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PINHOLE EYEGLASSES - Pros and Cons, Healthier Than EyeglassesVitamins, Minerals.., Eye Health Vitamins; Bilberry, Lutein... Ming Mu Di Huang Wan Ancient Chinese Eye Formula for Healthy Eyes, Body, Liver, Clear Eyesight. Neck Muscle Relaxation. Health BooksTRANSLATOR Convert Website Pages, E-Books to Other Languages. Audio; Hear in English, Spanish... Blind; Listen, Learn Without Reading HISTORY                 The Bates Method, Natural Eyesight Improvement - Best Teachers, Books, Websites, Blogs, Training, variety of Information. 1800's, 1901 to Present Date BETTER EYESIGHT MAGAZINE By Ophthalmologist William H. Bates', Introduction. 132 Issues, July 1919 to June 1930. Original Training, Cures from the Eye Doctor that Discovered Natural Vision ImprovementBETTER EYESIGHT MAGAZINE - Entire 132 Issues on One Page or Link to the Main Magazine Website, Individual Monthly Issues. Read, Listen Free on the Internet in any LanguageAUDIOS For the Blind, Low Vision - Better Eyesight Magazine Treatments; Myopia, Presbyopia, Cataract Glaucoma, Retina Health, Strabismus, Astigmatism...Dedication to My Mom Nancy Native American Videos - Natural Life=Clear Sight SKYPE, GOOGLE  Live Video on the Internet - Telephone Natural Eyesight Improvement Training. Student and Group Training  1 - Natural Eyesight Training Starts Here, Page #1 to #40.        MENTAL STRAIN, EYE MUSCLE TENSION CAUSES UNCLEAR EYESIGHT. Dangers of Laser Eye Cornea Surgery, Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses2 - STRONG EYEGLASSES = Addiction, Progressive Vision, Eye Impairment Verses REDUCED, WEAKER, TEMPORARY EYEGLASS LENSES = Vision, Eye Health Improvement.      
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3 - HUMAN EYE Function, Anatomy, Light Rays, Cornea, Iris-Pupil, Lens, Retina, Macula, Fovea, Optic Nerve, Eye Muscles...4 - Front View of Eye. Pupil, Iris, Ciliary, Lens, Sclera.., Outer Eye Muscles; Oblique, Recti. THE EYE CHANGES LENGTH LIKE A CAMERA (with the lens) TO FOCUS CLOSE- FAR 5 - DO IT YOURSELF NATURAL EYESIGHT IMPROVEMENT; Practice Shifting and Other Relaxed, Natural, Correct Eye-Vision Functions.
Play with the Moving Pointer to get the Eyes Shifting, Relaxed. Move with the Figure Eight. 6 - CENTRAL-FIXATION - Central Vision 'Centralizing'. See Clearest with the Center of the Visual Field. Combine With Shifting. The Central Field MOVES as the Eyes, Mind-Attention Move 'Shift'.7 - CENTRAL-FIXATION STICK    Use the Gate to Find the Exact Central Field and Move it. Test for Balanced Eyes, Vision. 8 - MEMORY AND IMAGINATION Improve the Mind,  Eyesight, Body, Sprit. PALMING, EFT9 - TEN CORRECT, RELAXED, NATURAL VISION HABITS Practice Normal, Eye-Vision 'Visual System' Functions10 - SWITCHING, SHIFTING CLOSE, MIDDLE AND FAR   For Clear Eyesight at All Distances. Bates Method Combined with Behavioral Optometry, Relaxed Eye Exercises11 - SWITCH CLOSE, MIDDLE, FAR ON THE THREE PENS IN A ROW.  THE BEAD (BROCK) STRING12 - WARNING - Avoid Artificial 3-D Fusion Pictures, Repetitive Eye Exercises; 'Autostereograms,  'Magic Eyes' 13 - EYECHARTS TEST AND IMPROVE CLOSE AND DISTANT EYESIGHT
    Eyechart Pictures From Dr. Bates Medical Articles
14 - THE FIGURE EIGHT (Infinity Swing)Left and Right Brain Hemisphere Activation, Integration, Neck, Body Movement, Relaxation15 - THE SWAY, 'Rock', LONG SWING, CROSS CRAWL and Other Movement, Relaxation, Body-Brain Activities For Clear Eyesight16 - THE ILLUSION OF OPPOSITIONAL MOVEMENT-'The Swing'17 - SUNLIGHT, SUNNING. SACCADIC SUNNING With Hands 18 - SACCADIC SUNNING With Tree, Fence, Nosefeather, Swing, Rocking Chair, Oppositional Movement19 - DR. BATES SUNLIGHT TREATMENTS, PICTURES - As Described in Better Eyesight Magazine and Perfect Sight Without Glasses 20 - SUNLIGHT, LIGHT ENERGY TRAVELS INTO THE EYES, OPTIC NERVES, BRAIN, SPINE, BODY, CHAKRAS 'Energy Centers, Pathways' 21 - RELAXATION METHODS;  PALMING, Color Visualization, Breathing, Energy Circulation, Alpha, Theta, Delta Deep Relaxation Chart 22 - COLOR, COLORED LIGHT TREATMENT;  Antique Colored Glass Bottle, Sunlight, Color Changing Angel Lamp for Night-time 23 - NEAR VISION; Clear Eyesight at  Close Distances. READ IN FULL SPECTRUM SUNLIGHT, FINE PRINT HEALTHY FOR THE EYES - Reading, Seeing Fine and Microscopic Print
Clear. Natural Presbyopia Cure, Prevention. Book
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30 - PHYSICAL THERAPY - For Relaxed Body, Shoulders, Neck, Head and Clear Eyesight. Vertebrae C-1 Top of Neck to C-5 Upper Spine 31 - ACUPRESSURE POINTS, MASSAGE Face-Eyes, Head, Neck, Shoulders, Back, Body, Hands, Feet... for Muscle Relaxation,  Balanced, Moving Chi... Energy and Clear Eyesight. EFT 32 - NUTRITION      For Healthy Eyes, Clear Eyesight. Grow Your Own Bilberries, Blackberries, Spinach, Kale, Corn,  Dandelions, Flowers, Carrots... For Healthy Retina, Lens...33 - For Pilots - Aviators - Better Eyesight Magazine.
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34 - STORIES FROM THE CLINIC by Emily C. A. Lierman, Bates. Dr. Bates Assistant, Wife for Many Years in His New York City Clinic, Offices...35 - THE CURE OF IMPERFECT SIGHT BY TREATMENT WITHOUT GLASSES Dr. Bates Original 1919 Book. And; 'Use Your Own Eyes', 'Normal Sight Without Glasses' by Dr. William B. MacCracken M. D., 'Strengthening The Eyes' by Bernarr MacFadden, W. H. Bates. Optometrist Harold M. Peppard, Monroe Hirsch, O.D. Ph. D.  E-Books, Videos36 - Clark Night - (Mary Iva Oliver)  Natural Eyesight Improvement School, Courses Certificates, Receipts. 1st Book Copyright 1996+ 37 - Clark Night -(Mary Iva Oliver) Drivers Licenses, Family Photos - No Glasses, Proof of Clear Vision. Govt. Directions for Eyesight Test 38 - Blind, Visually Disabled Achieve Independence -  Guide Dog Schools, DAV, Perkins School For The Blind 39 - NEW STUFF! What's Up in the Natural Eyesight Improvement World? Lasik, Contact Lens Warning Videos. Corrupt Teachers, Author's Teaching Incorrect, Harmful Methods, Steal Manuscripts, Hack Honest Teachers Computers, Try to Hide the True Bates Method and Charge High Prices40 - VIDEOS - Natural Vision Improvement and Other Topics GUEST PAGE        Post a Comment,  Ask Questions, State Your Opinion, Share Dr. Bates Method, Natural Eyesight Improvement Experiences.
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This page contains all 132 Better Eyesight Magazine Monthly Issues on one page. To read the 132 Magazines with an Index, separate page for each month
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                                                                            Better Eyesight Magazine by Ophthalmologist William H. Bates

Learn directly from the Eye doctor that discovered Natural Eyesight Improvement - The True Origin of 'The Bates Method'. These Magazines consist of Dr. Bates Natural Treatments. He recorded all the treatments, methods he applied to cure his patients of many different eye conditions in his monthly magazine during 11 years work in his Clinic, Offices, Hospitals in New York City, U.S.A. 
132 Issues, Entire Collection; every Year, Month, Article, Treatment. Modern additional treatments have been listed at the end of a few old treatments. The original treatments have not been altered; they remain preserved as Dr. Bates wrote them in the 1900's.    
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July, 1919 - June, 1930 - 132 Magazine Issues
Central Fixation Publishing Co.
New York, N. Y. USA

July, 1919
Flashing and the Fundamental Principle - Do You Read Imperfectly?


Do you read imperfectly?  Can you observe then that when you look at the first word, or the first letter, of a sentence you do not see best where you are looking; that you see other words, or other letters, just as well as or better than the ones you are looking at?  Do you observe also that the harder you try to see the worse you see?  
Now close your eyes and rest them, remembering some color, like black or white, that you can remember perfectly.  Keep them closed until they feel rested, or until the feeling of strain has been completely relieved.  Now open them and look at the first word or letter of a sentence for a fraction of a second.  If you have been able to relax, partially or completely, you will have a flash of improved or clear vision, and the area seen best will be smaller.
    After opening the eyes for this fraction of a second, close them again quickly, still remembering the color, and keep them closed until they again feel rested.  Then again open them for a fraction of a second.  Continue this alternate resting of the eyes and flashing of the letters for a time, and you may soon find that you can keep your eyes open longer than a fraction of a second without losing the improved vision.
    If your trouble is with distant instead of near vision, use the same method with distant letters.
        In this way you can demonstrate for yourself the fundamental principles of the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses.  
     If you fail, ask someone with perfect sight to help you.

Do You Read Imperfectly? - This first article and others are placed on page 2 on the inside cover of each monthly Better Eyesight Magazine issue. The articles consist of a variety of the Best of Dr. Bates Original Natural Eyesight Improvement Treatments, Activities. The student can copy, paste these into a small fine print booklet to carry in a pocket and practice in your spare time.


    WHEN the United States entered the European war recruits for general military service were required to have a visual acuity of 20/40 in one eye and 20/100 in the other.1  This very low standard, although it is a matter of common knowledge that it was interpreted with great liberality, proved to be the greatest physical obstacle to the raising of an army.  Under it 21.68 per cent of the registrants were rejected, 13 per cent more than for any other single cause.2
    Later the standard was lowered3  so that men might be "unconditionally accepted for general military service" with a vision of 20/100 in each eye without glasses, provided one eye was correctible to 20/40.  For special or limited service they might be accepted with only 20/200 in each eye without glasses, provided one was correctible to 20/40.  At the same time a great many defects other than errors of refraction were admitted in both classes, such as squint not interfering with vision, slight nystagmus, and color blindness. Even total blindness in one eye was not a cause for rejection to the limited service class, provided it was not due to progressive or organic change, and the vision of the other eye was normal. Under this incredible standard eye defects still remained one of three leading causes of rejection.
Over ten per cent, (10.65) of the registrants were disqualified by them, while defects of the bones and joints and of the heart and blood-vessels ran respectively one and one and a half percent higher.4   Most of the revelations about the physical condition of the American people which resulted from the operation of the draft law had been anticipated by persons who had been giving their attention to such matters - and whose warnings had long fallen upon deaf ears - but it is doubtful if anyone had formed an adequate conception of the truth regarding the condition of the nation's eyesight. That it should be impossible to raise an army with even half normal vision in one eye, and that one man in every ten rejected for military service should have been unable, even by the aid of glasses, to attain this standard, is a situation so appalling that words fail to characterize it, so incredible that only the most unimpeachable evidence could compel belief in it.  Under these circumstances it seems to me the plain duty of anyone who has found any means of controlling the evil in question to give the facts the widest possible publicity.
    Most writers on ophthalmology today appear to believe that defective eyesight is part of the price we must pay for civilization.  The human eye, they say, was not designed for the uses to which it is now put.  Eons before there were any schools, or printing presses, electric lights, or moving pictures, its evolution was complete.  In those days it served the needs of the human animal perfectly, but it is not to be expected, we are told, that it should respond without injury to the new demands. By care it is thought that this injury may be minimized, but to eliminate it wholly is considered to be too much to hope for.  Such is the depressing conclusion to which the monumental labors of a hundred years and more have led us.
    I have no hesitation in stating that this conclusion is unqualifiedly wrong.  Nature did not blunder when she made the human eye, but has given us in this intricate and wonderful mechanism, upon which so much of the usefulness as well as the pleasure of life depends, an organ as fully equal to the needs of civilization as to those of the Stone Age.  After thirty-three years of clinical and experimental work, I have demonstrated to my own satisfaction and that of others that the eye is capable of meeting the utmost demands of civilization; that the errors of refraction which have so long dogged the footsteps of progress, and which have made the raising of an army during the recent war so difficult, are both preventable and curable; and that many other forms of imperfect sight, long held to be incurable, may be either improved or completely relieved.
    All these discoveries have been published in the medical press, but while their reliability has never been publicly disputed, the medical profession has so far failed to make use of them.  Meantime the sight of our children is being destroyed daily in the schools, and our young men and women are entering life with a defect which, if uncorrected, must be a source of continual misery and expense to them, sometimes ending in blindness or economic ruin.  Admitting for the sake of argument that I may be wrong in my conclusion that these things are unnecessary, it is time I was proven to be wrong.  I should not be allowed to play on the forlorn hope of a suffering world.  If I am right, as I know I am, a suffering world should no longer be deprived of the benefit of my discoveries.
    To give publicity to these discoveries and arouse discussion regarding them is one of the objects for which this magazine has been started.  At the same time its pages are open to everyone who has any light to throw upon the problem.  It has too long been the custom of ophthalmologists to disregard every fact at variance with the accepted theories.  Such facts, when observed, have usually not been published, and when published they have either been ignored or explained away in some more or less plausible manner. The management of this magazine wishes to make it a medium for the publication of such facts, which, it may safely be asserted, are known to every ophthalmologist of any experience, and which, if they had received proper consideration, would long ago have led us out of the blind alley in which we are now languishing.
    While I think it may be truthfully said that many of my methods are new and original, other physicians, both in this country and in Europe, have cured themselves and others by treatment without glasses. Lay persons have done the same.

 Fine Print – For Clear Close Vision

    In The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, Oliver Wendell Holmes published a very remarkable case of the cure of presbyopia.
    "There is now living in New York State," he says, "an old gentleman who, perceiving his sight to fail, immediately took to exercising it on the finest print, and in this way fairly bullied Nature out of her foolish habit of taking liberties at five-and-forty, or thereabouts.  And now this old gentleman performs the most extraordinary feats with his pen, showing that his eyes must be a pair of microscopes.  I should be afraid to say how much he writes in the compass of a half-dime, whether the Psalms or the Gospels, or the Psalms and the Gospels, I won't be positive."5     An officer in the American Expeditionary Forces, whose letter is published elsewhere, wrote to me about a year ago that he has cured himself of presbyopia, and after half a lifetime of misery was entirely free from eye discomfort.
There must be many more of these cases, and we want to hear of them.
(Five and forty=fifties, forties… year of age.)  Reading fine print maintains clear close and distant vision at all ages and keeps the eyes healthy, prevents development of eye diseases.


     For about seventy years it has been believed that the eye accommodates for vision at different distances by changing the curvature of the lens, and this theory has given birth to another, namely, that errors of refraction are due to a permanent organic change in the shape of the eyeball.  On these two ideas the whole system of treating errors of refraction is based at the present time.
    My experiments and clinical observations have demonstrated that both these theories are wrong.6 They have shown:

(1) That the lens is not a factor in accommodation;
(2) That the change of focus necessary for vision at different distances is brought about by the action of the superior and inferior obliques, which, by their contraction and relaxation, change the length of the eyeball as the length of the camera is changed by the shortening and lengthening of the bellows;
(3) That errors of refraction are due to the abnormal action of these muscles and of the recti, the obliques being responsible for myopia and the recti for hypermetropia, while both may combine in the production of astigmatism;
(4) That this abnormal action of the muscles on the outside of the eyeball is always due to mental strain of some kind.

    This being the case it follows that all errors of refraction can be cured by relaxation.  All methods of treatment, therefore, are simply different ways of obtaining relaxation.  And because it is impossible to relax the eye muscles without relaxing the mind - and the relaxation of the mind means the relaxation of the whole body - it also follows that improvement in the eyesight is always accompanied by an improvement in health and mental efficiency.
    The fact that all errors of refraction are functional can often be demonstrated within five minutes.  When a person with myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, looks at a blank wall without trying to see, the retinoscope, with a plane mirror, at six feet, indicates, in flashes or more continuously no error of refraction.  The conditions should be favorable for relaxation and the doctor should be as much at his ease as the patient.
   It can also be demonstrated with the retinoscope that persons with normal sight do not have it all the time.7 When the vision of such persons becomes
imperfect at the distance it will be found that myopic refraction has been produced;8 when it becomes imperfect at the near point it will be found that
hypermetropia has been produced.

                                                      CENTRAL FIXATION

    An invariable symptom of all abnormal conditions of the eyes, whether functional or organic, is the loss of central fixation.  When a person with perfect vision looks at a letter on the Snellen test card he can always observe that all the other letters in his field of vision are seen less distinctly.  He can also observe that when he looks at the bottom of even the smallest letter on the card, the top appears less black and less distinct than the part directly regarded, while the same is true of a letter of diamond type, or of the smallest letters that are printed.  When a person with imperfect sight looks at the card he can usually observe that when he can read a line of letters he is able to look at one letter of a line and see it better than the others, but the letters of a line he cannot read may look all alike, or those not directly regarded may even be seen better than the one fixed.
    These conditions are due to the fact that when the sight is normal the sensitiveness of the fovea is normal, but when the sight is imperfect, from whatever cause, the sensitiveness of the fovea is lowered, so that the eye sees equally well, or even better, with other parts of the retina.  Contrary to what is generally believed, the part seen best when the sight is normal is extremely small.
The text-books say that at twenty feet an area having a diameter of a quarter of an inch can be seen with maximum vision, but anyone who tries at this distance to see every part of one of the small letters of the Snellen test card - the diameter of which is about a quarter of an inch - equally well at one time will immediately become myopic.  The fact is that the nearer the point of maximum vision approaches a mathematical point, which has no area, the better the sight.
     The cause of this loss of function in the center of sight is mental strain; and as all abnormal conditions of the eyes, organic as well as functional, are accompanied by mental strain, all such conditions must necessarily be accompanied by loss of central fixation. When the mind is under a strain the eye usually goes more or less blind. The center of sight goes blind first, partially or completely, according to the degree of the strain, and if the strain is great enough the whole or the greater part of the retina may be involved. When the vision of the center of sight has been suppressed, partially or completely, the patient can no longer see the point which he is looking at best, but sees objects not regarded directly as well, or better, because the sensitiveness of the retina has now become approximately equal in every part, or is even better in the outer part than in the center.  Therefore in all cases of defective vision the patient is unable to see best where he is looking.   When the person with imperfect vision sees the peripheral field clearest, it is not as clear as the central field is when the vision is normal.
    This condition is sometimes so extreme that the patient may look as far away from an object as it is possible to see it and yet see it just as well as when looking directly at it.  In one case it had gone so far that the patient could see only with the edge of the retina on the nasal side.  In other words, she could not see her fingers in front of her face, but could see them if she held them at the outer side of her eye.  She had no error of refraction, showing that while every error of refraction is accompanied by eccentric fixation, the strain which causes the one condition is different from that which produces the other.  The patient had been examined by specialists in this country and Europe, who attributed her blindness to disease of the optic nerve, or brain; but the fact that vision was restored by relaxation demonstrated that the condition had been due simply to mental strain.
     Eccentric fixation, even in its lesser degrees, is so unnatural that great discomfort, or even pain, can be produced in a few seconds by trying to see every part of an area three or four inches in extent at twenty feet, or even less, or an area of an inch or less at the near point, equally well at one time, while at the same time the retinoscope will demonstrate that an error of refraction has been produced. This strain, when it is habitual, leads to all sorts of abnormal conditions and is, in fact, at the bottom of most eye troubles, both functional and organic.  The discomfort and pain may be absent, however, in the chronic condition, and it is an encouraging symptom when the patient begins to experience them.
    Natural health improvement doctors state; When health or vision is impaired, pain and other symptoms occur.  When health/vision impairment increases, sometimes the pain, other uncomfortable symptoms vanish, are not felt.  New symptoms may take their place.   When healing occurs and the health/vision is reversing back to normal, is being corrected/cured; the old pains, symptoms may temporarily re-appear as the health/vision is passing backwards through previous beginning stages of the health or vision problem.  Then, as the health/vision improves to perfect health, clear vision; the pain, symptoms are completely removed.  Complete recovery without passing through pain, uncomfortable symptoms can also occur.
    The center of the retina, macula and fovea centralis with its many cones produce the clearest vision and brightest color in the center of the visual field.  The peripheral field of the retina produces less clear vision and less color in the peripheral field of vision.  When the vision is normal, clear; the center of the visual field is clearest and the peripheral field less clear.   The exact center of the visual field is produced by the fovea centralis and is the size of the pointed end of a pin and produces very clear vision, much clearer than 20/20 and brightest color, fine detailed vision, ability to see very small parts of objects at close and far distances.
   Central fixation – To look at/see one small part of a object clearest at a time in the center of the visual field. Shifting is combined with central fixation- The eyes, center of the visual field moves, shifts continually from part to part (point to point) on a object to see the object clear. The center of the visual field also moves with the eyes from object to object seeing one object at as time clearest.
Natural Eyesight Improvement returns perfect clear central vision and brings the peripheral to its maximum possible clarity.

     When the eye possesses central fixation it not only possesses perfect sight, but it is perfectly at rest and can be used indefinitely without fatigue.  It is open and quiet; no nervous movements are observable; and when it regards a point at the distance the visual axes are parallel.  In other words, there are no muscular insufficiencies.  This fact is not generally known.  The text-books state that muscular insufficiencies occur in eyes having normal sight, but I have never seen such a case.  The muscles of the face and of the whole body are also at rest, and when the condition is habitual there are no wrinkles or dark circles around the eyes.
    In most cases of eccentric fixation, on the contrary, the eye quickly tires, and its appearance, with that of the face, is expressive of effort or strain.  The ophthalmoscope reveals that the eyeball moves at irregular intervals, from side to side, vertically or in other directions.  These movements are often so extensive as to be manifest by ordinary inspection, and are sometimes sufficiently marked to resemble nystagmus.  Nervous movements of the eyelids may also be noted, either by ordinary inspection, or by lightly touching the lid of one eye while the other regards an object either at the near point or the distance.  The visual axes are never parallel, and the deviation from the normal may become so marked as to constitute the condition of squint. Strain, eccentric fixation, diffusion causes squint, crossed, wandering eyes, imperfect convergence, divergence. Redness of the conjuctiva and of the margins of the lids, wrinkles around the eyes, dark circles beneath them and tearing are other symptoms of eccentric fixation.
    Eccentric fixation is a symptom of strain, and is relieved by any method that relieves strain; but in some cases the patient is cured just as soon as he is able to demonstrate the facts of central fixation.  When he comes to realize, through actual demonstration of the fact, that (when experiencing blur, eccentric fixation, diffusion, not seeing with the center of the visual field) he does not see best where he is looking, and that when he looks a sufficient distance away from a point (when the eyes are working correct, relaxed, with central fixation) he can see it worse than when he looks directly at it, he becomes able, in some way, to reduce the distance to which he has to look in order to see worse, until he can look directly at the top of a small letter and see the bottom worse, or look at the bottom and see the top worse.  The smaller the letter regarded in this way, or the shorter the distance the patient has to look away from a letter in order to see the opposite part indistinctly, the greater the relaxation and the better the sight.  When it becomes possible to look at the bottom of a letter and see the top worse, or to look at the top and see the bottom worse, it becomes possible to see the letter perfectly black and distinct.  At first such vision may come only in flashes.  The letter will come out distinctly for a moment and then disappear.  But gradually, if the practice is continued, central fixation will become habitual.
    Most patients can readily look at the bottom of the big C and see the top worse; but in some cases it is not only impossible for them to do this, but impossible for them to let go of the large letters at any distance at which they can be seen.  In these extreme cases it sometimes requires considerable ingenuity, first to demonstrate to the patient that he does not see best where he is looking, and then to help him to see an object worse when be looks away from it than when he looks directly at it.  The use of a strong light as one of the points of fixation, or of two lights five or ten feet apart, has been found helpful, the patient when he looks away from the light being able to see it less bright more readily than he can see a black letter worse when he looks away from it.  It then becomes easier for him to see the letter worse when he looks away from it.  This method was successful in the following case:
    A patient with vision of 3/200, when she looked at a point a few feet away from the big C, said she saw the letter better than when she looked directly at it.  Her attention was called to the fact that her eyes soon became tired and that her vision soon failed when she saw things in this way.  Then she was directed to look at a bright object about three feet away from the card, and this attracted her attention to such an extent that she became able to see the large letter on the test card worse, after which she was able to look back at it and see it better.  It was demonstrated to her that she could do one of two things: look away and see the letter better than she did before, or look away and see it worse.  She then became able to see it worse all the time when she looked three feet away from it.  Next she became able to shorten the distance successively to two feet, one foot and six inches, with a constant improvement in vision; and finally she became able to look at the bottom of the letter and see the top worse, or look at the top and see the bottom worse.  With practice she became able to look at the smaller letters in the same way, and finally she became able to read the ten line at twenty feet.  By the same method also she became able to read diamond type, first at twelve inches and then at three inches.  By these simple measures alone she became able, in short, to see best where she was looking, and her cure was complete.
     The highest degrees of eccentric fixation occur in the high degrees of myopia, and in these cases, since the sight is best at the near point, the patient is benefited by practicing seeing worse at this point.  The distance can then be gradually extended until it becomes possible to do the same thing at twenty feet. One patient with a high degree of myopia said that the farther she looked away from an electric light the better she saw it, but by alternately looking at the light at the near point and looking away from it she became able, in a short time, to see it brighter when she looked directly at it than when she looked away from it. Later she became able to do the same thing at twenty feet, and then she experienced a wonderful feeling of relief. No words, she said, could adequately describe it. Every nerve seemed to be relaxed, and a feeling of comfort and rest permeated her whole body. Afterward her progress was rapid. She soon became able to look at one part of the smallest letters on the card and see the rest worse, and then she became able to read the letters at twenty feet.
     On the principle that a burnt child dreads the fire, some patients are benefited by consciously making their sight worse. When they learn, by actual demonstration of the facts, just how their visual defects are produced, they unconsciously avoid the unconscious strain which causes them. When the degree of eccentric fixation is not too extreme to be increased, therefore, it is a benefit to patients to teach them how to increase it. When a patient has consciously lowered his vision and produced discomfort and even pain by trying to see the big C, or a whole line of letters, equally well at one time, he becomes better able to correct the unconscious effort of the eye to see all parts of a smaller area equally well at one time.
(Experience strain=learn to avoid it.)
    In learning to see best where he is looking it is usually best for the patient to think of the point not directly regarded as being seen less distinctly than the point he is looking at, instead of thinking of the point fixed as being seen best, as the latter practice has a tendency, in most cases, to intensify the strain under which the eye is already laboring. One part of an object is seen best only when the mind is content to see the greater part of it indistinctly, and as the degree of relaxation increases the area of the part seen worse increases until that seen best becomes merely a point. 
(Exact center of visual field, fovea centralis, clearer than 20/20)
    The limits of vision depend upon the degree of central fixation. A person may be able to read a sign half a mile away when he sees the letters all alike, but when taught to see one letter best he will be able to read smaller letters that he didn't know were there. The remarkable vision of savages, who can see with the naked eye objects for which most civilized persons require a telescope, is a matter of central fixation. Some people can see the rings of Saturn, or the moons of Jupiter, with the naked eye. It is not because of any superiority in the structure of their eyes, but because they have attained a higher degree of central fixation than most civilized persons do.
    Not only do all errors of refraction and all functional disturbances of the eye disappear when it sees by central fixation, but many organic conditions are relieved or cured. I am unable to set any limits to its possibilities. I would not have ventured to predict that glaucoma, incipient cataract and syphilitic iritis could be cured by central fixation; but it is a fact that these conditions have disappeared when central fixation was attained. Relief was often obtained in a few minutes, and sometimes this relief was permanent. Usually, however, a permanent cure required more prolonged treatment. Inflammatory conditions of all kinds, including inflammation of the cornea, iris, conjunctiva, the various coats of the eyeball and even the optic nerve itself, have been benefited by central fixation after other methods had failed. Infections, as well as diseases caused by protein poisoning and the poisons of typhoid fever, influenza, syphilis and gonorrhoea, have also been benefited by it. Even with a foreign body in the eye there is no redness and no pain so long as central fixation is retained.
     Since central fixation is impossible without mental control, central fixation of the eye means central fixation of the mind. It means, therefore, health in all parts of the body, for all the operations of the physical mechanism depend upon the mind. Not only the sight, but all the other senses - touch, taste, hearing and smell - are benefited by central fixation. All the vital processes - digestion, assimilation, elimination, etc. - are improved by it. The symptoms of functional and organic diseases are relieved. The efficiency of the mind is enormously increased. The benefits of central fixation already observed are, in short, so great that the subject merits further investigation.

Central fixation example:
Look at the top part of the letter C.  Place it in the center of the visual field.  Shift on it to avoid staring.  While looking at that part, in the center of the visual field; that part is clearest.  Other parts of the C away from the part the eyes are looking directly at are in the peripheral field are seen worse, less clear.
When the eyes move, shift to a new part, example; a part on the bottom of the C; this part is now in the center of the visual field, is clearest and the top of the C and other parts are in the peripheral field, away from the central field and are seen less clear.
Shift from part to part on the C and see one small part at a time clearest in the center of the visual field – Central Fixation.
Practice on large, then smaller letters, any objects, then on small objects, a fine print letter.
When the eyes can shift: small point to small point on a small object, small part of a object, fine print letter and use central fixation, vision is very clear.
Central fixation must be combined with shifting; shifting from point to point.
Central fixation does not mean to fix the eyes immobile on a point.
Eccentric fixation is – Diffusion – trying to see two or more objects or more than one part of a object at the same time, objects in the central and peripheral field equally clear at the same time. Not shifting from part to part, object to object.  To space the visual attention out to cover the entire field without moving the eyes. Using the peripheral area of the retina and field of vision to see with, placing the object of visual attention in the peripheral field.


    A teacher forty years of age was first treated on March 28, 1919.  She was wearing the following glasses: O. D. convex 0.75 D. S. with convex 4.00 D. C., 105 deg.; O. S. convex 0.75 D. S. with convex 3.50 D. C., 105 deg. On June 9, 1919, she wrote:

    I will tell you about my eyes, but first let me tell you other things. You were the first to unfold your theories to me, and I found them good immediately - that is, I was favorably impressed from the start. I did not take up the cure because other people recommended it, but because I was convinced: first, that you believed in your discovery yourself; second, that your theory of the cause of eye trouble was true. I don't know how I knew these two things, but I did. After a little conversation with you, you and your discovery both seemed to me to bear the ear-marks of the genuine article. As to the success of the method with myself I had a little doubt. You might cure others, but you might not be able to cure me, However, I took the plunge, and it has made a great change in me and my life.
    To begin with, I enjoy my sight. I love to look at things, to examine them in a leisurely, thorough way, much as a child examines things. I never realized it at the time, but it was irksome for me to look at things when I was wearing glasses, and I did as little of it as possible. The other day, going down on the Sandy Hook boat, I enjoyed a most wonderful sky without that hateful barrier, of misted glasses, and I am positive I distinguished delicate shades of color that I never would have been able to see, even with clear glasses. Things seem to me now to have more form, more reality than when I wore glasses. Looking into the mirror you see a solid representation on a flat surface, and the flat glass can't show you anything really solid. My eye-glasses, of course, never gave me this impression, but one curiously like it. I can see so clearly without them that it is like looking around corners without changing the position. I feel that I can almost do it.
    I very seldom have occasion to palm.9  Once in a great while I feel the necessity of it. The same with remembering a period.10  Nothing else is ever necessary. I seldom think of my eyes, but at times it is borne in upon me how much I do use and enjoy using them.
    My nerves are much better. I am more equable, have more poise, am less shy. I never used to show that I was shy, or lacked confidence. I used to go ahead and do what was required, if not without hesitation, but it was hard. Now I find it easy. Glasses, or poor sight rather, made me self-conscious. It certainly is a great defect and one people are sensitive to without realizing it.  I mean the poor sight and the necessity for wearing glasses. I put on a pair of glasses the other day just for an experiment, and I found that they magnified things. My skin looked as if under a magnifying glass.  Things seemed too near. The articles on my chiffonier looked so close I felt like pushing them away from me. The glasses I especially wanted to push away. They brought irritation at once. I took them off and felt peaceful. Things looked normal.
    I see better in the street than I ever did with glasses. I can see what people look like across the street, can distinguish their features, etc., a thing I could not do with glasses, or before I wore them. I can see better across the river and further into people's houses across the street. Not that I indulge, but I noticed an increase of power while looking out of the window in school.
    Speaking of school, I corrected an immense pile of examination papers the other day, five hours at a stretch, with an occasional look off the paper and an occasional turn about the room. I felt absolutely no discomfort after it. Two weeks previous to this feat I handled two hundred designs over and over again, looking at each one dozens and dozens of times to note changes and improvement in line and color. Occasionally, while this work was going on. I had to palm in the mornings on rising.
    I use my eyes with as much success writing, though once in a while after a lot of steady writing they are a little bit tired. I can read at night without having to get close to a light. I mention this because last summer I had to sit immediately under the light, or I could not see.
    From the beginning of the treatment I could use my eyes pretty well, but they used to tire. I remember making a large Liberty Loan poster two weeks after I took off my glasses, and I was amazed to find I could make the whole layout almost perfectly without a ruler, just as well as with my glasses. When I came to true it up with the ruler I found only the last row of letters a bit out of line at the very end. I couldn't have done better with glasses. However this wasn't fine work. About the same time I sewed a hem at night in a black dress, using a fine needle. I suffered a little for this, but not much. I used to practice my exercises at that time and palm faithfully.  Now I don't have to practice, or palm; I feel no discomfort, and I am absolutely unsparing in my use of my eyes. I do everything I want to with them. I shirk nothing, pass up no opportunity of using them. From the first I did all my school work, read every notice, wrote all that was necessary, neglected nothing. Everything I was called upon to do I attempted. For instance, I had to read President Wilson's "Fourteen Points" in the assembly room without notice in a poor light-unusual wording, too,-and I read it unhesitatingly. I have yet to fail to make good.
    Now to sum up the school end of it, I used to get headaches at the end of the month from adding columns of figures necessary to reports, etc. Now I do not get them. I used to get flustered when people came into my room. Now I do not; I welcome them. It is a peasant change to feel this way. And-I suppose this is most important really, though I think of it last-I teach better. I know how to get at the mind and how to make the children see things in perspective. I gave a lesson on the horizontal cylinder recently, which, you know, is not a thrillingly interesting subject, and it was a remarkable lesson in its results and in the grip it got on every girl in the room, stupid and bright. What you have taught me makes me use the memory and imagination more, especially the latter, in teaching.
    Now, to sum up the effect of being cured upon my own mind. I am more direct, more definite, less diffused, less vague. In short, I am conscious of being better centered. It is central fixation of the mind. I saw this in your latest paper, but I realized it long ago and knew what to call it.


    An engineer, fifty-one years of age, had worn glasses since 1896, first for astigmatism, getting stronger ones every couple of years, and then for astigmatism and presbyopia. At one time he asked his oculist and several opticians if the eyes could not be strengthened by exercises, so as to make glasses unnecessary, but they said: "No. Once started on glasses you must keep to them." When the war broke out he was very nearly disqualified for service in the Expeditionary Forces by his eyes, but managed to pass the required tests, after which he was ordered abroad as an officer in the Gas Service. While there he saw in the Literary Digest of May 2, 1918, a reference to my method of curing defective eyesight without glasses, and on May 11 he wrote to me in part as follows:
    At the front I found glasses a horrible nuisance, and they could not be worn with gas masks. After I had been about six months abroad I asked an officer of the Medical Corps about going without glasses. He said I was right in my ideas and told me to try it. The first week was awful, but I persisted and only wore glasses for reading and writing. I stopped smoking at the same time to make it easier on my nerves.
    I brought to France two pairs of bow spectacles and two extra lenses for repairs. I have just removed the extra piece for near vision from these extra lenses and had them mounted as pince-nez, with shur-on mounts, to use for reading and writing, so that the only glasses I now use are for astigmatism, the age lens being off. Three months ago I could not read ordinary head-line type in newspapers without glasses. Today, with a good light, I can read ordinary book type (18 point), held at a distance of eighteen inches from my eyes. Since the first week in February, when I discarded my glasses, I have had no headaches, stomach trouble, or dizziness, and am in good health generally. My eyes are coming back, and I believe it is due to sticking it out. I ride considerably in automobiles and trams, and somehow the idea has crept into my mind that after every trip my eyes are stronger. This, I think, is due to the rapid changing of focus in viewing scenery going by so fast.
    Other men have tried this plan on my advice, but gave it up after two or three days. Yet, from what they say, I believe they were not so uncomfortable as I was for a week or ten days.
    I believe most people wear glasses because they "coddle" their eyes.

July, 1919  footnotes
1 - Harvard: Manual of Military Hygiene for the Military services of United States, third revised edition 1917, p. 195.
2 - Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the First Draft under the Selective Service Act, 1917.
3 - Standards of Physical Examination for the Use of Local Boards, District Boards and Medical Advisory Boards under the Selective Service Act, Form 75, issued through office of the Provost Marshal General.
4 - Second Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Selective Service System to December 20, 1918.
5 - Everyman's Library, 1908, pp. 166 and 167.
6 - Bates: The Cure of Defective Eyesight by Treatment Without Glasses. N. Y. Med. Jour., May 8, 1915.  A Study of Images Reflected from the Cornea, Iris, Lens and Sclera. N. Y. Med. Jour., May 18, 1918.
7 - Bates: The Imperfect Sight of the Normal Eye. N. Y. Med. Jour., Sept 8, 1917.
8 – Bates: The Cause of Myopia. N. Y. Med. Jour., March 16, 1912.
9 - By palming is meant the covering of the closed eyes with the palms of the hands in such a way as to exclude all the light, while remembering some color, usually black.
10 - Bates: Memory as an Aid to Vision. N. Y. Med. Jour., May 24, 1919.

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                                                                                                      SCHOOL NUMBER



 August, 1919

How to Use the Snellen Test Card

Prevention and Cure of Imperfect Sight in Children

    The Snellen Test Card is placed permanently upon the wall of the classroom, and every day the children silently read the smallest letters they can see from their seats with each eye separately, the other being covered with the palm of the hand in such a way as to avoid pressure on the eyeball. This takes no appreciable amount of time, and is sufficient to improve the sight of all children in one week and to cure all errors of refraction after some months, a year, or longer.
    Children with markedly defective vision should be encouraged to read the card more frequently.
    Records may be kept as follows:                                             
John Smith, 10, Sept. 15, 1918.
   R. V. (vision of the right eye) 20/40.
   L. V. (vision of the left, eye) 20/20.
John Smith, 11, Jan. 1, 1919.
   R. V. 20/30.
   L. V. 20/15.
The numerator (top number) of the fraction indicates the distance of the test card from the pupil;
The denominator (bottom number) denotes the line read, as designated by the figures printed above the middle of each line of the Snellen Test Card.
    A certain amount of supervision is absolutely necessary.  At least once a year some one who understands the method should visit each classroom for the purpose of answering questions, encouraging the teachers to continue the use of the method, and making a report to the proper authorities.
    It is not necessary that either the inspector, the teachers, or the children, should understand anything about the physiology of the eye.

Glasses are often prescribed unnecessarily or ‘too strong’ (over-corrected) due to temporary nervousness, pressure to hurry, limited eye, head, neck, body movement, looking into test equipment during an eye exam.  Eye doctors also prefer to prescribe an ‘extra strength’ to the eyeglass lenses.  All eyeglasses, especially strong eyeglass lenses cause fast, increased vision/eye impairment and prescriptions for stronger and stronger lenses.


    That the results of the present method of treating defects of vision are far from satisfactory is something which no one would attempt to deny. It is well known that many patients wander from one specialist to another, seeking vainly for relief, while others give up in despair and either bear their visual ills as best they may without assistance, or else resort to Christian Science, mental science, osteopathy, physical culture, or some of the other healing cults to which the incompetence of orthodox medicine has given birth. The specialists themselves, having daily to handle each other's failures, are scarcely better satisfied. Privately they criticize each other with great asperity and freedom, and publicly they indulge in much speculation as to the underlying causes of this deplorable state of affairs.
    At the recent meeting of the Ophthalmological Section of the American Medical Association, Dr. E. J. Gardiner, of Chicago, in a paper on The Present Status of Refraction Work,1 finds that ignorance is responsible for the largest quota of failure to get satisfactory results from what he calls the "rich heritage" of ophthalmic science, but that a considerable percentage must be attributed to other causes. Among these causes he enumerates a too great dependence on measuring devices, the delegation of refraction work to assistants, and the tendency to eliminate cycloplegics, in deference to the prejudices of patients who have a natural objection to being incapacitated by "drops."
    On the same occasion, Dr. Samuel Theobald, of Johns Hopkins University, noted a tendency to "minimize the importance of muscular anomalies" as an important cause of many failures to give relief to eye patients. Among cases that have come into his hands after glasses had been prescribed by other ophthalmologists he has often found that "though great pains had been taken to correct even minor faults of refraction, grave muscular errors had been entirely overlooked." From this fact and from the small number of latent muscular defects noted in the hospital reports which he has examined, the conclusion seems to him inevitable that such faults are in large measure ignored.
    Dr. Walter Pyle, of Philadelphia, laid stress on "necessary but often neglected refinements in examination of ocular refraction." "Long practice, infinite care and attention to finer details," he said, "are imperative requisites, since a slight fault in the correction of a refractive error aggravates rather than relieves the accompanying asthenopic symptoms." This care, he says, must be exercised not only by the oculist but by the optician, and to the end that the latter may be inspired to do his part, he suggests that the oculist provide himself with the means for keeping tabs on him in the form of a mechanical lens measure, axis finder and centering machine.
    Dr. Charles Emerson, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, suggested a closer co-operation between the ophthalmologist and the physician, as there were many patients who could not be helped by the ophthalmologist alone.
    The fitting of glasses by opticians is usually condemned without qualification, but in the discussion which followed these papers, Dr. Dunbar Roy, of Atlanta, said that the optician, just because he does not use cycloplegics, frequently fits patients with comfortable glasses where the ophthalmologist has failed. When a patient needs glasses, said Dr. Roy, he needs them when his eyes are in their natural or normal condition and not when the muscle of accommodation is partially paralyzed. Even the heavy frames used in the adjustment of trial lenses were not forgotten in the search for possible causes of failure, Dr. Roy believing that the patient is often so annoyed by these contrivances that he does not know which is causing him the most discomfort, the frames or the glasses.
    Nowhere in the whole discussion was there any suggestion that this great mass of acknowledged failure could possibly be due to any defect in fundamental principles. These are a "rich heritage," the usefulness of which is not to be questioned. If they do not produce satisfactory results, it must be due to their faulty application, and it is taken for granted that there are a select few who understand and are willing to take the trouble to use them properly.
    The simple fact, however, is that the fitting of glasses can never be satisfactory. The refraction of the eye is continually changing.2 Myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism come and go, diminish and increase, and the same adjustment of glasses cannot suit the affected eyes at all times. One may be able, in many cases, to make the patient comfortable, to improve his sight, or to relieve nervous symptoms; but there will always be a considerable number of persons who get little or no help from glasses, while practically everyone who wears them is more or less dissatisfied. The optician may succeed in making what is considered to be a satisfactory adjustment, and the most eminent ophthalmologist may fail. I personally know of one specialist, a man of international reputation, who fitted a patient sixty times with glasses without affording him the slightest relief.
    And even when the glasses do what is expected of them they do very little. Considering the nature of the superstructure built on the foundation of Donders, and the excellent work being done by leading men, Dr. Gardiner thinks the present status of refraction work might be deemed eminently satisfactory if it were not for the great amount of bad and careless work being done; but I do not consider it satisfactory when all we can do for people with imperfect sight is to give them eye crutches that do not even check the progress of the trouble, when the only help we can offer to the millions of myopic and hypermetropic and astigmatic and squinting children in our schools is to put spectacles on them. If this is the best that ophthalmology can do after building for three-quarters of a century upon the foundation of Donders, is it not time that we began to examine that foundation of which Dr. Gardiner boasts that "not one stone has been removed"?  Instead of seeking the cause of our failure to accomplish even the little we claim to be able to do in the ignorance and carelessness of the average practitioner, great as that ignorance and carelessness often are; in the neglect of cycloplegics and the refinements of lens adjustment: in the failure to detect latent muscular anomalies; in the absence of co-operation between specialist and general practitioner: would it not be wiser to examine the foundation of our superstructure and see whether it is of stone or of sand?

                   THE PREVENTION OF MYOPIA
                            Methods That Failed

    The publication in 1867 by Professor Hermann Cohn of Breslau of a study of the eyes of ten thousand school children first called general attention to the fact that while myopia is seldom found in the pre-school age, the defect increases steadily both in percentage of cases and in degree during the educational period. Professor Cohn's investigations were repeated in all the advanced countries, and his observations, with some difference in percentages, were everywhere confirmed. The conditions were unanimously attributed to the excessive use of the eyes for near work, and as it was impossible to abandon the educational system, attempts were made to minimize the supposed evil effects of the reading, writing and other near work which it demanded. Careful and detailed rules were laid down by various authorities as to the size of type to be used in school books, the length of the lines, their distance apart, the distance at which the book should be held, the amount and arrangement of the light, the construction of the desks, the length of time the eyes might be used without a change of focus, etc. Face rests were even devised to hold the eyes at the prescribed distance from the desk and to prevent stooping, which was supposed to cause congestion of the eyeball and thus to encourage elongation. The Germans, with characteristic thoroughness, actually used these instruments of torture, Cohn never allowing his children to write without one, "even at the best possible desk."3
    The results of these preventive measures were disappointing. Some observers reported a slight decrease in the percentage of myopia in schools in which the prescribed reforms had been made; but on the whole, as Risley has observed in his discussion of the subject in Norris and Oliver's System of Diseases of the Eye, "the injurious effects of the educational process were not noticeably arrested."
    "It is a significant, though discouraging fact," he continues, "that the increase, as found by Cohn, both in the percentage and in the degree of myopia, had taken place in those schools where he had especially exerted himself to secure the introduction of hygienic forms, and the same is true of the observations of Just, who had examined the eyes of twelve hundred and twenty-nine of the pupils of the two High Schools of Zittau, in both of which the hygienic conditions were all that could be desired. He found, nevertheless, that the excellent arrangements had not in any degree lessened the percentage of increase in myopia. It became necessary, therefore, to look beyond faulty hygienic environments for the cause of the pathological states represented by Myopia."4
    With the passage of time further evidence to the same effect has steadily accumulated. In an investigation in London, for instance, in which the schools were carefully selected to reveal any difference that might arise from the various influences, hygienic, social and racial, to which the children were subjected, the proportion of myopia in the best lighted and ventilated school of the group was actually found to be higher than in the one where these conditions were worst.5  It has also been found that there is just as much myopia in schools where little near work is done as in those in which the demands upon the accommodative power of the eye are greater, while in any case it is only a minority of the children in any school who become myopic, although all may be exposed to practically the same eye conditions. Dr. Adolf Steiger, in his recent hook on Spherical Refraction, bears witness, after a comprehensive survey of the whole question, to the "absolutely negative results of school hygiene," and Dr. Sidler-Huguenin reports7 that in the thousands of cases that have come under his care he has observed no appreciable benefit from any method of treatment at his command.
    Facts of this sort have led to a modification of the myopia theory, but have produced no change in methods of myopia prevention. An hereditary tendency toward the development of the defect is now assumed by most authorities; but although no one has ever been able to offer even a plausible explanation for its supposed injuriousness, and though its restriction has been proven over and over again to be useless, near work is still generally held to be a contributing cause and ophthalmologists still go on in the same old way, trying to limit the use of the eyes at the near-point and encourage vision at the distance. It is incomprehensible that men calling themselves scientific, and having had at least a scientific training, can be so foolish. One might excuse a layman for such irrational conduct, but how men of scientific repute who are supposed to write authoritative textbooks can go on year after year copying each other's mistakes and ignoring all facts which are in conflict with them is a thing which reasonable people can hardly be expected to understand.
    In 1912,8 and a good many times since, I published the observation that myopia is always lessened when the subject strains to see at the near point, and always produced in the normal eye when the subject strains to see at the distance. These observations are of the greatest practical importance, for if they are correct, they prove our present methods of preventing myopia to be a monumental blunder. Yet no one, so far as I have heard, has taken the trouble to test their accuracy. I challenged the medical profession to produce a single exception to the statements I made in the 1912 publication, and that challenge has stood for seven years, although every member of the Ophthalmological Section of the American Medical Association must have had an opportunity to see it, and anyone who knows how to use a retinoscope could have made the necessary tests in a few minutes. If any did this, they failed to publish the results of their observations, and are, therefore, responsible for the effects of their silence. If they found that I was right and neglected to say so, they are responsible for the fact that the benefits that must ultimately result from this discovery have been delayed. If they found that I was wrong, they are responsible for any harm that may have resulted from their indifference.

                                                      THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF MYOPIA AND OTHER ERRORS OF REFRACTION

                             A Method That Succeeded

    You cannot see anything with perfect sight unless you have seen it before. When the eye looks at an unfamiliar object it always strains more or less to see that object, and an error of refraction is always produced. When children look at unfamiliar writing, or figures, on the blackboard, distant maps, diagrams, or pictures, the retinoscope always shows that they are myopic, though their vision may be under other circumstances absolutely normal. The same thing happens when adults look at unfamiliar distant objects. When the eye regards a familiar object, however, the affect is quite otherwise. Not only can it be regarded without strain, but the strain of looking later at unfamiliar objects is lessened.
    This fact furnishes us with a means of overcoming the mental strain to which children are subjected by the modern educational system. It is impossible to see anything perfectly when the mind is under a strain, and if children become able to relax when looking at familiar objects, they become able, sometimes in an incredibly brief space of time, to maintain their relaxation when looking at unfamiliar objects.
    I discovered this fact while examining the eyes of 1,500 school children at Grand Forks, N. D., in 1903.9 In many cases children who could not read all of the letters on the Snellen test card at the first test read them at the second or third test. After a class had been examined the children who had failed would sometimes ask for a second test, and then it often happened that they would read the whole card with perfect vision. So frequent were these occurrences that there was no escaping the conclusion that in some way the vision was improved by reading the Snellen test card. In one class I found a boy who at first appeared to be very myopic, but who, after a little encouragement, read all the letters on the test card. The teacher asked me about this boy's vision, because she had found him to be very "near-sighted." When I said that his vision was normal she was incredulous, and suggested that he might have learned the letters by heart, or been prompted by another pupil. He was unable to read the writing or figures on the blackboard, she said, or to see the maps, charts, and diagrams on the walls, and did not recognize people across the street. She asked me to test his sight again, which I did, very carefully, under her supervision, the sources of error which she had suggested being eliminated. Again the boy read all the letters on the card. Then the teacher tested his sight. She wrote some words and figures on the blackboard and asked him to read them. He did so correctly. Then she wrote additional words and figures, which he read equally well. Finally she asked him to tell the hour by the clock twenty-five feet distant, which he did correctly. It was a dramatic situation, both the teacher and the children being intensely interested. Three other cases in the class were similar, their vision, which had previously been very defective for distant objects, becoming normal in the few moments devoted to testing their eyes. It is not surprising that after such a demonstration the teacher asked to have a Snellen test card placed permanently in the room.
The children were directed to read the smallest letters they could see from their seats at least once every day, with both eyes together and with each eye separately, the other being covered with the palm of the hand in such a way as to avoid pressure on the eyeball. (Use of eye patch is best so the hand does not need to be held up – holding hand up to eye causes the muscles in hand, arm, shoulder, neck, then eyes to become tense.)
Those whose vision was defective were encouraged to read it more frequently, and in fact needed no encouragement to do so after they found that the practice helped them to see the blackboard, and stopped the headaches, or other discomfort, previously resulting from the use of their eyes.
     In another class of forty children, between six and eight, thirty of the pupils gained normal vision while their eyes were being tested. The remainder were cured later under the supervision of the teacher by exercises in distant vision with the Snellen card. This teacher had noted every year for fifteen years that at the opening of the school in the fall all the children could see the writing on the blackboard from their seats, but before school closed the following spring all of them without exception complained that they could not see it at a distance of more than ten feet. After learning of the benefits to be derived from the daily practice of distant vision with familiar objects as the points of fixation, this teacher kept a Snellen test card continually in her classroom and directed the children to read it every day. The result was that for eight years no more of the children under her care acquired defective eyesight.
    This teacher had attributed the invariable deterioration in the eyesight of her charges during the school year to the fact that her classroom was in the basement and the light poor. But teachers with well-lighted classrooms had the same experience, and after the Snellen test card was introduced into both the well-lighted and the poorly lighted rooms, and the children read it every day, the deterioration of their eyesight not only ceased, but the vision of all improved. Vision which had been below normal improved, in most cases, to normal, while children who already had normal sight, usually reckoned at 20/20, became able to read 20/15 or 20/10. And not only was myopia cured, but the vision for near objects was improved.
    At the request of the superintendent of the schools of Grand Forks, Mr. J. Nelson Kelly, the system was introduced into all the schools of the city and was used continuously for eight years, during which time it reduced myopia among the children, which I found at the beginning to be about six per cent, to less than one per cent.
    In 1911 and 1912 the same system was introduced into some of the schools of New York City10 with an attendance of about ten thousand children. Many of the teachers neglected to use the cards, being unable to believe that such a simple method, and one so entirely at variance with previous teaching on the subject, could accomplish the desired results. Others kept the cards in a closet except when they were needed for the daily eye drill, lest the children should memorize them. Thus they not only put an unnecessary burden upon themselves, but did what they could to defeat the purpose of the system, which is to give the children daily exercise in distant vision with a familiar object as the point of fixation. A considerable number, however, used the system intelligently and persistently, and in less than a year were able to present reports showing that of three thousand children with imperfect sight over one thousand had obtained normal vision by its means. Some of these children, as in the case of the children of Grand Forks, were cured in a few minutes. Many of the teachers were also cured, some of them very quickly. In some cases the results of the system were so astonishing as to be scarcely credible.
    In a class of mental defectives, where the teacher had kept records of the eyesight of the children for several years, it had been invariably found that their vision grew steadily worse as the term advanced. As soon as the Snellen test card had been introduced, however, they began to improve. Then came a doctor from the Board of Health who tested the eyes of the children and put glasses on all of them, even those whose sight was fairly good. The use of the card was then discontinued, as the teacher did not consider it proper to interfere while the children were wearing glasses prescribed by a physician. Very soon, however, the children began to lose, break, or discard, their glasses. Some said that the spectacles gave them headaches, or that they felt better without them. In the course of a month or so most of the aids to vision which the Board of Health had supplied had disappeared. The teacher then felt herself at liberty to resume the use of the Snellen test card. Its benefits were immediate. The eyesight and the mentality of the children improved simultaneously, and soon they were all drafted into the regular classes, because it was found that they were making the same progress in their studies as the other children were.
    Another teacher reported an equally interesting experience. She had a class of children who did not fit into the other grades. Many of them were backward in their studies. Some were persistent truants. All of them had defective eyesight. A Snellen test card was hung in the classroom where all the children could see it, and the teacher carried out my instructions literally. At the end of six months all but two had been cured and these had improved very much, while the worst incorrigible and the worst truant had become good students. The incorrigible, who had previously refused to study, because, he said, it gave him a headache to look at a book, or at the blackboard, found out that the test card, in some way, did him a lot of good; and although the teacher had asked him to read it but once a day, he read it whenever he felt uncomfortable. The result was that in a few weeks his vision had become normal and his objection to study had disappeared. The truant had been in the habit of remaining away from school two or three days every week, and neither his parents nor the truant officer had been able to do anything about it. To the great surprise of his teacher he never missed a day after having begun to read the Snellen test card. When she asked for an explanation he told her that what had driven him away from school was the pain that came in his eyes whenever he tried to study, or to read the writing on the blackboard. After reading the Snellen test card, he said, his eyes and head were rested and he was able to read without any discomfort.
    To remove any doubts that might arise as to the cause of the improvement noted in the eyesight of the children comparative tests were made with and without cards. In one case six pupils with defective sight were examined daily for one week without the use of the test card. No improvement took place. The card was then restored to its place and the group was instructed to read it every day. At the end of a week all had improved and five were cured. In the case of another group of defectives the results were similar. During the week that the card was not used no improvement was noted, but after a week of exercises in distant vision with the card all showed marked improvement, and at the end of a month all were cured. In order that there might be no question as to the reliability of the records of the teachers some of the principals asked the Board of Health to send an inspector to test the vision of the pupils, and whenever this was done the records were found to be correct.  Dr. Bates has the children read the eyechart with both eyes together, then one eye at a time, then both eyes together again. He also has the children look close and distant, shifting on exact letters on two identical eyecharts placed at close and far distances. Also done with both eyes together, then one eye at a time, then both eyes together again. If vision needs more improvement in one eye, extra time is spent practicing with that eye to bring the vision equally clear, perfect in both left and right eyes.  Basic Behavioral Optometry.
    One day I visited the city of Rochester, and while there I called on the Superintendent of Public Schools and told him about my method of preventing myopia. He was very much interested and invited me to introduce it in one of his schools. I did so, and at the end of three months a report was sent to me showing that the vision of all the children had improved, while quite a number of them had obtained perfect sight in both eyes.
    The method has been used in a number of other cities and always with the same result. The vision of all the children improved, and many of them obtained perfect sight in the course of a few minutes, days, weeks or months.
    It is difficult to prove a negative proposition, but since this system improved the vision of all the children who used it, it follows that none could have grown worse. It is therefore obvious that it must have prevented myopia. This cannot be said of any method of preventing myopia in schools which had previously been tried. All other methods are based on the idea that it is the excessive use of the eyes for near work that causes myopia, and all of them have admittedly failed.
    It is also obvious that the method must have prevented other errors of refraction, a problem which previously had not even been seriously considered, because hypermetropia is supposed to be congenital, and astigmatism was until recently supposed also to be congenital in the great majority of cases. Anyone who knows how to use a retinoscope may, however, demonstrate in a few minutes that both of these conditions are acquired; for no matter how astigmatic or hypermetropic an eye may be, its vision always becomes normal when it looks at a blank surface without trying to see. It may also be demonstrated that when children are learning to read, write, draw, sew, or to do anything else that necessitates their looking at unfamiliar objects at the near-point, hypermetropia, or hypermetropic astigmatism, is always produced. The same is true of adults. These facts have not been reported before, so far as I am aware, and they strongly suggest that children need, first of all, eye education. They must be able to look at strange letters or objects at the near-point without strain before they can make much progress in their studies, and in every case in which the method has been tried it has proven that this end is attained by daily exercise in distant vision with the Snellen test card. When their distant vision has been improved by this means children invariably become able to use their eyes without strain at the near-point.
    The method succeeded best when the teacher did not wear glasses. In fact, the effect upon the children of a teacher who wears glasses is so detrimental that no such person should be allowed to be a teacher, and since errors of refraction are curable, such a ruling would work no hardship on anyone. Not only do children imitate the visual habits of a teacher who wears glasses, but the nervous strain of which the defective sight is an expression produces in them a similar condition. In classes of the same grade, with the same lighting, the sight of children whose teachers did not wear glasses has always been found to be better than the sight of children whose teachers did wear them. In one case I tested the sight of children whose teacher wore glasses and found it very imperfect. The teacher went out of the room on an errand, and after she had gone I tested them again. The results were very much better. When the teacher returned she asked about the sight of a particular boy, a very nervous child, and as I was proceeding to test him she stood before him and said, "Now, when the doctor tells you to read the card, do it." The boy couldn't see anything. Then she went behind him, and the effect was the same as if she had left the room. The boy read the whole card.
    Still better results would be obtained if we could reorganize the educational system on a rational basis. Then we might expect a general return of that primitive acuity of vision which we marvel at so greatly when we read about it in the memoirs of travelers. But even under existing conditions it has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that errors of refraction are no necessary part of the price we must pay for education.
    There are at least ten million children in the schools of the United States who have defective sight. This condition prevents them from taking full advantage of the educational opportunities which the State provides. It undermines their health and wastes the taxpayers' money. If allowed to continue, it will be an expense and a handicap to them throughout their lives. In many cases it will be a source of continual misery and suffering. And yet practically all of these cases could be cured and the development of new ones prevented by the daily reading of the Snellen test card.
    Why should our children be compelled to suffer and wear glasses for want of this simple measure of relief? It costs practically nothing. In fact, it would not be necessary, in some cases, as in the schools of New York City, even to purchase the Snellen test cards, as they are already being used to test the eyes of the children. Not only does it place practically no additional burden upon the teachers, but, by improving the eyesight, health, disposition and mentality of their pupils, it greatly lightens their labors. No one would venture to suggest, further, that it could possibly do any harm. Why, then, should there be any delay about introducing it into the schools? If there is still thought to be need for further investigation and discussion, we can investigate and discuss just as well after the children get the cards as before, and by adopting that course we will not run the risk of needlessly condemning another generation to that curse which heretofore has always dogged the footsteps of civilization, namely, defective eyesight. I appeal to all who read these lines to use whatever influence they possess toward the attainment of this end.
Native American Indians had perfect eyesight and health before they were forced into the white mans culture, schools, religion diet. Modern Indians are now reclaiming their heritage. An American Indian would be a great U.S. President.
This book is free for Native American Indians to read, distribute, sell.


Children cured of defective eyesight by Dr. Bates, teach the Bates Method,
cure defective sight; blur, astigmatism, cataract, crossed eyes in other children.

    The efficacy of the method of treating imperfect sight without glasses has been demonstrated in thousands of cases, not only in my own practice but in that of many persons of whom I may not even have heard; for almost all patients when they are cured proceed to cure others. At a social gathering one evening a lady told me that she had met a number of my patients; but when she mentioned their names, I found that I did not remember any of them, and said so.
    "That is because you cured them by proxy," she said. "You didn't directly cure Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Brown, but you cured Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Smith cured the other ladies. You didn't treat Mr. and Mrs. Simpkins or Mr. Simpkins' mother and brother, but you may remember that you cured Mr. Simpkins' boy of a squint, and he cured the rest of the family."
    In schools where the Snellen test card was used to prevent and cure imperfect sight, the children, after they were cured themselves, often took to the practice of ophthalmology with the greatest enthusiasm and success, curing their fellow students, their parents and their friends. They made a kind of game of the treatment, and the progress of each school case was watched with the most intense interest by all the children. On a bright day, when the patients saw well, there was great rejoicing, and on a dark day there was corresponding depression. One girl cured twenty-six children in six months; another cured twelve in three months; a third developed quite a varied ophthalmological practice and did things of which older and more experienced practitioners might well have been proud. Going to the school which she attended one day, I asked this girl about her sight, which had been very imperfect. She replied that it was now very good, and that her headaches were quite gone. I tested her sight and found it normal. Then another child whose sight had also been very poor spoke up,
    "I can see all right too," she said. "Emily"—indicating girl No. I—"cured me."
    "Indeed"" I replied. "How did she do that?"
    The second girl explained that Emily had had her read the card, which she could not see at all from the back of the room, at a distance of a few feet. The next day she had moved it a little further way, and so on, until the patient was able to read it from the back of the room, just as the other children did. Emily now told her to cover the right eye and read the card with her left, and both girls were considerably upset to find that the uncovered eye was apparently blind. The school doctor was consulted and said that nothing could be done. The eye had been blind from birth and no treatment would do any good.
    Nothing daunted, however, Emily undertook the treatment. She told the patient to cover her good eye and go up close to the card, and at a distance of a foot or less it was found that she could read even the small letters. The little practitioner then proceeded confidently as with the other eye, and after many months of practice the patient became the happy possessor of normal vision in both eyes. The case had, in fact, been simply one of high myopia, and the school doctor, not being a specialist, had not detected the difference between this condition and blindness.
    In the same classroom, there had been a little girl with congenital cataract, but on the occasion of my visit the defect had disappeared. This, too, it appeared, was Emily's doing. The school doctor had said that there was no help for this eye except through operation, and as the sight of the other eye was pretty good, he fortunately did not think it necessary to urge such a course. Emily accordingly took the matter in hand. She had the patient stand close to the card, and at that distance it was found that she could not see even the big C. Emily now held the card between the patient and the light and moved it back and forth. At a distance of three or four feet this movement could be observed indistinctly by the patient. The card was then moved farther away, until the patient became able to see it move at ten feet and to see some of the larger letters indistinctly at a less distance. Finally, after six months, she became able to read the card with the bad eye as well as with the good one. After testing her sight and finding it normal in both eyes, I said to Emily
    "You are a splendid doctor. You beat them all. Have you done anything else?"
    The child blushed, and turning to another of her classmates, said:
    "Mamie, come here."
     Mamie stepped forward and I looked at her eyes. There appeared to be nothing wrong with them.
    "I cured her," said Emily.
    "What of?" I inquired.
    "Cross eyes," replied Emily.
    "How," I asked, with growing astonishment.
    Emily described a procedure very similar to that adopted in the other cases. Finding that the sight of the crossed eye was very poor, so much so, indeed, that poor Mamie could see practically nothing with it, the obvious course of action seemed to her to be the restoration of its sight; and, never having read any medical literature she did not know that this was impossible. So she went to it. She had Mamie cover her good eye and practice with the bad one at home and at school, until at last the sight became normal and the eye straight. The school doctor had wanted to have the eye operated upon, I was told, but fortunately Mamie was "scared" and would not consent. And here she was with two perfectly good, straight eyes.
    "Anything else?" I inquired, when Mamie's case had been disposed of.  Emily blushed again, and said:
    "Here's Rose. Her eyes used to hurt her all the time, and she couldn't see anything on the blackboard. Her headaches used to be so bad that she had to stay away from school every once in a while. The doctor gave her glasses; but they didn't help her, and she wouldn't wear them. When you told us the card would help our eyes I got busy with her. I had her read the card close up, and then I moved it farther away, and now she can see all right, and her head doesn't ache any more. She comes to school every day, and we all thank you very much."
    This was a case of compound hypermetropic astigmatism. Such stories might be multiplied indefinitely. Emily's astonishing record cannot, it is true, be duplicated, but lesser cures by cured patients have been very numerous and serve to show that the benefits of the method of preventing and curing defects of vision in the schools which is presented in this number of BETTER EYESIGHT would be far-reaching. Not only errors of refraction would be cured, but many more serious defects; and not only the children would be helped, but their families and friends also.

August, 1919 -

1 - For reports of all the papers quoted, see Jour. Am. Med. Assoc. June 21, 1919.
2 - Bates: The Imperfect Sight of the Normal Eye, N. Y. Med. Jour., Sept. 8, 1917.
3 - The Hygiene of the Eye in Schools, English translation, edited by Turnbull, p. 127.
4 - System of Diseases of the Eye, 1897. Vol. II, p. 361.
5 - Brit. Med. Jour., June 18, 1898.
6 - Die Entstehung der sphärischen Refraktionen des menschlichen Auges, Berlin, 1913, p. 540.
7 - Archiv f. Augenhlk., Vol. LXXIX, 1915, translated in Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol. XLV, No. 6, November 1916.
8 - Bates: The Cause of Myopia, N. Y. Med. Jour., March 16, 1912.
9 - Bates: The Prevention of Myopia in School Children, N. Y. Med. Jour., July 29, 1911.
10 - Bates: Myopia Prevention by Teachers, N. Y. Med. Jour., Aug. 30, 1913.



   September, 1919


    Do you read imperfectly? Can you observe then that when you look at the first word, or the first letter, of a sentence you do not see best where you are looking; that you see other words, or other letters, just as well as or better than the ones you are looking at? Do you observe also that the harder you try to see the worse you see?
    Now close your eyes and rest them, remembering some color, like black or white, that you can remember perfectly. Keep them closed until they feel rested, or until the feeling of strain has been completely relieved. Now open them and look at the first word or letter of a sentence for a fraction of a second. If you have been able to relax, partially or completely, you will have a flash of improved or clear vision, and the area seen best will be smaller.
    After opening the eyes for this fraction of a second, close them again quickly, still remembering the color, and keep them closed until they again feel rested. Then again open them for a fraction of a second. Continue this alternate resting of the eyes and flashing of the letters for a time, and you may soon find that you can keep your eyes open longer than a fraction of a second without losing the improved vision.
    If your trouble is with distant instead of near vision, use the same method with distant letters.
    In this way you can demonstrate for yourself the fundamental principles of the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses.
    If you fail, ask someone with perfect sight to help you.
When looking at a letter: shift on it part to part. Blink. The letter remains clear.  
Shift dot to dot (part to part) on the E.

                         VISION AND EDUCATION

    Poor sight is admitted to be one of the most fruitful causes of retardation in the schools. It is estimated1 that it may reasonably be held responsible for a quarter of the habitually "left-backs," and it is commonly assumed that all this might be prevented by suitable glasses.
    There is much more involved in defective vision, however, than mere inability to see the blackboard, or to use the eyes without pain or discomfort. Defective vision is the result of an abnormal condition of the mind, and when the mind is in an abnormal condition it is obvious that none of the processes of education can be conducted with advantage. By putting glasses upon a child we may, in some cases, neutralize the effect of this condition upon the eyes and by making the patient more comfortable may improve his mental faculties to some extent, but we do not alter fundamentally the condition of the mind and by confirming it in a bad habit we may make it worse.
    It can easily be demonstrated that among the faculties of the mind which are impaired when the vision is impaired is the memory; and as a large part of the educational process consists of storing the mind with facts, and all the other mental processes depend upon one's knowledge of facts, it is easy to see how little is accomplished by merely putting glasses on a child that has "trouble with its eyes." The extraordinary memory of primitive people has been attributed to the fact that owing to the absence of any convenient means of making written records they had to depend upon their memories, which were strengthened accordingly; but in view of the known facts about the relation of memory to eyesight it is more reasonable to suppose that the retentive memory of primitive man was due to the same cause as his keen vision, namely, a mind at rest.
    The primitive memory as well as primitive keenness of vision have been found among civilized people, and if the necessary tests had been made it would doubtless have been found that they always occur together, as they did in a case which recently came under my observation. The subject was a child of ten with such marvelous eyesight that
she could see the moons of Jupiter with the naked eye, a fact which was demonstrated by her drawing a diagram of these satellites which exactly corresponded to the diagrams made by persons who had used a telescope. Her memory was equally remarkable. She could recite the whole content of a book after reading it, as Lord Macauley is said to have done, and she learned more Latin in a few days without a teacher than her sister who had six diopters of myopia had been able to do in several years. She remembered five years afterward what she ate at a restaurant, she recalled the name of the waiter, the number of the building and the street in which it stood. She also remembered what she wore on this occasion and what every one else in the party wore. The same was true of every other event which had awakened her interest in any way, and it was a favorite amusement in her family to ask her what the menu had been and what people had worn on particular occasions.
    When the sight of two persons is different it has been found that their memories differ in exactly the same degree. Two sisters, one of whom had only ordinary good vision, indicated by the formula 20/20, while the other had 20/10, found that the time it took them to learn eight verses of a poem varied in almost exactly the same ratio as their sight. The one whose vision was 20/10 learned eight verses of the poem in fifteen minutes, while the one whose vision was only 20/20 required thirty-one minutes to do the same thing. After palming the one with ordinary vision learned eight more verses in twenty-one minutes, while the one with 20/10 was only able to reduce her time by two minutes, a variation clearly within the limits of error. In other words, the mind of the latter being already in a normal or nearly normal condition, she could not improve it appreciably by palming, while the former whose mind was under a strain was able to gain relaxation, and hence improve her memory, by this means.
    When the two eyes of the same person are different a corresponding difference in the memory has been noted according to whether both eyes were open, or the better eye closed. A patient with normal vision in the right eye and half-normal vision in the left when looking at the Snellen test card with both eyes open could remember a period for twenty seconds continuously, but could remember it only ten seconds when the better eye was closed. A patient with half-normal vision in the right eye and one-quarter normal in the left could remember a period for twelve seconds with both eyes open and only six seconds with better eye closed. A third patient with normal sight in the right eye and vision of one-tenth in the left could remember a period twelve seconds with both eyes open and only two seconds when the better eye was closed. In other words if the right eye is better than the left the memory is better when the right eye is open than when only the left eye is open.
    Under the present educational system there is a constant effort to compel the children to remember. These efforts always fail. They spoil both the memory and the sight. The memory cannot be forced any more than the vision can be forced. We remember without effort, just as we see without effort, and the harder we try to remember or see the less we are able to do so.
    The sort of things we remember are the things that interest us, and the reason children have difficulty in learning their lessons is because they are bored by them. For the same reason, among others, their eyesight becomes impaired, boredom being a condition of mental strain in which it is impossible for the eye to function normally.
    Some of the various kinds of compulsion now employed in the educational process may have the effect of awakening interest. Betty Smith's interest in winning a prize, for instance, or in merely getting ahead of Johnny Jones, may have the effect of rousing her interest in lessons that have hitherto bored her, and this interest may develop into a genuine interest in the acquisition of knowledge; but this cannot be said of the various fear incentives still so largely employed by teachers. These, on the contrary, have the effect, usually, of completely paralyzing minds already benumbed by lack of interest, and the effect upon the vision is equally disastrous.
    The fundamental reason, both for poor memory and poor eyesight in school children, in short, is our irrational and unnatural educational system. Montessori has taught us that it is only when children are interested that they can learn. It is equally true that it is only when they are interested that they can see. This fact was strikingly illustrated in the case of one of the two pairs of sisters mentioned above. Phebe, of the keen eyes, who could recite whole books if she happened to be interested in them, disliked mathematics and anatomy extremely, and not only could not learn them but became myopic when they were presented to her mind. She could read letters a quarter of an inch high at twenty feet in a poor light, but when asked to read figures one to two inches high in a good light at ten feet she miscalled half of them. When asked to tell how much 2 and 3 made, she said "4," before finally deciding on "5"; and all the time she was occupied with this disagreeable subject the retinoscope showed that she was myopic. When I asked her to look into my eye with the ophthalmoscope she could see nothing, although a much lower degree of visual acuity is required to note the details of the interior of the eye than to see the moons of Jupiter.
   Short-sighted Isabel, on the contrary, had a passion for mathematics and anatomy, and excelled in those subjects. She learned to use the ophthalmoscope as easily as Phebe had learned Latin. Almost immediately she saw the optic nerve, and noted that the center was whiter than the periphery. She saw the light-colored lines, the arteries; and the darker ones, the veins; and she saw the light streaks on the blood-vessels. Some specialists never become able to do this, and no one could do it without normal vision. Isabel's vision, therefore, must have been temporarily normal when she did it. Her vision for figures, although not normal, was better than for letters.
    In both these cases the ability to learn and the ability to see went hand in hand with interest. Phebe could read a photographic reduction of the Bible and recite what she had read verbatim, she could see the moons of Jupiter and draw a diagram of them afterwards, because she was interested in these things; but she could not see the interior of the eye, nor see figures even half as well as she saw letters, because these things bored her. When, however, it was suggested to her that it would be a good joke to surprise her teachers, who were always reproaching her for her backwardness in mathematics, by taking a high mark in a coming examination, her interest in the subject awakened and she contrived to learn enough to get seventy-eight per cent. In Isabel's case letters were antagonistic.  She was not interested in most of the subjects with which they dealt and, therefore, she was backward in those subjects and had become habitually myopic. But when asked to look at objects which aroused an intense interest her vision became normal.
    When one is not interested, in short, one's mind is not under control, and without mental control one can neither learn nor see. Not only the memory but all other mental faculties are improved when the eyesight becomes normal. It is a common experience with patients cured of defective sight to find that their ability to do their work has improved.
    The teacher whose letter was quoted in the first issue of BETTER EYESIGHT testified that after gaining perfect eyesight she "knew better how to get at the minds of the pupils, was "more direct, more definite, less diffused, less vague," possessed, in fact, "central fixation of the mind." In another letter she said, "The better my eyesight becomes the greater is my ambition.  On the days when my sight is best I have the greatest anxiety to do things."
    Another teacher reports that one of her pupils used to sit doing nothing all day long and apparently was not interested in anything. After the test card was introduced into the classroom and his sight improved, he became anxious to learn, and speedily developed into one of the best students in the class.  In other words his eyes and his mind became normal together.

