The Bates Method is an alternative therapy for improving eyesight. It was developed by Dr. William Horatio Bates who proposed his method in 1891. He believed that many sight problems were caused by continued strain on the eyes and didn’t think that eyeglasses were usually necessary. Dr. Bates included several aspects of treatment that were to be used to improve eyesight. Although there were many critics who argued against his theories, variations of his methods are still being promoted such as the Quantum Vision System by Dr. Kemp. The following information discusses some of the techniques and treatments involved in the Bates Method.
Dr Bates believed that the way the eyes moved could affect eyesight. He thought shifting the eyes back and forth so the person would have the illusion of objects swinging would benefit the eyes. Other proponents of vision care simplified this technique by advising that individuals simply move their eyes up and down or from side to side.
This involves closing the eyes for several minutes at a time to help bring about relaxation. The best way to accomplish this was to cover the eyes with the palms so as not to put pressure on the eyeballs. It is recommended to spend time each day palming. It is important to be totally relaxed. This means the arms, hands, and the entire body should be calm and relaxed while palming.
The act of visualizing involves seeing things in the mind’s eye and then thinking about them in precise detail. Imagining and remembering small sections of images or letters that are black is an important aspect of the Bates Method.
Perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of Dr. Bates methods regards his promotion of looking directly at the sun. He promoted sungazing and believed that patients’ vision could improve after looking at the sun. Some aspects of sunning are not so extreme and involve using light from something as simple as a desk lamp.
Research regarding the Bates Method has had mixed results. There are still those today who promote at least parts of this method. A. Woodham, states in his book Health Education Authority Guide to Complementary Medicine and Therapies, “eye exercises can improve the sight in some cases…” He does go on, however, to state that it does take much dedication and that people should not expect miracles.