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Thread: The Bates Method and Other Eye-Related Quackery

  1. #1
    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    The Bates Method and Other Eye-Related Quackery

    For the first time in a long while, I took a look at the news://sci.med.vision Usenet news group and was not-so-surprised to see a couple of discussions on the alleged merits of the Bates Method for 'curing' myopia. Although these claims have never been shown to have any scientific validity whatsoever, people continue to belive in them regardless of the evidence or facts surrounding the physiology of myopia.

    How many of you are familiar with Bates' claims that his method of eye exercises could reverse and even cure myopia? Do you ever have to deal with patients, friends or family who ask about this method? Did anyone ever tryto claim that this method cured or drastically improved their vision? If so, how did you deal with these questions or claims?

    If you've ever encountered this, you may want to read this article on Eye-Related Quackery on the Quackwatch site.


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    RETIRED JRS's Avatar
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    Worked some years back with a person that went around with a pencil - doing one of the exercises... all day long. He drove us all nuts with his pencil.

    Knew him for 30 years, and he wore glasses until he died. Never did him any good.
    J. R. Smith


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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    "scuse me!

    In 1958 Dr. Paul Dudley White, M.D., Pres of the AMA said there was no justification for the use of vitamins as a therapy and that it was quackery.

    For 6,000 years the Chinese practiced acupuncture and in 1981 the AMA said it was pure quackery. Don't tell me the Chinese are dumb!

    As far back as 1968 (the extent of my recollection) The Optometric Extension Program (OEP) has experienced academic and professional prejudice, being accused of exotic optometric quackery.

    What constitutes a primary component in cancer therapy today?
    Why are there MD's and several branches of medicine using accupuncture?
    And, why are there so many "neurooptometrists" using several of the principles of OEP optometry? In fact, the doc I am with, while not being an OEP practitioner, understands and applies from his education at the Illinois College of Optometry, several of the concepts I knew when I visited the University of the Pacific Optometry School in Forest Grove, Oregon.

    There are a lot of "debates" about Bates!
    Personally, I'm amused that it has been around so long and has never failed to defend itself in the courts. Perhaps it will be respected after 6,000 years. Maybe optometry will shine its countenance on Bates after some of the OD's start using Bates instead of Chiropractors. Who knows?

    I am not advocating Bates. Not qualified. But, after being around so long as an "occult" therapy, seems to me that sooner or later the walls of prejudice may start coming down.

    That's my take. Thanks.

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    I understand what you're saying Alan, but the simple fact is that just because one forum of treatment used to be called 'quackery' and later turned out not to be, does not mean that everything considered quackery will prove to be valuable at some time in the future. The fact remains there are, and will always be, quacks and quack treatments. Does anyone seriously think that the Bates Method will ever prove to anything but pseudoscience?

    If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck,.... :D


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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    Granted . . .

    Your logic is sound and empiracle (sp?)
    The healing sciences are a science until placed in the hands of the practitioner. From then on its an art. Sorry!
    It wasn't until there was scientific verification that the vitamin issue so on and so forth became validated as a therapy.
    As I said . . . and you can call it pseudoscience as you wish, I think I'll continue seeing my acupuncturist. I was sent there by an MD who said: "If anyone ever asks if I sent you there, I'll deny it.!"

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    Independent Problem Optiholic edKENdance's Avatar
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    I often use the "bates" method for escaping and general relaxation. Things get kinda lonely when the wife leaves on a trip. er.... ooops, uh, wrong board.:cheers:

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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    edKENdance

    I was sitting here having a beer looking at my computer reading your reply.
    I just finished wiping off the beer I sprayed all over!
    That was good....very good.
    Who writes your material?


    Thanks,
    Alan

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Re: Granted . . .

