Read Tiny Print to Relax Your Eyes

magnifying260.jpgThe article below combines two short entries by Dr. Bates from his Better Eyesight Magazines, originally titled "Fine Print a Benefit to the Eye" and "Facts Versus Theories". I urge you to print out the PDF link below, and find out for yourself how powerfully relaxing it can be to look at tiny print. The font sizes on the PFD go all the way down to 2 points. You may find that you can read even this smallest size after a few moments!  -- gm

Read Tiny Print to Relax Your Eyes and Mind
By Dr. William H Bates

Click here for a printable PDF with tiny font sizes
so you can prove this principle to yourself


It is impossible to read fine print without relaxing. Therefore the reading of such print, contrary to what is generally believed, is a great benefit to the eyes. Persons who can read perfectly fine print, like the below specimen (printed version will be much smaller - click above link), are relieved of pain and fatigue while they are doing it, and this relief is often permanent. Persons who cannot read it are benefited by observing its blackness, and remembering it with the eyes open and closed alternately.

Seven Truths of Normal Sight
1—Normal Sight can always be demonstrated in the normal eye, but only under favorable condition.
2—Central Fixation: The letter or part of the letter regarded is always seen best.
3—Shifting: The point regarded changes rapidly and continuously.
4—Swinging: When the shifting is slow, the letters appear to move from side to side, or in other directions, with a pendulum-like motion.
5—Memory is perfect. The color and background of the letters, or other objects seen, are remembered perfectly, instantaneously and continuously.
6—Imagination is good. One may even see the white part of letters whiter than it really is, while the black is not altered by distance, illumination, size, or form, of the letters.
7—Rest or relaxation of the eye and mind is perfect and can always be demonstrated.

When one of these seven fundamentals is perfect, all are perfect.

By bringing the print so near to the eyes that it cannot be read pain is sometimes relieved instantly, because when the patient realizes that there is no possibility of reading it the eyes do not try to do so. In myopia, however, it is sometimes a benefit to strain to read fine print. Persons who can read fine print perfectly imagine that they see between the lines streaks of white whiter than the margin of the page, and persons who cannot read it also see these streaks, but not so well. When the patient becomes able to increase the vividness of these appearances the sight always improves.

Facts Versus Theories

Reading fine print is commonly supposed to be an extremely dangerous practice, and reading print of any kind upon a moving vehicle is thought to be even worse. Looking away to the distance, however; and not seeing anything in particular is believed to be very beneficial to the eyes. In the light of these superstitions the facts contained in the following letter are particularly interesting:

"On reaching home Monday morning I was surprised and pleased at the comments of my family regarding the appearance of my eyes. They all thought they looked so much brighter and rested, and that after two days of [travel by train]. I didn't spare my eyes in the least on the way home. I read magazines and newspapers, looked at the scenery; in fact, used my eyes all the time. My sight for the near-point is splendid. Can read for hours without tiring my eyes… I went downtown to day and my eyes were very tired when I got home.

The fine print on the card (diamond type) helps me so… I would like to have your little Bible (a photographic reduction of the Bible with type much smaller than diamond). I'm sure the very fine print has a soothing effect on one's eyes, regardless of what my previous ideas on the subject were."

It will be observed that the eyes of this patient were not tired by her two days railroad journey, during which she read constantly;—they were not tired by hours of reading after her return; they were rested by reading extremely fine print; but they were very much tired by a trip downtown during which they were not called upon to focus upon small objects. Later a leaf from the Bible was sent to her, and she wrote:

"The effect even of the first effort to read it was wonderful. If you will believe it, I haven't been troubled having my eyes feel 'crossed' since, and while my actual vision does not seem to be any better, my eyes feel a great deal better."
Keywords: William H Bates, Reading Vision, Fine Print Helpful, Relaxation, Central Fixation, Bates Method

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