(Investigator 22, 1992 January)
If you stare at the sun you risk damage to your retina.
This is why a reader of Investigator prepared a Press Release after encountering advertising material which offered improved eyesight via Bates eye exercises.
A book by H M Peppard (1940), based on Bates' method advocates facing the sun, eyes closed, flashing them open without directly looking at the sun but directing the glance "closer and closer to the sun" as the exercise proceeds. (pp 52-53)
The early medical career of Dr William Horatio Bates (1860-1931) was impressive and included lecturing in ophthalmology at the New York Postgraduate Medical School (1886-1891).
Then in 1920 he
CURE OF IMPERFECT
BY TREATMENT WITHOUT GLASSES. Bates claimed that nearsightedness,
and astigmatism are due to an "abnormal condition of the mind". He
- "Nose writing" entailed closing the eyes, pretending the nose was an 8-inch long pencil and writing imaginary signatures in the air.
- "Palming" involved placing the hands over the eyes and imagining total blackness.
- "Shift & swing" involved moving or shifting their eyes from side to side so that objects appear also to swing from side to side.
reading in a
dim light or in very bright light. The most risky exercise attempted to
strengthen eyesight by repeated brief glances at the sun!
Many clients did report improved sight. Critics attributed this to: