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Bates method
Brief introduction

The Bates method is a system of natural vision improvement invented by William H. Bates, M. D. in the
early part of this century. From his observations of patients who wear glasses, he came to a few
conclusions.

Eyesight can change, for either the better or the worse. Poor eyesight is caused by the strain to see. The
way to better eyesight is through relaxation of both mind and body. Below, I shall detail the principal
exercises of the Bates method. Practise them and you will be doing yourself a big favour.

Scientific validity

Despite its long history (and critics over the decades), no one has yet proven nor disproven the Bates
method. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no long-term clinical trials on the Bates method. It
may all sound very unsubstantiated and "alternative", but there has been thousands of anecdotal
accounts of success. We must explore every possible weapon in the fight against the epidemic that is
myopia. If there is a vision scientist or psychologist out there reading this, please propose a clinical study
of the Bates method. The possible benefits are too big for us to ignore

Ready to learn about the Bates method? Just go to one of the 5 main techniques listed below:

Palming
Background and rationale

"Palming" was originally a yoga technique. After Bates noticed its beneficial effects on the visual system,
he "borrowed" it and incorporated into his system of vision improvement.

Palming works by calming the visual system. Our eyes see by receiving light signals. If there were no light
entering the eyes, one should expect to see nothing. Instead, in eyes with defective eyesight, there
appears swirling patches of colours, creating pictures where there should be none. This is a symptom of
the eyestrain causing defective vision.

The act of palming makes people aware of the strain. The warmth from the hands helps relaxes the tense
eyeballs. Some people claim to be able to the "inner energy" or "chi" emanating from the palms. I think we
can safely dismiss those claims.

How to do

Place your palms over your closed eyes, letting the fingers cross over at the forehead. Slightly cup your
palms such that you are not pressingon the eyeballs. Feel the warmth of the hands radiate and diffuse
gently into your eyeballs. Think of the most peaceful scene that you can imagine. Relax...

A few things to note

• Do not press against the eyeballs with your palms. This will put pressure on the blood vessels in
the eyeballs and reduce circulation of blood and nutrients.
• Make sure that as much light as possible is blocked out by the palms. The exact position of the
palms is up to the individual. Crossing the fingers at the forehead usually helps.
• Put yourself in a comfortable and proper posture e.g. don't slouch
• Remember to keep your eyes closed, behind the palms.
• And keep your hands clean, otherwise there will be the attack of the pimples!
The most important thing is to relax. Of course, one can't try to relax. The harder you try, the more tense
you become. The trick is to imagine pleasant scenery such as floating clouds in a blue sky, a peaceful
sunrise at the top of the mountains.

Advantages of palming

• Physical and mental relaxation


• Relief of eye strain
• Can be used in conjunction with imagery

Physical and mental relaxation

At the beginning, you may see swirling colours or grey patches. As you relax, you will notice the visual
field becoming blacker and blacker. This is a sign that both your mind and body have relaxed, and your
visual system is working harmoniously. Once you are able to achieve perfect blackness, clarity returns.

Relieves eye strain

Do it as often as you can, whenever you feel that your eyes are tired. Palming helps a lot in refreshing
bleary eyes.

Promote visual imagery

While you are palming, you can visualise anything, as long as it doesn't cause stress. For example, you
can visualise your plans for the today when you are lying in bed. Make the images as vivid and real as
possible. Feel yourself getting drawn into the images that you conjure up in your mind.

This use of visual imagery activates your right-hemisphere and may increase creativity and promote
imagination. ( By the way, a left-right dichotomy of the brain is too simplistic as there are many
overlapping areas of functions i.e. the left can take over for the right and vice-versa. )

Centralisation
This is an exercise to promote correct use of the eye. More accurately, it should be named "vision habit"
for the simple reason that you do this "exercise" throughout the day, not just during the session.

According to the structure of the eye, there is a small point known as the fovea centralis. This is where
vision is sharpest: in the middle of the visual field straight in front of you. By centralisation, one should
focus one's visual attention at a single point in front of you. When looking at an object for example, look at
it part by part; bit by bit. Trying to see the entire scene clearly simultaneously is going beyond the
limitations of the physical eye, thus creating strain, which is suposedly the root cause of bad eyesight.

