Subject: No discussion about prevention of nearsightedness – would be complete without evaluating the objective success of Dr. Bates.

Starting point:  Read Dr. Bates original work, here:

Bates did is study – before there was any real “hard science” to support his idea.  But this much is correct:



By W. H. BATES, M.D.,
New York

“Myopia with elongation of the eyeball is incurable. It is usually acquired during school life. Acute myopia, spasm of the accommodation, or functional myopia is an early stage of incurable myopia. “


He was correct in the idea that prevention must start – before you begin wearing a minus lens (the presumed solution).  The implication is that the minus lens, “prescribed” to solve the problem, is creating “eye-elongation”, is making the problem incurable.

Some people prefer using exclusively “Bates” as a method to clear their Snellen back to normal.  Others will use a “mix” of methods – with the “core” method being the use of a plus for all close work.



2 responses to “BATES

  1. My respect for Dr. Bates and his efforts:

    1) Dr. Bates had the courage and fortitude to conduct the world’s FIRST prevention study (restricted to pseudo-myopia, which he objectively defined as reading a Snellen at from 20/30 to 20/100, or about -1.5 diopters, self measured using a Snellen and trial-lens kit.)

    2) Some degree of success was obtained in about one year – as he stated in his publication.

    3) He did not get each student “intellectually interested” in their own study. (He should have – because personal, or enlightened self-interest is the key to a successful study.)

    4) In my opinion, he did the right thing to conducted the study, however some of his concepts are misconceptions. (That is not a complaint – since the “official theory” by Dr. Helmholtz – has even worse misconceptions.)

    5) Bates does transfer full responsibility to the person himself – to get his Snellen Chart to “reasonable normal” – by that I mean pass the DMV requirement of 20/40 or better.

    6) Although I believe the “plus” is more effective, I support all who wish to use these methods to pass the DMV, and then read the 20/20 line – again.

    I personally

    1) Wear a plus for all close work.

    2) I do not ask a person to do – what I am not willing to do.

    3) I verify my vision with a chart that is IDENTICAL to the one used in a MDs office.

    4) I agree that an MD or OD – can not do – what I MUST do for myself.

    5) There is no doubt but that it does take a lot of persistence to wear the plus and slowly go from 20/60 to 20/40 – and then to 20/20.

    6) When Dr. Bates conducted this study, there was NO objective science to either support or deny his statements. (i.e., objective primate studies). He made an “estimate”, that long-term near had no effect o the eye’s refractive state. This is one statement that has been proven to be inaccurate. If that statement were corrected, a better study could be instituted – in my opinion.

    Pilots manage to clear their visual acuity with a plus – because their goal is very strong – and they know the consequence for their career if they do not succeed.

    Ultimately, success is personal. Respect the person’s intelligence, teach him about an honest choice, and, with a starting Snellen of 20/60, and -1.5 diopters status, he could probably get back to 20/40 or better in about six months.

  2. The “Official” optometrist opinion on “Myopia Prevention”. I will summarize.

    IT WILL ALWAYS BE IMPOSSIBLE. THE USE OF A PLUS (AT 20/40) SHOULD BE PROHIBITED. But form your own opinion from this video:

    When a person (optometrist) gives up on you (when at 20/40, and -3/4 diopters) you have a right to know that the optometrist has no interest in YOU protecting your distant vision through the school years.

    I do not blame ODs for “giving up” on true-prevention, but that means I must take responsibility to protect *my* distant vision, because they state that prevention with a plus is impossible.

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