Eventual loss of clear vision is considered a normal and inevitable part of growing old, and wearing eyeglasses or expensive Lasik eye surgery are seen as the means of addressing the issue and rectifying the problem. This is another widely accepted untruth that happens to support a huge industry while undermining the best interests of ordinary people like you and me. Some years ago, while working as an airline pilot, I noticed my own eyesight beginning to blur at close range. When I found out that donning glasses merely accelerates the process I decided that they were no solution for me and I began researching deeper into the subject. I found the Bates method and it helped me reverse my own blurring vision at close range. I no longer need reading glasses, or to hold the book at arms length!
People are questioning the allopathic model of mainstream medicine as well as the use of mercury amalgam fillings in teeth. The commonly accepted approach of using glasses or surgery to deal with blurring vision is similarly worth investigating. As with all these issues, the further beneath the surface we are prepared to scratch, the more we see that there are underlying assumptions that although widely accepted as true are just plain wrong. The Bates method is a rational approach that questions these assumptions, and consequently gets to the truth.
“Not only is keen eyesight a great convenience, but it reflects a condition of mind that reacts favourably upon all the other senses, upon the general health and upon the mental faculties” Dr. William H Bates, ‘Better eyesight magazine’ July 1920.
I invite you to step outside of your conditioning to see the real cause of blurring vision and the real solution. Embrace a whole new opportunity for clarity of sight well into your old age by embracing the bates method for naturally clear vision.
The conventional view of how the eye focuses
Ophthalmologists study the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. Optician, Ophthalmologist and Oculist are interchangeable terms. Accommodation is the term they use to refer to the method of adjusting light rays entering the eye so that they form a clear image on the retina at the back of the eye – that is, focusing.
The widely accepted conventional view of how the eye focuses and also of why we experience a loss of clarity in our vision as we age is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions. It is based on the work of a German physician called Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821 – 1894). However the theory fails to explain or ignores many of the observable facts. More than a century ago pioneering ophthalmologist William H Bates decided that this wasn’t satisfactory and he kept on digging until he uncovered the truth. He was shunned and ridiculed by the establishment as a result, and his successful treatment, which became known as ‘The Bates Method’, that helped thousands recover clear vision was even outlawed in New York! Welcome to the Matrix.
The conventional view of accommodation is that the ciliary muscle around the lens contracts and squeezes the lens to make it more convex. This allegedly increases the amount that light entering the eye is refracted, enabling objects at a closer range to be focused onto the retina. i.e. greater convexity of the lens only for near vision. The conventional view also claims that age related loss of clear vision (called presbyopia) in the near field is irreversible and caused by the lens loosing its flexibility, and thus being unable to increase its convexity upon constriction of the ciliary muscle. This is supposedly why we loose the ability to see up close as we get older.
This presbyopia usually occurs beginning at around age 40, when people experience blurred vision while reading, sewing or working at the computer. You can’t escape it (your optician will tell you), even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. The lens allegedly becomes rigid preventing near field focus ability.
There are a number of problems with this conventional view of how the eye focuses, and the reason for failure of nearfiled focus. Here are just a few:
- In experiments where ophthalmologists put something called atropine solution into an eye to paralyse the ciliary muscle, the eye has been shown to retain its ability to focus.
- In rare circumstances where the lens is removed from the eye, individuals have learned to focus once again – without a lens!
- Age related loss of clarity is frequently reversed using the Bates Method, and some people seem to avoid this phenomena altogether well into their 80’s and 90’s.
- Loss of clarity of vision in the near field (called Hypermetropia) occurs at all ages, even for teenagers.
Herman Helmholz, William Bates and all mainstream ophthalmologists all agree on some things, namely that…
- A Hypermetropic eyeball is foreshortened (squashed flatter front to back)– near objects are not clear.
- A myopic eyeball is elongated – near objects are clear, far ones are not.
- The normal at rest eyeball is round in shape – far objects are clear, near ones are not.
However, the conventional view cannot explain why an eyeball becomes elongated or foreshotened. Aparently its genetic or they just become that way – somehow? William Bates proposed a far more satisfactory and credible explanation, one that had been around since the 1600’s.
