Carlos Moreno wore glasses and contacts for over 22 years. Today, he is free of both. Carlos corrected his own imperfect vision which included nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (presbyopia/hypermetropia), and astigmatism through the Bates Method & Natural Vision Improvement. An instructor and consultant in the method since 1997, Carlos breaks down how to improve our eyesight naturally.
In today’s conversation, he goes over the three factors that improve eyesight, reviews how stress negatively affects our vision, and he even shares a practice that we can implement right away to help strengthen the eye muscles and help with overall relaxation, leading to improved eyesight and greater enjoyment in life.
For more on Carlos and the Bates Method, visit his website: centeredvision.com.
For the full show notes from today’s episode and additional resources, visit our website: westonaprice.org.
Listen to the podcast here:
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
This is episode 178. Our guest is Carlos Moreno. He has been a Bates Method & Natural Vision Improvement Instructor since 1997 and he has a vision consulting business called Centered Vision in the Center for Wellness in Montebello, California. In a nutshell, in case you haven’t guessed it already, Carlos teaches people how to see clearly without glasses, contacts or surgery. He himself wore glasses and contacts for many years.
With instruction and practice of the Bates Method, he had the experience of correcting his own imperfect vision, which included nearsightedness, myopia, farsightedness, presbyopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. In this conversation, he goes over the three factors that improve eyesight, how stress negatively affects our vision and he even shows us a technique that we can apply while reading the show to improve our eyesight.
I know my own family doesn’t get enough organ meats in our own diet so we went ahead and got some for ourselves. Order yours now at AncestralSupplements.com.
Welcome to the show, Carlos. For years, you wore glasses and now, you don’t. Tell us what happened.
Glasses and contact lenses, I used both. I always hated my glasses and contact lenses. In the late ‘80s, I started using some contact lenses that you could leave in overnight and you could sleep with for a week or something like that. One morning, I woke up and I couldn’t open my eyelids. My eyelids were sealed shut. I made my way over to the bathroom, found my saline and got my eyelids wet. I soaked it enough so that I could open them up. When I opened them up, there was no white in my eyes. What was normally white was red. It spooked me so then I had to keep soaking my eyes until I was able to get the contact lenses out. I thought, “I only have two eyes and I want them to last for my whole life. This is probably not the best way to go.”
I already didn’t like glasses and contact lenses so I started being more focused in my search for another way. I had seen in some magazines that you could do eye exercises by holding a pencil out in front of you and focusing on the distance and for close up. That’s not what I do but that made me think, “There’s somebody out there who knows how to fix this or who knows how to improve their eyesight naturally.” I started looking and a few months later, a friend told me about a book that she had found in a library by Dr. William H. Bates, the guy who discovered how normal eyesight works.
I got the book from the library, read through the book and didn’t understand it. I knew he was talking about relaxation but I couldn’t apply anything of what he was saying to improve my own eyesight. A few months after that I met somebody who, like me, teaches the Bates Method and teaches people how to improve their eyesight naturally. In my second class, I was doing one of the techniques and my vision popped up. It got better all of a sudden and I thought, “Holy smokes. This works.” The second thing I thought was, “I have to learn how to do this to teach other people because not enough people know that this exists.” I started training on how to not only improve my own eyesight but how to teach it to people. That was many years ago.
What perplexes me, Carlos, is why don’t more people know about this. We’re all going around wearing glasses and contacts. Even healthy people, people who care about their wellness, think their eyes are a lost cause.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote the book, The Tipping Point and in there, he talks about what it takes for information to get out to everybody. This information has existed for over 100 years but it hasn’t reached the tipping point. Dr. Bates was an eye surgeon, an ophthalmologist in New York City. He taught over 20,000 kids and teachers in New York City schools. He taught at a medical school in New York City. Medical doctors and optometrists from all over the world would come and train with him when they had problems that they couldn’t fix with their own vision.
Some people kept the information but it did not stay alive inside the medical community because it was contrary to what is thought of as the standard theory on how vision works. He ended up doing experiments showing that the standard theory was wrong. He was an incredible scientist. He’s the guy who discovered adrenalin. He did the first radial keratotomy, which is what is now LASIK. He did that in 1898 but he stopped doing it because he realized he wasn’t correcting the real underlying problem and that people’s vision would go back to what it had been after the surgery. Even though he had physically corrected what was going on, it wasn’t fixing the problem. The information has been out there.