    A bookkeeper nearly seventy years of age who had worn glasses for forty years found after he had gained perfect sight without glasses that he could work more rapidly and accurately and with less fatigue than ever in his life before. During busy seasons, or when short of help, he has worked for some weeks at a time from 7 a. m, until 11 p. m., and he reports that he felt less tired at night after he was through than he did in the morning when he started. Previously, although he had done more work than any other man in the office, it always tired him very much. He also noticed an improvement in his temper. Having been so long in the office and knowing so much more about the business than his fellow employees, he was frequently appealed to for advice. These interruptions, before his sight became normal, were very annoying to him and often caused him to lose his temper. Afterward, however, they caused him no irritation whatever. In the case of another patient whose story is given elsewhere symptoms of insanity were relieved when the vision became normal.
    From all these facts it will be seen that the problems of vision are far more intimately associated with the problems of education than we had supposed, and that they can by no means be solved by putting concave, or convex, or astigmatic lenses before the eyes of the children.


    One of the most striking cases of the relation of mind to vision that ever came to my attention was that of a physician whose mental troubles, at one time so serious that they suggested to him the idea that he might be going insane, were completely relieved when his sight became normal. He had been seen by many eye and nerve specialists before he came to me and consulted me at last, not because he had any faith in my methods, but because nothing else seemed to be left for him to do. He brought with him quite a collection of glasses prescribed by different men, no two of them being alike. He had worn glasses, he told me, for many months at a time without benefit and then he had left them off and had been apparently no worse. Outdoor life had also failed to help him. On the advice of some prominent neurologists he had even given up his practice for a couple of years to spend the time upon a ranch, but the vacation had done him no good.
    I examined his eyes and found no organic defects and no error of refraction. Yet his vision with each eye was only three-fourths of the normal, and he suffered from double vision and all sorts of unpleasant symptoms. He used to see people standing on their heads, and little devils dancing on the tops of the high buildings. He also had other illusions too numerous to mention in a short paper. At night his sight was so bad that he had difficulty in finding his way about, and when walking along a country road he believed that he saw better when he turned his eyes far to one side and viewed the road with the side of the retina instead of with the center. At variable intervals, without warning and without loss of consciousness, he had attacks of blindness. These caused him great uneasiness, for he, was a surgeon with a large and lucrative practice, and he feared that he might have an attack while operating.
    His memory was very poor. He could not remember the color of the eyes of any member of his family, although he had seen them all daily for years. Neither could he recall the color of his house, the number of rooms on the different floors, or other details. The faces and names of patients and friends he recalled with difficulty, or not at all.
    His treatment proved to be very difficult, chiefly because he had an infinite number of erroneous ideas about physiological optics in general and his own case in particular and insisted that all these should be discussed; while these discussions were going on he received no benefit. Every day for hours at a time over a long period he talked and argued. Never have I met a person whose logic was so wonderful, so apparently unanswerable, and yet so utterly wrong.
    His eccentric fixation was of such high degree that when he looked at a point forty-five degrees to one side of the big C on the Snellen test card, he saw the letter just as black as when he looked directly at it. The strain to do this was terrific, and produced much astigmatism; but the patient was unconscious of it, and could not be convinced that there was anything abnormal in the symptom. If he saw the letter at all, he argued, he must see it as black as it really was, because he was not color-blind. Finally he became able to look away from one of the smaller letters on the card and see it worse than when he looked directly at it. It took eight or nine months to accomplish this, but when it had been done the patient said that it seemed as if a great burden had been lifted from his mind. He experienced a wonderful feeling of rest and relaxation throughout his whole body.
    When asked to remember black with his eyes closed and covered he said he could not do so, and he saw every color but the black which one ought normally to see when the optic nerve is not subject to the stimulus of light. He had, however, been an enthusiastic football player at college, and he found at last that he could remember a black football. I asked him to imagine that this football had been thrown into the sea and that it was being carried outward by the tide, becoming constantly smaller but no less black. This he was able to do, and the strain floated with the football, until, by the time the latter had been reduced to the size of a period in a newspaper, it was entirely gone. The relief continued as long as he remembered the black spot, but as he could not remember it all the time, I suggested another method of gaining permanent relief. This was to make his sight voluntarily worse, a plan against which he protested with considerable emphasis.
    "Good heavens!" he said, "Is not my sight bad enough without making it worse."
    After a week of argument, however, he consented to try the method, and the result was extremely satisfactory. After he had learned to see two or more lights where there was only one, by straining to see a point above the light while still trying to see the light as well as when looking directly at it, he became able to avoid the unconscious strain that had produced his double and multiple vision and was not troubled by these superfluous images any more. In a similar manner other illusions were prevented.
    One of the last illusions to disappear was his belief that an effort was required to remember black. His logic on this point was overwhelming, but after many demonstrations he was convinced that no effort was required to let go, and when he realized this, both his vision and his mental condition immediately improved.
    He finally became able to read 20/10 or more, and although more than fifty-five years of age, he also read diamond type at from six to twenty-four inches. His night blindness was relieved, his attacks of day blindness ceased, and he told me the color of the eyes of his wife and children. One day he said to me:
    "Doctor, I thank you for what you have done for my sight; but no words can express the gratitude I feel for what you have done for my mind."
Some years later he called with his heart full of gratitude, because there had been no relapse.

                                        LYING A CAUSE OF MYOPIA

    I may claim to have discovered the fact that telling lies is bad for the eyes. Whatever bearing this circumstance may have upon the universality of defects of vision, it can easily be demonstrated that it is impossible to say what is not true, even with no intent to deceive, or even to imagine a falsehood, without producing an error of refraction.
    If a patient can read all the small letters on the bottom line of the test card, and either deliberately or carelessly miscalls any of them, the retinoscope will indicate an error of refraction. In numerous cases patients have been asked to state their ages incorrectly, or to try to imagine that they were a year older, or a year younger, than they actually were, and in every case when they did this the retinoscope indicated an error of refraction. A patient twenty-five years old had no error of refraction when he looked at a blank wall without trying to see; but if he said he was twenty-six, or if someone else said he was twenty-six, or if he tried to imagine that he was twenty-six, he became myopic. The same thing happened when he stated or tried to imagine that he was twenty-four. When he stated or remembered the truth his vision was normal, but when he stated or imagined an error he had an error of refraction.
    Two little girl patients arrived one after the other one day, and the first accused the second of having stopped at Huyler's for an ice-cream soda, which she had been instructed not to do, being somewhat too much addicted to sweets. The second denied the charge, and the first, who had used the retinoscope and knew what it did to people who told lies, said:
    "Do take the retinoscope and find out."
    "I followed the suggestion, and having thrown the light into the second child's eyes, I asked:
    "Did you go to Huyler's?"
    "Yes," was the response, and the retinoscope indicated no error of refraction.
    "Did you have an ice-cream soda?"
    "No," Said the child; but the tell-tale shadow moved in a direction opposite to that of the mirror, showing that she had become myopic and was not telling the truth.
    The child blushed when I told her this and acknowledged that the retinoscope was right, for she had heard of the
ways of the uncanny instrument before and did not know what else it might do to her if she said anything more that was not true.
    The fact is that it requires an effort to state what is not true, and this effort always results in a deviation from the normal in the refraction of the eye. So sensitive is the test that if the subject, whether his vision is ordinarily normal, or not, pronounces the initials of his name correctly while looking at a blank surface without trying to see, there will be no error of refraction; but if he miscalls one initial, even without any consciousness of effort, and with full knowledge that he is deceiving no one, myopia will be produced.


    Patients often ask how long it takes to be cured. The answer is that it takes only as long as it takes to relax. If this can be done in five minutes, the patient is cured in five minutes, no matter how great the degree of his error of refraction, or how long its duration. All persons with errors of refraction are able to relax in a few seconds under certain conditions, but to gain permanent relaxation usually requires considerable time. Some persons, however, are able to get it very quickly. These quick cures are very rare, except in the case of children under twelve; but they do occur, and I believe the time is coming when it will be possible to cure everyone quickly. It is only a question of accumulating more facts and presenting them in such a way that the patient can grasp them quickly.
    A very remarkable case of a quick cure was that of a man of fifty-five who had worn glasses for thirty years for distant vision and ten years for reading, and whose distant vision at the time he consulted me was 20/200.
    When he looked at the Snellen test card the letters appeared grey to him instead of black. He was told that they were black, and the fact was demonstrated by bringing the card close to him. His attention was also called to the fact that the small letters were just as black as the large ones. He was then directed to close and cover his eyes with the palms of his hands, shutting out all the light. When he did this he saw a perfect black, indicating that he had secured perfect relaxation and that the optic nerve and visual centers of the brain were not disturbed. While his eyes were still closed he was asked:
    "Do you think that you can remember with your eyes open the perfect black that you now see?"
    "Yes," he answered, "I know I can,"
    When he opened his eyes, however, his memory of the black was imperfect, and though able to read the large letters, he could not read the small ones. A second time he was told to close and cover his eyes, and again he saw a perfect black. When he opened them he was able to retain complete control of his memory, and so was able to read the whole card. This was ten minutes after he entered the office.
    Diamond type was now given him to read, but the letters looked grey to him, and he could not distinguish them. Neither could he remember black when he was looking at them, because in order to see them grey he had to strain, and in order to remember black he would have had to relax, and he could not do both at the same time. He was told that the letters were perfectly black, and when he looked away from them he was able to remember them black. When he looked back he still remembered them black, and was able to read them with normal vision at twelve inches. This took five minutes, making the whole time in the office fifteen minutes. The cure was permanent,  the patient not only retaining what he had gained, but continuing to improve his sight, by daily reading of fine print and the Snellen test card, till it became almost telescopic.
September, 1919

1 -School Health News, published by the Department of Health of New York City, February, 1919.



 October, 1919


    If you see a letter perfectly, you may note that it appears to pulsate, or move slightly in various directions. If your sight is imperfect, the letter will appear to be stationary. The apparent movement is caused by the unconscious shifting of the eye. The lack of movement is due to the fact that the eye stares, or looks too long at one point. This is an invariable symptom of imperfect sight, and may often be relieved by the following method:
    Close your eyes and cover them with the palms of the hands so as to exclude all the light, and shift mentally from one side of a black letter to the other. As you do this, the mental picture of the letter will appear to move back and forth in a direction contrary to the imagined movement of the eye. Just so long as you imagine that the letter is moving, or swinging, you will find that you are able to remember it, and the shorter and more regular the swing, the blacker and more distinct the letter will appear. If you are able to imagine the letter stationary, which may be difficult, you will find that your memory of it will be much less perfect.
    Now open your eyes and look first at one side and then at the other of the real letter. If it appears to move in a direction opposite to the movement of the eye, you will find that your vision has improved. If you can imagine the swing of the letter as well with your eyes open as with your eyes closed, as short, as regular and as continuous, your vision will be normal.


    Much of my information about the eye has been obtained by means of simultaneous retinoscopy.
The retinoscope is an instrument used to measure the refraction of the eye. It throws a beam of light into the pupil by reflection from a mirror, the light being either outside the instrument—above and behind the subject—or arranged within it by means of an electric battery. On looking through the sight-hole one sees a larger or smaller part of the pupil filled with light, which in normal human eyes is a reddish yellow, because this is the color of the retina, but which is green in a cat's eye, and might be white if the retina were diseased. Unless the eye is exactly focused at the point from which it is being observed one sees also a dark shadow at the edge of the pupil, and it is the behavior of this shadow when the mirror is moved in various directions which reveals the refractive condition of the eye. If the instrument is used at a distance of six feet or more, and the shadow moves in a direction opposite to the movement of the mirror, the eye is myopic. If it moves in the same direction as the mirror, the eye is either hypermetropic or normal; but in the case of hypermetropia the movement is more pronounced than in that of normality, and an expert can usually tell the difference between the two states merely by the nature of the movement.  In astigmatism the movement is different in different meridians. To determine the degree of the error, or to distinguish accurately between hypermetropia and normality, or between the different kinds of astigmatism, it is usually necessary to place a glass before the eye of the subject.
    This exceedingly useful instrument has possibilities which have not been generally realized by the medical profession. It is commonly employed only under certain artificial conditions in a dark room; but it is possible to use it under all sorts of normal and abnormal conditions on the eyes both of human beings and of the lower animals. I have used it in the daytime and at night; when the subjects were comfortable and when they were excited; when they were trying to see and when they were not; when they were lying and when they were telling the truth. I have also used it, under varying conditions, on the eyes of many cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, turtles, reptiles and fish.
    Most ophthalmologists depend upon the Snellen test card, supplemented by trial lenses, to determine whether the vision is normal or not, and to determine the degree of any abnormality that may exist. This is a slow, awkward and unreliable method of testing the vision, and absolutely unavailable for the study of the refraction of the lower animals and that of human beings under the conditions of life. The test card can be used only under certain favorable conditions, but the retinoscope can be used anywhere. It is a little easier to use it in a dim light than in a bright one, but it may be used in any light, even with the strong light of the sun shining directly into the eye. It is available whether the subject is at rest or in motion, asleep or awake, or even under ether or chloroform. It is also available when the observer is in motion. It has been used successfully when the eyelids were partly closed, shutting off part of the area of the pupil; when the pupil was dilated; also when it was contracted to a pin-point; when the subject was reading fine print at six inches, or at a greater distance; and when the eye was oscillating from side to side, from above downward, or in other directions.
    It takes a considerable time, varying from minutes to hours, to measure the refraction with the Snellen test card and trial lenses. With the retinoscope, however, the refraction can be determined in a fraction of a second. With the Snellen test card and trial lenses it would be impossible to get any information about the refraction of a baseball player at the moment he swings for the ball, at the moment he strikes it, and at the moment after he strikes it. With the retinoscope, however, it is quite easy to determine whether his vision is normal, or whether he is myopic, hypermetropic, or astigmatic, when he does these things; and if any errors of refraction are noted, one can guess their degree pretty accurately by the rapidity of the movement of the shadow.
    With the Snellen test card and trial lenses conclusions must be drawn from the patient's statements as to what he sees; but the patient often becomes so worried and confused during the examination that he does not know what he sees, or whether different glasses make his sight better, or worse; and, moreover, visual acuity is not reliable evidence of the state of the refraction. One patient with two diopters of myopia may see twice as much as another with the same error of refraction. The evidence of the test card is, in fact, entirely subjective; that of the retinoscope is entirely objective, depending in no way upon the statements of the patient.
    By means of simultaneous retinoscopy it has been demonstrated that the refraction of the eye is never constant; that all persons with errors of refraction have, at frequent intervals during the day and night, moments of normal vision when their myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, disappears completely; and that all persons, no matter how good their sight may ordinarily be, have moments of imperfect sight when they become myopic, hypermetropic, or astigmatic. It has also been demonstrated that when the eye makes an effort to see, an error of refraction is always produced, and that when it looks at objects without effort, all errors of refraction disappear, no matter how great their degree, or how long their duration. It has been further demonstrated that when the eye strains to see distant objects myopia is always produced in one or all meridians, and when it strains to see near objects hypermetropia is always produced in one or all meridians.
    The examination of the eyes of persons while asleep, or under the influence of ether or chloroform, has shown that the eye is rarely at rest during sleep, or while the subject is unconscious from any cause. Persons whose sight was normal while awake were found to have myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism when asleep, and if these errors were present when they were awake, they were increased during sleep. This explains why so many people are unable to see as well in the morning as at other times, and why people waken with headaches and pain in the eyes. Under ether or chloroform, errors of refraction are also produced or increased, and when people are sleepy they have invariably been found to have errors of refraction.
    Under conditions of mental or physical discomfort, such as pain, cough, fever, discomfort from heat or cold, depression, anger, or anxiety, errors of refraction are always produced in the normal eye, or increased in the eye in which they already exist. In a dim light, in a fog, or in the rain, the retinoscope may indicate no error of refraction in eyes which ordinarily have normal sight; but a pilot on a ship on a rainy night usually has an error of refraction, because he is straining to see, and it is rare to find persons in positions of responsibility under unfavorable conditions with normal vision.
    In order to obtain reliable results with the retinoscope it must be used at a distance of six feet or more from the subject. When used at a distance of three feet or less, as it commonly is, the subject becomes nervous and unconsciously strains, thus altering his refraction.


    A very common phenomenon of imperfect sight is the one known to medical science as muscae volitantes, or flying flies. These floating specks are usually dark, or black; but sometimes appear like white bubbles, and in rare cases may assume all the colors of the rainbow. They move somewhat rapidly, usually in curving lines, before the eyes, and always appear to be just beyond the point of fixation. If one tries to look at them directly, they seem to move a little farther away. Hence their name of flying flies.
    The literature of the subject is full of speculations as to the origin of these appearances. Some have attributed them to the presence of floating specks—dead cells or the debris of cells—in the vitreous humor, the transparent substance that fills four-fifths of the eyeball behind the crystalline lens. Similar specks on the surface of the cornea have also been held responsible for them. It has even been surmised that they might be caused by the passage of tears over the cornea. They are so common in myopia that they have been supposed to be one of the symptoms of this condition, although they occur also with other errors of refraction, as well as in eyes otherwise normal. They have been attributed to disturbances of the circulation, the digestion and the kidneys, and because so many insane people have them, have been thought to be an evidence of incipient insanity. The patent-medicine business has thrived upon them, and it would be difficult to estimate the amount of mental torture they have caused, as the following cases illustrate.
    A clergyman who was much annoyed by the continual appearance of floating specks before his eyes was told by his eye specialist that they were a symptom of kidney disease, and that in many cases of kidney trouble, disease of the retina might be an early symptom. So at regular intervals he went to the specialist to have his eyes examined, and when at length the latter died, he looked around immediately for some one else to make the periodical examination. His family physician directed him to me. I was by no means so well known as his previous ophthalmological adviser, but it happened that I had taught the family physician how to use the ophthalmoscope after others had failed to do so. He thought, therefore, that I must know a lot about the use of the instrument, and what the clergyman particularly wanted was some one capable of making a thorough examination of the interior of his eyes, and detecting at once any signs of kidney disease that might make their appearance. So he came to me, and at least four times a year for ten years he continued to come.
    Each time I made a very careful examination of his eyes, taking as much time over it as possible, so that he would believe that it was careful; and each time he went away happy because I could find nothing wrong. Once when I was out of town he got a cinder in his eye and went to another oculist to get it out. When I came back late at night I found him sitting on my doorstep, on the chance that I might return. His story was a pitiable one. The strange doctor had examined his eyes with the ophthalmoscope, and had suggested the possibility of glaucoma, describing the disease as a very treacherous one which might cause him to go suddenly blind and would be agonizingly painful. He emphasized what the patient had previously been told about the danger of kidney disease, suggested that the liver and heart might also be involved, and advised him to have all of these organs carefully examined. I made another examination of his eyes in general and their tension in particular; I had him feel his eyeballs and compare them with my own, so that he might see for himself that they were not becoming hard as a stone; and finally I succeeded in reassuring him. I have no doubt, however, that he went at once to his family physician for an examination of his internal organs.
    A man returning from Europe was looking at some white clouds one day when floating specks appeared before his eyes. He consulted the ship's doctor, who told him that the symptom was very serious, and might be the forerunner of blindness. It might also indicate incipient insanity, as well as other nervous or organic diseases. He advised him to consult his family physician and an eye specialist as soon as he landed, which he did. This was twenty-five years ago, but I shall never forget the terrible state of nervousness and terror into which the patient had worked himself by the time he came to me. It was even worse than that of the clergyman, who was always ready to admit that his fears were unreasonable. I examined his eyes very carefully, and found them absolutely normal. The vision was perfect both for the near-point and the distance. The color perception, the fields and the tension were normal; and under a strong magnifying glass I could find no opacities in the vitreous. In short, there were absolutely no symptoms of any disease. I told the patient there was nothing wrong with his eyes, and I also showed him an advertisement of a quack medicine in a newspaper which gave a great deal of space to describing the dreadful things likely to follow the appearance of floating specks before the eyes, unless you began betimes (in good time, early) to take the medicine in question at one dollar a bottle. I pointed out that the advertisement, which was appearing in all the big newspapers of the city every day, and probably in other cities, must have cost a lot of money, and must, therefore, be bringing in a lot of money. Evidently there must be a great many people suffering from this symptom, and if it were as serious as was generally believed, there would be a great many more blind and insane people in the community than there were. The patient went away somewhat comforted, but at eleven o'clock—his first visit had been at nine—he was back again. He still saw the floating specks, and was still worried about them. I examined his eyes again as carefully as before, and again was able to assure him that there was nothing wrong with them. In the afternoon I was not in my office, but I was told that he was there at three and at five. At seven he came again, bringing with him his family physician, an old friend of mine. I said to the latter:
    "Please make this patient stay at home. I have to charge him for his visits, because he is taking up so much of my time; but it is a shame to take his money when there is nothing wrong with him."
    What my friend said to him I don't know, but he did not come back again.
    I did not know as much about muscae volitantes then as I know now, or I might have saved both of these patients a great deal of uneasiness. I could tell them that their eyes were normal, but I did not know how to relieve them of the symptom, which is simply an illusion resulting from mental strain. The specks are associated to a considerable extent with markedly imperfect eyesight, because persons whose eyesight is imperfect always strain to see; but persons whose eyesight is ordinarily normal may see them at times, because no eye has normal sight all the time. Most people can see muscae volitantes when they look at the sun, or any uniformly bright surface, like a sheet of white paper upon which the sun is shining. This is because most people strain when they look at surfaces of this kind. The specks are never seen, in short, except when the eyes and mind are under a strain, and they always disappear when the strain is relieved. If one can remember a small letter on the Snellen test card by central fixation, the specks will immediately disappear, or cease to move; but if one tries to remember two or more letters equally well at one time, they will reappear and move.
    Usually the strain that causes muscae volitantes is very easily relieved.   See; April, 1925
Floating specks may be debris in the eyeball.  A cleansing diet, improved circulation of blood, fluid to/in the eye can break down floaters and enable them to flow out of the eye.  Eyestrain, mental strain, staring, poor diet, sugar, can cause floaters.     
Shifting, central fixation, relaxation can stop the appearance of floaters.


    Correspondence treatment is usually regarded as quackery, and it would be manifestly impossible to treat many diseases in this way. Pneumonia and typhoid, for instance, could not possibly be treated by correspondence, even if the physician had a sure cure for these conditions and the mails were not too slow for the purpose. In the case of most diseases, in fact, there are serious objections to correspondence treatment.
    But myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism are functional conditions, not organic, as the text-books teach, and as I believed myself until I learned better. Their treatment by correspondence, therefore, has not the drawbacks that exist in the case of most physical derangements. One cannot, it is true, fit glasses by correspondence as well as when the patient is in the office, but even this can be done, as the following case illustrates.
    An old colored woman in the wilds of Honduras, far removed from any physician or optician, was unable to read her Bible, and her son, a waiter in New York, asked me if I could not do something for her. The suggestion gave me a distinct shock which I will remember as long as I live. I had never dreamed of the possibility of prescribing glasses for anyone I had not seen, and I had, besides, some very disquieting recollections of colored women whom I had tried to fit with glasses at my clinic. If I had so much difficulty in prescribing the proper glasses under favorable conditions, how could I be expected to fit a patient whom I could not even see? The waiter was deferentially persistent, however. He had more faith in my genius than I had, and as his mother was nearing the end of her life, he was very anxious to gratify her last wishes. So, like the unjust judge of the parable, I yielded at last to his importunity, and wrote a prescription for convex 3.00 D. S. The young man ordered the glasses and mailed them to his mother, and by return mail came a very grateful letter stating that they were perfectly satisfactory.
    A little later the patient wrote that she couldn't see objects at the distance that were perfectly plain to other people, and asked if some glasses couldn't be sent that would make her see at the distance as well as she did at the near-point. This seemed a more difficult proposition than the first one; but again the son was persistent, and I myself could not get the old lady out of my mind. So again I decided to do what I could. The waiter had told me that his mother had read her Bible long after the age of forty. Therefore I knew she could not have much hypermetropia, and was probably slightly myopic. I knew also that she could not have much astigmatism, for in that case her sight would always have been noticeably imperfect. Accordingly I told her son to ask her to measure very accurately the distance between her eyes and the point at which she could read her Bible best with her glasses, and to send me the figures. In due time I received, not figures, but a piece of string about a quarter of an inch in diameter and exactly ten inches long. If the patient's vision had been normal for the distance, I knew that she would have been able to read her Bible best with her glasses at thirteen inches. The string showed that at ten inches she had a refraction of four diopters. Subtracting from this the three diopters of her reading glasses, I got one diopter of myopia. I accordingly wrote a prescription for concave 1.00 D. S., and the glasses were ordered and mailed to Honduras. The acknowledgment was even more grateful than in the case of the first pair. The patient said that for the first time in her life she was able to read signs and see other objects at a distance as well as other people did, and that the whole world looked entirely different to her.
    Would anyone venture to say that it was unethical for me to try to help this patient? Would it have been better to leave her in her isolation without even the consolation of Bible reading? I do not think so. What I did for her required only an ordinary knowledge of physiological optics, and if I had failed, I could not have done her much harm.
    In the case of the treatment of imperfect sight without glasses there can be even less objection to the correspondence method. It is true that in most cases progress is more rapid and the results more certain when the patient can be seen personally; but often this is impossible, and I see no reason why patients who can not have the benefit of personal treatment should be denied such aid as can be given them by correspondence. I have been treating patients in this way for years, and often with extraordinary success.
    Some years ago an English gentleman wrote to me that his glasses were very unsatisfactory. They not only did not give him good sight, but they increased instead of lessening his discomfort. He asked if I could help him, and since relaxation always relieves discomfort and improves the vision, I did not believe that I was doing him an injury in telling him how to rest his eyes. He followed my directions with such good results that in a short time he obtained perfect sight for both the distance and the near-point without glasses, and was completely relieved of his pain. Five years later he wrote me that he had qualified as a sharpshooter in the army. Did I do wrong in treating him by correspondence? I do not think so.
    After the United States entered the European war, an officer wrote to me from the deserts of Arizona that the use of his eyes at the near-point caused him great discomfort, which glasses did not relieve, and that the strain had produced granulation of the lids. As it was impossible for him to come to New York, I undertook to treat him by correspondence. He improved very rapidly. The inflammation of the lids was relieved almost immediately, and in about four months he wrote me that he had read one of my own reprints-by no means a short one-in a dim light, with no bad after effects; that the glare of the Arizona sun, with the Government thermometer registering 114, did not annoy him, and that he could read the ten line on the test card at fifteen feet almost perfectly, while even at twenty feet he was able to make out most of the letters.
    A third case was that of a forester in the employ of the U. S. Government. He had myopic astigmatism, and suffered extreme discomfort, which was not relieved either by glasses or by long summers in the mountains, where he used his eyes but little for close work. He was unable to come to New York for treatment, and although I told him that correspondence treatment was somewhat uncertain, he said he was willing to risk it. It took three days for his letters to reach me and another three for my reply to reach him, and as letters were not always written promptly on either side, he often did not hear from me more than once in three weeks. Progress under these conditions was necessarily slow; but his discomfort was relieved very quickly, and in about ten months his sight had improved from 20/50 to 20/20.
    In almost every case the treatment of cases coming from a distance is continued by correspondence after they return to their homes; and although the patients do not get on so well as when they are coming to the office, they usually continue to make progress till they are cured.
    At the same time it is often very difficult to make patients understand what they should do when one has to communicate with them entirely by writing, and probably all would get on better if they could have some personal treatment. At the present time the number of doctors in different parts of the United States who understand the treatment of imperfect sight without glasses is altogether too few, and my efforts to interest them in the matter have not been very successful. I would consider it a privilege to treat medical men without a fee, and when cured they will be able to assist me in the treatment of patients in their various localities.



November, 1919


     When the sight is perfect, the memory is also perfect, because the mind is perfectly relaxed. Therefore the sight may be improved by any method that improves the memory. The easiest thing to remember is a small black spot of no particular size and form; but when the sight is imperfect it will be found impossible to remember it with the eyes open and looking at letters, or other objects with definite outlines. It may, however, be remembered for a few seconds or longer, when the eyes are closed and covered, or when looking at a blank surface where there is nothing particular to see. By cultivating the memory under these favorable conditions, it gradually becomes possible to retain it under unfavorable ones, that is, when the eyes are open and the mind conscious of the impressions of sight. By alternately remembering the period with the eyes closed and covered and then looking at the Snellen test card, or other letters or objects; or by remembering it when looking away from the card where there is nothing particular to see, and then looking back; the patient becomes able, in a longer or shorter time, to retain the memory when looking at the card, and thus becomes able to read the letters with normal vision. Many children have been cured very quickly by this method. Adults who have worn glasses have greater difficulty. Even under favorable conditions, the period cannot be remembered for more than a few seconds, unless one shifts from one part of it to another. One can also shift from one period, or other small black object, to another.


This article describes how eye doctors fought against Dr. Bates, tried to hide the
Bates Method from the public so they could continue selling eyeglasses, surgery, drugs.
    Some one—perhaps it was Bacon—has said: "You cannot by reasoning correct a man of ill opinion which by reasoning, he never acquired." He might have gone a step farther and stated that neither by reasoning, nor by actual demonstration of the facts, can you convince some people that an opinion which they have accepted on authority is wrong. A man whose name I do not care to mention, a professor of ophthalmology, and a writer of books well known in this country and in Europe, saw me perform an experiment upon the eye of a rabbit which, according to others who had witnessed it, demonstrated beyond any possibility of error that the lens is not a factor in accommodation. At each step of the operation he testified to the facts; yet at the conclusion he preferred to discredit the evidence of his senses rather than accept the only conclusion that these facts admitted.
    First he examined the eye of the animal to be experimented upon with the retinoscope and found it normal, and the fact was written down. Then the eye was stimulated with electricity, and he testified that it accommodated. This was also written down. I now divided the superior oblique muscle, and the eye was again stimulated with electricity.  The doctor observed the eye with the retinoscope when this was being done and said, "You failed to produce accommodation." This fact, too, was written down. The doctor now used the electrode himself, but again failed to observe accommodation, and these facts were written down. I now sewed the cut ends of the muscle together, and once more stimulated the eye with electricity. The doctor said, "Now you have succeeded in producing accommodation," and this was written down. I now asked:
    "Do you think that superior oblique had anything to do with producing accommodation?"
    "Certainly not," he replied.
    "Why?" I asked.
    "Well," he said, "I have only the testimony of the retinoscope. I am getting on in years, and I don't feel that confidence in my ability to use the retinoscope that I once had. I would rather you wouldn't quote me on this."
    While the operation was in progress, however, he gave no indication whatever of doubting his ability to use the retinoscope. He was very positive, in fact, that I had failed to produce accommodation after the cutting of the oblique muscle and his tone suggested that he considered the failure ignominious. It was only after he found himself in a logical trap, with no way out except by discrediting his own observations, that he appeared to have any doubts as to their value.
    Patients whom I have cured of various errors of refraction have frequently returned to specialists who had prescribed glasses for them, and, by reading fine print and the Snellen test card with normal vision, have demonstrated the fact that they were cured, without in any way shaking the faith of these practitioners in the doctrine that such cures are impossible. A girl of sixteen who had progressive myopia of such high degree that she was not allowed to read, and was unable to go about on the streets without a guide, was assured by the specialist whom her family consulted that her condition was quite hopeless, and that it was likely to progress until it ended in blindness. She was cured in a very short time by means of the methods advocated in this magazine, becoming able to discard her glasses and resume all the ordinary activities of life. She then returned to the specialist who had condemned her to blindness to tell him the good news; but, while he was unable to deny the fact that her vision was normal without glasses, he said it was impossible that she would have been cured of myopia, because myopia was incurable. How he reconciled this statement with his former patient's condition he was unable to make clear to her.
    A lady with compound myopic astigmatism1 suffered from almost constant headaches which were very much worse when she took her glasses off. Every week, no matter what she did, she was so prostrated by eyestrain that she had to spend a few days in bed; and if she went to a theatre, or to a social function, she had to stay there longer. She was told to take off her glasses and go to the movies: to look first at the corner of the screen, then off to the dark, then back to the screen a little nearer to the center, and so forth. She did so, and soon became able to look directly at the pictures without discomfort. After that nothing troubled her. One day she called on her former ophthalmological adviser, in the company of a friend who wanted to have her glasses changed, and told him of her cure. The facts seemed to make no impression on him whatever. He only laughed and said, "I guess Dr. Bates is more popular with you than I am."
    In some cases patients themselves, after they are cured, allow themselves to be convinced that it was impossible that such a thing could have happened, and go back to their glasses. A clergyman and writer, aged forty-seven, who had worn glasses for years for distance and reading, had what I should have considered the good fortune to be very quickly cured. By the aid of his imagination he was able to relax in less than five minutes, and to stay relaxed. When he looked at fine print it appeared grey to him, and he could not read it. I asked him if he had ever seen printer's ink. He replied, of course, that he had. I then told him that the paragraph of printed matter which he held in his hand was printed in printer's ink, and that it was black and not grey. I asked him if he did not know and believe that it was black, or if he could not at least imagine that it was black. "Yes," he said, "I can do that"; and immediately he read the print. It took him only about a minute to do this, and he was not more than five minutes in the office. The cure was permanent, and he was very grateful-for a time. Then he began to talk to eye specialists whom he knew, and thereupon grew skeptical as to the value of what I had done for him. One day I met him at the home of a mutual friend, and in the presence of a number of other people he accused me of having hypnotized him, adding that to hypnotize a patient without his knowledge or consent was to do him a grievous wrong. Some of the listeners protested that whether I had hypnotized him or not, I had not only done him no harm, but had greatly benefited him, and he ought to forgive me. He was unable, however, to take this view of the matter. Later he called on a prominent eye specialist who told him that the presbyopia (old sight) and astigmatism from which he had suffered were incurable, and that if he persisted in going without his glasses he might do himself great harm. The fact that his sight was perfect for the distance and the near-point had no effect upon the specialist and the patient allowed himself to be frightened into disregarding it also. He went back to his glasses, and so far as I know has been wearing them ever since. The story obtained wide publicity, for the man had a large circle of friends and acquaintances; and if I had destroyed his sight I could scarcely have suffered more than I did for curing him.
    Other Doctors try to hide Dr. Bates discoveries from the public.  Doctors expel Dr. Bates from the Hospital he worked at after Dr. Bates cures patients without glasses, surgery, drugs and proves the facts of Natural Eyesight Improvement.
    Fifteen or twenty years ago the specialist mentioned in the foregoing story read a paper on cataract at a meeting of the ophthalmological section of the American Medical Association in Atlantic City, and asserted that anyone who said that cataract could be cured without the knife was a quack. At that time I was assistant surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and it happened that I had been collecting statistics of the spontaneous cure of cataract at the request of the executive surgeon of this institution, Dr. Henry G. Noyes, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Bellevue Hospital Medical School. As a result of my inquiry I had secured records of a large number of cases which had recovered, not only without the knife, but without any treatment at all. I also had records of cases which I had sent to Dr. James E. Kelly of New York and which he had cured, largely by hygienic methods. Dr. Kelly is not a quack, and at that time was Professor of Anatomy in the New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital and attending surgeon to a large city hospital. In the five minutes allotted to those who wished to discuss the paper, I was able to tell the audience enough about these cases to make them want to hear more. My time was, therefore, extended, first to half an hour and then to an hour. Later both Dr. Kelly and myself received many letters from men in different parts of the country who had tried his treatment with success. The man who wrote the paper had blundered, but he did not lose any prestige because of my attack with facts upon his theories. He is still a prominent and honored ophthalmologist and in his latest book he gives no hint of having ever heard of any successful method of treating cataract other than by operation. He was not convinced by my record of spontaneous cures, nor by Dr. Kelly's record of cures by treatment; and while a few men were sufficiently impressed to try the treatment recommended, and while they obtained satisfactory results, the facts made no impression upon the profession as a whole, and did not modify the teaching of the schools. That spontaneous cures of cataract do sometimes occur cannot be denied; but they are supposed to be very rare, and any one who suggests that the condition can be cured by treatment still exposes himself to the suspicion of being a quack.
    Between 1886 and 1891 I was a lecturer at the Post Graduate Hospital and Medical School. The head of the institution was Dr. D. B. St. John Roosa. He was the author of many books, and was honored and respected by the whole medical profession. At the school they had got the habit of putting glasses on the nearsighted doctors, and I had got the habit of curing them without glasses. It was naturally annoying to a man who had put glasses on a student to have him appear at a lecture without them and say that Dr. Bates had cured him. Dr. Roosa found it particularly annoying, and the trouble reached a climax one evening at the annual banquet of the faculty when, in the presence of one hundred and fifty doctors, he suddenly poured out the vials of his wrath upon my head. He said that I was injuring the reputation of the Post Graduate by claiming to cure myopia. Every one knew that Donders said it was incurable, and I had no right to claim that I knew more than Donders. I reminded him that some of the men I had cured had been fitted with glasses by himself. He replied that if he had said they had myopia he had made a mistake. I suggested further investigation. "Fit some more doctors with glasses for myopia," I said, "and I will cure them. It is easy for you to examine them afterwards and see if the cure is genuine." This method did not appeal to him, however. He repeated that it was impossible to cure myopia, and to prove that it was impossible he expelled me from the Post Graduate, even the privilege of resignation being denied to me. The fact is that, except in rare cases, man is not a reasoning being. He is dominated by authority, and when the facts are not in accord with the view imposed by authority, so much the worse for the facts. They may and indeed must win in the long run; but in the meantime the world gropes needlessly in darkness and endures much suffering that might have been avoided.


    Although the eyes were made to react to the light, a very general fear of the effect of this element upon the organs of vision is entertained both by the medical profession and by the laity. Extraordinary precautions are taken in our homes, offices and schools to temper the light, whether natural or artificial, and to insure that it shall not shine directly into the eyes; smoked and amber glasses, eye-shades, broad-brimmed hats and parasols are commonly used to protect the organs of vision from what is considered an excess of light; and when actual disease is present, it is no uncommon thing for patients to be kept for weeks, months and years in dark rooms, or with bandages over their eyes.
    The evidence on which this universal fear of the light has been based is of the slightest. In the voluminous literature of the subject one finds such a lack of information that, in 1910, Dr. J. Herbert Parsons of the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital of London, addressing a meeting of the Ophthalmological Section of the American Medical Association, felt justified in saying that ophthalmologists, if they were honest with themselves, "must confess to a lamentable ignorance of the conditions which render bright light injurious to the eyes."2  Since then, Verhoeff and Bell have reported3 an exhaustive series of experiments carried on at the Pathological Laboratory of the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, which indicate that the danger of injury to the eye from light radiation as such has been "very greatly exaggerated." That brilliant sources of light sometimes produce unpleasant temporary symptoms cannot, of course, be denied; but as regards definite pathological effects, or permanent impairment of vision from exposure to light alone, Drs. Verhoeff and Bell were unable to find, either clinically or experimentally, anything of a positive nature.
    The results of these experiments are in complete accord with my own observations as to the effect of strong light upon the eyes. In my experience such light has never been permanently injurious. Persons with normal sight have been able to look at the sun for an indefinite length of time, even an hour or longer, without any discomfort or loss of vision. Immediately afterward they were able to read the Snellen test card with improved vision, their sight having become better than what is ordinarily considered normal. Some persons with normal sight do suffer discomfort and loss of vision when they look at the sun; but in such cases the retinoscope always indicates an error of refraction, showing that this condition is due, not to the light, but to strain. In exceptional cases persons with defective sight have been able to look at the sun, or have thought that they have looked at it, without discomfort and without loss of vision; but, as a rule, the strain in such eyes is enormously increased and the vision decidedly lowered by sun-gazing, as manifested by inability to read the Snellen test card. Blind areas (scotomata) may develop in various parts of the field—two or three or more. The sun, instead of appearing perfectly white, may appear to be slate-colored, yellow, red, blue, or even totally black. After looking away from the sun, patches of color of various kinds and sizes may be seen, continuing a variable length of time, from a few seconds to a few minutes, hours, or even months. In fact, one patient was troubled in this way for a year or more after looking at the sun for a few seconds. Even total blindness lasting a few hours has been produced. Organic changes may also be produced. Inflammation, redness of the conjunctiva, cloudiness of the lens and of the aqueous and viterous humours, congestion and cloudiness of the retina, optic nerve and choroid, have all resulted from sun-gazing. These effects, however, are always temporary. The scotomata, the strange colors, even the total blindness, as explained in the preceding chapter, are only mental illusions. No matter how much the sight may have been impaired by sun-gazing, or how long the impairment may have lasted, a return to normal has always occurred; while prompt relief of all the symptoms mentioned has always followed the relief of eyestrain, showing that the conditions are the result, not of the light, but of the strain. Some persons who have believed their eyes to have been permanently injured by the sun have been promptly cured by central fixation, indicating that their blindness had been simply functional.
    By persistence in looking at the sun, a person with normal sight soon becomes able to do so without any loss of vision; but persons with imperfect sight usually find it impossible to accustom themselves to such a strong light until their vision has been improved by other means. One has to be very careful in recommending sun-gazing to persons with imperfect sight; because, although no permanent harm can result from it, great temporary discomfort may be produced, with no permanent benefit. In some rare cases, however, complete cures have been effected by this means alone.
Diet must also be healthy.  No prescription, non-prescription drugs, including sinus sprays, cough/cold medicines...

    In one of these cases the sensitiveness of the patient, even to ordinary daylight, was so great that an eminent specialist had felt justified in putting a black bandage over one eye and covering the other with a smoked glass so dark as to be nearly opaque. She was kept in this condition of almost total blindness for two years without any improvement. Other treatment extending over some months also failed to produce satisfactory results. She was then advised to look directly at the sun. The immediate result was total blindness, which lasted several hours; but next day the vision was not only restored to its former condition, but was improved. The sun-gazing was repeated, and each time the blindness lasted for a shorter period. At the end of a week the patient was able to look directly at the sun without discomfort, and her vision, which had been 20/200 without glasses and 20/70 with them, had improved to 20/10, twice the accepted standard for normal vision.
    Like the sun, a strong electric light may also lower the vision temporarily, but never does any permanent harm. In those exceptional cases in which the patient can become accustomed to the light, it is beneficial. After looking at a strong electric light some patients have been able to read the Snellen test card better.
    It is not light but darkness that is dangerous to the eye. Prolonged exclusion from the light always lowers the vision, and may produce serious inflammatory conditions. Among young children living in tenements this is a somewhat frequent cause of ulcers upon the cornea, which ultimately destroy the sight. The children, finding their eyes sensitive to light, bury them in the pillows and thus shut out the light entirely. The universal fear of reading or doing fine work in a dim light is, however, unfounded. So long as the light is sufficient so that one can see without discomfort, this practice is not only harmless, but may be beneficial.
    Sudden contrasts of light are supposed to be particularly harmful to the eye. The theory on which this idea is based is summed up as follows by Fletcher B. Dresslar, specialist in school-hygiene and sanitation of the United States Bureau of Education:
   "The muscles of the iris are automatic in their movements, but rather slow. Sudden strong light and weak illumination are painful and likewise harmful to the retina. For example, if the eye adjusted to a dim light is suddenly turned toward a brilliantly lighted object, the retina will receive too much light, and will be shocked before the muscles controlling the iris can react to shut out the superabundance of light. If contrasts are not strong, but are frequently made, that is, if the eye is called upon to function where frequent adjustments in this way are necessary, the muscles controlling the iris become fatigued, respond more slowly and less perfectly. As a result, eyestrain in the ciliary muscles is produced and the retina is over stimulated. This is one cause of headaches and tired eyes."4    There is no evidence whatever to support these statements. Sudden fluctuations of light undoubtedly cause discomfort to many persons, but far from being injurious, I have found them, in all cases observed, to be actually beneficial. The pupil of the normal eye, when it has normal sight, does not change appreciably under the influence of changes of illumination; and persons with normal vision are not inconvenienced by such changes. I have seen a patient look directly at the sun after coming from an imperfectly lighted room, and then, returning to the room, immediately pick up a newspaper and read it. When the eye has imperfect sight, the pupil usually contracts in the light and expands in the dark, but it has been observed to contract to the size of a pinhole in the dark. Whether the contraction takes place under the influence of light or of darkness, the cause is the same, namely, strain. Persons with imperfect sight suffer great inconvenience, resulting in lowered vision, from changes in the intensity of the light; but the lowered vision is always temporary, and if the eye is persistently exposed to these conditions, the sight is benefited. Such practices as reading alternately in a bright and a dim light, or going from a dark room to a well-lighted one, and vice versa, are to be recommended. Even such rapid and violent fluctuations of light as those involved in the production of the moving picture are, in the long run, beneficial to all eyes. I always advise patients under treatment for the cure of defective vision to go to the movies frequently and practice central fixation. They soon become accustomed to the flickering light, and afterward other lights and reflections cause less annoyance.
In later years Dr. Bates advises closed eyes sunning.


    Being anxious to know what my colleagues think of BETTER EYESIGHT, I lately sent notes to a number of them asking for their opinion. The following replies were so interesting that I think the readers of the magazine have a right to see them.

Dear Doctor:
    As long as you ask for my opinion of your new magazine entitled BETTER EYESIGHT, permit me to give it to you in all frankness. It is what we call in the vernacular, "PUNK."
   Meaning no personal offense, I am,
                                        Your colleague.

Dear Doctor
    Your little note received this morning and am glad to have the opportunity to tell you what I think of BETTER EYESIGHT.
    It is all that you claim for it, and I am always glad to receive it, as I know that I am going to get something beneficial for myself as well as something for the good of my patients.
    If the medical bigots had BETTER EYESIGHT on their desks, and would put into practice what you give in each number, it would be a great blessing to the people who are putting eye crutches on their eyes. I first tried central fixation on myself and had marvelous results. I threw away my glasses and can now see better than I have ever done. I read very fine type (smaller than newspaper type) at a distance of six inches from the eyes, and can run it out at full arm's length and still read it without blurring the type.
    I have instructed some of my patients in your methods, and all are getting results. One case who has a partial cataract of the left eye could not see anything on the Snellen test card at twenty feet, and could see the letters only faintly at ten feet. Now she can read 20/10 with both eyes together and also with each eye separately, but the left eye seems, as she says, to be looking through a little fog. I could cite many other cases that have been benefited by central fixation, but this one is the most interesting to me.
Kindly send me more of the subscription slips, as I want to hand them out to my patients.
Yours very truly,

November, 1919

1 - A condition in which the eye is shortsighted in all meridians, but more so in one than in the others.
2 - Jour. Am. Med. Assn., Dec. 10, 1910, p. 2028.
3 - Proc. Am. Acad. Arts and Sciences, July, 1916, vol. 51, No. 13.
4 - School Hygiene, Brief Course Series in Education, edited by Paul Monroe, Ph.D., 1916, pp. 235-236.

                                                                                                    BETTER EYESIGHT


 December, 1919


    When the imagination is perfect the mind is always perfectly relaxed, and as it is impossible to relax and imagine a letter perfectly, and at the same time strain and see it imperfectly, it follows that when one imagines that one sees a letter perfectly one actually does see it, as demonstrated by the retinoscope, no matter how great an error of refraction the eye may previously have had. The sight, therefore, may often be improved very quickly by the aid of the imagination. To use this method the patient may proceed as follows:

    Look at a letter at the distance at which it is seen best. Close and cover the eyes so as to exclude all the light, and remember it. Do this alternately until the memory is nearly equal to the sight. Next, after remembering the letter with the eyes closed and covered, and while still holding the mental picture of it, look at a blank surface a foot or more to the side of it, at the distance at which you wish to see it. Again close and cover the eyes and remember the letter, and on opening them look a little nearer to it. Gradually reduce the distance between the point of fixation and the letter, until able to look directly at it and imagine it as well as it is remembered with the eyes closed and covered. The letter will then be seen perfectly, and other letters in its neighborhood will come out. If unable to remember the whole letter, you may be able to imagine a black period as forming part of it. If you can do this, the letter will also be seen perfectly. 
Imagine the letter is composed of many black periods and shift from period to period (part to part) on the letter.


    If you look at the big "C" on the Snellen test card (or any other large letter of the same size) at ten, fifteen, or twenty feet, and try to see it all alike, you may note a feeling of strain and the letter may not appear perfectly black and distinct. If you now look at only one part of the letter, and see the rest of it worse, you will note that the part seen best appears blacker than the whole letter when seen all alike, and you may also note a relief of strain. If you look at the small "c" on the bottom line of the test card, you may be able to note that it seems blacker than the big "C." If not, imagine it as forming part of the area of the big "C." If you are able to see this part blacker than the rest of the letter, the imagined letter will, of course, appear blacker also. If your sight is normal, you may now go a step further and note that when you look at one part of the small "c" this part looks blacker than the whole letter, and that it is easier to see the letter in this way than to see it all alike.
    If you look at a line of the smaller letters that you can read readily, and try to see them all alike-all equally black and equally distinct in outline-you will probably find it to be impossible, and the effort will produce discomfort and, perhaps, pain. You may, however, succeed in seeing two or more of them alike. This, too, may cause much discomfort, and if continued long enough, will produce pain. If you now look at only the first letter of the line, seeing the adjoining ones worse, the strain will at once be relieved, and the letter will appear blacker and more distinct than when it was seen equally well with the others.
    If your sight is normal at the near-point, you can repeat these experiments with a letter seen at this point, with the same results. A number of letters seen equally well at one time will appear less black and less distinct than a single letter seen best, and a large letter will seem less black and distinct than a small one; while in the case of both the large letter and the several letters seen all alike, a feeling of strain may be produced in the eye. You may also be able to note that the reading of very fine print, when it can be done perfectly, is markedly restful to the eye.
    The smaller the point of maximum vision, in short, the better the sight, and the less the strain upon the eye. This fact can usually be demonstrated in a few minutes by any one whose sight is not markedly imperfect; and in view of some of our educational methods, is very interesting and instructive.
    Probably every man who has written a book upon the eye for the last hundred years has issued a warning against fine print in school books, and recommended particularly large print for small children. This advice has been followed so assiduously that one could probably not find a lesson book for small children anywhere printed in ordinary reading type, while alphabets are often printed in characters one and two inches high. The British Association for the Advancement of Science does not wish to see children read books at all before they are seven years old, and would conduct their education previous to that age by means of large printed wall-sheets, blackboards, pictures, and oral teaching. If they must read, however, it wants them to have 24- and 30-point type, with capitals about a quarter of an inch in height. This is carefully graded down, a size smaller each year, until at the age of twelve the children are permitted to have the same kind of type as their elders. Bijou editions of Bible, prayer-book and hymnals are forbidden, however, to children of all ages.1
    In the London myope classes, which have become the model for many others of the same kind, books are eliminated entirely, and only the older children are allowed to print their lessons in one- and two-inch types.2
    Yet it has just been shown that large print is a strain upon the eyes, while the retinoscope demonstrates that a strain to see at the near-point always produces hypermetropia3 (commonly but erroneously called "farsight"). We should naturally expect, therefore, to find hypermetropia very common among small children, and it is.  Of children eight and a half years old in the public schools of Philadelphia, Risley4 found that more than eighty-eight per cent were hypermetropic, and similar figures may be found in all statistics of the subject. The percentage declines as the children become older, but hypermetropia, or hypermetropic astigmatism, remains at all ages the most common of all errors of refraction. Hypermetropia is, in fact, a much more serious problem than myopia, or nearsight. Yet we have heard very little about it, for the specialists have concluded, from its prevalence and its tendency to pass away or become less pronounced with the growth of the body, that it is the normal state of the immature human eye and therefore beyond the reach of preventive measures. It is true that many young children are not hypermetropic, but this fact is easily disposed of by the theory that the ciliary muscle alters the shape of the lens in such cases sufficiently to compensate for the shortness of the eyeball.
    The baselessness of this theory, as well as the relation of large print to the production of hypermetropia, may be demonstrated by the fact that the condition can be relieved, and has been relieved in numerous cases, by the reading of fine print, combined with rest of the eyes. A child of eight was cured in a few visits by this means. Yet according to the British Association she should not, at this age, have been allowed to read any type larger than 12-point, with capitals more than an eighth of an inch in height. Many grown people have been cured of hypermetropia in the same way, and in all forms of functional imperfect sight the reading of fine print, when it can be done with comfort, has been found to be a benefit to the eyes. Even straining to see fine print is sometimes a benefit in myopia.   Large letters are not a strain if central fixation, shifting are applied.  Avoid diffusion, eccentric fixation.


Correct Appearance of Oppositional Movement

    When the eye with normal vision regards a letter either at the near-point or at the distance, the letter may appear to pulsate, or move in various directions, from side to side, up and down, or obliquely. When it looks from one letter to another on the Snellen test card, or from one side of a letter to another, not only the letters, but the whole line of letters and the whole card, may appear to move from side to side. This apparent movement is due to the shifting of the eye, and is always in a direction contrary to its movement. If one looks at the top of a letter, the letter is below the line of vision, and therefore appears to move downward. If one looks at the bottom, the letter is above the line of vision and appears to move upward. If one looks to the left of the letter, it is to the right of the line of vision and appears to move to the right. If one looks to the right, it is to the left of the line of vision and appears to move to the left.
    Persons with normal vision are rarely conscious of this illusion, and may have difficulty in demonstrating it; but in every case that has come under my observation they have always become able, in a longer or shorter time, to do so. When the sight is imperfect the letters may remain stationary, or even move in the same direction as the eye.
    It is impossible for the eye to fix a point longer than a fraction of a second. If it tries to do so, it begins to strain and the vision is lowered. This can readily be demonstrated by trying to hold one part of a letter for an appreciable length of time. No matter how good the sight, it will begin to blur, or even disappear, very quickly, and sometimes the effort to hold it will produce pain. In the case of a few exceptional people a point may appear to be held for a considerable length of time; the subjects themselves may think that they are holding it; but this is only because the eye shifts unconsciously, the movements being so rapid that objects seem to be seen all alike simultaneously.
    The shifting of the eye with normal vision is usually not conspicuous, but by direct examination with the opthalmoscope5 it can always be demonstrated. If one eye is examined with this instrument while the other is regarding a small area straight ahead, the eye being examined, which follows the movements of the other, is seen to move in various directions, from side to side, up and down, in an orbit which is usually variable. If the vision is normal, these movements are extremely rapid and unaccompanied by any appearance of effort. The shifting of the eye with imperfect sight, on the contrary, is slower, its excursions are wider, and -the movements are jerky and made with apparent effort.
    It can also be demonstrated that the eye is capable of shifting with a rapidity which the ophthalmoscope cannot measure. (Saccadic movements) The normal eye can read fourteen letters on the bottom line of a Snellen test card, at a distance of ten or fifteen feet, in a dim light, so rapidly that they seem to be seen all at once. Yet it can be demonstrated that in order to recognize the letters under these conditions it is necessary to make about four shifts to each letter. At the near-point, even though one part of the letter is seen best, the rest may be seen well enough to be recognized; but at the distance it is impossible to recognize the letters unless one shifts from the top to the bottom and from side to side. One must also shift from one letter to another, making about seventy shifts in a fraction of a second.
    A line of small letters on the Snellen test card may be less than a foot long by a quarter of an inch in height; and if it requires seventy shifts to a fraction of a second to see it apparently all at once, it must require many thousands to see an area of the size of the screen of a moving picture with all its detail of people, animals, houses, or trees, while to see sixteen such areas to a second, as is done in viewing moving pictures, must require a rapidity of shifting that can scarcely be realized. Yet it is admitted that the present rate of taking and projecting moving pictures is too slow. The results would be more satisfactory, authorities say, if the rate were raised to twenty, twenty-two or twenty-four a second. The human eye and mind are not only capable of this rapidity of action, and that without effort or strain, but it is only when the eye is able to shift thus rapidly that eye and mind are at rest, and the efficiency of both at their maximum. It is true that every motion of the eye produces an error of refraction; but when the movement is short, this is very slight, and usually the shifts are so rapid that the error does not last long enough to be detected by the retinoscope, its existence being demonstrable only by reducing the rapidity of the movements to less than four or five a second. The period during which the eye is at rest is much longer than that during which an error of refraction is produced. Hence, when the eye shifts normally no error of refraction is manifest. The more rapid the unconscious shifting of the eye, the better the vision; but if one tries to be conscious of a too rapid shift, a strain will be produced.
    Perfect sight is impossible without continual shifting, and such shifting is a striking illustration of the mental control necessary for normal vision. It requires perfect mental control to think of thousands of things in a fraction of a second; and each point of fixation has to be thought of separately, because it is impossible to think of two things, or of two parts of one thing, perfectly at the same time. The eye with imperfect sight tries to accomplish the impossible by looking fixedly at one point for an appreciable length of time; that is, by staring. When it looks at a strange letter and does not see it, it keeps on looking at it in an effort to see it better. Such efforts always fail, and are an important factor in the production of imperfect sight.
  + One of the best methods of improving the sight, therefore, is to imitate consciously the unconscious shifting of normal vision, and to realize the apparent motion produced by such shifting. Whether one has imperfect or normal sight, conscious shifting and swinging are a great help and advantage to the eye; for not only may imperfect sight be improved in this way, but normal sight may be improved also.
    Detailed instructions for improving the sight by this method will be given in my forthcoming book, The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment without Glasses.
Rapid and tiny shifts, the eyes ability to shift many times per fraction of a second are called Saccadic eye movements, vibrations.
The eye produces many different movements, high frequency…


    In nearly all cases of imperfect sight due to errors of refraction there is some object, or objects, which can be regarded with normal vision. Such objects I have called optimums. On the other hand, there are some objects which persons with normal eyes and ordinarily normal sight always see imperfectly, an error of refraction being produced when they are regarded, as demonstrated by the retinoscope. Such objects I have called pessimums. An object becomes an optimum, or a pessimum, according to the effect it produces upon the mind, and in some cases this effect is easily accounted for.
    For many children their mother's face is an optimum, and the face of a stranger a pessimum. A dressmaker was always able to thread a No. 10 needle with a fine thread of silk without glasses, although she had to put on glasses to sew on buttons, because she could not see the holes. She was a teacher of dressmaking, and thought the children stupid because they could not tell the difference between two different shades of black. She could match colors without comparing the samples. Yet she could not see a black line in a photographic copy of the Bible which was no finer than a thread of silk, and she could not remember a black period. An employee in a cooperage factory, who had been engaged for years in picking out defective barrels as they went rapidly past him on an inclined plane, was able to continue his work after his sight for most other objects had become very defective, while persons with much better sight for the Snellen test card were unable to detect the defective barrels. The familiarity of these various objects made it possible for the subjects to look at them without strain—that is, without trying to seem them. Therefore the barrels were to the cooper optimums; while the needle's eye and the colors of silk and fabrics were optimums to the dressmaker. Unfamiliar objects, on the contrary, are always pessimums.
    In other cases there is no accounting for the idiosyncracy of the mind which makes one object a pessimum and another an optimum. It is also impossible to account for the fact that an object may be an optimum for one eye and not for the other, or an optimum at one time and at one distance and not at others. Among these unaccountable optimums one often finds a particular letter on the Snellen test card. One patient, for instance, was able to see the letter K on the forty, fifteen and ten lines, but could see none of the other letters on these lines, although most patients would see some of them, on account of the simplicity of their outlines, better than they would such a letter as K.
    Pessimums may be as curious and unaccountable as optimums. The letter V is so simple in its outlines that many people can see it when they cannot see others on the same line. Yet some people are unable to distinguish it at any distance, although able to read other letters in the same word, or on the same line of the Snellen test card. Some people again will not only be unable to recognize the letter V in a word, but also to read any word that contains it, the pessimum lowering their sight not only for itself but for other objects. Some letters, or objects, become pessimums only in particular situations. A letter, for instance, may be a pessimum when located at the end, or at the beginning of a line, or sentence, and not in other places. When the attention of the patient is called to the fact that a letter seen in one location ought logically to be seen equally well in others, the letter often ceases to be a pessimum in any situation.
    A pessimum, like an optimum, may be lost and later become manifest. It may vary according to the light and distance. An object which is a pessimum in a moderate light may not be so when the light is increased or diminished. A pessimum at twenty feet may not be one at two feet, or thirty feet, and an object which is a pessimum when directly regarded may be seen with normal vision in the eccentric field—that is, when not directly regarded.
    For most people the Snellen test card is a pessimum. If you can see the Snellen test card with normal vision, you can see almost anything else in the world. Patients who cannot see the letters on the Snellen test card can often see other objects of the same size and at the same distance with normal sight. When letters which are seen imperfectly, or even letters which cannot be seen at all, or which the patient is not conscious of seeing, are regarded, the error of refraction is increased. The patient may regard a blank white card without any error of refraction; but if he regards the lower part of a Snellen test card, which appears to him to be just as blank as the blank card, an error of refraction can always be demonstrated, and if the visible letters of the card are covered the result is the same. The pessimum may, in short, be letters or objects which the patient is not conscious of seeing. This phenomenon is very common. When the card is seen in the eccentric field it may have the effect of lowering the vision for the point directly regarded. For instance, a patient may regard an area of green wall-paper at the distance, and see the color as well as at the near-point; but if a Snellen test card on which the letters are either seen imperfectly, or not seen at all, is placed in the neighborhood of the area being regarded, the retinoscope may indicate an error of refraction. When the vision improves, the number of letters on the card which are pessimums diminishes and the number of optimums increases, until the whole card becomes an optimum.
    A pessimum, like an optimum, is a manifestation of the mind. It is something associated with a strain to see, just as an optimum is something which has no such association. It is not caused by the error of refraction, but always produces an error of refraction; and when the strain has been relieved it ceases to be a pessimum and becomes an optimum.


    It is not always possible for patients to go to a competent physician for relief. As the method of treating eye defects presented in this magazine is new, it may be impossible to find a physician in the neighborhood who understands it; and the patient may not be able to afford the expense of a long journey, or to take the time for treatment away from home. To such persons I wish to say that it is possible for a large number of people to be cured of defective eyesight without the aid either of a physician or of anyone else. They can cure themselves, and for this purpose it is not necessary that they should understand all that has been written in this magazine, or anywhere else. All that is necessary is to follow a few simple directions.
    Place a Snellen test card on the wall at a distance of ten, fourteen, or twenty feet, and devote half a minute a day, or longer, to reading the smallest letters you can see, with each eye separately, covering the other with the palm of the hand in such a way as to avoid touching the eyeball.
    Keep a record of the progress made, with the dates. The simplest way to do this is by the method used by oculists, who record the vision in the form of a fraction, with the distance at which the letter is read as the numerator and the distance at which it ought to be read as the denominator. As already explained, the figures above the lines of letters on the test card indicate the distance at which these letters should be read by persons with normal eyesight. Thus a vision of 10/200 would mean that the big C, which ought to be read at 200 feet, cannot be seen at a greater distance than ten feet. A vision of 20/10 would mean that the ten line, which the normal eye is not ordinarily expected to read at a greater distance than ten feet, is seen at double that distance. This is a standard commonly attained by persons who have practiced my methods.
    Children under twelve years who have not worn glasses are usually cured of defective eyesight by the above method in three months, six months, or a year. Adults who have never worn glasses are benefited in a very short time—a week or two—and if the trouble is not very bad, may be cured in the course of from three to six months. Children or adults who have worn glasses, however, are more difficult to relieve, and will usually have to practice the various methods of gaining relaxation which have been presented from month to month in this magazine and will be described in more detail in my forthcoming book, The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment without Glasses.
    It is absolutely necessary that the glasses be discarded. No half-way measures can be tolerated, if a cure is desired. Do not attempt to wear weaker glasses, and do not wear glasses for emergencies. Persons who are unable to do without glasses are not likely to be able to cure themselves.
     Modern Natural Vision Improvement teachers state that reduced, weaker eyeglass lenses can be worn, but only when necessary.   In later years Dr. Bates stated glasses can be worn if absolutely essential but, glasses will slow vision improvement.
    Children and adults who have worn glasses will have to devote an hour or longer every day to practice with the test card and the balance of their time to practice on other objects. It will be well for such patients to have two test cards, one to be used at the near-point, where it can be seen best, and the other at ten or twenty feet. The patient will find it a great help to shift from the near card to the distant one, as the unconscious memory of the letters seen at the near-point helps to bring out those seen at the distance.  (Switching close and far. Shift on the E on the close card. Switch to the distant card. Shift on the E on that card. Then back to the close card. Repeat. Remember, imagine the E clear.)
   If the patient can secure the aid of some person with normal sight, it will be a great advantage. In fact, persons whose cases are obstinate will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to cure themselves without the aid of a teacher. The teacher, if he is to benefit the patient, must himself be able to derive benefit from the various methods recommended. If his vision is 10/10, he must be able to improve it to 20/10, or more. If he can read fine print at twelve inches, he must become able to read it at six, or at three inches. He must also have sufficient control over his visual memory to relieve and prevent pain.
   Parents who wish to preserve and improve the eyesight of their children should encourage them to read the Snellen test card every day. There should, in fact, be a Snellen test card in every family; for when properly used it always prevents myopia and other errors of refraction, always improves the vision, even when this is already normal, and always benefits functional nervous troubles. Parents should improve their own eyesight to normal, so that their children may not imitate wrong methods of using the eyes and will not be subject to the influence of an atmosphere of strain.

December, 1919

1 - Report on the Influence of School Books upon Eyesight, second revised edition, 1913.
2 – Pollock: The Education of the Semi-Blind, Glasgow med. Jour., Dec, 1915.
3 – Bates: The cause of myopia, N.Y. Med. Jour., March 10, 1912.
4 – School hygiene, in System of Diseases of the Eye, edited by Norris and Oliver, vol. II, P. 353.
5 - An instrument for viewing the interior of the eye.  When the optic nerve is observed with the ophthalmoscope, movements can be noted that are not apparent when only the exterior of the eye is regarded.

                                                                                                      BETTER EYESIGHT


January, 1920

            THE PALMING CURE

    One of the most efficacious methods of relieving eyestrain, and hence of improving the sight, is palming. By this is meant the covering of the closed eyes with the palms of the hands in such a way as to exclude all the light, while avoiding pressure upon the eyeballs. In this way most patients are able to secure some degree of relaxation in a few minutes, and when they open their eyes find their vision temporarily improved.
    When relaxation is complete the patient sees, when palming, a black so deep that it is impossible to remember or imagine anything blacker, and such relaxation is always followed by a complete and permanent cure of all errors of refraction (nearsight, farsight, astigmatism and even old sight), as well as by the relief or cure of many other abnormal conditions. In rare cases patients become able to see a perfect black very quickly, even in five, ten or fifteen minutes; but usually this cannot be done without considerable practice, and some never become able to do it until they have been cured by other means. When the patient becomes able after a few trials to see an approximate black, it is worth while to continue with the method; otherwise something else should be tried.
    Most patients are helped by the memory of some color, preferably black, and as it is impossible to remember an unchanging object for more than a few seconds, they usually find it necessary to shift consciously from one mental picture to another, or from one part of such a picture to another. In some cases, however, the shifting may be done unconsciously, and the black object may appear to be remembered all alike continuously.
When palming - remember, imagine a happy scene, objects, people in motion, color, clear like a real life movie in the mind.
Shift on objects in the imagination and remember, imagine they are clear.  Relax; dynamic and deep relaxation.
Famous scientists, artists, and others use this method when awake and before they drift off to sleep, working with the conscious and subconscious mind to visualize, work on a goal; art, science creation, invention, formula, health improvement, new home, job, business…
(Shift part to part on the flower on the right. Shift on the green dots: top and bottom, left and right, middle and in any direction.)