Focus at a single "eye", seeing only that one very clear and bright. Let all the other "eyes" become dull
and soft. Move your gaze gently around the bright shining "eye".

When you have accomplished this, focus on a different "eye". Now, this will become bright and colourful
while others become dull (including the first eye you looked at initially).

Have you tried the exercise? The experience of seeing only the central part of the visual field clearly is
called "centralisation". Apply what you have learnt here to all waking hours. Make it a habit and
encourage correct use of the eyes: an important part of vision improvement.

Sunning
Rationale
The Sun is important for our health. Sunshine enables us to manufacture the Vitamin D that we need.
Eyes that have been deprived of sunshine are pale and lifeless. Extreme sensitivity to sunshine is called
photophobia. People who are sensitive to light and glare usually solve their problem by wearing
sunglasses. But is that a long-term solution or just a stop-gap measure?

Sunglasses prevent our eyes from getting adequate sunlight and causes even greater light sensitivity.
The more we wear them, the more we are sensitive to light. Hence a vicious cycle develops.

Benefits of sunning

Bates recommend that we sun our eyes. We can reduce our sensitivity to light and sharpen our eyesight.
Many people have reported that their vision improve after sunning. If you are worried about the effects of
ultraviolet radiation causing skin cancer or cataracts, you don't have to worry if you go by the
following guidelines:

• Only do sunning in the morning or evening, never during the hot afternoon sun.
• Do a moderate amount for each session. There is no need to sun your eyes until you are sun-
burnt.

How to do

Close your eyes and face the sun directly. Slowly move your head left and right to let the sunshine reach
every part of your retina. Notice the sun moving in the opposite direction. Breathe deeply and slowly.

After this, you can do a variation. Imagine that your eyes shoot laser beams. Using your "eye lasers",
trace around the edge of the sun. First do in a clockwise direction, then change direction.

After sunning, finish up the session by palming for about 2 minutes.

Swinging
Rationale

Bates postulated that one of the main culprits of bad eyesight is rigidity of the eyes. Staring is harmful for
the eyes. The eye usually vibrates very quickly. This allows images formed on the retina of the eye to be
sustained. If the retina is made motionless, either by injection of drugs or hard staring (try it for yourself if
you are not convinced) , then visual images will fade and you will see an empty grey field instead. To
break this habit of rigid staring, Bates used the technique of swinging to make the eyes mobile once
again. There are a few variations of swinging:

• short swing ( move the head alone )


• long swing ( move the entire body )

In both techniques, the aim is the same. Try out the long swing to experience the feeling. Then you will
understand.

How to do

Stand wth your feet shoulder-width apart. Face the front and do not move the head nor the eyes
throughout the exercise. Gently swing your entire body towards the left, lifting your right heel as you do
so. Once you have turned 90 degrees, stop. Did you notice that the room seems to be moving? As you
move left, it appears to swing in the opposite direction, in this case right.

Now, gently swing towards the right, this time lifting the left heel but still keeping the foot on the ground.
Stop once you turn 90 degrees. I know this can be a bit confusing (get your lefts and rights sorted out
first!), but this is definitely worth the trouble to learn.
Benefits

• Relax your body, especially the spine and the eyes


• Teach your eyes to work properly

The swinging motion in the long swing loosens up the spine. The spine can store a lot of stress and
tension after a hard day's work at the office. Do the long swing to un-creak those bones!

But the main benefit comes from seeing the scenery move in the opposite direction. If you don't do it
correctly, the view will appear to swing in the same direction! Properly done, this will encourage relaxation
of the eye, enabling to vibrate in a smooth and relaxed fashion.

Tip for doing the swing

Do not glaze your eyes nor look hard at the surroundings while doing the swing. Instead feel the illusion of
the swing, let the world pass you by. When I first started doing the swing, I made the error of glazing my
eyes, and focussed on nothing. I first realised this when I noticed double images during the swing, which
meant that I was unconsciously crossing my eyes. So, do take note of this!