Luckily, he ended up marrying an assistant in his clinic who was Emily Lierman and became Emily Bates. Both Dr. Bates and her trained people were laypeople. The information has stayed in the lay population for the last many years or so and that’s how I got it. I learned from somebody who had learned from a person, who was three generations of people who have learned from Bates or from Emily. That’s how I learned and it works. I’ve been teaching people how to do it now for over 21 years. You could improve any visual problem back to normal or better than normal.
If you can keep it fairly simple, help us understand how Bates’ theory differs from the philosophy of how vision works exactly.
The Standard Theory usually is talking about problems with lens hardening. For example, with people who can’t read close up when they get into their 40s and 50s, the Standard Theory says that the lens hardens in the front of the eye. The ciliary muscle which pulls on the lens gets fatigued and it’s not working as well as people get older. That’s for what we think of as presbyopia, problems with reading closer.
Standard Theory says for looking in the distance that a person’s eyeball is elongated, which it is. However, the thing that Dr. Bates discovered is that it’s the muscles on the outside of the eye that either lengthen or shorten the length of the eye. That’s how vision is affected either negatively or positively. The way you get those muscles on the outside of the eye to work properly is by getting the person to relax and get the person out of sympathetic response, which is fight or flight. When you get a person to relax, the eyes work normally.
When you started doing these Bates exercises, what was the first thing you noticed? You said your vision popped up.
I was looking at something like an eye chart. I had all kinds of different size letters and I was doing one of the Bates techniques, which is called shifting. I was turning my head from left to right as if I was looking at a computer screen and going from the left edge of the computer screen to the right edge of the computer screen but not moving just my eyes. I was pointing my eyes by turning my head from side to side. That was without my glasses and contact lenses.
I was looking at these letters. From going back and forth, I didn’t know what was going to happen and then all of a sudden, all the letters cleared out. It was a big difference that I could read letters that I couldn’t read and bigger letters were sharper, distinct and black. My vision kicked up for a second or two and it was apparent and then it went away.
Bates writes about this. He says, “If the relaxation is temporary, the improvement is temporary.” That’s what I mean by a pop-up. All of a sudden, I could see clearly and it went away. That’s standard and normal when I work with people that in the first hour, they have that happen a lot. The vision pops up and they see, “What did you do? How did I do that?” They’re aware, “That feels a lot better. I feel more comfortable when I do that. Along with that feeling of relaxation and relief, my vision gets better.” That’s what I experienced and that’s what my clients’ experienced.
Isn’t some of the loss of vision that we have simply a factor of age?
It’s not age. It’s the load that a person is carrying. I usually tell people the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back. A camel being led off into the desert and little by little, it gets loaded on with more and more things on its back. It doesn’t get any water and gets lost in the desert for a while and finally gets over to a village where a little gust of wind lifts a piece of straw off of a hayfield, lands on top of the camel and the camel collapses. The straw that breaks the camel’s back can be a little thing on top of all of the other loads that we have as adults.
When we get into our 40s and 50s, we’ve got a career going, we’ve got a busy schedule, we may have kids, we may have spouses and all kinds of mental and physical loads on us. We might have had diseases, accidents or issues that caused problems with our bodies. We are not eating the right foods, which you know well that if you’re not eating the right foods, that can cause a load on the body. That load can be alleviated when you eat the right foods.
As we get older, the load is on us. If we’re not rested and at ease, while we’re looking at a text, our vision goes imperfect. If we start squinting, staring and making an effort to clear things up, our vision gets worse until we get glasses. Glasses do not fix the problem. They make it worse because you’re teaching the body to be in a tense state in order to look through these lenses and match up your eyes with that correction. When you wear glasses or contact lenses, your vision gets worse because you’re teaching your body to stay in the state of tension that makes your eyeball into the wrong shape consistently all the time that you’re wearing the corrective lenses.
This is going to resonate with our readers because we understand as part of this natural alternative health world that you can’t simply tamp down symptoms. If you have a cough, you could take some cough syrup and it may be abated for a little while. Whatever is causing that cough, the root cause of it is not going to go away because you took some cough syrup. What you want to do is boost your immune system overall to avoid the cough in the long run. When you’re talking about not just addressing the symptom of poor vision, this makes a lot of sense to me.
Nobody’s ever put on a pair of glasses and worn them for a week and then they take them off and they say, “That fixed my vision. Now I don’t have to wear glasses anymore.” That’s not what happens. Some people do experience that their vision gets better. I have clients tell me all the time that they’ve been wearing glasses for years and they go to their doctor and their prescription goes down.
I tell people if they pay attention when they first get glasses or their prescription increases, they’ll notice that during that time, there’s an increased amount of stress or strain in their life. When the prescription goes down, they’re more at ease, comfortable or at peace in life. That’s correspondingly a time when their vision improves. Most eye care professionals do not make that connection that the vision gets worse with stress and that improves with relaxation. That’s part of what I teach people.
