Seeing better!

The Bates method – Do you want better eyesight without glasses?

Born in 1860, Dr Bates was a New York ophthalmologist who devised an alternative way of helping people to improve their eyesight naturally using various relaxation and stimulation techniques.

Dr Bates helped people to become aware of what they might be doing to sabotage their eyesight and developed a method to break the vicious circle of worsening eyesight and increasing strain.

According to Dr Bates, we see largely with the mind and only partially with the eyes. Hence, the mind can be re-educated to allow the eyes to see in a more balanced and relaxed way.

The Bates Method can benefit most eye conditions: short sight, long sight, astigmatism, squint, lazy eye and pathological eye diseases.

Bates teaches:-

Good Eye Habits

Avoid Rubbing eyes – a piece of dirt may scratch the cornea (transparent outer surface of the ye) and the pressure of the fingers – aside from the germs – temporarily distorts the shape of the eye. If they feel as if they need to be rubbed, try ‘fat squeezes’ i.e. purposeful blinking.

Try not to ‘Park’ the eyes on a spot and then go on a mental journey elsewhere (one of the worst forms of staring). This can develop several degrees of refractive error. If you need to meditate, close your eyes and blink more frequently.

Balance Your Head Above the Spine – Check in a mirror whether the head is tilted to one side

Be Aware of Trying to Force vision. The harder you look, the poorer the vision. Try closing you eyes, looking away for a moment, or even do three ‘fat squeezes’. Be soft and gentle with your eyes and let them feel as if they are floating in their eye sockets.

Always turn your eyes and nose towards the person or object you are looking at

Check your jaw is not clenched while doing close work

Use The Eyes as Paintbrushes, not blotting paper. Shift the attention over an object or face. Try to get the sensation of leaving the part you are looking at trailing behind, while you are shifting your attention to another part.

Aim to get some Natural Light each day. Try ‘skying’ (turning your head from side to side with eyes closed, as if you are saying “no”), even if there is no sun.

Keep your Attention in the ‘Here and Now’. Try looking for a different colour every day, or the number of windows in a building, or people wearing hats, scarves, short sleeves, or with umbrellas. Count the number of folds in a curtain, or flowers on a piece of wallpaper etc. Do not try to be accurate when counting. The aim is to make light mental contact with what you see.

Be Careful not to hold Your Breath. Eyes need oxygen. Yawning is good too.

Check Your blinking Habits. Blinking stimulates the correct lubrication of the eyes (tears disinfect) and momentarily rests the eyes. Blinks should be soft and easy. Aim to blink lightly every two or three seconds, or every two or three steps when walking.

Rest the Eyes Often, either by closing them or palming.  To palm is to cover your closed eyes with your hands in such a way that there is no pressure on your eyeballs. The palms of your hands are slightly cupped over each eye (left over left and right over right), and usually the fingers are partly interlaced on your forehead. There should be no light, or as little as possible, allowed to enter the eye. Once you are palming, open your eyes and look around to see if you can adjust your hands in such a way as to exclude as much light as possible. Close your eyes.

Try Not to Read Too Much After an Illness. The eyes need as much relaxation as the body

Vision is Like a Tap – tension turns it off – relaxation turns it on.

Relaxation of the Eyes and Mind brings improved circulation of the whole body

Remember Good Vision is Effortless and Painless like the sense of smell and hearing

Look for What You Can See – not what you can’t

This article is written by Lizzie May, Bates Vision Educator.

For more information on the Bates method (including information on how to use the range of techniques called sunning, palming, swings, sways and colour days) and for teachers in your area go to Website: or

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