    Alan W said:
    As I said . . . and you can call it pseudoscience as you wish, I think I'll continue seeing my acupuncturist. I was sent there by an MD who said: "If anyone ever asks if I sent you there, I'll deny it.!"
    Huh? I never said acupuncture was pseudoscience. In fact science has verified that there may be some validity to it because the procedure has been shown to release endorphins (nature's morphine!) into the system. However no one has been able to confirm the existence of the body's vital energy (called chi or qi.) More likely any affects from acupuncture are due to endorphins and the placebo effect.

    http://www.quackwatch.com/01Quackery...opics/acu.html


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    Bad address email on file Tim Hunter's Avatar
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    We occasionally seee the Bates method book being clutched by a believer, haven't seen any proof of it's effectiveness. We also occasionally get asked/told about iridology, I have the same certainty in the ability to identify bodily dysfunction from iris pigmentation as I do for Mr Bates's Methods.

    Reminds me of Captain Pugwash (UK in-joke.)

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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    We are going nowhere in this conversation

    and it seems to be going personal.

    I am sorry that happened.
    In 1973, in an article in JAMA, accupuncture was described as occult and no scientific. I am not accusing you, Steve of saying that, nor am I defending Bates or anything else.

    I am saying that many concepts and even drugs that have origins outside conventional scientific development, evolve as a test of time, into legitimate therapeutic devices etc.

    Who knows what will be discovered about Bates or anything else. The Foxglove plant and St John's Wort all were looked upon at one time as occult and even witchcraft. The Foxglove became Digitalis, and St Johns Wort became recognized as a form of antidepressent (although somewhat crude, I suppose.)

    My apologies if you attributed my statement to anything you said directly. I am referring to what has happened over time in other instances. You obviously are better acquainted with a technique of therapy that modern medicine rejected for decades until most recently. That's exactly my point.

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Alan, I don't disagree with the fact that procedures formerly considered quackery have later been found to have some merit. This has been true throughout history. The 'leading authorities' always have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. In fact, this (along with wishful thinking) is what continues to draw people to the Bates Method. Some people want to believe that Eyecare Professionals are ignoring and ridiculing a procedure that is both cost-effective and against their own financial interests. Sadly there's enough cases of this kind of behaviour throughout history that such claims are easy to believe. My main point is that just because this may be true in some cases, it does not stand to reason that it's true in all cases. Quackery exists - like it or not.

    For this reason I believe it's not wise to suspend skepticism when confronted with claims that: 1) defy what is known of the physical world, and 2) promise miraculous cures 'ignored' by modern medicine. Skeptism is not cynicism. It's a way of life involving critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze claims logically and reasonably. The Bates method has been around long enough to provide proponets the opportunity to prove their hypothesis by conducting clinical trials based on sound experimental design. They haven't been able to provide any such evidience. Coupled with the fact that this theory defies what we know of human visual physiology, it's irresponsible to roll over and play dead when confronted with claims like this.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.


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    Master OptiBoarder Texas Ranger's Avatar
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    Smilie

    When I first started in retail in '70, we had an Ophthalmologist in Fort Worth that over the years developed a unique practice that most doctors thought was quackery; it involved the treatment of visual abnormalities by treating the pts alergies. he was remarkably successful in his efforts, and yet, when it was time to retire a few years back, he couldn't sell his practice to another ophthalmologist, they didn't believe in his methods; a few thousand pts had to scramble for a new doctor....I have seen many pts over the years that had visual problems that were unrelated to refractive error, which is always amazing that pts go to an MD, and most miss the correlation to other physialogical problems, especially allergies....

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Interesting. Do you know what his theoretical basis for this was? I could imagine allergies impacting pressure in the eyes which could cause problems. Also the same mechanism that causes itchy and watery eyes could contribute to visual problems.

    Alan is right when he says that just all new ideas are not automatically 'quackery' just because they are not seriously considered by the medical community. If that were the case, we'd never have progress.


