters, or the line of letters that should be seen by the normal eye at ten feet, and he immediately strained
to see them. His right eye turned in as it had before. I then placed the familiar test card ten feet away and directed Frank
to close his eyes after he had seen each letter as I pointed to it. In this way, he read the ten line letters with both eyes
I placed a toy on the floor and told Frank to go and pick it up. He reached for the toy but missed it by a
foot. By turning his head around in a sort of semi-circle, he finally put his hand on the toy and picked it up. I spent almost
a half-hour longer with him than I usually do with each patient, swinging him around as I held both his arms, and raising
him slightly from the floor. He laughed with glee, enjoying every moment of the swing.
He was rather heavy for me to
lift, so I asked his father to take my place. Frank thought this was a wonderful game and all the while his father swung him
around from left to right, he looked up toward the ceiling and then to his father’s face. All three of us noticed how
straight both eyes were during this procedure. His parents were directed to practice this swing every day, always making a
game of anything that was done for Frank’s eyes. They were told to report to me, from time to time, how he was getting
Later, when I saw him again, I placed him fifteen feet from the test card. He knew the alphabet, as well as the
numerals, so I used the card with unfamiliar letters. He covered his left eye and read with the right and when I pointed to
a “C,” he said, “That is a broken “O.” I began to smile, which disturbed him somewhat, and then
asked him why he called it a broken “O.”
“Why,” he said, “anybody would know it wasn’t
broken if it didn’t have an opening to the right side, and maybe grownups like to call it a ‘C,’ but I know
it is a broken ‘O’ ”. I pointed to a ‘G’ and asked what it was, he said, “That is also
a broken ‘O,’ only it’s different.” He read 15/10 with each eye separately, and with both eyes straight.
I had him stand by my window and asked him to look off in the distance and notice the letter signs on the tops of the buildings.
In trying to see the letters correctly, he strained and both eyes turned in slightly, the right one more than the left. He
demonstrated again that unfamiliar objects seen at the distance cause more strain. Every time Frank’s eyes turned in
as he tried to see, he would say that he could not see at all. When questioned about whether he saw black before his eyes,
he answered, “No, but I just can’t see.” Immediately after a failure to see at the distance, and while looking
at unfamiliar objects, he would have a sort of nervous spasm, which his mother said was hysterics.
It has been some time
since I have seen Frank, but I believe, or hope, that his mother has continued to help the little fellow. I always think of
him when I look at the “C” of the test card, which he called the “O.”
Dr. Bates wishes to announce that Mrs. E. C. Lierman, his assistant for fifteen years, has finished
her work in California, and has resumed her work at his office.
Questions And Answers
Q - When doing the swing, what does one move, the head or eyes?
A - One moves the eyes in the same direction
as the head is moved.
Q - Does massaging benefit the eyes?
A - No, because it does not relieve the mental strain
which caused the eye trouble.
Q - Is practicing under a strong electric light as beneficial as practicing in the sun?
A - If the sun is not shining, the strong electric light can be used with benefit, although more benefit is derived
from direct sun treatment.
Q – Memory - Can one remember perfectly and see imperfectly?
A - It is impossible to remember perfectly and see imperfectly at the same time. Perfect sight can only be obtained
with the aid of a perfect memory. When the memory is perfect, the mind is relaxed and the vision is normal. Imperfect memory
requires a strain of the eyes which produces the imperfect vision.
Q - Can one blink too quickly and too often?
- The normal eye blinks quickly, easily and frequently.
- What causes a white matter to appear in the eyes after sun treatment?
A - The white matter in the corner of the eye
is produced by infection and is cured by sun treatment.
- If bad eyesight is caused by some physical ailment, will your methods help?
A - Yes, relaxation is always a benefit,
not only to the eyes, but to all the nerves of the body.