Author Topic: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method  (Read 14063 times)

Offline OtisBrown

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Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« on: May 20, 2011, 07:57:06 AM »
Subject:  We "get stronger" when we are prepared to listen to those who OBJECT to "standard practice".

This man, Dr. Bates truly inspired me to "get stronger" in scientific widsom -- simply because he had the guts to conduct the world's first truly preventive effort or study.  He documented the results, with some people clearing their Snellen from 20/60 to normal.  The result -- his study was endlessly attacked -- and no further efforts were conducted.  For the record, here is Dr. Bates statment:

http://www.central-fixation.com/bates-medical-articles/myopia-prevention-teachers.php

While I more emphasize the wise use of the plus (at the 20/60 level) under total control of the person himself, any person doing research should understand this aspect of true prevention.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 07:37:19 AM by OtisBrown »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 08:47:04 AM »
Hi Otis,

I moved this topic here, because the Challenges board is reserved for people who want to post collaborative or competitive challenges to reach a particular goal, e.g. weight loss, fitness or the like.

I did read the Bates article you linked here.  While I admire Bates as a pioneer of prevention, I'm puzzled by a few of his statements, e.g.

Quote
Myopia with elongation of the eyeball is incurable. It is usually acquired during school life. Acute myopia, spasm of the accommodation, or functional myopia is an early stage of incurable myopia. The cause of myopia is an effort to see distant objects.

Near use of the eyes is not a cause of myopia. By the aid of simultaneous retinoscopy, it was always demonstrated that an effort to see near objects lessened myopic refraction or produced hypermetropic refraction.

These statements are in complete opposition to IRDT theory of the "dynamic" eye, which has been confirmed by observations, and by the videos you show of children with their noses buried in books who go on to become myopes.

How do you square Bates' statements above with what we know today about the progression of myopia?  Furthermore his statement that myopia is caused by "an effort to see distant objects" is altogether the most baffling of his statements.  In fact, a large part my own successful myopia reversal was brought about by viewing distant objects and by the use of plus lenses.  And what are plus lenses, but devices that put your eyes into a refractive state equivalent to viewing distant objects when you are in fact viewing close up objects?"

Todd

« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 11:57:44 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 09:09:22 AM »
I think Bates was brilliant and a pioneer, and I do not doubt that people has succeeded using his methods. However, re what Todd said, I think he was totally off in regards to what was actually going on. He saw success and assumed he knew why it was working. Sadly, his explanation was wrong, and was therefore discarded by contemporary eye doctors.  

Bates tactics included looking at things in the distance. He states in this article that he was able to "cure" minor myopia in fifteen minutes by looking at the Snellen. Bates also emphasized taking breaks from reading and looking in the distance, not keeping your eyes too focused on one thing, etc. Those are all helpful things to do.

Any google search on improving eyesight will pull up hundreds of sites promoting Bates techniques. While these may work for some, I think that the use of the plus lenses are a much more helpful technique. That is why I have been trying to promote Todd's work here, because I think that if natural vision improvement can incorporate modern science (as Todd does) then it will be much more successful and may some day possibly even be accepted as an alternative treatment, the way that posture work is accepted as an alternative treatment to surgery.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 11:58:10 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline Alex_Myopic

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 01:33:58 PM »
Hi, this is my first post here and I'd like to thank Mr Otis Brown for recommending me this forum. I use Bates method and plus lenses together. I have managed to see 20/20 with myopic lenses of -1,25D (left and right) in two months starting with L:-2 R:-2.25. In the last month I have managed 20/30 with my subcorrected -0.75D lenses. However I started the plus lenses 2 years ago before I did subcorrection and the day I learned how to do the Snellen test I learned that I have managed to become overprescribed since I had 20/15 at the Snellen chart.

I'd like to make a point in the following text that Bates may had in fact analyzed that the plus lenses can turn a myopic eye into an emmetropic, and that analysis decades before Young's plus lenses research.

First a small excerpt from http://gettingstronger.org/2010/07/improve-eyesight-and-throw-away-your-glasses/

"Furthermore his (Bates) statement that myopia is caused by "an effort to see distant objects" is altogether the most baffling of his statements.  In fact, a large part my own successful myopia reversal was brought about by viewing distant objects and by the use of plus lenses."

