Bates Method International

There Is Nothing To Do

Age: 49 Condition: Presbyopia

by Margit McIntosh

I am a woman of forty-nine years and have never worn glasses so far.

About three years ago, my son, then about ten, told me that he could not see the writing on the blackboard at school very well and that he also sometimes suffered from double vision.

We had his eyes tested and were told that he was severely short sighted in one eye and was also short sighted in the other eye and that he would need glasses immediately.

I then remembered Bates. My husband, who has been wearing glasses since he was eight, had picked a book somewhere a few years ago called "Better Eyesight without Glasses" by W. H. Bates. He read it with great interest, showing parts of it to me and discussing it with me. We were both quite intrigued by it and I now remember very clearly that the method was supposed to work best on people that had never worn glasses and especially on children.

So I resisted the temptation to buy glasses for Danny and looked for a Bates teacher. It took me a long time to find one - over a year, and it was very difficult for us. I was disturbed and afraid that I was responsible for causing more harm to Danny’s eyes by not doing anything for so long and I got quite desperate.

Meanwhile, I too needed help with my eyes. I had taken up embroidery and found that I had great difficulty with small stitches and especially with threading a needle. In fact, the eye of the needle was just a blur and it was " hit and miss" whether I would be able to thread it. I had to make several attempts each time – it was time-consuming and frustrating! I also could not read small print on packages and tins in the supermarket anymore.

In time, I noticed that I had developed pain and strain around the eyes. The pain became more and more pronounced and frequent and I found that massaging the area and closing the eyes to rest them did not help. The optician that I went to see for a test told me that I needed reading glasses, and that my eyesight had deteriorated because of my age and would continue to do so.

So when I found Julie about two years ago, I was more than relieved. She said that Danny and myself could share a lesson (which reduced the cost and also was a lot of fun). From then on, we went to see her for an hour every month until this September.

For me the result of the first lesson was immediate and astounding. At the end of it, I noticed that the pain I had suffered around and behind the eyes when I first arrived, had disappeared completely. It was such a relief and I felt altogether very well and relaxed when I left.

I cannot remember the exact details of the many times we went to see Julie, but I do know that my eyesight improved noticeably after only a few lessons. I have to say that I never did do the exercises at home and actually improved only from the lessons!

I found that the pain and strain from which I had suffered disappeared after each meeting for longer and longer periods of time. Now it is quite a rarity - I do know what to do and then I carry out the exercises at home – usually after very long sessions of sewing

I find now that I can integrate certain aspects of the techniques into everyday life as often as I remember. This means that I look at things in a different way and this takes the strain out of looking. There is a distinct sensation of "pulling back" from the eyes, which is very pleasant to me. It feels as if I then see from the back of the head rather than from the front part and my periphery widens.

The lessons have always been enjoyable. There are some techniques that I like more than others but there have been none that I have disliked. I have been amazed by all the different things we do; it is rather like playing together.

I can now thread my needle easily (first time!) and can see the eye clearly. There is some small print on tins and packages that I still cannot read but it really has to be very tiny and is not a problem to me. I can read anything normal with ease.

I have spoken about my experiences with the Bates Method to other people, but I have found surprisingly little interest. There is often a moment’s silence and maybe a little embarrassment. I feel people just do not believe it and do not want to say so directly. Only one person has so far enquired into what I do. The optician I also talked to about it does not take it seriously and says that it cannot work and implores me to buy glasses to avoid trouble. My family is horrified: they are opposed to anything alternative and believe doctors and opticians are always right!

Well, I know that it helps me to see better and feel better and I am grateful for it!

Margit McIntosh
September, 2000

Case History copyright © by Margit McIntosh