First of all it is necessary to clarify one essential point about vision problems. Bates had noticed that behind any refractive defect there was always a mental strain due to the effort to see. Regardless of the place where we leave, of the abnormal technological development of our society and of all other aberrant aspects of our times, at the basis of any vision trouble there is always a “strain to see”.
In case of myopia for example, this strain performs itself in the attempt to see at the distance; in case of hypermetropia the strain is generated from the effort to see at the near point and so on for all other visual troubles.
These statements are the result of Dr. Bates works on thousands of persons with vision troubles and are still presently confirmed by the various vision trainers ....”beyond any reasonable doubt”.
It is the most common sight problem in the west countries. In Italy there are approx nine million persons, among the 23 millions wearing glasses (1997 data) that are suffering from myopia... almost 40% of the total.
We speak about “index myopia” referring to the increase in the index of refraction of cornea and crystalline; “axial myopia” referring to the excessive length of the eyeball; “curvature myopia” referring to the excessive curvature of the cornea and of “traumatic myopia” if it is due to traumas suffered by the eyeball.
Regardless of the type, in case of myopia rays of light do not fall directly on the retina, but converge on one point before it with the result that nearby objects are on focus while distant objects are out of focus, blurred.
The most common theory is that myopia is hereditary; this means that this pathology can be more easily developed in a family with cases of myopia (presently or in ancestors). On the contrary, according to the psychosomatic interpretation “... myopic persons are shy, introverted, introspective, often obstinate, lost in their thoughts and avoid confronting themselves with the others... Their interpersonal vision is more comfortably focused on nearby activities than on far away ones ...” (Ken Dychtwald). According to Lowen, myopic eye is “partially under shock”, for example caused by an angry or hateful glance of the mother. According to Shelton myopia is often the result of a wrong diet and/or of a condition of intoxication. Considering that myopia mostly arises during the first years at school, someone states that the problem depends on the difficulty to adapt oneself to the scholastic life.
On the basis of our experience, we take the liberty to make some remarks.
In our opinion hereditary factors surely play an important role. Having in our physical and mental registrations the experience of the disease “predisposes” us to that disease. On the other hand we can observe that myopic persons do not always have parents or ancestors with the same vision trouble: consequently there are some exceptions to this rule. In order to better explain our point of view let’s make the example of an Armenian baby growing in a French family that adopted him two days after his birth. Growing up, the baby will speak French even if he has registrations of entire generations of Armenian speaking progenies. We could find exceptions to all above hypothesis, but until now we never met a person representing an exception to what Bates supported to be the main cause of myopia: the mental strain due to the effort to see at the distance.
On the basis of our experience we can confirm that myopia is always linked to the effort to see at the distance. Exactly because of that and regardless of the psychological, psychosomatic and dietary factors, this vision defect can always be improved when the person learns how to eliminate the effort to see at the distance.
In line with others trainers, we have noticed that when we try to achieve something with too much effort it seems that what we want goes away from us... pushed back by the energy we have directed towards it. Likewise, looking at the distance with effort produces a negative condition without way out: we try to see at the distance, we can not do it perfectly, we increase the effort to do it and our vision will get worse...
We fully agree on what Bates affirmed regarding the condition of “relaxed vision” connected with the relaxed and natural mental attitude. We believe this is the essential condition to see clearly at the distance.
Hypermetropia (or farsightedness)
Hypermetropia is a visual defect where images are not focused on the retina, but converge on a point behind it.
The official medicine speaks of “index hypermetropia” referring to a reduced capacity of cornea and crystalline to make rays of light converge; of “axial hypermetropia” in case of a reduced length of the eyeball; of “curvature hypermetropia” in case of a wrong curvature of the cornea and crystalline. Hypermetropie is often accompanied by some characteristic symptoms such as frontal headache, heaviness on the head, eyes burning. These symptoms are often associated to various causes. Regardless of the type of hypermetropia, the official ophthalmology affirms that hereditary is the main cause.
Naturopathic Medical Doctors, attribute the problem to a wrong diet determining a poor organic condition and consequently the irregular development of the crystalline. According to the psychosomatic interpretation, persons with hypermetropia are unable to perceive activities taking place near them and feel more comfortable in carrying out activities maintaining their attention outwards and thoughts towards the future (Dychtwald).
According to Bates the cause of hypermetropia, regardless of the classification and symptoms, is always attributable to the mental strain in the effort to see at the near-point.
On the basis of our experience we can affirm that when the person suffering of hypermetropia succeeds in reducing the strain to see nearby she improves her vision, thus helping re-establish a normal and natural visual ability. Utilizing Bates method we could verify that some specific activities are more effective in this case: whiplash, all exercises on focusing at different distances, the exercise of the black spot and the exercises on the chart.
It is however important to underline that also other approaches (above all postural techniques) can highly help re-establish a normal vision in persons affected by hypermetropia if they are able to make them reduce the effort to see nearby.
