For millions of peopleall over the world, prescribed eyeglasses are crucial visual aids whenperforming daily activities at home, school, and in the workforce. In order tosee correctly, we wear glasses and/or contacts, yet a company has convincedhundreds to take a leap of faith in the opposite direction. Bates MethodInternational, a business that has created a movement towards improved eyehealth, is allegedly run by the successors of Dr. William Bates, anophthalmologist and an extremely intelligent man that practiced medicine inunconventional manners during his life in the 1800s (Introduction – The Bates Method of Vision Education, 2017).Now people following his footsteps are teaching others various steps as toimprove their eyesight in more “natural” ways. The techniques provided by the company are meant for theindividual’s “re-learning” of seeing properly, with a plethora of strangeinstructions (Techniques-Basic Principles, 2017). One techniquelisted on the official website is palming, or the cupping of ones hands overthe eyes in order to emit light from entering, to focus on current emotionshe/she may be feeling, and to pay attention to their surroundings; it isrecommended to partake in this for up to 20 times a day! (Techniques: Palming, 2017).
A big problem withthe introduction of this is the omission of any scientific data to prove theeffectiveness of palming. One can easily point to the Bates Method aspseudoscientific after seeing Bates’ quotes as the only “reliable” anecdotalevidence, who’s work still remains scientifically controversial. In addition,the recommendation of completing palming up to 20 times a day lacks any proofof whether it has genuinely worked or if it benefited someone’s eyesight.Another technique recommended by Bates’ successors is the swinging of one’sbody with a very sharp focus on its movement and the movement of surroundings (Techniques: The Swings – Introduction, 2017). Although it mightseem promising, the website only offers a very superficial overview of thevarious swinging options and speaks about it with very flowery vocabulary.
Itis said that this technique causes a “healthier and more immediate connection”between the brain and eyes, yet avoids explaining the process as to how thishappens (Techniques: The Swings – Introduction, 2017). The importance ofthe brain when perceiving moving items is also discussed using formal terms,but there is no relevance to most of the words written and the companycontinues to spew their ideas without any scientific proof backing them up. Onemedicinal article published explains the “eye exercises” that Bates MethodInternational continues to babble about, which do seem slightly beneficial forstress release or just focus of attention (Rawstron JA, 2005). Many studies have attempted to provethe legitimacy of the claims made by this business, but there is “no clearscientific evidence” to prove how effective these techniques could be whentrying to improve eyesight. Anyone trying to improve eyesight by participating inthese exercises may be putting themselves in danger! Avoiding eyeglassescontinually and possibly every day may very easily worsen someone’s eyesightand put everybody in that individual’s proximity in danger. Not being able toperceive one’s surroundings correctly can lead to fatal accidents and mishaps,especially when driving a motor vehicle.
False hope can lead participants torefuse professional help for serious eye disorders, which may lead to verygrave conditions. A more plausible treatment option for those whose vision islacking is playing video games. As silly as it may sound, Daphne Maurer, adevelopmental psychologist completed research on those who have what she calls“visual deficits” (Dreifus, 2012). She tested seven individuals whose eyesight was stable for a long periodof time, and decided to expose them to video games in hopes of their visualacuity levels increasing; she concluded that these participants had “rewiring”of their brains by “allowing new connections” to be created as theirpsychological and physiological body are both responding to signals in videogames (Dreifus, 2012).