I was a bit hesitant at first to post this because of the anti-Bates sentiments of our beloved Eye Guru . But I’ve heard Jake say several times that he respects Doctor Bates himself, but what he actually dislikes, is the modern interpretation of the Bates method. Therefore, I think we should be able to discuss this here…
Anyway, I’ve been learning about the research and theories of Doctor Bates over the last few months. Bates proposed a radically different mechanism for accommodation. Unfortunately, he felt the need to completely reject the generally accepted theory about accommodation, put forward by Helmholtz, which states that accommodation is accomplished through the action of the ciliary muscle by changing the curvature of the lens. I think it’s because of this attitude that people now in turn reject Bates’ theory. But after reading Bates’ writings, I feel we should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that the external eye muscles also play a role in accommodation. I think it’s quite plausible that both mechanisms are work here, complementing each other. After discovering active focus I’ve given this a lot of thought, because to me it really feels like active focus is not some action of the ciliary muscle but rather of the external eye muscles.
But first let me share the story of how I found active focus:
I was never able to find active focus by looking at text (or anything else) closeup. To me the difference between a tiny bit of blur and complete clarity is just too subtle (probably due in part to some uncorrected astigmatism). So I struggled with it a lot and was almost about to give up on active focus, when I suddenly found it by looking in the distance. I had stopped wearing glasses outdoors (perfectly doable at around -2.5D). Then one day I was able to get a big text sign at about 150 m distance to clear up from an indistinct grey smudge to blurry but readable text by (I don’t know how else to describe it) giving it a stern look… So I started to practice this with text, power lines, electricity pylons and fine tree branches. At first it took me several minutes and considerable effort each time, but after 2 or 3 days I could consistently do this at will. I then started to wear my normalized glasses outdoors and noticed active focus now happens almost automatically and leads to complete crisp clarity. Obviously, it is much easier with the glasses because the amount of blur to overcome is much smaller.
So, based on these experiences and the way active focus feels to me, I believe that active focus is accomplished by tensing the external eye muscles, specifically the 4 recti muscles. I think that for the following reasons:
- I don’t believe the ciliary muscle can be controlled by any conscious effort. The external eye muscles however, can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously.
- When there is no more ciliary muscle spasm, the ciliary muscle should be completely relaxed (and the lens as flat as it can get) when looking in the distance. Any remaining blur is then due to axial elongation of the eyeball. So, the only way to reduce the blur in this situation would be to shorten the eyeball.
- It seems plausible that one should be able to shorten/flatten the eyeball to some degree by flexing the 4 recti muscles simultaneously, just as flexing both oblique muscles simultaneously (like tightening a belt) would slightly elongate the eyeball.
- When pushing my active focus to the max (as I did when I first found it), sometimes my eyes move a bit in various directions. I figure this is due to unequal tension in the external eye muscles.
- The first few days after I discovered active focus, I would get a dull ache around the eyes at the end of the day, from working those muscles so hard.
So, that’s my theory… I’m no ophthalmologist, optometrist, biologist or any other sort of expert, and all of this is just based on my subjective experiences. But I’m curious how other people here think about this.