Testcard practice
Rationale

One of William Bates' recommendations was to let school-children practise reading eye charts every
morning. He discovered that practice does make perfect. In one of his experiments, he discovered that
practising reading eye charts improved children's eyesight.

Some critics have pointed out that due to the "learning effect", people may have simply memorised each
letter. However, it is not a matter of memorising the chart, as a different one was used during each
eyesight examination. Bates concluded that the stress of the eyesight examination had a detrimental
effect on one's vision. Through constant practice, one will get used to the testing procedure and approach
the eye-test in a worry-free fashion.

How to do

Get yourself a small eyechart, preferably on a cardboard base. Look at a letter that you can see clearly.
Go around the edges of the letter, slowly tracing the outline.

Close your eyes and visualise the black letter for about 10 seconds. After that, repeat with other letters.
Breathe slowly and deeply all the while.

Finish up the eye exercise with a palming session. After regular practice, you will notice that the letters
seem clearer and blacker. Yet some others have said this is due to the phenomenon of "blur
interpretation". Any improvement in clarity is simply due to our own imagination. Well, try it out for yourself
and draw your own conclusions.

The Bates System of Better Eyesight without Glasses


Note: The Bates system is also referred to as the Bates method.

• Who Can Benefit


• Neuropsychology of Myopia
• Maximize the Effect of the Bates Method
• Four Basic Exercises
• Palming
• Swinging
• Sunning
• Blinking and Breathing
• Fusion
• Pencil Fusion
• Two-Pencil Fusion
• Comments
• Mobility
• Accommodation
• Vision and the Mind
• Recommended Books

Who Can Benefit


The Bates method can be helpful even if you don't wear glasses.
Who Can Benefit

Neuropsychology of Myopia
I've decided to add this suggestion after reading the articleNeuropsychology of Myopia by Dr.
Raymond L. Gottlieb. I've included some excerpts from Dr. Gottlieb's article on theResearch
Topics page under the heading 'Neuropsychology of Myopia'.

Maximize the Effect of the Bates Method


"It is important for you to become self-aware of the ways in which you overtense your eyes in
order to try to see. It is important that you free your body -- your potential mechanism.
The places to look for tension mostly include: the back of the upper neck; the upper back;
between the shoulders; the hands and feet; the shoulders; the pelvis; the chest; and the
stomach.Yoga, meditation, massage, Feldenkreis, Alexander, Rolfing, polarity, dancing,
running, breathing, swimming, etc. are all excellent adjuncts to Bates' system. It is
important to learn to take your glasses off, especially in non-demanding, non-threatening
situations. You are not blind, and though you can't see what you think you are supposed to see,
you can see what you can see, so pay attention to that which is there for you. Everyone
experiences emotional factors when they change to no glasses."
Neuropsychology of Myopia

"…A problem with identifying strain immediately is those of us who strain most are often
suffering the least discomfort from it. It may become so habitual, so ingrained in our normal
way of doing things, that we don't perceive it as necessarily uncomfortable."
Strain and Relaxation

The Four Basic Exercises


"To be done when they feel good -- ten minutes or thirty seconds -- the more often and the
longer, the better."
Neuropsychology of Myopia