Coming up, Carlos not only explains more about how to improve our eyesight and the importance of relaxation but he also walks us through that exercise I was mentioning that we can give a try to improve our eyesight.
Go to Mountain Rose Herbs at MountainRoseHerbs.com and place an order now and get 10% off at checkout with a coupon code WAPF.
Visit AncestralSupplements.com to see what they can do for you. That’s Ancestral Supplements putting back in what the modern world has left out.
I’m wondering if you’ve met people who consider what you’re saying as woo-woo as they say.
Yeah, sure. Up around 2000, I had been doing it for a year or two and I was at a conference at a big convention for different alternative health things up in San Francisco. There were a lot of people there at that convention and I had a booth. A guy was walking out and I had some materials on my tabletop there that showed different-sized texts, smaller and smaller. I had a sign that said, “Can you read this? If you can’t, I can teach you how.”
This guy stopped by. He had heard about Bates because he was an optometrist. He started asking me questions about the anatomy of the eye, which he knew but I didn’t. In order to improve your eyesight using Bates Method, you don’t have to know anything about that. He started asking me the names of the muscles on the outside of the eye, the recti and obliques, which I did not know at the time. He says, “Do you know the names of the muscles?” I said, “No.” He said, “This is a bunch of baloney.” He walked away.
I had improved my vision so I wasn’t wearing glasses at that point but he was wearing thick glasses. Even though he was an optometrist, he knew the names of the muscles and he knew their anatomy, he didn’t know how to improve the eyesight naturally. I run across people who think this is woo-woo. It comes from this incredible scientist. I have my own personal experience with improving my eyesight. I have many years of experience helping other people with it.
Whenever I get somebody who says it’s a woo-woo, I tell them, “If you’re willing, I’m happy to give you a complimentary session. I’ll teach you how to relax so that you notice that when you feel better, you notice that your vision gets better.” That’s one way of doing it. If a person’s honest and they’re willing to spend the time, I’m happy to do that so that they have the actual physical experience that when they relax, they feel better and that they notice, “My vision is better when I do that.” I’m happy to do that with anybody.
Some people aren’t willing to do that. Some people say, “This is not part of standard medical theory,” or, “I’ve never heard of this from my optometrists. Other health professionals think it’s woo-woo.” For example, I was talking to a surgeon who wants to take the classes with me because he’s curious and he wants to have the experience. If a person is open and honest, I’m happy to work with them.
Talk to us about over the course of these 21 years or so, some of the success stories with people who were open, honest and some of the improvements they saw.
I can work with people by Skype. I’m down in the Los Angeles area in California. A woman up in Oakland that I was working with did a series of classes with me. There’s a package that people can get with us. It’s eight classes. She had glasses for 8 or 9 years for reading and looking at text close up. She sent me a picture of a basket of all these glasses that she had because she had reading glasses in every room of the house. She was always forgetting them. She had them in her car and in her purse.
By the sixth session, she went to a new optometrist and was like, “Your vision is fine.” She said, “What’s my visual acuity?” They said, “It’s 20/20.” This was the first time she had gone to this optometrist so they didn’t know she had worn glasses for the years that she had. She was completely without glasses and her vision continued to improve. I worked with a family in Texas, a mom and her two children. The mom wore glasses and her seven-year-old daughter had started using glasses. The son didn’t use glasses, he was nine but his vision was not normal.
With them, on the sixth session, we were on Skype and she asked the kids to leave the room. She says, “Carlos, is it okay for my son to be reading the 15th and 14th foot line on an eye chart at twenty feet? His vision had improved to better than normal.” She homeschools her kids and she was having them practice seven days a week, half an hour with each kid. After week six, his vision had improved. She said, “Is it okay for him to be able to read lines that are smaller than 20/20? His vision was getting better than 20/20.” I said, “Yeah, of course.”
She had gotten spooked when her son’s vision got better than 20/20 so she told him to stop and then she asked me whether it was okay. I said, “Sure. He’s relaxing more. He’s getting more and more comfortable with seeing smaller letters at the distance.” She ended up sending me an email a few months later. It wasn’t that long after that he was able to read the 4-foot line with one eye at 20 feet and the 5-foot line with the other eye at 20 feet.
She said, “He could read the 5-foot line with his right eye but with the other eye, he could only read the 5-foot line at 20 feet.” He was reading 4 and 5 times better than normal after a couple of months of practicing. He hadn’t started out with glasses. He was younger. I work with people of every age with every kind of visual problem improvement. With personal practices, their vision goes all the way back to normal or better than normal. It’s a matter of knowing what to do in practice.