But when I read this from Bates I immediately thought of plus lenses therapy.
This topic (THE CAUSE AND REVERSIBILITY OF ERRORS OF REFRACTION) Bates engaged in Chapter IX of Perfect Sight Without Glasses, excerpted below:

In an eye with previously normal vision,
a strain to see near objects always results
in the temporary production of hypermetropia
in one or all meridians. That is, the
eye either becomes entirely hypermetropic,
or some form of astigmatism is produced
of which hypermetropia forms a part. In
the hypermetropic eye the hypermetropia
is increased in one or all meridians. When
the myopic eye strains to see a near object,
the myopia is lessened and emmetropia
may be produced
, the eye being focused
for parallel rays while still trying to see at
the near point. In some cases the
emmetropia may even pass over into
hypermetropia in one or all meridians. All
these changes are accompanied by evidences
of increasing strain, in the form of
eccentric fixation (see Chapter XI) and
lowered vision; but, strange to say, pain and
fatigue are usually relieved to a marked
degree.




 
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 01:39:05 PM by Alex_Myopic »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 04:57:29 PM »
Welcome to the Forum, Alex.

The passage you excerpted from Bates is consistent with his other statement that I had commented on and - I think -- is equally mistaken.  Bates had the idea that attempts to focus objects beyond the far point of focus tend to increase myopia.  My experience (and logic) tell me that such efforts tend to reduce myopia.

Likewise, in the passage you quote, Bates takes the position that

In an eye with previously normal vision,
a strain to see near objects always results
in the temporary production of hypermetropia

"hypermetropia" being the old-fashioned term for hyperopia or far-sightedness.

Likewise, Bates advances the corollary view that

When the myopic eye strains to see a near object,
the myopia is lessened and emmetropia
may be produced[/b], the eye being focused
for parallel rays while still trying to see at
the near point. In some cases the
emmetropia may even pass over into
hypermetropia in one or all meridians.

That would suggest we can reduce our myopia by attempting to focus inside of the near point. This is precisely the opposite of the techniques I advocate, namely:

- print pushing, in which one makes an effort to focus on print held just beyond the far point
- plus lens therapy, which assist print pushing by bringing the far point in closer to the eye, making print pushing more convenient for those with mild myopia

Accordingly, plus lenses are unnecessary for those with strong myopia, i.e. those who would otherwise wear lenses stronger than about -2 or -2.5 diopters (with the far point beyond about 16-19 inches)

I have respect for Dr. Bates' interest in fostering natural vision without eyeglasses.  I just find the above explanations to be inconsistent with everything else I know.

Perhaps you can resolve the paradox or point out where I have gone wrong in my interpretation or understanding?

Todd
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 05:00:27 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline Hillyman

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 09:37:40 PM »
Todd

Thank you for this posting. I could not make heads or tails of the Bates quote.  You pointed out just where the points of inconsistencies are with the current thinking seen (I think) in this forum and sites such as the Frauenfeld Clinic.


Offline Alex_Myopic

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 08:21:35 AM »
Todd

Quote
Perhaps you can resolve the paradox or point out where I have gone wrong in my interpretation or understanding?"

"That would suggest we can reduce our myopia by attempting to focus inside of the near point. This is precisely the opposite of the techniques I advocate, namely:

- print pushing, in which one makes an effort to focus on print held just beyond the far point
- plus lens therapy, which assist print pushing by bringing the far point in closer to the eye, making print pushing more convenient for those with mild myopia

Sorry for quoting too many. Generally Bates wrote that straining to see is harmful but in the above excerpt the strain in close distance can turn a myopic eye into an emmetropic (and if this is continued for long time I suppose we have the permanent effect of plus lenses prevention and therapy). Bates referred to "near point" because of the close distance and not in relation to how blurry we see it which I think you suggest by using the terms "near point" and "beyond far point".
Also in plus lenses therapy we have the myopic effect at close distance (=near point) so the eye tries to accommodate (and shorten in long term) in order to make the converging image (rays) due to plus lenses in front of the retina, more parallel-like in order to be formed exactly onto the retina.