Palming
Instructions
"The simple idea of resting the eyes by closing them is basic to the Bates method. Dr. Bates
coined for it the term 'palming'.
• The eyes are gently closed and covered with the palms in such a way that all light is excluded
and no pressure is applied to the eyeballs.
• The heels of the hands rest lightly on the cheekbones and the fingers on the forehead.
• Palming is usually done while seated.
• The elbows should be supported, either on a table in front of you or on a thick cushion or two in
your lap.
• While palming you should feel entirely comfortable, safe and warm. Choose if you can a quiet
time and a place where you are not likely to be disturbed.
• Become conscious of and do your best to relax any undue tension in the muscles of your face,
neck, shoulders, and the rest of your body.
• Listen to the radio if you wish, or just allow the mind to wander, keeping it away from anything
unpleasant. If stressful thoughts intrude, push them aside to be dealt with later.
Remain with the eyes shut for several minutes. The exact period that suits you best has to be
found by trial and error; five minutes is about right, and four should be regarded as a
minimum. It can be difficult to judge the passage of time, and some such device as a non-
ticking cook's timer, or one of those electronic watches or pocket calculators which
incorporate an alarm, is very useful.
Palming like this should be repeated from three to five times in succession and forms the
basis of your daily practice period. Once or twice in the period you might like, rather than merely
allowing the mind to wander, to try some visualisation. (Pages 45-46)"
• "Eyes covered by palms (no pressure on the eyes);
• fingertips at hairline;
• fingers overlapped to allow breathing room for your nose. Elbows resting on table, chair back,
pillow, etc.
Relax, feel your eyes give up the tension of trying to see. Let yourself go as much as you can.
Let go into what you may be seeing; keep breathing. Memorize the feeling of palming. To be
done especially before doing a visual task such as reading. EYES CLOSED."
Neuropsychology of Myopia

Palming vs. Sleeping


"It might be wondered why an ordinary night's sleep does not have the same effect as palming
and visualization. They eyes are closed, and during dreams there is plenty of imagery to work
on.If the sleep is sound, the eyes are indeed rested and the eyesight tends to be better on rising,
but for many people sleep produces a degree of eyestrain. While dreaming the eyes perform
rapid and random movements, there is no control of the memory or imagination, and very often
the dreams themselves are in some measure disturbing. In all, dreaming would seem to be
associated with a turmoil in the cortex which is the opposite of the calm, easy state in which the
eyes work best. If you suffer from eyestrain during sleep, the Bates technique of 'long
swinging' (see p. 63), practised just before retiring, may be of value. (Pages 46-47)"

Palming and Visualization


"Visualisation is also valuable exercise for the memory and imagination. With your mind's eye
examine some outdoor scene, remembered, imagined, or a mixture of both, that gives you
particular pleasure. Allow your gaze to take in details both in the distance and near to, changing
the focus swiftly and easily as various objects attract your interest. If you are short-sighted, pay
special attention to distant scenes, and if you are long sighted or presbyopic, pay special
attention to objects close at hand. (Page 46)"
Palming and Visualization: Advantages
"[Visualization] is a powerful technique which relies on the fact that all mental activity is
accompanied by corresponding physical rehearsal. Thus if you imagine that you are speaking, or
even if you frame your thoughts in terms of words rather than abstractions, there are minute
but measurable movements of the vocal apparatus; if you imagine you are clenching or
unclenching your fist, all the muscles involved undergo fractional changes of tension. When
you see with your mind's eye, the real eyes respond in a similar way, except that, as the eyes are
even more intimately related to the mind than, say, the muscles of the arm, the changes are
likely to be more pronounced. The advantage of mental seeing is that the mind's eye has no
refractive error and forms a model for the real eyes to emulate. (Page 46)"

Things to Consider
If you support your elbows with your lap while palming, as opposed to resting your elbows on a
table, this may cause leg tension.

Swinging
Long Swinging: Instructions
"Rotate your body from left to right and back. Eyes, torso and head move together. Turning
mostly around your waist. Don't look at anything as you swing; be aware of movement mainly.
Let your eyes go, let your consciousness stay in front of you while you turn. Make sure to keep
breathing."
Neuropsychology of Myopia

"There is another type of mobility swinging in the Bates method, sometimes called "long
swinging", which has a rather different purpose [from regular swinging]. It is simple to do, and
consists essentially of turning from side to side. Stand with the feet about 30 centimetres (12
inches) apart, the arms hanging loosely, and, lifting the right heel as you do so, turn to the left.
When you have reached the limit of comfortable travel, turn to the right, letting the left heel rise
and the right one return to the floor. Go on like this until you have performed 20 complete
swings. The turning should involve your hips as well as your waist. Keep your arms relaxed so
that they rise slightly as you swing. Do not go too fast; try to make the swings smooth, level,
and rhythmical.
Keep your eyes open and allow the image of your surroundings to rush past without trying to
focus on anything in particular. Nearby objects will naturally seem to move faster than distant
ones, and will probably be no more than a blur. Make no attempt to hold on to or fix any part of
the image; notice only that everything seems to be moving in the direction opposite to that of
your swing.(Pages 63-64)"

