Based on my self-observed vision habits and on concepts I gleaned from reading the Better Eyesight Magazines (BEM), I have decided that the main habits I need to focus on are shifting, imagining, and blinking. Along with these, something that is just as important, is the need to wear any strength of glasses less. I have figured out that the reason I don’t go without glasses more often is because my vision is still pretty poor without them. I believe that my vision is poor without (and even with) glasses because I still have the habit of staring, and Bates clearly identified staring as a type/result of straining in the visual system.
Quotes from BEM:
Shift your glance constantly from one point to another, seeing the part regarded best and other parts not so clearly. That is, when you look at a chair, do not try to see the whole object at once; look first at the back of it, seeing that part best and other parts worse. Remember to blink as you quickly shift your glance from the back to the seat and legs, seeing each part best, in turn. This is central-fixation with shifting.
Do not look at anything longer than a fraction of a second without shifting.
Question- Dr. Bates says that in reading fine print one should look between the lines. Is this not contrary to the principles of central fixation? To see the print best, should one not look directly at it? Answer- One can look between the lines and shift to the black letters with central fixation.
By this is meant, seeing best the point regarded and other points not so clearly. With normal sight, the point regarded shifts constantly. The vision is always imperfect if the letters are not seen, one part best.
Your head and eyes are moving all day long. Imagine that stationary objects are moving in the direction opposite to the movement of your head and eyes. When you walk about the room or on the street, notice that the floor or pavement seems to come toward you, while objects on either side appear to move in the direction opposite to the movement of your body.
The white part of all letters is also imagined to be whiter than other parts of the test card, where there are no letters.
Improving the memory and imagination is one of the quickest methods of curing myopia.
Imagine things are moving all the time. When riding in a railroad train, when one looks out of the car window, telegraph poles and other objects, although they are stationary, appear to be moving. To stop the movement is impossible, and the effort to do so may be very uncomfortable. The greater the effort, the greater the discomfort, and is the cause of heart sickness, headaches and nausea. It can be demonstrated that any movement of the head and eyes produces an apparent movement of stationary objects.
As a general rule when one can imagine these white spaces between the lines are whiter than the rest of the card, halos, the black appears more perfectly black and the letters can be read with normal vision. Halos are imagined, not seen. Imagination of the illusion of the halos is a quick cure of myopia and astigmatism, as well as other cases of imperfect sight.
Blink frequently. Staring is a strain and always lowers the vision.
The importance of practicing certain parts of the routine treatment at all times, such as blinking, central-fixation, shifting and imagining stationary objects to be moving opposite to the movement of his head and eyes, is stressed. The normal eye does these things unconsciously, and the imperfect eye must at first practice them consciously until it becomes an unconscious habit.
All patients with imperfect sight unconsciously stare, and should be reminded by those who are near to them to blink often. To stare is to strain. Strain is the cause of imperfect sight.
Blink. Never stop blinking.
Notice that when things become too blurred that you are staring, that you have forgotten to blink.
Question- When I look at an object and blink, it appears to jump with each blink. Would this be considered the short swing? Answer- Yes. You unconsciously look from one side to the other of the object when blinking.
Blinking is one of the best methods that may be employed to obtain relaxation or rest.
Blinking when done properly is slow, short, and easy.
One may open and close the eyes an innumerable number of times in one second, and do so unconsciously.
Question- Can one blink too quickly and too often? Answer- The normal eye blinks quickly, easily and frequently. Blinking can be done correctly or incorrectly. Some people, when they are told to blink, squeeze their eyes shut, or close them too slowly and then open them spasmodically, which is wrong . When the normal eye blinks, things are seen continuously.
Blinking is fundamental and very important, because one cannot shift frequently or continuously with improvement in the vision, unless the eyes blink often.
Blinking is a rapid method of resting the eyes and can be practiced unconsciously all day long, regardless of what one may be doing.
Shifting, blinking, and imagining stationary objects to be moving, can be practiced at all times and in all places, no matter what you may be doing.
The normal eye blinks more frequently or more continuously under adverse conditions as when the illumination is diminished, the distance is increased or the print read is too pale or otherwise imperfect. The distraction of conversation, noise, reflections of light, objects so arranged as to be difficult to see, all increase the frequency of blinking of the normal eye with normal sight.
I also read this article recently about a study in Japan that seems to indicate that blinking provides temporary rest for the brain’s work. I think Dr. Bates would fully agree with that idea.