What is the Bates Method?
William H. Bates was a maverick eye-ear-nose-throat physician in the early 1900’s. Early in his career he discovered adrenaline and devised an important new surgery for hearing restoration. He went on to specialize in ophthalmology. Over several years he carefully studied the physical and mental principles of eyesight.
Bates dedicated his life to learning why people develop various eyesight problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. His solutions were based on relaxing chronic strain of the visual system. Dr. Bates would first help people regain faith in their eyesight with evidence of their own improved vision. With new confidence they could absorb and use Bates' very creative methods to relearn natural vision habits.
His unique mix of compassion and ingenuity led to countless recoveries of both simple and difficult eye conditions. You can read many case studies in "Better Eyesight, The Complete Magazines of William H. Bates". Published in 2000, this 700 page book made available a huge reservoir of information that had essentially been lost for decades. Many other books have been written by subsequent teachers and other followers of the Bates Method.
The Bates Method is Not Eye Exercises
Most of the books and programs available emphasize "eye exercises", which often create more visual strain. However, the approach presented in this website restores much of Bates original emphasis on helping a person to really "get it" - both conceptually and viscerally - about why they don't see clearly, and what habit changes lead to positive changes in their eyesight.
Bates found distinct and accurate memory and imagination to be essential ingredients for the miraculous act of clear vision. His very creative methods help a person reclaim these important aspects of true mental relaxation. As students improve their vision, they often find benefits such as relaxation and a clearer mind to be even more gratifying than the better eyesight.
Popularity of the Bates method has surged at various times over the years. For instance it was popular with Air Force pilots in WWII who needed to sustain their 20/10 vision. Aldous Huxley fostered interest when he wrote about his comeback from near-blindness with the help of one of Bates’ original teachers. Aldous Huxley authored "The Art of Seeing" to share his views about the Bates method, why it works, and why he felt mainstream medicine was so closed to this approach.
Although William H. Bates himself was an ophthalmologist, most Bates practitioners since his death have acted as "Bates Method Teachers" or today, "Natural Vision Teachers", including many Certified Natural Vision Teachers. The medical mainstream in the USA squeezed out many alternative health approaches in the 1950's, and Natural Vision Improvement was on the casualty list. Hundreds of successful Bates Method teachers stopped practicing because optometry boards in many states were bringing legal action against them. Today's Natural Vision Teachers teach offer principles of reducing visual strain in an educational venue, and they make it quite clear that people should go to licensed medical practitioners for medical diagnosis and treatment.
Until the late 1970's, most Bates teachers had only worked with students individually. Then Dr. Janet Goodrich developed a group approach and taught a new generation of Natural Vision Teachers to use a group teaching format. The group approach is an efficient way to instruct more people at once, and it helps create a powerful synergy of intention for participants to change their eyesight. Group classes and workshops enable many students to learn all they need for successful vision improvement. Greg Marsh's CD programs make important subtleties of the Bates Method available for the first time in an audio format.