Long Swinging: Benefits


"Long swinging is very effective in breaking the habit of staring. It also promotes looseness and
relaxation in the upper part of the body. According to Dr. Bates, 50 swings performed at bedtime
and again on rising will help to prevent or alleviate eyestrain during sleep.(P. 64)"

Long Swinging: Dizziness


"Should you find yourself becoming dizzy, begin with just a few swings and each day add one or
two to the total. Eventually any feeling of nausea should disappear and you will be able to do as
many swings as you please.(P. 64)"

Sunning
Introduction
"The Bates technique for relieving photophobia is called sunning, and consists simply of taking
sunshine on the closed lids. In this way the retina is accustomed to progressively brighter light,
until the stage is reached where the eye can function efficiently over the entire range of normally
encountered light intensities. The warmth of the sun and the therapeutic properties of its rays also
have a profound and beneficial effect on the health of the eyes and on the ability to relax them
(Page 49)."

Things to Avoid
Do not look directly at the sun
Do not wear contacts or lenses when sunning
Do not use fluorescent light
Never use an infrared or ultraviolet lamp
It is advised to sun only in the morning or evening and only for short periods of time

What is Sunning?
"Face the sun, eyes closed. I repeat: EYES CLOSED. Allow the warmth of the sun to penetrate
deeply into your eyes and forehead. Relaxedly turn your head from side to side. Keep breathing.
Feel the position of the sun."
Neuropsychology of Myopia
"Begin if you can by taking half a minute of sun [do not look directly at the sun], palm until the
after-images have substantially faded, and repeat two or three times. At the next sunning
session increase the period slightly and repeat it an extra time, building up over the weeks and
months to a maximum of 20 minutes of sun in all.(P. 50)"

"If direct sunlight isn't availlable, artificial full-spectrum lights can be used."
What is Sunning?

"Many people have reported that their vision improve [sic] after sunning."
The Vision Improvement Site: Sunning

"Sunning is an ancient tradition in India."


Sun Treatment

"If you are very light sensitive you may want to start by closing your eyes and just facing
into the sky but not directly at the sun. NOTE: At no time are you to open your eyes while
looking at the sun!! This stimulates the rods and cones in your eye. Anytime I come out of a
very dark place, like a movie theater, I do this exercise for about 20 seconds, and have no
problem. I do not wear sunglasses anymore on a regular basis. I keep them handy for glare
situations and only then when I'm wearing contact lenses which is not very often anymore"
http://www.i-see.org/archive/sun

"It is advised to sun only in the morning or evening and only forshort periods of time."
Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

Blinking and Breathing


"Practise giving half a dozen rapid and very light blinks, shut the eyes lightly for the space of
two whole breaths, and repeat four times. This little routine, practised regularly, twice or more a
day, will, especially if followed by a brief spell of palming, help to establish the correct tone in
the muscles of the eyelids and develop better habits of blinking. No more than a few seconds
should pass between one blink and the next. As a very rough guide, between two and four blinks
in each period of ten seconds is about right.(P. 60)"
"Beware of the stare. We lock ourselves into a stare, eyes immobile and breath stopped. Spaced.
Blink your eyes rapidly as you take two big breaths whenever you become aware of your eyes or
breath."
Neuropsychology of Myopia

Fusion
"We now come to the part of the Bates method aimed at improving the use of the extrinsic
muscles. Tracking, searching, and scanning are helped by the techniques covered in the chapters
on mobility; fusion techniques, given here, will improve control of the visual axis.
Together with the accommodation drills to be described later, fusion techniques come as close
as anything else in the Bates method to what is normally understood by the term "eye exercises".
In one sense they are indeed eye exercises, because the extrinsic muscles and the mechanism of
accommodation are strengthened by them, but to say that they are nothing more is to simplify
what the achieve. They make use of conscious control in order to improve control on an
unconscious plane. This principle is basic to the whole of the Bates method, and runs through
nearly every one of its techniques.
Fusion drills are simple. The first [pencil fusion] may be used as a test to determine whether
your fusion (control of the visual axes) is faulty and needs further work.(Page 53)"