    The theory that errors of refraction are due to permanent deformations of the eyeball leads naturally to the conclusion, not only that errors of refraction are permanent states, but that normal refraction is also a continuous condition. As this theory is almost universally accepted as a fact, therefore, it is not surprising to find that the normal eye is generally regarded as a perfect machine which is always in good working order. No matter whether the object regarded is strange or familiar, whether the light is good or imperfect, whether the surroundings are pleasant or disagreeable, even under conditions of nerve strain or bodily disease, the normal eye is expected to have normal refraction and normal sight all the time. It is true that the facts do not harmonize with this view, but they are conveniently attributed to the perversity of the ciliary muscle. This muscle is believed to control the shape of the lens, and is credited with a capacity for interfering with the refraction in some very curious ways. In hypermetropia (farsight), it is believed to alter the shape of the lens sufficiently to compensate, in whole or in part, for the shortness of the eyeball. In myopia, or nearsight, on the contrary, we are told that it actually goes out of its way to produce the condition, or to make an existing condition worse. In other words, the muscle is believed to get into a more or less continuous state of contraction, thus keeping the lens continuously in a state of convexity, which, according to accepted theories, it ought to assume only for vision at the near-point. This theory serves the purpose of explaining to the satisfaction of most eye specialists why persons who at times appear to have myopia, or hypermetropia, appear at other times not to have them. After people have reached the age at which the lens is not supposed to change it does not work so well, while in astigmatism it is available only to a limited extent even at the earlier ages; but these facts are quietly ignored.
    When we understand how the shape of the eyeball is controlled by the external muscles, and how it responds instantaneously to their action, it is easy to see that no refractive state, whether it is normal or abnormal, can be permanent. This conclusion is confirmed by the retinoscope, and I had observed the facts long before my experiments upon the eye muscles of animals, reported in 19151 and to be described again in my forthcoming book, had offered a satisfactory explanation for them. During thirty years devoted to the study of refraction, I have found few people who could maintain perfect sight for more than a few minutes at a time, even under the most favorable conditions; and often I have seen the refraction change half a dozen times or more in a second, the variations ranging all the way from twenty diopters of myopia to normal.
    Similarly I have found no eyes with continuous or unchanging errors of refraction, all persons with errors of refraction having, at frequent intervals during the day and night, moments of normal vision, when their myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, wholly disappears. The form of the error also changes, myopia even changing into hypermetropia and one form of astigmatism into another.
    Of twenty thousand school children examined in one year more than half had normal eyes, with sight which was perfect at times; but not one of them had perfect sight in each eye at all times of the day. Their sight might be good in the morning and imperfect in the afternoon, or imperfect in the morning and perfect in the afternoon. Many children could read one Snellen test card with perfect sight, while unable to see a different one perfectly. Many could also read some letters of the alphabet perfectly, while unable to distinguish other letters of the same size under similar conditions. The degree of this imperfect sight varied within wide limits, from one-third to one-tenth, or less. Its duration was also variable. Under some conditions it might continue for only a few minutes, or less; under others it might prevent the subject from seeing the blackboard for days, weeks, or even longer. Frequently all the pupils in a classroom were affected to this extent.
    Among babies a similar condition was noted. Most investigators have found babies hypermetropic. A few have found them myopic. My own observations indicate that the refraction of infants is continually changing. One child was examined under atropine on four successive days, beginning two hours after birth. A three per cent solution of atropine was instilled into both eyes, the pupil was dilated to the maximum, and other physiological symptoms of the use of atropine were noted. The first examination showed a condition of mixed astigmatism. On the second day there was compound hypermetropic astigmatism, and on the third compound myopic astigmatism.2   On the fourth one eye was normal and the other showed simple myopia. Similar variations were noted in many other cases.
    What is true of children and infants is equally true of adults of all ages. Persons over seventy years of age have suffered losses of vision of variable degree and intensity, and in such cases the retinoscope always indicated an error of refraction. A man eighty years old, with normal eyes and ordinarily normal sight, had periods of imperfect sight which would last from a few minutes to half an hour or longer. Retinoscopy at such times always indicated myopia of four diopters or more.
    During sleep the refractive condition of the eye is rarely, if ever, normal. Persons whose refraction is normal when they are awake will produce myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism when they are asleep, or, if they have errors of refraction when they are awake, they will be increased during sleep. This is why people waken in the morning with eyes more tired than at any other time, or even with severe headaches. When the subject is under ether or chloroform, or unconscious from any other cause, errors of refraction are also produced or increased.
    When the eye regards an unfamiliar object an error of refraction is always produced. Hence the proverbial fatigue caused by viewing pictures, or other objects, in a museum. Children with normal eyes who can read perfectly small letters a quarter of an inch high at ten feet always have trouble in reading strange writing on the blackboard, although the letters may be two inches high. A strange map, or any map, has the same effect. I have never seen a child, or a teacher, who could look at a map at the distance without becoming nearsighted. German type has been accused of being responsible for much of the poor sight once supposed to be peculiarly a German malady; but if a German child attempts to read Roman print, it will at once become temporarily myopic. German print, or Greek or Chinese characters will have the same effect on a child, or other person, accustomed to Roman letters. Cohn repudiated the idea that German lettering was trying to the eyes.3  On the contrary, he always found it "pleasant, after a long reading of the monotonous Roman print, to return to 'our beloved German'." Because the German characters were more familiar to him than any others he found them restful to his eyes. "Use," as he truly observed, "has much to do with the matter." Children learning to read, write, draw, or sew, always suffer from defective vision, because of the unfamiliarity of the lines or objects with which they are working.
    A sudden exposure to strong light, or rapid or sudden changes of light, are likely to produce Imperfect sight in the normal eye, continuing in some cases for weeks and months.
    Noise is also a frequent cause of defective vision in the normal eye. All persons see imperfectly when they hear an unexpected loud noise. Familiar sounds do not lower the vision, but unfamiliar ones always do. Country children from quiet schools may suffer from defective vision for a long time after moving to a noisy city. In school they cannot do well with their work, because their sight is impaired. It is, of course, a gross injustice for teachers and others to scold, punish, or humiliate, such children.
    Under conditions of mental or physical discomfort, such as pain, cough, fever, discomfort from heat or cold, depression, anger, or anxiety, errors of refraction are always produced in the normal eye, or increased in the eye in which they already exist.
    The variability of the refraction of the eye is responsible for many otherwise unaccountable accidents. When people are struck down in the street by automobiles or trolley cars, it is often due to the fact that they were suffering from temporary loss of sight. Collisions on railroads or at sea, disasters in military operations, aviation accidents, etc., often occur because some responsible person suffered temporary loss of sight.


    This question is asked so constantly by persons who wish to be cured of Imperfect sight that it seems worth while to devote a little space to its consideration. It is impossible, of course, to answer the question definitely. Cure is a question of the mind, and people's minds are different.
    While patients who have worn glasses are usually harder to cure than those who have not, elderly persons who have worn them for the better part of a lifetime are sometimes cured as quickly as children under twelve who have never worn them. These cases are very rare, but they do occur. Some patients can look at the letters on the test card, or in a paragraph of fine print, and imagine them at once to be perfectly black, with the result that they immediately become able to read them. Some patients are able to palm almost perfectly from the start, and nearly all can do it well enough to improve their sight; some never become able to do it until their sight has been improved by other means.
    Most patients, when they look from one side of a large letter to another, or from one side of the card to another, can imagine that the letter, or the card, is moving in a direction opposite to the movement of the eye. Others, whose condition may be no worse, take a week, or a month, or longer, to do the same thing. A patient recently treated was able to do almost everything I asked her to at the first visit. I began, as I always do, by directing her to close and rest her eyes, and, as in the case of most other patients, she was able to improve her sight materially by this method. Then she went on to do a lot of other things, some of which very few patients can do at the first visit, while no one but herself, so far as I can remember, was ever able to do all of them. She was able to stare at a letter and make her sight worse, and she was able to look from one side of it to another and imagine that it was moving in a direction opposite to the movement of the eye. If the letter was seen perfectly, the movement was short, rhythmical and easy; if it was seen imperfectly, it was longer, and irregular. She could not imagine a letter stationary, and if she tried to imagine it so, it blurred. When she looked at a line of letters that she could read, she realized at once that one letter was seen best and the adjoining ones worse; and when she looked at a line that she could not read, she noted that they were seen all alike. She demonstrated at once-which was very remarkable-that a perfect memory is quick and easy, and an imperfect memory slow, difficult and even impossible; that the first relieves fatigue and the second induces discomfort. She also demonstrated that while it was easy to imagine that a letter remembered perfectly was swinging, she either could not imagine such a swing in the case of an imperfectly remembered letter, or else the swing was longer and irregular. It is hardly necessary to say that this patient became able at once to read the whole card, even in a dim light. It was only when she came to fine print that she failed. She could not imagine that the letters of diamond type were swinging. She could imagine the universal swing4 when she looked two inches away from the letters, but she could not imagine it when she looked between the lines.
    These peculiarities of the mind cannot be known in advance, and therefore it is seldom possible, in any given case, to make predictions as to the length of time that will be required for a cure. This much can be stated, however: that marked improvement is always obtained in a few weeks and that all patients obtain some benefit at the first visit. If there are any exceptions to this rule, they are so rare that I do not remember them.
    As more facts are accumulated and better ways of presenting things learned, it becomes possible to cure people more quickly. I can cure people more quickly today than I did a year ago, and I expect to cure them next year more quickly than I do today. In the last three months, seven or eight patients have been cured in one visit, with a little additional help over the telephone.
    When patients can give considerable time to the treatment they naturally get on faster than those who cannot or will not do this. When they follow instructions and do not waste time in discussion, or in carrying out theories of their own, they also get on faster. One of the advantages that children have over adults is that there heads are not so full of erroneous ideas, and that they are accustomed to doing as they are told.
    The chief cause of delay seems to be that people will not believe the truth after it is demonstrated to them. You can demonstrate to anyone in a few minutes that rest improves the vision, but the idea that everything worth while must be gained by effort is so deeply ingrained in the average mind that you may not in a year be able to get it out, and so long as the patient believes that his sight can be improved by effort, be will make little progress.
    In most cases it is necessary, in order to retain what has been gained, to continue the treatment for a few minutes every day. When a cure is complete it is always permanent. The patient need never think of the matter again, and may even forget how he was cured. But complete cures, which mean the attainment, not of what is ordinarily called normal sight, but of a measure of telescopic and microscopic vision, are very rare; and even in these cases the treatment may be continued with benefit, for it is impossible to set limits to the visual powers of man, and no matter how good the sight, it is always possible to improve it.

                                                                                      RELIEF AFTER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS

    While many persons are benefited by the accepted methods of treating defects of vision, there is a minority of cases, known to every eye specialist, which gets little or no help from them. These patients sometimes give up the search for relief in despair, and sometimes continue it with surprising pertinacity, never being able to abandon the belief, in spite of the testimony of experience, that somewhere in the world there must be some one with sufficient skill to fit them with the right glasses. The rapidity with which these patients respond to treatment by relaxation is often very dramatic, and affords a startling illustration of the superiority of this method to treatment by glasses and muscles cutting. In the following case relaxation did in twenty-four hours what the old methods, as practiced by a succession of eminent specialists, had not been able to do in twenty five years.
    The patient was a man of forty-nine, and his imperfect sight was accompanied by continual pain and misery, culminating twenty years before I saw him, in a complete nervous breakdown. As he was a writer, dependent upon his pen for a living, his condition was a serious economic handicap, and he consulted many specialists in the vain hope of obtaining relief. Glasses did little, either to improve his sight, or to relieve his discomfort, and the eye specialists talked vaguely about disease of the optic nerve and brain as a possible cause of his troubles. The nerve specialists, however, were unable to do anything to relieve him. One specialist diagnosed his case as muscular, and gave him prisms, which helped him a little. Later, the same specialist, finding that all of the apparent muscular trouble was not corrected by glasses, cut the external muscles of both eyes. This also brought some relief, but not much. At the age of twenty-nine the patient suffered the nervous breakdown already mentioned. For this he was treated unsuccessfully by various specialists, and for nine years he was compelled to live out of doors. This life, although it benefited him, failed to restore his health, and when he came to me on September 13, 1919, he was still suffering from neurasthenia. His distant vision was less than 20/40, and could not be improved by glasses. He was able to read with glasses, but could not do so without discomfort. I could find no symptom of disease of the brain or of the interior of the eye. When he tried to palm he saw grey and yellow instead of black; but he was able to rest his eyes simply by closing them, and by this means alone he became able, in twenty-four hours, to read diamond type and to make out most of the letters on the twenty line of the test card at twenty feet. At the same time his discomfort was materially relieved.
    He was under treatment for about six weeks, and then he left the city.
    On October 25 he wrote as follows:
    "I saw you last on October 6, and at the end of the week, the 11th, I started off on a ten-day motor trip as one of the officials of the Cavalry Endurance Test for horses. The last touch of eyestrain which affected me nervously at all I experienced on the 8th and 9th. On the trip, though I averaged but five hours sleep, rode all day in an open motor without goggles and wrote reports at night by bad lights, I had no trouble. After the third day the universal slow swing seemed to establish itself, and I have never had a moment's discomfort since. I stood fatigue and excitement better than I have ever done and went with less sleep. My practicing on the trip was necessarily somewhat curtailed, yet there was noticeable improvement in my vision. Since returning I have spent a couple of hours a day in practice, and have at the same time done a lot of writing.
                                                                                             Fine print - Directions
    "Yesterday, the 24th, I made a test with diamond type, and found that after twenty minutes' practice I could get the lines distinct, and make out the capital letters and bits of the text at a scant three inches. At seven I could read it readily, though I could not see it perfectly. This was by an average daylight-no sun. In a good daylight I can read the newspaper almost perfectly at a normal reading distance, say fifteen inches. I seem able now to read ordinary print at a little distance from my eyes without straining; but I practice bringing it so close that it is not quite clear, and after closing and opening my eyes and thinking of the text as clear and black, or of a perfect black letter, it clears up. I am confident now that in a few weeks I shall be able to read the fine print at three inches. Now that the swing has established itself so well I seem to get the best results on close work by consciously relaxing as much as I can, avoiding all conscious effort to see better, and imagining words or letters perfectly clear and black. All soreness has gone from the eyeballs, but there are little muscle twitches that catch me when consciously opening or closing the lids. The last few days these almost ceased at the end of twenty minutes practice, and my sight was better.
    "I feel now that I am really out of the woods. I have done night work without suffering for it, a thing I have not done in twenty-five years, and I have worked steadily for more hours than I have been able to work at a time since my breakdown in 1899, all without sense of strain or nervous fatigue. You can imagine my gratitude to you. Not only for my own sake, but for yours, I shall leave no stone unturned to make the cure complete and get back the child eyes which seem perfectly possible in the light of progress I have made in the eight weeks since I first went to you.
    "I have just been trying the big card for distance in the out-of-door light of an overcast day at two in the afternoon. At twenty feet I get all the bottom line, but the "5" and "6."  The "B" also is black. But I think I have done a little better than this. The halos (5) begin to come out spontaneously both on the fine print and on the big card at a distance. I am sure that I only have to keep on to win."


    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 railroading. 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 splendid. Can read for hours without tiring my eyes. . . . I went downtown today 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.

January, 1920

1 - Bates: The Cure of Defective Eyesight by Treatment Without Glasses, N. Y. Med. Jour., May 8, 1915.
2 – In astigmatism the eyes is lopsided.  In simple hypermetropic astigmatism one principle meridian is normal, and the other, at right angles to it, is flatter; hence the eye is farsighted in one curvature and normal in another.  In simple myopic astigmatism the contrary is the case, one principal meridian is normal and the other, at right angles to it, more convex, making the refraction normal in one curvature and shortsighted in another. In mixed astigmatism one principal meridian is too flat, the other too convex. In compound hypermetropic astigmatism, both principal meridians are flatter than normal, one more so than the other. In compound myopic astigmatism both are more convex than normal, one more so than the other.
3 - Eyes and School-Books, Pop. Sci. Monthly, May, 1881, translated from Deutsche Rundschau.
4 - When the patient becomes able to imagine that the letters on the test card are swinging, everything else thought of also seems to be swinging. This is the universal swing.
5 - When the sight is normal, the margins and openings of letters appear whiter than the rest of the background, and the lines of fine print seem to be separated by white streaks.

                                               BETTER EYESIGHT


             February, 1920


    When the eye with normal sight looks at the large letters on the Snellen test card, at any distance from twenty feet to six inches or less, it sees, at the inner and outer edges and in the openings of the round letters, a white more intense than the margin of the card. Similarly, when such an eye reads fine print, the spaces between the lines and the letters and the openings of the letters appear whiter than the margin of the page, while streaks of an even more intense white may be seen along the edges of the lines of letters. These "halos" are sometimes seen so vividly that in order to convince people that they are illusions it is often necessary to cover the letters, when they at once disappear. Patients with imperfect sight also see the halos, though less perfectly, and when they understand that they are imagined, they often become able to imagine them where they had not been seen before, or to increase their vividness, in which case the sight always improves. This can be done by imagining the appearances first with the eyes closed, and then looking at the card, or at fine print, and imagining them there. By alternating these two acts of imagination the sight is often improved rapidly. It is best to begin the practice at the point at which the halos are seen, or can be imagined best. Nearsighted patients are usually able to see them at the near-point, sometimes very vividly. Farsighted people may also see them best at this point, although their sight for form may be best at the distance.



    EDITOR'S NOTE.—We are constantly hearing of patients who have been able to improve their sight by the aid of information contained in this magazine, or in other publications on the same subject, without personal assistance. The following is a very remarkable example of these cases, as the improvement was made while the patient was handicapped by having to wear her glasses a great part of the time.

    There was once a gentleman who attempted to sell new lamps for old ones. And another who tried to exchange, on Waterloo Bridge, perfectly good new shillings for sixpence. In both cases the wares were as advertised, but both fell under suspicion.
    It is perhaps, then, not to be wondered at that an offer of new eyes for old should meet with a similar fate at the hands of a public early trained to suspect the worst—in a world where few things are as represented and nothing is to be had for nothing.
    In no other way, at least, can I account for the fact that so much of the world is still in glasses, after a brief experience of my own. This is the story:
    Something over a year ago, in one of those periodic fits of dejection common to those who abuse their eyes and then wonder at their failure.   I chanced to take up a copy of the New York Tribune, open exactly at an article on Eyes, in the column devoted to scientifico-medical truth.
    I may as well confess at once that I read this column chiefly to scoff: it is a privilege reserved to those born in doctor's families. Moreover the condition of my own eyes at the moment, after years of oculists and opticians, was one to make me particularly from Missouri in my mental attitude towards anything calling itself a new "cure." Still—I ran through the article.
    It was brief, a mere review of another which had appeared in the Scientific American, and I grasped but a fragment of the principle—that defects of vision were not necessarily integral, but might result from defectively controlled muscles distorting the eyeball-pulling it out of shape. Hence nearsight, farsight, astigmatism, etc., might be curable through muscle-control. The treatment consisted in relaxation and re-education, intelligently applied.
    As I grasped it, not being hampered by scientific pre-possesions, the thing appeared so simple that I exclaimed to myself: "How sensible!”—hastily qualifying it with, "How much too good to be true!" For here was something rational—something you could do for yourself without either being cut up or poisoned. The article mentioned that patients went home and taught their families—it was so simple. There was nothing to prevent one's at least trying it on oneself.
    The only detail of treatment set forth—or which I grasped—was that the eyes could be relaxed most conveniently by looking at black, and that by covering the eyes with the palms of the hands ("palming") black could be retained as a mental vision, or memory, during which the eye was at rest. By practice, one could learn to "remember black" with the eyes opened, at will, and when it was not there. Thus muscular control could be re-established.
    It was at least worth trying, and I tried. (Here it is interesting to remark that the moment you look at a black thing, you realize it isn't. A really black object is hard to find, but not necessary to success; the approximate will serve. Later I discovered that a black period—of printer's ink—was sufficient, but I am giving by preference the tale of my first blundering efforts.)
    My first discovery was one which anyone may make for himself; it contains the crux of the whole. This is, that after looking at black, "palming," and seeing black with the eyes shut (at first one may see grey or red), and then opening the eyes, there is an appreciable instant of clear vision, in which letters or images previously blurred and hazy come out sharp and definite. For that brief instant I could read clearly; then immediately the old habit of muscular strain set in again and vision lapsed. But that instant was enough. For, if for any fraction of time at all vision could be reconquered, clearly the organ of vision was intact; the trouble was extraneous, functional, might be removable. All that was needed was to make that instant permanent, and that, evidently, was a mere matter of reeducating the exterior muscles of the eye and fixing a habit.
    So far as I was concerned that first experiment was final. I was as convinced then as I am convinced now that I, or anyone else in my case, can recover vision virtually whole, with time, patience and training. The demonstration was, for me, complete. Nobody had proved it to me, I had, proved it to myself. Relaxed, eyes could return to the normal and see without glasses.
    How to take advantage of my discovery was another matter. My days are largely spent in typing; my nights (too largely) in reading, both in glasses, which of course are framed to perpetuate the errors they confirm, so that every pair of glasses has to be farther from the normal than the one before. With a war on, I could neither stop working nor reading newspapers. Yet the first requisite for the new cure I assumed to be the abandonment of the glasses. (I have since heard of cases cured even while in glasses.)
    I postponed, then, all hope of my own cure to some date "after Peace." But I was too interested and fascinated to quite let the matter drop. Accordingly I began to play with the small fragment of theory I had assimilated (very inaccurately, I now realize), in the scant leisure of my daily outings. I practiced "seeing black" on the coat-backs of pedestrians, and "central fixation" (which means seeing what you look at where you look at it, and not its edges instead,) on the street signs and advertising bill-boards. My companions began to recognize my "seeing black" expression. As a skeptic, I am something of a trial to them and they enjoyed, perhaps, seeing the biter bit. But I was getting results-undoubing the long-doubled stars, making one moon grow where the proverbial two had grown before. Blurred letters of fantastic height I was reducing to neat, clear rows, half as high; I who had not read a headline, with just eyes, for years, was reading them all. Thence I passed to the higher literature; probably nobody has ever been so stirred by the genius of Mr. Shonts as I, when first I could untangle his lines. Next came the gems of verse in street-car advertisements. Now I read them all alike, indifferently, negligently, as being no great thing, down to the quite fine ones, if the vehicle is moderately light.
    The first really startling intimation of gain, however, came to me one hurried morning when, taking my mail from the box, I read my letters one after another, on the way to the bus, and only realized later, as I was rolling downtown, that I had read them all without glasses—and without noticing it. It was fully ten years since I had been able to read a line of a letter without glasses, frequently to my extreme inconvenience.
    This is as far as I have gone—except that I am still going. Month by month, I recover a little and a little more of my ability to see normally, and meanwhile, as a most important by-product of the gain, I lose the old fatigue and ache which, with its accompanying depression, made my hours without glasses periods of strain. Here I should explain that my eyes are always under a twofold strain—for I listen with them. Only the partly deaf will fully understand this, but it makes the importance of this new treatment, for them, incalculable. And the deaf are as the sands of the sea.
    Now, if gains so real and so appreciable can be made in quarter-hour and casual applications of a partially-grasped theory, and while with both hands one is engaged in undoing for the remainder of the hours what one has done in the quarters, is it not fair to believe that a proper, steadfast, continuous application of the theory would work miracles for those multitudes of mankind who suffer every form of disability and handicap now covered by the term "eyestrain"? We are told that pretty much everything from flat feet to baldness can proceed from eyestrain, and for my part I believe it; I know what earstrain can do. We are also assured that children in our schools suffer, by tens of thousands, from defective vision, and are turned into truants, invalids and criminals. Almost the largest percentage of physical disqualifications in our Army were optical-and that under an incredibly low standard. Eyes, then, are not an academic but a vital issue. How is it possible that we fail to investigate to the last point any and every possible means of relief from an evil well-nigh universal?
    This is the question I have naturally been asking, north, south, east and west, for a year past. It seems time now to ask it out loud—in print. Of course I have found excellent people to tell me that my discovery "isn't so," and other excellent people to tell me that "everybody has always known it" anyway, which does not explain to me why "everybody" is still wearing glasses. I was sufficiently interested myself to go and talk with a few of the cured enthusiasts; their attitude is about what mine would be in their case—that of those who were present at the Pool Bethesda and saw the miracle effected. I also had the curiosity to go and talk with the author of the revolutionary theory that eyes can be cured without glasses, himself—Dr. Wm. H. Bates.
    I went to Dr. Bates through streets filled with people wearing glasses, and punctuated at intervals by the signs of oculists, opticians, and makers of optical devices for the near-blind. My own oculist's and optician's offices are usually thronged with a waiting list; it occurred to me that I might find cordons of troops keeping order about Dr. Bates'.  I found neither the cordon nor the crowds. Why?
    Here is a man who is either an absolute benefactor of humanity, or who makes an unfounded claim. He should be given, not for his own sake but for ours, the widest opportunity and the heartiest encouragement to prove or disprove his theory, past all possibility of question. It is indeed so extraordinary that he has not been forcibly summoned to do this before now, by an impatient public, that it can only be accounted for by that ancient disability of the human mind to accept new things if strange—new lamps for old, real shillings sold for sixpence, or truth that is as simple as a lie. Yet, actually, of course, truth is always simple-the only simple thing there is.
    New eyes for old, ladies and gentlemen! Who wants them?
                    STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

        1. Joey and Patsy

         By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    EDITOR'S NOTE.—Mrs. Lierman wore glasses for thirteen years. She was cured six years ago, and has since acted as a very enthusiastic assistant in the laboratory and clinic of the editor. She is not a physician, but obtains results, having never failed to improve the sight of any patient whom she has treated—a wonderful record.

    Joey is a little Italian boy who was struck on the head a few months ago in an automobile accident, and injured in such a way that he became almost totally blind in the left eye. Patsy is Joey's brother, and from him it was learned that when the accident occurred Joey was at the head of his troops, conducting a strategic retreat after a fierce conflict in which he had been obliged to yield to adverse fortune. His face was to the foe and the automobile was behind him. Hence the catastrophe.
    A week later he was brought to the clinic of the Harlem Hospital by his aunt. Dr. Bates examined him and found that he was suffering from optic neuritis and retinal hemorrhages of the left eye, as a result of which the vision of this eye had been reduced to mere light perception.
    The child was now brought to me for treatment, and never have I seen a more forlorn little specimen of humanity. I did not know then that a gang of street boys had once looked up to him as their leader, and I never should have suspected it. There was not the shadow of a smile upon his face, and he had not a word to say. Both his face and his clothes were dirty. The latter were also ragged, while his shoes were full of holes. His teeth were wonderful, however, and beneath the grime on his small countenance one could catch glimpses of the complexion of perfect health. I told him to rest his eyes by closing and covering with the palms of his hands, and after a few minutes he was able to see the largest letter on the test card with his blind eye. I told him to do this six times a day for five minutes at a time, and to come back on the next clinic day.
    The next time I saw him he not only had made no progress, but was as blind as he had been at the beginning. His aunt said:
    "You scold him. Tell him you will keep him here, because he will not palm or do anything he is told to do at home."
    I answered: "You do not wish me to lie to him, do you?" Joey looked up into my face, so sad and worried, waiting for me to defend him again, as his aunt replied: "Well, I will leave him here and not take him home again."
    "All right," I said. "I live in the country, and perhaps Joey would like to go home with me and play in the fields, and watch the birds build their nests, and learn how to smile as little boys should."
    Well now, you should have seen that dirty little face flush up with excitement and pleasure.
    "Joey," I said, "you are going to love me a whole lot, because I love you already; but you must mind what I say, because if you don't you will go blind."
    Joey then consented to palm for a few minutes, and his sight improved so that he was able to see the large letter of the test card three feet away. He now made an effort to see the next line of two letters, but not only did he fail to do so, but he also lost the large letter. The strain had made him blind again.
    How I wish I had more time to spend on a case like this I But the room was full of patients, and more were coming continually. I had to attend to them.  So I asked Joey, very gently, to palm and not take his hands from his eyes until I came back. After ten minutes I returned and asked what he could see. To my surprise he read five lines of the test card with the blind eye. Much encouraged I sent him home, and he promised to palm six times a day.  He stayed away almost a week and I worried about him, for I knew he would forget what I had told him to do. Then one day he turned up with his brother Patsy, who, I believe, is twelve years old. My, how Patsy did talk!  Joey had not a word to say, and did not smile until I asked him to. Patsy said that Joey did not practice, and that his father hit him on the head and threatened him with all sorts of things to make him do so. It was quite evident that he had not practiced. When I asked him to read the card, all he could see was the big letter at the top at three feet.
    Poor little Joey!  I gathered him in my arms, patted his dirty face, and told him that if he would count six fingers for me and practice palming as many times a day I was sure Santa Claus would have some toys for him at Christmas time. Joey was all smiles, and stood with his eyes covered for a long time. When he again looked at the card he read the fifth line. Meantime Patsy was telling me all about the accident in which Joey had been injured, and also all about the rest of the family. His big brother was going to be married, he said, but not until another brother, eighteen years old, was out of prison. Patsy talked like a man and his voice sounded like a foghorn; but I saw that he had a gentle nature and I enlisted him as my little assistant. I asked him if he would not try to get Joey to palm more, and told him that he must always, speak kindly to him. I also asked him to ask his father not to hit Joey on the head again, because that made the hemorrhages worse and Joey would go blind. Bless Patsy's heart! He promised to help me all he could, and I am sure he deserves much of the credit for what I was afterward able to do for Joey.
    After this Joey's progress was steady. He responded to kindness as a flower responds to the sun. But if I ever forgot myself and spoke to him without the utmost gentleness—if I even raised my voice a little—he would at once become nervous and begin to strain. One day I remonstrated with him because he had not done what I had told him, and a few moments later when I asked him to read the test card with his left eye, he said, "I can only see the large letter." I began to pet him, telling him what a great man he might be some day and how important it was for him to see with both eyes. He smiled and palmed, and in a short time he again read five lines of the card.
At a recent visit he was very conspicuous because he had had his face washed. I could see that he wanted me to notice this, which of course I did, giving him high praise for his improved appearance. He smiled and started to palm without being told to, and his sight improved more rapidly than at any previous visit.
    His last visit was a happy one. He saw all of the bottom line at ten feet without palming.
    One day Patsy appeared at the clinic wearing spectacles. "Patsy, for heaven's sake, what are you wearing those things for?" I asked.
    "The nurse in school said I needed glasses and my father paid four dollars for them—but I can see without them."
     His vision without glasses was 20/100. After palming five minutes it improved considerably.
    "Do you want to be cured without glasses?" he was asked.
    "Sure, I don't want to wear them."
    "Well, you ask father's permission and I will cure you." Fortunately, father had no objection, and now Patsy sees much better without glasses than he ever did with them. He says that the blackboard looks blacker than it used to, and that his lessons do not seem so hard. His vision is not normal yet, but after he has rested his eyes for part of a minute, simply by closing them, he can read the bottom line of the test card easily at ten feet.



    When the Lusitania was sunk I knew that the United States was going to get into trouble, and I wanted to be in a position to join the Army. But I was suffering from a high degree of myopia, and I knew they wouldn't take me with glasses. Later on they took almost anyone who wasn't blind, but at that time I couldn't possibly have measured up to the standard. So I began to look about for a cure. 
I tried osteopathy, but didn't go very far with it. I asked the optician who had been fitting me with glasses for advice, but he said that myopia was incurable. I dismissed the matter for a time, but I didn't stop thinking about it. I am a farmer, and I knew from the experience of outdoor life that health is the normal condition of living beings. I knew that when health is lost it can often be regained. I knew that when I first tried to lift a barrel of apples onto a wagon I could not do so, but that after a little practice I became able to do it easily, and I did not see why, if one part of the body could be strengthened by exercise, others could not be strengthened also. I could remember a time when I was not myopic, and it seemed to me that if a normal eye could become myopic, it ought to be possible for a myopic eye to regain normality. After a while I went back to the optician and told him that I was convinced that there must be some cure for my condition. He replied that this was quite impossible, as everyone knew that myopia was incurable. The assurance with which he made this statement had an effect upon me quite the opposite of what he intended, for when he said that the cure of myopia was impossible I knew that it was not, and I resolved never to give up the search for a cure until I found it. Shortly after I had the good fortune to hear of the editor of this magazine, and lost no time in going to see him. At the first visit I was able, just by closing and resting my eyes, to improve my sight considerably for the Snellen test card, and in a short time I was able to make out most of the letters on the bottom line at ten feet. I am still improving, and when I can see a little better I mean to go back to that optician and tell him what I think of his ophthalmological learning.


    A man of forty-four who had worn glasses since the age of twenty was first seen on October 8, 1917, when he was suffering, not only from very Imperfect sight, but from headache and discomfort. He was wearing for the right eye: concave 5.00D.S. with concave 0.50D.C. 180 degrees, and for the left concave 2.50D.S. with concave 1.50D.C. 180 degrees. As his visits were not very frequent and he often went back to his glasses, his progress was slow. But his pain and discomfort were relieved very quickly, and almost from the beginning he had flashes of greatly improved and even of normal vision. This encouraged him to continue, and his progress, though slow, was steady. He has now gone without his glasses entirely for some months. His wife was particularly impressed with the effect of the treatment upon his nerves, and in December, 1919, she wrote:
    "I have become very much interested in the thought of renewing my youth by becoming like a little child. The idea of the mental transition is not unfamiliar, but that this mental, or I should say spiritual, transition should produce a physical effect, which would lead to seeing clearly, is a sort of miracle very possible indeed, I should suppose, to those who have faith.
    "In my husband's case, certainly, some such miracle was wrought, for not only was he able to lay aside his spectacles after many years constant use, and to see to read in almost any light, but I particularly noticed his serenity of mind after treatments. In this serenity he seemed able to do a great deal of work efficiently, and not under the high nervous pressure whose after-effect is the devasting scattering of forces.
    "It did not occur to me for a long time that perhaps your treatment was quieting his nerves. But I think now that the quiet periods of relaxation, two or three times a day, during which he practiced with the letter card, must have had a very beneficial effect. He is so enthusiastic by nature, and his nerves are so easily stimulated, that for years he used to overdo periodically. Of course, his greatly improved eyesight and the relief from the former strain must have been a large factor in this improvement. But I am inclined to think that the intervals of quiet and peace were wonderfully beneficial, and why shouldn't they be? We are living on stimulants, physical stimulants, mental stimulants of all kinds. The minute these stop we feel we are merely existing, and yet if we retain any of the normality of our youth do you not think that we respond very happily to natural simple things?"

                                                                                                           BETTER EYESIGHT


March, 1920


    When the muscles of the eyes are perfectly relaxed all errors of refraction are not only corrected, but abnormal conditions in other parts of the body are also relieved. It is impossible to relax the muscles of the eyes without relaxing every other muscle in the body. When people have colds or influenza the muscles that control the circulation in the affected parts are under a strain, the arteries are contracted, and the heart is not able to force the normal amount of blood through them. The blood consequently accumulates in the veins and produces inflammation. Hence any treatment which relaxes the muscles of the eyes sufficiently to produce central fixation and normal vision will cure colds and influenza. When one palms perfectly, shifts easily, or has a perfect universal swing, not only the muscles which control the refraction, but the muscles of the arteries which control the circulation of the eyes, nose, lungs, kidneys, etc., are relaxed, and all symptoms of influenza, disappear. The nasal discharge ceases as if by magic, the cough is at once relieved, and if the nose has been closed, it opens. Pain, fatigue, fever and chilliness are also relieved. The truth of these statements has been repeatedly demonstrated.
    The Editor is very proud of this discovery which is now published for the first time.
    EDITOR'S NOTE.—The writer of this article, a young man of twenty, was wearing, when first seen, the following glasses, prescribed three years earlier: both eyes, concave 6.50 D. S. combined with concave 3.00 D. C. 180 degrees. He also brought with him, from the Mayo Clinic, a later prescription—right eye, concave 9.00 D. S. combined with 4.50 D. C. 180 degrees; left eye, concave 8.00 D. S. combined with concave 3.00 D. C.—which indicated that there had been a very rapid advance in his myopia. The progress he made in the brief period of six weeks was very unusual.


     By E. E. AGRANOVE

    I was only eight years old when the teacher told me that I couldn't come to school if I didn't get glasses. So, of course; I had to get them, and of course, I hated them. They kept me out of all the games that a boy really likes, such as baseball, and they made me terribly self-conscious.
    Every little while I had to get new and stronger glasses. They were changed eight times in the course of the next nine years, by the end of which time I had what the specialists pronounced to be a very bad case of progressive myopia. After that I refused to make any more changes, for I had lost faith in glasses and wasn't interested in trying new ones.
    Although my eyes kept getting worse all the time, and the specialists said there wasn't a chance of a cure, I always felt sure that sometime I would find a cure, and I tried and investigated everything that seemed to offer any hope of relief. One specialist said that while I couldn't be cured, it would help me to live out of doors. So I gave up my job as a telegrapher, went west and got work in the open air. It didn't do me a bit of good. Then I went in for physical culture; but, while this improved my general health, it didn't help my eyes. I tried osteopathy and chiropractic, but they didn't help either. I read all the literature on the subject that I could find, and the invariable assertion of the authorities that my condition was hopeless did not shake my conviction to the contrary. I even made a trip to Rochester, Minnesota, for the sake of visiting the famous Mayo Clinic, where I expected to find all medical wisdom concentrated. All I got was a prescription for a stronger pair of glasses and a confirmation of the statements of my previous medical advisors, and of the medical books, that myopia was incurable. I remained unconvinced, however.
    I now happened to run across an article in the Literary Digest about a method of curing shortsight by squeezing the eyeball, said to have been used successfully in Paris. I wrote for further information but was told that the article was merely a reprint from La Nature and that the office knew nothing more about it. The editor suggested, however, that I write to Dr. Bates who was making a special study of this problem. I had already heard of Dr. Bates through another source, and I lost no time in following this advice. He assured me that my condition was curable, and as I did not want to go to the expense of going to New York I asked him if he could treat me by correspondence. He replied that while he had cured many patients by correspondence, such treatment was slow and at a little uncertain, and in a case as serious as mine had better not be relied upon. As soon as I was able, therefore, I gathered together all the money that I had and went to New York, in spite of a tremendous amount of opposition and no encouragement whatever. Every doctor and every layman to whom I mentioned my purpose said I was crazy to suppose that shortsight could be cured, when all the books said it was incurable. My brother, who is an optician, was so strong in his opposition that I don't think I should ever have got to New York if I hadn't pretended that I was going for some purpose other than the real one-and even after I got there and was able to write to him that my sight was improving, he kept urging me to come home, telling me that any man who pretended to cure shortsight must be a quack, and that if I imagined I was getting any benefit it was because I had been hypnotized.
    I arrived in New York on December 17, 1919, and went at once to Dr. Bates. When my eyes were tested with the Snellen test card, I found that at twenty feet I could see only the large letter at the top. I could read large print at five and a half inches, but could not read it any nearer or any farther, and could not see diamond type distinctly at any point.
    I put in six hours a day at the office, practicing constantly with the Snellen test card, and at first found it rather discouraging and tiresome. When I tried to palm I saw all the colors of the rainbow instead of black. As I could not see anything perfectly, either at the near-point or the distance, I could not remember anything I saw perfectly. Even my own signature I was unable to visualize. Neither could I imagine that the letters on the card were moving when I shifted from one to another, or from one side of a letter to another.
    At the end of a week, however, I succeeded in getting the swing, becoming able to imagine not only that the letters on the card were swinging, but that my body and everything that I thought of was swinging also. This universal swing soon established itself so thoroughly that I was unable to stop it and the Doctor had to tell me how. I did it by staring at a letter of fine print for a few seconds. After this things began, to go better. As long as I imagined the universal swing I could see black when I palmed and remember it with my eyes open. When I imagined it on the street it was as if a fog had lifted, or the sun had come out from behind a cloud. My sight improved rapidly, and I began to find the practice extremely interesting. I never got bored or sleepy, and, in fact, never had such a good time in my life.
    Besides improving my sight the swing did many other things for me. I had never done any running before coming to New York, but I now began to experiment with that form of exercise, not expecting in the least to distinguish myself. In a week, however, I was able to run eleven miles, without fatigue or loss of breath, and without even feeling sore or stiff afterward. This I attributed to the swing, which I kept up all the time I was running. When I did not do this, I quickly became tired. One day I had to visit a chiropodist to have an ingrowing nail treated. The first touch was excruciatingly painful. Then the chiropodist turned away to get an instrument, and I began to swing. When he resumed work I felt no pain, and the operation was finished painlessly. Even loneliness seemed to flee before this imaginary rhythmical movement, and it has now become so necessary to my existence that I would even be willing to go back to the hated glasses rather than be without it.
    When I left New York on December 31 I was able to make out some of the letters on the bottom line of the test card at twenty feet and to read diamond type at from four to eighteen inches, while my eyes, which had previously been inflamed and partly closed, were clear and wide open. Incidentally my memory, which had previously been so poor as to cause me great inconvenience, and for which I had taken several memory courses in vain, had improved as much as my eyesight.

                     STORIES FROM THE CLINIC  
                                    2.   A Case of Cataract

                             By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    One day as I entered the clinic I found a little white haired woman waiting patiently to be treated. I had not seen her before, and did not know what her trouble was. The usual crowd of patients was waiting for Dr. Bates and myself, so when he said to me, "See what you can do for this woman," I did not ask any questions, for I knew that whatever the condition of her eyes relaxation would help her.
    I placed her four feet from the test card, at which distance she read the forty line (read by the eye with normal vision at forty feet), and told her how to rest her eyes by palming and how to avoid staring by shifting from one side of a letter to another. These practices helped her so much that before she left she was able to read the thirty line.
    Later I learned that she had first seen Dr. Bates in March, 1919, and that she had incipient cataract of both eyes. In October, 1916, she had visited another dispensary where an operation was advised when the cataracts were ripe. I also learned that in spite of her seventy-three years she worked hard every day for her living, being employed in an orphan asylum where she mended the children's clothes. The fact that she was very deaf I saw for myself, of course, at the first interview, for I had to scream to make her hear. Her courage and cheerfulness under circumstances that might have daunted the bravest spirit were amazing. Her face was always radiant with smiles, and she was so witty, and so appreciative of everything that was done for her, that each one of her visits to the clinic was a pleasure to me.
    "I have so much to be thankful for," she said one day. "I know I will see all right again. They are waiting to operate at the other dispensary, and I am waiting to fool them."
    The orphanage is about two miles from the clinic, and often she walks the entire distance rather than bother waiting for a car. She insists after these feats that she isn't a bit tired. One day there were no cars running and the walking was so bad that a friend urged her not to go out unless she was prepared to swim. She came just as usual, however. Why should she stay in, she asked, because other people were afraid to go out. She wasn't tired either, and she hadn't even got her feet wet. She just dodged the snowdrifts.
    Most patients frown when they cannot see a letter, but my little cataract patient smiles instead and remarks cheerfully, "That's the time you got me."
    One day she did not do as well as usual, and I found that the people in the place where she worked had been saying unpleasant things. I told her she must try not to let things of this sort disturb her, because that made her strain and made the cataracts worse.
    "Well," she said, "it is mighty hard not to worry; but I'll try not to."
    At a recent visit she explained that she wouldn't he able to do very well because she hadn't had time to practice.
    "Never mind," I said. "Just do as well as you can." Without her knowing it I placed her two feet farther from the card than usual. Then I told her to palm, and after a short time I pointed to a small letter on the bottom line and asked her if she could see it. She recognized it immediately. Then I pointed to another, but she was so eager to see it that she tried too hard and failed. She closed her eyes for a few minutes without palming, and when she opened them she read the whole line. I then told her that she was two feet farther away from the card than she usually was. She was very happy about this and said, "That's the time you fooled me."
    She has since become able to read the bottom line at ten feet, and one day she read it at eleven feet, without knowing it and without having done any practicing at home. On sunshiny days she can read the "W. H. Bates, M.D." on Dr. Bates' card, and for over a month she has done all her sewing without glasses. There is no doubt that she is going to fool them at the other dispensary.
    Along with the improvement in her eyes has gone a considerable improvement in her hearing. Noises in her ears which she describes as a "ringing and a singing" are promptly relieved by palming, and she says that the relief, which at first was only temporary, is now becoming more constant. She also says that she hears conversation better than she used to.

              HOW I WAS CURED

              By VICTORIA COOLIDGE

    EDITOR'S NOTE.—This is the first of a series of articles by the same author.  Next month she will tell us how she cured other people. Owing to her high degree of hypermetropia, her own cure is particularly interesting.
    When I went to see Dr. Bates I had been wearing glasses for twenty-six years. A prescription for glasses given to me in 1899 read: right eye, convex 5.00 D. S. combined with convex 0.50 D. C. 180 degrees; left eye, convex 5.00 D. S. combined with convex 1.00 D. C. 180 degrees. Another given to me in 1917 read nearly the same. I had consulted five different eye specialists, some of them several times, and they all told me the same thing—very poor sight caused by malformation of the eyeball and no possibility of cure.
    Fortunately, I was only a child when I first put on glasses, and these statements, instead of discouraging me, made me feel that I was very important and should be the envy of all my schoolmates. As I grew older, however, I began to have headaches; so I had my glasses changed and my home study was reduced to one hour. As the changing of my glasses meant, at that time, a trip out of town, both parts of the treatment were very pleasant-more pleasant than effective, for the headaches continued.
    Each time the eye specialist gave me stronger glasses, and gradually my vision for distant objects became worse and worse. When I went to the theatre I could not see the faces of the actors distinctly unless I sat as near as the fifth or sixth row from the stage; and when I discussed the play with the persons who accompanied me, the accuracy with which they could describe the features and expressions of the actors, without the aid of eyeglasses or opera-glasses, seemed unbelievable. The feeling of depression which I experienced on these occasions, however, was only momentary, and on the whole I was resigned to my fate.
    But resignation was not so complete as to dull entirely my sense of ocular deformity; and, especially when I had had some fresh reminder of it in the shape of a headache, or inability to finish a book because of tired eyes, I searched the magazines eagerly for discoveries about the eye. I felt sure that science had not said the last word about that subject. In January, 1915, my attention was called to an article entitled New Light Upon Our Eyes, in the Scientific American, and I lost no time in reading it. you may be sure the article stated that Dr. Bates, who was already well known to the scientific world as the discoverer of adrenalin, had made a series of experiments on animals, the results of which struck at the very foundations of the present method of treating errors of refraction. They indicated, in short, that the lens is not a factor in accommodation, and that the deviations from the normal in the shape of the eyeball which produce errors of refraction are caused by a strain of the extrinsic muscles. As soon as the strain is removed, by perfect relaxation, the eyeball resumes its normal shape and there is no error of refraction. The remedy, therefore, was not to put glasses before the eyes, but to remove the strain which caused the abnormal action of the outside muscles.
    The morning after reading the article I took off my glasses, and tried to knit, but put them on more quickly than I had taken them off, for my sight was so poor without them that I made several mistakes and experienced a feeling of nausea. I believe that I had never until that moment realized how very poor my sight had become. I began to leave off my glasses whenever I had no close work to do, in spite of the fact that I had been warned by one eye specialist never to let them leave my nose during waking hours, and I determined to see Dr. Bates the very next time I came to New York.
    The following August I called on Dr. Bates. I was prepared to make any sacrifice, or to spend any amount of time—five years, ten years—it didn't matter, if my eyes were only getting better all the time instead of worse. The only thing that troubled me was the fear that he might tell me that my case was hopeless. This thought was so prominent in my mind, in fact, that I told him at once that I was afraid he could do nothing for me. I wanted him to know that I was prepared, so that if I must hear my doom I might hear it without delay.
      After making a careful examination of my eyes, Dr. Bates asked me what was the lowest line that I could read on the test card. I found that I could read the thirty line at a distance of fourteen feet. Then he asked me if I could see anything on the line below. I said I could see the hollow square. Then he directed me to close my eyes, remembering how the square looked, I was able to do that, and he next directed me to look at the blank wall, still remembering the square; while I was doing so, he examined my eyes again with a retinoscope and found them normal. When the strain was removed from my eyes by remembering the square perfectly and looking at the blank wall without trying to see anything, my vision became normal. The impossible had evidently been accomplished. For a few moments, at least, the lopsided eyeballs with their consequent errors of refraction had been miraculously rounded out. Dr. Bates now asked me to close my eyes, and then left me for about fifteen minutes. When he returned, he handed me one of his professional cards and asked me if I could read anything on it. It seemed to me, I remember, a very foolish question because I had previously told him that I could read nothing without glasses. A newspaper looked like a big gray blur, and the harder I tried to see it the more blurred it became. However, I took the card and tried to read it, but, as I expected, without success.   So he asked me to close my eyes again, this time covering them with the palms of my hands, and thinking of the blackest thing I could    remember, which happened to be black paint. I did this for perhaps twenty minutes. After this he gave me the same card again, and directed me to hold it close to my eyes, about six inches, and to look alternately at the top and bottom of the letters. Much to my amazement and joy, a "B" came out clearly enough for me to recognize it. I kept on in this way, occasionally closing my eyes, until I could see "Bates," "Dr. W. H. Bates." and finally the telephone numbers printed in small type. I felt as if I were in a dream, or as if I must be some one else. I lived in the clouds for the rest of the day, but somehow managed to get in some palming and some practice with the Snellen card.
    The next day I did better, and I have kept on improving ever since. The best of it is that every gain is permanent. Dr. Bates told me that I would never have to wear glasses again, but I kept them near me for two or three weeks in case of emergency, just as Dr. Manette, in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, used to keep his shoemaking tools and bench at hand in the event of his relapsing into his disordered state of mind. I never had to use them, however, and about six months ago I sold them for old gold. My vision is now 20/20 in a good light and 20/30 in any light, and I can read diamond type at six inches.

                                                                                                    AFTER GLASSES FAILED

                By FLORENCE MILLER

    I began to wear glasses when I was fifteen years old, and wore them unchanged for seven years. Then I went to another specialist who gave me new ones—stronger, I suppose. I wore these for a year, and then, not feeling quite comfortable in them, I consulted a third specialist, who changed them again. These lenses I wore for four years, by the end of which time I had begun to have constant though not severe headaches. I went back to the third specialist a second time, but he said he could not improve upon the lenses I was wearing, and I went on having the headaches, which gradually became worse until sometimes I had to go to bed with them.
    One day my son, ten years old, came home and said that the teacher had told him that he needed glasses. Naturally I did not wish to see him wearing spectacles if there was any way of avoiding it, and as my husband, who is a physician, had recently heard Dr. Bates read a paper at a medical society on his method of curing errors of refraction without glasses. I took my boy to see him. Dr. Bates not only assured me that the child could be cured, but improved his sight markedly at the first visit. Then he turned to me and said:
    "I can cure you, too."
    "But I couldn't possibly go without glasses," I said; "I get such awful headaches when I do."
    "Do you want to be cured very much?" he asked.
    "I would do anything in this world," I said, "to be cured."
    "If so," he answered, "I can cure you, and you will be able to go without your glasses without getting headaches."
    "What do you want me to do?" I asked.
    "I want you to take off your glasses," he said, "and come and see me every day for a while."
    I took the glasses off, and have never worn or wanted them since. Just what became of them I don't know. My impression is that I gave them to the doctor and that he put them in a cabinet where he deposits treasures of that kind. He says he told me to throw them in the ash-can, and that I afterwards said I had done so. At any rate I am sure that I never put them or any other glasses before my eyes since that day.
    This was on July 14, 1914, and my vision, as tested by the Snellen test card without glasses, was 20/200 in each eye. The doctor said I had compound myopic astigmatism and that my glasses were concave 0.50 D. S. combined with concave 1.50 D. C. 180 degrees.  It was troublesome and tedious learning to see. For two months I went to see Dr. Bates nearly every day, and he spent half an hour or more with me. For another two months I went twice a week. Since then I have continued to practice more or less regularly with the test card. But the results have been worth all the trouble.
    Most of the practice time I spent simply resting my eyes by closing them, or by covering them with the palms of my hands, then looking at the test card for a moment and resting again.  The doctor told me that when I looked at a letter on the test card and did not see one part of it better than the rest I was immediately to look away and rest my eyes. He also recommended me to imagine that I saw one part of a letter best with the eyes open and closed alternately. In this way I finally became able to look at each and every letter on the card and see one part of it best, when my vision became normal, and even double what is ordinarily considered normal.
    On July 20, less than a week after I began to take the treatment, I was able to read most of the letters on the bottom line of the test card at twenty feet (20/10), and in two weeks I could read all of them. At first I was able to do this only temporarily, but gradually I became able to hold the letters longer. On August 12  I was able to report that for the first time in years I had not had a headache for a whole week.  By September 2  I was able to read and sew as much as I liked without any discomfort in my eyes. When I wore glasses the theatre and movies had always hurt my eyes terribly, but instead of advising me to stay away from these places, Dr. Bates urged me to go to the movies and look at them just as I did at the test card—that is, by alternating vision with rest. I was to look first at the corner of the screen, then off to the dark, then a little nearer the center, and so forth. In this way I soon became able to look directly at the pictures without discomfort.
    For the last five years my sight has steadily improved. My form of astigmatism was such as to positively obliterate all horizontal lines. To see such lines at all I had to turn my head, or the object. Lines of music would hold only a minute or less. I have gradually become able to hold these lines longer and longer, and now I never lose them unless very tired. As for headaches I have had none at all during these years that could not be accounted for by indigestion or neuralgia, and very few even of these.
    Last Spring I went to see Dr. Bates about an ulcer on my cornea. He tested my sight and found it, even under these conditions, better than normal.
In later issues of Better Eyesight Magazine Dr. Bates states that glasses can be worn, only if necessary for emergencies and the vision can still improve, but glasses will slow and can block, reverse vision improvement.
Modern teachers state; if eyeglasses are necessary for work, driving… wear reduced weaker lenses, continually reducing the eyeglass strength until the vision is clear enough to discontinue use of the glasses.  Wear only when necessary.
Continue shifting, central fixation, Bates Method bas when wearing the glasses and when without glasses.

                          BETTER EYESIGHT


                     April, 1920


    All methods of curing errors of refraction are simply different ways of obtaining rest.
    Different persons do this in different ways. Some patients are able to rest their eyes simply by closing them, and complete cures have been obtained by this means, the closing of the eyes for a longer or shorter period being alternated with looking at the test card for a moment. In other cases patients have strained more when their eyes were shut than when they were open. Some can rest their eyes when all light is excluded from them by covering with the palms of the hands; others cannot, and have to be helped by other means before they can palm. Some become able at once to remember or imagine that the letters they wish to see are perfectly black, and with the accompanying relaxation their vision immediately becomes normal. Others become able to do this only after a considerable time.  Shifting is a very simple method of relieving strain, and most patients soon become able to shift from one letter to another, or from one side of a letter to another in such a way that these forms seem to move in a direction opposite to the movement of the eye. A few are unable to do this, but can do it with a mental picture of a letter, after which they become able to do it visually.
    Patients who do not succeed with any particular method of obtaining rest for their eyes should abandon it and try something else. The cause of the failure is strain, and it does no good to go on straining.  Different treatments are needed for certain individuals. Each person has their own thoughts, experiences.  Certain treatments work best that match the personality, mind of the patient.

                                                              HOW I HELPED OTHERS
                             By VICTORIA COOLIDGE

    When I had become able to read without glasses, and my headaches had become less and less frequent, and less severe each time, I was so enthusiastic over my experience that I was anxious to help others. My brother was my first patient. He was so much interested in what had been done for me that he wanted to try it himself; but I never dreamed of being able to help him, because his eyes were almost as bad as my own had been, his glasses being: right eye convex 3.25 D.S.; left eye, convex 3.75 D.S. combined with 0.50 D.C., 180 degrees. However, I knew the treatment could do no harm, so I decided that I would try to show him as nearly as I could what Dr. Bates had done for me. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found that he, too, by holding the fine print six inches from his eyes and looking alternately at the top and bottom of the letters, became able to read it just as I had become able to do so. He proved to be a model pupil as soon as he had demonstrated to his own satisfaction that he must leave off his glasses all the time if he wanted to make any appreciable progress. He has now done without them for about a year, and has made remarkable progress in that time, the secret of his success being a great desire to be cured, an intelligent grasp of the idea of central fixation, and perseverance in practicing central fixation at every possible opportunity.
    The next person I was able to help was a friend who, while visiting me, happened to notice the Snellen test card hanging on the wall. She asked me what I was doing with it, and I explained, adding that she was very fortunate in having normal vision. "I thought I had," she said, "but I have had so many headaches that I consulted an eye specialist the other day and he gave me glasses." She was so displeased to think she had to wear them, and had found it so difficult to get used to seeing with them, that I asked her if she would like to try Dr. Bates' treatment without glasses. She said that she would jump at the chance. I told her to read the card every day at ten, fifteen, and twenty feet, and to palm whenever she had a headache. That was in August. On December 19 she telephoned that she had practiced reading the card every day, that she had had no trouble with headaches, and that she was reading 20/10 easily with the better eye, and fairly well with the other. Shortly after she began the treatment herself, she was able to improve the vision of a child nine years old from 20/50 to 20/20.
    It has been many times pointed out in this magazine that children under twelve years of age who have never worn glasses are easily cured; and so for the past month I have been trying to see what I could do for such children, and for some who were older—including two who had worn glasses, one some time previously and the other up to the time I began to treat her. I have worked with six and they have all improved. One girl, fifteen, who had worn glasses a few years ago for imperfect sight in one eye, but who had discarded them, improved in a half hour from 20/70 to 20/50, by alternating palming, or sometimes just closing her eyes, and then reading the Snellen test card. This improvement was permanent.
    Another girl, sixteen, had worn glasses for a year, chiefly for headache, she said, although her vision in both eyes was but 20/200. As she could read without her glasses without much difficulty, she was only too glad to take them off, as most girls of that age are, but she was afraid of the headaches. I asked her to try it, and she has done so for about three weeks, during which time her vision improved to 20/70 and she had no headaches.
    The following is the record of four little girls who have improved by reading the Snellen test card daily, and palming:
Catherine’s vision afterwards (January 22) improved to 20/20.  The case of Sylvia was so interesting that it will be treated in more detail next month. 

                                                                                       STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

                                                                             3. Retinitis Pigmentosa

                                                                                                     By EMILY C. LIERMAN   

I am not a physician, and I know very little about the disease of the eyes known as retinitis pigmentosa except how to relieve it. I have been told that in this condition spots of black pigment are deposited in the retina, that parts of the retina are destroyed, and that the nerve of sight is diseased. Eye books which describe the disease say that it usually begins in childhood, and progresses very slowly until it ends in complete blindness. The field of vision is contracted, and, because they cannot see objects on either side of them, patients frequently stumble against such objects. In most cases the vision is much worse at night than in the daytime. The books say further that no treatment is known which helps these cases. Nevertheless Dr. Bates reported, in the New York Medical Journal of February 3, 1917, a case of retinitis pigmentosa which had been materially benefited through treatment by relaxation, and by the use of the same methods, I have been able to greatly improve the sight in several cases of the same kind.
    My first case of retinitis pigmentosa was Pauline, a little girl of twelve who came to the clinic in October, 1917. At five feet from the card she could read only the seventy line, and her eyes vibrated continually from side to side, a condition known as nystagmus. She was very shy and extremely nervous, and appealed to me pathetically for glasses, so that she could see the blackboard, and the teacher would not think her stupid and make fun of her. I have noticed that eye patients often suffer from extreme nervousness; but this poor child had the worst case of nerves I ever saw, and the slightest agitation made her sight worse. If, in asking her to read a line on the test card, I raised my voice and spoke a little peremptorily, her face would flush, and she would say, "I cannot see anything now." But just as soon as I lowered my voice and took pains to speak gently, her sight cleared up.

    I began her treatment by telling her to cover her eyes with the palms of her hands and remember the letters she had seen on the card. This improved her sight so much that before she left she was able to see all the fifty line at five feet, and—what thrilled me most of all—the dreadful movement of her eyes had stopped. She came quite steadily to the clinic, and every time she came I was able to improve her sight, so that at last she became able to read the writing on the blackboard at school.
    Then I did not see her again for six months. When she came back she told me that she had been working in a laundry during the summer because she hated school. She had also been ill during the summer, and her mother had taken her to a hospital for treatment. While she was there an eye specialist had looked at her eyes, and this made her so nervous that they had started to vibrate from side to side. He said to her:
    "You ought to have your eyes treated; they are very bad."
    "I am having them treated at the Harlem Hospital Clinic," she answered. "I know how to stop that vibration."
    Then she palmed for a while and when she uncovered and opened her eyes the doctor looked at them again.
    "Why they seem all right now," he said. "You had better go to that doctor until you are cured. He can do more for you than I can." 

     I was very much pleased to find that in spite of having stayed away so long, she had not forgotten what I had told her, and was able to stop her nystagmus. I tested her sight, and found that it was no worse than when I had last seen her. In fact, in some ways, it was better. She was not so nervous, and she said that her family and friends noticed that her eyes looked better. She herself was now very enthusiastic and anxious to have me help her. I told her to palm as usual, and left her to treat other patients. Five minutes later she read the thirty line at thirteen feet. I now told her to look first to the right of the card and then to the left, and to note that it appeared to move in a direction opposite to the movement of her eyes, then to close her eyes and remember this movement. She did this, and when she opened her eyes she read two letters on the twenty line. At a later visit she read the whole of the twenty line at thirteen feet.

    The last patient I treated for this dreadful disease was an old man of seventy. He came to the clinic on January 14, 1920, and when I first saw him, he was standing with many others, waiting patiently for Dr. Bates to speak to him. Our work has to be done very rapidly, because of the very short time we have to treat so many patients, and I very seldom have time to observe individuals as I would like to do. But because of his unusual appearance, I at once singled this dear old man out from the crowd. Most men of his age who come to our clinic are unkempt, dirty and ragged—pitiable objects generally. But this man was well groomed. His clothes, though worn and old, were well brushed; his shoes were polished, his collar clean, his tie neatly adjusted. He had a great abundance of snow-white hair, neatly parted and brushed, and his skin was like a baby's, "pink and white."
    Dr. Bates asked me to treat him with the usual remark, "See what you can do for this man," and I placed him four feet from the card, asking him to read what he could.
    "I'm afraid I can't see so well, ma'am," he said; "my eyes bother me a good deal."
    "I'm going to show you how to rest your eyes so that they won't bother you," I answered.
    The best he could do at this distance was to read the fifty line. I told him to palm, and in less than five minutes he saw a number of letters on the forty line. The next time he came I put him nine feet from the card, and at this distance he read all the letters on the thirty line. He was so happy and excited over this that I became excited too. I forgot that I had other patients waiting for me and encouraged him to talk, a thing which I am seldom able to do with the patients. I was glad afterward that I did so for he had a wonderful story to tell.
    "Do you know, ma'am," he said, "for two nights I palmed and rested my eyes for a long time before I went to bed—and what do you think?—I slept all the night through without waking up once. Now I think that's great, ma'am, because for years I have had insomnia. I would sleep only a little while; then I would get up and smoke my pipe to pass the time."
    At a later visit I put him twelve feet from the card, and at this distance also he was able to read the thirty line. When I told him what he had done he was again greatly pleased and excited.
    "You know I'm so much better," he said, "that I didn't even notice that I was further away than usual. Thank you, ma'am. God bless you, ma'am."
    During the practice, when he failed to see a letter I was pointing to, I said:
    "Close your eyes and tell me the color of your grandchild's eyes."
    "Blue. ma'am." he said.
    "Keep your eyes covered, keep remembering the color of baby's eyes."
    He did this, and after a few minutes his sight cleared up and he saw the letter. After we had finished the practice I again encouraged him to talk, and he told me more about his insomnia.
    "Do you know, ma'am," he said, "after I had had two night's sleep without waking up I didn't dare tell any of my family about it, for fear that it wouldn't last and I would only disappoint them. So I waited. Now, do you know, ma'am, it is just two weeks that I have slept the night through without waking up once, and so I told my wife about it. She is so happy, ma'am, I just can't tell you, for it has been many years since I was able to do that."
    I wish I could have a picture of his face when he is telling of the improvement in his eyesight and general health. It would be a picture of gentleness, love, kindness and gratitude.
    Recently he looked up into my face and said: "I am seeing you better now, ma'am. You look younger."
    In two months his vision improved from 10/200 to 10/30. As he made but eight visits in this time, I feel that this record is remarkable. I also feel that the statements in the books about the impossibility of doing anything for patients with retinitis pigmentosa are in need of modification.

                       PERFECT SIGHT WITHOUT GLASSES


   EDITOR'S NOTE.—The author of the following article is engaged in literary work which compels her to use her eyes constantly for reading and writing. When first seen she was wearing the following glasses: right eyes, convex 1.50 D.S.; left eye, convex 1.25 D.C.
    One of several problems which long disturbed my mind, both consciously and subconsciously, was whether the distressing condition of my eyes was caused by bodily ailments, or my general state of ever-present weariness was due to trouble with the eyes. Without glasses, my eyes felt blurred and strained; after wearing them for a time, the immediate relief was succeeded by increased weariness and a desire to throw them far away. Often I thought, "How happy would I be if I never again had to put on my glasses!"
    My problem has now been solved. The haunting spectre of anxiety which stalked ever at my side has vanished, and I have entered upon a state of beatific bliss and satisfaction with life in general. I have acquired perfect vision without glasses, and at the same time a relaxed state of once over-strained nerves which gives me a glimpse of what heaven may hold in store for world-weary mortals.
    A visit to Dr. Bates wrought this seeming miracle, so far beyond any hope or expectations in which I had ever dared to indulge that I now confess, as an article of faith, that hereafter I shall always believe that everything is possible.
    The first treatment occupied not more than half an hour, but in that brief time I passed from inability to read type of medium size, except at arm's length, to reading type less than half the size and at a proximity to the eye which formerly had made the letters absolutely illegible.
    My recollections of the entire treatment are by no means consecutive nor complete, but the results were more than conclusive that the basic principle must be sound.
    After some preliminary tests with charts, Dr. Bates informed me that there was nothing wrong with my eyes. This in itself was a tremendous relief, as it immediately suggested the possibility of benefit by means other than the wearing of nerve-racking eyeglasses.
    "Close your eyes and rest them," I was told.
    The closing was at once accomplished, but the resting process proved to be more elusive. Almost at once the eyelids began to twitch so constantly that only with great difficulty was I able to keep the eyes closed at all. Upon opening them, the letters on the test card were very much blurred, and suggestive of little dancing figures.
    Instructions followed to close the eyes again and, first, to remember the white of starch; then the black of coal. When the eyes were reopened from the blackness, they felt distinctly rested and it was possible to read lines upon the card which previously had been very unclear.
    "Now close your eyes and remember an agreeable color—the green of trees, of grass, the color of flowers."
    This I did, seeing the green leaves of oak trees with sunlight upon them, the blue of a river glimmering beyond; brighter green of grass on a hillside; yellow flowers with fine-fringed petals upon which had alighted a butterfly of deeper yellow; reddish-yellow tiger-lilies; pink roses, red roses, yellow roses; blue sky with cumulus cloud masses.
    Upon opening my eyes, the first line of printing on a card which had been much blurred at a distance of, say nine inches, could now be read with ease. The card was then brought three inches nearer, with the result that the printing once more became indistinct.
    Directions now followed to close the eyes and again remember a color. After some hesitation, I brought to my mind yellow, but the eyes did not feel rested, as on the former occasion. This I thought might be due to the effort to concentrate upon an object of that color - a curtain of yellow hanging in my apartment. My comment to this effect met the response that I must not make any effort, that all effort was bad for the eyes.
    Another instruction was to close the eyes, covering them with the cupped palm, fingers crossed lightly upon the brow, with no pressure upon the eye itself, and to remember black. This is called "palming." The blackness at first was filled with swirling, grayish, elongated globules, and the eyelids twitched. No other color was visible, and these swirling particles gradually became less apparent.
    "Now remember a black point, or period, and imagine it swinging like a pendulum."
    My first attempt was a failure, but I finally succeeded and, to my amazement, found upon opening the eyes that I was able to read diamond type on a small card held at a distance of six inches from the eyes. This really surpassed everything else, for formerly the person who held anything before my eyes at this close range had inflicted positive suffering upon me, and was usually greeted with an expression of ill-suppressed irritation, for the attempt to focus the eyes at this point produced at once a feeling of nausea.
    A peep into the mirror showed my eyes much clearer and less filled with weariness than I had been accustomed to see them after hours of sleep. Completely convinced of the uselessness of wearing aids to eyes that did not aid but only irritated, I went home to consign the hated glasses to the darkest and deepest corner of my "Botany Bay" trunk. They have lain there undisturbed for over a year. I have never since that day felt the need of them, and my eyes have performed without fatigue tasks which would have been quite beyond them in the days when I depended on eye-crutches. One day recently when I had to finish a piece of work in a limited time, I worked at my typewriter from nine in the morning until four the following morning, only stopping for meals, and my eyes were just as fresh when I finished as when I began.


    The testimony of the following letter to the value of the experiences of patients recently published in this magazine is very interesting. The statements about the effect of central fixation upon the desire for sleep are also significant, and the facts have been duplicated in many other cases.
    I am keenly interested in this medium through which your discoveries and the experiences of your patients are made known to the public. My eyesight is improving steadily, and I find that I am grasping and applying the principles set forth in your magazine more intelligently every day.
    I have improved physically and mentally since I started the exercises. Ever since I can remember, I have had the greatest difficulty in rousing myself from a very heavy sleep in the morning into which I seem to fall after a night of constant dreaming. As a result, I feel heavy with fatigue and positively stupid mentally. One doctor whom I consulted said that these nocturnal disturbances were due to indigestion, or a bad conscience! I told him I guessed it was both!
    As soon as I awaken in the morning now, I start my exercises and after palming, flashing and swinging, I feel as if a fog had lifted and as if I were suddenly released from a weight that had held me down. I start the day with a clear mind and a buoyant energy that enables me to accomplish twice as much as I used to. This has been a very interesting experience to me, and a very curious one. I suppose some mental scientists would say that I forget my fatigue because I focus my attention and interest on something else, which may be true to a certain extent, but not wholly, because it does not explain the sudden clear vision and physical freedom of which I immediately become conscious.

                                                           BETTER EYESIGHT


                                                                                                            May, 1920

                              Fine Print a Benefit to the Eye

               Its Effect the Exact Contrary of What Has been Supposed

  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.

     Fine Print a Benefit to the Eye

     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.

  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 above specimen, 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. 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 [see Halos, February number] the sight always improves.

              MY HEADACHES 

                          By R. Ruiz Arnau, M.D.