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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    Mr/Dr Bates will stand in judgement eventually

    Sooner or later some optometris or ophthalmologist will say.....
    Hmmmm, that Bates method.
    All along I thought it was quackery.
    But, when my own mother-in-law saw the chiropractor and now I see a difference . . . I think I'll take a closer look at it.
    And, then the investigations begin.
    If you are expecting a Congressional Committee to investigate it, or grant some institution the bucks, or some formalized study . . . don't hold your breadth.
    I hate to tell you this....I've been part of a lot of clinical studies and investigations through the Eleanor Doheny Clinic and the Braille Institute.
    I've news for you . . . It all ain't hibrow scientific stuff the way it is in the world of chemistry and physics....da dah da dah da dah.
    You will never believe how some of these studies suddenly get funded. And, with respect to Bates . . . . Either it didn't cure some ophthalmologists mother in law, or it just simply is too obscure to be worth looking at. But, certainly, I haven't seen any grants issued to Baylor to study alternative medicine to include Bates. But, I guaranty you....the minute some movie star takes off the specs and the contacts and yells out "Bates did it" . . . there will be some attention on it. That's when the fireworks will begin.
    Until then . . . where the heck did I put my +2.75's? They must be around here someplace. Confound it! I hate these readers. I wish there was some alternative to wearing glasses . . . . like . . . . . . nah!

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Re: Mr/Dr Bates will stand in judgement eventually

    Alan W said:
    Sooner or later some optometris or ophthalmologist will say.....
    Hmmmm, that Bates method.
    All along I thought it was quackery.
    Care to make a wager on that? ;)

    Alan, If I tell you there's an invisible elephant in the room with you right now and only I have the power to detect him, are you going to withhold judgment until I can be proven wrong? After all you have absolutely no way of proving there isn't one, right?

    Skepticism is a healthy thing my friend?! :D


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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    You raise a good point, Steve

    And, yes I'll make a wager on that.
    I've spent 25 years in the clinical world.
    I certainly would be foolish to deny that which I have experienced.
    I've been there when and where some of it happened.
    U of Iowa, U of Minnesota, Jules Stein. There are studies initiated from a research initiative and there are studies from a clinical initiative.
    Let's not confuse them.
    Techniques are developed on several fronts. Many of them are surgical. Some are not. Leaning on the pillar of scientific investigation as the only means to advancement is not quite valid. There are some Dr. Dudes who take risks. And, that isn't in a test tube. And, a lot of them emerge from the other side as pioneers. The history of cataract surgery is a lot of "bootstrap" clinical work that later becomes validated with statistical and other scientific study. The Russians (who we learned PK surgery from) screwed up big time along the way. But, they aren't exactly barbarians. When we got it......the American medical establishment stuck out its chest and said in a deep professorial voice: "Yes..... our investigations tell us it works!"
    Meanwhile the Russians smerked.
    How much ya wanna bet?
    How 'bout an In and Out Burger!

    P.S. Let's keep the skepticism up. And, when you can light a fire under some researchers . . let me know about Bates. One sure fire way to get Bates investigated: Make a false claim that it cures cancer. That'll get the ball rolling! By the way...is that the same Bates that killed and preserved his own mother?
    NORRRRRMAN!

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    You're missing one critical difference between Bates and the other discoveries that have later turned out to be true (or substantially so.) The other discoveries had sound theories based on actual data and a growing knowledge physical properties. The Bates Method has neither. In fact his theories fly in the face of what we now about the physiology of the eye, optics and visual systems.

    So what about that elephant? Is he bothering you? ;)


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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    OK . . . .

    I'm done!
    But, fella.....
    you better have a few bucks cause I'm gonna eat In and Outs like they're going out of style.

    Peace, Bro!

    Luv yer good work!
    This business could use a couple more yous!

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    Master OptiBoarder sandeepgoodbole's Avatar
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    Arrow Defining the Medicine and The Qackery