We at The Weston A. Price Foundation are convinced that alternative therapies are worth a try. Even we know of cases where people have reversed tooth decay, which nowadays you don’t hear dentists talking about that. It’s like, “You’ve got a cavity? Let’s fill it.” I have a friend who personally reversed some tooth decay. She had a couple of cavities and worked on her diet and a couple of other things and things turned around. This is not beyond the pale of possibility.
It’s a wonderful thing when you get the body out of sympathetic response, out of fight or flight. There’s a video series by Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda. They did an episode called Worried Sick and they showed how the body heals more quickly when a person learns to meditate, for example. They do this thing with the medical students where they do the little skin scratches. If they’re doing an allergy test, they did it on their forearms. The students who learn to meditate heal twice as fast as the ones that weren’t meditating.
When a person’s in sympathetic response, their digestion is one of the things that shuts off, you probably noticed. If a person’s anxious to any degree, even if they’ve had stress throughout the day and they’re sitting down to have their meal and they’re eating a meal, if they’re stressed, even if they’re getting all the proper nutrients, their body might not process them correctly.
It’s a combination of getting the right stuff in but then having your body in the state where it’s able to utilize all the nutrients, fiber, water and the liquids that we get in our diets. Everything that we need to maintain our body. The incredible magic of our body is being able to transform a banana into me. Whatever we eat, we turn into ourselves. The liver that I have right now is not the liver that I had ten years ago. Somehow, my body’s transformed the food that I eat into me.
I love that thought process there. What other factors help us preserve our eyesight? You’ve mentioned relaxing and meditation.
People ask me about nutrition and the Bates Method is not about nutrition but I know you have to be eating the right stuff in order for your body to create a new liver, change cells and maintain your body. I highly recommend people to make sure to improve their diet from where they’re at. If they’re eating Cheetos and Taco Bell, they could maybe cut out Cheetos and add an apple. Take a step in a better direction.
If they’re already eating a good varied diet, people can get tested to see if they’re low on any particular vitamins so that they can increase those vitamins. I’ve seen on The Weston A. Price site or maybe in my Nourishing Traditions book how most people are low on vitamin D and iron. In general, people could probably increase their intake of vitamin D and iron without even knowing if there’s any problem. They can increase it a little bit and it’s probably going to do well for themselves because you’re adding in the things that the body is missing.
If you’re already practicing Weston A. Price personally and you know how to eat a good nutritious diet, you’re probably doing all the stuff that you need to do on the nutrition side to help improve your eyesight. It’s good to increase the B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, all the yellow fruits, vegetables and greens that we need. Once you have all of that going then it’s a matter of learning the what to dos and what not to dos about vision.
Dr. Bates has a version of his book. It still exists. It’s an abridged version called The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses. You can still find that on Amazon. It’s not the complete edition of his original book. His wife edited it in the 1940s and that’s the one that most people can find. That one’s okay. People have been able to improve their vision that way. That’s another thing that people can do. Find a good Bates teacher, somebody who has improved their eyesight who gets you to relax and who can show you a technique that makes you feel better mentally and physically that you feel, “That feels good.”
To be clear, we don’t have to necessarily go to an office to get this help. We might be able to get to some of this training virtually.
For example, I work with people by Skype. There are Bates educators that work with people by online video phone call. I work with people all over the United States. I work with people in Canada, Europe, Mexico and South America. You don’t have to come to see the person in their office. There are all kinds of ways of skinning a cat.
I know a podcast is an audio medium but is there any little tip you can teach us now to help start getting on this path?
If you’re looking at your computer screen and there are letters and numbers on there, take off your glasses or contact lenses if you’re wearing those and notice what things look like. You’re getting a baseline of what your vision is like. If you can find a magazine or a book cover that has different size text on it, you could use that. Without your glasses or contact lenses, get an idea of what your vision is like. Don’t panic. Nothing bad is going to happen to you while you’re looking at your book or your computer.
Take a look and get a baseline. “This is what my vision is like.” What you would do is you can put your elbows on your desktop or your tabletop, cover your eyes with the palms of your hands so that you’re not pressing on your eyeballs. You’re covering the light from getting to your eyes. Close your eyes and you rest. You can set your timer on your phone for 3 to 5 minutes. You can do 1 of 2 things. You can rest.
