6 Bates Method Eye Exercises to Improve your Vision

Both my parents use glasses and so do most of the people I know. These days for whatever reason, it seems people of all ages are relying on glasses or contacts to see clearly. My neighbor’s son who is just 8 years old, my friends who are just turning 30, colleagues in office, elderly relatives – everyone! 

Bates Method Eye Exercises

I use the laptop to do my work daily, squinting at the screen without realizing it for many hours a day; you’d think it was inevitable that I’d eventually be joining this ‘elite’ club of people who view the world through a set of corrective lenses. But then again I’ve been using my laptop 10 hours a day for 8-9 years now, I've never seen an ophthalmologist and my vision is still naturally crystal clear.

How then, have I escaped the ‘inevitable'? The secret is that I have been using Bates Method eye exercises for a few years now to exercise my eyes intermittently, while I am working and even when I'm not.

If you want to achieve better eyesight without glasses, then learning about Bates Method eye exercises is the right way forward. Many years ago (1920 to be exact), Dr Bates identified the true causes of sight problems and formulated these “sure to work” techniques to improve vision. 

Followers of the Bates method found that they could avoid wearing glasses and even treat visual defects after they had occurred. 

Dr Bates has listed many simple methods for achieving natural visual correction, including diet, physical, mental and emotional factors, habits connected to how we see things, body posture and eye exercises etc.

Here are a few simple Bates Method eye exercises which you can do daily to improve your vision:

Near-to-far shifting of focus: Takes 1-1.5 minutes

How to do it – First you will need a photograph of anything which you like.

As you gaze at the photograph, hold your finger 6-12 inches in front of your face. Now focus on the minute details on your finger and you will see an illusion of 2 photographs in the background.

Next, in a relaxed way shift your focus to the photograph and zero in on a small button sized portion of it. In the foreground you will be seeing two fingers instead of one.


  • To improve your eyes' ability to change focus from near to distant objects and vice versa (a process called accommodation). This exercise is beneficial for both nearsighted and farsighted people.
  • To improve mind-eye coordination, so that your eyes follow directions from the mind.
  • To develop a balanced use of your eyes & increase your peripheral awareness.
  • To regain flexibility of the muscles surrounding the eyeball.

Over time due to bad visual habits, we might have gotten comfortable using one eye more than the other. So you may initially find it difficult to focus on the foreground or background which is required in this exercise, based on your visual habits. Continued practice of this exercise will activate the mind’s use of both eyes quickly.

Corner-to-corner eyeball shifting: Takes 1 minute

How to do it – 

Shift/swing your eyes from right to left alternately a few times, then stop. Repeat 5-6 times. 

The purpose –

  • To help your eyes relax and smooth out your eye movements.
  • To isolate and separate eye movement from head movement.
  • To reduce muscular strain and tension in your eyes, neck and head.
  • To increase the ability of the eyes to focus on one point (called central fixation).
  • To develop better control over the focusing mechanisms of our eyes.

Palming: Takes 1-1.5 minutes

How to do it –

Rub your palms together till they feel warm.

Cup your hands over your eyes with your fingers overlapping and resting on your forehead.

Ensure there is no contact between your palms and your eyelids; you should not apply pressure on them.

The Purpose – 

The sole aim is to completely relax and soothe your mind and eyes.

Look out for – 

Seeing sparks or dots of light indicates that you are releasing your mental strain & tension. This helps to cure eye strain, which leads to better vision.

As your eyes relax, it will become darker and you will stop seeing those sparks of light.

Coordinated head & eye movements: Takes 1 minute

How to do it –

Imagine there is a pen pointing out from the tip of your nose. Now imagine you are drawing by moving your head & eyes. Draw a rectangle in a clockwise direction, then draw an ‘X’ covered at the top and bottom, next draw a rectangle in the anti-clockwise direction and finally draw the ‘X’ in the opposite direction as well.

Follow this by moving only your eyes and create the rectangle and the ‘X’. 

Repeat 10 times. 

The purpose is to achieve relaxation of your eye muscles.

Things to look out for – 

Are you holding your breath while doing this? If yes, it means you are unduly straining yourself, trying to see. Keep breathing and allow yourself to blink when you need to.

Do you feel tension in your neck/shoulders or jaws? If so, do some head rolls to relax; remember that the intention of these exercises is to help you relax the strained muscles and thereby help them work better.

Do you feel an illusion of movement, thereby making you feel the imaginary picture you are drawing is moving in the opposite direction from your head and eyes? This indicates that you are moving your eyes in a relaxed fashion, which is what we want.

Eye stretches – Takes 3 minutes

How to do it – 

First close your eyes and relax your temples, forehead, neck, shoulders and head and breathe easily. Now imagine your face to be a clock with your nose at the center. Stretch your eyes all the way up and then down; then while stretching your eyes, also rotate it in a clockwise and then in anticlockwise direction. Repeat each position/movement 20 times. Relax.

The Purpose –

To reduce the pressure in your eyes and thereby relax them. 

To tone the six muscles that surround each eye and control eyeball movement.

Eye squeezes: Takes 1 minute

How to do it – 

Inhalation: Squeeze all the muscles in your face by tightly shutting your eyes while inhaling and hold your breath for a few seconds.

Exhalation: Exhale quickly, while stretching your eyes and mouth wide open, letting out a sigh. This releases all the tension in your body as well. 

Repeat 5 times each.

Purpose – 

  • Aimed at improving blood and oxygen supply to your eyes and face.
  • To break any squinting habit and release any tension, thus relaxing the eye muscles.

All in all, these Bates Method eye exercises take just about 8-10 minutes to do. You can see results after just a few days of use, with incredible benefits occurring after a few months of regular use. There are certain additional methods suggested by Dr Bates to improve eyesight naturally such as the Mind’s Eye Visualization, Memory Visualization and Spectrum Visualization and Swinging, which are again simple treatment methods you can use to achieve visual correction.

Using eye exercises is a powerful component of a whole system of small lifestyle changes that have been shown to improve eyesight naturally so you can throw away your glasses or never need them in the first place. To learn about a whole visual therapy system for improving eye health, I highly suggest you take a look at How To Improve Eyesight Naturally.

Click here to visit How To Improve Eyesight Naturally

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