    From my childhood until about three years ago—I am now forty-six—I suffered from headaches, periods of intense supraorbital pain lasting from twenty-four to thirty-six hours, unless relieved by repeated doses of some derivative of antipyrin. A notable feature of these attacks was their regularity; every six days—seven at the most—I would awake with a feeling of discomfort near the right temple, the forerunner of immediate torment. Unless relieved by the use of a sedative, varying according to the time and also the results or lack of results obtained from previous doses, the painful paroxysm, with all its train of nausea, eructation, polyuria, excessive sensitiveness to light and noise, and complete incapacity for physical or mental activity, would run its course, producing a condition truly unbearable for one or two days. In the intervals between the attacks I was absolutely normal, and even accomplished more, perhaps, than the ordinary person, thus compensating for the time lost by headache. Under these conditions I went through my studies at the high school and took my medical course. Thereafter, for a period of about twenty years, I followed the profession of an active general practitioner, wrote many articles and several books, always subject to the terrible prospect of the period of migraine, which unfailingly appeared with invariable regularity.
    As I enjoyed, or thought I enjoyed, perfect vision, I lived to the age of thirty-three accepting the idea of hereditary rheumatic migraine; my mother suffered from similar headaches all her life, and so also did my sisters. I had been told that if the headaches were due to such a cause, they would be modified, or disappear, after thirty years of age, some other indisposition, perhaps, taking their place. With that hope I almost wished the years to pass quickly, so that I might not only be free from an excessively painful malady, but be able to devote myself to the intense mental labor to which my vocation and tastes had always inclined me. My thirtieth birthday came and went, however, with no cessation of the headaches and no diminution in their severity.
    With the passing of the years, too, came a desire to cultivate a specialty requiring deep, constant and careful theoretical and practical work. For this purpose it was necessary for me to read a number of books printed in small type, and as my professional work, then very arduous, left me but little free time, I had to read them at all hours and in all places, often in moving vehicles. In the space of a few months, my age being then thirty-four, I found my sight ruined, constituting a new factor in my (supposedly) inherited disorders. Immediately on beginning to read I would experience ocular fatigue and a feeling of discomfort in the eyeballs, and this aggravated the headaches, although I was now in the fourth decade of my life, the period at which I had hoped for relief.
    I had recourse, naturally, to an oculist, a friend of mine to whom I was accustomed to send special cases, and with whose aptness and efficiency I had always been satisfied. He examined my eyes with great care, and concluded that I had a slight hypermetropic error in both, with a slight degree of astigmatism in one. He prescribed lenses to correct only half my defect, as is customary in such cases, and after several changes, owing to the difficulty of fitting the astigmatic eye, I secured a pair of glasses which I was able to endure for a year.
    Their use convinced me that the head troubles from which I had suffered during my whole life, in spite of their mathematical regularity and their supposedly rheumatic origin, had never been anything but an eloquent expression of what Anglo-Saxons term "eyestrain." As soon as I began to wear the glasses all the features of the old pains were radically modified. Their regularity ceased, and they were converted into painful disturbances of irregular occurrence, connected with work requiring use of the eyes at the near-point and completely independent of other causes. If I did not read, I would be all right indefinitely; if I used my eyes for close work for even a short time, I knew that I would suffer for it, some hours later, with a period of ocular pain or headache. In a word, the trouble became a necessary consequence of visual activity and lost its old appearance of a syndrome, established, recurrent, classical, only remotely connected with the use of the eyes.   Glasses can change a headache into other types of headaches.
    But the fact remained that the wearing of glasses had not cured my malady. I had, it is true, got rid of the old periodical migraine, but I was left with perpetual attacks of ocular and supraorbital pain, almost continuous, though never very intense. This change I almost regretted; for when I suffered from periodical headaches I had had five good consecutive days, during which it was possible for me to do sustained intellectual work. Now prolonged application was impossible, and I feared that an ailment resulting in almost continuous pain would, in time, lead to a serious state of neurasthenia.
    At thirty-eight years of age my trouble began to be complicated with presbyopia; and here began, if I may say so, the second Odyssey of my ocular problem. In order to read I had to increase the strength of my glasses, and this involved the use of hideous bifocals. With three different pairs of glasses in my pocket and one on my nose—one for distance, one for reading, a tinted pair to moderate the intense sunlight of the tropics where I lived, and bifocals for special occasions—I found my troubles daily increasing. I could not escape from the optician, who was continually changing the refractive power of the lenses, as none of them ever suited me, and I did not cease to annoy my good friend, the oculist, who, with singular patience, listened to my complaints and tried to help me.
    Once during this time I had occasion to visit New York, and while there I consulted a famous eye specialist. In no way was he able to mitigate my sufferings, and I returned, more confused than ever, to my country, Porto Rico, and almost decided, in view of the increasing difficulty of keeping up the struggle, to give up professional life and devote myself to some work of a rural nature which would not require of my poor eyes the insupportable effort of reading the small print of periodicals and medical books.
    I must add that at this time I suffered from several attacks of swelling of the upper eyelid of one or the other eye, lasting for four or five days and having no appreciable cause; that on two occasions I had an inflammation of the margins of the lids, followed the second time by a combined inflammation of both eyes and lids; while the last condition left after it a little ulcer of the right cornea, near the pupil, which required more than two months treatment on the part of my patient and capable oculist.
    Another detail which I do not wish to forget is that during the whole time that I wore glasses, about nine years, and even for some months after discarding them, I frequently noticed the phenomenon known as "floating specks." These I never noticed before wearing glasses.  Glasses cause all these eye problems!
    I had reached a state bordering on desperation when, in September, 1916, professional work took me again to New York, accompanying one of my patients to whom I had recommended X-ray treatment by a well-known specialist of the great city. On the occasion of our visits the old doctor and I used to discuss the latest advances in electrotherapy, and he called my attention to some notable cases of cure brought about by this means. One day it occurred to me to say to him:
    "Well, friend doctor, all that is very fine, but the wonder that is to cure my particular ill has not yet been discovered."
    "What do you mean? What is the matter with you?" 
     I recounted at great length the history of my eyes.
 The doctor laughed, left his office for a few minutes, and on returning said to me:
    "Why, yes, it has been discovered. Read this pamphlet, take my card, and go to see the author."
    It was an article by Dr. William H. Bates, of New York, published a few months previously in the New York Medical Journal, and entitled: The Cure of Defective Sight by Treatment Without Glasses, or Radical Cure of Errors of Refraction by Means of Central Fixation. The reader can understand the eagerness with which I read this pamphlet, but I must confess that it caused me both surprise and disappointment. The author affirmed, as the readers of this magazine already know, that errors of refraction—myopia, hypermetropia, and astigmatism—so far from being permanent conditions due to deformities of the eyeball, congenital or acquired, and only to be corrected by glasses, are caused by a vicious contraction of the outside muscles of the ocular globe and may be cured by treatment leading to the relaxation of these muscles.  In a word the eyeball is not inextensible, and the lens is not a factor in accommodation. Thus two fundamental dogmas of the doctrine established by Helmholtz and others fall to the ground.  This, I reflected, could only be the work of an unbalanced mind or of a genius, and unbalanced minds are so abundant and geniuses so rare, nowadays, that the latter did not seem probable. Imbued, like all doctors, with the idea that accommodation is brought about by a change in the curvative of the crystalline lens, I felt, as I read, the tremendous influence of the old school of physiological optics, with all the authority of its founders, and all the weight of things long established, accepted by the great majority and sustained by the immense mass of vested interests developed under their shadow; and I said to myself: "All this seems to me anatomically impossible."
    And yet it inspired me with hope. After all, I thought, why should things not be accomplished in the eye as they are in the photographic camera, in which, in order to obtain pictures at different distances, the distance between the lens and the sensitive plate is shortened or lengthened. If, in a kodak, one were to imitate that which, according to the accepted theory, occurs in the eye, it would be necessary to put in a new lens every time one desired to change the focus, since there is no known device that can modify the power of a lens. Leaving the accepted theories out of consideration for the moment, it seemed to me more logical to conceive of accommodation as Bates described it than as it had appeared to Helmholtz. After some hesitation, therefore, I decided to consult the author of the revolutionary pamphlet.
    I gave him a detailed account of my ailment, begging him, on finishing the tale, to tell me frankly if he considered it incurable, as in that case I would give up my career definitely, and live in the country. I expected that my case, which I supposed to be exceptional, would present to him a most difficult clinical problem, and I was astonished when he said:
    "Is that all?"
    "What! You don't think that is much, Dr. Bates?" I replied, somewhat provoked, as I remembered my long years of suffering.
    "You will be cured, and soon," was his reply; a reply firm, decided, categorical, which for the moment increased my confusion.
    Dr. Bates then explained to me that my eyes were in no way abnormal, except for having lost the power of central fixation many years before. Mental strain had brought with it ocular strain. I had contracted the muscles of the eyeball abnormally in doing close work, and with the commencement of the presbyopic age the trouble had been considerably accentuated.
    It required only a few treatments by means of rest, practice with the Snellen test card, and the cultivation of the memory of a black period with the eyes alternately closed and open (glasses having, of course, been discarded), to convince me of the truth of this diagnosis, and naturally, of its logical basis. By a continuation of the same treatment my headaches were soon cured, and after many months of practice my lost power of central fixation was restored and I regained the normal vision I have since enjoyed. I can now read diamond type at six inches, and can devote to reading or writing as much time as I wish. The intense rays of electric light, which formerly were unbearable to me, no longer cause me any inconvenience, and I even enjoy looking at them for long periods. I can also look at the sun itself for some seconds without the least discomfort, to the great admiration of my friends, who, although they believe their sight to be normal, cannot do this.
    I have, in short, learned to look at things without staring, so that every object seen seems to have a slight movement, caused by the unconscious shifting of the eye, a phenomenon discovered by Bates and by virtue of which the point regarded changes rapidly and continuously.
     I have been able to demonstrate in myself the seven truths of normal sight, formulated by Bates; truths in the light of which the old ideas of the refraction of the eye crumble irremediably; truths completely verifiable by every truly impartial and scientific mind which is emancipated from the tendency to persist in error solely because it is supported by authority, even such an authority as the immortal Helmholtz; truths demonstrated by careful, repeated and varied observations—by scientific experiments upon animals, and above all by the study of images, obtained, after much labor and many failures, from the lens, cornea, iris and sclera. The powerful electric light employed for the latter purpose is evidently more adequate than the candle used by Purkinje for the study of the celebrated images to which his name has been given, and it suffices to compare—with an open mind—two photographs of images upon the lens, obtained with the eye focused, respectively, at the distance and the near-point, to become convinced that accommodation is accomplished by the lengthening of the eyeball—through the unmistakable action of the oblique muscles—and that we have here one of the most beautiful and significant achievements of the century.
    And not only have I demonstrated these truths in myself, but I have cured some patients and improved many. Among the former was the very notable case of a young printer, who, although only slightly hypermetropic, was easily fatigued by the close work demanded by his calling. Half an hour of such work brought on a severe frontal headache, growing in intensity up to midday, when he was obliged to suspend his labors. After only three weeks of treatment by the methods described his troubles completely disappeared. To-day he not only works all day without inconvenience, but even works overtime, with great economic advantage to himself.
    Another case was that of a lady, a lawyer, who had been told that the sight of one eye was almost lost, and who could practically do no continuous work without severe headaches. She wore a pair of large dark-tinted lenses constantly, in order to protect her eyes from the tropical sunlight, and these were so disfiguring that they made her very conspicuous and, naturally, caused her much annoyance. Treatment by relaxation soon cured her headaches and other ailments, and she became able to fulfill her duties efficiently as secretary to a high judicial officer in Porto Rico. At present she occupies an important position as a lecturer in one of the Y. W. C. A.'s of the United States, and according to recent advices her sight and general health continue very satisfactory.
    Many of my friends who witnessed and sympathized with my sufferings and saw me wear numerous spectacles, are now for the most part presbyopic, and use glasses for reading. Overcome by the evidence of my case, they only await a period of leisure in order to take the treatment, in which they believe, but which they erroneously suppose to demand effort and time. They find their problems solved temporarily by glasses and continue to wear them. But the patients who never find a pair of lenses satisfactory, and who pass half their lives in the optician's office, who suffer from troublesome ailments of various kinds resulting from their eye troubles; these have no choice but to have recourse to the new truth and the new methods, which are certain to solve their problems, not temporarily but permanently. It is they, above all, who will publish the glad tidings—they and the school children under twelve, who having, as a rule, not accustomed their eyes to glasses, and being free from the misconceptions that handicap older patients, respond with incredible rapidity to the new methods—methods as simple as they are effective, and both preventative and curative of visual defects.
    In spite of indifference, in spite of the coldness with which new truths are received—the great majority not deigning even to discuss them—I have absolute confidence in the early acceptance of this wonderful discovery, so simple, and, in its practical application, so fruitful. There will not be lacking dispassionate and impartial minds to verify and propagate it. The number of the cured, constantly increasing, will become at last like a tidal wave, overwhelming all opposition. Truth must conquer in the end, removing the mountains of error and prejudice.

                                                  THE STORY OF SYLVIA

By Victoria Coolidge

    Sylvia is a little girl, ten years old, in the fourth grade in school. She has a good brain and is an energetic worker, but until she learned to see with central fixation, she was handicapped by defective eyesight. According to her physical record card, her vision in September, 1919, was 20/40 in each eye. On November 4, 1919, I tested her eyes and found that 20/40 was the best that she could see with either eye at that time.
    On this day I gave her the first lesson in central fixation. By alternately reading the Snellen card and closing her eyes to rest them, she improved to 20/30. When she had demonstrated what an improvement she could make by resting her eyes in this way, I showed her how she could rest them even more by palming, that is, covering her eyes with the palms of her hands laid gently over them, excluding all light, but not pressing on the eyeballs. I asked her to do this as many times as she could during the day, five minutes at a time, and I gave her a piece of paper on which to write her name, the date, and the number of times she palmed each day for a week.
    The next week I went to visit Sylvia's school, and she showed me her paper. She had palmed about eight times each day, except Saturday and Sunday, when she had palmed fourteen times. I could see by the expression on her face that she had a surprise in store for me, but I was not prepared for such a surprise as followed. I had her stand six feet from the Snellen card, and she read every letter on it perfectly. Then she stood ten feet away and read it just as well. "Now stand back here," I said, pointing to a line twenty feet from the card. Nothing daunted, and with the triumphant expression still lighting up her face, she walked to the twenty-foot mark and read every letter correctly through the fifteen line and some letters on the ten line. I looked at Sylvia and then at her teacher; "Is this Sylvia?" I asked, thinking I had been teaching the wrong child. The teacher assured me that it was. Still skeptical, I looked up her physical record card, and my own record, to be sure that I had read the figures correctly. There they were, 20/40 on both.
    At my next visit, December 18, Sylvia scorned to stand at ten feet, and instead, walked immediately to the twenty-foot mark with all the confidence in the world. This time she was able to read all the letters so quickly and so confidently that her teacher began to suspect that she had memorized them, and I must confess that I began to think so, too. Therefore, I hung up the Snellen card which belonged to the school and which had entirely different letters. Sylvia had not seen this card since September when her eyes were tested. She read the twenty line, which happened to be the last line on the card, at twenty, twenty-six, and thirty-two feet. Another day I took her out into the hall and she read the twenty line on the same card, at forty feet, in a dim light, with only two errors. In addition to this, she read diamond type, first at nine inches, the nearest distance at which she could see it clearly, and at fifteen inches, the farthest; and later at six and at twenty inches. She also read writing on the blackboard from the back of the room without any difficulty.
    To sum up Sylvia's case, then, she was able in two weeks' time to improve her vision from 20/40, which is only half what is ordinarily considered normal, to 20/10, which is double this standard. In five weeks she was able to read a card having unfamiliar letters with a vision of 40/20, and to read diamond type clearly at six inches and also at twenty inches. The remarkable cure had been accomplished through resting the eyes by palming for five minutes at a time about nine times a day, by reading the Snellen test card every day from her seat in the schoolroom, and from a point twenty feet from the card.
    Sylvia, now looking for more worlds to conquer, has undertaken, with characteristic energy, the cure of one of her schoolmates. She has already succeeded in improving this child's vision from 20/30 to 20/20.



June, 1920


  In all abnormal eye conditions sunlight is beneficial

 Light is necessary to the health of the eye, and darkness is injurious to it. Eye shades, dark glasses, darkened rooms, weaken the sight and sooner or later produce inflammations. Persons with normal sight can look directly at the sun, or at the strongest artificial light, without injury or discomfort, and persons with imperfect sight are never permanently injured by such lights, though temporary ill effects, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours, days, weeks, months, or longer, may be produced. In all abnormal conditions of the eyes, light is beneficial. It is rarely sufficient to cure, but is a great help in gaining relaxation by other methods.
    The quickest way to get results from the curative power of sunlight is to focus the rays with a burning glass on the white part of the eye when the patient looks far downward, moving the light from side to side to avoid heat. This may be done for part of a minute at frequent intervals.
    Looking at the sun, while slower in its results, has often been sufficient to effect permanent cures, sometimes in a very short time. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Persons with imperfect sight should never look directly at the sun at first, because, while no permanent harm can come from it, great temporary inconvenience may result. Such persons should begin by looking to one side of the sun, and after becoming accustomed to the strong light, should look a little nearer to its source, and so on until they become able to look directly at the sun without discomfort.

Dr. Bates states to: shift/move the eyes, head continually to the left and right sides, top and bottom… of the sun and blink to move the light evenly upon/fully activate all areas of the eyes: cornea, lens, retina.  Moving the eyes, head is done to prevent too strong a concentration of the suns light on one area of the eye.  Staring, eyes immobile at the sun must be avoided.
Staring strains the eyes, activates abnormal eye function, results in uncomfortable effects from the sunlight and a too strong concentration of the light onto one area of the eye. This can result in a colored spot of light (scatoma) that lasts for days, weeks…
   Due to depletion of the ozone layer other eye problems might develop from staring directly into the sun.
Modern teachers advise only closed eyes sunning and to keep the head/eyes moving side to side, up, down… when facing the sun.
A person that is blind or definitely going blind might regain his/her vision by short term open eyed sun-gazing when done correct.  For this reason I keep this older information in this book. 
Never look into the sun or near it during a Eclipse.


 By W. H. BATES, M.D.

    The failure of the muscles of the eyes to function normally under the conditions of civilization is not an isolated phenomenon. As Diana Watts, in her remarkable book, The Renaissance of the Greek Ideal (Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York), points out, the entire muscular system of modern civilized peoples works under such a condition of jar and strain that all muscular labor is accomplished with a maximum of effort. So far, indeed, have we drifted from our normal physical possibilities that the positions of the ancient statues seem impossible to us, and we have been forced to attribute many descriptions of the feats of heroes in the Iliad and Odyssey to poetic license. Mrs. Watts, by reproducing the positions of these statues, and doing other things that are beyond the power of even the strongest gymnasts and dancers trained under present methods, has fairly established her claim to have discovered the secret of Greek physical supremacy.
    Greek athletics, according to Mrs. Watts, was very far from being a matter of mere muscle development. Its aim was to produce a condition in which all the muscles worked harmoniously together and responded instantly to the mind's desire, thus securing a maximum of activity with a minimum expenditure of energy.
    The secret she found to be very simple. It consists in such a perfect balancing of the body that whether it is at rest or in motion its centre of gravity is always kept exactly over its base. This perfect equilibrium involves in turn a condition of the muscles in which they are transformed from a dead weight to a living force. In this condition there is said to be a complete connection of all the muscles with the center of gravity; independent motions and independent reactions are eliminated, and a combined force is instantly brought to bear upon whatever work is required. The spine is perfectly straight, the waist muscles firm, and the weight, in the standing posture, is supported upon the balls of the feet. Extraordinary precision and beauty of movement results, and all sense of fatigue is said to be abolished.
    To attain this equilibrium in its perfection requires much study and practice, but it can be approximated simply by keeping the spine straight and the weight over the balls of the feet, or upon the thighs, if seated. By this means a large degree of relaxation is often obtained, and the effect upon the eyesight has, in several cases, been most marked.
    A patient suffering from retinitis pigmentosa found that when he straightened his spine, in walking or sitting, his field at once became normal, remaining so as long as the erect position was maintained. His field had already improved considerably by other methods, but was still very far from normal. In the evening the position had the further effect of relieving his night blindness.
    Another patient who had been under treatment for some time for a high degree of myopia without having become able to read the bottom line of the test card, read it for the first time when her body was in the position described. She was able, moreover, to maintain the position for a considerable length of time, whereas ordinarily she was extremely restless, and could not remain still for more than a moment. A third patient, who could not rest her eyes by closing them or by palming, was relieved at once by this means, as was shown, not only by her own feelings, but by the expression of her face.
    Sleeping with a straight spine has also been found to be a very effective method of improving the vision and relieving fatigue. The patient with retinitis pigmentosa whose case has just been referred to, suffered continual relapses in the morning. No matter how well he saw in the afternoon, or in the evening, he would wake up unable to distinguish the big C and with his memory so impaired that it would take him the whole morning to get it back. After sleeping on his back, with his lower limbs completely extended and his arms lying straight by his sides, he was able to see the fifty line at ten feet when he woke and his memory was much better than usual at that time. Further improvement resulted from further sleeping in this posture. The patient with myopia had been in the habit of waking up tired after ten or twelve hours' sleep. One night she shared her bed with a guest, and in order not to disturb the latter she tried to keep her body straight. Although she had staid up until a very late hour talking, she awoke feeling perfectly refreshed. Another myopic patient who had been at a standstill for six months, gained two lines after sleeping on his back for one night.



    It is very hard for an active young girl to suddenly learn that in a short time she may lose her eyesight. I had always felt a great deal of pity for blind people, but I never stopped to realize how many beautiful things they missed until I knew that I was going blind myself. I only wore glasses for three years, but in that short time I developed a very bad case of progressive myopia. In the summer of 1918 my sight became so poor that I had to stop reading altogether and even a moderately bright day hurt my eyes so much that I kept them bandaged a great part of the time. Finally I had to put on a dark Krux lens, and the goggle-like glasses that I wore shut out all light. In the fall I started school, but as I could not see to read I was working under great difficulties. Then, through an article published some months before in the Scientific American, we learned of Dr. Bate's work and it seemed the last possible hope. I declared that there was no use in taking the trip to New York, because I knew he could do nothing for me, but in the end I went.
    The first time I looked at the test card I could not see the big "C" until I stood within four feet of it, but in two hours I was able to flash all the letters of the third line and part of the fourth at ten feet. In four weeks I had 10/10 vision and my hearing, which had been bad, was normal.
    Some weeks after I returned home a friend, who was calling, complained of a bad headache. I persuaded him to take off his glasses and showed him how to palm and swing the letters on the chart. A short time later he discovered, to his surprise, that his headache was entirely gone.
    This incident made me realize that if I showed others what Dr. Bates had shown me I could relieve, if not cure, their troubles. The next person that I worked with was a little girl with progressive myopia which had not become very serious. She worked very conscientiously, and about a month after we started, when she visited Dr. Bates, her sight was nearly perfect.
    I have helped a number of people, some successfully, others not so successfully. One of my most interesting cases was a chauffeur who thought that he was unusually farsighted, but who could not see to read the paper. When I tested his eyes I found that he had only 10/20 vision. In a short time, however, he attained normal sight by palming and swinging the letters. I then told him to close his eyes and count ten, then open them for a fraction of a second. I held a book in front of him and in a short time, by closing his eyes and then glancing at it, he read parts of it. He practices on signboards, automobile licenses, or anything that he sees, and now he reads the entire paper every evening. He has noticed, too, that he is not blinded by bright lights at night as he used to be.
    As to the value of swinging the little black period I am very decided. I find it my best friend, especially in a test. One time in a French examination, in the excitement of the moment, I could not think of a certain word which I knew well enough and which was very important to me. I closed my eyes and palmed for a second and remembered the period. In a flash my self-control returned to me and with it the word. I have tried this several times since, usually with success.
    I often wonder now how I could possibly have managed without my eyes, even with glasses. It is such a joy to be able to read from morning to night if I want to. Reading music is supposed to be a terrible thing for the eyes, but I do an endless amount of it and never know the difference. I find, too, that since my eyes have been well I memorize remarkably quickly, and that when I study I can grasp the contents of the text more easily than before. In the old days of glasses I had to read my history assignment two or three times before I knew what it was about, while now once is quite enough.
    My greatest regret is that so few people know how to prevent eye troubles, or how to care for them after they develop. Perhaps, however, if the movement to establish Snellen test cards in the schools grows, thousands of children may be saved the agony which I and many others suffered with headaches as well as being freed from the inconvenience of glasses.


  4. Three of a Kind.


    George, Gladys and Charlie are three children who came to the eye clinic of the Harlem Hospital at about the same time. They were all of the same age, nine years; they were all suffering from about the same degree of defective sight; they all had headaches; and they got into a very interesting three-cornered contest in which each one tried to beat the others at getting cured. George and Gladys are colored, and Charlie is a white boy of a most pronounced blonde type, with fair curls and blue eyes.
    George was the first of the trio to visit us. He had been sent from his school to get glasses because of his headaches, and it was easy to see from his half-shut eyes and the expression of his face that he was in continual misery. My first impulse was to try to make him smile, but my efforts in that direction did not meet with much success.   
    "Won't you let me help you?" I asked.
    "Maybe you can and maybe you can't," was his discouraging reply.
    "But you are going to let me try, aren't you?" I persisted, stroking his woolly head.
    He refused to unbend, but did consent to let me test his vision, which I found to be 20/70, and to show him how to palm and rest his eyes. He also continued to come to the clinic, but for three weeks I never saw him smile, and he complained constantly of the pain in his head.
    Then came Gladys, accompanied by her mother who gave me a history of her case very similar to that of George. Her vision was 20/100, and in a very short time I improved it to 20/40. At her next visit it became temporarily normal, and this fact made a great impression upon George. I saw him roll his black eyes and watch Gladys while I was treating her, and later, when he thought I was not looking, I saw him walk over to her, and heard him say:
    "You ain't going to get ahead of me. I came before you. I wanna get cured first. See?"
    I separated the two children very quickly, for I foresaw trouble; but all the time I was very grateful to Gladys for having, however unintentionally, stirred George up.
    Next week Charlie came. He looked very sad, and his mother, who came with him, was sad also. His headaches were worse than those of the other children had been, and were actually preventing him from going on with his studies. Promotion time was near, and both mother and child were very anxious for fear the latter would be left behind. They hoped that by the aid of glasses this tragedy would be averted. Of course I explained to the mother that we never gave glasses at this clinic, but cured people so they did not need them. Then I tested Charlie's sight, and found it to be 20/100. Next I told him to close his eyes and remember a letter perfectly black, just as he saw it on the test card. He shook his head in dismay, and said:
    "I can't remember anything, the pain is so bad."

    "Close your eyes for part of a minute," I said, "then open them just a second and look at the letter I am pointing at, then quickly close them again. Do this for a few minutes, and see what happens."
    What happened was that in a few minutes Charlie began to smile, and said:
    "The pain is gone."
    I now showed him how to palm, and left him for a while. When I came back his sight had improved to 20/70. I was very happy about this, and so was Charlie's mother. She was also very happy to think that he did not have to wear glasses.
    Charlie continued to come regularly, and was an apt pupil. One day he told me that he had been out sleigh-riding with the boys, and that the sun had been shining so brightly upon the snow that he couldn't open his eyes, and, his head ached so that he had to go home and go to bed.
    "Why didn't you palm for a while and remember one of those letters on the card?" I asked.
    "That's right," he said. "I wonder why I didn't think of it."
    The next time he came there had been another snowstorm, and he could hardly wait to tell me what had happened.
    "I went sleigh-riding some more with the boys," he said, as soon as he could get my ear, "and the pain came back while I was having fun. But this time I didn't go home and go to bed. I remembered what you said, covered my eyes with the palms of my hands right in the street, and in a little while the pain all went away, I could look right at the snow with the sun shining on it, and I didn’t mind it a bit."
    From the start, the two colored children were greatly interested in Charlie, and thinking that a little more of the competition that had proved so effective in George's case would do no harm, I said, "See who beats." They needed no urging from me, however. Every clinic day, an hour before the appointed time, the black and white trio was at the hospital door. If there was a crowd there, the children forced their way through without much ceremony, and then started on a dead run for the eye room. There they practiced diligently until Dr. Bates and I arrived, and I fear they also squabbled considerably. There was no lack of smiles now in the case of any of the children, and as for George, he had a grin on his face all the time.
    Charlie was the first to be cured. In just a month from the time of his first visit his vision had improved to 20/10. Usually patients do not come back after they are cured, but this boy kept on with the practice at home, and returned to show me, and incidentally his two rivals, what progress he had made. We had a visiting physician at the clinic that day, and I rather suspected Charlie of trying to show off when he walked to the very end of the room, a distance of thirty feet from the card. To my astonishment, and the great annoyance of George and Gladys, he read all the letters on the bottom line correctly. The colored children made haste to suggest that he had probably memorized the letters; so I hung up a card with pothooks on it, such as we use for the illiterate patients, and asked him to tell me the direction in which those of the bottom line were turned. He did not make a single mistake. There seemed no room for doubt that his vision had actually improved to 30/10, three times the accepted standard of normality. Not more than one other patient at the clinic has ever become able to read the card at this distance. Charlie returned several times after this, not from the best of motives, I fear, and I took great pleasure in exhibiting, his powers to the nurses and to visitors.
    George and Gladys were cured very soon after Charlie, both of them becoming able to read 20/10. I was sorry that they could not have done as well as Charlie, but since their vision is now twice what is ordinarily considered normal, I think they ought to be satisfied.

                                  A CASE OF CATARACT

                                   By VICTORIA COOLIDGE

    After I had made one visit to Dr. Bates, I was so much encouraged that I asked him if he could do anything for my father, eighty-one years old, who had cataract in each eye. He said he could, provided the patient had all his faculties and would follow directions. I replied that he was not only in full possession of his faculties but that he was blest with vigorous health besides, and I felt sure that he would be willing to do anything to restore his sight.
    When I went home, I told my father what Dr. Bates had said, but the treatment seemed so simple for such a difficult case, and his mind was so thoroughly imbued with the idea that nothing but an operation would help him, that he did not make up his mind to see Dr. Bates until four months later.
    He remembered having had remarkably keen vision as a young man, and in 1862 passed as normal the army eye test, which was very strict at the beginning of the Civil War. When he was about fifty years old, however, he began to have trouble in reading and other near work, so he put on glasses to correct this difficulty, and seems to have had the same experience that so many people have—they were nearly, but not quite right. He went from one doctor to another, but the result was always the same. Finally, in 1907, he consulted a well-known specialist in Albany, who, in 1919, at his request, sent him the following record of his case as it was at the time of that visit:

        R. V.—20/200 corrected by glasses to 20/50
        L. V.—20/50 corrected by glasses to 20/30

    Ophthalmoscopic examination showed in each eye incipient cataractous changes, which were more marked in the right eye. Otherwise the interior of the eye appeared normal. Nothing was said to him personally regarding this condition, for frequently it remains unchanged for years.
    He was well pleased with the glasses obtained at this time, and for a few years had more comfort with them than with any he had ever worn; but after a while he began to have trouble with his right eye again. In 1917 he noticed that there seemed to be hard deposits in his eyes. He consulted a prominent specialist in his own locality and learned from him that he had a fairly well developed cataract in the left eye, and an incipient cataract in the other. The doctor prescribed glasses for him, and asked him to visit him once a month so that he might watch the progress of the cataracts. He said that nothing but an operation would help the left eye, but he would advise an operation only in the event of a loss of sight in both eyes, as would be the case if the cataract in the right eye should also progress, because unless both eyes were operated on at approximately the same time, they would not focus together. He called on the doctor faithfully every month for about a year and a half, when he finally became tired of hearing the same discouraging story: the left cataract was rapidly developing, but the doctor would not operate unless both cataracts were ripe. And so he discontinued his visits.
    It was about six or seven months after his last visit to this doctor that he called on Dr. Bates. The sight in the left eye had become so dim by this time that he could not recognize the members of his family across the table. He could see that there were people there, but he could not distinguish them. Dr. Bates made the following report of his condition at the time of his first visit:
January 1, 1918:
    R. V.—20/100
    L. V.—Perception of light—unable to count his fingers.

At subsequent visits the following records were made:

January 2.
    R. V.—20/200, artificial light.
    L. V.—Counted fingers at six inches.
    Improved by shifting, swing, rest, palming (best).
January 4.
    R. V.—14/30.
    L. V.—14/200.
    Reads large print.
January 8.
    R. V.—14/15.
    L. V.—14/200+.
    Reads some words fine print continuously.
January 13.
    R. V.—14/10.
    L. V.—14/40.
    He reads in flashes the fine print with the right eye and some larger print with the left. His improved sight helps his hearing at times.
January 18.
    R. V.—14/10.
    L. V.—14/20 in more continuous flashes.
    He is reading large print more continuously with the left eye.
April 30.
    Obtains flashes of the fine print with the left eye better than with the right.

                                                                                                       Cataract Cure

   The treatment prescribed was as follows:

+Palming six times a day, a half hour or longer at a time;
+reading the Snellen test card at five, ten, and twenty feet;
+reading fine print at six inches, five minutes at a time, especially soon after rising in the morning and just before retiring at night, and
+reading books and newspapers.
+Besides this, he was to subject his eyes, especially the left, to the sunlight whenever an opportunity offered,
+ to drink twelve glasses of water a day,
+walk five miles a day,
+and later, when he was in better training, to run half a mile or so every day.

    The results of this treatment have been most gratifying. Not only have his eyes improved steadily, but his general health has been so much benefited that at eighty-two he looks, acts and feels better and younger than he did at eighty-one.

                    BETTER EYESIGHT


   July, 1920

                                                                                                        SEE THINGS MOVING

                                                        When the Sight Is Normal all Objects Regarded   Have An Apparent Motion

       When the sight is perfect the subject is able to observe that all objects regarded appear to be moving. A letter seen at the near point or at the distance appears to move slightly in various directions. The pavement comes toward one in walking, and the houses appear to move in a direction opposite to one's own. In reading the page appears to move in a direction opposite to that of the eye. If one tries to imagine things stationary, the vision is at once lowered and discomfort and pain may be produced, not only in the eyes and head, but in other parts of the body.
    This movement is usually so slight that it is seldom noticed till the attention is called to it, but it may be so conspicuous as to be  plainly observable even to persons with markedly imperfect sight.
If such persons for instance, hold the hand within six inches of the face and turn the head and eyes rapidly from side to side, the hand will be seen to move in a direction opposite to that of the eyes. If it does not move, it will be found that the patient is straining to see it in the eccentric field. By observing this movement it becomes possible to see or imagine a less conspicuous movement, and thus the patient may gradually become able to observe a slight movement in every object regarded. Some persons with imperfect sight have been cured simply by imagining that they see things moving all day long.
    The world moves.  Let it move.  All objects move if you let them. Do not interfere with this movement, or try to stop it. This cannot be done without an effort which impairs the efficiency of the eye and mind.

                                                                                   THE MISSION OF "BETTER EYESIGHT"

    With this number Better Eyesight enters upon its second year. It was started in July, 1919, for the purpose of diffusing a knowledge of the truth about central fixation, and it has accomplished all that was hoped for it. It has carried the message that errors of refraction are curable to thousands of people, and many of these people have been able to cure these conditions in themselves and others solely by means of the information which it has contained.
    The magazine is modest in its appearance. One can get many times the amount of reading matter which it contains at any newsstand for the same money, but the value of truth cannot be estimated by the number of words required to state it, and it is the object of the editor to give the public the truth about central fixation as briefly and simple as possible. The truth can usually be stated briefly and simply. It is error which is hard to understand and which requires a multitude of words for its presentation.
    The editor believes that no one who values his or her eyesight can afford to be without this magazine. It has a message not only for those whose sight is imperfect, but for those whose sight is normal. No one, however good his sight may ordinarily be, has perfect sight all the time.
    No one has as good sight as he might have. Therefore everyone can be benefited by practicing the principles presented in this magazine. While persons with imperfect sight may thus gain normal vision, persons with so-called normal sight can always improve it, and may even double the accepted standard of normality, or gain a measure of telescopic or microscopic vision. It is not a good thing to be satisfied with just normal sight. Not only is keen sight a great convenience, but it reflects a condition of mind which reacts favorably upon all the other senses, upon the general health and upon the mental faculties.
    Even the blind can get some help from Better Eyesight. Not all blind persons are curable, but the editor believes that an increasing number of blind persons may expect help from central fixation, for already it has been found possible to relieve or cure such conditions as cataract, glaucoma, conical cornea, retinitis pigmentosa, cyclitis, opacities of the cornea, and atrophy of the optic nerve.
(Photo – Perkins Institute for the blind.)
    The magazine will continue to publish during the coming year, as it has in the past, the latest discoveries of the editor, the experiences of cured patients—which have proven to be very valuable—and practical instructions for the improvement of the eyesight. On page 2 of each issue we will continue to give specific directions for self-treatment in language as simple as possible, so that persons who are not physicians can understand it. We have had much testimony to the value of this page, and the editor strongly urges every subscriber, no matter what the condition of his or her eyesight, to demonstrate these truths as they appear.
    Better Eyesight stands for a revolution in the treatment of eye troubles, and has had to meet the difficulties that always beset the path of the revolutionist. For seventy-five years we have believed that errors of refraction—by which is meant the inability of the eye to focus light rays accurately upon the retina—were due to organic and irremediable causes. The editor of Better Eyesight has proved that these troubles are functional and curable, that the elongated eyeball of myopia (shortsight) the flattened eyeball of hypermetropia (farsight), and the lopsided eyeball of astigmatism, can he made to resume their normal shape, temporarily in a few minutes, and more continuously by further treatment. The world has been slow to receive this message. The editor is practically alone in advocating central fixation. A small number of physicians, including a few eye specialists, who have been cured or seen members of their families cured of eye troubles, without glasses, operations, or medication, have been convinced that the old theories about the eye and the treatment of defects of vision are wrong; but very few have had courage to endorse the new treatment publicly.
    This is not to be wondered at, and is not a cause for discouragement. The editor now wonders at his own slowness in seeing the truth. The facts conquered his conservatism at last only because they were irresistible, and for the same reason they must ultimately conquer all conservatism. Physicians and others who refuse to accept them, or even to investigate them, will be swept aside to make room for those of more open mind.
    In the meantime, Better Eyesight needs friends, it needs encouragement, it needs subscribers. The editor appeals to present subscribers to continue their support, and to advertise whenever and wherever they have an opportunity the good news that the eye is not a blunder of nature, as the textbooks teach, but an instrument as perfectly adapted to the needs of civilized man as to those of the savage. Persons who have cured themselves should utilize every opportunity to improve the sight of relatives and friends. All parents should be told that they have it in their power to prevent and cure defects of vision in their children and at the same time to improve their health and increase their mental efficiency. The same message should be carried to teachers and school boards. The blind should be told of this new hope for the sightless, and societies for the blind should be urged to investigate it. If everyone who has demonstrated the truth of central fixation does his or her duty in the matter, defective eyesight will soon cease to be, as it has so long been, the curse of civilization.

                            STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

                           5. The Jewish Woman

                                    By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    Just before the war a Jewish woman, sixty-three years of age, came to the clinic and begged me to help her just a little.
    "Please don't bother trying to cure me," she said. "That is too much to expect, and anyhow I am an old lady, so what does it matter?"
    Her eyes were half shut, because the light bothered her and she felt more comfortable with the lids lowered. She told me that she was suffering great pain both in her eyes and head, and when I had her look at the test card at ten feet it was all a blur to her. I showed her how to palm, but the position tired her, and she said she was not accustomed to praying so long—she was quite a sinner. As she weighed over two hundred pounds and was sick in both mind and body, I asked her how much she ate every day.
    "Oh, I don't eat much—nothing to speak of at all," she said. "In the morning I eat eggs, or something like that, and rolls and butter and coffee. Then about ten I have a few slices of bread with more butter and more coffee. At noon I have soup, bread and butter and more coffee. For supper I have bread, butter, meat, vegetables and more coffee. That's all."
    She took more food in one day than I did in three, and when I told her she ate too much, it appeared to frighten her, for she staid away for two weeks. Eating, no doubt, was one of the few pleasures she had in life, and she did not wish to be deprived of it.
    When she returned I had her palm again, and this improved her sight from 20/100 to 20/50. It also relieved her pain markedly, and when I told her that she would get still more help, both for her eyes and her body generally, if she would eat less, she agreed to do so.
    In spite of her pain and misery, my patient had always been full of humor, and her witty remarks had been a source of much amusement to me; but one day, just after the declaration of war, I found her in a corner weeping. When I asked her to read the test card for me, she said with tears:
    "Please, nurse, I can't see anything today. My two sons have enlisted, one as a marine, and the other as an aviator, and they are never coming back, I am afraid. I cannot sleep. I am suffering great pain all over my body. My heart is breaking."
    From the beginning I had felt that she had been a devoted mother, and as I am always drawn to good mothers, I now felt a great pity for her grief. In order to get her mind off her pain, I encouraged her to talk about her boys.
    "How proud you must be to have two sons to fight for your country, and for you!" I said. "I wish I had ten sons I would give them all for my country."
    These remarks were not very consoling, I admit, in the presence of a sorrow like this, and the stricken mother refused to he comforted. But when I said, "You wouldn't be proud of them if they were cowards, and Uncle Sam wouldn't want them if they were criminals in a jail," she straightened up and said:
    "You are right. They are brave boys all right, and I am proud of them."
    I now tested her sight with the card, and found it better than ever before.
    "You have the right medicine," she said, "I am coming again. I do not understand why I can see so well now after being so blind a few minutes ago."
    I squeezed her arm above the elbow and asked:
    "Do you feel that?"
    "Yes," she replied.
    "Well, that is just what you are doing to the muscles of your eyes, and the strain blinded you. When you relaxed, the pressure was relieved and your sight improved. It was the pressure that lowered the vision." 
Positive emotions, thoughts=relaxed mind, eyes=clear vision.
    At a later visit she brought a package for me, explaining that she had no money and wanted to express her gratitude. I took the package home, and when I opened it I found a loaf of delicious real bread—not Hoover bread. My neighbors were very envious of me, because the only bread they could obtain had a flavor like that of sawdust. At the time I appreciated that bread more than a five dollar bill.
    Every time the patient came to the clinic we talked about her boys for a few minutes, and it certainly had a good effect upon her eyesight. When the war ended and the boy came home, every one who would listen heard of the great things they had done "over there." One would have thought one was attending an annual convention of some sort instead of an eye clinic.
    During the war and up to about six months ago, the patient came more or less regularly to the clinic. Palming always helped her, but as she complained that it made her arms ache to hold her hands over her eyes, I had her simply close her eyes without palming. This also helped her. One day I placed her two feet further from the card than usual, and asked her how much she could see. She replied:
    "Now, you know I am an old woman, and I guess my eyes are getting old too. I cannot see so far."
    I told her to close her eyes and rest them, forget that she had eyes, and think of black velvet, or her black hat. Ten minutes later she read 10/20, and her eyes had a natural appearance. She became very much excited and asked me what I did to her.
    Dieting also helped her eyesight and nerves very much, but she could not always bring herself to forego the pleasure of eating what she wanted. She forgot most of the things I told her to do at home, but I don't think she ever forgot a meal, nor did she realize the quantity of food she consumed when she gave free rein to her appetite. If she had always done as she was told, I am sure she would have been completely cured long ago. As it was, her improvement was very remarkable. Not only did she become able to read 10/20, but at the time she stopped coming to the clinic she said that the pain and discomfort in her eyes had entirely ceased. She was sleeping better, and her general physical condition was greatly improved.
    Her case made me realize more clearly than ever the relation of mental strain to defective vision. I could not help her until I found out what she had on her heart, and when by means of a little sympathy—I could give her nothing else—I was able to get her mind off her trouble, or make it seem less to her, her nerves always relaxed. It was very remarkable the way a pleasant conversation, without further treatment, would improve her sight. The experience was afterward a great help to me in treating other patients. In the rush of work at the dispensary it has often seemed that I could not take the time to talk to the patients, to get acquainted with them, to let them tell me about their troubles. I know now that this is not a waste of time, but a very necessary part of the treatment.

                             WHAT GLASSES DO TO US

                                  By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    On a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence was found the following inscription: "Here lies Salvino degli Armati, Inventor of Spectacles. May God pardon him his sins."1

    The Florentines were doubtless mistaken in supposing that their fellow citizen was the inventor of the lenses now so commonly worn to correct errors of refraction. There has been much discussion as to the origin of these devices, but they are generally believed to have been known at a period much earlier than that of Salvino degli Armati. The Romans at least must have known something of the art of supplementing the powers of the eye, for Pliny tells us that Nero used to watch the games in the Colosseum through a concave gem set in a ring for that purpose. If, however, his contemporaries believed that Salvino of the Armati was the first to produce these aids to vision, they might well pray for the pardon of his sins; for while it is true that eyeglasses have brought to some people improved vision and relief from pain and discomfort, they have been to others simply an added torture, they always do more or less harm, and at their best they never improve the vision to normal.
    That glasses cannot improve the sight to normal can be very simply demonstrated by looking at any color through a strong convex or concave glass. It will be noted that the color is always less intense than when seen with the naked eye; and since the perception of form depends upon the perception of color, it follows that both color and form must be less distinctly seen with glasses than without them. Even plane glass lowers the vision both for color and form, as everyone knows who has ever looked out of a window.     All glass, plain and colored disrupts the healthy full spectrum light of the of sun.
    That glasses must injure the eye is evident from the fact that one cannot see through them unless one produces the degree of refractive error which they are designed to correct. But refractive errors, in the eye which is left to itself, are never constant.2 If one secures good vision by the aid of concave, or convex, or astigmatic lenses, therefore, it means that one is maintaining constantly a degree of refractive error which otherwise would not be maintained constantly. It is only to be expected that this should make the conditions worse, and it is a matter of common experience that it does. After people once begin to wear glasses their strength, in most cases, has to be steadily increased in order to maintain the degree of visual acuity secured by the aid of the first pair.
    That the human eye resents glasses is a fact which no one would attempt to deny. Every oculist knows that patients have to "get used" to them, and that sometimes they never succeed in doing so. Patients with high degrees of myopia and hypermetropia have great difficulty in accustoming themselves to the full correction, and often are never able to do so. The strong concave glasses required by myopes of high degree make all objects seem much smaller than they really are while convex glasses enlarge them. These are unpleasantnesses that cannot be overcome. Patients with high degrees of astigmatism suffer some very disagreeable sensations when they first put on glasses, for which reason they are warned by one of the Conservation of Vision leaflets published by the Council on Health and Public Instruction of the American Medical Association to "get used to them at home before venturing where a misstep might cause a serious accident."3
    All glasses contract the field of vision to a greater or less degree. Even with very weak glasses patients are unable to see distinctly unless they look through the center of the lenses, with the frames at right angles to the line of vision; and not only is their vision lowered if they fail to do this, but annoying nervous symptoms, such as dizziness and headache, are sometimes produced. Therefore they are unable to turn their eyes freely in different directions.
This results in eye, neck, head, body muscle tension, immobility, impaired eye shifting, central fixation and other functions of the visual system.
 It is true that glasses are now ground in such a way that it is theoretically possible to look through them at any angle, but practically they seldom accomplish the desired result.
    The difficulty of keeping the glass clear is one of the minor discomforts of glasses, but nevertheless a most annoying one. On damp and rainy days the atmosphere clouds them. On hot days the perspiration from the body may have a similar effect. On cold days they are often clouded by the moisture of the breath. Every day they are so subject to contamination by dust and moisture and the touch of the fingers incident to unavoidable handling that it is seldom they afford an absolutely unobstructed view of the objects regarded.
    Reflections of strong light from eyeglasses are often very annoying, and in the street may be very dangerous. Soldiers, sailors, athletes, workmen and children have great difficulty with glasses because of the activity of their lives, which not only leads to the breaking of the lenses, but often throws them out of focus, particularly in the case of eyeglasses worn for astigmatism.
    The fact that glasses are very disfiguring may seem a matter unworthy of consideration in a medical publication; but mental discomfort does not improve either the general health or the vision, and while we have gone so far toward making a virtue of what we conceive to be necessity that some of us have actually come to consider glasses becoming, huge round lenses in ugly tortoise-shell frames being positively fashionable at the present time, there are still some unperverted minds to which the wearing of glasses is mental torture and the sight of them upon others far from agreeable. Most human beings are, unfortunately, ugly enough without putting glasses upon them, and to disfigure any of the really beautiful faces that we have with such contrivances is surely as bad as putting an import tax upon art. As for putting glasses upon a child it is enough to make the angels weep.
    Up to about a generation ago glasses were used only as an aid to defective sight, but they are now prescribed for large numbers of persons who can see as well or better without them. The hypermetropic eye is believed to be capable of correcting its own difficulties to some extent by altering the curvature of the lens, through the activity of the ciliary muscle. The eye with simple myopia is not credited with this capacity, because an increase in the convexity of the lens, which is supposed to be all that is accomplished by accommodative effort, would only increase the difficulty, and this, it is believed, can be overcome, in part, by alterations in the curvature of the Lens. Thus we are led by the theory to the conclusion that an eye in which any error of refraction exists is practically never free, while open, from abnormal accommodative efforts. In other words, it is assumed that the supposed muscle of accommodation has to bear, not only the normal burden of changing the focus of the eye for vision at different distances, but the additional burden of compensating for refractive errors. Such adjustments, if they actually took place, would naturally impose a severe strain upon the nervous system, and it is to relieve this strain—which is believed to be the cause of a host of functional nervous troubles—quite as much as to improve the sight, that glasses are prescribed.
    It has been demonstrated, however, that the lens is not a factor, either in the production of accommodation, or in the correction of errors of refraction. Therefore under no circumstances can there be a strain of the ciliary muscle to be relieved. It has also been demonstrated that when the vision is normal no error of refraction is present, and the extrinsic muscles of the eyeball are at rest. Therefore there can be no strain of the extrinsic muscles to he relieved in these cases. When a strain of these muscles does exist, glasses may correct its effects upon the refraction, but the strain itself they cannot relieve. On the contrary, as has been shown, they must make it worse. Nevertheless persons with normal vision who wear glasses for the relief of a supposed muscular strain are often benefited by them. This is a striking illustration of the effect of mental suggestion, and plane glass, if it could inspire the same faith, would produce the same result. In fact, many patients have told me that they had been relieved of various discomforts by glasses which I found to be simply plane glass. One of these patients was an optician who had fitted the glasses himself and was under no illusions whatever about them; yet he assured me that when he didn't wear them he got headaches.
    When glasses do not relieve headaches and other nervous symptoms it is assumed to be because they were not properly fitted, and some practitioners and their patients exhibit an astounding degree of patience and perseverance in their joint attempts to arrive at the proper prescription. A patient who suffered from severe pains in the base of his brain was fitted sixty times by one specialist alone, and had besides visited many other eye and nerve specialists in this country and in Europe. He was relieved of the pain in five minutes by the methods recommended by this magazine, while his vision at the same time became temporarily normal.
    As refractive abnormalities are continually changing, not only from day to day and from hour to hour, but from minute to minute, even under the influence of atropine, the accurate fitting of glasses is, of course, impossible. In some cases these fluctuations are so extreme, or the patient so unresponsive to mental suggestion, that no relief whatever is obtained from correcting lenses, which necessarily become, under such circumstances, an added discomfort. At their best it cannot be maintained that glasses are anything more than a very unsatisfactory substitute for normal vision.

July, 1920

1 - Nuova Encyclopedia Italiana, sixth edition.
2 - Bates: The Imperfect Sight of the Normal Eye. N. Y. Med. Jour., Sept 8, 1917.
3 - Lancaster: Wearing Glasses, p. 15.

                             School Number

                           BETTER EYESIGHT


           August, 1920


    While reading the Snellen test card every day will, in time, cure imperfect sight in all children under twelve who have never worn glasses, the following simple practices will insure more rapid progress:
    1. Let the children rest their eyes by closing for a few minutes or longer, and then look at the test card for a few moments only, then rest again, and so on alternately. This cures many children very promptly.

    2. Let them close and cover their eyes with the palms of their hands in such a way as to exclude all the light while avoiding pressure on the eyeballs (palming), and proceed as above. This is usually more effective than mere closing.

    3. Let them demonstrate that all effort lowers the vision by looking fixedly at a letter on the test card, or at the near point, and noting that it blurs or disappears in less than a minute. They thus become able, in some way, to avoid unconscious effort.

    The method succeeds best when the teachers do not wear glasses.
    Supervision is absolutely necessary. At least once a year some person whose sight is normal without glasses and who understands the method should visit the classrooms for the purpose of answering questions, testing the sight of the children, and making a report to the proper authorities.
    The Snellen test card is a chart showing letters of graduated sizes, with numbers indicating the distance in feet at which each line should be read by the normal eye. Originally designed by Snellen for the purpose of testing the eye, it is admirably adapted for use in eye education.

                                                                                                  SAVE THE CHILDRENS' EYES


    With this issue of BETTER EYESIGHT we are again urging measures to prevent and cure imperfect sight in school children. A very simple method by which this can be done was discovered by the author while studying the vision of the school children of Grand Forks, N. D., and tested over a period of eight years in the schools of this city. It consists merely, as has been frequently stated in this magazine, of exposing a Snellen test card in each classroom, and having the children read the lowest line they can see from their seats once a day, or oftener.
    Six or seven years ago this system was tried in some of the public schools of New York City with the most gratifying results. In every case in which the card was used properly the vision of the children improved, regardless of whether the classroom was well or poorly lighted; and in every case in which it was not used the vision declined, being worse at the end of the year than it was at the beginning, regardless also of the lighting of the room. Not only was myopia (shortsight) prevented and cured by this method, but hypermetropia (farsight), a much greater curse than myopia and one the prevention of which had not previously been seriously considered, was also prevented and cured. So also was astigmatism, while the sight of those children whose sight had been normal to begin with was improved. Headaches and fatigue were relieved. The mentality of the children improved. Truants and incorrigibles were reformed. The teachers were enthusiastic about the results. So also were the children.
    But unfortunately the method was contrary to the teachings of a hundred years, and hence was condemned without trial by every eye specialist consulted by the Board of Education. And thus the children, not only of New York, but of the whole country, have been deprived for years of the blessing of perfect sight, for if New York had led the way, the whole country would have followed.
    Through the efforts of this magazine, however, a few schools here and there have introduced the system, and we hope that before another year has elapsed there will be many more of them. An interesting report from one of these schools appears on page 14.

                                                           IMPERFECT SIGHT CONTAGIOUS

By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    The question of whether or not errors of refraction are hereditary is one about which the medical profession has exercised itself greatly. An immense amount of work has been done for the purpose of throwing light upon it, and all the time the very plain fact that these conditions are contagious has escaped observation. For an error of refraction is simply a nervous condition, and there is nothing more contagious than nervousness. A person with myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, is a person under a strain. This strain shows in his voice, his walk, his manner, and makes the people with whom he comes in contact nervous. These people then develop errors of refraction, temporarily if the influence is temporary, and permanently if the influence is permanent, as in the case of children who cannot escape from their nervous teachers and parents. Endless illustrations of this fact could be given. A few must suffice.
    A very nervous woman wearing glasses for astigmatism brought me her very nervous child who had been wearing glasses for six months, also for astigmatism, three diopters in one eye and three and a half in the other. The child's eyes were red, strained, and partly closed, and it was quite evident that the glasses did not make her comfortable. I talked to her pleasantly for a while so as to disarm any fears of the doctor that she might entertain, and then told her to close her eyes and rest them for fifteen minutes. When she opened them she had perfect sight for the Snellen test card in both eyes, and she read diamond type at from six inches to eighteen. I said to the mother:
    "There is nothing wrong with your child's eyes. When they were tested she must have been nervous."
    The mother answered that this was true. She had been trying to play a duet with her sister, and got so nervous that she could not see the notes. The family was so alarmed at this sudden failure of sight that she was taken immediately to an oculist, and the result was glasses for astigmatism. As children have an astonishing power of adapting their eyes to different kinds of lenses, she had adapted her eyes to these very strong glasses sufficiently so that she could see through them, but was not able to be comfortable in them, nor in any of the others that were subsequently given to her.
    Mother and child left the office in a very happy frame of mind, but a few days later the mother returned, very much discouraged and somewhat incensed. The child was just as bad as ever, she said. She couldn't read half the card.
    "The reason she can't read the card," I said, "is because you test her. Let her younger sister test her, and you will find that she will read it perfectly. The strain in your eyes is reflected in your voice and walk, in everything about you; you make the child nervous, and when you try to test her sight she becomes astigmatic. If you want her to get cured and stay cured, you should get cured yourself."
    She took my advice, and is now under treatment.
    In my studies of the eyesight of school children this experience was frequently repeated. When I went into a classroom where the teacher wore glasses I knew I would always find a large percentage of imperfect sight. When the teacher did not wear glasses I knew the percentage would be below the average. When the teacher tested the sight of a child it was often found to he very imperfect, but when I tested it, it might be perfect. In one case a teacher wearing glasses told me that a certain boy was very nearsighted. He could not read writing on the blackboard, he could not tell the time by the clock, and he could not recognize people across the street. I tested his sight and found it normal. The teacher was incredulous and suggested that he must have memorized the letters. Then I wrote letters and words on the blackboard which he read just as well as he had read the letters on the card.
    One day my own children came home from school with a note to the effect that they could not read the writing on the blackboard and needed glasses, and later a nurse called to reinforce the message. I tested their sight and found it normal. Then I called on the principal, told him that I was an eye specialist, and after testing the sight of the children I could find nothing wrong with it. I asked if there would be any objection to their having a test card in their classrooms so that they could read it frequently. He said he could see no reason why this should not be done, and it was. But soon after the younger child, a little girl, came home from school in tears. The teacher and the nurse and the other children had made fun of the card, and said it was absurd to suppose that such a simple thing as reading it every day could keep one from having trouble with one's eyes. Of course I knew it could do her no good to read the card under these conditions, and so I had her read it at home. The sight of both children has remained perfect, but I have no doubt that if the circumstances had been different they would have been wearing glasses today.
    Children are very sensitive to nervous influences, these influences often produce temporary imperfect sight, and unfortunately they are often, in these states, fitted with glasses. Fortunately most children hate to wear glasses, and after trying them for a while frequently discard them. They also break and lose them. Thus they are saved much injury. But if the teacher or parent is conscientious and insists on the wearing of the glasses, and on their renewal when lost or broken, the temporary error of refraction becomes a permanent one.
    The atmosphere of the average schoolroom is extremely irritating. It makes the children nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatic. But if they have a familiar Snellen test card which they can read every day they are always able to overcome this adverse influence. When they can read the letters on the test card which they know by heart, they are also able to read the writing on the blackboard and see other strange objects at the distance or the near-point with normal sight.


    6. The School Children


    A great many children visit our clinic. Some are sent by their teachers or the school nurse. Others hear from their friends that we cure people without glasses and come of their own accord. They are a most interesting class of patients; for they respond so quickly to treatment that one's work becomes a succession of thrills, and as a rule they are very grateful for what we do for them.
    Grown people are often annoyed when they find that we do not prescribe glasses, but the children, with rare exceptions, are delighted, for they usually hate to wear glasses. Only occasionally do they insist that they must have them, because the teacher or the nurse said so. Before they leave the clinic, however, they are always convinced that whoever told them they needed glasses made a mistake.
    One day a colored girl tried to work me for a pair of glasses. Dr. Bates, after examining her eyes, turned her over to me with the remark that she would be an easy case. I placed her at ten feet from the card and asked her to read what she could. She said she could not read anything. I brought her to within one foot of it, and she still insisted that she could not see a letter. It occurred to me that perhaps she did not know the letters, but she said she did. I told her to palm for a while, and then I tried her again at ten feet. She looked very mournful, and said, "I can't see." Then I realized at last what was the matter with her.
    "Well, if you want glasses," I said, "you will have to go elsewhere, we do not give glasses here."
    I never saw a patient's sight improve as quickly as hers did now. She started at once to read the test card, and went right down to the bottom, missing only two letters on the last line.
    In most cases the children, after they are cured, prove to be enthusiastic missionaries in the cause of better eyesight. On the same day that I cured the case just mentioned another colored girl, ten years old, who was as anxious to be cured as the other one had been to avoid it, came to the clinic. The school nurse had sent her to get glasses, but she said:
    "I just hate glasses and I won't wear them."
    I improved her sight in ten minutes from 15/70 to 15/30, and the next clinic day she brought with her fourteen other children and the school nurse, all colored, including the nurse, who was a mulatto. That was a thrilling day at the clinic. The nurse was thrilled and I was thrilled, for in an hour's time I improved the sight of every one of those children from about 15/50 to 15/20.
    The first child I treated, was very cross, and did not wish to be annoyed by palming or anything else. The nurse explained to me that she was a very nervous child and never still a minute.
    "That doesn't matter," I said; "I'm not going to make her nervous,"
    I then asked the child what her name was, and she told me that it was Helen.
    "Now Helen," I said, "the first thing you are going to do for me is to smile," which she did.
    "Now I wonder if you can read that test card for me?" I asked.
    "Oh, sure," she replied. "I'm not a baby!"
    She read 15/50.
    "Be a nice girl now and cover your closed eyes with your palms," and I showed her how to do it.
    She followed my instructions, and by alternately flashing the letters and palming, her vision rapidly improved to 15/20.
    The next girl was one of the prettiest mulattos I have ever seen. She had closely watched Helen, and from the look on her face I could see that she would be more ready to do as I wished her to do than Helen had been. Her name was Clarice, and her vision was about the same as Helen's, namely 15/50. I told her to palm, and while she was doing this I went to the next patient, a girl who reminded me of Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin, for her head was just covered with pigtails. After I had started her to palming, I went back to Clarice, and found that she could now read 15/20. And so it went through the whole fourteen. The nurse asked me a great many questions about the treatment, and said she would treat the children the same way at school. At a later date she came to me again for more instructions, and said that so far she had been getting such good results that she had not found it necessary to send any more of her charges to the clinic. She studied BETTER EYESIGHT very carefully and found that it enabled her to give the treatment correctly. Clarice and Helen also came back, not because it was necessary, since they and the other children were doing so well under the instructions of the nurse, but because they liked to come. After palming for a short time both of them became able to read 15/10.
    The influence of the school in producing imperfect sight is sometimes startlingly illustrated by these child patients. A dear little blue-eyed girl of twelve who came to us because she had severe headaches seemed to be suffering mainly from fear of her teacher. In the morning before school she felt perfectly well; after playing in the street with the other children she also felt well; but when she went into her classroom and began work her head began to ache. It also ached when she was doing her home work, but not so badly. I asked her to read the test card at twelve feet, and unconsciously I raised my voice a little. Immediately I saw her start as if someone had scared the very life out of her. I guessed at once just what was the matter, and lowering my voice I told her as gently as possible that there was nothing to be frightened about.
    "What you are not able to read on that card today, you will read next time," I said.
    Then I showed her how to palm and left her for a time, as there were many other children waiting to he treated. Coming back in fifteen minutes I told her to take her hands down and tell me what she could read; and I made my voice as low as I could, not much above a whisper. At once, with each eye she read 15/10, more than normal vision, and she said she had no pain. I asked her if she could guess how many children there were in her class.
    "Yes, about sixty," she replied.
    "My," I said, "if your poor mother had sixty children, wouldn't she be nervous and worried! And wouldn't you want to help her all you could! Suppose you make believe the teacher is your mother, and try to help her all you can."
    This had a great effect on her. The next time she came her attitude toward her teacher seemed to have completely changed, and at every subsequent visit she always had something to say about her wonderful teacher. I feel sure that her fear of her teacher had been unnecessary, and also that it had had much to do with her condition. She had little trouble with the headaches after her first visit, for when she felt one coming on, as sometimes happened when she had a hard example to do, she was able to get quick relief simply by closing her eyes.
    While the work with the children is always thrilling, we sometimes have a case that is so wonderful that it stands out from all the others. A boy of ten came to us one day in a very had condition. He did not want to look at anyone, and did not even want to raise his head, because the light bothered him so. After testing his sight and finding it to be about 15/70 I placed him on a stool, which, by the way, is a very precious piece of furniture in the clinic. All our poor patients have to stand while they palm and practice with the test card. No comfortable chairs for them. But most of them are willing to do anything so that they may not need glasses, and they do not complain. For this boy, however, I was able to find a stool on which he could sit while he palmed. I told him not to open his eyes for a moment, and after I had attended to a few patients I came back and asked him to take his hands from his eyes. What happened then seemed like a miracle. He didn't look like the same boy. His formerly half-shut eyes were wide open, and without any trouble he read the bottom line of the test card at fifteen feet. When I praised him for what he had done he smiled and said:
    "When shall I come again?"
    At the next visit he read 20/10 with both eyes, and he told me that when the light bothered him he closed his eyes and covered them with the palms of his hands, and in a few minutes he was all right.
    This boy brought a friend, aged twelve, who had been wearing glasses for two years or more. When he came into the room he did not wait for his turn (I guess he never thought about it in his eagerness), but placed himself right in front of me, took off his glasses, and said:
    "You cured Jimmie's eyes. Will you cure me, too?"
    "Surely," I said, "if you wait your turn," and as soon as I could I tested his sight.
    I found that he could see just as well without his glasses as with them—15/20. So I asked Dr. Bates to examine him and his glasses, and it turned out that he was wearing far-sighted glasses for near-sight. I told him to palm, and before he left the clinic that day he saw distinctly some of the letters on the bottom line at fifteen feet. This was an even more remarkable cure than Jimmie's, for patients who have worn glasses are usually much harder to cure than those who have never worn them.
    Sometimes the mothers come with the children, and then I always try to enlist them as my assistants, and if they wear glasses I try to persuade them to cure themselves, so that the children will not copy their bad visual habits, and will not be subjected to the influence of people who strain. Not long ago a mother who had trouble with her eyes brought a child for treatment, and said that she would help the latter at home. I said that would be fine, and then I asked the child to help me cure her mother.
    "After mother has given you a treatment," I said, "tell her to close her eyes and cover them with the palms of her hands, and to stay so until everything is black. Be very quiet so that she will not he disturbed, and when she opens her eyes you will surely find that she can see better."
    Both mother and child made rapid progress. At the first visit the child's vision, which had been 15/50, improved to 15/30, and in six weeks it became 20/15. The mother now exhibits to her friends, with much pride, her ability to thread a needle without glasses.
    Only one thing about this work with the children makes me sad and that is, we can do so little of it. Many children come from other districts, and are, of course, turned away by the dispensary clerk. But even if the hospital rules did not require him to do this, we could not admit all who come. There is a limit to the number we can treat, and there is so little space in our little eye room that already we are obliged to treat the overflow in the outside general waiting room. I wish that there could be such clinics in every hospital, and that the teachers and the nurses in the schools could be instructed in the very simple art of preserving the eyesight of the coming generation.

                                                        THE SNELLEN TEST CARD IN NEWTON


Superintendent School Department, Newton, Mass.

    We are greatly indebted to Superintendent Wheeler for sending us the following report of the use of the Snellen test card in one of the public schools of Newton, and we hope that the success which attended his experiment will encourage other schools to try this method of preventing and curing imperfect sight in school children.
    Last fall we purchased several copies of the school number of BETTER EYESIGHT, and have been trying the suggested method for the prevention and cure of imperfect sight in one building in the city. The following is a copy of the report I received at the end of the school year from the principal of that school regarding the result of this trial:
    In the fourth grade the teacher began using the Snellen eye chart last October. There was one case where the child tested very low in one eye. One of the children in the grade worked with her four times a day as was suggested in the booklet. The child lost the fear of using her eye, and after some time could read the card fifteen feet away. At that time her mother requested that we do no more work with her, as the oculist was afraid that she might strain her eyes.
    The class as a whole used the card for months. Their eyes seem to be strengthened by the constant use of it.
    In the fifth grade the teacher used the card with her class and gained definite results. One interesting case was that of a girl who had trouble with her eyes. It seemed to be hereditary, as the father had the same trouble. The girl used the Snellen test card and finally was able to read it across the room. If she neglected to practice for a few days, she found it necessary to begin all over again. There was no chance for memorizing the card, as the teacher cut letters from newspapers and used them while testing her, and found that she had been helped a great deal. It is thought the children's eyes were really strengthened.
    In the other grades—I, II, VI, VII and VIII—the card was used, and in some cases it helped; in others the eye defects were too serious. However, the teachers believe that if the card is put to the right use wonderful results may be reaped.

                                              Imperfect Sight Can be cured Without Glasses
                                                                     You Can Cure Yourself
                                                                      You Can Cure Others



  September, 1920


This is an excellent method of improving it

             Learn how to cure/avoid unclear vision by experiencing how strain and unclear vision are caused.
           Strange as it may seem there is no better way of improving the sight than by making it worse. To see things worse when one is already seeing them badly requires mental control of a degree greater than that required to improve the sight. The importance of these facts is very great.

+ When patients become able to lower their vision by conscious staring, they become better able to avoid unconscious staring.

+ When they demonstrate by increasing their eccentric fixation that trying to see objects not regarded lowers the vision, they may stop trying to do the same thing unconsciously.

+ What is true of the sight is also true of the imagination and memory. If one's memory and imagination are imperfect, they can be improved by consciously making them worse than they are.

+ Persons with imperfect sight never remember or imagine the letters on the test card as perfectly black and distinct, but to imagine them as grey and clouds is very difficult, or even impossible, and when a patient has done it, or tried to do it, he may become able to avoid the unconscious strain which has prevented him from forming mental pictures as black and distinct as the reality.

 +  To make imperfect sight worse is always more difficult than to lower normal vision. In other words, to make a letter which already appears grey and indistinct noticeably more cloudy is harder than to blur a letter seen distinctly. To make an imperfect mental picture worse is harder than to blur a perfect one. Both practices require much effort, much hard disagreeable work; but they always, when successful, improve the memory, imagination and vision.


  By M. H. STUART, M.D.

 Moultrie, Ga.

    We are greatly indebted to Dr. Stuart for sending us this remarkable story of his own cure and that of his patients, all of which was accomplished without personal assistance by means of the information presented in this magazine.
    Some sixteen years ago, when working as a stenographer, I developed indigestion and became extremely nervous, one of my symptoms being a tension in the spinal cord between the shoulder blades which was extremely uncomfortable. In the late afternoon and evening I would become so nervous that I could scarcely sit still, and I have walked five miles into the country and back again to get relief. I tried dieting for the indigestion, but after two months failed to get any relief. A medical student then suggested that the trouble might be due to my eyes. I went to an oculist, who fitted me with glasses, and all my troubles ceased.
    The glasses given to me were convex 0.25, axis 90. A few years later, when I was in New York doing post-graduate work at the Polyclinic, they were changed to concave 0.25, axis 180, my refraction having changed from hypermetropia to myopia. In succeeding years the myopic astigmatism increased to concave 0.75, axis 180, and finally, after I had worn glasses for some fourteen years, to concave 1.00, axis 180. The last correction I had worn for about two years when I discarded glasses for good.
    Slight as my error of refraction was, I was not able to leave off my glasses for more than an hour or two without suffering from nervousness and the feeling of tenseness in the spinal cord alluded to above. At other times I was perfectly comfortable except for the last year or two, during which I had so much to do that I suffered at times from the old nervous trouble. I had no pain in my head or eyes, but the trouble in my back was so bad last fall that I had to have the services of a masseur in order to do my work.
    Five years ago I first read about Dr. Bates' experiments upon the eye muscles of animals. While interested I was not prepared to abandon the accepted teachings on the subject, and I waited to hear more. Recently I read, in the May (1920) number of BETTER EYESIGHT, Dr. Arnau's story of how, his headaches were cured, and I was so impressed by it that I determined to try the relaxation method upon myself. I palmed for five minutes and then read the card three times with each eye as far as I could without effort. I did this six times a day for five days, and at the end of this time I had gained a very decided degree of relaxation. I had, of course, discarded glasses, and, although this caused me a little discomfort at first, I was able about a week later, to perform, without them, three tonsilectomies and one operation for cataract, and to remove two blind eyes. At the same time I went through my daily routine of treating ten to thirty patients, examining eyes, ears, noses and throats, much of which work requires extra good vision. At noon I lay down to rest as usual and read the Atlanta paper. At night I read the Moultrie daily paper and anything else that I wanted to.
    After the first five days of systematic relaxation I have never done anything in a routine way for myself, but if I feel nervous, or my eyes feel drawn, I swing twenty times and palm. In this way I am always able to get relief. Another method of gaining relaxation that I have resorted to is to look at an imaginary period in any dark distant object. In this pine-woods district there are thousands of stumps, many of which have been burned and blackened. The third day after I discarded my glasses I had to drive about twenty-eight miles, and whenever my eyes felt drawn I would look in an easy relaxed way at a small point on one of these stumps and always got relaxation.
    Nearly every afternoon at half past four I go out for a game of golf, and often I palm before going, as I find it gives me better control of my nervous system, and enables me to play a more consistent game.
    I was so pleased with the results of the new treatment in my own case that I have since taught central fixation to about forty of my patients, and in only about two did I fail to improve the vision at the first sitting.

The following are some of my more notable cases.
    Mr. S, an automobile mechanic, had been mentally deranged for two weeks, following an attack of flu, after which he gradually became rational, only to find that he saw double and his vision was imperfect in each eye. At the first examination he read with his right 20/120, and with the left 20/60. I suggested that he palm at least six times a day for five minutes, and on the second day he was greatly improved, reading with the right eye 20/80, left 20/40. On the third day he read with the right eye 20/40, left 20/30, an increase of vision in the right eye of 200 per cent, and in the left of 100 per cent. He is now at work, and when, occasionally, he has to lay off, it is not on account of any trouble with his eyes, but because of weakness in his knees.
    A year ago a Mr. B consulted me about the sight of his right eye, the left having been blind for years. His vision was 10/40, and could not be improved by any lens. I advised him to have the left eye removed, since it was a menace to the other eye. He would not consent to this and I did not see him again until May 5 of this year, when he came to my office practically blind in his right eye from sympathetic opthalmia. At one foot he could only count fingers. I advised the immediate removal of the blind eye and of a few teeth that had pus about them; but I could not promise that his vision would be saved. That afternoon I removed the eye, and the following day I was gratified to find that he could count fingers at three feet. I sent him home with some large letters to use for the practice of central fixation, and by the fifteenth he was able to count fingers at five feet. I then told him how to practice the universal swing, and on the twenty-second he could count fingers at seven feet. On the twenty-ninth he could read the small type on the 20 line of the test card at four inches, whereas he had been entirely unable to see them previously. He states that he can now see the small chickens running about near his feet, and can see small cotton plants seven feet away. I am confident that in a year, or some such matter, he will have sufficient vision to attend to the necessary work of his farm.
    I have treated three cases of squint, all of them with success. One of them, Delia S, aged twelve, came to me on May 15, with her right eye turned in to such a degree that the cornea was partly hidden. The sight of this eye was so imperfect that at three feet she could only count fingers. With her left eye she could read 20/30.  She was told to palm, and when she returned on May 24 she was able, with the squinting eye, to count fingers at six feet, twice as far as at her first visit, and the eye was straighter. On June 5 she came again, and counted fingers at eight feet, an increase of vision since the beginning of 700 per cent. On July 3, while I was writing this report, she came in, and I found that her right eye had improved to 20/60, one third of normal, while her left had become entirely normal, 20/20. Her right eye was entirely straight at times, and I feel sure that in a few months this condition will have become permanent.
    Another case of squint was that of a young girl of fourteen with rather large, pretty blue eyes, one of which, the right, was slightly crossed inwardly. Her sight was very imperfect—half normal in the right eye and one-third normal in the left—while, like most cross-eyed people, she was troubled with double vision. I asked her to palm at least six times a day, and she came back with her eyes straighter and able to read 20/30 with both. The next week showed normal vision, the eyes being at times perfectly straight.
    I was particularly pleased to be able to relieve these little girls of a disfigurement which means so much more to them than it would mean to a boy, and I was much interested to note how much prettier their eyes were, apart from the disappearance of the squint, after a few treatments. They were wide open, softer-looking, in short, relaxed.



    This patient was wearing when first seen the following glasses: each eye, concave 5.00 D.S. combined with concave 1.00 D.C.  A number of competent men had said that her myopia was progressive, and that her vision was certain to become very imperfect even with glasses. They all insisted that she must wear glasses constantly. Yet after she had discarded them her vision improved in two days from 6/200 to 20/100.
    I have always been near-sighted. When I was six years old, my father took me to a famous oculist in London, and he prescribed and fitted me with my first glasses. With these lenses I was able to distinguish things at a distance which before I had not been able to see.  I found that I could read or see objects at close range just as well without the glasses. The only difference that they made to my sight in this case was that print appeared smaller and less black.
    Every year stronger lenses were given to me, and I visited several oculists in England and America, in the hope of improvement. When I was fifteen an oculist told me that my eyesight, instead of improving each year as I had hoped, would gradually become worse. By this time I was wearing glasses all the time.
    Then, quite by chance, my father heard of Dr. Bates through a friend whose eyesight had been cured by him. I was taken there at once. The first thing Dr. Bates did was to take away my glasses. I sat down in a chair, opposite which was a Snellen test card, fifteen feet away. I could not see the largest letter, a "C" about four inches by three, which people with normal vision are supposed to read at two hundred feet. He brought the card five feet nearer and then I read the "C." It appeared very blurred and indistinct. The smaller letters were so blurred that I could not see them at all.

