Welcome to everyone who has decided to try unconventional methods of vision improvement. These methods were described 100 years ago by the brilliant American ophthalmologist, Dr. William Bates, and are still being developed and successfully applied worldwide. Based on years of experience and research, they show how to naturally strengthen one's vision and what the correct process of looking and seeing should look like, which is so distorted in today's computerized and technical world. This website is for:
Dr. William Horatio Bates (1860 - 1930) - at the time, one of the best ophthalmologists working in renowned New York hospitals; ophthalmology lecturer; also running a private practice. He devoted his entire life to the study of eye function and the vision process.
In 1919, he published the book The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses, in which he disagreed with the generally accepted Helmholtz theory of vision (which is still used in ophthalmology today). This theory is based on the statement that sharp vision depends on tiny ciliary muscles located inside the eye, which supposedly "control" the thickness of the lens. Helmholtz attributed their primary role in the accommodation process. Dr. Bates concluded that the main tool of accommodation is not the lens, but the external eye muscles, responsible not only for eye movements but also for lengthening and shortening the entire eye in its anterior-posterior axis (similar to a camera lens or binoculars). Experiments conducted by Bates proved the correctness of this theory.
He explained clear vision of close objects by the work of two (external) oblique muscles flattening (lengthening) the eyeball (similar to sitting on a ball), while the process of precisely seeing distant objects involved the work of four (external) straight muscles, contracting ("shortening") the eye in the opposite direction. The correctness of Bates' views, that the eye functions in this way (through extraocular muscles), is supported by unexplained cases of clear vision by some people who, for one reason or another (e.g., cataracts), had their lens removed or were born without one.
What seems most notable about Bates is his approach to the patient and their illness. Bates did not wonder, as almost all ophthalmologists do, how to choose the best glasses for the patient. He thought about how to really help a given patient, that is, how to cure them of their ailment so they could see normally. The main assumptions of Bates' theory are:
One of the basic assumptions of Dr. Bates was the statement that just as a broken limb can be brought back to full functionality through exercises and rehabilitation treatments, so can the organ of vision be restored to full functionality, meaning visual acuity, without the need for glasses.
According to Dr. Bates' assumptions, glasses and artificial lenses are the same for the eyes as crutches for a person with a fused broken leg. A person with a vision impairment, if they do not reject their own crutches for the eyes (which are glasses) and undertake rehabilitation treatments, i.e., re-education and improvement of the visual organ, will never achieve improved vision; on the contrary, they can only expect a worsening of their vision quality and the need for stronger lenses prescribed by an ophthalmologist.
One of Bates' theoretical assumptions was the statement that visual acuity changes from good to bad and vice versa, depending on the physical and emotional state of a given person. Bates noticed that vision is not constantly at one level of quality but changes continuously.
Dr. Bates concluded that most of the impairments hindering the process of vision are caused by improper use of the visual organ. Bad habits of using the eyes are always closely related to their strain and tension. This tension affects the entire body equally. Dr. Bates discovered that by learning good vision techniques (particularly relaxation techniques), the tension in our eyes and the entire body is reduced. This occurred after his patients learned eye and mind relaxation methods, directly causing improved vision and reduced refractive error.
In Dr. Bates' method, the ability for passive and dynamic relaxation is the first and basic technique that leads to improved vision. By relaxation, I mean not only the general skill of relaxing muscles but also mental relaxation, without which the process of vision is not possible. The relaxation techniques that Bates used proved sufficient in many cases to achieve improved vision for many of his patients.
We will only list the basic techniques used by Bates among his patients, which have had surprising effects in treating vision impairments. These techniques will be described in detail on the pages of our portal in the appropriate sections. These will include: body and eye relaxation, palming, central fixation, sunning, swinging, visualization, blinking, micro eye movements, flash technique, analytical looking, and many others that we will try to discuss here.
Visiting an ophthalmologist is important for several reasons. First, they will determine your vision defect, which will facilitate choosing exercises for a specific defect and serve as a benchmark for vision improvement. A specialist visit also allows for the identification of unusual changes in the eye, degenerations, tumors, and other eye diseases that may contraindicate the exercises described here.
This web portal is not responsible for performing the exercises presented here. In each case, consult an ophthalmologist to determine if performing the exercises presented here is safe for you.
To perform the exercises presented here, the eye must try to work, and it won't do this if we put on well-fitted "prosthetics" such as glasses. Generally, we recommend the following approach:
Using lenses with weaker power than our defect will make our eyes work. At first, it will certainly be an effort for you, but after a week or two, you will see how much your eyes strengthen. You will start recognizing what was previously very blurry and practically invisible.
So remove your eye "prosthetics" and get to work...
A frequently asked question is about the ideal duration for daily practice. The simple answer is: devote as much time as you can. If you only have 5 minutes a day to spare for your eyes, then make the most of those 5 minutes. If you're able to dedicate 1.5 hours each day, that's fantastic. A personalized plan, tailored to your specific visual needs and daily availability, can be accessed in the exercise plan generator section.
It's crucial to remember not to overwhelm yourself with too many exercises at the start. Gradually increase your practice time, always keeping in mind the vital importance of relaxation. Devote the majority of your time to relaxing exercises. The more intensive exercises that put more strain on your eyes should be used in moderation. Be attuned to your body, particularly your eyes. They will signal when you've overexerted and need a break. If you feel that you've strained your vision, use one of the relaxation exercises, primarily palming.
Vision exercises are fundamentally different from weight lifting or other muscle-strengthening workouts. They focus more on muscle relaxation than muscle building. This concept is key to success, but it's not easy to grasp since the concepts of dynamic and passive relaxation for the vision and the entire body are relatively unknown and rarely implemented in our culture.
Most people notice the first positive impressions of improved vision after just 2 weeks. However, a lot depends on the size of your vision defect and your commitment to the exercises (at least 0.5 hours per day + wearing appropriate glasses). On average, you can assume that for simple vision defects, the improvement will be around 0.5 diopters within 2-3 months with at least 2 exercise sessions per day for 20 minutes each. However, you'll have to wait for more concrete results (especially those visible to an optometrist).
Let's be honest, though; it's impossible to achieve success in half a year for significant defects that have developed, for example, over 10 years. The return to normal vision will be gradual but can be achieved in a much shorter time than it took for the defect to develop.
As with many other aspects of life, there may come a time during vision exercises when you feel discouraged, tired, see no visible progress, or even experience a temporary deterioration in vision. How to cope with this? From personal experience, I suggest taking a break from vision exercises for a week or two and doing something else.
Go swimming or to the movies a few times, visit distant relatives, or, in other words, take a mini "vacation from exercises." The most important thing is not to fall into discouragement and apathy, as it may undermine the results you have already achieved and the time you have invested.