Monday, April 30, 2012

Bates Method

The bates method is an alternative theory with it's purpose aimed at improving the eyesight. William Horatio Bates (1860-1931) an eye-care physician attributed nearly all sight problems to habitual strain of the eyes. He felt that glasses were harmful and never necessary claiming that using certain techniques can help people relax such “strain” and thus improving their eyesight. The question at issue though is what these techniques are and do they actually work?

In his writings, Bates discussed several techniques which he claimed helped patients to improve their sight. "The ways in which people strain to see are infinite, and the methods used to relieve the strain must be almost equally varied". Bates emphasized that no single approach would work for everyone. His techniques were all designed to help disassociate this "strain" from seeing and thereby achieve "central fixation", or seeing what is in the central point of vision without staring. He asserted that "all errors of refraction and all functional disturbances of the eye disappear when it sees by central fixation" and that other conditions were often relieved as well.
Some techniques include:
 -Palming (covering the closed eyes with the palms of the hands, without putting pressure on the eyeballs to help bring about relaxation)
-Visualization (the metal imaging of the color black; that the darker it appeared in the mind, and the smaller the area of black which could be imagined, the more relaxed one was at the moment)
-Movement (moving the eyes back and forth to get an illusion of objects "swinging" in the opposite direction. He believed that the smaller the area over which the "swing" was experienced, the greater was the benefit to sight)
-Sunning (exposing only the white part of the eyeball to direct sunlight, and only for seconds at a time, after allowing the sun to shine on closed eyelids for a longer period)
The purported benefits of Bates' techniques are generally anecdotal, and their supposed effectiveness in improving eyesight has not been substantiated by medical research. Several of Bates' techniques, including "sunning", "swinging", and "palming", were combined with healthy changes to diet and exercise in a 1983 randomized controlled trial of myopic children in India. After 6 months, the experimental groups "did not show any statistically significant difference in refractive status", but the children in the treatment group "subjectively ... felt relieved of eye strain and other symptoms." In conclusion these methods have been falsified and one should not attempt to use these methods as an alternative means of improving eyesight, especially sunning. 


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