 The most helpful thing I learned was how to "palm." This I did by closing my eyes and then covering them with the palms of my hands, so that I saw black and remembered it perfectly. This perfect black rested my eyes a great deal. After doing this for some ten or fifteen minutes, I looked at the card and found that I could read the two letters on the next line.
    After I had learned to "palm," I learned to "swing." The reason I strained my eyes so when looking at the card was that I stared at one place. So by imagining the letter was swinging like a pendulum, I moved my eyes instead of staring as I had done before. At first the swing was a long one, but after practicing for some weeks, I began getting it shorter until it was only half an inch on each side of the letter. The short swing was more difficult to do than the long one, but it helped more in the end.
    Then I learned to "flash." I looked at a small letter at fifteen feet distance and could not read it. The longer I looked the worse it grew. So by closing my eyes, remembering the swing for a few seconds, I just glanced at the letter and closing my eyes at once, I saw the letter in a flash.
    All these things must be practiced every day, and even now I have to "palm" every morning and night. Palming, swinging and flashing were the three fundamentals. As soon as they were mastered only practice remained. I have now been going to Dr. Bates for over a year, and my eyesight is almost cured. I often have flashes of perfect sight. Dr. Bates has certainly helped me in a remarkable degree, more indeed than I ever thought possible when I first went to him wearing strong glasses.   The above article contains many of the main Natural Vision Improvement treatments: Palm, Shift, See the Swing/Oppositional Movement, Long Swing, Sway, Short Sway/Tiny Shift, Flash letters, objects, Memory, Imagination, Relaxation.


By W. H. BATES, M.D.

    How much sleep is necessary to maintain health? This is a question which has never been satisfactorily answered. Theoretically, mental or physical work should increase the need for sleep, but it is a matter of common knowledge that many inactive persons seem to need just as much sleep as those who work, or even more.
    Much time has been devoted to the investigation of the symptoms of fatigue. Analyses have been made of the blood of fatigued subjects; the action of the muscles, nerves and brain, the changes in the structure of the cells, under the influence of fatigue, the changes following sleep, have all been carefully studied. But so far very little light has been thrown upon the nature of either fatigue or sleep.
    This is a fact, however: that eyestrain has always been demonstrated when fatigue was present, and that fatigue has always been relieved when eyestrain was relieved. Perfect sight is perfect rest, and cannot coexist with fatigue. Even the memory or imagination of fatigue is accompanied by the production of eyestrain and imperfect sight, while the memory of perfect sight will relieve both eyestrain and fatigue. Sleepiness is a common symptom of habitual eyestrain, and when the sight improves the need for sleep is often markedly reduced.
    One patient reports that after gaining normal sight without glasses she was able to get on comfortably with seven hours sleep, whereas she had formerly not been able to avoid continual sleepiness and yawning even on nine and ten hours. The inclination to yawn on all occasions had been so overpowering, she stated, that it often subjected her to great embarrassment. On one occasion she yawned so incessantly during a call made in the early evening that the visitor concluded, not unnaturally, that her presence was a burden and departed in high dudgeon, no explanations sufficing to convince her that the yawning was not the result of boredom. The patient was made very unhappy by this condition, but finally became reconciled to it in a measure, thinking that what could not be cured must be endured. Great was her surprise and delight, therefore, when, after discarding her glasses and beginning to practice central fixation, she found herself sleeping less and not yawning so much. She made no conscious effort, she said, to check the yawning, and had indeed almost forgotten about it. She now gets sleepy only at bedtime.
    Another patient, although he never had any desire to sleep in the daytime, found it very difficult to keep awake in the evening. At the opera or theatre, at lectures and social gatherings, and at church, he was always sleepy and often went to sleep. It was naturally more difficult for him to keep awake when he was not interested, but whether he was interested or not he was sure to become more or less sleepy. He never went to a lecture without going to sleep, and the world's most famous song-birds were not always able to keep him awake at the opera. In the case of dull papers or sermons, it did no good to think of something else, for the sound of the speaker's voice acted like an opiate. When he learned how to relax by the aid of the memory, imagination, shifting, swinging and palming the trouble gradually became less, and now he can stay awake at all times and in all places where people are supposed to stay awake.

                              STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

  The Woman with Asthma


     When eyestrain is relieved all other strain is relieved, and therefore patients relieved of eyestrain are often relieved of many other symptoms. Asthma belongs to a large class of diseases with symptoms which may result from nervous disturbances instead of from organic changes. They have been called functional neuroses. It was not strange, therefore, that this patient should note an immediate improvement in her breathing after palming, and that this treatment, in combination with hygienic measures, should have permanently relieved the trouble. Many similar cases could be reported, and even when organic disease has been present, the subjective symptoms have been relieved.
    One day during the summer of 1919, a woman suffering from asthma came to the clinic. She was only forty years of age, but looked fifty, and it was evident, from the wrinkles in her forehead and her half-shut eyes, that her vision was very poor. She told me that she suffered from continual pain, and I could see that she had great difficulty in breathing; but her spirit was unbroken, and her exuberance was something of a problem to me. She talked continually as long as she could find anyone to listen to her, and in order to preserve any order in the clinic I had to keep her as much as possible by herself. I was sorry to do this, because her good humor was contagious, and made the patients forget their pain and other troubles, but I could not have the work brought to a standstill, even for such a desirable end as this.
    The state of her eyesight did not seem to trouble her.
    It was her asthma about which she was concerned.  When I asked her to read the test card she said:
    "Please ma'am, help me to breathe first; never mind my eyes."
    "You are in the wrong room for asthma", I replied, "just let me do something for your eyes, and then I will send you to another room where a good doctor will treat you for the asthma."
    She smiled, evidently pleased that I had not sent her away, and proceeded to read the card, as I had asked her to do. Her vision was 20/30 in each eye. I told her to palm and on no account to remove her hands from her eyes until I came back. It was fully half an hour before I was able to do this, and when I told her to uncover her eyes, she asked:
    "What makes me breathe so easy?"
    "The palming has helped you", I replied.
    Her vision was now 15/20, and she said the pain in her chest and back had gone. I gave her some advice about her diet, told her to drink plenty of water, and asked her to come to the clinic three days a week.
    On the next clinic day, to my great disappointment, I did not see her. I concluded that she did not care to bother about her eyes, and was not willing to give up the foods and drinks I had told her not to take, including meats, pastry, strong tea and other liquids much stronger than tea. Other patients were continually coming in, however, so the poor woman with asthma went completely out of my mind until two months later when she rushed into the clinic like a cyclone. Most of these poor people do not think about waiting for their turn, and are so anxious to tell me about their relief from eyestrain and other troubles that I have to forgive them when they break the rules. This woman not only did not wait her turn but did not think it necessary to wait till I had finished with the patient I was attending to. As soon as she saw me she yelled in a loud excited voice:
    "Please, ma'am. I didn't forget you. I didn't forget myself either. I felt so good after you treated me, I just palmed and palmed, and I began to breathe so much better I went out and got a job right away. During the day my madam allowed me to rest my eyes, and I ate very sparingly. Sure, ma'am, it was no joke either, for I just love to eat good and lots of it; but I remembered what you said, and so I behaved myself. I must have starved the asthma all away."
    "I am very glad to hear all this" I said. "Now let me see what the palming did for your eyes."
    Her vision had improved to 15/10. And it had all happened in two months. She did it and not I. When I told her this and praised her for it, she replied:
    "God bless you! You don't know how happy I am. I am working and supporting myself now for the first time in four years. But what surprises me the most is that I have not been drowned by this time with all the water I have been drinking."


    The editor has received so many questions from the readers of BETTER EYESIGHT that he feels it sufficiently important to open a new department which will start next month. All persons are invited to send in questions which will be answered as promptly as possible by mail or the questions and answers will be published in the magazine. Kindly enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.



  October, 1920


This can help you to improve your sight

    Cinematograph pictures are commonly supposed to be very injurious to the eyes, and it is a fact that they often cause much discomfort and lowering of vision. They can, however, be made a means of improving the sight. When they hurt the eyes it is because the subject strains to see them. If this tendency to strain can be overcome, the vision is always improved, and, if the practice of viewing the pictures is continued long enough, nearsight, astigmatism and other troubles are cured.
    If your sight is imperfect, therefore, you will find it an advantage to go to the movies frequently and learn to look at the pictures without strain. If they hurt your eyes, look away to the dark for a while, then look at a corner of the picture; look away again, and then look a little nearer to the center; and so on. In this way you may soon become able to look directly at the picture without discomfort. If this does not help, try palming for five minutes or longer. Dodge the pain, in short, and prevent the eyestrain by constant shifting, or by palming.
    If you become able to look at the movies without discomfort, nothing else will bother you.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    The problem of imperfect sight is such a tremendous one that few, even of those who specialize in such matters, realize its proportions, while outside this circle there is not the remotest conception of what it means.
    The literature of the subject is very confusing and contradictory; but from the facts available there can be no doubt that the great majority of school children suffer from some degree of imperfect sight, while among adults normal vision is a rare exception.
    The very careful investigation of Risley showed that in the public schools of Philadelphia, among children between eight and a half and seventeen and a half, the proportion of imperfect sight was about ninety per cent,1other investigators report lower figures, but in many cases this simply means a lower standard. The findings of Risley agree with those obtained by myself in a study of 100,000 children made under all sorts of conditions in both city and country schools.
    As to the sight of the adult population the operation of the draft law has supplied us with some unimpeachable data. It was found impossible to raise an army with even half normal vision in one eye, and in order to get the number of soldiers required it was necessary to accept for general service men whose vision could be brought up to half normal with glasses.2
    Such figures as the foregoing, terrible as they are, by no means exhaust the subject. In fact they are only the beginning.
    Errors of refraction are so common that we have learned to take them lightly. They are usually reckoned among minor physical defects, and the average lay person has no idea of their real character. It is well known, of course, that they sometimes produce very serious nervous conditions, but the fact that they also lead to all sorts of eye diseases is known only to specialists, and not fully appreciated even by them. The complications of myopia (nearsight) constitute a large and melancholy chapter in the science of the eye, but most eye specialists say that no organic changes occur in hypermetropia (farsight). That this is very far from being the case was proven by Risley in the investigation alluded to above, and it is strange that his report on the subject has attracted so little attention. His studies also showed that these organic changes occurring in all states of refraction, are very common among children and have often progressed to an extent that would be expected only after long years of eyestrain.
    In the case of myopic astigmatism the percentage of diseased eyes among all the children examined ran as high as eighty-seven per cent, and in the secondary schools not a single myopic eye was found with a healthy eyeground. The condition known as conus in which the choroid, or middle coat of the eye, is destroyed in the neighborhood of the optic nerve exposing the white outer coat (sclera) and forming first a crescent and later even a complete circle is commonly regarded as one of the symptoms of myopia and attributed to the tension resulting from the lengthening of the globe, but Risley's statistics show that while it is somewhat more common in this state of refraction than in hypermetropia it is by no means peculiar to it. In hypermetropia it was found in twenty per cent of the cases, and in hypermetropic astigmatism in forty-five per cent. In simple myopia it was present in forty-one per cent of the cases, and in myopic astigmatism it reached sixty per cent. It is a terrible thing to think that the eyes of our children should show a symptom of this character in such a large proportion of cases.


    The eyegrounds of a brother and sister aged respectively ten and twelve years. Both had hypemetropic astigmatism. "The conditions here represented," says Risley, "were repeated in scores of their fellows at school."
    My own experience is that errors of refraction are always accompanied by some organic change. It may be only a slight congestion, but this may be sufficient to lower the vision.
    By wearing glasses, avoiding poor lights and limiting the use of the eyes for near work, it is supposed that we can do something to prevent the development of these organic diseases and to check their progress; but for none of the traditional methods of treatment is it even claimed that they can be depended upon to preserve the sight as long as it may be needed, and Sidler Huguenin, in a paper several times referred to in this magazine, has stated that in the thousands of cases of myopia that have come under his observation they never were of any material benefit.3
    That imperfect sight is a fruitful cause of retardation in school is well known. According to the New York City Board of Health it is responsible for a quarter of the habitually left backs.4  But that this condition cannot be remedied by glasses has not been generally observed. By making the patient more comfortable glasses do often improve his mental condition, but since they cannot relieve the mental strain that underlies the visual one, they cannot improve it to normal and by confirming it in a bad habit they may make it worse.
    From the foregoing facts it will be seen that in the condition of the eyesight of our people we have a health problem, an educational problem, and a military problem, of the first magnitude, and one would think that if any method of either prevention or cure that was even tolerably successful had been found it would immediately be put into general use.


                                                                                    8: Atrophy of the Optic Nerve

                                                                                                           By Emily C. Lierman

    About twenty-five years ago a patient came to the New York Eye Infirmary with well-marked atrophy of the optic nerve. According to all that we know of the laws of pathology he should have been totally blind; yet his vision was normal. The case was considered so remarkable that it was exhibited before a number of medical societies, but it was by no means an isolated one. On February 8, 1917, the editor published in the "New York Medical Journal," under the title, "Blindness Relieved By a New Method of Treatment," a report of a case in which the vision was improved from perception of light to normal. He has had quite a number of such cases.
    Some time ago a colored woman was led into the clinic by a friend. She had heard of Dr. Bates, and had come to him in the hope that he might be able to restore her sight. The doctor examined her eyes, and found that she had atrophy of the optic nerve complicated with other troubles. She could not count her fingers, nor had she any perception of light whatever. The doctor turned her over to me saying:
    "Help her, will you?"
    "She was the real "mammy" type of negro, very good-natured and motherly. She greeted me with a smile and said:
    "May de good Lor' bless you, ma'am, of you can gives me again de light ob day."
    The words came from a very humble heart, and were very hopeful. When I heard them I can tell you that I lost some of my courage. It might turn out that I could do nothing for her, and I dreaded to disappoint her. My work is not always easy; yet I like the hard cases to come my way, because when I can help them I feel that I have done something worth while.
    "Won't you tell me how long you have been blind?" I asked.
    "Yes, ma'am," she replied. "I's hasn't seed nothin' for two years, I's been in the hospital all dat time an' de doctors says dat mebbe I's nebber see again. Some friend ob mine says to me, `You jes goes to de Harlem Hospital Clinic. Dere you find de doctor what makes you see.' So I jes come; dat's all."
    I told her to cover her eyes with the palms of her hands and asked if she could remember anything black.
She replied:
     "Yes, ma'am, I 'member stove polish black, all right."
    "That's fine," I said. "Now, keep remembering the black stove polish, and that will stop the strain in your eyes. When your eyes first began to trouble you, you strained to see, and every time you did that your eyes became worse. Now let us see what will happen when you stop the strain."
    I stood her against the wall to make things easier for her, for we have few chairs at the clinic, and left her to treat other patients, telling her not to open her eyes, nor to remove her palms from them, not for a moment, till I came back. Presently I became aware of a strange sound, a sort of mumbling. I was greatly puzzled, but tried not to show it for fear I would disturb the patients. All of a sudden, as I approached my blind patient, I discovered where the sound came from. She was saying in a low tone, "Black polish, black polish," just as fast as she could. I now held a test card covered with E's of various sizes turned in different directions a foot away from her eyes, and told her to take her hands down and look at it. The doctor, the other patients and myself were quite scared at the outburst that followed.
    "Ma'am, dat's a E; dat's a sure-nough E. I's sure dat's a black E on some white paper."
    This was a large letter on the first line, read by the normal eye at two hundred feet.
    But the next moment it faded from her eyes. That was my fault. I was not quick enough. What I should have done was to have her close her eyes and palm again the moment she saw the E. But I was greatly encouraged, not only because the patient had had a flash of vision, but because Dr. Bates had said he was sure I would help her to see again. I again told her to palm and remember black, and when, in a few moments, I asked her to take down her hands and look at the card, she again saw the E, and blacker than the first time. I now told her to close her eyes for a minute and open them for just a second, alternately, remembering the stove polish as she did so. She did this for a time, and was able to see the E each time she opened her eyes.
    "Now," I said, as I raised my hand and held it one foot from her eyes, "how many fingers can you see?"
    "Three," she replied, which was correct.
    I told her to rest her eyes by palming many times a day, and to come and see me three times a week. I also gave her some advice about her diet, and told her that enemas were quite necessary to relieve her constipation.
    Next clinic day she saw the seventy line of letters at one foot, and they did not fade away as did the E the first time she saw it. I told her to palm some more, and in a few minutes she counted my fingers correctly every time I asked her to, with only one exception.
    "If dis here seein' keeps up, ma'am," she remarked, "I sure will be able to earn mar livin' again. De Lor' bless you ma'am."
    She continued to come and made slow but sure progress for a time. Then came a time when she stayed away for several months. As I was very anxious to cure her, I worried about her considerably during this time. Then one day she turned up again. She seemed to be very much frightened about something, but her eyes looked much better. I was so glad to see her, and she seemed so much upset, that I refrained from scolding her, as I felt like doing, and in course of time I discovered the reason for her absence. She had been under treatment for some other troubles, and some doctor or nurse had scared her into discontinuing her visits to our clinic. She had, however, continued to palm several hours a day with most gratifying results.
    "Do you know, ma'am," she said, "I's can see every house number as I go visitin', an' I goes out to a day's work once in a while."
    She continued to come quite regularly, and her improvement continued. Sometimes I would find that she did not see as well as at her previous visit, but immediate improvement always followed palming. Her gratitude was pathetic, and every little while she would bring a bundle, saying:
    "Dis here is fo' you, ma'am. You sabe me from blindness. Yes, you did, an' I's mighty grateful."
    These bundles contained gifts of various kinds—a cocoanut from the West Indies at one time, grapefruit and cucumbers at another, and a third a necklace made of tropical beans of various colors.
    The greatest day of her life came a few weeks ago when she washed a full set of Dresden china for her employer, without breaking a single piece, and earned four dollars and twenty cents by her day's work. If she continues to practice the palming, which she now forgets sometimes, I have no doubt that she will, in time, obtain normal vision. She now sees the largest letter on the card twenty feet away, and reads the headlines in the newspapers. Recently Dr. Bates examined her eyes with the ophthalmoscope, and found the appearance of the optic nerve very much improved, more blood-vessels being visible in the papilla, or head of the nerve.

                                                  HOW I LEARNED TO SEE

                                                                                                              By Irma Meyers

    This patient was fourteen years old when first seen, and was wearing the following glasses: Right eye, concave 3.12 D. S. combined with concave 0.75 D. C., 90 degrees; left eye, concave 3.25 D. S. combined with concave 0.50 D. C., 90 degrees. At the second treatment her sight had improved temporarily to 20/20, and at the third she had a flash of perfect sight.
    The time had come for me to consult an oculist again. I had been wearing glasses for over a year, and they had always been a torment to my parents.
    We were discussing the question of oculists at table. My father contended that if there were physicians who could correct defective sight with glasses, there must be those who could cure such defects so that glasses would not be necessary. He had heard of a Dr. Bates who had cured people so that they no longer had to wear glasses.
    So instead of going to an eye specialist who would probably have prescribed new glasses, father and I went to see Dr. Bates. While waiting for admission to his private office a number of questions came to my mind. Could he cure me? Would I be able to get along without glasses for the rest of my life? It seemed too good to be true. My eyesight had been so poor that I had given up hope of ever leaving off my glasses.
    Finally we were ushered into Dr. Bates' office. He examined my eyes. I could just barely read the second line of letters on the Snellen chart—which shows how defective my eyesight was. The doctor impressed upon me that to improve my sight depended largely upon myself, and I determined to follow his directions conscientiously. I must never wear my glasses again, I was told, and that day, in the doctor's office, was the last time I did wear those hated glasses.
    Then the doctor told me to palm—that is, to put my hands over my eyes in such a way as to exclude all the light from them. In this way my eyes became rested. I was not looking at anything, and therefore my eyes were not undergoing any strain. Next the doctor showed me some fine print on a card and called my attention to the fact that while these letters looked perfectly black to me, those on the Snellen chart, at a distance of ten feet, were gray. The difference was due to my imagination, he said, and proved that my eyesight was not normal, because the letters on the test card were just as black as those on the small card in my hand. Then he told me how to improve my imagination. In reading letters like O,  D, and S, which had open spaces in them, I was to imagine the white openings (the card is white, the letters black) whiter than the margin of the card, which is the way the normal eye sees them. When I became able to do this the black letters stood out more clearly.
    Besides my imagination I had also to exercise my memory. This was accomplished in this way: I looked at a certain letter on the chart. Then I closed my eyes and remembered it better than I saw it. I could not do this very well at first, but my memory improved with practice.
    These and many other methods of improving the sight I learned from Dr. Bates. I visited him three times each week, and soon began to read much more on the chart than I had at my first visit. At the same time I noticed that stores, signs, houses, cars, all material objects, began to come out more clearly than before. I discovered, too, that I was not so shaky on my feet as I had been when I first discarded my eyeglasses. I felt then as if I would fall at every step I took. In school I did not have to go up to the blackboard to read what was on it, and did not have to sit as near the front as I formerly did.
    After six or seven months I began to enjoy the movies. I no longer had to sit and view a picture that I could not see. (I never, as I said before, used my glasses after my first visit to Dr. Bates.) I began to enjoy the pictures as much as the people around me who had never worn glasses. In school I could sit in the last rows and read the blackboard without any trouble.
    I have now been under treatment about a year, with some interruptions, and my eyesight is considered normal. At a recent test by the visiting physician at school I stood second among forty pupils. The girl who was first read just one letter more than I did, and I am sure that if I had had an opportunity to palm I would have been able to do better than she did.
    I cannot express in words what I owe to Dr. Bates. I shall always be grateful to him, and I wish I could show my appreciation for his work.
    At a recent visit Dr. Bates told me that my cure was not yet permanent, but I shall continue to follow his instructions and teachings implicitly until it is permanent. I sincerely hope that I shall never go back to wearing glasses, and that this recital of my experiences may help others similarly afflicted.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible. Kindly enclose a stamped addressed envelope.
    Q - 1 When objects at a distance clear up they are double. Can you suggest a remedy for this double vision? 
2. When I open my eyes after palming my sight gradually clears, but an intense pain often comes in my eyes, so that they close. The pain always starts with very clear vision. Is this eyestrain?—H. M.
    A - 1 If the objects are double when they clear up, relaxation is not complete, and the only remedy is to secure a greater degree of relaxation. This may be done in many ways. Use the method you have found most effective. 
2. Yes.  Your sight should be best when you open your eyes. If it clears up afterward, it is because you are making an effort to see. This produces the pain.
    Q - 1 How long should one palm and how often?
2. How young a patient can you treat by this method, and up to what age can you expect results? How would you handle a child that did not know its letters?
3. Is astigmatism curable by this method?
4. How long has the method?—J. H. W.
 A - 1 As often and as long as possible.
2. The age is immaterial. It is a matter of intelligence. Patients as old as eighty-two have been relieved. Children can be treated as soon as they are able to talk. Any small object can be used for eye training, and in the case of children who do not know their letters, kindergarten and Montessori equipment is often useful.
3. Yes.
4. Its evolution began thirty-five years ago. It has improved as experience was gained, and is still improving.

October, 1920

1 - School Hygiene, System of Diseases of the Eye, edited by Norris and Oliver.
2 - Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the First Draft under the Selective Service Act, 1917.
     Second Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Selective Service System to December 20, 1918.
3 - School Health News, February, 1919.
4 - Archiv. f. Augenh, vol. IXXIX, 1915, translated in Arch. Ophth., vol. XLV, Nov. 1916.

                                                                        Squint Number


                                                                                  November, 1920
                                                                             MAKE YOUR SQUINT WORSE

                                                                                   This will help you to cure it  
  Crossed, Wandering Eyes, Strabismus Cures

    There is no better way of curing squint than by making it worse, or by producing other kinds of squint. This can be done as follows:

  +  To produce convergent squint, strain to see a point about three inches from the eyes, such as the end of the nose. To produce divergent squint, fix a point at the distance to one side of any object, and strain to see it as well as when directly regarded.

  +  To produce a vertical squint, look at a point below an object at the distance, and at the same time strain to see the latter.

  + To produce an oblique divergent squint, look at a point below and to one side of an object at the distance while straining to see the latter.

    When successful two images will be seen arranged horizontally, vertically, or obliquely, according to the direction of the strain.
    The production of convergent squint is usually easier than that of the other varieties, and most patients succeed better with a light as the object of vision than with a letter, or other non-luminous object.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    Squint, or strabismus, is that condition of the eyes in which both are not directed to the same point at the same time. One eye may turn out more or less persistently while the other is normal (divergent squint), or it may turn in (convergent squint), or it may look too high or too low while deviating at the same time in an outward or inward direction (vertical squint). Sometimes these conditions change from one eye to another (alternating squint), and sometimes the character of the squint changes in the same eye, divergent squint becoming convergent and vice versa. Sometimes the patient is conscious of seeing two images of the object regarded, and sometimes he is not. Usually there is a lowering of vision in the deviating eye which cannot be improved by glasses, and for which no apparent or sufficient cause can be found. This condition is known as amblyopia, literally dim-sightedness, and is supposed to be incurable after a very early age, even though the squint may be corrected.
    Operations, which are now seldom advised, are admitted to be a gamble. According to Fuchs,1 "their results are as a rule simply cosmetic. The sight of the squinting eye is not influenced by the operation, and only in a few instances is even binocular vision restored." This is an understatement rather than the reverse, for a desirable cosmetic effect cannot be counted upon, and in not a few cases the condition is made worse. Sometimes the affected eye becomes straight and remains straight permanently, but often, after it has remained straight for a shorter or a longer time, it suddenly turns, in the opposite direction.
    I myself have had both failures and successes from operations. In one case the eyes not only became straight, but binocular single vision—that is, the power of fusing the two visual images into one—was restored, and when I last saw the patient, thirty years after the operation, there had been no change in these conditions. Yet when I reported to the ophthalmological section of the New York Academy of Medicine that I had cut away a quarter of an inch from the tendon of the internal rectus of each eye, the members were unanimous in their opinion that the eyes would certainly turn in the opposite direction in a very short time. In other cases the eyes, after remaining straight for a time, have reverted to their old condition, or turned in the opposite direction. The latter happened once after an apparently perfect result, including the restoration of binocular single vision, which had been permanent for five years. The consequent deformity was terrible. Sometimes I tried to undo the harm resulting from operations, my own and those of others, but invariably I failed.

    Glasses, prescribed on the theory that the existence of errors of refraction is responsible for the failure of the two eyes to act together, sometimes appear to do good; but exceptions are numerous, and in many cases they fail even to prevent the condition from becoming steadily worse.
    The fusion training of Worth is not believed to be of much use after the age of five or six, and often fails even then, in which case Worth recommends operations.
    Fortunately for the victims of this distressing condition, their eyes often become straight spontaneously, regardless of what is or is not done to them. More rarely the vision of the squinting eye is restored. If the sight of the good eye is destroyed, the amblyopic eye is very likely to recover normal vision, often in an incredibly short space of time. In spite of the fact that the text-books agree in assuring us that amblyopia is incurable, many cases of the latter class are on record.
    The fact is that both squint and amblyopia, like errors of refraction, are functional troubles, originating entirely in the mind. Both can be produced in normal eyes by a strain to see, and both are immediately relieved when the patient looks at a blank surface and remembers something perfectly. A permanent cure is a mere matter of making this temporary relaxation permanent.
    Permanent relaxation can be obtained by any of the methods used in the cure of errors of refraction, but in the case of young children who do not know their letters these methods have to be modified. Such children can be cured by encouraging them to use their eyes on any small objects that interest them. There are many ways in which this can be done, and it is important to devise a variety of exercises so that the child will not weary of them. For the same reason the presence of other children is at times desirable. There must be no compulsion and no harshness, for as soon as any exercise ceases to be pleasant it ceases to be beneficial.
    The needle, the brush, the pencil, kindergarten and Montessori material, picture books, playing cards, etc., may all be utilized for purposes of eye training. At first it will be necessary to use rather large objects and forms, but as the sight improves the size must be reduced. A child may begin to sew, for instance, with a coarse needle and thread, and will naturally take large stitches. As its sight improves a finer needle should be provided, and the stitches will naturally be smaller. Painting the openings of letters in different colors is an excellent practice, and as the sight improves the size of the letters can be reduced. Map drawing and the study of maps is a good thing, and can be easily adapted to the state of the vision. With a map of the United States a child can begin by picking out all the states of a particular color, and as its sight improves it can pick out the rivers and cities. In drawing maps it can proceed in the same way, beginning with the outlines of countries or states, and with improved vision putting in the details. A paper covered with spots in various colors is another useful thing, as the child gets much amusement and benefit from picking out all the spots of the same color. With improved vision the size of the spots can be reduced and their number increased.
    Many interesting games can be devised with playing cards. "Slap Jack" is a good one, as it awakens intense interest and great quickness of vision is required to slap the Jack with the hand the moment its face appears on the table.
    These ideas are only suggestions, and any intelligent parent will be able to add to them.

    Both children and adults are greatly benefited by making their squint worse or producing new kinds of squint (see page 2). The voluntary production of squint is a favorite amusement with children, and if they show an inclination to indulge in it, they should be encouraged. Most parents fear that the temporary squint will become permanent, but the fact is just the contrary. Anyone who can squint voluntarily will never squint involuntarily.
Avoid using effort, force to keep a squint eye straight. This leads to more strain, eye muscle tension, abnormal eye movement.
Use relaxation.



    The following remarkable story is published in the hope that it may help other parents in the treatment of squinting children. The patient was first seen on April 24, 1920, her age being four years. When her sight was tested with pothooks her eyes were straight and her vision normal. When tested with the letters of the Snellen test card, which she could not read, or with figures, which she did not know, her eyes turned, and the retinoscope showed that she had compound myopic astigmatism. When she looked at a blank wall without trying to see, her eyes were again straight and her vision normal.

    When my little daughter was quite young I noticed that her eyes were crossed at times, while at others they were perfectly straight. Later the squint became more continuous, and when she was four years old she was taken to Dr. Bates. He said the trouble was entirely a nervous one, and called my attention to the fact that when the child was comfortable and happy her eyes were straight, and when she was nervous they turned. He said that she should be encouraged to use her eyes as much as possible on objects that interested her, and that she must never be scolded or punished. He also recommended a cold sponge bath and massage first thing in the morning, for the purpose of quieting and strengthening her nerves and improving her general health.
    As I had been a teacher of drawing before my marriage and understood something of kindergarten methods, I did not find it difficult to follow his instructions. I drew pictures of animals, and asked Marie to tell me if they were running, walking, or standing still, whether they were looking at her, or facing in some other direction, whether they had four legs or two. I showed her a picture of the moon, and asked her to tell me whether the horns were pointing upward, downward, or sideways. We played that the moon was full of water and had to be held right side up so that the water would not run out. She became very much interested in these pictures, and as long as the interest lasted her eyes were straight. When they ceased to interest her the squint returned.
    Sometimes I would ask her to look at the windows and tell me whether they were open at the top or bottom, whether the shades were partly down, or all the way down. Then we would look at the windows across the street and do the same thing. We also watched the passing motors, and I asked her to tell me how many people there were in them and whether these people were men, women or children. We studied the patterns of the wall paper, and when visitors came I asked her after they had gone to tell me what kind of clothes they had on. I taught her to sew and paint, to match colors, and braid mats, to thread beads, and do things with building blocks. Her father, who is a printer, showed her specimens of diamond type, and of minion which is even smaller than diamond. She enjoyed picking out the smallest letters, and when she did so her eyes were straight.
    Threading beads was the most beneficial work undertaken, its tediousness being overcome by the fact that the child's doll and all her stuffed animals, Teddy bear, bunny, dog, etc., each received its own particular necklace of beads. The cold baths and massage were also a great help.
    The combined results of the treatment were wonderful. Her eyes began to be straight all the time. Her nervous condition and her appetite improved, and she slept better. Then we had some set-backs. First she had an attack of grippe with cough, headaches and fever. The squint came back and stayed with her for several weeks, until she was well. Then her eyes became straight again.
    Later on when she was playing with her little brother they disagreed about something, and Marie got so nervous that her eyes became worse than on any previous occasion since she had been under treatment. The squint alternated from one eye to the other, the left eye being the worse, and next day we were very much worried when we found that the left eye was practically blind. But we went on encouraging her to use her eyes, and in ten days she was as well as ever.

                       STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

     9: Three Cases of Squint

             By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    One day as I entered the clinic I saw two mothers standing side by side, each holding a little boy by the hand. The children were both about the same age, five years, and both were cross-eyed; but there the resemblance ceased. One seemed happy and contented, and it was quite evident that he was much loved and well cared for. Although cheap and plain, the clothes of both mother and child were clean and neat, and often the boy would look at the mother for a smile, which was always there. The other boy was plainly unhappy and neglected. I could read the mind of the mother, who was anything but clean, as she stood there grasping his hand a little too tightly, and even without her frequent whispered threats of dire things to happen if the child did not keep still, I would have known that she considered him a nuisance, and not a precious possession as boy No. 1 plainly was to his mother.
    I was at a loss to know which child to treat first, but decided upon Nathan, the clean one, and tried to keep the other interested while he waited. Nathan had beautiful black curls, and should have been pretty, but for the convergent squint of his right eye, which gave him a very peculiar appearance. His vision was very poor. With both eyes together he could read at ten feet only the fifty line of the test card, and with the squinting eye he read only the seventy line. I showed him how to palm, and while he was doing so I had time to talk to his mother. She said that his right eye had turned in since he was two years old and that all the doctors she had taken him to had prescribed glasses. These, however, had not helped him. I now asked Nathan to read the card again, and was delighted to find that the vision of the bad eye had become equal to that of the good one, namely 10/50. I had difficulty in keeping his head straight while I was testing him, for like most children with squint, he tried to improve his sight by looking at the object of vision from all sorts of angles. After he had palmed for a sufficient length of time, however, he became able to correct this habit. The extraordinary sympathy which existed between mother and child came out again during the treatment, for no matter what I said or did, the child would not smile until the mother did.
    Nathan came to the clinic very regularly for a year, and for the first six months he always wore a black patch over his better eye, the left, while atropine was also used in this eye to prevent its use in case the patch was not worn constantly. Nathan did not like the patch, and his mother had to promise all sorts of things to keep it on. After it was removed the atropine was continued. Dr. Bates had told me what to expect when the patch was removed, and so I was not shocked to see the eye turn in. I knew the condition would be temporary, and that in time both eyes would be straight. Treatment was continued for six months, and now the boy reads at times 10/15 with both eyes, and always with a smile.
    The dirty little boy, to whom we must now go back, was called George, and his condition was worse than that of Nathan, for he had squint in both eyes. At ten feet he read the fifty line, but complained that he saw double. I showed him how to palm, and while he was doing so his mother told me how very bad he was, adding that I must spank him if he did not mind me.
    "I think he gets enough of that already," I said, but I was careful to say it with a smile, fearing that she might lose her temper and say more than I would like.
    George had now been palming five minutes, and I asked him to uncover his eyes and look at the card. He was much surprised to find that he could read the forty line without seeing the letters double. I asked his mother very quietly to be a little patient with him and help him at home, and I gave her a test card for him to practice with.
    "Madam," she replied, "I am the mother of six, and I haven't time to fuss with him."
    "No wonder the kiddy is cross-eyed," I thought, and seeing I could get no help in that quarter, I appealed to George.
    When I revealed to him the possibility of a Christmas present if he came to the clinic regularly and did what I told him he became interested. I did not know how much could be done for his eyes in the eight weeks that remained before the holidays, but I felt sure that with his co-operation we could at least make a good start. This he gave me in full measure. Never did I have a more enthusiastic patient. He came to the clinic regularly three days a week, and often when I came late I would find him waiting for me on the hospital steps and yelling:
    "Here she is. I saw her first."
    After he had been practicing faithfully for two weeks—palming six times a day, and perhaps more, according to his own report—he was able to keep his eyes straight while he read the test card at twelve feet.
    After he had done this I asked him to spell a word with four letters, and instantly his eyes turned. I had him palm again, and then I asked him to count up to twenty. His eyes remained straight, because he could do this without strain.
    Two days before. Christmas I brought my bundle of presents for the children. George was there bright and early, and with him had come three of his brothers, to get their share too, "if there was any," as George explained. Fortunately a little fairy had prepared me for this, and I had gifts for everyone. That day George was able to keep his eyes straight both before and after his treatment, and to read 15/10 with each eye separately. I have never seen him since, and can only hope that he kept up the treatment until permanently cured.
    When little Ruth, aged three, first came to us Dr. Bates suggested to her mother, who was nearsighted, that she should have her own eyes cured, because her condition had a bad effect on the child. She consented, and now has nearly normal vision. Ruth had squint and was so tiny that I had to put her on a table to treat her. As she could not, of course, read the letters on the test card, I held before her a card covered with E's of various sizes turned in different directions. Her mother was quite positive that she couldn't understand what I wanted her to do, but Ruth, as often happens in such cases, had more intelligence than her mother gave her credit for. I asked her to tell me whether a certain E pointed upward, or to the right or left, by merely indicating the direction with her finger, and it did not take an instant for her to show Mother how bright she was. I showed her how to palm, and in a little while she indicated correctly the direction of the letters on several lines. When the letters became indistinct, as I moved the card further away, she became excited and wanted to cry, and her left eye turned in markedly. She palmed again and while she was doing so, I asked her all about her dolly, whether her eyes were blue, or some other color, what kind of clothes she wore, and so on. When she removed her hands from her eyes both were straight. Her mother was instructed to practice with her many times a day at short intervals, so that she would not tire of it, and in three months her eyes were straight every time I tested her sight. I was much interested to learn from her mother that if Ruth's daddy raised his voice in the slightest degree when he spoke to her, her eyes were sure to turn in. This merely confirmed my own experience that it is necessary to treat children who have defects of vision with the utmost gentleness if one wants to cure them. Ruth is not cured yet, but she hopes to be before Christmas, because Santa Claus is sure to visit Room 6, Harlem Hospital Clinic, and he does not like to see children squinting.

                         QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible. Kindly enclose a stamped addressed envelope.
Q -  Can opacity of the cornea be cured?—E. B.
A -  Yes. A patient with opacity of the cornea came to the eye clinic of the Harlem Hospital with a vision of 20/70, and in half an hour became able to read 20/40. Later his vision became normal, much to my surprise. Other cases have also been cured.
Q -  Is retinitis pigmentosa curable?—R. V.
A -  Yes. See Better Eyesight, for April, 1920.
Q -  My eyes are weak, and cannot stand the light. Can anything be done for them?—Mrs. W. T
         Close vision cure
Q -  Is it possible to regain the ability to read without glasses when it fails after the age of forty, the sight at the distance being perfect? If so how can this be done?—H. C.
A -  The failure of the sight at the near-point after forty is due to the same cause as its failure at any other point and at any other age, namely strain. The sight can be restored by practicing at the near-point the same methods used to improve the vision at the distance—palming, shifting, swinging, etc. The sight is never perfect at the distance when imperfect at the near-point, but will become so when the sight at the near point has become normal.
A -  Yes. Stop wearing dark glasses, and go out into the bright sunshine. As they get stronger accustom them to the direct light of the sun. Let the sun shine on the closed eyelids. Then gradually open them until able to keep them wide open while the sun shines directly into them. Be careful not to overdo this, as much discomfort and lowered vision might result temporarily from a premature exposure of the eyes to strong light. See Better Eyesight for November, 1919.
November, 1920

1 -Textbook of Ophthalmology, authorized translation from the twelfth German edition by Duane, p. 795.

  Glaucoma Number


  December, 1920


    It is a good thing to know how to increase the tension of the eyeball voluntarily, as this enables one to avoid not only the strain that produces glaucoma, but other kinds of strain also. To do this, proceed as follows:

   + Put the fingers on the upper part of the eyeball while looking downward, and note its softness. Then do any one of the following things:
   + Try to see a letter, or other object, imperfectly, or (with the eyes either closed or open) to imagine it imperfectly.
   + Try to see a letter, or a number of letters, all alike at one time, or to imagine them in this way.
   + Try to imagine that a letter, or mental picture of a letter, is stationary.
   + Try to see a letter, or other object, double, or to imagine it double.

     When successful the eyeball will become harder in proportion to the degree of the strain; but, as it is very difficult to see, imagine, or remember, things imperfectly, all may not be able at first to demonstrate the facts.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    GLAUCOMA is a condition in which the eyeball becomes abnormally hard, and theories as to its cause are endless. The hardness is supposed to be due to a rise in intraocular pressure, and the other symptoms, chief among which is an excavation of the optic nerve, forming in advanced cases a deep cup with overhanging edges, are supposed to be the results of this pressure. Yet all the symptoms commonly associated with increased tension have been found in eyes in which the tension was normal.
    The increased tension is supposed to be due to an excess of fluid in the eyeball, and this is commonly attributed to an impeded outflow. The aqueous humor, which is secreted very rapidly, is supposed to escape at the angle formed by the junction of the iris with the cornea, and in glaucoma it is believed that the iris adheres to the cornea so that the angle is obstructed. Yet it is a well-known fact that in many cases no such obstruction can be found.
    For more than fifty years iridectomy held the field as the only treatment which gave any hope of relief in glaucoma. The operation, which means the removal of a piece of the iris, was introduced by von Graefe, and often gives relief for a longer or shorter time. If the patient lives long enough, however, the condition always returns. I have seen this happen after the tension had been normal for fifteen years. It is a fact mentioned by all the text-books, moreover, that it often fails to give even temporary relief, and sometimes the condition is made worse than it was before.
    The beneficial results of the operation, when it does succeed, have never been satisfactorily explained, but the accepted opinion at the present time is that they are due to the formation of a scar which is more pervious to the fluids of the eye than the normal tissue, and the object of modern operations is to obtain such a scar. For this reason sclerotomy, usually performed by the method of Elliott has gained great vogue. A piece of the entire thickness of the sclera is removed, and thus a permanent fistula covered only by the conjunctiva is formed. Through this the fluids of the interior escape. Like iridectomy this operation sometimes succeeds temporarily, but, according to Elliott himself, it may fail to check the optic atrophy and decline of vision even when the relief of tension is complete.
    Although it is the concensus of medical opinion that a glaucomatous eye must eventually be operated upon, and that the sooner this is done the better, some men have attempted to hold the process at bay by the use of myotics. These drugs, by contracting the pupil and thus stretching the iris, are believed to draw the latter away from the "filtration angle" and allow the excess of fluid to escape. They are commonly employed for the purpose of giving temporary relief, but some specialists advise their continuous use. Posey claims that such treatment gives a larger proportion of successes than iridectomy.
    Until a few years ago I always treated glaucoma by the old methods, not knowing anything better to do; but I never used the Elliot operation, having early learned that it is very dangerous to allow the fluids of the eyeball to escape, and having seen glaucoma produced by fistula of the cornea. I would not have ventured to predict that the condition could be relieved by relaxation, and only learned by accident that it was amenable to such treatment.
    On May 9, 1915, a patient (mentioned in Blindness Relieved by a New Method, N. Y. Med. Jour. Feb. 3, 1917) came to me with a complication of diseases which had reduced the vision of the right eye to light perception and that of the left to 20/100 (the field being also contracted). She was fifty-four years of age, and had been wearing since 1910 the following glasses: both eyes, convex 2.00 D.S. combined with convex 1.50 D.C., axis 90. As her pupils were much contracted, I prescribed atropine to dilate them, two grains to an ounce of normal salt solution, one drop three times a day.
    On the afternoon of May 10, she had an attack of acute glaucoma in the left or better eye. As atropine and other mydriactics are thought sometimes to produce glaucoma, the fact that the disease attacked only one eye and that the better of the two is interesting. The condition got worse as the day advanced, and during the night the pain was so intense that the patient vomited repeatedly. The next morning she came to the office, and I noted that there was blood in the anterior chamber. The vision had been reduced to light perception, and the pain again produced vomiting. I prescribed eserine-two grains to the ounce, one drop three times a day. Afterward I visited her three or four times a day in her home, and as there had been no improvement, I increased the strength of the eserine solution to four grains to the ounce and alternated it with a three per cent solution of pilocarpine, both of these drugs being myotics. Still there was no improvement, and after a few days I decided upon an operation. It was performed on May 15, and was accompanied by considerable hemorrhage. Mild hemorrhages also occurred at different times during the following week. When the blood cleared away an opaque mass was left covering the pupil. On May 23, the tension was normal and there was no pain; but, owing to the opaque matter covering the pupil, there had been no improvement in the vision.

                                                                                          Palming helps cure Glaucoma
    After the operation the patient resumed the relaxation treatment. Under its influence the vision of the right eye improved, and when a few weeks after the operation there was an increase of tension in this eye, it was at once relieved by palming. For some months the vision of the left eye remained unchanged, owing to the opacity of the pupil. Then the obstruction began to clear away, and the vision improved. In a year there was normal vision in both eyes. From time to time during this period, and up to the present time, the patient had attacks of increased tension in both eyes; but they were always relieved in a few minutes by palming.
    Since then I have used the same treatment in many cases, and I have never seen one in which the pain and tension could not be relieved in a few minutes by palming, while permanent relief was obtained by more prolonged treatment.
    One of the worst cases of glaucoma I ever met with came to me on Feb. 2, 1920. The patient was sixty years of age, and his vision in the right eye or better eye was only 20/100, with marked contraction of the field on the nasal side. In the left he had only light perception. The eyeballs felt as hard as the glass shell of an artificial eye, which, technically, is tension plus 3.  The glaucomatous excavation of the optic nerve was so marked that it seemed as if the whole nerve had been pushed backward. The patient had been under treatment a long time, but had received no benefit.
    On March 2, after swinging and palming, the vision of the right eye was 20/20w—while that of the left was 20/100 in the eccentric field. On March 4, the field of the left eye had improved, and by alternating the universal swing with palming he became able, for short periods, to read diamond type with the right eye at six inches. This was twelve days after he had begun the treatment. On March 7, he flashed 20/40 with the left eye, and by the aid of the universal swing read fine print at five inches with the right, while the field of both eyes was normal. For the first time in several years he became able to see the food on his plate. Previously he had had to be fed, which was very humiliating to him. He also became able to go about without an attendant, to attend to his correspondence at the office, and to read his letters without glasses. At this point he stopped the treatment against my advice, and I have not seen him since. He was greatly helped by the universal swing, which he practiced all day.
    The truth about glaucoma is that it is a functional neurosis caused by strain, and as such is curable. You can produce hardness in a normal eye by having the patient strain to see (see page 2), and you can soften a glaucomatous eyeball by relief of strain. These changes are so rapid that no change in the contents of the eyeball could account for them. I therefore concluded, before I had any experimental evidence of the fact, that they were due to muscular action. Later I was able to produce glaucoma in a rabbit's eye by operations upon the muscles. I shortened the superior rectus by tucking, and thereby produced a tension of plus 1.  I repeated the operation upon the superior oblique, and the tension increased to plus 2.  I did the same to the inferior oblique, and the tension increased to the maximum, plus 3.  All this time the tension of the other eyeball remained normal.


                                        By F. C. STEWART

    This patient when first seen was able to read 20/50 with each eye, but the right eye was absolutely blind on the nasal side, a vertical line dividing the seeing from the blind area. The tension of the right eye was usually greater than that of the left, but at times the reverse was the case, and for short periods the tension of both eyes was normal. He had been using myotics (drops which contract the pupil) for some time, but had obtained no benefit from them. His age was fifty-eight, and he was wearing the following glasses: distance, both eyes, convex 2.75 D.S.; reading, both eyes, convex 5.00 DS. The improvement in his field since he has been under treatment has been very remarkable, as the accepted methods of treatment, even when the results are most favorable are not expected to enlarge the field, or even to prevent a further loss.
    In the summer of 1917 1 had the first symptoms of glaucoma in the form of an attack of rainbow vision. I did not know what the symptoms meant, and was not alarmed; but I went to an optician and had my glasses changed, thinking the trouble was the consequence of eyestrain. The symptoms continued, however, and I went to another optician and had the glasses changed again. Still I was no better. Then I went to a succession of oculists, some six or seven, all of them being men of considerable eminence in the profession. The first two put drops in my eyes and examined my field, but did not tell me that I had glaucoma. It was only from the third, about a year and a half after the first symptoms appeared, that I learned what was the matter with me. The last began to talk operation, but I let him talk. I think I may claim to be as game as anyone about operations. When the doctors told me that they wanted to take my stomach out and put it back again, I said, "Go ahead." If they had told me that they wanted to take off my leg, I would probably have said the same thing. But when it came to letting anyone cut into my eye it was a different matter. About the first of last July the oculist in whose care I then was told me that my field was getting less. He asked me to come back in October, and said if the field continued to contract he would talk operation again.
    Sometime previous to this an acquaintance who said that Dr. Bates had cured him of glaucoma gave me a copy of Better Eyesight. I did not become seriously interested at the time, but later I asked the man for details. He told me something about Dr. Bates' methods, and said he not only had great faith in Dr. Bates, but that he was the only eye specialist in whom he did have any faith.
    Finally, on September 11, of this year, I went to Dr. Bates. He told me to stop the eye drops and take off my glasses, which I did. Having worn the latter for twenty-five years, I had considerable difficulty at first in getting on without them; but after three or four days things began to go better, and before the end of the month I read the address on the Doctor's card without artificial aid. I could not have done this when I took off my glasses if a hundred million dollars had been at stake. I can now, six weeks after the beginning of the treatment, read ordinary print at twelve inches, and under favorable conditions can read diamond type at six inches or less. There has also been a considerable improvement in my field.
    My progress has been slow, but it is sure, and I see no reason why it should not continue until I get a complete cure. I have spent many hours a day palming, and this, when it is successful, softens the eyeball and improves the sight very materially. I am also able to soften the eyeball simply by a thought—that is, by the memory of some object or incident. A white cloud, the blue sky, some incident of my boyhood, or of a more recent period—anything so long as it is remembered perfectly—has this extraordinary effect. Often when I wake in the morning my eyeballs are hard, but by the aid of my memory I am always able to soften them. One morning I woke at two o'clock, and went to the bathroom. There, in accordance with a habit of mine, I washed my face in cold water. As I touched my eyeballs I was shocked to find how hard they were. They were like two rocks. Immediately I paid a mental visit to Van Cortland Park and began to examine the trees, noticing the texture of the bark, the gum oozing out of it, the outlines of the leaves, etc., and before I had reached the second tree the eyeballs were soft. Often since then I have resorted to the same expedient, and always with the same result. Fortunately I know the different kinds of trees very well, and my visits to the park are interesting as well as profitable.
    On the streets and elsewhere I try to imagine that everything is moving, (the swing) and as long as I am able to do this the eyeballs remain soft. Since I have been under treatment I have been trying to learn to sleep on my back, as the Doctor says that the body is always under a strain unless the spine is straight. When I am able to do this I waken without pain or hardness in the eyeballs.
    Recently I sent one of Dr. Bates' reprints to the specialist who wanted to operate on me, and he said he was much interested.

                                                                                              STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

                      10: Absolute Glaucoma

                                              By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    In absolute glaucoma there is no perception of light, and the condition is considered to be incurable. It may or may not be accompanied by pain, and in the latter case the only remedy is believed to be the enucleation, or removal of the eye. So far as the editor is aware there is no case of absolute glaucoma on record in which the pain has been relieved, or any measure of sight restored, by any method except the one described below.
    A few months ago there came to the clinic a woman of seventy-nine. At first glance one could see that she was a lady, and I guessed that at one time she had been very well off. As she stood apart from the rest of the patients waiting to be attended to she took not the slightest notice of what was going on around her, and occasionally I heard her moan with pain.
    When at last Dr. Bates was able to examine her he found that she had glaucoma in both eyes, and that the right was stone blind, possessing not even light perception. He turned her over to me, asking me to do what I could to help her and stop her pain. Fortunately I was able to find a stool for her, a rare thing at the clinic, and placing it before a table upon which she could rest her elbows, I showed her how to palm, which she did very readily. After a few minutes the pain ceased and the eyeballs became soft. I now told her to take down her hands, but she still kept her eyes shut. I thought this was because I had not told her to open them, but when I told her she might do so she asked:
    "Are you sure the pain will not come back if I open them. For many days I have suffered such constant pain that I cannot sleep at night, and now I feel such a sense of relief that I would really like to keep my eyes closed."
    "I don't think the pain will come back," I said, "and if it does you can palm again."
    I now held a test card about two feet from her eyes, and told her to cover her better eye and look at the card with the blind one. We had several visiting doctors at the clinic that day, and Dr. Bates had told them about this case of absolute glaucoma. They were all standing by, with Dr. Bates himself, when I asked the patient to look at the card, and the excitement was intense when she said that she saw the large letter at the top.
    "Oh, Doctor," I said, "she sees it!"
    "Yes, I see it, I really see it," added the patient, scarcely able to credit her senses.
    After a little more treatment I told her she must keep her eyes shut as much as possible when she was at home, and palm every minute she could get. I also told her never to look at any point more than a second, but to keep constantly shifting. She went away very happy and grateful, for the pain had not come back.
    The next time she came Dr. Bates treated her, and was able to improve the vision of the right eye to 9/200, while that of the left eye improved to 9/40. He then turned her over to me again. She was very happy and wanted to talk, which I let her do. She said she was living in a furnished room and that I hadn't any idea how worried she had been about going blind, because she had no one to look after her.
    "But now," she added, "I have all sorts of hopes for the relief of my trouble, because you and Dr. Bates have done so much for me. Palming helps me so much that I am now able to sleep at night. I like to do it for hours at a time, because it takes the terrible pain away."
    I now told her to use her imagination to improve her sight and relieve the pain. Most of the clinic patients become confused when I ask them to do this, but this dear old lady did not find it a bit difficult. I told her to palm, and then imagine a florist's window filled with flowers. Next I told her to imagine that she had entered the shop and was observing the flowers, and I called to her mind the red rose and the white rose, the carnation, the violet and other blossoms. Then I asked her if she could imagine the green fields in the country where the daisies grow, and she said:
    "Yes, and I can imagine that I am picking the daisies also."
    I now told her to remove her hands from her eyes, and Dr. Bates was thrilled when she saw the T on the thirty line at ten feet. The patient herself laughed out loud and said:
    "I cannot believe it."
    She came to the clinic regularly, three days a week, for quite a while, and always happy because she was steadily improving. I was not prepared, therefore, to find her one day looking very much depressed. The trouble was that she had had a visitor who talked to her—or at her, I should say—for two long hours; this had upset her nerves so that the pain had returned and her vision had been lowered. I pictured to myself what it must mean to listen to a steady stream of gossip for two hours, and my sight at once became imperfect. I told her what a dangerous thing it was for her to allow herself to be tortured in this way, and said that if her friends insisted upon talking to her for such a length of time she must keep her eyes closed as much as possible. Otherwise the strain would cause her to go blind.
    For a time she got along nicely. Then I left the city for a much-needed vacation, and while I was away I got word that she was getting worse. I came back to town, and, as she was not able to come to the clinic, I called upon her.
    "Oh, nurse," she said, as soon as she saw me, "my right eye pains me so that I think of nothing but death."
     Her thin face was lined with pain, and I could see that she was in agony. I began to talk to her about the days when she did not suffer, and how she had stopped the pain by remembering the daisies. She began to palm without my telling her to, and became able to imagine the daisy waving in the breeze. I asked her to imagine that her body was swinging with the flower. She did this, and in a few minutes her pain left her and she smiled.
    "Now, isn't it strange," she remarked, "but I forgot all about using my imagination."
    She said that I had worked a miracle; but I explained that when she used her imagination she had to relax enough to relieve the strain in her eyes, and that had stopped the pain.
    We often hear the remark, "This person makes me sick," or "That person makes me nervous," but it remained for my glaucoma patient to make me realize that these observations are literal statements of fact. All about the walls of her little room, which was very clean and sunshiny, were photographs of her children and their families. With great pride she named each one in turn, but when she came to the picture of a man and woman hanging a little apart from the rest her tone changed.
    "This is my daughter," she said of the woman, and I could see that she was very fond of her, but when she pointed to the man she said:
    "I cannot bear him. He makes me nervous and sick, because he is not a good man."
    She began to strain at once, and had to do some palming before I left to relieve her pain. Evidently it is important, if we want to avoid eyestrain, that we should keep away from the people we dislike, and think of them as little as possible.
    I called on her a few times more, and by resting her eyes between each line of letters she became able to read 10/20 with the once blind eye and 10/10 with the other. The last time I saw her she was happy and comfortable.


                                                                                                          Cataract number

               BETTER EYESIGHT


                       January, 1921

                                           THE TREATMENT OF CATARACT

                                                       A Report of a Case

    From "A Case of Cataract," by Victoria Coolidge, in "Better Eyesight" for June, 1920.
    The treatment prescribed was as follows:

   + Palming six times a day, a half hour or longer at a time.

   + Reading the Snellen test card at five, ten, and twenty feet.

   + Reading fine print at six inches, five minutes at a time, especially soon after rising in the morning and just before retiring at night, and reading books and newspapers.

    +Besides this, he was to subject his eyes, especially the left, to the sunlight whenever an opportunity offered, to drink twelve glasses of water a day, walk five miles a day, and later, when he was in better training, to run half a mile or so every day.
    The results of this treatment have been most gratifying. Not only have his eyes improved steadily, but his general health has been so much benefited that at eighty-two he looks, acts and feels better and younger than he did at eighty-one.


  By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    Cataract is a condition in which the lens becomes opaque. It is commonly associated with advancing years, but may occur at any age. It may also be congenital (present at birth). The opacities take many different forms, and may occur in a hard or a soft lens. According to the orthodox teaching the condition is incurable except by the removal of the lens, although in the earlier stages it is sometimes ameliorated by means of drops that expand the pupil and by glasses. The text-books are full of statements to this effect.
    Yet it is perfectly well known that cataract does sometimes recover spontaneously. Many such cases are on record, and probably most ophthalmologists who have been practicing for any length of time have seen them. Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I was assistant surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, I collected, at the request of the surgeon, Dr Henry D. Noyes, a large number of records of such cases.
    The removal of the lens, when it is soft, is usually accomplished by the operation of needling, whereby the tissues are broken up so that they may be absorbed. A hard lens is extracted through an opening at the margin of the cornea, and the best results are believed to be obtained when the opacity has become complete. Otherwise part of the lens substance is liable to be left behind and cause trouble. Thus the patient may be kept for years in a condition of semi-blindness.
    The results of the operation are not always as satisfactory as might be desired. A considerable proportion of patients regain what is considered to be normal acuteness of vision with very strong glasses, and the results are considered good when they become able to read large print at the near-point and 20/50 at the distance. The patient is obliged, usually to have two sets of glasses, one for distant vision to replace the focusing power of the lost lens, and the other for reading to compensate for the impairment of the accommodative power which usually follows the operation.
    This impairment of accommodative power is not due to the removal of the lens, which has nothing to do with accommodation, but to the fact that the patient strains so to see that the muscles that control the shape of the eyeball fail to act properly. In some cases it is regained, after the patient becomes accustomed to the new situation, without treatment, and in rare cases patients have become able to do without glasses entirely, because the eyeball elongated sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the lens.
    I began to treat cataract by the operative method, because I did not know anything better to do. Then I learned from Dr James E. Kelly of New York that incipient cases would yield to hygienic treatment. My first inkling of the value of central fixation in such conditions came to me through a patient who had incipient cataract in one eye and hypermetropia (farsight) in the other. By the time the error of refraction had been relieved the cataract had disappeared. After this I had many similar experiences, but it did not occur to me that a ripe cataract, or a congenital cataract, could by cured by this or any other treatment.
    In 1912, however, a young girl of seventeen came to my clinic with the left eye enucleated and a congenital cataract in the right. The left had been operated upon for the same condition, and, having become infected, was taken out to save the better eye. The latter having recently become worse, the patient had come to have it operated upon. Before performing the operation I thought it best to treat her by the method of relaxation, for the purpose of improving the condition of the eye as much as possible so that the operation might have a better chance of success. To my surprise the vision improved and kept on improving, until in three months it was normal and the cataract had disappeared.
    One day, some half a dozen years later, a lady, fifty-five years of age, came to me to be cured of presbyopia (old-age sight.) Her distant vision in the right eye was 20/20, and in the left she had only light perception. This was due to the presence, in this eye, of a mature cataract. I began to treat her by the aid of the memory and imagination for presbyopia, and, in order to prove to her the relation between these mental faculties and the state of the vision, I asked her to cover her right eye and note that she could not remember or imagine a black period as well as when it was open. She replied that she could, and I said it was impossible. She insisted that, nevertheless, she did it. Thinking that at the near-point she would realize the imperfection of the sight of the left eye more clearly than at the distance, I brought the card closer and said:
    "You cannot remember the period looking at this card with your good eye covered."
    She replied: "I can, and what is more, I can read the card," which she did, both at two feet and at twenty.
    This was naturally a shock to me. It did not seem to me possible that a mature cataract could melt away in such a short time, but the ophthalmoscope confirmed the statements of the patient. When she remembered a period perfectly I could see the optic nerve and other details of the eye-ground. Since then I have cured a great many similar cases, one of the most remarkable having been reported in Better Eyesight for June, 1920.
    I had another shock when a few months ago a traumatic cataract began to melt away under the influence of relaxation treatment. The patient came to my clinic with an eye which had been completely blind for four years from traumatic cataract complicated with detachment of the retina. The opacity completely covered the pupil, and with the ophthalmoscope no red reflex (light reflected from the retina) could be seen. After a few treatments the patient became able to see the movements of his hand on the temporal side. Later he became able to see the hand in all parts of the field. Now he is beginning to read.
    Another case of the cure of traumatic cataract is reported in the following article.
    These cures are very remarkable. A traumatic cataract is one which follows an injury (trauma) to the lens, the opacity being due largely to the formation of connective tissue in the pupil, and, in advance of the event, I should have pronounced the cure of such a condition impossible, although I had previously demonstrated that when patients practice central fixation connective tissue is absorbed in the optic nerve, retina and cornea. In the retina and optic nerve the circulation can be seen to improve as the connective tissue disappears, and I can only assume that this is the cause of its disappearance.
    Equally remarkable is the cure of diabetic cataract without relief of the disease. A patient with such a cataract came to me on April 29, 1918, her vision being 10/200 — in the right eye and 20/30 — in the left. She had been seen a year and a half previously by a well-known ophthalmologist who had advised several operations, but, fortunately, she had not submitted to them. By the aid of palming, swinging, imagination and memory, her vision improved rapidly. On May 15 that of the left eye was 20/70, while later it became normal. On May 22 the vision of the right became normal temporarily. Since then she has had slight relapses in the right eye, but few or none in the left. The general diabetic condition has not changed, and it is remarkable that when it is at its worst there is very little lowering of the vision.
    It is quite evident from the foregoing facts that the cause of cataract (other than traumatic) is strain, and I have found much evidence, both clinical and experimental, to the same effect. I have not been able to produce cataract in a normal eye by strain, but in a cataractous eye I have seen the opacity come and go according as the mind of the patient was relaxed or under strain. In one of these cases the opacity was so dense that no red reflex could be seen. Another doctor who was present looked at the eye and made the same observation. I asked the patient to remember a swinging O perfectly black, with a perfectly white center. This meant perfect relaxation, and when she did it I saw some of the details of the retina and the optic nerve, while the other doctor again confirmed my observation. I then asked her to think of the O as stationary, with grey outlines and a clouded center. This meant great strain, and while she did it neither I nor my colleague could see the red reflex. In experimental animals I have produced cataract by operating upon the external muscles in such a way as to increase their pressure, and have then relieved it by cutting these muscles.


                                                                                                           By MARGARET DOWNIE

    This patient was first seen on October 18, 1920, when her vision in the right eye was 20/100 and in the left 14/200. She had compound myopic astigmatism in the right eye, and the pupil of the left eye was covered by a traumatic cataract which prevented ophthalmoscopic examination of the eye-ground. On December 6, the cataract had been absorbed except for a spot about the size of a pin-head, and I was able to see the optic nerve and the retina clearly. With a glass to replace the focusing power of the lens—convex 7.00D.S. combined with convex 3.00 D.C., 75 degrees—she was able with this eye to read 20/40, and on the same day, after palming and swinging, she obtained temporary normal vision in both eyes, the left eyeball having elongated sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the lens. The fact that astigmatism should have developed in the right eye after the injury to the left is interesting, as astigmatism has been supposed, until recently, to be congenital.
    When I was thirteen years of age a bullet from an air-gun, rebounding from a tree, struck my left eye and injured the lens. This resulted in the formation of a cataract which was operated upon three times. After the third operation about one third of the cataract remained, but the doctor was afraid to operate again. I was now able with this eye to distinguish, with the aid of a strong glass, only the outline of near-by objects.
    Previous to the accident my eyes had been straight, and the vision of both normal, so far as I was aware. After the last operation, however, I found myself unable to read writing on the blackboard at school. I went to the specialist who had performed the operations and he was astounded to find that I had a bad case of astigmatism in the good eye. He gave me the following glass: convex 3.00 D.C., 105 degrees, combined with concave 2.50 D.C., 15 degrees. Later my left eye began to turn out.
    I wore my glasses constantly, putting them on the first thing in the morning, and taking them off the last thing at night. I went swimming with them, and if they were lost or broken, I remained in my room until they were found or repaired. My condition caused me much unhappiness, and I was particularly disturbed about the squint. I wrote to every medical journal that I knew about and to many other publications, asking if there was any cure for squint; but none of them was able to suggest anything but an operation. A few months ago I happened to hear about Dr. Bates, and I resolved to see him as soon as an opportunity offered. At the beginning of the season I came to New York from my home in Texas to study music, but with Dr. Bates in the background of my mind. Nevertheless I did not look him up immediately.
    One day in the elevator of a department store my glasses were swept from my face, disappearing as completely as if they had never existed. I went to the Lost Property Office, but after waiting there a long time failed to recover them. It was a horrible experience, and the realization of my helplessness without glasses depressed me terribly. However, it resulted in my looking up Dr. Bates immediately, it was a good thing.
    I went to him with the hope that he might be able to cure my squint and astigmatism, but I never dreamt that he could cure cataract also. When he told me he could do so I hardly knew what to think, but I resolved to do everything I could to help him cure me. I carried out the swinging treatment so vigorously that I used to get dizzy, and fall over on my bed. Of course I was not doing it right, but the doctor had told me to swing, and I was determined to do so. I was positively terrified when he told me to palm and remember all sorts of strange things, such as the letter F on a piece of white starch, because I thought he was trying to hypnotize me, but I did my best, nevertheless, to carry out his instruction. Later I bought and read all the back numbers of the magazine, and learned the scientific principles on which the treatment is based.
    My eyesight is now steadily improving, and I intend to keep up the treatment until I have normal vision. I have given up the music for the time being—my eyes are more important, ten times more important—and the ridicule of my friends does not disturb me. As long as that old cataract continues to melt away nothing else matters.
    In addition to the improvement in my eyesight I have noticed an improvement in my memory. My memory for the things I learned out of books at school was always poor, while my memory for music has always been exceptionally good. I suppose the difference was due to the fact that one set of impressions reached me through my eyes, and the other though my ears. Now that my vision is improving I can remember the things that I see better.
    I wish everyone could know of this remarkable method of curing defects of vision. I know in the end it must surmount all opposition, but meantime how many persons as afflicted as I once was will remain unhelped! It is right that we should be dubious of the new, but to hang so tightly to tradition as the medical profession seems to do makes progress unnecessarily hard.



New York.

    This patient when first seen had a vision of 20/200 in each eye, and was wearing, for distant vision, the following glasses: right eye, concave 6.00 D.S. combined with 1.00 D.C., 90 degrees; left eye, 10.00 D.S. combined with 1.00 D.C., 60 degrees. Owing to the presence of incipient cataract in each eye these lenses improved his vision only 20/50 in the right eye and 20/100 in the left. For reading his glasses were three diopters weaker. He now has flashes of normal vision. He was helped most by the use of his imagination.
    Since boyhood—I am now sixty-five—I have had myopia and astigmatism, for the correction of which I have worn glasses and spectacles. About two years ago cataract developed in my right eye, and a few months later in my left eye. Both were in mild degree, but still bad enough to seriously obscure the field of vision. I had previously been annoyed by vitreous opacities which made little black spots dance in the field of vision. I also suffered from frequent severe headaches. My glasses were often changed without much relief.
    About November 1st of this year (1920) I consulted Dr. Bates, of whom I had heard much and favorably. His methods of treatment seemed exceedingly rational, and he gave me great hopes of getting rid of my eye troubles. First of all he made me discard my glasses, which, at first, seemed rather hard, but to which I have gradually become reconciled. Through what I would call a system of progressive education of sight, I have now almost got rid of the myopia, the vitreous opacities do not bother me any more, and, apparently, the cataracts are disappearing by degrees. The headaches have also disappeared. I have resumed, to a great extent, the literary and research work on which I have been engaged since my retirement from active practice, and I have no doubt that, ultimately, I shall be in possession of full visual power. Upon my future progress I will report at a later date.
No. 122 West Ninety-ninth Street

                                               STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

10: A Case of Cataract


                                                                                            Bates Method Improves Hearing

One day last July a man of forty came to the clinic suffering from cataract and a complication of other troubles. As I approached him he was palming. This was an unusual thing for a stranger to do, but he evidently thought that if covering the eyes with the palms was good for others it might help him also. I stood before him and said:
    "Can I help you?"
    He paid no attention to me whatever, and I soon discovered that he was deaf, so deaf that one had almost to scream into his left or better ear to make him hear. When I had at last succeeded in making him understand me he asked:
    "Is it possible that you will be able to do anything for me?"
    I answered: "I am going to try, with your help."
    Then I said I wanted to know something about the history of his case, and this is what he told me:
    At the age of six he fell down a flight of stairs, and struck his forehead on a newel post, severing an artery in the head. Later, when it was noted that his sight was deficient, physicians attributed the condition to this fall. During the thirty-four subsequent years he had been treated by many New York physicians, both at their offices and clinics. During that period he had been blind three times, and surgical treatment had been repeatedly necessary. As a boy he could never see a blackboard at school, and could read but little. Between his twenty-first and his thirty-fifth year he had enjoyed the best vision of his life; but for the past five years his sight had been steadily declining, and several doctors had told him that this would continue until he became completely blind. He was now practically blind in one eye so far as useful vision was concerned. I tested his sight, and found that he could count fingers at about three feet with the right eye, and with the left could see only the movements of his hand. Dr. Bates had previously examined him, and had found that he had an inflammatory cataract in the left eye, together with other inflammatory conditions.
    I told him to palm again, and he complained that he saw all sorts of bright colors, and that these disturbed him very much. I then told him to remove his hands from his eyes and look at the large letter on the test card, which I held a foot away from him. After he had tried a few times he was able to remember the letter with his eyes closed; then the bright colors faded away, and after palming for fifteen minutes his vision improved from 1/200 to 1/50 in the right eye, while in the left he became able to count my fingers at three feet. Next clinic day he became able to read 3/30 with the right eye and 1/10 with the left, while at the end of two weeks the vision of the right eye had improved to 3/10 and of the left to 3/70. At the same time his general health had improved so much that he asked me if I had time to let him tell me about it. I told him that I would be very glad to hear the story, and what he had to say interested me so much that I thought the readers of Better Eyesight might be interested also.
    "For many years," he related, "I have suffered from insomnia, and in recent months it has been nothing unusual for me to remain awake the entire night. Frequently I stay up all night, realizing the futility of trying to induce sleep. A short time ago I did this twice in a single week. When I do sleep my slumber has been very light and disturbed by the wildest imaginable dreaming—fires, murders, hairbreadth escapes, etc. As a result of the insomnia and eyestrain I had frequently splitting headaches, sometimes every day, and sometimes twice a day. From these I could secure relief only by the use of what I knew to be harmful medicines. Since I came to you I have been sleeping very much better, the dreams have become much less disturbing, and the headaches have practically ceased."
    Hearing this, I was encouraged to try to do even more for him; so I handed him a test card, and asked him to look at a small letter, close his eyes and remember it, and then imagine it blacker and clearer than he saw it. He was able to do this, and the constant twitching of his eyelids ceased. For a moment I forgot that he was deaf and said in an even voice: "How do your eyes feel now?"
    He heard me, and answered:
    "They feel so rested just now I do not feel that I have eyes at all, but am seeing without them."
    He came three days every week for three months, and then as he improved he came less frequently. When I last saw him he was able, with his left eye, to read 3/10 at times, and with his right 5/10, while his hearing had improved so much that I was able to talk into his better ear without raising my voice much above my ordinary conversational tone. At the same time he had been relieved of head noises, including a drumming in the ears, which, he said, had often continued for from three to ten days. When he first came he could not go about alone, and always walked like an intoxicated person, for which he was frequently taken. When he left the clinic I noticed that he bumped against the benches and he told me that the condition had been attributed by physicians whom he had consulted to incipient locomotor ataxia. After his first visit, however, he never bumped into the furniture, and before he left us his walk was almost normal.

       Pain Number
                 BETTER EYESIGHT


                       February, 1921

                                                                           THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF PAIN BY THE MIND

    Anyone who has normal vision can demonstrate in a few moments that when the memory is perfect no pain is felt, and can produce pain by an attempt to keep the attention fixed on a point. To do this proceed as follows:

+ Look at a black letter, close the eyes and remember it.
+ Look at the letter again and again close the eyes and remember it.
+ Repeat until the memory is equal to the sight.
+ Now press the nail of one finger against the tip of another. If the letter is remembered perfectly, no pain will be felt.
+With practice it may become possible to remember the letter with the eyes open.