http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~wildsoet/images/neg_lens_induce_myopia.swf

And this is what Bates said:
"...the eye being focused
for parallel rays while still trying to see at
the near point. "


My rate of treating myopia has been increased since I have been using my old pair of +1D to read my computer screen which I had it about 70cm away from my eyes. So now I see my monitor from 50cm and with some blur from plus lenses instead of using it at 70cm.
For reading I have a +1,5D

« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 08:49:44 AM by Alex_Myopic »

Offline Alex_Myopic

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 04:17:32 AM »
Thanks for your reply Mr Otis.

I had a book about research in chickens which developed myopia just because they were confined. The chickens which were allowed just one day per week to live outside, had much less myopia.
I have also read that even though oblique muscles doesn't do the active focus, when we see near object there is a force put on the eyeball tending to elongate it.

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 06:00:06 PM »
Hi Alex,

Subject:  What Dr. Bates' efforts successful.

Question: Who the hell will judge success?

++++++

Records were made with the same card or with an unfamiliar card for testing the vision. This matter is discussed below. Each line of the Snellen card is designated by a number which indicates the feet that the line should be read by the normal eye. Records of the vision are written in the form of a fraction: The numerator of the fraction represents the distance in feet of the pupil from the card while the denominator denotes the number which designates the lowest line read. Records were usually submitted as follows:

TEACHERS:  Public School No. 46, W. A. Boylan, principal.
E. 6A., J. Hiesel. T., 27
D., 27
I., 27
N., 25

STUDENTS:

 February, 1913. April, 1913. June, 1913.
 R. L. R. L. R. L.

John D. ...... 20/100 20/50 20/50 20/40 20/20 20/20
Sanford G. ... 20/50 27/70 20/30 20/40 20/15 20/20

++++++

It is often stated that we should have a "repeatable" study.  But to this very day - no one has even CONSIDERED conducting any such study.

In my opinion, I would have each person measure his refractive STATUS himself - using the classical "trial lens and Snellen".

I do it myself.  Yes, it does take strong desire, insults and resolve.  But engineers tend to be able to make that type of commitment.

I do not care if these people "stood on their head", or bayed at the Moon.  What I do care about it that they technically knew how to make their own measurements - themselves.

It is this "attitude" that is blocked in all studies.  They feel that all people are incompetent, or in any event, do not have the desire or motivation to actually read and record their own Snellen.

This is a question of leadership, more than anything else.



Thanks for your reply Mr Otis.

I had a book about research in chickens which developed myopia just because they were confined. The chickens which were allowed just one day per week to live outside, had much less myopia.
I have also read that even though oblique muscles doesn't do the active focus, when we see near object there is a force put on the eyeball tending to elongate it.

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2013, 09:29:56 AM »
Subject: Why statistics (developed after Bates' study) are VERY IMPORTANT.

Item:  I am often criticized because I will never say, "cure", and I will agree that Dr. Bates report of success (see above) is both correct and accurate.

Issue:  If I were going to conduct a "pure prevention" study, I would have each person read Dr. Bates statistics, as well as these statistics (assuming each person has a life-time career goal of going from 20/50 to 20/20).

+++++

No one can “perfectly” summaries statistics. But what we know now, is that the natural eye is very responsive to “long-term near work”. This is NOT the eye “becoming defective”. It is just a natural process.
 When a plus was used (in a bifocal) here are the results. The plus did not go down. The rest of the children were given a strong minus – which they wore all the time.

Age 6, -0.7 Diopters per year.
 Age 7, -0.7
 Age 8, -0.7
 Age 9, -0.56
 Age 10, -0.54
 Age 11, -0.37
 Age 12, -0.43
 Age 13, -0.40
 Age 14, -0.40
 Age 15, -0.42
 Age 16, -0.44
 Age 17, -0.47

These statistics are proven beyond any reasonable doubt. They suggest that is would be wise to start wearing the plus, before your refractive status goes below -1.0 diopters and about 20/40.