A more likely explanation of how the eye focuses
The eyeball is moved left and right and up and down by four muscles called the Recti muscles. These are the ones running front to back in the illustration – at the top, bottom, left and right. There are another two called the Superior and Inferior oblique muscles that wrap around the eyeball, after the 90 degree kink around an attachement point. When working independently these cause the eye ball to rotate clockwise or anticlockwise. You can see this if you look in the mirror and tilt your head left to right – your vision will remain stable.
Bates and others say that the superior and inferior oblique muscles work together to squeeze the eyeball into an elongated shape. This increases the distance from the lens to the retina and thus enables the eye to focus up close.
As well as moving the eye left right and up and down, if all 4 recti muscles work together, they can pull the eyeball back against its socket and squeeze the ball flat – into that foreshortened shape. Bates said that this is how the eye adjusts to focus into the distance. It is the combination of these two movements that enable the eye to adjust its focal length to accommodate light from the distance as well as up close. As we look deeper into the workings of the eye and the nature of vision problems this explanation makes more and more sense.
It is important to note that this is exactly the same way a camera focuses. The refractive power of the lens remains fixed and the focal length is varied – the focal length being the distance from the lens to the film/retina. Even though your optician will reject this idea, I strongly suggest thinking it through and asking yourself which explanation is more likely, the mainstream conventional one that leaves questions unanswered and contradicts observable facts, or the one that makes sense and exlains all the facts without contradicting any of them?
It is the same process of trusting our own judgment that leads us to truth whatever the issue. Are mercury amalgam fillings safe? Should I vaccinate my children? Is saturated fat really bad for me? In all of these issues the facts will lead you in the opposite direction from the official advice! The only way out of the Matrix is to think for oursleves and trust our own judgment.
So why do we loose clarity of vision?
Loss of clear eyesight is a result of a creeping habit of misusing the eye. It can happen quickly as in the case of children, or take several decades, such as when we reach for glasses in our 40’s or 50’s. The root cause is the same whether we ‘develop’ short sight or long sight. We have effectively trained our eyes to not see in focus as a result of a consistent habit of incorrect use.
In a nutshell: Typically, we unconsciously tend towards using our eyes like a camera that sees a clear image at all points on the film. Although the eye focuses like a camera it does not similarly see all points with equal clarity – it can’t. The eye can see a tiny point in clear focus and the peripheral vision is much less clear. The problem is; in one respect we learn to diffuse our small point of focus by this subconscious attempt to see an object ‘all at once’ rather than one tiny part of it at a time using our small focal point. This has the necessary effect of putting the object of our visual attention slightly out of focus. The eye is designed to focus on a tiny dot and so the only way it can accommodate the habit of trying to see more than a tiny dot is to put the point of focus either in front of or behind the object to some degree, and concentrating visual attention at a range that is now no longer in focus – even if only very slightly. The eye is fairly forgiving, but after doing this for some time, it effectively learns that we do not wish to place the object of our attention in focus, and it adjusts to this implicit demand.
Examples of how we train our eyes out of correct use:
- When we drive a vehicle there is often an unconscious tendency to not focus on anything specific, but to aim our point of focus at some distance in front of the vehicle and cease to actively looking at individual parts of any particular objects. This is understandable because it takes effort of concentration to look at small bits of the road or verge or vehicles up ahead. However, it is a bad unconscious visual habit contributing to loss of clear vision.
- When we read print we tend to be tempted to see whole words at once instead of looking at one tiny part of varous individual letters as we scan the line of text (best practice). Speed reading techniques actually encourage trying to see many words at once! Unless this is done with peripheral vision this puts the eye out of focus because the actual focal point is necessarily tiny. In trying to see the whole of a word at once, the eye must diffuse it’s focus and place the point of focus either in front of or beyond the page or screen. The larger the print, the greater the harmful effect. This is why it is so counterproductive to teach children to read with large print. Reading large billboard signs similarly tempts us into diffusion. See below for the correct reading technique.
- When we watch video footage on a TV screen or Computer monitor there is a two fold problem. The temptation to see more than just tiny parts of particular objects on the screen one at a time is coupled with the fact that the eye is fooled into focusing on something that appears to be at a distance further than the actual screen (see next point). The eye is subconsciously encouraged to ‘zone out’. We tend to diffuse our focus to see an increased amount of the picture at once. Since this is impossible the eye can only do this by diffusing. The more one unconsciously ‘tries’ to see at once, the more damage one is doing. I stress again this is subconscious, but we can catch ourselves doing it if we are conscious of the phenomena. The closer one is to the screen the more damage one is potentially doing because the temptaion to zone out is greater.
