Search »

Vision Myth #3

Nathan Oxenfeld

Vision Myth #3 – The shape of the eyeball cannot change and the lens is the eye’s only focusing mechanism .


The six muscles around each eye slightly change the focal length of the eyeball and work with the lens to focus on objects near and far.

Accommodation is the ability of the eye to focus on objects at varying distances. There have been many theories of accommodation, but the most widely accepted theory of accommodation was presented by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1855, which states that the elastic lens flattens when viewing far objects and thickens when viewing near objects by means of the ciliary muscle. This theory is over 150 years old and has not been updated since. Helmholtz’s theory is not false, however it completely leaves out a major mechanism of accommodation:  the six extrinsic muscles around each eye.

The theory of accommodation still used today has not been updated since before the invention of the bicycle in the early 19th century.

The Helmholtz theory of accommodation, still used today, has not been updated since about the same time the bicycle was invented in the early 19th century.

Not a single part of the human body is solitary. All parts and systems of the body are intricately interconnected and no function can be isolated down to one part, all are co-dependent. The lungs cannot inhale and exhale without the movement of the diaphragm muscle. The stomach cannot begin digesting food without the increase of blood flow signaled by the digestive enzymes released in the mouth. In terms of the eyes, the lens cannot accommodate all on its own without the contraction and relaxation of the Rectii and Oblique muscles around the eyes. Accommodation is a process of teamwork involving both the lens and the extrinsic muscles.

Dr. William H. Bates’ theory of accommodation, which was presented in the early 20th century, expands upon Helmholtz’s by explaining the cooperation of the lens and the eye muscles. When viewing distant objects not only does the lens flatten, but also eyeball shortens by action of the four Rectii muscles contracting while the two Oblique muscles relax. When viewing near objects not only does the lens thicken like a magnifying glass, but also the eyeball lengthens by action of the four Rectii muscles relaxing while the two Oblique muscles contract. The lens and the muscles work together to focus the light reflecting off the object being regarded onto the center of sight on the retina in the back of the eyeball. The outdated idea that the eyeball maintains a fixed shape for life was disproved by the research and findings of Dr. Bates, which showed that the shape of the eye and cornea change shape due every moment through accommodation, or focusing on different objects at different distances.

Eye Tree You may wonder what these different theories of accommodation have anything to do with you. Well, the currently accepted theory is a pretty grim one, leaving no chance of improvement or cure without the aid of artificial lenses or an invasive and often impermanent laser eye surgery. Helmholtz’s dusty theory condemns you to a lifetime of deteriorating vision behind a glass prison. Dr. Bates’ theory glimmers with the hope that you play an active part in your vision and by releasing the strain and tension in your mind and eye muscles, your eyesight can indeed return back to 20/20 or better. So the inclusion of the eye muscles in the theory of accommodation makes all the difference in the world to anyone interested in improving their eyesight.

Think of how much the world has advanced in 150 years. Consider how much the fields of healthcare and medicine have evolved in just the past 50 years. Why have the antiquated notions of the eyes and vision remained unchanged? It is time we let go of the ideas that keep us stuck in a state of blur and reevaluate out belief systems and understandings of how the eyes work and how to unlock clear eyesight for life.


  • There are currently no comments

+ New Comment


required (not published)



Message Sent Successfully!