Teachers often observe that their pupils can see the blackboard quite well at the beginning of the term, - but their vision deteriorates as weeks go by. Most school children before school age have good vision. But ten years later most of them have vision problems and have to wear glasses or lenses.
Is it normal for human beings to wear visual crutches? Native people living in the wild are known for their keen eyesight. But when their children become ‘civilized’ and attend schools, they usually develop poor vision and have to wear glasses.
Is poor vision the price we have to pay for being civilized and educated? Are glasses a badge of intelligence and learning? Or are we ruining the eyes (and minds) of our children by educating them in the wrong way?
Dr. Bates first explained the process of vision to the teachers. The teachers then showed the students how to rest and improve their eyes with the help of a standard test card placed permanently on the wall. Through simple exercises lasting only a few minutes each day, the children learned to use their eyes in a natural and relaxed way. As a result they also felt better, they found learning easier and they got better grades.
But soon the school authorities claimed that the program interfered with the teaching routine, and opticians claimed that it was unscientific, useless and harmful. The programs were discontinued in spite of their success.
Today, most people in the industrial countries have visual defects. Only one country has an official policy of letting school children do daily eye exercises: China. As a result, the younger generation of Chinese now enjoys much better vision than their parents.