    Any damn thing which makes the Consumer feel it is working to fight his ailment can be termed as a Medicine.
    Laws are more equally man made than Medicines.
    It is a matter of personal choice and satisfaction to select, belive, try , discard or follow the therapy.
    Quackery is a term which some times gets closer to robbery I am surprised, to see it in this form . In US, people are educated, well informed and having all sorts of utilities and facilities to verify the facts.
    In a country like India, Quackery is a proffession for many people.
    Here , you can see Ads claiming cure of TB by giving a Live Fish to Swallow.. and people who are otherwise 100% VEG, and nobaody in their last 20 generations have ever touched any non veg thing ,queue up at 4 AM with a assuarance that they will be provided free Bananas to make the fish in a VEG sandwitch .. this is pure Quackery, I suppose.
    Then, recently, we are having a Super Quackery .. The Japan Life..Multy level Marketting of some Magnetic Bed costing almost double the cost of a common Indian would spend for his whole house. The cream of our society is hooked behind closed door seminars in 5 star hotels where they bombard you with the Marketting of this rubbish concept and people bye those!
    There is much to be spent like water for some when some suffocate for few breaths.. those who can afford to brand a
    rubbish as Medicine do accordingly, those who cannot have a guarnteed sqaure meals twice a coming day, derive medicines from sunlight..soil.. the ash of the isence sticks in the temples and Churches..
    What is more immpossible..?
    To make the people having choices select the scientific way or
    To provide Fundamental Basic needs ?


    Sandeep

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    Surely you don't think an mediocre actress like Mariette Hartley would lie do you?

    Seriously there will be stuff like this as long as P.T. Barnham's statement is true.

    Two other tidbits on "related subjects".

    Accupunture causes arthritic sites (chinese don't live long enough to have this problem, we do).


    I had a couple of patients in Saturday, one is an old friend and pathologist, the other a biker surgical nurse. Each told me that they have autopsyied so many livers that were shot from tattoo's you might want to pass this on to your kid as a deterrant.

    Chip

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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    Chip

    I have never, ever, seen a liver . . .
    with a tattoo on it.

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    Master OptiBoarder Alan W's Avatar
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    One more and final note

    My son had major back surgery about a year ago.
    His surgeon, who has a PhD at Baylor, and is well regarded and his assistant commented as follows:

    Regarding Acupuncture: "I can't say no. I have many patients who have responded to it well."

    Regarding Arthritis: "You can expect arthritis to set in to some degree after the surgery. It is not uncommon."

    Regarding magnetic therapy: "There is no evidence to say it can be harmful unless you have a pacemaker. Some people get relief. If I were you I would thiink of that in the light of taking controlled drugs for extreme pain. It's you option. There is no proof it works."

    So, before you set down criteria as a lay person to determine the validity of either the method or the evaluations, think about what goes on in the privacy of an examining room when the patient is desparate for help, and the physician can't lay claim without hard medical evidence or fear of reprisal. I would hate to have someone who never had a patient in screeming pain make a decision because he read something or saw a website that opposed something. And, what do you have to say when the doctor says "Pray!" or what would you have said when the doctor can't quite figure out what happened to the tumor that shrunk and dissapeared . . . . "must be a miracle!" Let's not attribute "The sucker is born every day axiom" with the unexplainable occurence. As Einstein said: "If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it fall....did it make any noise?"

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    The 'Placebo Effect' is very real and has been validated in many studies. The truth is, if a patient believes in a particular treatment, then that treatment is slightly more likely to be effective than doing nothing at all.

    The 'catch' is that the placebo effect only works with conditions that are generally temporary and capable of self-healing; for instance, pain, muscular discomfort, cancer remission (rarely), etc. It has absolutely no effect on blindness, paralysis due to severed spinal cord, and interestingly enough myopia!

    Most (but not all) of the alternative treatments rely on word-of-mouth anecdotes rather than clinical trails to 'prove' their worth. The fact is that these treatments do work for some people because they believe the treatment will work and consequently the placebo effect kicks in.


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    Can you even define the Bates Method

    Please define the bates method anyone in this thread, especially Steve Machol.

    It seems like you are all talking about something before knowing what it is.

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Re: Can you even define the Bates Method

    Batesmethod said:
    Please define the bates method anyone in this thread, especially Steve Machol.

    It seems like you are all talking about something before knowing what it is.
    I'm talking about the methods described in Dr. Bates's book, Better Eyesight Without Glasses which I read a number of years ago. I also read Aldous Huxley's book ( the name of which I can't recall at the moment.)

    How do you define it? More importanly since you've apparently come here with an agenda, please provide links to controlled, peer-reviewed studies that supports any claims you wish to make regarding the Bates Method. ;)


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