Dr Bates Discovers the Cure to his own Imperfect Sight! -->

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Zetsu, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. Zetsu

    Zetsu Guest

    Reading Without Glasses

    By W.H. Bates, M.D,

    A patient asked me how I discovered so many truths about eyesight. It
    may emphasize the facts and their value if I relate the events
    connected with the discovery of these truths.

    P.T. Barnum, many years ago, wrote an essay on "How to Make Money." In
    the opening sentence he stated that he felt that he was able to write
    an essay on how to make money, because he had made money. Perhaps,
    similarly, as I have established medical truths I am encouraged to
    write how it was done.

    About ten years ago I was talking to a friend of mine who showed me a
    letter which he desired me to read. A that time I was wearing glasses,
    but only for reading and on account of my age, not then knowing any
    means of doing without them for that purpose. My glasses were mislaid
    and it took me some to time to find them while my friend impatiently
    waited. Being a friend, of course, he had the license to say things to
    me in a way he would not to his worst enemy.

    Among other disagreeable things he said, and the tone was very
    emphatic, sarcastic, disagreeable, insulting, "You claim to cure
    people without glasses; why don't you cure yourself?" [Dr.Bates
    initially cured people of myopia.] I shall never forget those words.
    They stimulated me to do something. I tried by all manner of means, by
    concentration, effort, hard work, to enable myself to become able to
    read the newspaper at the near point.

    After a few months, it dawned at me that all my efforts were useless.
    Previously, it had been my custom when I could not do a certain thing
    myself to look around and find somebody to help me, and so in the
    present instance I went looking for help. My old friends, the eye
    doctors, laughed at me and told me that I was crazy to think of the
    possibility of such a thing. They repeated to me the old established
    theories that accommodation is produced by change in the curvature of
    the crystalline lens. In youth the lens readily changes its form or
    its ability to change its shape and the eye no longer can change its
    focus from distant to near objects.



    I consulted specialists of hypnotism, electricity experts,
    neurologists of all kinds and many others. One I called on, a
    physician, who was an authority in psychoanalysis, was kind enough to
    listen to my problem. With as few words as possible I explained to him
    the simple method by which we diagnose nearsightedness with the
    retinoscope. As I looked off at the distance, he examined my eyes and
    said that they were normal, but when I made an effort to see at the
    distance he said that my eyes were focused for the reading distance,
    nearsighted,. Then when I looked at fine point at the reading distance
    and tried to read it he said that my eyes were focused for a distance
    of twenty feet or farther, and the harder I tried to read the farther
    away did I push my focus. He was convinced of the facts, namely: a
    strain to see at the distance produced nearsightedness, while a strain
    to see near produced a farsighted eye.

    Then I told him what I desired, "Will you kindly suggest to me a line
    of investigation by which I can become able to focus my eyes for
    reading just as well when I am looking at the near point where I
    desire to see, as I am able to do when I strain to see distant
    objects?" He answered, "Come back in a month." At the end of three
    months I returned for his opinion. He said to me, "After consulting
    with a number of neurologists, ophthalmologists and others it is my
    opinion that there is only one man who can solve your problem." I
    eagerly asked, "Who is he?" He answered, "Dr. Bates." And so I had to
    go on with my work without his help.

    That great truths are always simple truths, and that simplicity and
    humor frequently are akin, have been remarked before. But how often
    has one the experience of finding an appreciative and discriminating
    sense of humor - such as Dr. Bates' - in a scientists' reports of his
    experiments and discoveries?



    The man who finally helped me to succeed or the only man who would do
    anything to encourage me was an Episcopal minister living in
    Brooklyn. After my evening office hours I had to travel for about two
    hours to reach his residence. With the aid of the retinoscope, while I
    was making all kinds of efforts to focus my eyes at the near point, he
    would tell me how I was succeeding. After some weeks or months I had
    made no progress.

    But one night I was looking at a picture on the wall which had black
    spots in different parts of it. They were conspicuously black. While
    observing them my mind imagined they were dark caves and that there
    were people moving around in them. My friend told me my eyes were now
    focused at the near point. When I tried to read he said my eyes were
    focused for the distance. Lying on the gable in front of me was a
    magazine with an illustrated advertisement with black spots which were
    intensely black. I imagined they were the opening of caves with people
    moving around in them. My friend told me that my eyes were focused for
    the near point' and when I glanced at some reading matter, I was able
    to read it. Then I looked at a newspaper and while doing so remember
    the perfect black of my imaginary caves and was gratified to find that
    I was able to read imperfectly. [The end of this sentence is not
    clear. Dr.Bates may have meant that he was able to read the newspaper,
    but not with perfect clarity. Below he clearly states that remembering
    the caves helped him to read. Another possible is that "imperfectly"
    was a typographical error which should have been "perfectly".]

    We discussed the matter to find what brought about the benefit. Was it
    a strain, or what was it? I tried again to remember the black caves
    while looking at the newspaper and my memory failed. I could not read
    the newspaper at all. He asked, "Do you remember the black caves?" I
    answered, "No, I don't seem to be able to remember the black caves."
    "Well," he said, "close your eyes and remember the black caves," and
    when I opened my eyes I was able to read - for a few moments. When I
    tried to remember the black caves again I failed.

    The harder I tried the less I succeeded and we were puzzled. We
    discussed the matter and talked of a number of things, and all of a
    sudden without an effort on my part I remember the black caves, and
    sure enough, it helped me to read. We talked some more. Why did I fail
    to remember the black caves when I tried so hard? Why did I remember
    the black caves when I did not try or while I was thinking of other
    things? Here was a problem. We were both very much interested and
    finally it dawned on me that I could only remember these black caves
    when I didn't strain or make an effort.

    I had discovered a truth: *a perfect memory is obtained without effort
    and in no other way.* Also, *when the memory or imagination is
    perfect, sight is perfect.*
    Zetsu, Mar 13, 2008
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  2. Zetsu

    Neil Brooks Guest

    Barnum is also said to have said, "There's a sucker born every

    It's likely he was referring to disciples of Bates, both then and now.
    Neil Brooks, Mar 13, 2008
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