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April 24, 1948


JAMA. 1948;136(17):1100-1101. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890340026011

In 1920 William H. Bates published a book, " Perfect Sight Without Glasses," in which he advanced the hypothesis that visual derangements and refractive errors are due to a deformation of the eyeball resulting from a nervous and muscular strain from the superior and inferior oblique muscles and that the ciliary muscle has nothing to do with focusing the eye. He developed a corrective treatment consisting of eye exercises described as " blinking," " winking," " nose reading," " palming " and " sunning." Established clinical and scientific observations do not support the Bates thesis. Lancaster1 felt, however, that " buried in a mass of what to the ophthalmologists seem foolish gestures and performances, there are sound and fruitful ideas." Since seeing is only half ocular, according to Lancaster's statement, the other half being cerebral, repetition, practice and exercise are capable of building up a substratum of memories useful for the interpretation of sensation and formation of