Bates Method, No Glasses vs. Glasses, the Blur Horizon

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Bates Method, No Glasses vs. Glasses, the Blur Horizon

There is a bit of a repeating theme of common questions regarding Bates Method and not wearing glasses, both in my e-mail box and the forum.  Some of this is covered in the FAQ, but it bears repeating (and extending upon), once in a while.

Here are the key points to remember:

  • Myopia is a symptom of close-up strain.  High myopia is close-up strain + wearing a full minus prescription while focused up-close.
  • Not wearing any glasses, living in blur = Visual cortex signal error = Strain
  • Strain = Increased risk of more myopia.

While the idea of not wearing glasses is fundamentally a good instinct, we have to consider the severity of the myopia, and the focal distance in question.  If you are -3D and don’t wear glasses just for close-up, that is an excellent idea.  If you are a -6D, not wearing glasses at close-up might have you end up with neck and shoulder pain (unnecessarily), being so close to the screen.

Likewise, being a -3D not wearing glasses for distance vision, accomplishes nothing. Now everything is always blurred, it is frustrating both to you consciously, and your visual processing system. If you are a -6D and never wear glasses, rather than fighting myopia, you probably end up falling into an open manhole cover one day.

What we want, instead, is prescription(s) that cover just the visual range we need, for close-up, and for distance. This means two prescriptions (for a lot of us), both of which allow us to see clearly for their applicable distance, but include a blur horizon (at the maximum useful distance, we start to get some blur).

Bates Method is a bit of a silly proposition on several levels. First, exercise is much less effective than lifestyle and habit changes (as I advocate in the #endmyopia Method). Second, the premise of living with blur, accomplishes nothing.

Here is a recent forum question, which covers this subject quite appropriately:

Q I’m not sure what glasses I should be wearing right now. My strongest glasses are -5 diopters in both eyes. I’d been doing the Bate’s Method until I realized it was not, or hardly, working, and I joined this program. According to the centimeter test calculator on this site, my vision is between -4.25 and -4.5 diopters (both eyes). I had been spending most of my time wearing no glasses at all, which was recommended by the Bate’s Method. For the past few days, I started wearing glasses that I own that are -4 diopters. I don’t own any glasses that are in between.

Yesterday I started noticing, after putting on the full -5 diopters for a couple minutes in the morning, that I was suddenly very aware of the remaining blur when I wear -4 diopters. To follow your program, I went ahead and ordered both a reduced prescription for near use and a full -4.5 prescription for distance, but they are not expected to arrive for two weeks.

In the meantime, should I wear the slightly reduced -4 or the too-strong -5 diopters? I’m worried that, although I see razor-sharp with the -5, they will make my eyes worse since they are in fact too strong for me.


AWhat we want, in fact, rather than blur, is sharp, clear vision at least most of the time. Depending on how aggressive you want to get (after you find active focus – which may take a bit of time), you can adjust the blur horizon of this concept of having a good prescription:

The blur horizon, in a differential prescription, is usually somewhere around 50cm (depending on what’s ergonomically comfortable for you). So you can see sharply within the range of where you are reading/working, but if you move back till there is some blur, you are still within the comfortable ergonomic range of your work. This way you have the correct prescription to work on active focus, and also the lowest possible prescription to see clearly.

With the normalized prescription, it is much the same story. Decide where you need your blur horizon, choose prescription accordingly. You want part of your vision to give you the option for some blur, that you can then make an effort to clear. The distance of this varies from case to case, but the common theme is always the same – blur = strain. We don’t want strain. We do want an accessible blur horizon for stimulus work, and to confirm that we have the lowest applicable prescription.

I am glad to have this forum for discussion. There are some interesting topics coming up, and interaction happening (I am quite excited to see this).  I hope that this is helpful to you in uncovering the flaws in various methods, both the standard modern single prescription theory, and old concepts like Bates Method.


2017-01-20T03:05:23+00:00 By |Categories: Bates Method, How To's, Myopia|Tags: |

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