Bates method was developed by the American physician W.H. Bates at the beginning of last century and, contrary to what many people still believe, it is not a visual gymnastic but a real holistic method aiming to find out the causes giving rise to the various vision problems.
Its four basic principles are the following:
1 .- Movement : in a healthy visual system the eye moves naturally and continuously and trying to limit or stop such natural movement we produce what Bates called “STRAIN”.
2.- Relaxation: absence of any kind of strain during the action of seeing; we do not intend the act to relax our sight, but an achievable condition of dynamic relaxation during the action of seeing.
3.- Relation between central fixation and peripheral vision: a good and natural vision can be obtained only when the entire visual system is able to use central fixation. In such a conditions the relaxed movement of the eyes allows the max clearness at the centre of the retina on a specific point called fovea centralis, at the same time maintaining perception of more external images.
4.-Memory and imagination: the act of seeing pass through these two natural functions much more than normally believed.
In presence of the above four elements the vision is relaxed, natural and as perfect as the eyes can permit.
All other techniques we propose never contrast with such basic principles of Bates method and are utilized with the only aim to better meet specific needs of each person.
Originally the method was practised individually with persons having vision difficulties. Nowadays, besides one-to-one encounters, some trainers also propose group activities and complete the proposal with other holistic techniques making the approach to vision improvement more in line with current requirements.