+Remember the letter imperfectly, with blurred edges and clouded openings, and again press the nail of one finger against the tip of another. In this case it will be found impossible to continue the pressure for more than a moment on account of the pain.
+Try to remember one point of a letter continuously. It will be found impossible to do so, and if the effort is continued long enough pain will be produced.
+Try to look continuously at one point of a letter or other object. If the effort is continued long enough, pain will be produced.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    Pain is supposed to be a beneficent provision on the part of Nature for advising us of injurious processes going on in the body, but, like many of Nature's arrangements, it is a very clumsy one. Many of our most serious diseases are quite painless in their early stage (the only time when the warning of pain would be of any use), while a physiological process like childbirth is accompanied by such severe pain that the pangs of the woman in travail have become proverbial. Pain also occurs with no local cause whatever, being purely a creation of the mind, and it has, besides a very destructive effect upon the body, not infrequently causing death and more often handicapping the organism in its attempts to recover from the condition that caused it. Nature’s protective mechanism is, in fact, a two-edged sword striking both ways, and its control is one of the most serious problems that the medical profession has to deal with.
    There has been much discussion as to the nature of pain, and the mode by which it is produced, one school holding that there are special nerves for its transmission and another that it is merely the expression of a certain grade of irritation. Whatever may be said in favor of either of these points of view, it can be demonstrated that pain occurs only when the mind is under a strain and is immediately relieved when the strain is relieved. This strain may be due to a local cause, or it may occur without any local cause whatever.
    That pain can be produced voluntarily by the mind has long been known. When I was a student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas used to tell us that pain could be produced in the little finger, or any other part of the body, simply by concentrating the mind upon it. Since then I have repeatedly demonstrated that pain can be produced by such a simple thing as imagining a letter or object imperfectly, or trying to look at a point for an appreciable length of time. I never knew these experiments to fail when patients could be induced to make them; but they are so uncomfortable that few are willing to do so. A physician under treatment for imperfect sight boasted that he had never had a headache or pain in his eyes in his life. I told him that I could easily show him how to produce such a pain, and that it would do him good to have one. After a week of talk he consented to make the experiment, and in a few minutes he had acquired a headache that was more interesting than pleasant. He did it by trying to look fixedly at a point. This effect was purely mental. It was not the physical strain of looking at a point that produced the pain, because there was no physical strain, the eye being incapable of looking at a point. It was the mental effort of trying to do what was impossible.
    As pain can be produced by the mind without any local cause, so it can be prevented or relieved by the mind, no matter how great the local irritation may be. In other words pain is a mental interpretation of certain stimuli, and under certain circumstances such stimuli are not interpreted as pain. This, too, has long been known, there being cases on record in which individuals have possessed the power of preventing pain to an extraordinary extent. I may claim to have discovered, however, that everyone may become the possessor of this power.
    It is only when the mind is in an abnormal condition that pain can be felt, or even imagined, and irritations of the nerves are followed by pain only when such irritations produce mental strain. If the mind is not disturbed by them, there is no pain, and therefore, by learning to avoid this disturbance pain can be prevented, or relieved.
    As the mind is always at rest when the memory is perfect, the mental condition necessary for the prevention and relief of pain can be obtained by the use of the memory. One of the simplest things to remember is a small black spot or period, and under certain circumstances anyone may become able to remember such an object. This cannot be done, it is true, at the actual moment of suffering, but, fortunately, pain is never continuous. One can see, or hear, or smell, continuously; but one cannot feel pain continuously. There are always moments of freedom, and during these intermissions one can get control of the memory. In this way the pain of glaucoma, one of the most terrible conditions known to medical science, has been repeatedly relieved (see Better Eyesight, December 1920). Many cases of trigeminal neuralgia have been cured after various operations commonly resorted to for the relief of this condition had failed, and the pain of childbirth and of operations has been prevented.
    Persons with perfect sight never have any difficulty in preventing pain by the aid of the memory. Persons whose sight is not normal have more difficulty, because imperfect sight is the result of mental strain, and it is sometimes very difficult to relieve this strain. With the help of a person who has normal sight and understands the use of the memory for this purpose, however, it can always be done.

                                              RELIEF OF TIC DOULOUREUX


    I do not remember a time when I was able to see comfortably. At fifteen, following an attack of grippe, I began to have so much trouble with my eyes that I was taken out of school, and the late Dr. H. D. Noyes gave me my first glasses. From that time on I wore glasses constantly, with many changes ordered by many different specialists, until I came to Dr. Bates. Sometimes they helped me; but I never was able to do any near work without discomfort, and I could not play tennis because it hurt my eyes to follow the ball.
    When I was eighteen a polyp in the right middle ear broke through the drum, and a great quantity of pus poured out. This was the beginning of a long series of treatment and operations, during which I suffered increasing pain on the right side of my head, and which left me with no bones in the middle ear and an opening in the drum. After the last operation I was ill for nine months, and for a much longer time there was weakness and loss of sensibility on the left side of the body.
    In 1905 I had trouble with the antrum on the left side of the face, and in order to release the pus which had collected here, a wisdom tooth was extracted, the wound being kept open for three months. A second tooth was then extracted, and one by one all the teeth on the left side of the upper jaw were taken out. Then the dentist declined to extract any more, saying that it was only increasing the trouble, instead of relieving it.
    From the beginning of this condition I had a continual pain in the left side of the face, and this developed into what is known as tic douloureux, a painful contraction of the facial muscles, which continued for fifteen years. Everything possible was resorted to for the relief of this trouble except drugs, which I refused to take, and nerve-cutting which I refused to submit to. Spinal treatment gave me more help than anything else.
    From 1914 to 1918, in spite of the discomfort resulting from the use of my eyes at the near-point, I read aloud for many hours every day. At the end of this time my eyes went to pieces completely. All winter I went every week to a specialist for treatment, but received no benefit. Then I went to another specialist. He gave me new glasses, but these seemed only to make the condition worse. I could not read without pain in my eyes and a contraction of the nerves and muscles on the left side of my face. At night the lid of the left eye became partially paralyzed, so that I had to force the eye open when I wakened and was afraid the time might come when I would not be able to keep it open. On the street the muscles on the left side of the face contracted all around the eye, across the bridge of the nose, and toward the temple. This I attributed to the increase of eyestrain by the wind and light.
    On April 22 of last year I went to Dr. Bates in despair. My eyesight was getting worse from month to month, and the facial condition seemed also to be getting worse. In addition I suffered from noises in my left ear so loud and continuous that it seemed at times as if the top of my head would blow off.
    Palming was the first thing Dr. Bates told me to do. At first I saw all sorts of lights. Then I saw grey, and at last I became sufficiently relaxed to see black. I found the use of the imagination and memory a great aid in palming. I visualized the out-of-doors and the things I had seen in my travels. This produced relaxation, and I forgot the pain and the noise in my ear. I also found it a help to be read to while palming. The universal swing relieved the tension which I had always experienced on the street.
     For some months my eyes did not seem to respond to the treatment. The first intimation of gain was the natural opening of my left eye at night. Next my right eye, which had been very numb and blurred, began to have a feeling of life. Later I experienced an increase of pain in the center of both eyes. Strange to say this encouraged me; for the new pain was quite different from the dull ache I had had before, and made me feel that life was returning to my eyes. 
(Healing Crisis: Normal occurrence during healing.)
    One day, when the pulling of the facial muscles was very severe, Dr. Bates asked me to flash a little card which he held close to my nose. This was very unpleasant at first; but suddenly the muscles relaxed, the pain in my face and eyes ceased, and I saw things at the distance clearly. It was only a flash; but after that I seemed to understand better the goal toward which I was working. Since then I have often obtained relief in this way. These glimpses of paradise are what has sustained me through months of treatment which would otherwise have been unbearably monotonous.
    My vision has improved slowly, but the progress has been a constant source of excitement to me. When I first saw the faces of my friends clearly I rejoiced, and I cannot describe the feeling of relief that came to me when the dishes on the table ceased to hurt me, as all near objects had previously done. The light and the color I now see are a revelation to me. I had been told that printer's ink was black, but until I went to Dr. Bates I never saw it so. Neither did I ever see anything like the white I see now. I have a delightful time reading the signs in the subway and enjoying their colors. Not only in color, but in form, things look different to me. Instead of being flat, as they once were, they seem to have a fourth dimension.   Natural Eyesight Improvement students experience a return to perfect 3-D vision.  Eyeglasses impair 3-Dimensional vision.  Distant objects appear surprisingly near. Sitting in the balcony at a concert one afternoon, the orchestra seemed to be almost in my lap. In the dress circle at the opera I seemed to be almost on the stage. When I wore glasses the stage was always miles away. My vision is not normal yet; I cannot read print with comfort. But after such marvelous improvement I feel sure that this will soon come. As for the facial pain and contraction, they are practically cured. When the trouble returns, as it sometime does, I know how to relieve it.
    I am very glad to have an opportunity to tell this story, and I wish I knew how to make it known to all who are suffering from the pain of defective eyesight, or of facial neuralgia, that these conditions can be cured by relaxation, and that the dreadful operations which are resorted to in the case of the neuralgia are unnecessary.

                               STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

   12: The Relief of Pain


    In March, 1919, an Austrian woman, thirty-seven years of age, came to the clinic. She was suffering from myopia, with great pain in her eyes and head, and looked so sad that one could not imagine her smiling. At the age of two years she had become totally blind after a fever, and had remained so for a year and a half, during all of which time she suffered continual pain in her eyes. When her sight returned strong glasses were given to her, but they did not relieve her pain. Neither did the glasses given to her later by various physicians. Finally an optician, finding that the glasses he had given her did not help her, suggested that she should try Dr. Bates and our clinic.
    At her first visit her pain was relieved by palming, and her vision improved from 5/70 to 5/40. She was so pleased that she smiled and kissed my hands. The pain had made her sick at her stomach most of the time, she said, so that she was often unable to retain her food, and no day was she ever free from it.
    I told her to continue the palming at home, and to keep it up for an hour at a time whenever possible. For a while she got on very nicely. Her vision improved to 10/40, and whenever she felt the pain coming on she palmed, invariably obtaining relief.
    Then came a day when I found her with tears in her eyes. She had had a sleepless night, she explained, and had suffered so intensely that her family were frightened. Her eyes felt as though sand was pouring out of them onto the pillow. I asked her if her eyes were still paining her, and she answered tearfully, "Yes".
    I placed her comfortably on a stool, and while her eyes were covered I began to talk to her about her children. She soon forgot her pain in telling me what beautiful eyes her baby had, how thrilled the family had been when the first tooth appeared, and so on. When she uncovered her eyes the most remarkable change had come over her face. All traces of pain had disappeared, and she smiled.
    One day after she had been coming to the clinic for a year or more she was arranging to send some money to Austria and trying to fill out the necessary papers. As she was about to write her mother's name everything before her became a blank, and she experienced an intense pain accompanied by a burning sensation in her eyes. She was so frightened that she wanted to cry, but suddenly she thought about the clinic and how her pain had been relieved by the palming. She covered her eyes with the palms of her hands for a little while, and then the pain became less and the questions on the blank began to clear up. When she tried to write, however, everything became a blank once more. Again she palmed, and this time her sister, who was with her, reminded her that she must palm for a longer time if she wanted to get results. She then palmed for fifteen minutes, her sister encouraging her as she did so. When she removed her hands from her eyes the print before her appeared perfectly distinct, she wrote the necessary answers without any difficulty, and had no more trouble with her eyes that day. She was extremely happy when she told me this. To think that she had been able to improve her sight and relieve her pain without assistance thrilled her.
    When I last saw her, six months ago, her vision was 10/10 without glasses, and she had no pain.

                                  BACKACHE CURED BY CENTRAL FIXATION


    The editor is much pleased to be able to publish Mrs. Brown's report of the simultaneous relief of her astigmatism and the backache from which she had suffered so long. It was from her he learned the value of central fixation in relieving pain in parts of the body other than the head and eyes, and he takes great pleasure in giving her credit for the discovery.
    It is about six, or perhaps seven, years ago that I first consulted Dr. Bates concerning my eyes. I had been wearing glasses to correct astigmatism for five years. During those years of "correction" my eyes seldom gave me a comfortable day. I spared them in every way, using them as little as possible. My sight was not noticeably impaired, but I will cite a few of the many discomforts from which I suffered.
    A smarting sensation in the eyes was nearly always present; also a general lassitude and a dull ache in the back. The last mentioned was never attributed to eyestrain, but to many other causes, and was treated accordingly by a physician; but without results. I was obliged to retire early every night in order to forget my pains in sleep, only to wake in the morning with eyes which felt as though a cinder from every chimney in New York City had dropped into them. This was because we can strain our eyes during our sleep as well as during waking hours. To watch a stage or moving picture performance was torture; and when driving, or riding on railroad trains, I would keep my eyes closed, only taking occasional peeps at the passing landscape. I could not endure the glare of the sunlight on the beach or pavements, and artificial lights on the streets, in the shops or theatre, were an abomination.
    My first glasses were prescribed by an optometrist, and I received no relief while wearing them. Friends advised me to consult an eye specialist of high standing in New York. I did so. He said after examination that he was not surprised that I had received no benefit from the glasses which I was wearing, and proceeded to fit me with what he considered to be the correct lenses. I was supremely happy for a few days, in the anticipation of enjoying perfect comfort as soon as I should become accustomed to the new lenses.
    But alas! my happiness was short-lived. The glasses prescribed by the eminent physician gave no more satisfaction than those from the optometrist.
    I returned to see the doctor after a few weeks, and complained that his glasses had not helped me. He made another examination and said that he could make a slight change in the lenses, but it would not be worthwhile to do so. He also said that my eyes were not working together properly, but this condition would improve with my general health. However my health did not improve under his treatment; I felt that I was doomed to a life of suffering, and tried to become reconciled to my fate.
    Hope was revived a few months later when I heard of Dr. Bates and his cure of eyestrain without glasses. Dr. Bates took possession of my glasses upon my first visit to him, and I have not worn them since.
    He told me to do, or attempt to do, the most amazing things. Looking at the sun was one treatment. I protested, saying that even the reflected sunlight was intolerable; but Dr. Bates insisted, and I found that I could look at a point near the sun with one eye, covering the other with my hand, then alternating. After practicing this for several days, I was able to look directly at the sun with both eyes wide open. The glare of sunlight on the ground ceased to worry me and became as delightful as the pale moonlight. When the sun failed to shine, or was not convenient, I practiced looking at a large incandescent electric light, and very soon the artificial lights troubled me no more than the stars which twinkle in the heavens at night; and this reminds me that Dr. Bates told me that the apparent twinkle of the stars is only in the eye of the beholder.
    After a few weeks of treatment I forgot to spare my eyes, as had been my habit for years. I could read or sew until midnight if I wished, and began to go out evenings and enjoy life like a normal human being. As I write tonight, the clock is striking eleven; and my eyes are feeling fine and dandy, although I have been using them constantly all day sewing and embroidering.
    My animation and efficiency have greatly increased. Friends have remarked that I am a new woman, and continue to congratulate me upon my youthful appearance. An acquaintance of mine whom I had not met since I stopped wearing glasses failed to recognize me a few days ago at the house of a mutual friend. "Why," she exclaimed, "the Mrs. Brown whom I used to know was an extremely pale and worn-looking creature." Through relaxation the expression of eyes and face have become greatly changed.
    I had been under treatment with Dr. Bates about three months when suddenly one day I noticed that my old and constant companion the backache was no longer with me, and it has never returned.
    At the present time when I feel the strain coming into my eyes I rest them by palming and remembering or recalling different familiar objects—the colors of my frocks, recalled one at a time, or the forms and shapes of pieces of china which are in constant use in my home, or the color of the eyes of members of the family. It seems marvelous to be able to go about in the shops for a good part of the day and then keep my eyes open and enjoy to the fullest extent a performance or social affair in the evening. Also what a delight to ride through the country and feast my eyes with comfort upon the beauty of the passing landscape!

      Blindness Number


     March, 1921


    Two things have always brought perception of light to blind patients. One is palming, and the other is the swing.
The swing may take two forms:

    1. Let the patient stand with feet apart, and sway the body, including the head and eyes, from side to side, while shifting the weight from one foot to the other.

    2. Let him move his hand from one side to the other in front of his face, all the time trying to imagine that he sees it moving. As soon as he becomes able to do this it can be demonstrated that he really does see the movement.

    Simple as these measures are, they have always, either singly or together, brought relaxation and with it perception of light, in from fifteen minutes or less to half an hour.
    In palming, the patient should remember that this does not bring relief unless mental relaxation is obtained, as evidenced by the disappearance of the white, grey and other colors which most blind people see at first with their eyes closed and covered.


                   BLINDNESS: ITS CAUSE AND CURE

                                                                                    By W. H. Bates, M. D.

    As ordinarily used, the word blindness signifies a degree of defective sight which unfits the patient for any occupation requiring the use of the eyes. Scientifically it means a state in which there is no perception of light. Speaking of this condition in his Cause and Prevention of Blindness Fuchs tells us that except in extraordinarily rare cases it is incurable, and this is the accepted opinion of ophthalmology today
    The facts that have come to me during thirty-five years of ophthalmological practice have convinced me that the above statement should be reversed, and made to read: "Except in extraordinarily rare cases blindness is curable." In fact, unless the eyeball has been removed from the head, I should be unwilling to set any limits whatever to the possibility of relieving this greatest of human ills, for I have never seen a case of injury or disease of the eye which was sufficient to prevent improvement of vision. In all cases of blindness, whatever their cause, a mental strain has been demonstrated, and when this strain has been relieved perception of light has always been obtained.
    Even when the eyeball has been so shrunken that the patient scarcely seemed to have an eye, sight has been restored. In one such case the cornea of the left eye had shrunk to an eighth of an inch in diameter and only a suggestion of the sclera was visible, while the right eye was reduced to a quarter of its normal size and showed only a hazy cornea and a blurred piece of iris with no pupil. The patient was ten years old and the condition of her right eye was congenital (present at birth): that of the left was due to an inflammation which she suffered when she was a year old. From that time, she had had no perception of light; but in fifteen minutes she became able to see the furniture of the room indistinctly and to imagine that it was swinging. In spite of this remarkable demonstration of what could be accomplished by relaxation, her parents did not bring her again.
    Atrophy of the optic nerve is one of a considerable number of diseases, like detachment of the retina, irido-cyclitis and absolute glaucoma, which have been placed beyond the pale of hope by the science of ophthalmology. Yet persons with atrophy of the optic nerve sometimes have normal vision, and persons blind from this cause sometimes recover spontaneously. At the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary thirty years ago, a patient was exhibited who had all the symptoms of atrophy of the optic nerve, but who nevertheless possessed perfect sight. The case was exhibited later at the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital, the New York Ophthalmological Society, and the Ophthalmological Section of the New York Academy of Medicine. Later I saw several similar cases; but when a colored woman came to my Clinic a few years ago with atrophy of the optic nerve, it did not occur to me that it would be possible to help her. Not knowing what to do, I asked her to sit down while I attended to some other patients, and meanwhile my assistant, Mrs. Lierman, who tells the rest of the story in a later article, got hold of her and made her see. Later many cases were relieved. A few obtained normal vision, but most of them did not have the courage to continue the treatment long enough for this purpose.
    A few weeks ago a patient came to me completely blind in both eyes from atrophy of the optic nerve. Before he left the office he had become able, by the aid of the swing, to see the light with both eyes. He went away greatly encouraged, and promised to come again as soon as he returned from a neighboring city. Later he sent me a statement, signed by an oculist and witnessed by a notary public, to the effect that he was completely and incurably blind from primary optic atrophy. I have not seen him since.
    The following remarkable story of a spontaneous cure was told me recently by a patient: A commercial traveler, a friend of the man who told me the story, was treated for two years in a Chicago Hospital for total blindness from atrophy of the optic nerve. Although the doctors told him that his case was quite hopeless, he refused to believe it. He talked much of a grey cloud that he had seen before his eyes at the time he became blind, and said that if he could only remember how it looked he was sure it would help him. One day he had a perfect mental picture of that grey cloud, and at once he found that he could see. He is now back in his old position, doing his usual amount of work, attending to his correspondence, and reading as well as he ever did. Doctors who have examined his eyes since say he still has atrophy of the optic nerve and ought still to be blind.
    Irido-cyclitis, a combined inflammation of the iris and ciliary body, is a frequent cause of blindness. Often it results from an injury to the adjoining eye, and in that case is known as sympathetic ophthalmia. In severe cases it is believed to lead inevitably to blindness, which is, of course, thought to be incurable. Yet in all cases in which blindness has resulted from this disease I have seen perception of light, and even normal vision, restored.
    One day a young girl came to my Clinic with one eye as soft as mush from irido-cyclitis (the other having been removed four years before). The iris and pupil were covered by a white scar and she had no perception of light. After palming, swinging and using her imagination for about fifteen minutes, the scar cleared up sufficiently for me to see the iris and pupil indistinctly, and two visiting doctors also saw them, while the patient saw the light. Later she became able to see people on the street and to see the pavement and imagine that it was swinging. At that point she ceased coming to the Clinic.
    A case of practical blindness from this cause was cured within a month by the use of the imagination. When the patient looked at the large letter at the top of the card at one foot and was told what it was, he was able to imagine that he saw it, and thus he became able to see it actually. Then he did the same thing at ten feet. Next he imagined that he saw the first letter of the second line at ten feet, and became able to recognize the second letter. The same method was used with all the other lines until he became able to imagine the first letter of the bottom line, and then go on and read the other letters.
    When his eye was examined with the ophthalmoscope the vitreous was so opaque that one could not distinguish the optic nerve and retina. He said that the light bothered him, and prevented him from imagining any of the letters on the Snellen test card. With the retinoscope at six feet, however, he stated that the light did not bother him so much, and he was able to imagine, while it was being used, that he saw a letter on the bottom line perfectly. The refraction was then normal, and a clear red reflex (light reflected from the retina) was obtained, indicating that the vitreous was now quite clear. When he failed to imagine that he saw the letter, the reflex was much blurred, indicating cloudiness of the vitreous. These are facts. I cannot offer any explanation for them.
    Of detachment of the retina Fuchs says, "It is generally possible in recent and not too excessive cases of separation of the retina to obtain an improvement of the sight by a partial attachment, and in especially favorable cases even to cause the detachment to disappear completely. Unfortunately it is only in the rarest cases that these good results are lasting. As a rule, after some time, the separation develops anew, and ultimately, in spite of all our therapeutic endeavors, becomes total … In inveterate cases of total detachment it is better to abstain from any treatment." Compare this statement with the results obtained by central fixation, as told in the following article. In many other such cases useful vision has been obtained.
    The incurability of blindness resulting from glaucoma is taken so completely for granted that Nettleship defines absolute glaucoma as "glaucoma that has gone on to permanent blindness." Yet in the December 1920 issue of Better Eyesight, and again in this issue, is reported a case in which light perception was restored in an eye stone blind with glaucoma after a few minutes of palming. This was witnessed by several visiting doctors. Later the patient became able to read the twenty line at ten feet with this eye. As nearly half of our blind population at the present time is believed to be over sixty years old, and a great part of the blindness of later life is attributed to glaucoma, the curability of this condition is a fact of immense importance.
    Statistics indicate that in this country, at the present time, external injury is the most frequent cause of loss of vision between the ages of twenty and thirty-four. I believe that a great part of this blindness could be relieved, for, as I have already stated, I have never seen an eye so badly injured that its vision could not be improved. To cite only one of many similar cases, a patient injured in an automobile accident became suddenly and completely blind, either from hemorrhage into the orbit, or from injury to the optic nerve. By palming and the use of his imagination, he at once became able to count his fingers.
    Perhaps the most remarkable cures of blindness are those in which the loss of vision is supposed to be due to general disease. These have frequently been relieved, partially or completely, without relief of the disease. Thirty years ago a man stone-blind with what I diagnosed to be albuminuric retinitis was led into my Clinic at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. This condition is so closely associated with disease of the kidneys that its existence is considered sufficient evidence of the existence of the latter. Yet the patient regained normal vision and held it up to the time of his death without any improvement in the condition of the kidneys. On the contrary the disease of these organs became worse, and when he died a few years later the physicians who performed the autopsy wondered how he had been able to live so long. The evidence seems to me complete that the blindness was not due to the kidney trouble but to strain.
    Many diseases of the eye are attributed to syphilis. Yet in every case these conditions have been relieved by rest, and often the sight has become normal without any improvement in the syphilis.
    In spite of the very prompt improvement which patients obtain in these cases, they often, as the cases mentioned in the foregoing pages show, fail to continue the treatment. The weight of public and professional opinion is too much for them, and they are practically compelled to take this course. Such dogmatism is both unwise and unscientific. The causes of disease are obscure and variable, and we do not know it all. It does not seem to me that a doctor is justified in telling a patient that he is incurable just because he has never seen such a case cured, or has forgotten, because it was contrary to rule, any case that he has seen. This may cause the patient to accept as inevitable a condition which might have been cured and may even prevent nature, because of the depressing effects of discouragement, from doing what the doctor has failed to do. Still less is it justifiable for the medical profession to assume, as it now seems to do, that we have learned all there is to be known about blindness.  Such an attitude throttles research and actually exposes to the suspicion of being a quack any man who tries to help these unfortunates.

                                                   RELIEF OF RETINAL DETACHMENT

            By Clara E. Crandall

    Twenty-five years ago Samuel D. was struck in the left eye by a nail thrown carelessly from a roof, and nineteen years later, while he was chopping wood, a stick flew up, hitting him in the face and injuring the same eye.
    There were, apparently, no serious consequences from either of these accidents, but about a year after the second one the patient noted that his sight was getting dim. He consulted an oculist, thinking that he probably required glasses, and was told that he had iritis. He was given drops for this condition and had been using them for a month when, on May 12, 1916, while digging in the garden, he went suddenly and completely blind in his left eye. The cause proved to be a detached retina, and the oculist whom he consulted sent him to a hospital where he underwent a thorough examination. His teeth were X-rayed, and it was thought best to remove his tonsils. He was then kept for eight weeks motionless, flat upon his back.
    At the end of this time it was found that the retina, as a result of the complete rest, had become partially reattached and the vision was, to some extent, improved. Hoping to improve it still further, the doctors operated upon the eye, but without success. Two weeks later a second operation was performed, after which the eye became totally blind again. The condition of the left eye was complicated by a traumatic cataract, and senile cataract now developed in the right. He was sent to another hospital in the autumn where he was again thoroughly examined, but the doctors decided that nothing more could be done for him.
    And so, with one eye totally blind and cataract rapidly obscuring the sight of the other, Samuel went back to his work as a gardener, trying to resign himself to the dark future before him. From month to month he struggled on; but he found it increasingly difficult to do his work, and felt that the time would soon come when he would have to give it up. He suffered greatly from the strain of trying to see and complained of a constant yellow glare in the blind eye, together with many other painful and unpleasant symptoms which, he said, interfered with the sight of his right eye also.
    From a time several years antedating his sudden attack of blindness Samuel has been in the employ of my family. After he became blind I went to Dr. Bates to have some eye troubles of my own treated, and, hearing of the many remarkable cures that were effected by his method of treatment, it occurred to me that he might be able to do something for Samuel. It seemed to Samuel a forlorn hope, but as it was the only one, he allowed me to take him last May to Dr. Bates' Clinic in the Harlem Hospital.
     At this time he was still without light perception in the left eye, and with the right was unable to make out the smaller letters on the test card when it was held a foot from his face, while even the largest letters appeared gray and blurred. Dr. Bates told him that the cataracts could be cured, and encouraged him to hope for improvement in the condition of the detached retina also. He told him to leave off the dark glasses he had been wearing, to palm as often and as long as possible, to drink twelve glasses of water a day, to imagine and flash the letters on the Snellen test card, and to imagine everything, himself included, as swinging.
     Samuel followed these instructions conscientiously, and in a short time the strain and other distressing symptoms from which he had previously suffered were greatly relieved. The sight of the blind eye improved gradually. At the first visit he became able to distinguish light, and later he saw the shadowy image of a moving object, at first only when held close to the left side of his head, but afterward in all parts of his field of vision. The perception of light in the blind eye has grown steadily and the vision has so improved that now, at a distance of fourteen feet, he can see a moving object against a strong light, while at the near point he even thinks that he can sometimes catch a glimpse of the large letter on the Snellen test card. With the right eye he can read the smallest letters on the test card at the near point, and they appear black and distinct. At fourteen feet he can flash them.
     Among those who have benefited by Dr. Bates' remarkable discoveries, there is no one who owes more to them than Samuel D.; for now, instead of having to look forward to blindness and utter dependence on others, he has been enabled to take up his life with renewed courage and interest, confident that if he faithfully continues the treatment he will eventually obtain good vision in both eyes.

                           STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

              No. 13: The Relief of Blindness

                                                                                                   By Emily C. Lierman

    Clinic day is always a happy day for me. It is true one sees at the hospital a great deal of suffering, sorrow and poverty; but it is a pleasure to be able to relieve some of the suffering, and sometimes things happen which are very amusing.
    Some time ago a blind man was led into the Clinic by a friend. This was a case which really ought to have been very sad, but it turned out, instead, to be very amusing. In spite of his affliction the patient seemed to be in a happy mood and very well-pleased with himself. He was neatly dressed and his shoes, though worn, were carefully shined, while over them he wore spats. His tie was a very bright red, and his hat was a light shade of tan. A cane, which his blindness compelled him to carry, completed a costume which I am sure he considered to be that of a real swell gentleman. When I approached him he said in a very gracious manner:
    "Glad to see you, ma'am! Glad to see you, ma'am!"
    And yet he could not see me, as I soon found out. I held my fingers before his eyes and asked him if he could see them. He answered that he could not. Further tests showed that he had no light perception whatever, and Dr. Bates said that his condition was due to atrophy of the optic nerve.  I showed him how to palm, and after five minutes he pointed to an electric light in the ceiling and said:
    "It looks light there."
    I told him at once to palm again, and when he opened his eyes he saw the shadow of my fingers moving from side to side before his face. In a few moments, however, the blindness returned. Again I told him to palm, and while he was doing so I asked him if he could remember something black, or something else that he had seen before he became blind, such as a beautiful sunset, or white clouds. He thought a while, and then remembered that in the days when he had been a house-painter he had used black paint. I told him to remember the black paint while he was palming, and then I left him to attend to other patients. When I came back to him I held two of my fingers close to his face, and asked him if he could see them.
    "Ma'am " he said, "I'm not at all sure, but I think I see two fingers."
    I think the man must have been quite popular with the ladies, for he now remarked that one of his lady friends would be pleased if he could see her. He came quite regularly for a time, and each time I noted improvement in his vision. Sometimes this was not very marked, and then I knew that he had not been palming very much at home. He was greatly helped by the focusing of the sun's rays upon the white of his eyes with a sun glass. This had a very soothing effect.
    He was soon able to dispense with his guide and, when leaving the Clinic, used to use his cane to obviate collisions with the benches, nurses and patients. One day as he was leaving the room Dr. Bates called my attention to him, and I noted that instead of tapping with his cane upon the floor he was carrying it on his arm. With head erect, he walked down the long corridor, opened the door and left the hospital, with apparently no more difficulty than a person with perfect sight. A little later he came with the cane. He became able at last to read the fifty line at five feet with both eyes, and then he stopped coming. Probably he thought he would be able to continue the treatment by himself.
    In the October (1920) number of Better Eyesight I wrote about another case of blindness from atrophy of the optic nerve, the patient having no light perception. Unlike the preceding patient she was very much depressed by her condition, and begged me piteously to give her back the light of day. She had heard of our Clinic through some of the patients, and had confidence that Dr. Bates or myself would give her some relief. But I was very far from feeling this confidence. Sometimes I am a doubting Thomas. I always try, however, not to reveal this fact to the patients, but simply go ahead and do the best I can. After this woman had palmed for ten minutes or longer, all the time remembering black stove polish, she became able to see the 200 letter a foot in front of her eyes. Since my previous article was written she has become able to read the ten line at this distance. She is able to go out to work during the day, and to work for herself at night, and she says she sleeps better.
    In the December (1920) number I told the story of a woman who had absolute glaucoma of the right eye. This meant that she was stone blind. She was also suffering terrible pain in this eye. I had to do a great deal of coaxing to get her to palm, but I was willing to give her more time than I do to most of the patients, because her age was seventy-nine. With the exception of one or two relapses she got on nicely, and the last time I saw her she had half-normal vision for distance in the once blind eye and normal vision in the other. She had learned how to keep her eyes at rest by palming and using her imagination for flowers and other objects, and this relieved the strain which had been the cause of all the trouble.
    We have had many cases of total blindness at the Clinic, most of them due to glaucoma and atrophy of the optic nerve, a few to detachment of the retina and irido-cyclitis, and all have gained at least perception of light, while many have been more materially benefited. But most of them did not come more than a few times. It is unfortunate that the blind, as a rule, consider their condition so hopeless that it is difficult to convince them that any treatment is worthwhile, even after they have received some benefit from it.

                              Presbyopia Number
                 BETTER EYESIGHT


                        April, 1921

                                          METHODS THAT HAVE SUCCEEDED IN PRESBYOPIA

    The cure of presbyopia, as of any other error of refraction, is rest, and many presbyopic patients are able to obtain this rest simply by closing the eyes. They are kept closed until the patient feels relieved, which may be in a few minutes, half an hour, or longer. Then some fine print is regarded for a few seconds. By alternately resting the eyes and looking at fine print many patients quickly become able to read it at eighteen inches, and by continued practice they are able to reduce the distance until it can be read at six inches in a dim light. At first the letters are seen only in flashes. Then they are seen for a longer time, until finally they are seen continuously. When this method fails, palming may be tried, combined with the use of the memory, imagination and swing. Particularly good results have been obtained from the following procedure:

   + Close the eyes and remember the letter "o" in diamond type, with the open space as white as starch and the outline as black as possible.
   + When the white center is at its maximum, imagine that the letter is moving and that all objects, no matter how large or small, are moving with it.
   + Open the eyes and continue to imagine the universal swing.
   + Alternate the imagination of the swing with the eyes open and closed.
   + When the imagination is just as good with the eyes open as when they are closed, the cure will be complete.

                                                                                            PRESBYOPIA: ITS CAUSE AND CURE

                                                                                                            By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    PRESBYOPIA is the name given to the loss of power to use the eyes at the near point, without the aid of glasses, which usually occurs after the age of forty.
    The textbooks teach that this change is a normal one: but it is a noteworthy fact that many other eye troubles often date from the time of its appearance, or develop a little later. Many cases of glaucoma start about this time, and so do many cases of cataract and inflammation of the interior of the eye. Patients with presbyopia are very likely to have conjunctivitis. They are also subject to congestion and hemorrhages of the interior of the eye. One patient developed a lot of muscular trouble and a marked degree of double vision at the time he became presbyopic, and suffered three nervous breakdowns in quick succession. He was operated on for the muscular condition and took prism exercises, but obtained very little relief. In another case a patient began to suffer, at the time she became unable to read without glasses, from a contraction of the muscles of the face, congestion of the conjunctiva and continual headaches. The strain was so great that she had to keep her eyes partly closed, and glasses did nothing to relieve her discomfort. Up to the time when her presbyopia appeared she had had none of these troubles.
    The accepted explanation for the loss of near vision with advancing years is that it is due to the hardening of the lens, but it is quite impossible to reconcile the facts with this theory; for not only does presbyopia occur much below the age of forty and even in childhood, but it is often delayed beyond the age of fifty, and sometimes does not occur at all. There are also cases in which near vision is restored after having been lost. We are told that presbyopia comes early in the hypermetropic (farsighted) eye, and late in the myopic (nearsighted) eye; that premature hardening of the lens and weakness of the ciliary muscle (supposed to control the accommodation) may cause it to appear in youth; and that the swelling of the lens in incipient cataract may account for the restoration of near vision after it has been lost; but there are still many cases to which these explanations cannot be made to apply.

                                                                                                     Man Cures Presbyopia

 It is true that hypermetropia (farsight) does hasten and myopia (nearsight) prevent or postpone the advent of presbyopia, and as myopia may exist in only one eye without the patient's being aware of it, he may think that his vision is normal both for the near point and the distance. There are cases, however, in which the vision has remained absolutely normal in both eyes long after the presbyopic age, and a considerable number of these cases have been brought to my attention. One of them, a man of sixty-five, examined in a moderate light indoors, was found to have a vision of 20/10. In other words he could see twice as far as the normal eye is expected to see. He also read diamond type at less than six inches, and at other distances, to more than eighteen inches. In reply to a query as to how he came to possess visual powers so unusual at his age or, indeed, at any age, he said that when he was about forty he began to experience difficulty, at times, in reading. He consulted an optician who advised glasses. He could not believe, however, that the glasses were necessary, because at times he could read perfectly without them. The matter interested him so much that he began to observe facts, a thing that people seldom do. He noted, first, that when he tried hard to see either at the near point or at the distance, his vision invariably became worse, and the harder he tried the worse it became. Evidently something was wrong with this method of using the eyes. Then he tried looking at things without effort, without trying to see them. He also tried resting his eyes by closing them for five minutes or longer, or by looking away from the page that be wished to read, or the distant object he wished to see. These practices always improved his sight, and by keeping them up he not only regained normal vision but retained it for twenty-five years.
    "Doctor," he said, in concluding his story, "when my eyes are at rest and comfortable, my vision is always good and I forget all about them. When they do not feel comfortable I never see so well, and then I always proceed to rest them until they feel all right again."
    The fact is that presbyopia is due to a strain. It is a strain similar to the one that produces hypermetropia, but differs from it in the fact that it affects chiefly vision at the near-point. This can be demonstrated with the retinoscope. When a person with presbyopia tries to read, the retinoscope will show that he has hypermetropia, but when he looks at a distant object the retinoscope will show either that his eyes are normal, or that the hypermetropia is less. Simultaneous retinoscopy is difficult in the case of a reading patient, for not only is the pupil small, but in order to find the shadow it is necessary for the patient to look in one general direction all the time, and this is not easy. It is also difficult to hold a glass at one side of the eye for the measurement of the refraction in such a way that the observer can look through it while the patient does not. With a sufficient zeal for the truth, however, these difficulties can be overcome.
    The strain which produces presbyopia is accompanied by a strain, more or less pronounced, of all the other nerves of the body. Hence, the many distressing symptoms from which presbyopic patients suffer. Glasses, by neutralizing the effect of the imperfect action of the muscles, may enable the patient to read, but they cannot relieve any of these strains. On the contrary, they usually make them worse, and it is a matter of common experience that the vision declines rapidly after the patient begins to wear them. When people put on glasses because they cannot read fine print, they often find that in a couple of weeks they cannot, without them, read the coarse print that was perfectly plain to them before. Occasionally the eye resists the artificial conditions imposed upon them by glasses to an astonishing degree, as in the case of a woman of seventy who had worn glasses for twenty years, in spite of the fact that they tired her eyes and blurred her vision, but was still able to read diamond type without them. This however is very unusual. As a rule, the eyes go from bad to worse, and, if the patient lives long enough, he is almost certain to develop some serious disease which ends so frequently in blindness that nearly half of our blind population at the present time is believed to be over sixty years old. Persons with presbyopia who are satisfied with the relief given to them by glasses should bear this fact in mind.
    Presbyopia is cured just as any other error of refraction is cured, by rest. But there is a great difference in the way patients respond to this treatment. Some are cured very quickly, even in as short a time as fifteen minutes; others are very slow; but as a rule relief is obtained within a reasonable time.
    One of my earliest cures of presbyopia was accomplished in less than fifteen minutes by the aid of the imagination. The patient had worn glasses for reading for ten years. When I showed him a specimen of diamond type and asked him to read it without glasses he said he knew the letters were black but they looked grey.
    "If you know they are black and yet see them grey," I said, "you must imagine that they are grey. Suppose you imagine that they are black. Can you do that?"
    "Yes," he said," I can imagine that they are black," and immediately he proceeded to read them.
    In another case a patient was cured simply by closing his eyes for half an hour. His wife was cured in the same way, and when I saw the couple six months later they had had no relapse. Both had worn reading glasses for more than five years.

                                                             Old Gentleman Cures Presbyopia by Reading, Writing Fine Print 

    While it is sometimes very difficult to cure presbyopia it is, fortunately, very easy to prevent it. Oliver Wendell Holmes told us how to do it in The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, and it is astonishing, not only that no attention whatever should have been paid to his advice, but that we should have been warned against the very course which was found so beneficial in the case he records.
    "There is now living in New York State," he says, "an old gentleman who, perceiving his sight to fail, immediately took to exercising it on the finest print, and in this way fairly bullied Nature out of her foolish habit of taking liberties at the age of forty-five or thereabouts. And now this old gentleman performs the most extraordinary feats with his pen, showing that his eyes must be a pair of microscopes. I should be afraid to say how much he writes in the compass of a half-dime, whether the Psalms or the Gospels, or the Psalms and the Gospels, I won't be positive."
    Persons whose sight is beginning to fail at the near point, or who are approaching the presbyopic age, should imitate the example of this remarkable old gentleman. Get a specimen of diamond type and read it every day in artificial light, bringing it closer and closer to the eye until it can be read at six inches or less. Or get a specimen of type reduced by photography until it is much smaller than diamond type, and do the same. You will thus escape, not only the necessity of wearing glasses for reading and near work, but all of those eye troubles which now so often darken the later years of life.
  Reading fine print with relaxation cures presbyopia - unclear close vision


                                                                                                      By FRANCIS E. MCSWEENY

    This patient was first seen on March 11, 1919. His right vision was 20/50 and his left vision 20/70 and, although he was fifty-one years old, he read diamond type at eight inches. He had not worn glasses for some months, and with the help of a cured patient had been able to improve his sight considerably. His last prescription for reading glasses was: right eye, convex 3.00 D. S.; left eye, convex 3.75 D. S. with convex 0.50 D. C. 180 degrees.
    I am a church organist, choir director and music teacher. Those familiar with the duties of my profession will understand what an important part good vision plays in its successful practice. I realized this and from the first, consulted the best oculists periodically in order to preserve and protect my eyesight. I was told upon reaching the "deadline" of forty-five that I had presbyopia and would henceforth be obliged to wear at least two pair of glasses, one for near and one for distant vision. I rebelled at this, but submitted for some years to the annoyance with as good grace as possible.
    I knew that braces and crutches never cured weak limbs, but that exercise and use of the weak muscles, when the patient had the necessary perseverance, had often made them strong and vigorous. I began to think that glasses were like the braces and crutches, and I expected some day a method of treatment would be found that would strengthen and build up the eyes instead of weakening them.
    I was in this mood when Dr. Bates' treatment of imperfect sight without glasses was brought to my attention. My father and sister had received benefit from the treatment, and I believed that I could be benefited too.
    When I first took off my glasses I could see nothing on the front page of the newspaper but the larger headlines. I could read down to the 30 line of the Snellen test card at 5 feet. My sister showed me how to "shift" from the top to the bottom of the letters on Dr. Bates' professional card. I read a column of the Saturday Evening Post that day by this method.
    At first I tried to wear my glasses for close work, but after a few months I felt that this was retarding my cure and I left them off altogether. That was in January 1919. With the exception of a few Sundays at the beginning, I have done all my work without putting on my glasses even once.
    It would be well for anyone who would follow my example to understand, however, that this result was not accomplished without many mistakes. I often misunderstood and lost valuable time doing things wrong. There were many discouragements, too. So many to tell me how foolish I was to try to do the impossible. I had the consolation, on the other hand, of knowing that my vision was improving all the time.
    The exercises which I found most helpful were:
+1. Palming—I think that nothing so relieves strain as this exercise does.
+2. Flashing—This exercise helps particularly when one has been straining or using the eyes wrongly.
+3. Memory practice—This has been my best exercise. One remembers a letter, picture, or other familiar object, at first with the eyes closed, then with the eyes open. If he can retain the memory of the object while looking in the direction of the test card, he will be able to read the letter easily. 
+4. Imagination—Imagining that the white part of a certain letter is whiter than the margin of the card. This has helped me greatly.
    My present vision is: Distance (both eyes): 10/10, 15/15, some of 15/10, 20/20 and 30/30. Fine print (both eyes): best at 12 inches, some at 20 inches, can see a period at 20 inches.
    I should advise anyone who contemplates taking up this treatment to first see Dr. Bates personally for diagnosis and to get right ideas in the beginning. By doing this, one would save much time and many missteps.
    To those who cannot do this I should say that the first thing to do is to discard glasses altogether. Relax the mind and eyes by palming. Learn to know how the eyes feel when relaxed and when doing your accustomed tasks try to keep this feeling of relaxation (lack of effort) present at all times. Do not allow the eyes to become strained. Let objects that you wish to see come to you, do not try to go to them. You will fail sometimes. If you persist, however, your failures will be less and less frequent and, as your vision improves, which it surely will, you will gain confidence. The exercises which I refer to are described in Dr. Bates' book, which contains many valuable suggestions, besides interesting matter bearing on his experiments and achievements.

                                                 STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

    14: Three Cases of Presbyopia


    As a rule, more children than adults come to the Clinic. They are sent to us by the schools, usually because they cannot see the blackboard. But during the war it was astonishing how many women came to us. Many of them were employed in factories where American flags were manufactured and could not see to do the work properly, although their sight at the distance seemed to be satisfactory. Some had trouble in threading their needles. Others complained that they saw double. One told me that she sometimes stitched her fingers to the blue field of the flag along with the stars. They all asked for glasses, of course, but were very glad to learn that they could be cured so that they could see without them.
    Among these very interesting patients was a woman of about fifty who had great trouble in threading her needle, and who begged me to help her because she had her living to earn. Her distant vision was quickly improved by palming and flashing the letters on the Snellen test card. Then I suggested that she practice with fine print six inches from her eyes. Even though she did not see the letters, I told her it would help her to alternately rest her eyes by closing for a few minutes and then look at the small letters for a couple of seconds. She got immediate results from this, and was enthusiastic in her expressions of appreciation.
    "Sure, ma'am, may the good angels bless you for that!" she exclaimed. "I think this very minute I would be threadin' a needle if I had one. Me old man and the young ones at home will think it fine to have meself threadin' a needle."
    It seemed that members of her family had been called upon to thread her needles, and had found the task somewhat irksome.
    The next Clinic day she came again and, although it was afternoon, greeted me vociferously with the Irish salutation:
    "Top o' the mornin' to you!"
    "Top o' the morning to yourself!" said I, and then suggested that she should not speak so loud, as I was afraid she would disturb the other patients.
     I am not sure that she did any harm, however. The patients all smiled at her remark. It does me good to see these poor unfortunates smile a little, and I think it must do them good also.
    She soon became able to thread her needle without any trouble, and she wanted everyone in the room to know it. The last time I saw her she said:
    "Sure, ma'am, me eyes are very sharp now, for the minute I set eyes on me man when he comes home at night, I can tell by the twinkle in his eye whether he has had anything stronger than water or tea."
    Another woman, forty-eight years old, told me that the first time she came to the Clinic she thought she had got into the wrong place. Half a dozen people had their eyes covered with the palms of their hands to rest them, and she thought it was a prayer meeting. It was she who sewed her fingers to the flag along with the stars.
    "What I need is glasses," she said, "and that's what I am here for"; but I soon convinced her that the glasses were unnecessary.
    By having her alternately close and open her eyes I improved her sight for the Snellen test card from 15/40 to 15/20. Then I gave her some fine print to read, but it was only a blur to her. I now told her to palm, and imagine that she was sewing stars to the flag. When she opened her eyes her sight was worse. The very thought of those stars increased her strain and made her vision worse. This convinced her that her trouble was due to strain, and that all she needed was to get rid of the strain. I now asked her to imagine more agreeable objects at the near point. She at once became able to read the fine print, and her sight for the distance also improved. After four visits to the Clinic her vision both for the distance and the near point had become almost normal. It was quite easy for her to thread a needle and to do her work without glasses.

    A woman of seventy-four, who has been coming to the Clinic for some time, works every day in an orphanage where she mends the children's clothes and does other sewing. She complained that her glasses did not fit her and she could no longer see to sew with them. I gave her a small card with some fine print on the back.
    "Do you mean to tell me," she asked, "that I will ever read that?"
    "It is possible," I said.
    Her smiling face was good to see as she tried to do as I instructed her. The print was larger on one side of the card than on the other, and I asked her to read the name printed in the larger letters. She could not do so at first. I told her to close her eyes, count ten, then open them and look at the card while she counted two, then repeat.  In a few minutes she saw the name on the card and also the phone number, I then had her do the same thing with the diamond type on the reverse side, and after a while she became able to see some of the letters. At later visits she obtained further improvement, and after some months she had no difficulty in sewing the buttons on the children's clothes without her glasses, although as she said, there were a lot of them and they kept her busy.  Once during the treatment I asked her to remember the daisy in the green field as she saw it in the country last summer.
    "There weren't any daisies but me while I was there," she answered.  "I was the only daisy."


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q - While I can see the letters on the Snellen test card distinctly with both eyes down to the 50-line, the right eye sees double below that point What is the reason? J. C. H.
A - While you see the letters down to the 50-line singly and well enough to recognize them, you do not see them perfectly. Otherwise you would see them perfectly below that point. The double vision of the right eye below that point is not due to its error of refraction, but to imagination. With both eyes closed, imagine the letters single. Then look at the test card for a moment. Repeat until the letters can be regarded continuously without doubling. Practice first with both eyes together, then with the right eye separately.
Q - I have conical cornea. Can it be cured or relieved without glasses or operation? A. R.
A - Yes One such case secured normal vision in six weeks by the aid of the methods presented in this magazine. Another case was cured in two weeks. Corneal cornea is simply an anterior staphyloma, or bulging of the front of the eyeball similar to the posterior staphyloma which so often occurs in myopia. Both are curable by the same methods.

                                                                       Imagination Number
                                                                                 BETTER EYESIGHT

                     May, 1921


   + Remember the letter o in diamond type, with the eyes closed and covered. If you are able to do this, it will appear to have a short, slow swing, less than its own diameter.

   + Look at an unknown letter on the test card which you can see only as a gray spot, at ten feet or more, and imagine that it has a swing of not more than a quarter of an inch.

   + Imagine the top of the unknown letter to be straight, still maintaining the swing. If this is in accordance with the fact, the swing will be unchanged. If it is not the swing will become uneven, or longer, or will be lost.

   + If the swing is altered, try another guess. If you can't tell the difference between two guesses, it is because the swing is too long. Palm and remember the o with its short swing, and you may become able to shorten the swing of the larger letter.

   + In this way you can ascertain, without seeing the letter, whether its four sides are straight, curved, or open. You may then be able to imagine the whole letter. This is easiest with the eyes closed and covered. If the swing is modified, you will know that you have made a mistake. In that case repeat from the beginning.

    +When you get the right letter, imagine it alternately with the eyes closed and open, until you are able to imagine it as well when you look at it as when your eyes are closed and covered. In that case you will actually see the letter.


By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    IT is a well-known fact that vision is a process of mental interpretation. The picture which the mind sees is not the impression on the retina, but a mental interpretation of it. To the mind, objects seen appear to be in an upright position, but the picture on the retina is upside down. When the sight is normal the margins and openings of black letters on a white card appear whiter than the rest of the card, but this, of course, is not the fact, the whole background being of the same whiteness. One may seem to see a whole letter all alike at one time, but, as a matter of fact, the eye is shifting rapidly from one part to another. The letter may also seem to move although it is stationary.
    When the vision is imperfect, the imagination is also imperfect. The mind, in short, adds imperfections to the imperfect retinal image. A great part of the phenomena of imperfect sight is, therefore, imaginary and not in any way to be accounted for by the derangement of the visual apparatus. The color, size, form, position and number of objects regarded are altered, and non-existent objects may be seen. Some persons with imperfect sight literally see ghosts. A person in a dark cellar is often under such a strain that he thinks he sees sheeted figures, and one of my patients in broad daylight used to see little devils dancing on the tops of high buildings.
    It is a great relief to patients to learn that these appearances are imaginary, thus helping them to bring the imagination under control. And, as it is impossible to imagine perfectly without perfect relaxation, any improvement in the interpretation of the retinal images means an improvement in the conditions which have led to a distortion of those images; for relaxation, as all regular readers of this magazine know, is the cure for most eye troubles. There is no more effective method of improving the sight, therefore, than by the aid of the imagination, and wonderful results have been obtained by this means. At times, imagination almost seems to take the place of sight, as in the case of a patient who gained a high degree of central fixation in spite of the fact that the macula (center of sight) had been destroyed, or in those cases in which patients become able to correctly imagine letters which are seen only as gray spots without knowing what they are.
    How patients manage to see best where they are looking without a macula is hard to explain, but the imagination of letters which are not consciously seen is probably made possible by a certain degree of unconscious vision. When one looks at a letter on the Snellen test card which can be seen distinctly and tries to imagine the top straight or open when it is curved, or curved when it is straight open, it will be found impossible to do so and the vision will be lowered by the effort to a greater or lesser degree. In one case the mere suggestion to a patient that he should imagine the top of the big C straight caused the whole card to become blank. When one looks at a letter seen indistinctly without knowing what it is and tries to imagine it to be other than it is, one is usually able to do so, but not without strain, evidenced by the fact that the letter becomes more blurred, or by the impossibility of imagining that it has a slow, easy swing of not more than a quarter of an inch. This fact makes it possible to find out what the letter is without seeing it.
                Imagining a letter, parts of letter correct and seeing oppositional movement of the letter = the letter is seen clear.
    The patient begins by imagining each of the four sides of the letter (C) taken in turn to be straight, curved, or open, and observing the effect of each guess upon the swing. If the right side is straight, for instance, and she imagines it to be straight, the swing will be unchanged; but if she imagines it to be curved, the swing will be lengthened or lost, or will become less even and easy. If she is unable to tell the difference between two guesses it is because the swing is too long, and she is told to palm and remember a letter of diamond type, with its short swing, until she is able to shorten it. Having imagined each of the four sides of the letter correctly, she becomes able to imagine the whole letter, first with the eyes closed and covered, and then with the eyes open.
    When one knows what the four sides of a letter are, its identification, in some cases, is a simple process of reason. A letter which is straight on top and on the left side, and open on the two other sides, cannot be anything but an F. If, on the contrary, it is straight on the bottom and on the left side, and open on the other two, it must be an L. Such letters can be imagined with a lower degree of relaxation than the less simple ones, like a V, a Y, or a K. If the letter is not imagined correctly, the swing will be altered, and in that case the process should be repeated from the beginning.
    Having imagined the letter correctly, the patient is told to imagine it first with the eyes closed and covered, and then with the eyes open and looking at the card, until he is able to imagine it as well when looking at the card as when palming. In this way it finally becomes possible for him to imagine it so vividly when looking at the card that he actually sees it.
    With most patients this method of improving the sight produces results more quickly than any other. Others, for some unknown reason, do not succeed with it. Temporary improvement is often obtained in an incredibly short space of time, and by continued practice this temporary improvement becomes permanent.
    The patient who describes her case in a later article looked at the Snellen test card at ten feet one day and did not see any of the letters, even as grey spots. By the method described above she became able in half an hour to read the whole card. A schoolgirl of ten could not see anything at ten feet below the large letter at the top of the card. She was told how to make out the letters by the aid of her imagination, and then left alone for half an hour. At the end of this time she had read the whole of an unfamiliar card. A child of about the same age whose left macula had been destroyed by atrophy of the choroid (middle coat of the eye) was able with the affected eye to see only the 200 letter on the test card, and that, only when she looked to one side of the card. She was treated by means of her imagination, and after a few months, during which time she came very irregularly, she obtained normal vision in both eyes. She is still under treatment.
    A school girl of sixteen with such a high degree of myopic astigmatism that she could see only the large letter at ten feet became able in four or five visits, by the aid of her imagination, to read 20/20 temporarily, and at her last visit she read 20/15 temporarily. A college student twenty-five years old, with compound hypermetropic astigmatism (four diopters in each eye), could read only 20/100 with his right eye and 14/200 with his left, and had been compelled to stop his studies because of the pain and fatigue resulting from the use of his eyes at the near point. In four visits his vision was improved by the aid of his imagination to 20/30 and he became able to read diamond type at six inches without glasses and without discomfort.
    These and many other cases of the same kind have demonstrated that imagination is necessary to normal sight.

                               STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

   15: Imagination Relieves Pain


    A few weeks ago there came to the Clinic a very tired-looking mother, with her daughter, age twelve, who was suffering intense pain in her eyes and head. Both began to talk to me at once, and the mother told me that the child kept her awake at night with her moaning. She had taken her to another doctor in the hospital, and he, failing to relieve the pain, had sent her to Dr. Bates, thinking that her eyes might need attention. Dr. Bates examined the child, and without telling me what the trouble was, said:
    "Here is a good case for you; cure her quick."
    The poor child could scarcely open her eyes, and her forehead was a mass of wrinkles. I tested her sight, and at twelve feet she read the 50-line on the test card. While reading the card she said that her pain was not so bad. I told her to palm, and while her eyes were covered I asked her to imagine that she saw the blackboard at school and that she was writing the figure 7 upon it with white chalk. She could do this, she said, and then I asked her to remove her hands from her eyes and look at the black 7 on the test card. She saw it very distinctly, and I noticed that her eyes had opened and that the wrinkles in her forehead had disappeared. The mother noticed this too and said:
    "See how wide open her eyes are!"
    Evidently the pain had gone, for after a moment the little girl exclaimed in great excitement:
    "Oh, that pain is coming back!"
    I told her to close her eyes at once and palm again. Noticing how much she had been helped by her imagination, I told her to imagine the black figure blacker than she had seen it with her eyes open. She did this, and when she opened her eyes in a few minutes the pain had again disappeared and her vision had improved to 12/30. After telling her mother that the cause of all the child's trouble had been eyestrain, and that if she would palm and use her imagination she would be well in two weeks, I sent her home. Imagine my surprise when two days later she came to the clinic with her eyes wide open, grinning from ear to ear, and having a gay old time with a school friend whom she had brought with her. She told me that only once during the first evening after she came to the clinic had she suffered any return of the pain. Then she had closed her eyes and covered them with the palms of her hands and imagined first that she saw a figure 7 black on a white background, and then that she saw white roses, daisies with yellow centers and green fields. She went to sleep soon after and did not wake up until morning. She had had no pain at all since that night, and when I tested her sight with both eyes together and each eye separately, I found it normal. It goes without saying that I was very happy to have accomplished in two days what I expected to take two weeks. The patient was instructed to keep on practicing and to report at least once a week at the clinic, but she did not come again.
    A boy named Harry, aged eleven years, now being treated at the Clinic came to us about two weeks ago with pain in both eyes. He had been sent to us from the public school for glasses. Reading made him nervous, he said, and he did not wish to read anything on the test card but the large letters. I had him stand fifteen feet from the card, and asked him to read the letters slowly and only to see one at a time. Noticing that he was extremely nervous I lowered my voice as much as possible and talked to him as I would to a child much younger. This seemed to have a soothing effect, for immediately he seemed less nervous and shy, and he was able to read the forty line with his left eye and the fifty with his right. I now showed him how to palm. This seemed to afford him much amusement, but he did it faithfully because he wanted to please me, not because he thought it would help his sight. When he opened his eyes he read the twenty line with the left eye, but the vision of the right had not improved and he complained that the pain in it was still as bad as ever.
    I told him to palm again, and while his eyes were covered I asked him if he ever saw a large ship getting ready to sail. He said, yes, he had seen some of our warships on the Hudson River. I asked him how much he could imagine he saw on one of these vessels. He became intensely interested and was no longer inclined to be restless.
    "Why," he said, "I can imagine a rope ladder on the side of the ship and sailors walking on the deck, and I can imagine black smoke coming out of the smoke-stack. Before I had told him to, he uncovered his right eye and read all the letters on the forty line and some of those on the thirty line. He said that the pain had gone and that the letters looked blacker to him and the card whiter than before. He has come to the clinic regularly, and now reads 15/10—better than normal—with both eyes. He still complains about a little pain in the right eye, but when he palms and imagines that he is playing baseball or doing other pleasant things, his pain stops and he always leaves the clinic smiling.



    This patient came for examination on February 9, 1921, and for treatment on March 11. Her distant vision with glasses (concave 6.00 D.S., both eyes) was 20/40 in the right eye and 20/50 in the left, and her field had been reduced to ten degrees, so that she could see nothing above, below, or to one side of her line of vision. She was treated almost entirely by means of her imagination and has thus become able, temporarily, to read the bottom line of an unfamiliar card at ten feet. By the same means her field and color perception have at times become normal. When her imagination fails, her vision fails also.  Sun-gazing (Sunning) and the focusing of the rays of the sun with a burning glass/sunglass upon the upper part of the sclera (white of the eye) proved very effective in overcoming her extreme sensitiveness to light.
    I began to wear glasses for shortsight when I was fifteen, and from that time I wore them constantly until I came to Dr. Bates five weeks ago, For the last two or three years I never took them off, except for close work, until I got into bed at night, and before I got out of bed in the morning I put them on again,
    In spite of these precautions my sight became steadily worse, and for the last ten years I have spent my time and money going from one specialist to another both in this country and in Europe. Three of the most famous specialists in Switzerland told me that I had retinitis pigmentosa, a condition in which pigment is deposited in the retina, and which, I was told, always ended in complete blindness if the patient lived long enough. Nothing could be done to prevent this outcome, they said, but they advised me to wear dark glasses when I went out of doors on bright days, because by exposing my eyes to strong light I was spending my capital. For the last three years (up to five weeks ago) I did this, and for the last year, on very sunny days, I often wore dark glasses in the house also, because my eyes had become so sensitive to the light that I could sometimes find relief only by going into a darkened room. Even with dark glasses and drawn blinds, there was a kind of razzle-dazzle before my eyes which was so maddening that I almost longed for the blindness with which I had been threatened, so that I might be free from such distresses. When I looked out of a window onto a sunny street and then back into the room again, everything became perfectly black for a minute. For the last two years and a half I have not been able to go out alone in the city.
    In this state of utter hopelessness, with my sight rapidly getting worse, I heard of Dr. Bates through a patient whom he was treating and, in spite of what I felt to be the incredulity of my friends, although they were considerate enough not to express it, I lost no time in consulting him. The unusualness of his methods, while it excited the suspicion of others, was a recommendation to me. I knew what the old methods accomplished, or rather what they did not accomplish, and I wanted something different. It seemed to me that Dr. Bates was the very man I had been looking for.
    My friends have now been converted, but, in spite of the fact that I am able to report substantial improvement in my vision, I still meet with much skepticism in other quarters. A doctor to whom my progress was reported by a friend wrote to her that if my trouble were imaginary Dr. Bates might help me through hypnotism or mind cure, but that if there were anything really the matter with my eyes he could do nothing by his methods. Having a relative in New York who is an eye specialist, this doctor took the trouble to write to him and ask what he knew about Dr. Bates. The reply was that Dr. Bates was the laughing stock of all the oculists in New York. This report, when it was communicated to me, disturbed me not at all. It did not matter to me how much the other eye specialists laughed at Dr. Bates so long as he was helping me, as none of them had been able to do. Other doctors were more open-minded, but were not prepared to believe that such diseases as retinitis pigmentosa could be cured by this or any other method. One who had met some of Dr. Bates' cured patients and was inclined to believe in him, said, when told that I was being treated for this condition:
    "Good gracious, he surely doesn't pretend to cure retinitis pigmentosa! That is an organic disease."
    I said that he not only pretended to cure it, but had made substantial progress in my case. The doctor said:
    "I think he'll help you, but I don't believe you are ever going to see without limitations."
    The improvement in my vision since I have been under treatment has been indisputable. After two weeks the intangible suffering caused by light (eyes sensitive to light) left me, and it has never returned. I can go out in the brightest sunlight without glasses of any kind, and, although my eyes feel weak and I squint a little, there is no real distress. I can look out of a window onto a sunny street, and when I turn back again into the room there is no blindness. When I first took off my glasses I had to bend over close to my plate when I was eating in order to see what was on it. Now I sit in an almost normal position with such a slight bend that I don't think anyone would notice it. I also operate a typewriter while sitting in a normal position. For three years, it has been very difficult for me to read or sew, with or without glasses. Now I do both without glasses, and instead of the distress which these activities formerly caused me, I experience a delightful feeling of freedom. And not only can I read ordinary print, but I can read diamond type and photographic reductions. About a year ago I began to lose my color perception, and up to two weeks ago I was unable to distinguish the rug from the floor in the Doctor's office. Now I can see that the floor is red and the rug blue, tan and black. At the present writing I have just become able to observe that a couch cover in my apartment, which had always appeared blue to me, is green. I am still unable to see very much at the distance. But I am beginning to make out the features of the people around me and to read signs in the streets and street-cars, and when I look out of the windows on the Subway I see the people on the platforms. My field is still very limited, but I am conscious that it is slowly enlarging. The other day I pinned a piece of paper three inches from the test card, and was able to see it while looking at the card. After such improvement, in the brief period of five weeks, I do not feel inclined to credit the prediction of my medical friend that I am going to regain my sight only with limitations. I hope I am going to get normal vision.
    Along with the improvement in my sight there has come also a remarkable improvement in my physical condition, the natural result of freedom from suffering. I used to be a very restless sleeper, and when I woke in the morning I was greatly fatigued. Now the bed is as smooth in the morning as if I had never stirred all night, and I am much more refreshed than I used to be, although not so much so as I hope to be later. Formerly I had to force myself to write a letter. Now it is a pleasure to do so, and I am clearing off all my correspondence. Previously I could not attend to my accounts. Now I have them all straightened out. If I get nothing more from the treatment than this physical comfort and increased ability to do things, it will be worthwhile.
In early issues of Better Eyesight, Dr. Bates allowed open eyed sunning.
In later years/issues he advised only closed eyes sunning.
Combine/alternate sunning with palming to increase vision improvement and other benefits derived from these activities.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q - I began to wear glasses for farsight when I was twenty-six. I began with convex 1.00 D. S. and now at forty-two I am wearing convex 2.50 D. S., or was until a few weeks ago when I decided to try the methods presented in this magazine. I can read and sew with ease in the daylight, but cannot read fine print even in a strong electric light for more than a few minutes without getting a dull ache at the back of my eyeballs. What I want to do is this:
1. Do you advise the use of the test card in my case, or is it only for children?
2. Would the swing help me, and if so will you explain it a little more clearly?
3. Is it best to go without the glasses as much as I can, or am I injuring my eyes by so doing?
4. Would it retard the cure to use the glasses just for evening reading?
5. How long will it take for my eyes to become young again, if that is possible? G. H.
A -  1. The test card is for everybody.
2. Yes, the swing would help you. The normal eye is constantly shifting, and thus an apparent movement of objects regarded is produced. By consciously imitating this unconscious shifting of the normal eye and realizing the apparent movement which it produces, imperfect sight is always improved.
3. You should discard your glasses permanently. They are never a benefit and always an injury to the eyes.
4. Yes.
5. It is entirely possible for your eyes to become young again, but it is impossible to guess how long this will take because it is impossible to tell how well or intelligently you will practice central fixation.
Q -  Why is it that when I look at an electric light half a mile away it looks as if there were ten or a dozen rays of light going in all directions? R. R. T.
A -  Because when you look at an object half a mile away you strain to see it, and under the influence of the strain you imagine rays of light going in all directions so vividly that you seem to see them. It is for the same reason that the stars twinkle. If you could look at the light, or at the stars, without effort, there would be no twinkling.

                                                                               Fundamentals of Treatment
                BETTER EYESIGHT


                          June, 1921


     The object of all the methods used in the treatment of imperfect sight without glasses is to secure rest or relaxation, of the mind first and then of the eyes. Rest always improves the vision. Effort always lowers it Persons who wish to improve their vision should begin by demonstrating these facts.

   + Close the eyes and keep them closed for fifteen minutes. Think of nothing particular, or think of something pleasant. When the eyes are opened, it will usually be found that the vision has improved temporarily. If it has not, it will be because, while the eyes were closed, the mind was not at rest.

   + One symptom of strain is a twitching of the eyelids which can be seen by an observer and felt by the patient with the fingers. This can usually be corrected if the period of rest is long enough.

   + Many persons fail to secure a temporary improvement of vision by closing their eyes because they do not keep them closed long enough. Children will seldom do this unless a grown person stands by and encourages them. Many adults also require supervision.

   + To demonstrate that strain lowers the vision, think of something disagreeable—some physical discomfort, or something seen imperfectly. When the eyes are opened, it will be found that the vision has been lowered. Also, stare at one part of a letter on the test card, or try to see the whole letter all alike at one time. This invariably lowers the vision and may cause the letter to disappear.

                      FUNDAMENTALS OF TREATMENT

                                                                                                       By W. H. Bates, M. D.

    ALL errors of refraction and many other eye troubles are cured by rest; but there are many ways of obtaining this rest, and all patients cannot do it in the same way. Sometimes a long succession of patients are helped by the same method, and then will come one who does not respond to it at all.
+Closing the Eyes.—The simplest way to rest the eyes is to close them for a longer or shorter period and think about something agreeable. This is always the first thing that I tell patients to do, and there are very few who are not benefited by it temporarily.

+Palming.—A still greater degree of rest can be obtained by closing and covering the eyes so as to exclude all the light. The mere exclusion of the impressions of sight is often sufficient to produce a large measure of relaxation. In other cases the strain is increased. As a rule, successful palming involves a knowledge of various other means of obtaining relaxation. The mere covering and closing of the eyes is useless unless at the same time mental rest is obtained. When a patient palms perfectly, he sees a field so black that it is impossible to remember, imagine, or see, anything blacker, and when able to do this he is cured. It should be borne in mind, however, that the patient's judgment of what is a perfect black is not to be depended upon.

+Central Fixation.—When the vision is normal the eye sees one part of everything it looks at best and every other part worse in proportion as it is removed from the point of maximum (central) vision. When the vision is imperfect it is invariably found that the eye is trying to see a considerable part of its field of vision equally well at one time. This is a great strain upon the eye and mind, as anyone whose sight is approximately normal can demonstrate by trying to see an appreciable area all alike at one time. At the near-point the attempt to see an area even a quarter of an inch in diameter in this way will produce discomfort and pain. Anything which rests the eye tends to restore the normal power of central fixation. It can also be regained by conscious practice, and this is sometimes the quickest and easiest way to improve the sight. When the patient becomes conscious that he sees one part of his field of vision better than the rest, it usually becomes possible for him to reduce the area seen best. If he looks from the bottom of the 200 letter to the top, for instance, and sees the part not directly regarded worse than the part fixed, he may become able to do the same with the next line of letters, and thus he may become able to go down the card until he can look from the top to the bottom of the letters on the bottom line and see the part not directly regarded worse. In that case he will be able to read the letters. On the principle that a burnt child dreads the fire, it is a great help to most patients to consciously increase the degree of their eccentric fixation. For when they have produced discomfort or pain by consciously trying to see a large letter, or a whole line of letters, all alike at one time, they unconsciously try to avoid the lower degree of eccentric fixation which has become habitual to them. Most patients, when they become able to reduce the area of their field of maximum vision, are conscious of a feeling of great relief in the eyes and head and even in the whole body. Since small objects cannot be seen without central fixation, the reading of fine print, when it can be done, (with relaxation, without effort, no squinting, strain) is one of the best of visual exercises, and the dimmer the light in which it can be read and the closer to the eye it can be held the better. 
(Practice reading fine print in the sunlight for healthy eyes.)

+Shifting and Swinging.—The eye with normal vision never regards a point for more than a fraction of a second, but shifts rapidly from one part of its field to another, thus producing a slight apparent movement, or swing, of all objects regarded. The eye with imperfect sight always tries to hold its points of fixation, just as it tries to see with maximum vision a larger area than nature intended it to see. This habit can be corrected by consciously imitating the unconscious shifting of the normal eye and realizing the swing produced by this movement. At first a very long shift may be necessary, as from one end of a line of letters to another, in order to produce a swing; but sometimes even this is not sufficient. In such cases patients are asked to hold one hand before the face while moving the head and eyes rapidly from side to side, when they seldom fail to observe an apparent movement of the hand. Some patients are under such a strain, however, that it may be weeks before they are able to do this. After the apparent movement of the hand has been observed, patients become able to realize the swing resulting from slighter movements of the eye until they are able to look from one side to another of a letter of diamond type and observe that it seems to move in a direction contrary to the movement of the eye.
A mental picture of a letter can be observed to swing precisely as can a letter on the test card and, as a rule, mental shifting and swinging are easier at first than visual. The realization of the visual swing can, therefore, be cultivated by the aid of the mental swing. It is also an advantage to have the patient try to look continually at some letter, or part of a letter, and note that it quickly becomes blurred or disappears. When he thus demonstrates that staring lowers the vision he becomes better able to avoid it. When visual or mental swinging is successful, everything one thinks of appears to have a slight swing. This I have called the universal swing. Most patients get the universal swing very easily. Others have great difficulty. The latter class is hard to cure.

+Memory.—When the sight is normal the mind is always perfectly at rest, and when the memory is perfect the mind is also at rest. Therefore it is possible to improve the sight by the use of the memory. Anything the patient finds is agreeable to remember is a rest to the mind, but for purposes of practice a small black object, such as a period or a letter of diamond type, is usually most convenient. The most favorable condition for the exercise of the memory is, usually, with the eyes closed and covered, but by practice it becomes possible to remember equally well with the eyes open.
When patients are able, with their eyes closed and covered, to remember perfectly a letter of diamond type, it appears, just as it would if they were looking at it with the bodily eyes, to have a slight movement, while the openings appear whiter than the rest of the background. If they are not able to remember it, they are told to shift consciously from one side of the letter to another and to consciously imagine the opening whiter than the rest of the background. When they do this, the letter usually appears to move in a direction contrary to that of the imagined movement of the eye, and they are able to remember it indefinitely. If, on the contrary, they try to fix the attention on one part of the letter, or to think of two or more parts at one time, it soon disappears, demonstrating that it is impossible to think of one point continuously, or to think of two or more points perfectly at one time, just as it is impossible to look at a point continuously, or to see two points perfectly at the same time. Persons with no visual memory are always under a great strain and often suffer from pain and fatigue with no apparent cause. As soon as they become able to form mental pictures, either with the eyes closed or open, their pain and fatigue are relieved.

