Yeah, the actual success rate, I imagine, isn’t all that high. It depends on who you ask, and given that these methods are not really that heard of outside a little googling, that calls for a little bit of skepticism. I’ve read through the wikipedia article on The Bates Method several times, and it does brings forth some interesting criticisms. The Bates Method, along with many offshoot methods out there, seems to hinge on the theory that many eye problems, such as nearsightedness, is caused by eye strain, and by relieving that eye strain, these eye problems would be rectified.
It seems pretty straight forward except for the execution. Being a sufferer of nearsightedness myself, I can to an extend connect some correlation between eyestrain and vision problems. My nearsightedness actually developed only about six years ago, and prior to that time, I enjoyed perfect vision. Nowadays, in addition to blurriness without glasses, I do many times a day experience some ‘tension’ (best way I can describe it) either around my eyes or inside it. It’s the same feeling I get when I used to read for three hours a day straight before my vision deteriorated (to an extent, I believe my vision problems may have been attributed to this). In any case, going off strain alone, it is probably for the best that such strain be removed. It is also in this respect that generally speaking, even if the Bates method doesn’t work, it is at least, for the most part, safe.
Where Bates and the professionals differ, from what I understand in the wikipedia article and various other sources, is the mechanics in which vision problems occur. Proponents of the Bates Method, and perhaps Bates himself, tended to blame the external eye muscles for distorting the shape of the eyeball. In a way, this kind of makes sense for most cases. Just looking up wikipedia on myopia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myopia), the most common type of myopia is axial myopia, where the eyeball is too long. Just thinking about this for a moment, if we squeeze say a rubber ball from the outside around it’s circumference, it would change to a longer shape. It may not actually be how the eyeball works in practice, but this theory may warrant a second look. Whether relaxing those external muscles would allow the eyeball to return to the proper shape is another matter.
Well, I hear a lot of ‘eye-exercises’ based on eye movements such as those you described there. I’ve look into various methods a lot, since I do desire my old 20/20 back. To be fair, some people who proposes that vision improvement can be attainable differ in various methodologies. The Bates method tends to focus more on eye relaxation that ‘exercises,’ per say, though it does come with it exercises that promotes what he claims to be the proper way of seeing. There are methods like wearing reading glasses, which forces a blurred visual environment to almost push the eyes to adapt to adverse environments (kind of like lifting weights I’d imagine). Then of course, there are actual eye exercises itself like moving eyeball physically to their extremities.
I’m not sure what to make of all this. Some folks claim that this work. One such case is a man called Meir Schneider, who seems genuine enough in his videos. Apparently, he was born legally blind (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJS2LTsQde4).
I also found this site a few years back of a system developed by, supposedly, a pilot (http://www.rebuildyourvision.com/). The website always looked suspiciously like a scam site, though the guy’s story about aviation does seem somewhat believable. I found a pdf of his book some time ago, and it seemed to be the Bates Method with a few exercises attached.
Then there are the methods that are freely available and discussed about in forums like the one I posted at the top. I don’t post there much, but there are at least a few members there who claim to have improved their vision to 20/20. Interestingly enough, they offer their insights for free, so they have no monetary motive to even create a site on vision improvement in the first place. So, this leads me to wonder: perhaps there is some merit? Are these just isolated cases that can be explained by something else? Is there any placebo effect taking place?