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William H. Bates

The Father of Natural Vision Improvement


Dr. Bates is considered the father of natural vision improvement. Through his intense curiosity about the inner workings of the eye, he discovered a completely disruptive way to understand both the cause and the cure for many of our modern vision problems. One of his primary achievements is connecting vision to the mental function. He believed that our eyes are directly influenced by our mental state because our eyes are made of brain tissue and are extensions of our brains.

Dr. Bates had a traditional background. He attended Cornell University and then Columbia Medical School. He became an ophthalmologist in New York City, and was considered an authority by members of his profession. But the more he learned, the more he began to challenge conventional thinking about vision and glasses.

He began to develop his own theory of accommodation (how the eye focuses). The prevailing theory of accommodation was, and still is, that the inflexibility of the curvature of the lens of the eye is the part that is responsible for farsightedness or presbyopia, what normally occurs in our 40s. For the opposite problem, myopia or nearsightedness, optometrists tell us that the eyes are abnormally long or, in other words, it is a structural problem. These explanations however do not account for the fact that the person had no history of a structural problem.

For years Dr. Bates felt there was something wrong about the procedure of prescribing glasses. He believed there must be another way to fix this issue since the lungs, heart, skin and other parts of the body can heal on their own. Why, he wondered, can’t eyes do as well? Dr. Bates gave up his NYC practice and went to the laboratory at Columbia University to study eyes. He put away everything he had learned in medical school and started experimenting on eyes with beginner’s mind. He also did something very unusual which was he carried his retinoscope with him, examining eyes out in the world as opposed to only in the doctor’s office. This way, he was able to witness the refractive state of the eyes in many different situations. He refracted the eyes of people who were happy and sad, angry and afraid. He spent a lot of his time with children in order to understand the root causes of vision problems. He discovered that the refractive state of the eye was not static as textbooks reported but were constantly in motion and often in tune with one’s emotional state.

Dr. Bates discovered that the eye is constantly moving and that refractive errors that cause vision problems are momentary and that mental strain and tension increased these problems and relaxation decreased it. The exercises that he developed are the foundation for the practices that you’ll find in the Advanced Vision Support program. But the most important part of these exercises is not the exercises themselves. It is doing them without strain. Relaxation is what our eyes and bodies need to not only feel better but to see better.

Computers and screens make unprecedented demands on our eyes. They need as much regular care as our teeth. If you’re brushing every day, you can also start brushing your eyes everyday with our simple practices to relax and rejuvenate your eyes. Your future self will thank you!

Advanced Vision Support

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