Date: 06 Apr 2000
Regarding Question 16 on your list of FAQs - Do I have to stop wearing glasses completely? I was surprised at your advice. I've just read "Better Eyesight with Glasses" by Bates from cover to cover. However, I was a bit disheartened to read in Chapter 20 'Home Treatment' that: "It is absolutely necessary that glasses be discarded. No halfway measures can be tolerated if complete relief is desired. Do not wear weaker glasses and do not wear glasses for emergencies. People who are unable to do without glasses for all purposes (my emphasis) are unlikely to be able to cure themselves". Although, I was feeling a bit disheartened by this, as I found it extremely difficult to go without glasses all the time, I was surprised (but happy!) at your less strict view on the complete discarding of glasses. Do you recognise Bates's view on this as stated in the book? and how did you come to your more lenient (contradictory?) conclusions about leaving them off when it's convenient and having the strength progressively reduced?
It's important to note that your quote comes from a chapter on Home Treatment - the implication being that there is no teacher involved. Usually if a person's eyesight is too poor to do without glasses (for all purposes) then they would be very likely to need professional guidance to help them to see without their glasses and without strain. I think Bates was implying that home treatment was not advised for people in this condition as they would strain too much while trying out the method.
In teaching such people I occasionally (as do many other Bates Teachers in the UK) will help with a program of reduced prescription lenses - thus the person still has some room for improvement, without the Method disrupting their daily tasks. Getting reduced prescriptions can really only be safely done in conjunction with guidance - there is an enormous pressure to make an effort when things are 'almost in focus' so learning to release the habit of strain is paramount.
And of course, the reduced prescription glasses do not have to be worn continuously, so the main practice of the Method takes place without glasses.