If you know how to calm your mind down, if you’ve taken any meditation, you could do that. If thoughts start coming to mind, I want you to purposely steer your mind to pleasant, enjoyable things. For example, if you’ve ever taken a nice vacation, remember a nice vacation walking on a tropical beach somewhere. It’s something that you’ve done or that you imagine would be nice. Let your imagination or your memory take you to something pleasant. It could be a garden, a hike in the woods or anything that puts you at ease. Rest your eyes and rest your mind for 3 to 5 minutes.
Do it for five minutes if you could do it for five minutes and then you uncover your eyes, open your eyes and take a look again either at your computer screen, at the book or the magazine that you were looking at. You’ll find two things. If you do this palming correctly, the first thing that you notice is that you feel some sense of relief. When you close your eyes and your palm, you feel like your breathing gets easier. You feel more comfortable.
The first thing that I always have people do is check to see if they feel better and they feel some relief. If they do that then I know that they’re relaxing. When they uncover their eyes and look at the text again, they may notice that things look a little bit better and the letters look a little bit blacker. Some people might have a big improvement in their eyesight when they do this. That’s a simple five-minute test that a person can do. If palming works for you, you can palm as much as you like, as often as you’d like throughout your day and you’ll start noticing improvement in your vision if you start going without your glasses and contact lenses.
I hope people give that a try. I know I’ve been inspired by this conversation and some things you were even saying about our body’s ability to rebound and rather than masking the symptoms. How we can turn things around and get to the root issue?
Several years ago, I was visiting my brother and his family. My nephew was around nine years old at the time and I saw him pick up his mother’s reading glasses on the dinner table. He put them on to look at something. I thought, “What are you doing?” At the time, he was in school and they were teaching the kids to read faster. The kid was all stressed out so his vision was getting worse. He was trying to use his mom’s reading glasses to read text. I told my brother, “We’re going to get him on a session with me a couple of times a week.” Before long, his vision was better than normal for both closeups and from a distance.
Even kids can get stressed out like all of us. Adults are working, making sure there’s something to eat for dinner and making sure we’ve got stuff in the refrigerator from the grocery store. We’re running and running. Unless we learn to turn off our adrenal response unless we practice relaxing so that not only our vision can get better but so that our body can heal from a lot of things when we put ourselves in a state of ease and comfort. We take a shower so to speak, from the stress that builds up in our lives by resting and relaxing when we take time off. A good way to rest your eyes and rest your mind is to take off your glasses or contact lenses. Go without them and notice if your vision fluctuates for the better. That’s a good thing to do, too.
I want to pose to you the question I often ask at the end. If the reader could do one thing to improve their health or to improve their vision in this case, what would you recommend that they do?
Take that mental and physical shower to relieve the stress like doing the palming. If you have a garden, go without your glasses or your contact lenses and do your gardening. Sit by your fireplace and pull up a nice book or pull up a game board with some family or do something that puts you at ease. Do something that you love to do. If you love country music and nobody in your house likes country music, go into a room and listen to country music without your glasses or contact lenses. Let your body soak in the rest and relaxation that you feel. When you’re living your life the way you feel best and you’re putting yourself at ease mentally and physically, do the things that make you feel comfortable, happy and peaceful. That’s when you’re at your best for yourself and for the rest of us too.
Even if your vision doesn’t improve, you’ll still be happier so it’s all a win-win.
If you go without your glasses and you’re putting yourself in that state and do it regularly, you’re going to notice, “I could see that and I couldn’t see it before.” One time, I was given a class and this guy came to the class because his optometrist had told him that his prescription had gone down. He was an engineer. He thought, “Your vision can get better.” He told me a week or so after that, one morning he woke up and he looked out the window and he could see everything clearly. He thought, “I slept with my contact lenses. I forgot to take them out.”
He went about doing his morning chores. He went to the bathroom to take off the contacts and found that he wasn’t wearing his contact lenses. When he looked out the window, his vision had improved enough that he thought he was wearing his contact lenses because things were so clear. He had these two experiences where his optometrist told him that his vision had improved so his prescription went down.
He then spontaneously relaxed enough one night so that he noticed his vision was better. As an engineer, he said he was a big skeptic but when those two things happened to him, he decided to come to my class. In my class, I taught him how to do palming, for example. He noticed his vision getting better so then he realized, “It is possible to improve my eyesight without glasses, contact lenses or LASIK surgery.”
Thank you for telling us his story and for sharing your story with us. I can’t wait to get this episode out there for people to find new ways to see the world and enjoy their lives. Thank you for your time, Carlos.
You’re welcome, Hilda. I’m happy to be with you here.
Our guest was Carlos Moreno. You can find him at CenteredVision.com. I’m Holistic Hilda, the host and producer of the show. Follow me on Instagram @HolisticHilda. That’s it. Let’s keep in touch. I’ll see you next time.