+Imagination.—Imagination is closely allied to memory, for we can imagine only as well as we remember, and in the treatment of imperfect sight the two can scarcely be separated. Vision is largely a matter of imagination and memory. And since both imagination and memory are impossible without perfect relaxation, the cultivation of these faculties not only improves the interpretation of the pictures on the retina but improves the pictures themselves. When you imagine that you see a letter on the test card, you actually do see it because it is impossible to relax and imagine the letter perfectly and, at the same time, strain and see it imperfectly. The following method of using the imagination has produced quick results in many cases: The patient is asked to look at the largest letter on the test card at the near point, and is usually able to observe that a small area, about a square inch, appears blacker than the rest, and that when the part of the letter seen worst is covered, part of the exposed area seems blacker than the remainder. When the part seen worst is again covered, the area at maximum blackness is still further reduced. When the part seen best has been reduced to about the size of a letter on the bottom line, the patient is asked to imagine that such a letter occupies this area and is blacker than the rest of the letter. Then he is asked to look at a letter on the bottom line and imagine that it is blacker than the largest letter. Many are able to do this and at once become able to see the letters on the bottom line.

+Flashing.—Since it is effort that spoils the sight, many persons with imperfect sight are able, after a period of rest, to look at an object for a fraction of a second. If the eyes are closed before the habit of strain reasserts itself, permanent relaxation is sometimes very quickly obtained. This practice I have called flashing, and many persons are helped by it who are unable to improve their sight by other means. The eyes are rested for a few minutes, by closing or palming, and then a letter on the test card, or a letter of diamond type, if the trouble is with near vision, is regarded for a fraction of a second. Then the eyes are immediately closed and the process repeated.

+Reading Familiar Letters.—The eye always strains to see unfamiliar objects, and is always relaxed to a greater or lesser degree by looking at familiar objects. Therefore, the reading every day of small familiar letters at the greatest distance at which they can be seen, is a rest to the eye and is sufficient to cure children under twelve who have not worn glasses as well as some older children and adults with minor defects of vision.
In the treatment of imperfect sight these fundamental principles are to a great extent interdependent. They cannot be separated as in the above article. It is impossible, for instance, to produce the illusion of a swing unless one possesses a certain degree of central fixation. That is, one must be able to shift from one point to another and see the point shifted from less distinctly than the one directly regarded. Successful palming is impossible without mental shifting and swinging and the use of the memory and imagination.
All these functions of the visual system work together, are integrated. Practicing, improving one, improves all.
Practice improving each one and all are greatly improved. 
Relax, Blink, Breathe abdominally, Shift, Central Fixation, Memory and Imagination, Oppositional Movement (The Swing), Switching and Shifting on objects at close and far distances with both eyes together, one eye at a time, both eyes together again, shifting on familiar objects/eyechart letters, Flashing, Read Fine Print, Sunning, daily exposure to sunlight, Palming, Good Posture, exercise, Diet …

                                                                   STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

        16: Methods That Have Succeeded

                                                                                                              By Emily C. Lierman

    The patients who come to our clinic do wonderful things, especially the schoolchildren. We can give each one of them, as a rule, only about five minutes of our time, and yet they are able to carry out the instructions given to them at home, and to get results. This is a great tribute to their patience and intelligence.
    Most of the children, and of the grown people as well, are helped by palming, and some wonderful cures have been obtained by this means alone. In my first story for this magazine I told about a little boy named Joey whose left eye had been so injured in an automobile accident that he had only light perception left. It was some time before I could get him to palm regularly, but as soon as he became willing to do it many times a day his sight began to improve rapidly, and he is now completely cured.
    There are some patients, however, who cannot or will not palm. One of these was a little colored girl, with corkscrew curls, for all the world like Topsy. She had been sent to the clinic because she could not see the writing on the blackboard, and the school nurse told me later that she was very unruly and a great trial to her teacher. She was something of a trial to me too at first, for I could not get her to palm for a moment, and did not know what to do with her. Then I discovered that she had a wonderful memory when she chose to use it, and I resolved to treat her by the aid of this faculty. I was able to improve her sight considerably, and the very next day her teacher noticed such a change in her behavior that on the next clinic day the school nurse came with her to see what I had done. I then asked her to remember, with closed eyes, a letter on the test card grey instead of black. She could not stand still a minute while she did so, and when she opened her eyes there was no improvement in her vision. Then I asked her to remember the blue beads she had around her neck. She did so for five minutes, standing perfectly still all the time, and when she opened her eyes she read an extra line on the test card. I had her do this again, and again she read an extra line. The nurse was thrilled by this demonstration of the fact that perfect memory improves the sight and relieves nervousness.
    Recently a poor young man called at our magazine office and asked if Dr. Bates had written a book about the treatment of the eyes. When told that there was such a book, he bought it and also subscribed for the magazine. His sister was being treated at the clinic, he said, and he wished to take off his glasses as she had done. Later he came to the clinic, as he lives in the hospital district. I found that he could not read newspaper print without his glasses, while his distant vision was 12/70, both eyes. This was about six months ago. He now reads diamond type, and last week his sister asked Dr. Bates if he had finer print, as her brother found the diamond type so easy that he wanted something smaller. Dr. Bates gave her a page from a photographic reduction of the Bible, and he reads this also without any trouble. The methods he used were swinging and flashing, together with palming.
    The influence of this cure has been extensive and is still going on. The patient loaned the book to a myopic youth in his office, and by means of palming he was able to improve his sight so that now he dispenses with glasses for long periods. An elderly man in the same office thought the palming a very absurd practice but, having borrowed the book, he started shifting and flashing at lunch time, just to pass the time. He now does much of his work without glasses.
    A Jewish mother came to the clinic recently with her little girl of eight, and said the child must have glasses. The school nurse had said so. I replied that I was very sorry indeed, but that Dr. Bates did not fit glasses, and she would have to call some other day and see the doctor who did do so. She was about to leave the room when I suggested that I should test the child's sight. I felt sorry for the little girl, because she was very pretty, except for her eyes, which were partly closed most of the time.
    "I don't like to wear glasses," she said. "Please help me so that I won't have to wear them."
    The mother seemed bewildered at first, and then she said in a burst of confidence:
    "You know, nurse, if der glasses was fer notthink, I should worry. But all der time money, money fer glasses, when all der time she breaks dem."
    I told the poor mother not to worry, because her child could be cured so that she would not need glasses if she would do what I told her to do.
    "Sure, sure," she replied. "Det's all right, lady. You fix her eyes, yes? Ven ve don't buy glasses ve got more money to buy someding for der stomach, yes?"
    An Irish woman was standing by, and she just roared with laughter. I had to use some tact to keep peace in the room, and I thought it best to usher the Irish woman outside until I had treated the little girl, who turned out to be a very interesting patient. We have some bright children in our clinic, and I am proud of them; but this dear little girl beat them all. She did such a wonderful thing that Dr. Bates was thrilled. Jennie had never seen the test card before, and after palming was able to read only the thirty line at fifteen feet. Below this the card was a blank to her. I asked her to follow my finger while, with very rapid movement, I pointed to the large letter at the top and so on down to the ten line.
I now asked her to palm, and, pointing to the last letter on the ten line, which was an F, and quite small, I asked her if she could remember some letter her teacher had written on the blackboard that day. She replied:
    "Yes, I can imagine I see the letter O, a white O."
    "Keep your eyes closed," I said, "and imagine that the letter I am pointing at has a curved top. Can you still imagine the O?"
    "No," she said: "I can't imagine anything now."
    "Can you imagine it is open, or straight at the top?" I asked.
    She became excited and said: "If I imagine it has a straight top, I can still remember the white O."
    "Fine," I said. "Can you imagine it has a straight line at the bottom?"
    "No," she said, "if I do that I lose the O. I can imagine it's open much better."
    "Good," I said. "It is open. Now imagine it is open or curved to the left."
    "I lose the O," she said, "if I imagine the left side open or curved. I think it's an F, nurse."
    And when she opened her eyes she saw it plainly. The fact was that, although she had been unable to see this letter consciously, she had unconsciously seen it for a fraction of a second and could not imagine it to be other than it was without a strain that caused her to lose control of her memory. And when she imagined it to be what it was she relaxed so that when she opened her eyes she was able to see it.

In this example the letter F is seen clear when imagining a letter O.  As long as the person is not trying to imagine the F is a O, the F is seen clear when imagining the letter O clear. (or any other ‘easy to remember, imagine’ object clear)  
Imagining the object the eyes are looking at correct and clear causes the object to be seen clear.
If the eyes cannot see the object and the mind cannot imagine it correct; thinking of a different object and imagining, remembering it clear, shifting on it in the mind causes the mind, eyes to relax, vision to become clear and all objects the in the visual field become clear.  This occurs because the mind, eyes are relaxed when imagining, remembering a object that is easy, pleasant to remember, imagine.  In this example that object is the letter O. 
Let the mind daydream, think pleasant thoughts, remember, imagine a scene in the mind and let the minds eyes move about on objects in the imagination.  Let the physical eyes move ‘on their own’ as the mind moves from thought to thought, object to object in the imagination and notice the vision becomes clear.  

    A little later a school nurse brought us a child who was giving her teacher a lot of trouble because she could not remember anything, and it was thought glasses might help her. She was very nervous, frowned terribly and at twelve feet the letters on the bottom line of the test card were only black spots to her. As I could not get her to palm, I asked her to look at a letter on the bottom line and with closed eyes imagine it had a straight top. She could not do this and said she could imagine it curved better. Then she found she could imagine two other sides curved and one open, and when she opened her eyes she saw the letter, a C, distinctly, and had stopped frowning. By the same method she became able to read all the other letters on the bottom line, demonstrating that her imperfect memory had been due to eyestrain. She had unconsciously seen the letters, but the eyestrain had suppressed the memory of them. With her eyes closed the strain was relaxed, and she became able to remember, or imagine, them.


                                                                                By a Public School Nurse

    Editor's Note.—Better Eyesight considers itself fortunate to be able to publish this remarkable record of the improvement of the vision of school children by means of the methods which it advocates. The attitude of the educational authorities toward the beneficent work of this public-spirited nurse is noteworthy.
    On re-reading an article in the August 1920 issue of Better Eyesight I find that a nurse, after inquiry in regard to treatment of the eyes without glasses, and observations at Dr. Bates' Clinic, said she would treat the children at school in the same way. I started last fall, in a district school located in one of the suburbs of New York City, to do likewise, but, unfortunately, after having helped several children, I am advised by the school authorities to discontinue. However I shall give some idea of the work already accomplished.
    In the examination for records of the children's eyesight, etc., I found several quite below normal—some with one eye more than normal and the others far below. In one case for instance, the left eye was 20/13 and the right 9/200. This child, Catherine, after having been shown how to practice, was able to help herself by cutting the letters from a newspaper and pinning them to the wall until she procured a test card. At the present time her sight is 12/50 in the right eye, a four-fold improvement. All this she has done by her own efforts and practice at home. I have helped her only once since the first examination in the latter part of March. Her mother has taken off her glasses, too, and does not suffer any more with burning of the eyes, as she did formerly. She is grateful, and much pleased with her success.  Left and right eyes vision uneven, one eye with less clear vision is often the main cause of blur.  Practice shifting, central fixation, switching close and far on objects with both eyes, then one eye at a time , then both eyes together again for equally clear, balanced, perfect vision in the left and right eyes. When the less clear eye starts to improve, overall vision will improve quickly.
     Another child I brought to the clinic, and Dr. Bates saw him after I had helped to correct a squint in the left eye, which remains straight unless he strains. The correction occurred at the beginning of the school year. The child's sight has also improved, in spite of the fact that he practices less at home than any of the others and needs constant urging.
    The children come to me just before the close of the morning session, sometimes for only fifteen minutes. They palm and do the swing, either the head alone or the entire body. Lately I've found that the swing was more successful than palming alone.
    When examining the children in the classroom I found they could read the twenty line at twenty feet after starting at thirty or forty, if the strain was relieved in this way: I would point to a letter or number on the thirty or forty line and then return to the twenty line. Almost immediately they would read 20/20.
     One boy I started at 20/20. For some reason he could not read a letter until he got to the top of the card. I then had him palm and read with each eye alternately. In a few moments he had read correctly every line to the very end—20/20.
    All the children are greatly interested and pleased with their progress, and the parents fully approve. In every instance I have let the parents decide whether or not the children should be treated so that they would not need glasses. The children themselves say very emphatically that they will not wear glasses.

  QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  (None listed this month)

All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.

    Stop Concentrating



  July, 1921


    To remember the letter o of diamond type continuously and without effort, proceed as follows:  

   + Imagine a little black spot on the right-hand side of the o blacker than the rest of the letter; then imagine a similar spot on the left-hand side.
Shift the attention from the right-hand period to the left, and observe that every time that you think of (shift to) the left < period the o appears to move to the right, > and every time you think of (shift to) the right > one it appears to move to the left <. 
This motion, when the shifting is done properly, is very short, less than the width of the letter. Later you may become able to imagine the o without conscious shifting and swinging, but whenever the attention is directed to the matter these things will be noticed.

   + Now do the same with the o letter on the test card. If the shifting is normal, it will be noted that the letter can be regarded indefinitely, and that it appears to have a slight motion.

    To demonstrate that the attempt to concentrate spoils the memory, or imagination, and the vision:

   + Try to think continuously of a period on one part of an imagined letter. The period and the whole letter will soon disappear. Or try to imagine two or more periods, or the whole letter, equally black and distinct at one time. This will be found to be even more difficult.
      + Do the same with a letter on the test card. The results will be the same.


                                                                                                           By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    MOST patients who come to me for the cure of imperfect sight think that they have to "concentrate" in order to improve their vision. When told that they should see nothing but black when their eyes are closed and covered, they think that they can arrive at this state by "concentrating" on the black. When they look at a line of letters and see it imperfectly and all alike, they think it is because they cannot "concentrate." If they see better after closing their eyes or palming, they think it is because these things have helped them to "concentrate." It is very hard to get these ideas out of their heads, even though, after "concentrating for all they are worth," as they express it, they invariably find that their sight is worse instead of better.
    By concentration they seem to mean the ability to do, see, or remember, one thing at a time, for as long a time as they want to, and to stop doing, seeing and remembering everything else; and they are quite convinced that this can be accomplished by effort. As these ideas are almost entirely erroneous, it is not strange that their sight should fail to improve under their influence.
    It is physiologically impossible to see one thing at a time and exclude everything else from sight, because nature has given us a visual field of considerable range. It is true that we can see even a very small object continuously, but only if the attention shifts constantly from one part to another, because the eye is in constant motion, and any attempt to stop this motion lowers the vision and causes the object to blur or disappear. When the vision is normal the movements of the eye are short, rhythmical and easy, and each successive point fixed is seen better than any other point. In the eye with imperfect sight the movements are longer, irregular and accompanied by strain. The points fixed are not seen best, so that the object may be seen all alike at one time. In neither case is it possible to stop the motion; but the eye with imperfect sight tries unconsciously to do so and to look at each point for an appreciable length of time. This unconscious attempt to concentrate upon a point is an invariable accompaniment of imperfect sight, and is always produced by an effort to see. When, therefore, patients try to "concentrate" upon a letter, the eye attempts to stop shifting, and the vision is made worse. Even in the case of an eye with previously normal sight, such an effort will quickly cause the letters to blur or disappear.
    Although the physiological reasons for it are not as plain, the mind is subject to the same law as the eye. It cannot think of one thing to the exclusion of all other things. Nor can it think continuously of an unchanging object without continuous shifting of the attention. The attempt to do these things is accompanied by a strain which is reflected in the eyes and always produces abnormal conditions there.
    It is often hard to get patients to realize these facts, because the shifting of attention may be and usually is unconscious. At points where the vision is good, patients may shift normally and easily from one part of a letter to another without being aware of the fact and without noticing the swing produced by this motion. Therefore they often imagine that they can see it all alike at one time for an indefinite period. In the same way they think that they can remember or imagine a letter all alike at one time continuously. One patient looked at an F for the better part of an hour, seeing it all the time perfectly black and distinct and, as he thought, all alike and stationary.
    He was directed to imagine with his eyes closed that a small, black spot on the upper corner of the ten-line F was the blackest part of the letter. Then he was told to remember a similar period on the bottom of the letter and to forget the top period. Next he was directed to shift between these two periods, remembering each one alternately as the blackest part of the letter. He did this easily and noted that every time he thought of the top period, the letter appeared to move downward, and every time he thought of the lower period, the letter appeared to move upward. When he tried to concentrate on one period, however, he immediately lost it and lost the whole letter with it. To imagine two or more periods, or the whole letter, equally black at one time was even more difficult. Having demonstrated with his eyes closed that it was impossible to think continuously of one point, or to think of two or more points equally well at the same time, but very easy to shift continuously from one point to another, he became able to realize that he could not see the letter on the test card perfectly and continuously when he saw it all alike at one time, and could not even see one point perfectly black continuously.
    Most patients, when asked to remember or imagine a letter of diamond type, state that they can do it continuously and that they see it all alike at one time. When asked to concentrate on a point, or imagine one or more points equally well at one time however, they find it, as in the case just mentioned, impossible, while they have no difficulty in shifting continuously from one point to another. After having demonstrated these facts they find it impossible to remember a letter all alike at one time, and realize that when they seemed to do so they must have been unconsciously shifting and swinging.
    It is strange that physiologists and psychologists have never published these facts. The normal shifting of the eye is so short and easy that it is scarcely perceptible. The apparent movement of objects regarded, produced by this motion, is also inconspicuous; yet it is sufficiently marked so that when patients are asked whether the letters they are looking at are moving or stationary they often answer that they are moving. When asked to stop the movement or imagine that the letters are stationary, they reply that they cannot, and that the attempt to do so causes discomfort or pain. One patient even noticed the phenomenon without any hint from me, and came back to me several months after I had cured her to ask for an explanation. The movement, which she noticed only when she looked at a letter continuously, not when she read a few of the letters more or less rapidly, did not trouble her she said; in fact, when she tried to stop it she felt uncomfortable and her vision was lowered; but having never heard of it, she was afraid it might indicate something wrong with her eyes.
               Stare at a dot (period) = it will be seen unclear  - Shift on the dot point to point = it is seen clear
    Psychologists tell us that it is impossible to attend continuously to an unchanging stimulus. This is true, but some of the proofs adduced in support of it are open to criticism. James says that if you try to attend steadfastly to a dot on a piece of paper, or on the wall, "you will presently find that one or the other of two things has happened: either your field of vision has become blurred so that you now see nothing distinct at all, or else you have involuntarily ceased to look at the dot in question, and are looking at something else. But if you ask yourself successive questions about the dot—how big it is, how far, of what shape, what shade of color, etc.; in other words if you turn it over, if you think of it in various ways, and along with various kinds of associations—you can keep your mind on it for a comparatively long time." *1
                                                                                          How to see a small dot clear, easy.
    It is probably true that in most cases the person who looks at a dot under the conditions in question would find his vision blurring, or his attention shifting to something else, because he would make an effort to see it. He would stare at it, or "concentrate," upon it. But a person with normal, or nearly normal vision, who looks at such a dot easily and naturally, can regard it indefinitely, because his eyes unconsciously shift from one part of it to another. Other persons, if they shift consciously and realize the apparent motion thus produced, will often find it possible to hold their attention on the dot for a considerable time, but will not see it as distinctly as persons who shift unconsciously. As for asking one's self questions about the dot, I have often tried this experiment with patients, but never found that it corrected the tendency to stare.
    The idea that the attention can be forced is a very common one and is very bad for the eyes. It is greatly encouraged by popular writers, but is contrary to the teachings of more reliable psychologists who know that forced attention can only be momentary, and that it is a great strain upon the mind and the whole body. Ladd records that the subject of an experiment to determine reaction-time under concentrated attention often "though sitting quiet, sweats profusely."*2
                                                                                               Incorrect Palming Example
    I can parallel this from my own experience. A patient was left in a room and told to rest her eyes by closing and covering them until I came back; but another patient had unfortunately told her that she must "concentrate on the black." So when a series of colors began to intrude themselves in her field of vision she tried to ignore them. The more they were ignored the more insistent they became, and when I returned the patient was in convulsions. She had to be carried into another room, and only after resting for an hour or two was she able to go home in a taxicab. It was a month, during which time she was under the care of her family physician, before she was able to resume treatment.
    Since attempts to force the mind are reflected in the eyes, the popular ideas of concentration must be responsible for a great deal of that strain which is the cause of imperfect sight.

                                                                                                      STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

  17: Some Results of Concentration


    Almost all the patients who come to us at the clinic, especially adults, think it necessary to concentrate in order to see better. They think concentration is part of our method of treatment, and until they learn better I cannot make any progress with them.
    A young girl about eighteen or nineteen years old came one day recently, holding her glasses in her hand and anxiously waiting to be treated. She told me she had worn glasses for seven years, and that she had consulted several oculists and opticians without getting any relief from the pain in her eyes. With her glasses she read 15/20, and without them 15/50, both eyes. When she closed her eyes I noticed a twitching of her eyelids. She was told to open her eyes and look at a letter on the card, then to close them and remember the blackness of the letter, thinking first of the bottom and then of the top, alternately. When a few minutes later she removed her hands from her eyes she could not see the letter which she had seen before. I wondered why her sight did not improve, but I understood when she said:

    "I did what you asked me to do. You told me to remember the letter O, and I held on to it and tried hard not to remember anything else. But now my pain is worse than before."
    "You did not understand me," I said. "I did not ask you to hold on to the letter O. I asked you to remember the blackness of it, and see or imagine one part best at a time."
    She tried it again, covering her eyes with her hands, and this time I said to her:
    "Remember the letter O as you saw it, but first remember the top best. Now what happens to the bottom?"
    "It fades from black to gray," she said.
    "Now remember the bottom blacker than the top."
    "The same thing happens to the top," she said. "It fades to gray color." And then she added:   "Please let me keep doing this for a little while, it seems to take my pain away."
    After five minutes or so I had to ask her to remove her hands from her eyes, as I could not spend any more time with her, and I wanted to know if I had helped her. As she looked at the card again she saw the O very plainly, and also read two more lines, the forty and the thirty. The twitching of her eyelids had ceased, and she was able to smile. This patient is still coming, and is now able to read most of the ten-line at fifteen feet. She is also able to read some of the letters in a paragraph of diamond type at eight inches from her eyes; but when I hold the type at six inches and ask her to fix her eyes on one corner of the card and stare at it, the whole surface becomes a blank and the pain in her head and eyes comes back.
    One day a little mother, imported from Ireland, sure enough, came with her little boy of eleven, who was suffering terrible pain. Dr. Bates and I were not very busy at that moment, which was something quite unusual, and we both listened together to her story, the gist of which was:
    "The school nurse sis me biy needs glasses. 'Tis truble he's havin' wid his eyes."
    The boy all the while kept his eyes covered with a white cloth, and at first glance I thought he was crying because the part of his face that I was able to see was much flushed. Dr. Bates asked me to see what I could do for him, and his mother began to talk again.
    "Oi haven't any time to be foolin' round here, ma'am," she informed me. "Oi got to get back to me washin.' It's glasses he needs, ma'am."
    When she finally stopped for want of breath, I said:
    "Now wouldn't it be fine and dandy to cure him so that he wouldn't need glasses?"
    As I said this, down came the cloth from the boy's eyes. He was interested and returned my smile.
    "Just you leave him to me and I will cure him," I said to his mother. "And never mind leaving your work for him again. He can come here by himself."
    "Sure ma'am, is it dreamin' ye are, or is it a bit o' blarney yer given' me?" she inquired.
    "No," I said, "it isn't dreaming or blarney.  Be a good mother and just watch your boy and see what happens."
    I tested the boy's sight with the Snellen test card and found that his vision was 12/40 with each eye. Then I gave him a stool and showed him how to palm. Some minutes afterwards I told him to remove his hands from his eyes and look at the card. He stared at it as if some wild animal were after him. I discovered that his mother was threatening him, talking to him in a low tone. Evidently she thought she would please me by forcing him to do what I wished. By this time I knew that the boy was afraid of his mother, and I quietly invited her to take a nice, comfortable seat outside the room. The boy informed me that his name was Joe, and as I smoothed his hair and gave him a few pats the most affectionate look came into his eyes. Then we got down to business again. I told him to palm and reminded him of a baseball.
    "Imagine you are throwing the ball," I said. "Now imagine that you are catching it. Now look at the card."
    He smiled when he saw the letters come out blacker and more distinct than before. The redness of his face, which at first I had thought was from fever, left him, and his eyes, which were Irish blue, were clear and wide open. He read the thirty-line at twelve feet and part of the twenty-line, which I thought was doing well for the first visit. Now it occurred to me to see what would happen if he concentrated, or stared. I told him to look at the first letter on the forty-line, a Z, and keep his mind fixed on it no matter what happened. As he did this he began to frown, his forehead became wrinkled and his face became red again.
    "I don't like to do that, nurse," he said. "All the other letters disappear and my head hurts."
    I told him to palm again and remember the letter Z, thinking first of the top, then of the bottom. When he looked at the card again he saw the letters clearly once more, and read all of the twenty-line at fifteen feet. When he arrived at the ten-line, however, the first letter bothered him. He twisted his head in all directions. He stared at the letter, and finally decided to palm again. After a few moments I asked him to open his eyes, and told him that there were three of the same letters on the card, but that they were scattered here and there on the different lines. He again started to read the card, and as he saw the first letter on the hundred-line, which was a D, he said:
    "Now I know the first letter on the ten-line is a D."
    Shifting his eyes from the hundred-line to the ten-line letter had helped him to see it.
    His last visit was a very interesting one. At the beginning of the treatment I explained to him how important it was for him to practice palming at least half a dozen times a day, but he did not feel that he could spare the time, because he earns a little money running errands for his mother. At the next to the last visit I had a talk with him about this and said:
    "If your eyes are cured you can earn more money during vacation time, but you cannot if they trouble you."
    He promised to practice at home as many times as I wished him to, so I made him a promise. My rose garden in the country was in full bloom and I promised to bring him a bouquet the next Clinic day. Not having enough flowers for each patient, I wrapped Joe's bouquet in paper and asked Dr. Bates to carry it. Joe spied me first as we passed the long line of benches which were filled with poor people, all of them suffering from some eye trouble. His hair was combed, which was unusual, and he was spruced up generally. He was smiling, too, and his eyes were shining with great expectations. But when he saw that my hands were empty, the smile vanished, and a look of disappointment came into his eyes. I know what it means to be disappointed, so I told him at once that Dr. Bates was bringing the bouquet for him, and the sun shone for him once more. I was well repaid for those flowers, for that day Joe made wonderful progress.
    He had to wait some time before I could treat him, and he never took his eyes from me. I could feel his gratitude, and my impulse was to take him in my arms and hug him tight; but I refrained, thinking he might resent the familiarity. He read the ten-line at fifteen feet, in less than a minute, and he told me that he did not suffer any more pain in his head. He also said that his studies seemed easier to him when he remembered not to stare or think too hard of one thing.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q - After leaving off my glasses and practicing the methods advocated in your magazine for six months, I went to the oculist who gave me glasses eleven years ago to have my eyes re-examined. He said the astigmatism was exactly what it was eleven years ago, but that there had been some improvement in the near-sightedness. I am sending you the prescriptions, old and new. I apparently see better than when I took off my glasses, and there are times when I see letters measuring 3/32nds of an inch in height at a distance of ten feet. This lasts until I wink, (blink) when the letters become blurred and indistinguishable. I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Could there have been an improvement in the astigmatism without the oculist's observing it?
2. What is the percentage of improvement in each eye?
3. In your experience, when astigmatism has been cured, how does it go—all at once, or gradually?
4. Do you think I have made enough progress to warrant my continuing, or should I go back to glasses, which always gave me comfort, and leave perfect eyesight for those more easily cured? G. H. A.
A - 1. Yes. During the examination you may have been under a strain.
2. It is impossible to judge your improvement by comparing your glasses, because the refraction is continually changing.
3. It may go in either way.
4. Yes. Your trouble is so slight that I do not understand why it should take you so long to correct it.
Q - After being out in the bright sunlight everything looks intensely black to me indoors. Is this a natural consequence of the exposure of the eyes to bright light, or does the normal eye not experience it? L. K.
A - Many persons with imperfect sight, and also persons with ordinarily normal sight suffer in the way you describe after going indoors out of the bright sunlight, and the trouble can be relieved by any method which brings about a complete relief of strain.
Q - What is the quickest cure for inability to read without glasses on account of advancing years? J. L. C.
                                                                                (Presbyopia cure)
A - Close the eyes and remember a small letter of the alphabet perfectly. Open the eyes, and at twelve inches look at the corner of a card showing a specimen of diamond type fine print,  remembering the letter as well as you can. Close the eyes or palm, and remember the letter better. Alternately, remember it with the eyes open (and looking at the corner of the card) and closed, until the memory with the eyes open and closed is nearly equal. Then look between the lines and do the same thing. In this way some patients become able in half an hour to read the letters on the card. Others require days, weeks, or longer.   
Q - Is it possible to become able to read without glasses after the extraction of cataract? A. C.
A - Yes. Accommodation is brought about by a lengthening of the eyeball through the action of a pair of muscles on the outside. If the patient is able to look at a printed page without effort or strain, the eyeball will lengthen sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the lens.
July, 1921

*1- Talks to Teachers, 1915, p. 104.
*2 - Elements of Physiological Psychology, 1900, p. 543.

                                                    School Number

                                           BETTER EYESIGHT

August, 1921


    Children often make a great effort to see the blackboard and other distant objects in school. It helps them to overcome this habit to have them demonstrate just what the strain to see does.

    + Tell them to fix their attention on the smallest letter they can see from their seats, to stare at it, to concentrate on it, to partly close their
         eyelids—in short, to make as great an effort as possible to see it.

    + The letter will blur or disappear altogether and the whole card may become blurred, while discomfort or pain in the eyes or head will be

     +Now direct them to rest their eyes by palming. The pain or discomfort will cease, the letter will come out again, and other letters that they
       could not see before may come out also.

    + Now teach the children to shift part to part on the letters and from letter to letter, and blink.  The eyes are relaxed and letters clear.

    After a demonstration like this children are less likely to make an effort to see the blackboard, or anything else; but some children have to repeat the experiment many times before the subconscious inclination to strain is corrected.



    It seemed so wonderful to me to be able to lay aside my glasses and have eye comfort after wearing them for twenty-two years with discomfort the greater part of the time! I could scarcely wait to get back home to talk to the other teachers about it and try to help a few of the children.
    I began with Gertrude, who was so nearsighted that from a front seat she was unable to see very black figures one and one-half inches high printed on a white chart and hanging on the front board. Her vision on January 11, 1921, was 20/70 in both eyes, but by March 10th she had improved to 20/70 with the right eye and 20/30 with the left and could read the chart from the last seat in the row.
    Matilda had complained of headaches since last September. Glasses were obtained last December, and after a two months' struggle to get used to them, she refused to wear them, saying that they made her head and eyes feel worse. I then told her how to palm and practice with the chart. She had no more headaches in school, and her mother said she didn't complain at home. Her vision also improved from 20/30 to 20/15.
    I next took Walter in hand. His mother would not get glasses for him, although advised to do so by the school nurse and doctor. His vision February 18th was 20/200. Three weeks later his mother decided to get glasses for him, but his vision had improved to 20/20 in the right eye and 20/30 in the left.
    Helen's teacher brought her to me, saying she was so nervous and read in such a halting manner that she felt sure that her glasses did not fit her. Her mother said that she might lay aside her glasses and Helen could hardly wait to begin. Shortly after, she was taken ill with scarlet fever and did not return, but her vision improved from 20/40 to 20/15, and her teacher said that her reading had improved noticeably.
    Mollie, age six, was sent in to me February 18th. She tested 20/70 in the right eye and 20/50 in the left. Her vision in May was 20/30, right, and 20/20, left.
    When Rae came to my room on May 15th, her vision was 20/70. Her father was very much opposed to her wearing glasses and readily gave permission for me to help her. She remained in the district only two weeks, but she had improved to 20/20 in the right eye and 20/30 in the left.
    Bennie, mentally defective, required a great deal of patience, but he improved from 20/50 February 9th to 20/15 March 4th.
    Leo, a fifth grade pupil, was sent to me February 20th by his teacher. She said he wouldn't wear his glasses and was a poor student. He tested 20/50 in the right eye and 20/30 in the left. By March 15th his vision was 20/30, right eye, and 20/15, left, and his teacher said that he showed a marked improvement in his scholarship.
    The children needing help came to me fifteen minutes before the afternoon session began. If I was busy with one, the others would work quietly by themselves, seeming to take great pride in their improvement. The chart hangs on the front wall at all times. I taught the class how to palm and often different ones would come up early to practice. Several children with apparently normal vision told me that they were able to read two or three lines more at the end of the term. To my mind there is no limit to the good that might he accomplished if this method were in general use in the schools.


                                                                                                               By IRENE KUNDTZ

    Having worn glasses constantly for seven years and then, after a week's treatment, returning to school without them, not only caused great excitement amongst my school friends, but began my experience in trying to benefit others. It was then that I really realized what a wonderful thing it was to have perfect sight and never again wear glasses.
    My first patient was my chum Margaret, who roomed across the hall from me. She was now fifteen years old and had worn glasses ever since she was a small child. With her glasses off she could faintly see the large letter C. So I immediately taught her the correct way of palming. This not only interested her but my two roommates also, for the blacker they imagined a cat or a period, the better they could read in the dim light. After palming for at least ten minutes she looked up and was greatly surprised to see the large C much blacker and more distinct. Then I gave her a card with diamond type and taught her to swing the little black figure 1. This was something new for all three girls, and soon I found myself treating three patients instead of one. Swinging seemed rather difficult to them until they tried moving their heads from side to side, in this way getting a short, easy swing of a quarter of an inch or less. As our time was very limited at the dormitory I was able to work with Margaret for only a half hour, but in that short time she read three letters at a distance of fourteen feet.
    This was a great new game for me, and when her first treatment was over she promised to come again the next evening, and a little earlier if possible.
    The news of Margaret being able to read three letters on the Snellen test card spread through the dormitory very rapidly, and the next morning before school I had two other girls ask if they might join the class. I was indeed glad to have them and could hardly wait until evening to resume my fascinating work.
    My two new patients were both fourteen years old and had worn glasses since the second grade. As my roommates were out visiting we were able to work for forty-five minutes in peace, and each became more anxious to beat the other, for with their glasses off they could read through the seventy line. While I taught them how to palm, Margaret was practicing at swinging the figure 1 and working at the first letter in the following line, but nothing seemed to give her as much rest and benefit as palming. So after helping her she would palm again while I took care of the other two girls. At the end of forty-five minutes we had made quite a little progress, Margaret having read through the seventy line by palming alone, and the other two girls through two letters in the fifty line.
    Having succeeded in helping three of my girl friends, I next began to talk to some of my teachers who had worn glasses from ten to fifteen years. But teachers as a rule are very busy correcting papers, etc.; so not being able to treat them as well, I lent them Dr. Bates' book called Perfect Sight Without Glasses, and found to my great delight that it worked just as well, for it not only gave them a start but interested their friends also.
Thus I continued giving treatments, sometimes for only fifteen or twenty minutes an evening, but every little bit helped and each treatment brought me more patients, and gave me more joy and courage to continue.
    After treating Margaret for a week, for she was my best patient and really made the most progress, she was able to read through the 50-line, and would have continued to improve more rapidly had she been able to go to school without her glasses.
    My experience in treating myopia lasted only two weeks, for at the end of that time examinations began and my evenings were occupied with studies. Helping and treating others was not only very interesting work, but was also benefiting me in continuing my daily practice.


18: The School Children Again


    We have so many interesting cases among the children sent to us from the schools to be fitted with glasses that one hardly knows where to begin when trying to tell about them, Little Agnes, eight years old, comes to my mind, not because she was more remarkable than a good many others, but because she came recently. Her mother came with her and told me that Agnes suffered from frequent headaches and that for the past year her teachers had been saying that she needed glasses, as she had great difficulty in seeing the blackboard. The mother had hesitated to take her to an oculist, however, as two of her children were already wearing glasses and she did not want to see them on a third.
    I could easily see that Agnes was suffering, and when I tested her eyes with the Snellen test card I found that her vision was very poor. At fifteen feet she could not read more than the seventy line. This was so surprising in so young a child that I thought at first she did not know her letters; but when I tested her with pothooks she did no better. I now showed her how to palm, and in a few moments she read the bottom line. The mother was thrilled and said:
    "My goodness!  When I first entered this room my hope was gone. I could think of nothing but glasses for my child. When she first read the card and I saw how bad her eyes were, I was convinced that there was no escape for her. But now that I see her vision improved so quickly I have hope indeed."
    I told the mother that I was thrilled myself, and added that she could help me to cure the child if she would.
    "What I do for her here you can do for her at home." I said. "Encourage her to rest her eyes. Nature requires rest for the eyes, but your little girl, instead of closing her eyes when they are tired, strains to keep them open."
    The mother promised to do all she could, and as she was leaving she said:
    "God sent me here. I will send my two boys to be rid of their glasses also."
    The next clinic day Agnes brought with her her brother Peter, who was wearing glasses for astigmatism and headaches. He was very attentive while I treated Agnes, who told me that she had not been having her usual headaches. Peter's vision I found to be 15/40, right eye, and 15/15, left eye. After palming only a few minutes his right eye improved to 15/15 and his left to 15/10. He was very happy when told that he did not need glasses any more, and that I could cure him during vacation. As children are cured very quickly when one helps the other at home, I expect that Agnes and Peter will soon be reading 20/10, which is twice what the normal eye is expected to do.
    Another recent patient was Mary, a colored girl, twelve years old. She complained of such violent headaches that she could no longer attend school and stayed in bed most of the time. The school nurse had advised glasses, and she had come to get them. Mary kept her head lowered much of the time, but when I was about to treat her she tried to open one eye and look at me. The effort was so great that her face became a mass of wrinkles. As the light seemed to distress her, I decided to give her the light treatment, that is, to focus the rays of the sun on the upper part of her eyeballs with a glass. I asked her to sit on a stool where the sun could shine on her eyes. To reassure her I asked a patient who had already had the treatment to let me repeat it on her, and when Mary saw her enjoy the light bath she readily submitted to it herself. Afterward her eyes opened wide and I was able to test her sight. Her vision was 20/50, both eyes, I showed her how to palm, and when, after ten minutes, she opened her eyes, her pain was gone and her vision perfect. I was quite proud to have accomplished so much in one treatment.
    Two days later Mary came again, and with her came the school nurse and a friend, both eager to hear more of the miracle that had been worked on Mary. Could it be possible, the nurse asked, that the child had been cured as quickly as she said? I was surprised myself at the change in the patient's appearance. Her eyes were still wide open, and the constant grin on her face made her almost unrecognizable as the sad creature I had seen two days before. I told the nurse what had been done for the child and how she could help the other children in her school who had eye trouble. She came a few times more to watch our methods and told me that she was teaching all the children sent to her for examination of their eyes to palm. This always relieved them, to some extent, at once. The hard cases, however, she sent to us without delay.
    A very remarkable case still under treatment is that of a girl with nystagmus, a condition in which the eyes vibrate from side to side. The child is now so much improved that ordinarily her eyes are normal, but when anything disturbs her the vibration returns. This always happens, she tells me, when the teacher asks her a question, and at the same time she loses her memory. But the teacher allows her to cover her eyes to rest them, and in a few minutes the vibration ceases and her memory improves. Before she came to the clinic she often became hysterical and was obliged to leave the classroom. Now she is never troubled in this way.
    One of the most puzzling cases I ever had was sent by the school nurse for glasses. A patient who came from the same school told me that she was stupid, and she certainly appeared to be so. I asked her if she knew her letters, and in trying to reply she stuttered painfully. I tried to reassure her by speaking as gently as I could, but without avail. I could not get her to answer intelligently. I tried having her palm, but it did not help. I held the test card close to her eyes and asked her to point out certain letters as I named them, but only in a few cases did she do this correctly. Completely baffled I appealed to Dr. Bates. He asked the child to come to him and touch a button on his coat, and she did so. He asked her to touch another button, but she answered:
    "I don't see them."
    "Look down at your shoes," he said. "Do you see them?"
    "No," she answered.
    "Go over and put your finger on the doorknob," he said, and she immediately did so.
    "It is a case of hysterical blindness," the Doctor said.
    The child came for some time very regularly, and now reads 15/10 with both eyes. She has stopped stuttering and has lost her reputation for stupidity. She has become a sort of good Samaritan in her neighborhood, for every once in a while she brings with her some little companion to be cured of imperfect sight. She never has any doubts as to our capacity to do this, and so far we have never disappointed her. I hope she never brings anyone who is beyond our power to help, for I would be sorry to see that sublime faith which we have inspired in her shattered.
 Shift, see oppositional movement on a small period for perfect shifting, central fixation and clear vision.

    Two of our patients graduated in June, and after the final examinations they told me that they had been greatly helped in these tests by the memory of a swinging black period. One of them was told by the principal that if she failed to pass, it would not be because of her stupidity but because she refused to wear glasses. She gave him Dr. Bates' book, and after that, though he watched her closely, he did not say anything more about her eyes.
    "I made up my mind to pass without the aid of glasses," she said, "and put one over on the principal, and you bet I never lost sight of my precious swinging period. The book has become a family treasure," she continued. "When one of us has a pain in head or eyes, out it comes. It is a natural thing to see mother palming after her work is done. She enjoys her evenings with us now because palming rests her and she does not get so sleepy."
    The other graduate said: "I did not have to think of a black period when the subject was easy, but when I had to answer questions in the more difficult branches I certainly did find the period a lifesaver. I know I would have failed without it."


                                                                                                               By M. F. HUSTED 

Superintendent Public Schools of North Bergen, N. J.

    "Better Eyesight" takes great pleasure in presenting to its readers this remarkable report of the results attained in the schools of North Bergen by the use of the Snellen test card. It is an extract from the fourteenth annual report of Superintendent Husted.
    Early in October, 1919, under the direction of our school nurse Miss Marion McNamara, a Snellen test of the eyes of all of our pupils was made. A novel health experiment was begun, a campaign for "Better Eyesight." In June a second test was made in order to verify the value of progress in this phase of health work. The June test of 1920 shows marvelous, practical, successful results. Only the skepticism of principals, teachers and pupils and lack of faithfulness in carrying out its conditions, prevented the wonderful results achieved from paralleling those of an Arabian Knight's story.
    A Snellen test card was placed permanently in the room. The children were directed to read the smallest letters they could see from their seats at least once every day, with both eyes together and with each eye separately, the other being covered with the palm of the hand in such a way as to avoid pressure on the eyeball. Those whose vision was defective were encouraged to read it more frequently, and in fact needed no encouragement to do so after they found that the practice helped them to see the blackboard, and stopped the headaches, or other discomfort, previously resulting from the use of their eyes.
    In 1911 and 1912 the same system was introduced into some of the schools of New York City1 with an attendance of about ten thousand children. Many of the teachers neglected to use the cards, being unable to believe that such a simple method and one so entirely at variance with previous teaching on the subject, could accomplish the desired results. Others kept the cards in a closet except when they were needed for the daily eye drill, lest the children should memorize them. Thus they not only put an unnecessary burden upon themselves, but did what they could to defeat the purpose of the system, which is to give the children daily exercise in distant vision with a familiar object as the point of fixation. A considerable number, however, use the system intelligently and persistently, and in less than a year were able to present results showing that of three thousand children with imperfect sight over one thousand had obtained normal vision by its means.
      The following summary shows the remarkable results of the North Bergen experiment in the use of the Bates System. The first grades are omitted because of the difficulty in making accurate tests.  

This is a remarkable demonstration of the priceless values of this method of treatment. That 647 or 70.1% of the 922 pupils below normal (20/20) should have been improved in eyesight is a truly marvelous showing. The record of improvement is suggestive of what a very faithful and systematic application of these health principles may accomplish.
    Not only does this work place no additional burden upon the teachers, but, by improving the eyesight, health, disposition and mentality of their pupils, it surely lightens their labors.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q—(1) Does working by artificial light affect the eyes? I work all day by electric light—am a bookkeeper, and suffer a great deal from my eyes. I have been fitted with glasses, but cannot wear them. I feel that my eyes, instead of getting better from wearing them, get weaker.
(2) When I go out in the street after working I cannot stand the glare of the sun, and must keep my eyes half-closed; otherwise I suffer a great deal of pain. Is it so because of my eyes being accustomed to the artificial light? It is not so on Sundays.
(3) Is it advisable to wear an eye-shade while working?—S. S.

A—(1) Working by artificial light should not injure the eyes. If it does, it is because you are straining them. The idea that the light is injurious may cause you to do this. If you think of it as quieting and beneficial, it may have the opposite effect. You are right in thinking that the glasses injure your eyes.
(2) The sun hurts your eyes when you go out on the street after working because you have been straining to see, not because you have been working by artificial light. Because you strain less on Sundays the sun does not hurt you.
(3) It is not advisable to wear an eye-shade while working.
Q—Can the blindness of squint be cured?—F. C. E.
A—Yes. It can be cured by the same methods that are employed to relieve strain in other cases of imperfect sight.
Q—Do you get as much benefit from gazing at the sun through a window as you would outdoors? I have read that it did no good to take a sunbath through glass.—E. C. H.
A—Yes. The strength of the sunlight is not appreciably modified by the glass.  
Modern Scientists state that all glass, plastic, clear, tinted, colored blocks out part of the suns healthy full spectrum light causing unhealthy, unbalanced, partial spectrum light to enter the eyes, brain, body resulting in lowered health, impaired function of body, brain, eyes and unclear vision.  Full Spectrum transmitting glass may allow passage of more (but still imperfect) full spectrum light.
August, 1921

1 - Bates; Myopia Prevention by Teachers, N. Y. Med. Jour., Aug. 30, 1913





                                                                                 September, 1921

                                                  HOW TO IMPROVE THE SIGHT BY MEANS OF THE IMAGINATION: No. 2

             Imagine parts of a letter correct/clear to see a letter clear.

    In a recent issue directions were given for improving the vision by the aid of the imagination.

+ According to this method the patient ascertains what a letter is by imagining each of the four sides to be straight, curved, or open, and
    noting the effect of each guess upon the imagined swing of the letter.

+ Another method which has succeeded even better with many patients is to judge the correctness of the guess by observing its effect on the
    appearance of the letter:

+ Look at a letter which can be seen only as a gray spot, and imagine the top is straight. If the guess is right, the spot will probably become
    blacker; if it is wrong, the spot may become fainter or disappear.

+If no difference is apparent, rest the eyes by looking away, closing, or palming, and try again.

    In many cases, when one side has been imagined correctly, the whole letter will come out.
+ If it does not, proceed to imagine the other sides as directed above.
+ If, when all four sides have been imagined correctly a letter does not come out, palm and repeat.
       One can even bring out a letter that one cannot see at all in this way.

+ Look at a line of letters which cannot be seen, and imagine the top of the first letter to be straight. If the guess is correct, the line may
    become apparent, and by continued practice the letter may come out clearly enough to be distinguished.

                                     THE FRECKLE-FACED BOY

  By W. H. BATES, M.D.

    IN one of the public schools of New York, some years ago, was a boy about ten years old with a very unusual amount of freckles. He had one of those smiles which some care-free boys carry around with them all the time, in all places and under all conditions. His teacher was a very nervous person wearing glasses. Every time she spoke I was annoyed, not so much by what she said as by the disagreeable way in which she said it. As soon as I entered the room she began to find fault with me for introducing my method of curing and preventing imperfect sight in children into the school. Pointing sternly at the freckle-faced boy she said:
    "That boy is very nearsighted. He holds his book too close to his eyes. He cannot read the writing on the blackboard. He is all the time looking at the Snellen test card instead of studying his lessons. He talks about it to the other children in the class and he encourages them to practice reading it. He tells them that he feels good when he reads it, makes his eyes feel better, and helps him to learn his lessons. He is impertinent because he persists brazenly in advising me, his teacher, to practice reading those fool letters which do not even spell a word and have no meaning whatever. I wish you would insist that he get glasses for his own eyes and make him stop taking glasses off the eyes of other children. Really, Doctor, it is too absurd for anything. That boy has actually persuaded the other children that they cure their headaches and improve their sight by reading that card. If it were not for the principal, I would have thrown it away long ago."
    She said some other things, too, which were even more uncomplimentary. The children became restless. When she stopped for a breath I took the freckle-faced boy into a dark room and examined his eyes with the ophthalmoscope I found them perfect, with no trace of myopia or astigmatism. I asked him:
    "How is it that the teacher says you cannot read the writing on the blackboard?"
    He replied, still with his wonderful smile: "Because she is such a bum writer that nobody can read it; she acts often as if she couldn't read it herself."
    "How is it," I continued, "that you hold the book so close to your face?"
    He answered apologetically, "Because I get tired of the scenery."
    "What do you mean by that?" I asked.
    "Oh," he answered, "the teacher's face; I don't like it. She is always so cross; her face gives me a pain."
    Then I took him back to the classroom and sent him to his seat. I asked the teacher if she could read the bottom line on the Snellen test card. She could not do so. Then I showed her an unfamiliar test card, which she saw even worse. She explained that her glasses needed to be changed. I asked the freckle-faced boy if he could read it.
    "Yes," he said, and promptly did so.
    The teacher exploded. It was impossible, she said, that he should have read the letters; he must have found out in some other way what they were. She pointed to the clock,
    "What time is it?" she asked.
    The boy answered her correctly. Then she held up a book with very large print, which the boy also read at five feet. She was finally convinced by these and other tests that the boy's sight was better than her own. When she was through I pointed to some very small letters which nobody could see at the distance at which the boy was sitting. He smiled, and said he could not see them.
    "But," I said, "you are not trying, you are making no effort to see them."
    At that the teacher unexpectedly struck the top of her desk with her ruler and we all jumped, with the exception of the freckle-faced boy, who had learned how to protect himself from such influences. With a rasping voice she cried:
    "Why don't you do what the doctor tells you to do?"
    In a short time my nerves returned to something like the normal, and I turned to the boy and asked:
    "Why don't you try?"
    He replied, still smiling: "No use tryin'."
    With this as my text I talked for a few moments, and told the class that the boy was right and that your sight is never perfect when you try to see. You only make yourself uncomfortable by the strain, and it never benefits you. I then proceeded to have the pupils demonstrate some facts I directed them to keep their attention fixed on the smallest letter they could see from their seats, to stare at it, to try to see it better, to concentrate, to partly close their eyelids—in short, to do everything they could to improve their sight. I noted that the teacher, who had previously walked to the back of the room, was listening to what I was saying. The children did as I suggested, and soon found that the effort made them very uncomfortable and lowered their vision. I now asked one pupil to tell me the smallest letter he could see. He answered:
    "A letter O on the next to the bottom line."
    "When you saw it did you see it easily?"
    He answered: "Yes, without any trouble."
    Then I said to him: "When you tried to see it, when you made trouble for your eyes by an effort, by a strain, what happened?"
    He answered, "The letter disappeared and the whole card became blurred. I got a headache and I don't like it."
    "Close your eyes," I said, "and rest them. Cover your eyes with the palms of your hands and shut out all the light. Now tell me who discovered America."
    "Columbus," he replied, "in 1492."
    "Can you spell Columbus?" I asked.
    "Yes," he answered, "C-o-l-u-m-b-u-s."
    All this time the teacher was standing with her eyes closed and covered with her hands.
    "You spelled it correctly," I said. "How is your headache?"
    "Gone," he replied, "and I feel good."
    I noted that the teacher still had her eyes covered, and when the boy said his headache was relieved she nodded her head. I now directed the boy to take his hands down, open his eyes and tell me how much he could see.
    "Gee" he exclaimed, "I see better. The letter O is all right, and I can see some of the letters on the bottom line."
    With that he put both his hands in the pockets of his trousers, smiled at me, and turned around and grinned at the class. A little girl wearing glasses now timidly raised her hand, and when I told her to speak, said:
    "Please, sir, I have an awful headache."
    Her eyes looked very much strained. I told her to take off her glasses and put them on the desk, to look at the card and read what she could see. At this point, the teacher at the back of the room removed her hands from her face, took off her glasses and placed them on the desk in front of her. I asked the little girl what she could see:
    "I can only see the largest letter at the top of the card."
    She was told to close her eyes and cover them with the palms of her hands. The teacher did the same, and all the other children wearing glasses took them off, looked at the card, closed their eyes and covered them with the palms of their hands. Then I said to the little girl who had the awful headache.
    "What is your first name?"
    "Margaret," she answered.
    "Can you spell it?" I asked, and she spelled it.
    "What is your last name?"
    She told me, and at my request she spelled it also. Then she smiled.
    "How is your headache?"
    "I haven't any," she answered.
    "Take down your hands, open your eyes and kindly read the letters for me on the card."
    She promptly read four lines of letters, and looked very happy when she did it. Meanwhile the teacher and the other pupils who had been wearing glasses had been doing the same, and when they looked at the card the second time they smiled, evidently pleased with what they saw. I was surprised to observe that even the teacher smiled and when, as I was about to leave the room, she came forward and threw her glasses into the waste-basket, I was quite shocked. Turning to me she said:
    "Doctor, need I say anything?"
    "You have said it all, thank you," I replied.
    As I went out of the door I heard the class call out in a chorus:
    "Thank you, thank you."
    After this the Board of Education condemned my method as "unscientific and erroneous," and forbade the use of the Snellen test card in the schools, except for the usual purpose of testing the children's sight. Thus my pleasant visits to the classrooms came to an end. Some years later, however, I called on the teacher of the freckle-faced boy to ask about him. She met me smiling and without glasses, and I noted that the Snellen test card was still on the wall. In response to my inquiry as to why it should be there after the Board of Education had forbidden its use, she replied:
    "The Board of Education has not the power to make me take that card down."
     Then I asked about the freckle-faced boy.
    "Graduated." she replied.
    As he was below the age at which children usually graduate from the public schools, I expressed some surprise.
    "Rapid advancement class," she said. "Got through my class in a hurry and took a lot of my other children with him to the rapid advancement class. Must be half through high school now. Bright boy."
    I have written a book on The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses which contains several hundred pages. The freckle-faced boy told in three words substantially what is contained in that book: "No use tryin'."

                  OPTIMUMS AND PESSIMUMS

 A Possible Explanation

 By M. E. GORE, M.D.

    A LADY that I was treating could not see the letter R on the test card, the last letter of the fifty line. It seemed strange that she was able to see the other letters on the same line, but not the R. It occurred to me that perhaps the patient unconsciously saw this letter when she first looked at it, but on account of some unpleasant association which it produced in her mind, she made an effort to forget it, thus causing a lowering of vision. I determined to employ an association test to find out if possible what had caused her mental distress on looking at the letter. I asked her to think of the letter R and tell me the first thought that came into her mind. She answered:
    Now associated with red was her mother, as red had been her favorite color. Her mother had recently died, and thinking of her caused grief.  I told the patient that I believed this was the cause of her lowered vision for that particular letter. To our astonishment she has since been able to see this letter without difficulty.
    Another case which clearly illustrated the optimums and pessimums was a patient who was unable to see the figure 2 in a line of figures the same size and distance. On questioning her I found this number made her think of her two children which she had lost. On the other hand, she could see the letter F and V wherever they occurred. She said F made her think of her father whom she dearly loved, and V was the initial letter of his middle name.
    These cases and several others of like nature have led me to the conclusion that the association of pleasant or unpleasant ideas with any of the letters is the cause of optimums and pessimums.
    In most cases, by employing the association test and showing the patient the connection between the letter and the unpleasant thought, they have become able to see letters which had been pessimums.
No. 51 Main Street, Orange, N. J.


   19: A Trio of Difficult Cases

                                                                                                            By EMILY C. LIERMAN

                                                                                                     Cornea Injury, Scar

MYOPIC and farsighted patients are numerous, and I always feel confident that I can in no time improve their sight; but I suffered a case of cold feet when Dr. Bates placed in my care a young woman of twenty-seven, who came to our Clinic some time ago with a scar on her right eye almost in the center of sight. All the doctor said to me was, "Help this patient, please," and it was my first experience with a case of that kind. I asked the girl how long the scar had been there and also what caused it. Being a southerner darky, she spoke with a southern accent, and this is the way she answered me:
    "When ah was twelve years old, mar granma was settin' ba de fireplace a-smokin' a pet pipe, an' as ah was removin' a boilin' kettle ob water ole Granny upsets de pipe ob hot ashes an done burned mah eye. Lordy, ma'am! Ah thought mah eye was burned from de socket. De doctor says ah would neber see again out ob dat eye."
    I tested her sight, and with her left eye she read 14/40 while with her right eye she could barely see my fingers one foot away. I had not the slightest idea that I could improve the right eye at all. However, I told her to stand in a comfortable position and palm for a little while. In about ten minutes or so I told her to remove her hands, and I was pleased to see that her left eye had improved to 14/15, and that with her right eye she was able to distinguish the 200-line letter at fourteen feet. Dr. Bates was dumb struck with amazement. He said that, although he had seen opacities of the cornea resulting from constitutional disease clear up, he had never before, in his thirty-six years of experience, seen any improvement in an opacity resulting from an injury, even after years of treatment. That encouraged me so much that I told the patient to palm again, and before she left the clinic that day her right eye had improved to 14/50. She became hysterical when she found that she could see objects again with this eye. For a while she came quite regularly to the clinic and at her last visit her right eye improved to 20/50, while with the left she became able to read 20/10. Dr. Bates said it was a miracle. After that I never saw her again. I was sorry that she stayed away, because I was proud of what I had accomplished and wished to cure her completely.
    A case of squint, which I think will interest our readers, was first seen on August 4, 1921. The patient had been wearing glasses for twelve years to correct the trouble, but without benefit. The first year her mother, who came with her, tried to console her by saying that perhaps in another year or so the squint would be cured; but instead it only got worse. Her playmates made unkind remarks about it, and when she found her sight was getting worse for reading she became utterly discouraged.
    I tested her sight, and she read 12/40 with her left or better eye. When I asked her to read the card with her squinting eye she turned her head half way round to the left in trying to see. I at once showed her how to palm, and her mother and I were quite astonished when in a few minutes she opened her eyes and, with her head perfectly straight, read 12/40 with her right eye without a mistake. On August 6, two days later, she read 12/15 with each eye separately, with her right eye perfectly straight. She had followed my instructions to palm at least six times a day for as long a period as was comfortable for her. On August 9th she came to the Clinic smiling and expressed her gratitude for what had been done for her.
    "I can now read a book for hours at a time," she said, "without headaches or discomfort. Just yesterday I visited another clinic where I had received treatment and asked the doctor who had treated me to let me show him what I could do. I showed him how I could palm, and then I read the test card for him with each eye separately. The doctor was thrilled, and said it seemed like a miracle, because he had told me that I could never again get along without glasses and to be sure and have them changed every year or so."
    That day my patient read 12/10, both eyes, and I am sure that I can cure her if she will continue to come.
    Another case of squint, a little colored boy five years old, the most unruly youngster who ever came for treatment, was cured in less than six months. When he tried to look straight ahead his right eye turned in so far that one could hardly see the cornea. His grandmother who came with him expressed very little hope, and assured me that I would have a hard time trying to manage him or to help him. I asked him his name several times before he answered:
    "I ain't got no name."
    Later he said it was Francisco. I could see that he was straining and that he was extremely nervous. So I decided to be very patient with him, but for some time the only answers I could get from him were:
    "I don't wanna" and "I won't."
    All sorts of apologies came from his grandmother, but I assured her that I was not discouraged with him. I made up my mind to help the little chap and in some way relieve him of that awful tension and nervous strain. I said to him:
    "If I had a bad eye and a good eye, I would not make my good eye do all the work. I would make the bad eye work hard so that I could see better."
    This interested the child for some reason, and he asked:
    "Have I got a bad eye?"
    "Yes," I said, "and the reason it is bad is because it is lazy and you won't let it be good. All you can say when I try to tell you how to make it behave is, 'I don't wanna.' Nice boys with good eyes don't say that." Whereupon he shouted in a loud voice which startled the rest of the patients:
    "Make my bad eye do some work; I want good eyes like you have."
    I immediately showed him a test card with pothooks (E's) pointing in different directions. I covered his left eye with the palm of my hand, and asked him to show me how the E's were pointing as I held the card two feet away. At that distance he was able to see the 100-line letters. He could see straight ahead with the right eye only just long enough to see those letters; then his eye turned in again. At first I could not induce him to palm, so I told him to close his eyes as though he were sleeping. He was very obedient about doing this, and his grandmother stood by in astonishment while his eyes were closed. I praised him for closing them and resting them for me, and I said if he would do this lots and lots of times every day his right eye would become straight like the left and would not be bad any more. I then told him to cover his left eye with his hand and look at the card which I had fastened on the wall five feet away. This amused him very much and he acted as though he were in for a good time. I told him to look at the 200-line letter and then quickly close his eyes; then to look at the 100-line letters and close his eyes quickly again. He was able to see these letters as well at five feet as he did at two, and this encouraged me. When he opened his eyes a third time he showed me with his hand how the next line of letter E's pointed.
    He came regularly for a few months, and was always very obedient. Each time he came he was able to keep his eye straight, not only while practicing with the card, but also while talking to me. His grandmother bought a Snellen test card, and assisted with the treatment very faithfully at home. Now, just six months since he first came, he is able to see the 10-line of letters at ten feet away with each eye, 10/10, and has learned the alphabet by heart. Dr. Bates became very much interested in the rapid progress of the case and congratulated me frequently on the good results I had obtained. He said it was very unusual for the blindness of squint to be cured in such a short time, and that most authorities would have said it was impossible.

                                                                QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q—(1) After closing my eyes tight and then opening them, I can read Better Eyesight at a distance of about two feet. The type stands out very black and clear. After about two or three minutes my old myopia comes back. What I want to know is whether this practice is good for the eyes and whether it will help me to see at a distance.
(2) Can you tell me what is a good thing to do to see people across the street clearly or in a meeting room at fairly close range? It is awkward not to be able to recognize people until one is close upon them.—A. H. C.

A—(1) Yes, but I would expect you to get better results if you closed your eyes easily and naturally, instead of closing them tight.
(2) The only way to overcome this difficulty completely is to get cured, but the practice you have described sometimes helps to bring out distant objects temporarily. Straining to see at the nearpoint may also improve your distant vision temporarily. One myopic patient, when she wished to recognize people across the street, used to strain to see her finger held close before her eyes and then look at the person she wished to see.
Shift on the finger, no strain for clear close and distant vision.



          October, 1921


                Quick Distant Vision Improvement Activity

  + Look at a letter on the Snellen test card.

  + Remember its blackness.

  + Shift the attention from one part of this spot of black to another. It should appear to move in a direction contrary to the imagined

  + If it does not, try to imagine it stationary. If you succeed in doing this it will blur, or disappear. Having demonstrated that it is impossible to
     imagine the spot stationary, it may become possible to imagine it moving.

  +Having become able to form a mental picture of a black spot with the eyes closed, try to do the same with the eyes open. Alternate until the
     mental vision with the eyes closed and open is the same.

  + Having become able to imagine a black spot try to imagine the letter o in diamond type with the center as white as snow. Do this alternately
      with eyes closed and open.

  + If you cannot hold the picture of a letter or period, commit to memory a number of letters on the test card and recite them to yourself while
     imagining that the card is moving.

  + If some other color or object is easier to imagine than a black spot it will serve the purpose equally well.

  + A few exceptional people may get better results with the eyes open than when they are closed.


                                     By W. H. BATES, M.D.

    WHEN an object is seen perfectly it is possible to form a perfect mental picture of it; when it is seen imperfectly this cannot be done. Persons with ordinarily good vision are able to form a perfect mental picture of some letter of the alphabet especially a letter of diamond type, when looking at the Snellen test card, or at fine print; but persons with ordinarily imperfect vision can do this only under certain favorable conditions, as with their eyes closed, or when looking at a blank surface where there is nothing particular to see. They may also be able to do it when looking at objects at a distance at which their vision is fairly good, as in the case of near objects in myopia. Persons with ordinarily good vision, on the other hand, have moments when they see imperfectly, and at such times their mental pictures are imperfect.
    These facts are of the greatest practical importance, because many persons easily learn how to form mental pictures, and when they become able to do so under all conditions their sight becomes perfect.
    Mental vision is subject to precisely the same laws as visual perception. The mental picture must be seen or imagined by central fixation; that is, one part of it at a time must be seen best, and the attention must shift continually from one point to another. This shifting of attention produces a swing which is even more pronounced than the visual swing.  (The swing, opposite movement of the object the eyes are shifting on in the mind, imagination with the eyes closed is more pronounced than when shifting on a real object with the eyes open.) Furthermore, the mind adds details that do not exist in the object remembered or imagined. If this object is a black letter on a white background, for instance, the white openings and margins will appear more intense than the reality.
    It is not possible to retain a mental picture of a letter o of diamond type when one tries to think of one point continuously. The point may be remembered for a brief interval—a few seconds or part of a minute; then it is lost and with it the whole letter. One cannot, in short, "stare" at a point with the imagination any more than one can stare with the eye, and if one tries to do so the point disappears. If one tries to think continuously of two points of the letter, imagining them both to be equally black at the same time, the picture is lost more quickly. To think of four points or more, or to think of the whole letter perfectly black at the same time, is still more difficult.
    Mental pictures cannot be retained for any length of time unless they appear to move. This movement may be so slight and easy that it is not observed until the attention is called to it, and even then it may not be realized. Some patients have told me that they could remember small letters of diamond type easily and continuously, and that they were not moving. Usually the patient can demonstrate the facts by trying to think of one part of the letter as stationary. In this case it immediately disappears. But the effort to keep the attention fixed on a point is so great that some patients cannot or will not make it. It is easier to let the attention shift naturally. In such cases I direct them to look at the letter o so close to their eyes, or so far away, that they are unable to see it clearly, and call their attention to the fact that now it seems to be stationary. Then I have them look at the letter at the distance at which they see it perfectly and ask them to imagine it stationary, as the letter at the preceding distance seemed to be. Usually they are able to do this, and to note that the letter blurs or disappears. After they become able to imagine that a letter which they see is stationary, they become able also to imagine that their mental picture of it is stationary, and to note that it cannot be held more than a moment under these conditions.
    To imagine that other things seem to be moving helps some people to form and retain mental pictures. One patient, whose mental pictures were very poor, became able, when walking around the room and imagining things moving in the opposite direction, to imagine that a letter "o" was moving in the same direction as the furniture.
    A mental picture need not be a complicated one. The perfect memory or imagination of even a small spot of color is sufficient to cure all errors of refraction—nearsight, farsight, and astigmatism—as well as many other abnormal conditions. But to form a perfect mental picture of a spot of color—say a black period—is not always easy. One may think one is imagining a black period perfectly, but when one compares one's mental picture with the reality, one usually finds that the former is several degrees paler than the latter. It is usually easier to form mental pictures with the eyes closed than with the eyes open, and by imagining a period, or other object, with the eyes closed and open alternately one can improve one's ability to imagine it under the latter condition. In a few exceptional cases, however, mental pictures are better and are more easily held with the eyes open than when they are closed.
    When the sight is imperfect it is always easier to hold a mental picture when looking at nothing in particular than when looking at letters or other objects at distances at which they cannot be seen distinctly. To improve the ability to hold them under the latter conditions it is necessary, alternately, to imagine the object with the eyes closed, or looking away from the Snellen test card or printed page, and then to look back at the Snellen test card or reading matter.
    Persons unable to imagine a period or letter may succeed with other objects. For example, one patient who could not imagine a white card with black letters on it which she had just seen in her hand was able, with her eyes closed, to imagine the color of her house, one part best, and the different objects—curtains, furniture, etc.—in the different rooms. She was able to see the lawn, the flower-bed, the numerous flowers, one part best, and to imagine the color of the eyes of her friends. After that she became able to imagine the white card with the black letters.
    Persons who suffer from pain, fatigue, or other discomfort to their eyes, have great difficulty in forming mental pictures. Such persons, although they cannot remember a letter or other objects, are often able to remember the movement of a card held in the hand. If they cannot do this at first, they may become able to do it by alternately looking at the card and then closing their eyes and trying to recall the movement. When they become able to do this the pain stops and the sight becomes temporarily normal.
    Most people are helped by learning how to fail. When they demonstrate that their sight is lowered by an imperfect mental picture, they become able to avoid such pictures. A patient with squint was cured when she learned to imagine double images. At first, with her eyes open, she could not imagine them more than two inches apart, Later, with her eyes open, she got them four feet apart, while, with her eyes closed, she could imagine one Snellen test card on one side of a bay five miles wide and another on the other. These images could be imagined either crossed or homonymous at will; that is, each eye sometimes seemed to see the image on its own side, and at other times the image seemed to be on the opposite side. When the images were homonymous the eyes turned in, and when they were crossed the eyes turned out, By means of this practice the patient gained such a degree of mental control that her eyes became almost continually straight, the slight occasional deviation not being noticeable.



    This patient consulted the editor on July 20, 1921, because her vision was getting worse, and she suffered from a constant feeling of strain and fatigue in her eyes. She had worn glasses since she was seven years old for hypermetropia, commonly called farsight, and was now wearing convex 4.00 D. S., a rather strong lens. Yet without her glasses she was able to read fine print imperfectly, and by the aid of her memory she became able at the first visit to read it at six inches. Her discomfort was relieved at the first visit, and her distant vision, which had been imperfect, though better than her near vision, also improved.
    I have made a few observations while improving my eyesight by the methods recommended by Dr. Bates, and many thoughts and questions regarding them have suggested themselves to me.
    The first thing I remember observing on leaving the doctor's office after my first treatment was a new sense of movement and life. Never before had I seen such dear, bright color in the crowd. I walked toward the library on Fifth Avenue, and never had the sun shone so brightly, or the world looked so exciting. My heart beat faster.  I felt a great elation, as if a new vision, a new power, had been given me.
    The second thing I remembered was that I sat down the same evening with The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses, determined to see what I could do without my glasses. I found that by shifting and palming I could read a sentence or two, later more, and after a while I could read a paragraph without stopping. I found shifting from a point above a word to one below it particularly helpful.
    I went to bed at ten o'clock, but was so excited, after reading there until twelve that I could not sleep much. The magnitude of the truth thrilled me. The relation of sight, memory and imagination to body, mind and soul—the use of one faculty to strengthen another—seemed to be such a wonderful conception.
    Soon I observed that looking upward seemed to improve my sight. I took to practicing on high objects out of doors. I shifted on points like two apples in a tree, or on the clouds. This helped me very much, and overcame my shrinking from light. I found that I had never walked with my eyes really open before. When I told Dr. Bates about it, he said it was the light that helped me, not the height of the objects I looked at.
    I have had several experiences in the application of the principles of central fixation which seem interesting enough to communicate to the readers of BETTER EYESIGHT. The first occurred when I had mislaid something. I had looked everywhere for it in vain. I sat down and palmed and, quietly but suddenly, I saw in my mind where I had laid it. I got up and looked, and it was there.
    I burned myself at a beach fire on a piece of wood that I picked up. It had been in the fire, but it was dark and I did not notice it. I burned my thumb quite badly-enough to raise a big blister. It was very painful, and I had no remedy at hand. I remember that I had read in Dr. Bates' book about central fixation in relation to pain, and I tried remembering the small o. After a few minutes the pain ceased until I could not tell which thumb I had burned. The same thing happened after a bee had stung me; and one night when I had a severe cold and could not sleep because of difficulty in breathing, I was greatly helped by seeing the period and making it swing. I fell asleep and continued seeing the period in my sleep.
    In painting I have had the most interesting experiences of all. If I am working from the memory or imagination and it won't come the way I want, I try palming. The first time this happened. I was painting a lake with some birches at one side. I just couldn't remember how birches grew, and the trees wouldn't look right. So I closed my eyes and waited, and soon a vision came to me of myself walking in a young birch wood that I used to know; I saw how the branches grew, and felt the white glimmer of reflected light from the bark, and the tender young green of the fragile leaves, and I painted the birches with ease and joy. This use of palming may be of great value to artists, because the artist works from the image, and sometimes this image is lost. By straining and effort he cannot regain it, but by palming he may.
    I have also had interesting experiences in treating others, my first pupil being my little girl. She had a great fear of the water, so that she could not let herself go, and float face down. She has a cat of which she is very fond; so I suggested that she recall her cat washing itself when she tried to float. She did this and was able to float for twelve seconds.
    Another case of interest was that of a woman who was in a nervous condition, overwrought and discouraged over her problems. I began teaching her how to improve her eyesight and at the first lesson she made such great progress that she was overcome with happiness. The magnitude of the thing she had done gave her a sense of control over herself, a new sense of power. She said, "If I can do this, why I can do anything." And it is true; she has pulled herself out of the overwrought state.
    Among all the people with whom I have talked, or to whom I have tried to explain these ideas, I have met only one with a perfectly rigid mind. He was, as one would expect, a pure scientist of very high standing. He wouldn't even admit that his hand appeared to move when he swung his bead from side to side with his hand eight inches before his eyes. He said it merely made him dizzy. He knew the hand was in a fixed position, so it couldn't appear to him to move. This statement showed that he only used half his functions. He used his reason but refused to allow his senses to record how things appeared.
    There is one thing Dr. Bates has said that I want to question. "We can see only what we imagine, and we cannot imagine something which we have not seen or experienced." As an example, he gives our inability to imagine a foreign alphabet. Well, if that statement is true, how do we get at a new truth? I think it is from the imagination. One can conceive of new forms in art, and I should judge that a scientist must conceive a possible truth in his imagination, and then set about testing it by experiment and observation. The marriage of the two—facts and imagination—creates new truth and widens man's consciousness. This Dr. Bates has done. But he has only called imagination good. I think it is infinite, and by penetrating deeper into its mystery we are penetrating into the source of man's growth.