++++++

Much like Dr. Bates study - this study also suggests that prevention is possible.  But this data, suggests that you must necessarily start with true-prevention, BEFORE you ever start wearing a minus lens.  That issue does require an understanding of the above statistics.  I know that most people REFUSE to look at these statistics, for reasons that I will never understand.




Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 06:38:25 AM »
Dr. Bates was indeed the true leader of prevention (but not "cure").

Dr. Bates STARTED my interest in preventive research.  Some of his ideas might have been "wrong", but the concept of staring a prevention study or effort - with highly motivated people, at 20/40, is always the right idea.

Whether you wish to say, "exercise-prevention", or "plus-prevention" is totally up to you.

What Dr. Bates did not know, is that when you put  your nose on the book (for years) your refraction goes DOWN at a rate of -1/2 diopter per year.  (This truth was not known when Dr. Bates conducted his successful study.  It is crucial for any future study that would involve the person who is interested in true-prevention.)

Even Dr. Bates defined "permanent myopia", to be any vision less than 20/160.

It is true that even if you weigh 500 pounds, you can lose weight.  So, yes, you can lose 300 pounds if you wish.  But you will find few people have that interest - so they will stay at 500 pounds.

In that sense, there is no "permanent myopia".  But, just as it makes sense to AVOID putting on 300 pounds, it also makes sense for you to prevent your Snellen from going below 20/40 (or about -1.5 diopters).

It is not the job of an OD or MD to prescribe "weight prevention".  In the same way, it is not the job of an OD to prescribe "vision protection".  He just assumes that is your job.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 06:41:57 AM by OtisBrown »

Offline CapitalPrince

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 04:43:04 PM »
does "no permanent" myopia mean even if a person has worn glasses for a very long time and has high myopia ( say -6D). if he is put in an open environment for 16 hours a day and does absolutely no close work, his refractive state will (very very slowly) move in a positive direction? Would standing outside looking in the distance (passitvely)also reduce his axial myopia?

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 05:00:01 PM »
Hi Sam,

Subject: Would you make yourself -6 diopters myopic - to run this experiment?

Item: I certainly would not.  If I knew I could reverse it, while still at 20/40 (and -1 diopter) you can bet everything you have that I would be wearing a plus lens for all close work, until I got back to emmetropia (refractive state = self-measured 0.0 diopters, and 20/20).

But to answer you hypothetical question:

1) We know that the natural eye will "move positive" at rate of +1/2 diopter per year (with no "near work").  Thus, it would take about 12 years of "open" environment, to gradually get back to 0.0 diopters.

2) Here is the documentation for that possibility:

http://myopiafree.wordpress.com/od-success/

Tragically, most ODs will not tell you about this problem of the natural eye's adaptiveness to long-term near - even though it is proven science.  The result is of course a strong minus, which creates even more adaptiveness, and eventually -6 diopters of myopia.




does "no permanent" myopia mean even if a person has worn glasses for a very long time and has high myopia ( say -6D). if he is put in an open environment for 16 hours a day and does absolutely no close work, his refractive state will (very very slowly) move in a positive direction? Would standing outside looking in the distance (passitvely)also reduce his axial myopia?

Offline CapitalPrince

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 05:10:13 PM »
thanks for the answer to the hypothetical question otis. I always wondered about this senario. It's cool to know that the eyes can go back to 0D very very slowly when placed in an open environment, even when nothing else is done.

Offline NickGrouwen

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Re: Dr. William Bates and the Bates Method
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 11:35:15 PM »
dr bates was a great man and undoubtedly helped a lot of people in his time. compared to what most of us have to deal with today (axial myopia) back then it was psuedomyopia that was more prevalent (although, unbeknown to himself, he also had some exercises that countered axial myopia such as reading fine print and working with the snellen), so his method that focused on relaxation saved many people from unnecessarily living a life bound to ever worsening eyesight caused by the minus lens. i find some of the anecdotes provided in his literature a bit hard to believe but most likely he worked with thousands of people and only picked the craziest stories to publish ;D like the nearly blind guy who palmed for a whole day or two (i forgot exactly how long) and came back to dr bates' office with clear eyesight, no more headaches, cataracts gone, etc.