“Many people ask me what I call my treatment… I really have no name to give it unless I can say that my methods are the methods employed by the normal eye.”

– William H. Bates, M.D.


William Horatio Bates, MD

Dr. William H. Bates, (1860 – 1931) was an opthamalogist who, in the early 1900’s developed the educational method of Natural Vision Improvement now known as the Bates Method.

In his practice and research Dr. Bates found that mental and physical strain caused blurry vision as well as most eye conditions. According to Dr. Bates, this leads to chronic strain in the muscles of the eyes, affecting the shape of the eyeball and causing errors of refraction; Focused light rays do not land exactly on the retina as they should, and vision becomes blurry.

The Bates Method of Natural Vision Improvement involves letting go of this strain and relearning to use the eyes with ease.

“This strain, when it is habitual, leads to all sorts of abnormal conditions and is, in fact, at the bottom of most eye troubles, both functional and organic”.

– William H. Bates, M.D.


In his research and practice, Dr. Bates discovered the principles of natural clear eyesight:

  • Relaxation
  • Movement
  • Centralization

And the means of applying these principles by practicing the habits of natural clear eyesight::

  • Breathing
  • Blinking
  • Sketching

Dr. Bates taught students to relearn these principles, re-establish these habits and let go of their acquired habits of mental and physical strain. Letting go of their effort to see resulted in reduced tension in the eye muscles, decreased blur and improved eyesight.