- Watching things on screen is also potentially damaging in that the eye is seeing a flat 2-dimensional image yet it is tricked into looking at it as though it has depth of field –as though things were at varying distances from the eye. If you use a monitor or TV regularly it is important that you be aware of correct eye use techniques – see below. Yet another thing to be conscious of when using monitor screens is that the eye likes to vary its focal range and not remain at a fixed range for long periods. Again see below for correct vision habits.
- There are many times in our daily lives when we zone out. It may be that we are just relaxing and do not wish to focus on anything particular, or it may be when we are in a situation where the scenery is moving too rapidly for the eye to have time to focally adjust (most modern films and videos). In this case, once again, the eye resorts to a fixed focal gaze either through inability or disinclination to focus upon a small part of something specific. This effect is noticed when we look at something in motion as with the next example.
- When we perform activities such as washing our hands or washing the dishes we tend to not focus on any part of anything specifically. This is partly becuase of the motion. It is impossible to fix your focus upon a scene of continual movement. As a consequence we fix at a focal range, not focusing on anything particular, and mix peripheral vision with a diffused focal point, taking in the whole scene at once. Our eyes develop a habit of fixing at a general focal setting.
- Some surfaces that we look at are poor at reflecting light or just difficult to focus on. Textured surfaces seem to be easier, smooth reflective ones are harder. we are generally not conscious of this, but it contributes to the habit of accepting an out-of-focus image.
- Poor light is another contributory factor because it makes focusing more difficult. The pupil has to open wider to let in more light and thus makes focusing more of a challenge, and it it is harder to tell if you are in fact in focus or not. This can then lead to a habit of unconsciously not bothering to focus in poor light. The more time one spends in low light conditions the potentially worse the problem.
- The way we use our eyes today is not the same as our ancestors used theirs. Prior to televisions, film and computer screens, as well as activities such as driving, our typical use of the eye was very different. Our typical depth of field was more varied and our tendency to diffuse as opposed to centralise was far less. Living indoors and watching TV or computer screens changes the habitual depth of focus and range of focus in a negative way. Being outdoors in a genuine 3-d visual environment as well as continuously varying the distance at which we focus, is how the eye prefers to work.
- Staring is another bad habit. It has been demonstrated that if we fix our focus on a small point without moving the eye, focus is lost. The eye needs to move. Heads and eyes remaining pointing at screens (or anything) for many hours is not good for the eyes.
- Stress is another factor. Relaxation is one of the 3 principles of natural vision. The eye must be relaxed to see effectively. Stress can induce constant strain in the recti or oblique muscles thus distorting vision by producing that foreshortened or elongated shape. Imagine how effective your hands would be if the muscles in all your fingers and wrists were tensed up all the time. There are numerous examples of peoples clear vision recovering when leaving stressful jobs, or moving from the city to a rural outdoor life.
All of this means that in the same way we contribute to developing modern chronic diseases by eating the wrong food for decades, we also develop our loss of clear eyesight by incorrect vision habits (usually) over deades. The good news is that habits are powerful and they can be changed.
What about Lasik surgery?
Many people already know that glasses do not fix the problem, they make it worse. This is because they compensate for the inability of the eye to focus without addressing the cause – diffusion. As the habit to diffuse continues the eye soon adjusts out of focus once more, and stronger glasses are needed. Without changing the functionality of the eye, without addressing how the eye is used, the problem cannot be solved.
Lasik surgery is just another form of compensating for the eye being out of focus, and like the wearing of glasses it cannot be a lasting solution. Lasik surgery is where the shape of the cornea at the front of the eyeball (see the diagram at the top of the page) is cut into a new shape by a laser beam. If you Google Lasik surgery all the service providers will give themselves a ‘get out clause’ by blaming the need for further treatment on the aging process of the eye. Remember, it’s not about aging, it’s about incorrect use of the eye.
The London Vision Clinic says …”Laser Eye Surgery does not safeguard your vision from the effects of ageing eyes — otherwise known as presbyopia — which tends to set in around middle age. To correct against presbyopia a simple enhancement procedure or reading glasses may be necessary.”
Lasik.com says… “LASIK eye surgery typically does not correct the need for reading glasses. …glasses might be needed in later years as eyes change with age. Just as you may have had minor changes in your glasses prescription over time, you may have slight changes in your vision over time after laser eye surgery. Because of these natural changes, a person may need an enhancement, or a touch-up procedure, after LASIK eye surgery. The need for enhancements is caused by someone’s prescription gradually changing even after his or her procedure.”
Qualsight.com says… “Due to presbyopia some LASIK eye surgery patients may still need reading glasses once you reach your mid-life (40 to 50) due to a normal age related loss of near vision.”
The American refractive surgery council says… “However, what does happen on occasion is a patient’s myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) actually progresses. Like all living things, your eyes can change over the course of your lifetime. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect to buy a pair of glasses and have them last your entire lifetime. Your eyes can change, but they will never go back to being as bad as they were prior to LASIK.”
Of course the effects of the surgery last. When you have altered the shape of the cornea it certainly stays that way. The question is, does the desired result of clarity of vision last? The answer is that it doesnt, because it can’t. This is because blurring of vision is the result of a functional problem not a structural one. Loss of clarity in vision results from a habit of incorrect use of the eye – diffusion. It has nothing to do with age or the lens becoming rigid! Like any problem you have to address the root cause if you wish to solve it.
What to do about it
To start with we must notice how we currently use our eyes. I challenge you to begin to notice your own vision habits and you will get an understanding of what I am describing. The first step to vision improvement, or the prevention of loss of clarity, is to become more conscious of your habitual method of using your eyes. Become conscious of when you zone out and catch yourself not focused on anything particular.
Focusing up close is a precise activity, if we wish our eyes to retain this exacting ability we have to send consistent signals to the mechanisms of focusing through a consistently demanded mode of use, that we require sharp focus.
I have developed my own techniques over the years, and I have retained my eyesight. I rarely need glasses except in low light situations. First lets look at the Bates method, which I believe is very helpful. But I also recommend the additional techniques I outline below.
The Basic Principles of the Bates Method
- Centralisation – this is the act of concentrating the focal point into a tiny dot. Focusing on a tiny spec of dust, whether under your nose or at 20 feet away. Focus – adjusting the apparatus of the eye to accommodate. This means getting the light rays that are entering the eye to converge on the retina at the back of the eyeball. Relax first, then centralise.
- Movement – the action of continuously flicking the tiny dot of your focal point around a scene or object, to pick out various parts of it. This is done randomly and unconsciously and stands in contrast to the practice of fixed staring, or locking on to the centre of an object and trying to see it all at once.
- Relaxation – This means straining to see is counter-productive. There is no need to squint or strain or stare. Seeing with the eyes is linked to seeing with the mind and requires complete release of all tension. Chronic strain in the recti or oblique muscles results in either the foreshortened or elongated eyeball shape.
The Bates method for clear eyesight
The Bates method comprises of practicing three key habits of seeing. plus the additional methods listed below of palming, sunning and using correct reading technique.
- Sketching: – This habit incorporates the first two principles of centralisation and movement combined. It is the habit of imagining your point of focus as a sharp pencil point and moving it around an object to ‘sketch’ it. Move it from top to bottom and from side to side, move it all around the object of visual attention. It means keeping the eye actively scanning the scene or object and alighting on various things and focusing on them for a moment. This leads into the second principle.
- Breathe: As simple as it sounds this is the art of relaxation, that is critical to proper eye function. Bates maintained that chronic tension in the eye muscles was responsible for lack of clarity of vision.
- Blink: Correct eye function involves relaxing and not straining to see. Blinking again brings the third principle into action. It should be performed often. Each time you move your point of focus or change your range of focus, blink. Blinking is the main method of resting the eye during it’s constant use during the day. If only for a moment, the eyeball enjoys a brief massage and a wipe-down with lymphatic fluid. Remember also to breathe. This is a very helpful way of relaxing. The conscious act of breathing deeply observably helps us relax – our eye muscles included.
Another technique for relaxing the eye in the Bates Method is palming. This is covering both eyes with the palms of your hands with your fingers of one hand overlapping the fingers of the other. Bates suggested a comfortable sitting position as being best for this, but it can also work lying down. I don’t know how it works, but try it, and you will see that it does. You can feel your eyes relax when you do this – its amazing! Bates maintained that chronic tension is the major cause of blurred vision, and this technique practiced often certainly helps the eye to relax. personally I consider that practicing centalisation and sketching to be more important. However, its still useful to relax the eyes.