 20: St. Vitus' Dance and Myopia


    HYMAN, age ten, came to the clinic not as a patient, but as his mother's escort. She was having her eyes treated, but her trouble was not half as bad as that of her son. His poor eyes stared painfully behind his thick glasses, and in order to see through them at all he made the most awful grimaces I ever saw. His head moved constantly in all directions, and later on I discovered that he had St. Vitus' Dance. He was an unusually bright boy, and was never satisfied unless he saw and knew everything that was going on in the Clinic. Whenever he was in the room he would stay as close to me as possible, listening eagerly to every word I said and watching every movement I made. One day I said to him:
    "Look here, young man, I don't mind having you watch me, but I don't think the patients like you to stare at them so much. If you want to know how I cure people, why don't you get cured yourself so that you won't have to wear glasses?"
    "My teacher says I must wear glasses because I cannot see the blackboard without them," he replied.
    I explained to his mother that I was sure I could cure not only his eye trouble, but also the nervous twitching of his head. She did not seem to understand me, and I'm sure she doubted my ability to do anything at all for him. The boy himself seemed to be equally skeptical, but was, nevertheless, much interested. He was evidently curious to know what I would do for him, and quite willing to let me entertain him.
    I tested his sight with his glasses on and found that he was able to read only 10/50, all the rest of the card being a blur. I then took the glasses off and noticed that he stared less without them. In addition his personal appearance was greatly improved, for the glasses had made him look hideous. I now told him to cover his eyes with the palms of his hands so as to exclude all the light, and to remember something perfectly. He seemed to think this was a game of hide and seek, and kept continually looking through his fingers. My patience was considerably tried, but I did not let him see this. Instead I told him that I was especially fond of little boys, and wished to help him. He squared his shoulders and made an effort to keep his head still, but failed. Finally I succeeded in making him understand that if he wanted to stop the twitching of his head, he must keep his hands over his eyes until I told him to take them down. He now became as serious as I was myself, and though I watched him while I was treating other cases, I did not once see him uncover his eyes, or peep through his fingers. No doubt the fifteen minutes that he spent in this way seemed like hours to him. When I was able to return to him, I said very gently:
    "Now take your hands from your eyes and look at me."
    He did so, and to my delight his head was perfectly still, I now told him a story—being careful to preserve the same gentle tone of voice—about a boy who lived in the country town where I live and who stole some delicious big apples from a farmer. He ate too many of the apples, and soon began to feel that there was something wrong with his stomach. Then the farmer caught him and punished him, so he suffered both inside and out, and came to the conclusion that stealing apples was not very much fun. I took as long as I could to tell this simple tale, for my object was to keep my patient from thinking of himself, or his eyes. He seemed to find it hugely amusing. His eyes beamed with fun while he listened to me, and his head never moved once.
    "Now," I said, "do some more palming for me, and then we will read the card."
    When he uncovered his eyes the second time, his vision had improved to 10/30. By this time his mother's indifference had vanished. She did not know how to show her gratitude for what I had done for her boy, but promised to see that he spent a sufficient amount of time palming every day. The next Clinic day she told me that the twitching of the head had become less frequent. She was instructed to watch the boy and have him palm at once whenever she noticed the twitching. This always relieved the trouble.
    Hyman was anxious to be cured before vacation began, and was quite willing to do as he was told. He came to the clinic for two months, and at the last few visits there was no twitching, while his vision had improved to 12/10.

                            LET YOUR EYES ALONE

                 By JAMES HOPPER

    I PERFORM now and then an experiment which, I think, will interest the readers of BETTER EYESIGHT. It affords a striking proof of two of Dr. Bates' contentions: Number 1, that no defect of the eye is fixed, that the refraction of the eye is variable. Number 2, that the perfect refraction which means perfect sight is obtained through relaxation. Here is what I do, using first one eye, then the other:
    I close the left eye, and then, taking the card with the Seven Truths of Normal Sight printed in diamond type, I place said card right up against the tip of my nose. (Parenthetically speaking, my nose is not flat, nor is it of great length. An average nose I'd call it.) 
(Do not close the left eye. Use a eye patch and keep the eye not in use open under the patch. 
Closing one eye causes face/eye muscle tension, strain.)
    I place the card right up against the tip of my nose, and, with my left eye closed, look at it with my right eye. My right eye is my bad one. It had only one half of normal sight when I first saw Dr. Bates.
    Looking at the card, thus placed against my nose, I see at first nothing—or simply blurred lines.
    Then consciously I relax my eye, I "let it go."  I can do that only gradually. I let go and let go. The best way I have found to do this is to keep my mind off the idea of reading the card, and to think of something else—a football game, a play—anything.
    I can feel my eye gradually relax. There is no mistaking the process. It is one of relaxation, of letting go. And there is degree after degree of letting go. Just when I think I have reached the limit of relaxation, I feel the eye let go another notch.
    And then, suddenly—so suddenly it almost scares me—and clearly—so clearly it is almost weird, I see the diamond type and I read the Doctor's Seven Truths!
    Each letter is not only black and sharp and distinct, but it is almost gigantic—two or three times the size it was when seen at six inches.  (Microscopic Vision)
    There is no doubt to me that my eye has passed from a state of not seeing the type to one of seeing the type. Hence that the refraction of my eye is variable.
    And there is no doubt to me that the passing from the state of not seeing the type to the state of seeing the type is obtained through relaxation of the eye.
    And the counter proof also exists. If, while I am seeing the type perfectly and big, I set my mind deliberately to reading it—it abruptly disappears.
    Working consciously, I have done something with my eye which has made it an instrument that cannot see at that distance. Working consciously, I have tightened some muscles or other, so that the eye has now the wrong shape for seeing at that distance.
    Moral: Let your eyes alone, and they do the right thing. Interfere with them, butt in with your conscious will and— presto—they do the wrong thing.

    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.

                  BETTER EYESIGHT


        November, 1921


    Just as Montessori has found that impressions gained through the sense of touch are very useful in teaching children to read and write, persons with defective sight have found them useful in educating their memory and imagination.

    One patient whose visual memory was very imperfect found that if she traced an imaginary black letter on the ball of her thumb with her forefinger, she could follow the imaginary lines with her mind as they were being formed and retain a picture of the letter better than when she gained the impression of it through the sense of sight.   
    Another patient discovered that when he lost the swing he could get it again by sliding his forefinger back and forth over the ball of his thumb. When he moved his fingers it seemed as if his whole body were moving.
(This can also be done with thumb moving on the finger.  See diagram.  Counting even numbers when the thumb moves in one direction (Example–up) on the finger and odd numbers as the thumb moves in another direction (Example–down) also relaxes the mind.)
      Both these expedients have the advantage of being inconspicuous, and can, therefore, be used anywhere.
The vision was improved in both cases.

                                                        THE FIRST VISIT

By W. H. BATES, M.D.

   AT THE beginning of treatment, as well as later, it has been found to be a great benefit to have the patient demonstrate facts. It is better to avoid stating results expected, and instead let the patient discover the results for himself.

    Rest Improves the Vision.—The first fact to be demonstrated is that rest improves the vision. The patient is told to close his eyes and rest them, forget about them, let his mind drift, remember pleasant things. After half an hour, more or less, he is told to open his eyes and read the distant test card as well as he can. If he finds that his vision has improved the next question is:
    "What did you do that helped your sight?"
    Obvious as the answer to this question seems to those familiar with the treatment of defective vision by relaxation some patients find extraordinary difficulty in replying to it, and one has to ask them a number of leading questions to get the proper answer, "Rest."
    The amount of relief obtained from this procedure differs greatly in different cases. Some get none at all, and others very little. Others again may be cured at the first visit by this means alone. Why some people can close their eyes and rest them with so much benefit, while others fail, is not always evident; but one can often tell at the outset what the result will be. One case cured by this means rested comfortably for half an hour without any change whatever in his position. A case not benefited was very restless, moved around in his chair, got up, opened his eyes every few minutes, and was decidedly uncomfortable. For him there was no rest with his eyes closed, and his vision was not improved. Later a cure was obtained by other methods, but with much trouble.

Palming.—After having rested the eyes by closing, the patient is told to cover his eyes with the palms of his hand in such a way as to exclude all the light. Usually, not always, he is able to obtain more rest in this way than by mere closing. Those who succeed in relaxing completely see a perfect black, but this is rare, and the patient may consider himself fortunate if he is able to begin by seeing an approximate black.

Staring.—Having demonstrated that rest improves the vision the next step is to have the patient demonstrate that effort lowers it. The patient is directed to look continuously at a letter which he can see distinctly on the distant test card, and after a part of a minute the question is asked:
    "Do you see better or worse?"
    The answer is usually:
    "I see worse, it makes my eyes pain."
    He is then directed to stare at other objects instead of letters, to make an effort to see them, concentrate on them, and to note that lowering of the vision, with fatigue, discomfort, or pain, is produced. After he has demonstrated these facts he is told that persons with imperfect sight always attempt to hold their points of fixation too long, even when the lowering of vision is caused by an injury, or by a foreign body in the eye. In short, they stare, thus not only spoiling their eyesight but making themselves conspicuous and uncomfortable.
    "You have your choice," I tell them. "Stare and have poor sight and other troubles. Avoid the stare and have normal vision."
    Occasionally a patient thinks that staring does improve his vision. In this case I tell him to keep on staring and improve it still more. It does not take long for him to convince himself that the improvement that results from staring is only temporary, and is followed by a lowering of the vision.
     Patients who have lowered their vision and produced pain and discomfort by staring are glad to relieve the strain by closing the eyes or palming. After they have alternately stared and rested for a while it would be hard for any one to convince them that anything is to be gained by effort when one wants to see, and they instinctively close their eyes in such a case instead of straining them.

Shifting and Swinging.—Having demonstrated that staring lowers the vision, a patient is easily able to demonstrate that if he wants to see an object distinctly he must shift constantly from one part of it to another; but often he does not easily realize the apparent motion produced by this shafting. In demonstrating the facts to a new patient I usually begin by having him walk around the room and note that the furniture seems to he moving in the opposite direction. Then I have him take one step forward and one back and note that the furniture seems to move backward and forward. Next I have him hold his hand six inches in front of his face, and move his head far to the right and far to the left, alternately, without looking at the hand. Almost invariably he is able to note a very pronounced movement of the hand. After this I have him hold a small card in his hand and note that it appears to move with the former. Having noticed the movement of the card in his hand, it is usually easy for him to look from one side of the test card on the wall to the other, and note that it appears to move in a direction contrary to the movement of the eye. After this the shortening of the swing until he becomes able to look from one side to the other of a letter of diamond type and imagine that it is moving is a mere question of practice.

Memory and Imagination.-The use of the memory or imagination is an important part of the cure of imperfect sight, since a perfect memory or imagination means perfect relaxation; but I do not begin by explaining this to a patient. Instead I say:
    "Can you remember a small letter o?"
    Some patients can do this at once; others cannot. Those who can usually think that they are remembering the letter all alike and stationary. In order to demonstrate that this is impossible they are asked to imagine a black period on one side of the o, to keep the attention fixed upon it, and to imagine that it is perfectly black and stationary. Generally the patient finds that he cannot do this. The period usually moves in spite of all his efforts to imagine that it is not doing so. If it does not, it becomes gray and finally disappears. Having demonstrated that you cannot remember the period continuously unless it is moving, it usually becomes possible for the patient to realize that his attention is shifting constantly from one part of the o to another, and to note an apparent movement in a direction opposite to the imagined movement of the eye.
    One difficulty in getting patients to make this demonstration is that the effort of remembering an unchanging object, even for a few seconds, is so great that some people cannot or will not make it. It is easier to let the attention shift naturally.
    " Some patients are unable to form any kind of a mental picture, and it may require much ingenuity and long practice to enable them to do it. Some become able to form mental pictures when they are able to imagine that the things they see are moving. Others are helped in remembering a black letter by imagining that it has a very white background, whiter than the card on which they saw it.
    Mental pictures are formed first with the eyes closed, then with the eyes open, and as the ability to form them with the eyes open increases the vision increases.
    In every way possible the fact is impressed upon the patient that he can be cured only by rest; that he must learn to let his eyes alone; that whatever he does to improve his sight must be wrong. For home practice three general plans are recommended:

1. Practice with the Snellen test card at ten, fifteen, or twenty feet, remembering the blackness of the letters, imagining their form and their
    swing, and imagining the white openings and margins to be whiter than the rest of the card.

2. Reading fine print at the distance at which it is seen best, then gradually bringing it up to six inches or less and putting it off to a distance of
    two feet or further.

3. Seeing things moving all day long from the time the eyes are opened in the morning until they are closed at night, and going to sleep finally
    with the imagination of the swing.


     21: More Cases of Squint


    ONE day in the early part of September there came to our clinic a very neatly dressed woman of forty-five, with her daughter, aged eleven. One of the doctors from another section of the dispensary had told her of the wonderful cures wrought by Dr. Bates' methods, and convinced her that they would be effective in the case of her daughter, who was suffering from convergent squint of the left eye. I at once became more than usually interested in this case, not only because I did not want to disappoint the doctor who had sent it, or cause him to lose faith in our methods, but because Selma, the patient, was a dear little girl and made a strong appeal to my sympathies. I did not notice until her eyes became straight that Nature had intended her to be very pretty; but I saw her sweet smile, and her absolute faith in my ability to cure her, combined with her willingness to do as she was told, was very touching.
    I tested her sight with the Snellen test card, and at ten feet she was able to read, with the right eye, only the forty line. With the left eye (the squinting one) she read only the 200 line. I showed her how to palm, and then I had a talk with the mother, who was wearing glasses, and had been wearing them, as she told me, for twenty-five years. I explained to her how hard it would be to cure her daughter if she continued to wear them.
    "How can I possibly harm my little girl by wearing glasses?" she asked.
    You are under a constant strain while you wear them," I answered, "and that affects your daughter's nerves."
    "But I cannot sew, read, or do other things, without my glasses," she said: "so what shall I do?"
    I told her to watch very closely while I was treating Selma and do just exactly what she did. She took off her glasses at once, and did not seem to doubt that she would be cured. For this I was very grateful, as mothers are not always willing to take off their glasses at their first visit, thinking, I suppose, that although I may be able to cure children, I cannot cure adults. I placed the mother where she could watch her daughter's eyes during the treatment and, as she saw them after five or ten minutes become temporarily straight, she expressed her gratitude in no uncertain terms. On leaving she invited me to her home, and every time she carne after that the invitation was repeated. She bought a test card, too, for home practice, and Selma was very faithful about using it.
    From that time up to the present writing mother and daughter have come regularly three days a week. Selma now reads the twenty line with her left eye at twelve feet, and with her right eye, at the same distance, she can read the ten line. Except when she becomes excited or over-anxious, her left eye is straight most of the time. The improvement in the mother's sight seems almost equally remarkable. She reads and sews without her glasses, the lines in her face caused by strain have disappeared, and she looks so much younger that she might easily be taken for her daughter's sister. We have all become fast friends and, although I shall be glad when Selma is completely cured, I will be sorry not to see her smiling face any more at the clinic.
    At the beginning of the treatment Selma's mother could not be encouraged to discuss other treatment she had had; but when, one day recently, the child read the whole of the test card with both eyes straight, she began to talk.
    "You don't know how grateful I am to you," she said. "It is not so long ago that I was told at another eye clinic that Selma would have to be operated on for squint. They told me that it would get worse if they didn't operate. I told them to give me time to think it over.  I was a whole year thinking it over; but I could not make up my mind to the operation, as I had doubts about its curing her."
    Doris, aged four, has convergent squint of the right eye, and came to us also during September. It was noticed when she was two years old that the right eye was turning in and, although glasses were immediately secured for her, they did no good. When I first saw her the vision of the squinting eye was only one-quarter normal (10/40), while that of the other eye was one-half normal (10/20). Now the sight of both eyes is slightly above normal (12/10).
    Doris does not know the alphabet; so in treating her I have to use a card covered with letter E's arranged in different ways, and she tells me which way they are facing, left, right, up or down. I found it rather hard at first to get her to palm for any length of time; but one day the mother told me of a dear baby brother at home, and I told Doris to think of her brother when she closed and covered her eyes. This worked like a charm. When she thinks it time to open her eyes, usually about a minute, she calls out, "Open them?" If I answer, "No," she keeps them closed until I say, "Ready." During the first few treatments the right eye would not keep straight for more than half a minute, but now it stays straight all the time she is reading the chart, down to the ten line. After the treatment it turns in again, but not so badly as before, and if she is reminded to make it look straight she can do so very readily.
    The child's mother has been a great help in the treatment, both at home and at the clinic, and I think she has got a great deal of good out of it for herself. She is a most unselfish parent, absolutely devoted to her children; but this devotion causes her to get excited and nervous, so that when she arrives at the clinic her eyes are staring almost out of her head. In a few moments she becomes relaxed, and her eyes begin to look natural.
    Doris got on so nicely that her cousin Arthur, who also has a convergent squint, came for treatment. When I tested his sight I found that the vision of the squinting eye, the left one, was only 10/50, while that of the right eye was 10/20. He was a very bright boy, very obedient and lovable, and when he looked at the chart it was sad to see the left eye turn in until it was almost hidden. He made rapid progress, however, and his mother, who always comes with him, is very happy over the good results obtained in little over a month. At his first visit he was told, after reading a line of letters on the chart, to remember the last letter while he closed and covered his eyes. When he looked at the card again he was able to read another line. His vision now is almost normal, 12/15, and when he is reading the card his eyes are almost straight. His mother tells me that he gets on much better at school than he used to. He is eager to get well, and is very happy when clinic day comes so that he may have another treatment.
    I am wondering which of the trio will be cured first, and when they are I will give most of the credit to the mothers, for it is their help and the treatment given at home that has counted most.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send questions to the editor regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q - (1) How long should one palm at a time, and how far should one be from the test card?
(2) I do not understand shifting and swinging well enough to practice this method. Will you please explain it to me just as you would to a new patient?
(3) I am not getting the results you say one should from the treatment. For instance, I tried palming last evening, and at the beginning I could see clearly only the first three lines on the test card. After two hours work I could see and read clearly all but the last line of letters at the bottom, but when I looked at the card this morning it was just the same as when I started palming. Now, how can I get the vision to stay? Must one continue to palm every day, and if so will the improvement in time become permanent? R. H.
A - (1) The length of time you should palm depends entirely upon the results you obtain from the practice. Some patients can palm for hours with benefit; others cannot keep it up for more than a few minutes. Your distance from the test card depends somewhat on the state of your vision and somewhat on your own convenience. At whatever distance you may be—7, 10, 15, or 20 feet—practice with a line of letters which you cannot see distinctly.
 (2) See The First Visit, this issue.
(3) We think you are doing wonderfully well and congratulate you. If you continue the palming, the improvement will in time become permanent. If you will practice shifting and swinging when not practicing with the card it will help you (See The Swinging Cure, BETTER EYESIGHT, October, 1919).
Q - (1) I have discarded my glasses for street use, and am slowly getting used to seeing without them. However, when I go to the theatre or a movie I cannot discern the faces, expression, etc., of the actors without the aid of my glasses. When I look without them the whole proceeding is like one hazy mass before my eyes. What can I do about this?
(2) Kindly explain your terms "cupping and palming." Subscriber.
A - (1) All you can do is to go on improving your sight.
(2) By cupping is meant cupping the hand over the eye in such a way so as to exclude the light while avoiding pressure on the eyeball. Palming cannot be explained briefly. See BETTER EYESIGHT, January, 1920.
Q - (1) What is the best method to use when the patient has a dilated pupil?
(2) What special refractive condition causes white letters and dots to appear over the test card along with blurring of the letters and also without it? (3) Is the temporary use of the reading glass or lorgnette as detrimental to the eyes as regular glasses? C. C. J.
A - (1) Any method that produces relaxation will help. Palming is particularly effective.
(2) They may occur with any error of refraction.
(3) Yes.
Q - (1) In swinging the period should one follow it in its travel from side to side, seeing it clearly all the time.
(2) BETTER EYESIGHT advises sleeping on the back. Will you kindly give me explicit directions as to how to do this. T. J. O. J.
A - (1) Whether you see a period all the time you are swinging it depends upon the length of the swing. If the swing is very short, a mere pulsation, you will; if it is long, or too rapid, it will be blurred or lost altogether at times.
(2) In lying on your back the arms should be parallel with the body and the lower limbs completely extended. The height of the pillow is immaterial. The head may or may not be turned to one side. It is a good thing to go to sleep swinging or palming.
Q - (1) When I palm does it affect my eyes if I do mental work. I could palm more if it didn't matter what you were thinking about, because I could do part of my studying that way. In short, does mental work necessarily mean mental strain?
(2) Isn't there any way to cure my eyes that doesn't take so much time as palming? M. W.
A - (1) Mental work does not necessarily mean mental strain. If you can see black with your eyes closed and covered while thinking of your lessons, you are perfectly safe in doing so.
(2) The best thing for a busy person is to form a habit of constant shifting and to imagine that everything seen is moving. It is the habit of staring that spoils your sight. If you can correct this by constant shifting and the realization of the movement produced by the shift, you can get well without so much palming and you will also be able to do your school work better.
Q - I cannot yet read or write easily without my glasses. Can I harm my eyes by trying to do so? P. A. C.
A - You cannot harm your eyes by reading and writing without glasses if you stop often to rest them by closing or palming. Even if the use of the eyes without glasses produces pain and fatigue the injury is less than from the wearing of the glasses.
Q - How can I relieve fatigue and nervousness while listening to the sermon in church?
A - Try swinging your thumbs over or round each other, or back and forth, and then reversing. One patient gets relief from swinging her big toe inside her shoe.
Q - Can a tendency to sties be relieved by relaxation?
A. Yes.
Q - Is it injurious to expose a baby's eyes to the strong sunlight while sleeping? F. E.
A - The strong sunlight is very beneficiary to the eyes of babies, asleep or awake. It is injurious to shade their eyes from the sun.

                              BETTER EYESIGHT


                    December, 1921

                      THINK RIGHT

    "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," is a saying which is invariably true when the sight is concerned. When a person remembers or imagines an object of sight perfectly the sight is perfect; when he remembers it imperfectly the sight is imperfect. The idea that to do anything well requires effort, ruins the sight of many children and adults; for every thought of effort in the mind produces an error of refraction in the eye. The idea that large objects are easier to see than small ones results in the failure to see small objects. The fear that light will hurt the eyes actually produces sensitiveness to light. To demonstrate the truth of these statements is a great benefit.
    Remember a letter or other object perfectly, and note that the sight is improved and pain and fatigue relieved; remember the object imperfectly, and note that the vision is lowered, while pain and fatigue may be produced or increased.
    Rest the eyes by closing or palming, and note that the vision is improved, and pain and discomfort relieved; stare at a letter, concentrate upon it, make an effort to see it, and note that it disappears, and that a feeling of discomfort or pain is produced.
    Note that a small part of a large object is seen better than the rest of it.
    Accustom the eyes to strong light; learn to look at the sun; note that the vision is not lowered but improved, and that the light causes less and less discomfort.
    Remember your successes (things seen perfectly); forget your failures (things seen imperfectly); patients who do this are cured quickly. 
 Copyright 1921, by the Central Fixation Publishing Company  


                                                     By Dr. Etna Marion Jones

    THE correction of imperfect sight by Central Fixation, as taught by Dr. Bates, first came under my observation one year ago this September while assisting for a month in the practice of my friends, Drs. H. S. and Jennie K. Beckler, of Staunton, Virginia. I was astonished at the results they were obtaining in eye cases and at once began to study the system under their supervision.
    About the same time I received a letter from a sister of mine, a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools, who had worn glasses for twenty years for myopia and astigmatism. She stated in her letter that she had discarded her glasses and was taking the Central Fixation treatment from an osteopathic physician in Detroit who had been a student of Dr. Bates. The treatment was continued during the winter, my sister keeping right on with her school work and doing extra reading at night without suffering with headaches as she had previously done. On seeing her this summer I was agreeably surprised at the change in her appearance. The strained look about the eyes and face had given place to one of relaxation, the eyes were straight, and the nervous system had lost its tension and gained a poise formerly unknown. The retinoscope showed no errors of refraction in either eye.
    Encouraged by this and other cases, I decided to prepare myself to specialize in this work. After studying the anatomy, pathology and physiology of the eye all last winter, and treating several patients as best I could with my limited knowledge of the system, I decided that what I now needed most was a course of personal instruction from Dr. Bates. I went to New York for this purpose a few months ago and spent a wonderful fortnight there. The course included work in Dr. Bates' clinic held three times a week in the Harlem Hospital. The hospital being in one of the colored sections of the city, many of the patients are negroes, and they are very appreciative, too; but both white and colored come in droves to be cured of all kinds of eye afflictions. Here I had a good opportunity to study eyes by means of the retinoscope and ophthalmoscope, and I observed the changes in the refraction and pathology as the treatment progressed. I can tell of only a few of the remarkable cases which I saw, for it would take days to tell about them all.
    I was especially interested in a case of squint in a girl of fourteen, who had been attending the clinic about three months before I saw her. She had worn glasses since she was four years of age to correct the trouble, but had been growing gradually worse. When her sight was first tested she read 12/40 with her left or better eye. When asked to read the card with her squinting eye, she turned her head half way around to the left in trying to see it. Mrs. Lierman gave her one simple relaxing exercise to do and left her for a few minutes. At the next test she read 12/40 with the squinting eye without turning her head. Of course, that was temporary relief, as on straining again the squint would recur; but it showed what could be done by continuous treatment, and when I left New York the right eye was as straight as the left and did not change when the patient was excited or annoyed, or on reading or studying. She told me she could read or study for hours at a time without headaches or discomfort, while before coming to the clinic she could look at a book for only a few minutes at a time.
    A negress, seventy-two years old, was responding wonderfully to treatment for cataract in the advanced stage. She had been in the clinic for two months. At first she could not distinguish the large C at the top of the test card. Before I left she could read 10/40 with both eyes.
    A girl of twelve was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition generally pronounced incurable, in which spots of black pigment are deposited in the retina, parts of the retina destroyed and the nerve of sight diseased. On examination by the test card, the patient could read only the seventy line at five feet. Nystagmus was one of her worst symptoms, the eyes vibrating continually from side to side. She was extremely nervous, and very sensitive in regard to her condition, the slightest annoyance making her worse. At the first treatment, the nystagmus temporarily stopped, and she read the fifty line instead of the seventy at five feet. The last day I saw her at the clinic she could read the twenty line through at ten feet, and the nystagmus had entirely disappeared.
    After seeing these things it would seem impossible for anyone to doubt that Dr. Bates' discoveries are bound, before long, to revolutionize the practice of ophthalmology. They offer hope to millions for whom formerly there was no hope, and I am glad to have a share in the wonderful work of making them available to the world of eye sufferers.
     470 First Avenue, North, St. Petersburg, Fla.


By W. H. BATES, M.D.

    THE eye with perfect sight is always at rest. When it begins to strain the sight becomes imperfect. The eye with imperfect sight is always straining, and when it ceases to do so the sight becomes normal. These conditions of rest and unrest are reflections of the mind. In other words, they indicate the presence or absence of mental control.
    When the mind is not under control the memory or imagination is impaired. Therefore one cannot at the moment of seeing something imperfectly form a perfect mental picture. A person with perfect sight can remember a color, a yellow flower, a red piece of cloth, a letter of small print, a black period, a white cloud in the sky, just as well with the eyes open and looking at the Snellen test card, or reading a printed page, as with his eyes closed. A person with imperfect sight either cannot do this at all, or can do it only under certain favorable conditions, as with his eyes closed, or when looking at objects at certain distances. A near-sighted person may retain his mental control and consequent ability to form mental pictures when reading fine print at six inches, but may lose both at five inches, or when looking at certain letters on the distant Snellen test card. Some patients have a good imagination and normal sight in the daytime, but lose both by artificial light. Others have normal vision and a good imagination only when the light is dim. One patient had imperfect sight (20/70) corrected by concave 6.00 D. S. in ordinary daylight, but when the light was dim her vision became normal (20/20) without glasses, and her mental pictures were just as good when her eyes were open as when they were closed. She became able, by means of sun-gazing, to remember, with her eyes open, a black period in the bright outdoor sunshine, when her vision, tested with the Snellen test card, became normal in ordinary daylight.
    Many cases of imperfect sight have been cured simply by having the patient demonstrate these facts. One patient had vision of 20/200 without glasses. She was near-sighted and could read fine print at a near point without trouble. She was asked to look at a small letter o.  The question was asked:
    "Can you see the letter easily and continuously?"
    "Yes," she answered.
    She could also, with eyes closed, remember it without difficulty and imagine the white center much whiter than the white card on which it was printed. With some encouragement she became able to realize that she did not imagine the letter all alike; that she saw one part best, and that she did not imagine the same part best very long at a time; that her attention was constantly shifting; and that the small letter was moving slowly, easily, rhythmically, continuously, a very short distance from side to side, the movement being so inconspicuous that she would not have noted it if her attention had not been called to the fact. When she tried to keep her attention on one small part of the letter continuously for a few seconds, or part of a minute, she noted that this could not be done without effort, her mind tired, her eyes pained, although they were closed, and she lost the memory of the letter.
    With her eyes open she then demonstrated that her sight was the same as her memory with her eyes closed. When she tried to keep her attention fixed on one part of the letter the movement from side to side stopped, she experienced a sense of effort, her head began to ache, the letter blurred, all parts of it looked alike, and soon it disappeared. She was reminded that when she saw the letter distinctly, or when she imagined it perfectly, she did it easily, without effort, without strain, without any trouble or hard work whatever; but that when she saw, or imagined it imperfectly, she made a great effort.
    The letters on the distant Snellen test card appeared gray and blurred to her, and all parts of each letter looked alike. Even the large letter that she could distinguish was blurred, with a gray outline, and was not as black as the small letters of the fine print which she read so easily. Her attention was called to the great difference between the size of the letters on the Snellen test card and those of the fine print, and I suggested that if she saw the larger letters on the test card gray, while the smaller letters of the fine print looked black to her, it must be because she was imagining them to be gray. I also said that if she could imagine the white openings of the small letters to be whiter than they really were, she ought to be able to do the same thing with the larger white spaces of the larger letters. Thus she was led to realize that a large part of what she saw on both the large and the small card was imaginary, and that she ought to be able to use her imagination to improve her sight when looking at the large card, as she did when looking at the small one, instead of to spoil it, as she was then doing. Having demonstrated these facts she soon became able to retain her mental control when looking at distant objects, and was permanently cured.
    One of the worst cases of pain and fatigue which I ever saw occurred in a young man who lived several thousand miles from New York, and came here as a last resort in the hope of being relieved of the misery he had endured as long as he could remember. The history of his treatment by numerous physicians, mostly ophthalmologists, would make an interesting story, but it is too long to be recounted here. On testing his sight I was surprised to find it good. He read the twenty line of the Snellen test card at twenty feet, and also read the finest print at various distances. At this time he had no pain. When the pain came on, however, his vision became imperfect, and as the pain was almost continuous, he said he suffered from imperfect sight most of the time. I asked him why he did not maintain his good sight continuously when he obtained so much relief from it. He replied that he was unable to do so.
    He had lost his mental control to such an extent that even with his eyes closed he was unable to visualize his own signature, and when he attempted to do so and failed, the pain in his eyes and head became much worse. I had him look at a large letter on the Snellen test card and observe its white center, which he was able to see whiter than the rest of the card. I told him that the white center of the letter was not whiter than the rest of the card and that he only imagined it so. Then I asked him if he could imagine the white center as white as snow with the sun shining on it—a dazzling white. He answered:
    "Yes, I can imagine it as white as the snow on the top of the mountains near my home."
    I told him that he had formed a mental picture of the snow-capped mountain, by the aid of his memory or imagination, and that having done this with his eyes open, he ought to be able to visualize the mountain with his eyes closed. Much to my gratification he was able to do this for part of a minute, and to imagine not only the white snow on top of the mountain but also other parts of it as well. Then he demonstrated that he could imagine one part best of the snow-cap, but that when he tried to imagine it all at once the mental picture disappeared and his pain increased. To see one part at a time of the snow-cap was easy and his pain was relieved. To see all parts at the same time was impossible, and trying to do the impossible was a strain which produced pain. In other words to lose his mental picture of the mountain required an effort, a very great effort which tore the nerves of his eyes and head all to pieces.
    With this demonstration as a beginning, he became able to form mental pictures of other objects. The most difficult thing of all was for him to imagine printed or written letters, but this was finally accomplished, and his mental control, and consequently his mental pictures, became normal. With his eyes closed he is now able to remember or imagine large or small letters as well as he can see them with his eyes open. His pain is entirely relieved and—what pleased him most—his vision has improved to 20/10, double the accepted standard of normality.



                                                                                22: Christmas at the Clinic

                             By Emily C. Lierman

THROUGHOUT the civilized world Christmas is recognized as the children's day. To hosts of boys and girls it seems the most wonderful day in the year; but there are other little folks—all too many of them—who do not know its meaning, whom Santa Claus seems to have quite forgotten.
    This fact was brought home to me very forcibly during my first Christmas at the clinic, seven years ago. A boy of seven came with his sister, a little girl of five, for treatment. Both the children were thinly clad and far from clean, and seemed to feel perfectly at home near a warm radiator. There was nothing wrong with the girl's eyes, but the boy had a severe inflammation of the eyelids, along with a squint of the right eye. I was not surprised to find later that this inflammation was caused by uncleanliness. As I was about to treat him I asked him what he expected Santa Claus to give him. The time was two weeks before Christmas. He looked up and said:
    "Oh, he aint never came to our house! I only sees him in the store windows."
    "But you have a Christmas tree on Christmas eve, don't you?" I asked.
    "Nope," said he, "we never had none."
    I began to think I wanted to use my influence with Santa Claus on behalf of this neglected waif, but my present business was to treat him. No, I did not begin with palming this time. I washed his eyes and face with water, and judging by the color of the towel when the operation was over I should say that he had not been washed for six months or so. I now tested his sight, and with both eyes he read the ten line at fifteen feet. Then I covered his good eye, and with the squinting eye, the right, he read the seventy line (15/70). I now showed him how to palm, and while his eyes were covered I told him the story of the Babe of Bethlehem. This worked like a charm, and in less than ten minutes his right eye improved to 15/30. The little fellow promised to cover his eyes to rest them many times each day; and I promised that Santa Claus would surely have a present for him at Christmas.
    The progress he made was astonishing. I learned later that his father was in jail for theft, and that he had to mother his little sister and baby brother while his sickly mother went out to work; yet he found time to practice, and before Christmas he had normal vision in both eyes, though the right eye turned in at times the least little bit. As for the inflammation, it had completely disappeared under the influence of the sun treatment.
    The day before Christmas I bought a Christmas tree and filled a big basket with good things to eat and a little gift for each child in the family of my little patient, and in the evening I took them to his home. The poverty I found there wrung my heart, but I had the gratification of knowing that the children at least would have a happy Christmas.
The sight of the Christmas tree filled them with rapture too great for speech, and the gratitude of the mother was pathetic.
     Shortly afterward the boy's visits to the clinic ceased, and going to his home I found the scanty belongings of the family upon the sidewalk, all covered with freshly fallen snow. Next day I went again, and was told by the neighbors that the mother was in a hospital and that the children had been placed by a charitable society in an institution.
     I never saw nor heard of my patient again, but he inspired me with the idea of trying to make my family at the clinic happy at Christmas time, and incidentally I found that Santa Claus was an invaluable assistant, taking the place of baseball at other seasons. Mothers often tell me that Jimmie or Johnnie will not behave long enough for me to treat him. Well, I listen, of course, and then I begin to talk baseball or Santa Claus, according to the season of the year, and I have known the most restless of small boys to sit on a stool, or stand in a corner, for ten minutes without moving while I told of the night before Christmas, or related some incident of the baseball field. It is astonishing the interest a small boy takes in baseball. Nine times out of ten when I ask a boy to imagine something perfectly he will say:
     "I can imagine a baseball very well."
      I think if Babe Ruth knew how these infants admire him, he would provide seats for about a thousand of them at some of his games just for the sake of having a group of pre-eminently enthusiastic rooters on the bleachers. I think, too, that he wouldn't mind playing Santa Claus and providing baseballs for some of my patients. I am sure nothing would make them happier, even though baseballs are of very little use in a city that does not provide enough playgrounds for its children, and where the police will not let you play baseball in the streets.
    However, this is a digression. Santa Claus, as I said, is a fair rival of baseball, and appeals to girls and boys alike. I begin in September to talk about the visit he makes to the clinic every year, and the result is magical.
    Joseph, nine years old, was quite unmanageable at first, and could not be enticed to palm, nor even to stand still long enough for me to test him. I finally got tired of coaxing him, and told him to wait until others had been treated. His mother, a very nervous woman, wanted to thrash him, but the little fellow didn't seem to mind that a bit. He had been sent by the school nurse for glasses, and was so sensitive to light that he could only partly open his eyes. When I was able to get back to him I said:
    "If you will read this card for me and do as I tell you, I will have you come here the day before Christmas when Santa Claus will give you something nice."
    It worked splendidly. He read the card with both eyes together and each eye separately, getting most of the letters on the forty line at twelve feet. He palmed when I showed him how, and before he left his sight had improved to 12/20. After he had palmed for ten minutes or so his mother remarked on how wide open his eyes were. Joseph came quite regularly after that, and was so grateful for the gift Santa Claus brought him at Christmas that, even though he was cured in a few weeks, he continued to come just to say "Hello" to the Doctor and myself.
    One day, shortly before Christmas, a little girl came for treatment. Her age I cannot exactly remember, but should imagine it was nine or ten years. Her wistful eyes looked up into mine, and I guessed that she was very poor and lonely. She told me that her mother and father were both dead and that a kind neighbor who already had nine children was mothering her too. I knew just what I would like to have had Santa Claus give her, and tried to figure out just how much I could stretch my Christmas fund so that I could buy clothes and shoes for this little girl. It could not be done; but I doubt if these useful things would have made her as happy as the dolly and the necklace which I ultimately gave her, and which cost only a trifle. Like the children in the first story she was so overcome with joy that she could scarcely talk.
    There was nothing seriously wrong with her eyes, but she was under a nervous strain which caused her sight to blur at times. I soon corrected this, and she was very happy when told that she didn't need glasses.
    I must add that the adult patients are not forgotten at Christmas time. Each one gets a box of candy and an orange, and they all leave the clinic with a smile that won't come off; all of which, I am sure, is good for their eyes. My family seems to grow each year, but somehow I always find the money for the annual distribution of Christmas joy. A good many of the patients buy Snellen test cards to practice with at home, and all this money goes into the Christmas fund; then checks come from various sources—sometimes at the last moment. To all who have so generously helped me in this way I want to say:
    "I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year."

                   QUESTION AND ANSWERS

    Our readers are invited to send in questions regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.




                 January, 1922

                STOP STARING

    It can be demonstrated by tests with the retinoscope that all persons with imperfect sight stare, strain, or try to see. To demonstrate this fact:

  + Look intently at one part of a large or small letter at the distance or near-point. In a few seconds, usually, fatigue and discomfort will be
      produced, and the letter will blur or disappear. If the effort is continued long enough, pain may be produced.
      To break the habit of staring:

(1) Shift consciously from one part to another of all objects regarded, and imagine that these objects move in a direction contrary to the
      movement of the eye. Do this with letters on the test card, with letters of fine print, if they can be seen, and with other objects.

(2) Close the eyes frequently for a moment or longer. When the strain is considerable, keep the eyes closed for several minutes and open them
      for a fraction of a second—flashing. When the stare is sufficient to keep the vision down to 2/200 or less, palm for a longer or shorter time;
      then look at the card for a moment. Later mere closing of the eyes may afford sufficient rest.

(3) Imagine that the white openings and margins of letters are whiter than the rest of the background. Do this with eyes closed and open
      alternately. It is an interesting fact that this practice prevents staring and improves the vision rapidly.

                                                                                                 BE COMFORTABLE

                 By W. H. BATES, M. D.

    IT can be stated without fear of successful contradiction that persons with perfect sight are always comfortable, not only as to their eyes, but as to the rest of the body. As soon as they cease to be so, it can be demonstrated, by examination with the retinoscope, that their sight has ceased to be perfect. They become nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic. The art of learning to use the eyes properly, is, in short, the art of learning to be comfortable. Even the memory of comfort improves the sight, while the memory of discomfort lowers it. Persons with imperfect sight often say and think that they are perfectly comfortable; but invariably such persons experience a feeling of relief when they close their eyes, demonstrating that they were not perfectly comfortable before, but had merely formed a habit of ignoring that discomfort. Persons with perfect sight, on the other hand, can immediately produce discomfort by producing imperfect sight, or even by remembering or imagining it, and persons with imperfect sight can produce a degree of discomfort that cannot be ignored by making their sight worse.
    Imperfect sight cannot, in other words, be produced without effort, and this effort tears the nerves of the whole body to pieces. The same is true of an imperfect memory and imagination. To demonstrate these facts is often the best way of improving the sight.
    While persons with imperfect sight may feel no discomfort when looking at letters on the test card which they do not ordinarily distinguish, they cannot blur their vision for a letter they do distinguish without great effort and discomfort. In fact, the effort and discomfort are so great that many patients cannot be induced to make the experiment. When they can be prevailed upon to do so, however, they realize that they must be unconsciously straining whenever they look at anything with imperfect sight. It is often hard to convince patients of the existence of this unconscious strain, and nothing helps more in their treatment than to have them demonstrate the facts.
    What is true of the vision is true of the memory and imagination. When a letter is remembered perfectly, with the outlines clear, and the opening as white as snow or starch; when the attention shifts easily from one part of the letter to another and it appears to move in a direction opposite to that in which the attention shifts; it is remembered easily. There is no sense of effort, or strain, and the individual is perfectly comfortable. When, on the other hand, a letter is remembered imperfectly, with the outline obscured by a gray cloud which is all the time changing, the mind tires so quickly that the memory of the letter is lost from time to time and has to be brought back by an effort. Discomfort is soon produced, and if the effort is continued long enough, severe pain may result. At the same time the retinoscope will show that an error of refraction has been produced, or if this condition previously existed, that its degree has increased. 
    It should be added, however, that if the strain is to remember a near object, myopia may be decreased, because a strain to see a near object always decreases myopia and the memory of near objects has the same effect. Similarly a strain to remember distant objects may decrease hypermetropia.
    Staring is uncomfortable, and lowers the vision. Shifting and the realization of the apparent movement resulting from it are comfortable, and improve the vision. Let anyone try to stop the apparent movement of telegraph poles and other objects past a moving train, and discomfort, pain and carsickness result. In the same way any effort to stop the slighter movement of stationary objects produced by the normal shifting of the eyes, results in discomfort and pain, even though the individual may not previously have been conscious of the movement.
    Some people are able to close their eyes and be comfortable. Such persons are easy to cure. In one case a man with presbyopia was completely relieved by keeping his eyes closed for half an hour; and the cure was permanent. Later his wife was cured by the same means. Other people cannot rest with their eyes shut, and are very difficult to cure. It is the same way with palming. Some persons, when they close and cover their eyes so as to exclude all the light, at once relax and are comfortable, and such persons are easily cured. Others strain more than ever, and are very difficult to cure.
    Perfect sight, perfect memory and perfect imagination cannot, in short, coexist with the consciousness of any abnormal symptom, and all such symptoms are relieved when the sight becomes perfect, or when one is able to remember or imagine something seen perfectly.*1

                                MY EXPERIENCE WITH CENTRAL FIXATION

                                                By Dr. Doris J. Bowlby

    THE correction of imperfect sight without the use of glasses, as taught by Dr. Bates, first came under my observation on January 1 of this year when Dr, Etha Marion Jones, of St. Petersburg, Fla., called my attention to the method. It appealed to me as being both simple and rational, and I began at once to study and later to practice it. Since that time I have taken glasses off about fifty patients, varying in age from ten to eighty years. Among them have been cases of squint, glaucoma, iritis, retinitis, double progressive myopia and muscae volitantes (floating specks). Many had worn glasses for years. Yet I had great success with all of them. The following are specimens of other equally interesting cases that might be cited:
    Frank, aged ten, came to my office on September 1, 1921, for examination. He had been wearing glasses since he was four years old for what was supposed to be congenital myopia, and was then wearing the following:

    Right eye, concave. 15.75 D. S., combined with concave 4.00 D. C., axis 15;
    left eye, concave 15.75 D. S., combined with concave 4.00 D. C., axis 165.
    With his left eye he could see only the 200 letter at one foot (1/200), and with his right he had only light perception. His parents hesitated about putting him in my care, as it seemed incredible that he could ever be cured, but were finally persuaded to snatch at what must have appeared to them a forlorn hope. The boy himself was unwilling to discard his glasses at first; but after the second treatment, when the vision of the left eye improved to 3/30 and that of the right to 3/40, he hesitatingly consented to go home without their aid. After his third treatment he felt safe in going anywhere without them. As he lives twenty-five miles from my office, I could see him only twice a week, but after every treatment the improvement was so marked that now, after two months, his right vision is as good as his left, both being 11/30 for the Snellen test card, while he reads diamond type at six inches and the larger type of his school books at eight incites. I feel sure that he will soon be reading 20/20. He looks and acts like a different boy, and is, naturally, a very happy one. The case has attracted much attention in the village where he lives.
    On September 9, a young girl of eighteen came to me because of the intense pain which she was suffering in her eyes and head. She had not been able to go to school, or use her eyes in any way, for over a year, and during this time had been to three specialists. Her lenses had been changed a number of times, she had dark glasses to wear whenever she went into the light, and for eight months she had spent most of her time in dark rooms. Her sight had been perfect, so far as she knew, until she had had measles four years previously. During this illness she had read and studied, and afterward her eyes were red and weak. Two years ago she noticed that she could not see writing on the blackboard, and in a few days an eruption appeared on the eyelids and side of the face. Later she had an infected sinus, and also infected tonsils, tonsillectomy and an operation upon the nose having been performed eighteen months previously. No doubt the foci of infection which had existed at least a year had something to do with her trouble. When she came to me she was suffering from conjunctival congestion, with exudation of purulent material, and there was some hardening of the eyeballs. Her left vision was 7/30 and her right vision 7/50, and she was wearing:

    Right eye, convex 1.00 D. S., combined with convex 1.00 D. C., axis 100;
    left eye, convex 1.00 D. S., combined with convex 1.25 D. C., axis 80.

    The patient came for treatment every day and has been very faithful in her palming and other exercises. After the third treatment all pain left her and she left her glasses with me. By October 1 she was able to return to school. She now reads the lowest line of the test card at twenty feet (20/10), and reads diamond type at ten inches. The retinoscope shows no error of refraction in either eye, and the strained look about her eyes and in her face has given way to one of relaxation.
       135 Jefferson Street, Brookville, Pa.

                                                                                                   STORIES FROM THE CLINIC

                23: Congenital Blindness Relieved

                   By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    It is a pleasure to be able to publish the following report of the relief of congenital blindness involving not only cataract but disease of the retina. According to the accepted teachings of ophthalmology there would have been no relief for this child, and he would have been condemned to a life of blindness, a burden to himself, his family and the state.
    ONE day about a year ago there came to our clinic a little boy of three bearing the picturesque name of Jocky. A man and woman on the last lap of life's journey accompanied him, and I learned later they were his grandparents, his father and mother having died of influenza when he was a baby. As they held the child's hands and waited very patiently for Dr. Bates to speak to them, they both looked very sad indeed.
    After the Doctor had examined the boy's eyes, he called to me and asked me to watch very carefully to see if the little fellow would follow his hand as he passed it from side to side very close to the eyes. Poor Jocky paid no attention whatever to the proceedings, for he did not see the hand at all. He could not see anything. He was blind, and had been so from birth. Breathlessly the grandmother exclaimed:
    "Isn't there no hope at all, Doctor, please? Oh, say there is!"
    Poor woman! There seemed very little room for hope. The child's pupils were filled with a white mass plainly visible to the naked eye, and Dr. Bates said that there must have occurred before birth an inflammation of the iris and the interior coats of the eyeball. This had not only caused the formation of the cataracts, but had destroyed the sensitiveness of the retina, so that the removal of the cataracts would have done no good. The Doctor did not promise anything, but carefully explained to the dear old people how necessary it was for Jocky to rest his eyes, and I then showed the grandmother how he could do this.
    It was not easy for Jocky to rest. Every nerve in his body seemed to be straining. But with infinite patience his grandmother taught him to palm and encouraged him to make a game of it.
    "Where is Jocky now?" she would ask.
     Then he would cover his closed eyes with his little chubby hands, shut out all the light, and say: “Jocky gone away.”
    Jocky enjoyed playing this game, and the two would keep it up for hours. Even by himself, when he became tired of his other games he would cover his closed eyes with the palms of his hands and go somewhere else in his imagination. When he took his hands down he could always see better, and this naturally encouraged him to continue the game. He also enjoyed joining hands with his grandmother, or grandfather, and swinging, and the practice helped his sight very much. He did not know his letters at first, but the grandmother soon taught him, with the help of the test card.
    After a few months of this treatment he had made the most astonishing progress. The area occupied by the cataracts grew smaller and smaller, until one pupil was half clear and the other partially so. Jocky began to go out by himself and to play with other children. At the clinic, after he had palmed awhile, his grandmother would ask him to go and find the good nurse who had been so kind to him when he first came, and he would go straight to her. Then she would ask him to find Dr. Bates, and he would put his arms about the Doctor's knees and hug him affectionately. He would also go to a little girl patient, suffering from crossed eyes, and the two had great fun swinging together.
    Then one day the grandparents were told that Jocky could not come to the clinic anymore, because he did not live in the district of the Harlem Hospital. We did not see or hear from him after that, and I can only hope that the grandmother kept on with the treatment and continued to get result, from it.
    No patient who ever came to the clinic was more missed than Jocky when his visits ceased. As he lived quite a long way off, he did not come three days a week, like the other kiddies, but when he did come he was like a ray of sunshine. His cunning ways endeared him to everybody, while his wonderful progress inspired confidence in the treatment and encouraged young and old to practice more industriously. He understood what we were trying to do for him, and tried to help us all he could. Whenever he saw Dr. Bates coming towards him he would put his hands over his closed eyes, and say over and over again:
     "Jocky gone away, Doctor. See! Jocky gone away."


                                By William Murphy

    This very interesting article furnishes a striking illustration of the fundamental principle of the cure of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses. All the methods used for this purpose are simply different ways of obtaining rest, and although most persons cannot obtain sufficient rest to effect a cure merely by closing their eyes, there is a minority of patients who require nothing more. The writer is mistaken in thinking that his imperfect sight was caused by excessive reading in youth. He could not have done all this reading unless he had done it without strain. And even reading under a strain would not have made him myopic. It is more likely that his trouble started with straining to see the blackboard or other distant objects in school, for it is straining to see distant objects that causes myopia.
    I WAS born in Ireland forty years ago, and my eyes began to fail when I was about nine or ten years old. I never knew why, but since reading Better Eyesight and The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses I think I have found the reason.
    I was very far from being a sissy when I was a boy. If you had asked any of the gang, they would have told you that I was a "regular feller"; and if they had told you anything else they would have heard about it, because I was the leader of the gang. Nevertheless I was an inveterate reader. I would eagerly devour every scrap of reading matter that came into my hands, and many a night I have curled up in bed all night long, reading about the hair-breadth escapes and other thrilling adventures of Buffalo Bill and Nick Carter and all the other wonderful heroes so dear to the heart of a red-blooded boy. On such nights I might get one, or, maybe, two hours sleep. I would then get up and go to school.  I now believe that all that reading was a very great strain on my eyes, and, not having learned how to rest them, they remained under this strain for more than thirty years.
    My vision grew steadily worse, but I never could bring myself to wear glasses. Several times I have been tempted to do so, but always when it came to the point I balked.  One day when I was about fourteen years old, in my search for something to read, I happened upon a publication entitled Physical Culture Magazine. Of course I read it. It was only a pamphlet of ten or twelve pages, but it made a very strong impression upon me. Ever since then I have been a firm believer in natural methods of curing disease, and I fully, expected that some day I would find a natural method that would cure my eyes. Wearing glasses was not curing them, and I simply could not get myself to put them on. Perhaps I missed something by this stubborn attitude. Perhaps there was something on the other side of the street that I did not see, but now I am sure that I gained more than I lost. If I had added the strain of glasses to my other strains, there is no knowing how much worse my eyes would have become.
    Now, after waiting nearly thirty years, my long cherished hopes have been realized. I have found a way to cure my eyes by natural methods. On November 28 of last year I began the practice of Central Fixation, and the results have been wonderful. On that date I could read, with my left eye, only the fifty line at six feet. With my right eye, at three feet, I could barely see the great big letter at the top of the card. Eight days later my left eye had improved to 6/10 and my right eye to 6/50, and with the right eye alone, the eye that was almost blind, I read newspaper type at twelve inches.
    All this I accomplished simply by closing my eyes and resting them for fifteen minutes at a time, and then looking at the card. I didn't imagine dots or swings or anything else. I just rested my eyes and looked at the card, keeping it up for about two hours.
    Now I am trying something else. I noticed that whenever I attended a movie show my eyes felt fine afterward. So I decided to go to a movie every day, and this is how I work it: The first day I sat up in the very first seat, close to the screen; now I am moving back a seat each day (I always go to the same playhouse). I am very careful not to strain and always close my eyes and rest them when they feel the least bit tired. In fact, this resting of my eyes is becoming quite a habit with me. The results so far have been splendid.
    My greatest trouble is double vision. I have it in both eyes; but it is going away gradually, and doesn't bother me except when I look at the test card.


    All readers of this magazine are invited to send in questions regarding any difficulties they may experience in using the various methods of treatment which it recommends. These will be answered as promptly as possible, in the magazine, if space permits, otherwise by mail. Kindly enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
Q - (1) Should a house be brightly lighted by a direct electric light or a reflected white light?
(2) In many homes colored shades are used on the lights. Does that impair the sight? C. I. I.
A - (1) The more brightly the house is lighted the better for the sight.
(2) Yes.
Q -. (1) Is it advisable to use specimens of diamond type other than the Seven Truths of Normal Sight? Would it be well to get a New Testament in diamond type?
(2) I have thus far found the flashing method the most helpful. However, after closing the eyes, I have difficulty in opening them. The lids seem to stick together, as it were. What is the cause of such stickiness and the remedy?
(3) I was trying to read the Seven Truths lately by the flashing method, and for about twenty minutes obtained very little results. Then, of a sudden, upon closing my eyes, I saw the blackest object I have ever seen with closed eyes. I was startled, it seemed so real, and on opening my eyes I was surprised to find that I could read practically all of the Seven Truths clearly, at thirteen inches, without closing my eyes. I think the black object was probably the black rubber key of the electric socket in the fixture which I had unconsciously looked at from time to time during the exercise. I have not been able to do just this since. What is the probable reason for my failure?
(4) I find I see any reading matter more clearly in a bright light—sunlight or electric light—than in a dim or less bright light. Why is this?
(5) Today in trying to read the Seven Truths I found that I could do it at six or seven inches with few alternate closings of the eyes and flashes; but I found in accomplishing this I was partially closing my eyelids, so that I must have looked much like the Patagonians in Fig. I in Dr. Bates' book, said to be probably myopic when the picture was taken. I found that I could not keep my eyes thus partly closed without some strain, but I could not see the print clearly when they were wide open. Often the print would look quite blurred when I first looked at it, but it cleared perceptibly and became quite black as I continued to look. I also found myself reading today twenty pages of fairly small print at about eight or nine inches in much the same way. W. C. C.

A - (I) Yes, if you wish to. The Testament would be a good thing to have.
(2) Difficulty in closing or opening the eyes is a common symptom of strain, and may be relieved by any method that relieves strain. (3) Such intervals of relaxation are a very common phenomenon. They will come more frequently and last longer if you continue to practice.
(4) In a bright light the contrast between black letters and their white background is more marked than in a dim light. Persons differ greatly, however, in the amount of light they require for maximum vision. Some people see better in a dim light, because they think that condition a favorable one.
(5) It is a bad one.   Squinting is a destructive habit that causes, increases eye muscle tension, eyestrain, blur.
January, 1922

*1 - Bates: The Relief of Pain by the Aid of the Memory, N. Y. Med. Jour., May 24, 1919.

                           BETTER EYESIGHT


                  February, 1922

       Test Your Imagination!

    WITH the eyes closed remember some letter, as, for example, a small letter o. Imagine the white center to be white as snow with the sun shining on it. Now open the eyes, look at the Snellen Test Card and imagine the white snow as well as you can for a few moments only; without noting so much the clearness of the letters on the card as your ability to imagine the snow white center, alternating as before with the Snellen Card.
    Another method: With the eyes closed, remember and imagine as well as you can the first letter, which should be known, on each line of the Snellen Test Card, beginning with the larger letters. Then open your eyes and imagine the same letter for a few moments only, alternating until the known letter is imagined sufficiently well that the second letter is seen without any effort on your part.
    Third method: With the eyes closed remember or imagine a small black period for part of a minute or longer. Then with the eyes open, looking at no object in particular and without trying to see, imagine in your mind the black period. Should you believe that your vision is improved, dodge it, look somewhere else. This you can practice at all times, in all places, at your work as well as when sitting quietly in your room practicing with the Snellen Test Card. When the period is imagined perfectly with the eyes open, one cannot dodge perfect sight, which comes without any effort whatsoever.

                SIXTEEN SCHOOL GIRLS

                     By EMILY C. LIERMAN

    THROUGHOUT the summer of 1921 our morning and afternoon offices were filled with school children, boys and girls, waiting for treatment of their eyes. They came from the Northern, Southern and Western parts of the United States. Watching them waiting patiently for their turn to see the Doctor who would take their glasses from their eyes and cure them, one could read the happy thoughts expressed in their faces. Mothers and guardians were with them to reassure them if they became impatient or the least doubtful while waiting.
    To the clinic of the same good and great Doctor in one of New York City's large hospitals, throughout the whole year, there comes a steady stream of school children, just as eager to be cured without glasses. Not always does the boy or girl have a guardian or mother to give reassurance as the different ones are waiting to be treated. Sometimes they come alone and at other times they come in pairs or with three or four other children. At the office the Doctor sees the patient for one-half hour or so, but each child at the clinic can have only five minutes or just a little longer, for the time is short on clinic days.
    I am anxious to tell about fifteen school girls, all from one class of Public School No. 90. Their ages range from nine to fourteen years. On January 5th they first appeared. That day Dr. Bates and I had to plead for admission.


There were about thirty adults, besides these school girls, also waiting for treatment and all of them made a rush for us when we arrived. I found that the teacher of the girls, who is very near-sighted, was at the present time being treated by Dr. Bates at his office. The progress she was making inspired her to send those of her class who were wearing glasses to the clinic. All hands went up at once when I asked who came first.
    I could see from the start that I would have my hands full. All of them had a strained expression and, because of their actions and their manner, my heart went out not just to them but to that poor near-sighted teacher!
    Three out of the fifteen girls have squint and two of the three are sisters. These sisters, Helen, age 10, and Agnes, age 12, both have squint of the left eye. Helen had 14/20 with both eyes, glasses on. Glasses off, she read 14/40. After palming and resting her eyes her right eye improved to 14/20, and the squinting left eye improved to 14/30 without glasses. On January 17th she read 14/15 with each eye separately. Agnes, whose squint is worse than Helen's, had 14/70 in the left eye on January 5th, and on January 17th improved to 14/20. The right eye improved from 14/40 to 14/15 from January 5th to January 17th.
    Frieda, who also has squint of the left eye, improved from 14/40 to 14/15 in the same length of time. Her right eye has normal sight.
    All the rest of the fifteen, I discovered, were near-sighted.


    The youngest and best behaved is nine years old. Her name is Mary. She suffered terrible pain in her eyes and head the first day she came, but after she had closed her eyes and rested them for a short time the pain went away and her sight improved from 14/40 to 14/20. The strange thing about Mary is that she did not practice at home resting her eyes as she was told to do, but nevertheless her pain never came back even though her sight did not improve any more than it had on the first day.
    Muriel and another Mary had progressive myopia. Muriel become so frightened the first day she came that she ran out of the clinic as fast as she could. She feared that the Doctor would apply drops or make her suffer in some way. Next day at school Mary told her what she had missed by running away and now, after three visits to the clinic, Muriel is running a race with Mary and I believe she has a fair chance of being cured first.
    Muriel's sight improved from 14/70 to 14/20. Palming, resting her eyes, did this for her. She practices faithfully at home. Mary's vision was 14/15 with glasses. Without them, 14/50. Now she has sight as good, without her glasses as she did with them before. January 17th her vision was 14/15. She also practices faithfully, and her father has also become interested and helps Mary at home with her chart. The remainder of the fifteen all had about the same degree of myopia and all are eager to be cured. It is encouraging to see them improve after they have rested their eyes for just a few minutes.
This is the twenty-forth of the series of Stories From the Clinic. Can any mission of helpfulness be greater than that of Mrs. Lierman’s to these children of New York’s crowded schools?  We think not— nor do the other children of the world await any greater blessing than that which she has been fortunate enough to give to these.
                           IS IT A CRIME TO HELP THESE CHILDREN?

    As I finished with these cases Doctor called my attention to a girl from the same school who has opacity of the cornea of the left eye. She had had this trouble since she was one year old. Her age now is twelve. She had no perception of light at all in that eye when she came. On her second visit to the clinic she could see light in that eye for the first time. Now she is beginning to see the letters on the test card.
    Is it a crime to help the sight of these poor children? Should they be forced to keep wearing their glasses to benefit the man who sells eyeglasses? I am willing and want to devote the rest of my life to this wonderful work, but we need help. Mothers of the children are helping, they are our assistants only in the home. Teachers who are wearing glasses and who are being cured without them are also helping, but the prejudice of some of the authorities, based on ignorance of the truth, is a stumbling block. If they would only investigate the facts we would all be better satisfied.
    The second visit of these children to the clinic is one to be remembered. On January 7th Doctor and I arrived a little late. We were greeted by a very much excited nurse. I knew something terrible had happened because this particular nurse has the best disposition of any nurse I have ever known. She is the most faithful, self-sacrificing person I know and I wonder, as does Dr. Bates, why some wonderful Doctor in need of a nurse and assistant has not taken her for his private practice. She is very intelligent and speaks several languages. How my heart did ache to hear her say that never in all her life had she come in contact with such bad girls. One of them invaded a doctor's room and placed herself in the operating chair. A team of horses could not move her. Others yelled so loud that the doctors could not hear themselves talk. Well, I cannot explain in writing just how I felt. I treated each one, with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I had planned to share between them some test cards to practice with at home, but I sent them home without them that day.

                                                                                           AS ARE THE EYES, SO IS THE GIRL

    But now since I have distributed them, my girls have faithfully practiced and improved not only their eyes but in other ways. I have promised them a day in the country this spring if they continue to behave, and also a house party with lots of goodies to eat. Winter storms have changed to summer breezes and they are working with a determination for better sight without glasses.
    On January 14th they informed me that the school doctor said they must put on their glasses again, regardless of the fact that the sight of all of them has improved. The mothers feel quite differently about it, however, and they say that their children will not put on their glasses again no matter what the school nurse or doctor says. Since then my girls are all my willing assistants and are more determined than ever to be cured.
    I will be pleased to report from time to time the progress we are making.  

                           READING WITHOUT GLASSES

                                                                                                         By W. H. Bates, M. D.

               Dr. Bates Cures His Eyesight – Discovers Principles, Methods of Natural Eyesight Improvement

    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. At 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 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?" I shall never forget those words. They stimulated me to do something. I tried by all manner of means, by concentration, strain, effort, hard work, to enable myself to, become able to read the newspaper at the near-point.
    After a few weeks, a few months, it dawned on 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 focus. With advancing age the lens, like the bones, the cartilages, becomes hard, loses its elasticity or its ability to change its shape and the eye no longer can change its focus from distant to near objects.

                     Hypnosis, Electricity, Neurology—and Back to Dr. Bates!

    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 pyscho-analysis, 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 near-sightedness 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, near-sighted. Then when I looked at fine print at the reading distance and tried to read it he said that my eyes were focused for a distance of twenty feet or further, and the harder I tried to read the further away did I push my focus. He was convinced of the facts, namely: a strain to see at the distance produced near-sightedness, while a strain to see near produced a far-sighted eye.    
+When strain occurred when looking at a specific distance, the eye would focus/set itself for the opposite distance causing the distance the eyes are looking at to be unclear.  The shape of the eye would be incorrect.
+When strain is avoided and relaxation is present the eye focuses/sets itself for the correct distance, the distance the eye is looking at and vision is clear.  The shape of the eye is correct.
    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 that 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 scientist's reports of his experiments and discoveries?

               Stumbling on the Truth

    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 mouths 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 table in front of me was a magazine with an illustrated advertisement with black spots which were intensely black. I imagined they were openings 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 remembered a perfect black of my imaginary caves and was gratified to find that I was able to read perfectly.
(The word perfectly was originally printed as ‘imperfectly’, which is now considered a misprint.  Or, Dr. Bates may have meant that previously he could not read/see the newspaper and now he can read/see it, although imperfectly, this is an improvement.)
    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 remembered the black caves and, sure enough, it helped me to read. We talked some more. Why did I fail in 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 did not 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 are perfect sight is perfect.
Relaxation.  No effort to see clear, remember, imagine easily without effort = clear vision



    I RECENTLY had the illuminating experience of an hour's intimate talk with Dr. Bates in his laboratory. It was my fortunate privilege to learn at first hand of the wonderful discoveries of Dr. Bates, his incalculable service to the poor of vision and the triumphant persistence of his methods in the face of indifference and opposition.
    There was a double interest in my attention to Dr. Bates as he talked to me. There was the personal interest of my memory of a time when I had worn glasses—had had to wear glasses, I had been told—and of a time when, tired of much experimenting, of this lens replacing that one and this treatment following another, I had simply and determinedly discarded glasses and their ills. And successfully had done so.
    But there was another interest as I listened. I realized that I was in the presence of a man and of a work that meant a definite blessing to the world. Dr. Bates, like scientists of earlier and less enlightened eras, was the discoverer and the missionary of healing methods that mankind needs. His truths of physical vision should be, by right, the property of every class and every people—as much a part of civilization's common property as the knowledge that the world is round or that mosquitoes spread disease.
    And as I listened to the simple, yet for so long unaccepted, fundamentals of his discoveries and methods, it was this second, broader interest that became the overwhelming one. I felt that it became the duty of those who know of his discoveries or have been benefited by them to spread the knowledge of them everywhere.

                The Idea of a League

    So as I listened there came the idea—I believe it is a practicable idea—of a disinterested organization to carry this good word of improved vision to all who should be told of it: to the American public. An organization disinterested in all except its purpose to promulgate a healing truth, an alleviatory knowledge for the lack of which the suffering of the world today is enormously augmented and its darkness, of the spirit and of the light of days so terribly increased.
    As I learned more and more of the methods and the cures of Dr. Bates and of the needlessness of glasses this idea became stronger and more clarified. It has been my opportunity to see certain organizations, disinterested in the larger sense but directly and enthusiastically interested in some one philanthropic or industrial truth, carry on works of education that have benefited the country or important groups or territories of it. And surely no "cause" could be more worthy of advancement, no information more worthy of promulgation, than that which will bring perfect vision and renewed faith to thousands, children and mature men and women alike.
    Since that illuminating hour in Dr. Bates' laboratory I have thought much of the necessity of spreading the knowledge of the possibility of the prevention and cure of imperfect sight without the use of glasses. To those who have been benefited by the discoverer of this possibility it is a duty to so spread this knowledge, one way in which they owe it to themselves to make their lives count in the betterment of others.
    So I propose to all the readers of this magazine that this work definitely be started. The sightless, the maimed of vision, those denied of Nature's freely-offered share of light and color, ask it of them with an unescapable appeal!
            How the League Can Be Formed

    I propose the organization of an active Better Eyesight League, devoted to the promulgation of the knowledge that the prevention and the cure of imperfect eyesight without glasses is a scientific possibility and that the man and the demonstrated methods for its achievement are at the disposal of mankind.
    I propose that this Better Eyesight League be organized by readers of this magazine, by those who have been benefited by the methods of Dr. Bates, and that it be formed immediately, by those who first respond to this suggestion and are the nearest in time and distance to New York.
    I propose that its membership be open to all those, beyond the readers of this magazine and those who have been helped by Dr. Bates, whose pleasure and zeal it is to help their fellow men and lessen suffering.
    I propose that this Better Eyesight League be formed not with the aid of Dr. Bates, if that should not be offered; but without that aid if necessary, to give the knowledge of his many cures, as well as of great discoveries, to the world. He has already within his means and to a consequently limited public told these same results and laid his knowledge of the possibilities of better eyesight open to the eyes of others. I propose that the Better Eyesight League convey this knowledge to tens and hundreds and thousands as compared to every one that Dr. Bates has reached.
                    Each Reader Can Become an Organizer

    To this end I suggest that every reader of this magazine the day his eye discovers this proposal write in his name and his approval of a Better Eyesight League to the office of the magazine. The envelope in the corner can be marked with the initials "B. E. L." to make sure it is read immediately. It is not necessary that Dr. Bates should ever see the letters or the names, unless that is desired. When all the letters are received there will be some means found, and word of it communicated to each name received, effectively and expeditiously to organize the League.
    There should be a few weeks from now an actually functioning Better Eyesight League! Who will be first to start its organization?

                                     QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Q - Do the rays from the Snellen Card at 20 feet enter the normal eye approximately parallel?
A - Yes.
Q - I am not absolutely clear in my mind about the use of the word relaxation.
    "The eye possesses perfect vision only when it is absolutely at rest." Page 107, "Perfect Sight Without Glasses."
    "Near, vision although accompanied by muscular action." Page 101.
A - Read further.
Q - What is the function of the ciliary muscles?
A - I do not know.   
Q - How do you account for this muscle and the changes in the curvature in the lens which never occur? (I have lost the page reference where you cited cases of a flattening or increase in convexity of the lens.)
A - I do not account for the presence of the ciliary muscle and never stated the lens changed its curvature.
The ciliary muscle = two muscles in the ciliary body.
The ciliary muscle suspends the lens in place and moves Aqueous Humor into the posterior chamber of the eye.
The old theory of accommodation states that the ciliary muscle changes the shape of the lens to produce accommodation, clear close vision.
Other doctors state it may slightly move the lens forward and backward as in a camera or may change the shape, position of the lens for other purposes; function with light, work with the iris muscle…

                                                           Doctors are needed all over the world to cure people without glasses.



March, 1922

                                                  SEE THINGS MOVING

    WHEN riding in a railroad train, traveling rapidly, a passenger looking out a window can imagine more or less vividly that stationary objects, trees, houses, telegraph poles, are moving past in the opposite direction. If one walks along the street, objects to either side appear to be moving. When the eyes move from side to side a long distance with or without the movement of the head or body it is possible to imagine objects not directly regarded to be moving. To see things moving avoid looking directly at them while moving the eyes.

The Long Swing: No matter how great the mental or other strain may be, one can, by moving the eyes a long distance from side to side with the movement of the head and body in the same direction, imagine things moving opposite over a wide area. The eyes or mind are benefited.

The Short Swing: To imagine things are moving a quarter of an inch or less, gradually shorten the long swing and decrease the speed to a rate of a second or less for each swing. Another method is to remember a small letter perfectly with the eyes closed and noting the short swing. Alternate with the eyes open and closed.

The Universal Swing: Demonstrate that when one imagines or sees one letter on a card at a distance or at a near point that the card moves with the letter and that every other letter or object seen or imagined in turn also swings. This is the universal swing. Practice it all the time because the ability to see or to do other things is benefited.

Practice the imagination of the swing constantly. If one imagines things are stationary, the vision is always imperfect, and effort is required and one does not feel comfortable. To stare and strain takes time. To let things move is easier. One should plan to practice the swing observed by the eye with normal vision: as short at least as the width of the letter at twenty feet or six inches, as slow as a second to each movement and all done easily, rhythmically, continuously.