Pencil Fusion
"Take a pencil and hold it straight up in front of you and about 45 centimetres (18 inches) from
your face. Look at the pencil, and then allow your eyes to refocus in the distance beyond it (on
the far wall if you are indoors). You should now be able to see two blurred pencils, like
gateposts one on either side of the point you are looking at. The two pencils should be equally
plain. If they are not, if you can only see one, or if the point in the distance also appears double,
then your fusion is certainly faulty.
If you can only see one pencil, shut either eye alternately to find out which is the weaker.
Now cover the stronger eye and look at the pencil again. Refocus in the distance and memorise
where the pencil comes in relation to the distant view. Uncover the stronger eye. Does it
dominate the weaker one completely; does the pencil immediately switch sides? Or are you able
to retain the weaker eye's pencil, at least for a moment or two?
Similarly, practise covering the stronger eye if both pencils are visible but one is clearer than
the other. If the distant point is also double, practice with one eye at a time, focusing first on the
pencil, and then in the distance, bringing your focus back to the pencil. Repeat this routine three
times with each eye, then try both together. Don't worry if you have difficulty with this or with
any of the fusion drills. They will all come eventually, aided by your progress
with palming and sunning.(Page 53)"

Two-Pencil Fusion
"For two-pencil fusion you need some definite reference point in the distance: any object that
will fit conveniently into the 'gateway'. Hold one pencil up at arm's length, and another a few
inches from your face. Practise making two gateways, one enclosing the other and both
enclosing the reference point. Aim to make each of the 'four' pencils equally plain, although the
nearer gateway will of course be more blurred. Now focus on the further pencil. You should
find that your reference point has doubled: each of the two should appear equally plain. Bring
your focus back to the nearer pencil. The far pencil should now be making a gateway, which is
itself enclosed by the paired images of the reference point. Again, the paired images and the
gateway should appear equally plain. Finally, focus somewhere in the middle distance,
between the far pencil and the reference point, and see whether you can maintain not only both
gateways but also the paired images of the reference point. (Page 54)"

Comments
The 'distance' referred to in the instructions for pencil fusion and two-pencil fusion should be a
distance which is farther away than your eyes are accustomed to at the time you do the exercise.
For example if you are watching television, and you are doing the fusion exercises during the
commercials, you should focus on a point in the distance which is farther away than the
television.

Mobility
"The techniques [blinking and breathing, shifting, swinging, long swinging] given under this
heading, besides improving the remaining functions of the extrinsic muscles (tracking,
searching and scanning), also counteract the various tendencies which are part and parcel of the
habit of "trying" to see. As already noted, this "trying" is commonly accompanied by some
degree of immobility of the eyes and body. The rate ofblinking decreases; breathing becomes
shallower and may, for a while, even stop. The muscles of the head, neck, shoulders, and
perhaps other parts of the body too, may be unnaturally tensed, and all the time the eyes are fixed
with increasing intentness on their target. As the eyes become fixed so does theattention, which
only encourages the eyes to become yet more fixed, with a resulting impairment of both vision
and perception.(P. 59)"

Accommodation
What is Accommodation?
"Bates's proposal was that the eye accommodates [changes focus for far and near objects], not by
a change in the shape of the lens, but by a change in the shape in the eyeball itself, this change
being brought about by the six extrinsic muscles which control the movement of the eye in it's
socket. (Page 3)."