Another technique that benefits the eyes is sunning. This practice involves pointing your head at the sun on a sunny day with your eyes closed and moving your point of focus in a horizontal figure-of-eight pattern to the left and to the right. This lets beneficial long wavelength light rays into the eye. Many advocates of the Bates Method also recommend not wearing sunglasses for the related reason that they block out beneficial wavelengths of sunlight. Usually wearing a hat can be just as effective as sun glasses, unless of course you are skiing down a mountain or sailing in bright sunlight and windy conditions.
Correct reading technique
Read the smallest print you can find. On your computer reduce the font size as much as possible. Small print increases the need to centralise. Scan along the line of words at the bottom, looking at one small point of a particular letter of a word. Some short words will only require you to focus on one part of one letter, a longer word may require that you move to another letter further along. Allow your peripheral vision to tell your brain what the word is. If necessary sketch between two or three tiny parts of specific letters in a long word. It will take practice, and inevitably at the beginning it will detract from your comprehension of the text – but stick with it! Reading fine print is an excellent practice to keep your vision clear if you read as just described. I have used this technique to great effect. Looking along the base of the letters is ideal because no matter what size the font my eye is nailed to the tiny extremities at the bottom of the letters, and I find the temptation to diffuse is reduced.
“A person will not have full control of his mental faculties until he gets rid of his glasses.” Dr E F Darling, December 1925
My own additional recommendations
Focus is key
I personally consider consciously remaining in focus as the key. It is important to practice being in focus as much as possible – visually and mentally. While driving, watching a computer screen, washing your hands, or just walking around your home, it is important to be actively focused on something as much as possible. If we want our eyes to retain their ability to focus (whether up close of far away) we must practice the art of requiring them to remain in focus as opposed to unconsciously allowing them to zone out – which is what we all do most of the time. We must also resist the temptation to attempt to see more than just that tiny dot (at our focal point ) in clarity at any one time, especially when reading – and consequently go out of focus.
The benefit of reading correcting cannot be over emphasized. Read the smallest print you can, and always focus on just one tiny part of the one letter of the word and allow your peripheral vision to determine the word.
Useful Clear Vision Techniques and Tips
- As often as you can remember make sure you are focused clearly on something.
- Make sure you concentrate your focal point into a tiny dot – look for particles of dust, even at greater distances. If you are focused you are centralised – and vice versa.
- Centralisation takes practice – relax, breathe and centralise/focus.
- Centralisation is even more important when focusing is harder – in poor light conditions or looking at surfaces that do not offer such good focus feedback to the eye due to texture and/or light conditions.
- Flick your small focused point around often – like a high megapixel camera give your brain as much information about the scene as possible. This increases mental retention and observation skills as well as eye sight clarity.
- The aim is to achieve a state of dynamic relaxation – moving fluidly and often through focal range as well as around the scene/object you are observing.
- Focus near and focus far -zoom in and zoom out. Frequently adjust your point of focus from the nearfield to the far and back again. It is better to transition through the range as you go, rather than jump from close to infinity in one leap.
- Become conscious of integrating peripheral vision with the point of focus. But they must remain distinctively different aspects of your vision. Avoid merging these two during relatively unconscious use of the eyes. The eye focuses like a camera but cannot see all points with equal focus like a camera. proper use involves integrating the focal point with the peripheral information and being aware of the two.
- Want to see! this means actively look and focus instead of seeing passively. It is the visual equivalent of wanting to know. Look instead of seeing, just as you would listen instead of hearing.
- Set a mental standing order (conscious intention) to be in focus, make a conscious decision to see clearly – use EFT and/or affirmations to help with the reprogramming of your subconscious mental instructions to your eyes.
Eye relax – eye look – eye focus – eye see – I relax – I think – I focus – I grasp
Join the conversation and leave a comment below
This book is brilliant.: “Relearning to See – Improve Your Eyesight Naturally” by Thomas R Quackenbush
There are courses and products out there for relearning to see. I have bought a few of them. Most of them concentrate overly on relaxing your way to clear vision. I consider this inadequate. I am preparing my own course. Watch this space. 🙂
Check out this Mercola video for another perspective.