Symptoms of presbyopia are similar to the ones of hypermetropia: difficulty in focusing at the near-point (in the first step...).
According to the official medicine, such trouble is attributable to loss of elasticity of crystalline, considered the only mean for accommodation, in relation to ageing of the person. Besides that, ageing also causes a decreased functionality of muscles determining the contraction of crystalline and consequently it will be always more difficult for the person to see at the near-point..
Bates wrote “if persons who find themselves getting presbyopic, or who have arrived at the presbyopic age, would make a practice of reading the finest print they can find, the idea that the decline of accommodative power is a normal result of growing old would soon die a natural death” (Perfect Sight Without Glasses).
According to Bates, also presbyopia depends on the “effort to see at the near-point”. It is a sort of hypermetropia mostly influencing nearby vision even though, contrary to what normally believed, also vision at the distance always weakens. When the eye makes an effort to see at the near point, focus is pushed always farther.
When a presbyopic person tries to read the fine print and fails, the possible point of focus is pushed farther compared to the distance of the previous trial, thus indicating that failure is due to the effort. Even only the thought to try reading the fine print will produce an effort, with a consequent modification of the refraction.
According to our experience, we can confirm that in case of presbyopia a “natural” diet as genuine as possible helps reducing the problem (because of some physiologic and psychological aspects linked to nourishment). However, in line with what Bates wrote, anything helping reduce the effort to see nearby is the basic condition to solve the problem.
If the theory according to which the crystalline is the only responsible for the accommodation is correct, once the crystalline has “hardened” because of ageing it should be impossible to see clearly nearby. This hypothesis however clashes with what we have verified till now: a presbyopic person can improve her vision at the near-point once learned how to see at such a distance in a relaxed way. It seems therefore that crystalline is not the only responsible for the vision at the near-point and, regardless of the age, a person can improve her visual potentiality and correct herself her presbyopia.
Strabismus or squint
It is the impossibility to maintain the visual axes parallel. As a consequence the eyes can not look at the same point at the same time, but on the contrary look at two different direction in the same moment.
Sgtrabismus can be evident and permanent or latent. The divergent visual axe determines an exotropia, the convergent one determines an esotropia, the diversion upwards determines a hypertropia and downwards a hypotropia.
Whatever the case, strabismus prevent binocular vision with consequent problems in evaluation of depths etc. (...try and cover yourself one eye). This defect is normally not localized in the eyes or eye muscles, but in the brain nervous centres coordinating movements.
In the past, conventional medicine used to apply surgery on eye-muscles (i.e. correcting the symptom to “solve” the problem), while nowadays doctors’ approach is more oriented towards rehabilitation through exercises helping the brain to use the less efficient eye.
Amblyopia often accompany strabismus and consists in the poor sight of the deviated eye because of its non-use. In order to avoid the trouble of double-vision, the brain in fact tends to suppress the image it supplies.
Strabismus is often imputable to a defect of refraction and consequently to hereditary factors, but this theory does not explain all possible cases.
The only real and demonstrable fact is that, as stated by Bates, “... in all cases of strabismus an effort is evident and the relief from the strain is followed by the resolution of strabismus, of the eventual amblyopia and all defects of refraction”.
On the basis of our experience we can not but confirm Bates theory and add that, especially with children, we have often noticed a high emotional hypersensitivity with clear signs of important emotional traumas.
They are specific eye pathologies, the most external part of the visual system.
We are speaking of glaucoma (open angled, close angled, chronic or congenital...), cataract (more common in women), detachment of retina (traumatic or caused by other pathologies...), eye neuritis, various types of retinopathies (diabetic, senile, etc), uveitis. We have also to consider the infections and other troubles such as conjunctivitis (inflammation of conjunctiva), sty (furuncle), chalazion (inflammation of Meibomiam glands), blepharitis (inflammation of eyelid edge), corneal ulcer (of viral origin or due to traumas), etc.
With all such possible pathologies(and we mentioned only the most common) I wonder how we can maintain ourselves healthy...
It is extremely important to never disregard any kind of sign our eyes are giving us and immediately apply to a doctor or directly to an oculist. A part from that, in our opinion the holistic approach is the best solution for any kind of problem. If necessary first aid could be allopathic and addressed to symptoms, but when possible we recommend a natural approach mainly addressed to the causes of the problem.
Bates method, together with other natural approaches, according to us remains the most effective mean also in case of “organic” origin troubles.
In fact when we succeed in reducing the “strain to see” we create the best energetic conditions allowing the natural immune system of our organism to intervene properly.
A headache can be solved more easily if the person is able to shift her attention away from the problems worrying her, thus reducing the mental strain automatically generated. In the same way, an eye disease can be reduced, if not solved, helping the person remove the “strain to see” normally representing the basis of her problem.
According to our experience, we can confirm this kind of work is sometime a resolving choice while in other cases it facilitates the healing process of eye pathologies.