Changing Focus, Room Lighting


"When indoors you should remain aware of the need for frequent change of focus.
While reading, look up from the page at regular intervals−say at the end of each long paragraph
or each page−and, just for a second, consciously focus on some distant object. While
watching television [or a computer monitor], keep a light on in the room and frequently look
away from the screen, whether at an object nearer or farther away. (Pages 75-76)"

Zooming
Instructions
• "Cut a strip of paper about eight centimeters (three inches) long and two centimeters (slightly
under an inch) wide, and in the center mark a small ink cross. (Page 76)"
"Should you not have a bit of paper by you, close your hand slightly so that one of the creases in
your palm becomes more pronounced, and use that as your object instead. (Page 76)"
• "Wrap the strip of paper round the base of the middle finger of your left hand, in such a way
that the cross is towards you when the palm is uppermost. The strip is held in place by your ring
and index fingers.
• Cover your right eye with your right hand and, watching the cross, bring it slowly closer, and
closer still, …until it is merely a blur, and then make it slowly retreat. Take it out to arm's length
and bring it back rather more quickly. Do thisfive times in all, accelerating as you go, so that at
the end your hand is moving rather rapidly.
• Repeat with the right hand and the right eye, and then, still with the strip on your right hand,
with both eyes together.
• Pause, look into the distance, and repeat the whole drill once more.
• Slowly build up to five repetitions, making six sets in all. (Page 76)"

Things to Avoid
"Zooming can be relatively strenuous in the beginning, so do not try to attempt too much, and
stop immediately if you find yourself becoming tired or losing interest. (Page 76)"

Fatigue
The palming exercise may be helpful in resting the eyes before or after viewing stereo images.
Using the 'parallel-viewing' method of viewing 3D Stereo Images may also be helpful.

Problems with Accommodation


Vision Suggestions: Accommodative Insufficiency

Tips
Scheduler or reminder programs can be helpful in reminding you to rest your eyes while using a
computer. For example, a program could remind you to look into the distance, for 20 seconds,
every twenty minutes.

• techtv: Prevent computing injuries with an automatic reminder to take a break.

Vision and the Mind


Unconscious Vision
"According to the Bates hypothesis, faulty vision can arise as one result of emotional difficulties,
among which may be a subconscious desire not to see. As far as refractive error is concerned,
this desire not to see can be compared to the desire not to walk or talk shown in certain kinds of
hysterical illness. The brain is able to block the responses of the body so that walking or
talking−or focusing−do indeed become more difficult, or even impossible.
The brain can also block the visual process in another way, by erecting a barrier of some sort
between the unconscious and the conscious mind, so that, even if the eyes are performing well,
the signals are obstructed or degraded before being allowed to reach the consciousness.
It is helpful to think of this barrier in symbolic terms, as being made of some substance which
can vary in consistence according to the subconscious wishes of the brain. When vision is perfect
the substance of the barrier is perfectly fluid and the signals pass through it freely, but as vision
deteriorates the substance becomes more and more glutinous, slowing down the passage of
signals or preventing it altogether.
There are two distinct ways in which the brain can block the visual process. The first is by
interfering with the mechanics of vision; the second is by altering the 'consistency' of the
barrier between the unconscious and the conscious mind."
(Page 81)"
"The outer edges of the retina contain relatively few photoreceptors, mostly rods, and provide
vision which may be compared to that of primitive animals. At the very periphery of the retina,
indeed, there is no conscious vision at all, merely an awareness of movement and contrast.
When you see something 'in the corner of your eye' and automatically turn to see it better, you
are responding to signals generated in this portion of the retina. (Page 9)"

Suggestions
• Three-Dimensional Stereo Images
• Palming

Recommended Books
Book Review: Improve Your Eyesight: A Guide to the Bates Method for Better Eyesight
Without Glasses
"One unique offering is his explaining how there are two ways for the brain to block the visual
process. One is to interfere with the mechanics of vision, by altering the eye shape with the
extrinsic muscles, preventing proper blinking and shifting, and encouraging disease that impairs
vision. The other way is what Barnes refers to as altering the consistency of the barrier
between the subconscious and conscious mind. The first type of blocking (mechanical) tends
to be more easily overcome than the second. The second is purely mental, when there is clear
information that has made it through the visual system but it isn't recognized for what it is.
So there are times when the eyes are working in an improved manner, but their signals are
prevented from passing through the barrier (from the subconscious to conscious mind)."