In 1920, a man named William Horatio Bates published a book about curing poor eyesight with eyeball exercises. His claims were dubious, disproven with even the gentlest application of the scientific method, and eleven years later he died a disgraced liar. Eyes Right with Bethany Alldridge is a 1992 VHS tape showing you how to use the same methods!
Before we work out those eyeballs, the video has a warning. Two warnings, in fact. The first warning is simple: This video is for people with eye “complaints” not eye “disorders.” So if your eyes have something wrong with them that affects your “vision,” you obviously aren’t going to cure that by moving your eyes around. You eye idiot. You goddamn dumb-eyed fool.
The second warning is sort of amazing. It takes what we’ve learned from the previous warning –how none of this is going to work– and places the blame on you. When this doesn’t fix your eyes, it’s because you will have not put in the work. And while it’s normal for a workout video to claim they aren’t responsible for your injuries, this is the first one I’ve seen that adds the caveat “fuck you even if you do everything exactly like we tell you.” You almost can’t hate a scam this plainly obvious that also opens with two warnings about both of the ways it will never work.
The host, Bethany, explains how a lot of eye disorders are psychosomatic. She says strengthening eye socket muscles can affect your vision, sort of like how your legs fall asleep when you sit down? Oh no, we’re only moments into this and she is telling us to rub our back because it, and I quote, “gets the oxygenated blood up to the optic nerve to get all of the toxins out.” This dingbat isn’t even trying. She sounds like she’s reading random words from pamphlets in her hypnotist’s waiting room. The last time I heard anyone giving medical advice this bad I told them, “Shut up and sew those goat testicles into my chest, Francisco. I have need of a six day boner.”
The most important move Bethany needs you to learn is called Palming. It’s going to be unfamiliar to anyone who bought this tape because it involves holding your head in your hands like a person capable of feeling shame. She warns you not to mash your eyeballs. You’re merely squashing them. If your vision is blurry, that’s mashing. If your vision improves and you no longer need glasses, w-wow. Please call science and tell them the secret was rubbing your eyes the entire time. Anyway, Bethany shows viewers how to squash their eyeballs with their palms for sixty seconds.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of eye medicine, it’s time for shoulder rolls. Your knee jerk reaction to this is probably saying, “what does this have to do with vision problems?” That’s your first mistake. If you had simply shrugged fifty times, you’d have perfect vision. At least that’s what Bethany seems to believe while they film her awkwardly, sometimes sexually, shrugging fifty times.
The mild non-eye exercises continue for ten minutes. Bethany has us move our head left and right. She shows us how to nod for a full minute and a half. I’ve seen Karate Kid, so I know there’s a good chance I’m being tricked into learning Head Karate, but as for improving eyesight, I think there’s a reason these techniques were all soundly debunked 60 years before they produced this video. This is dumb as fuck. This idiot is bouncing her smooth brain against the sides of her ape skull and calling it eyeball science.
Bethany explains there’s no real way to know how long you have to do these exercises. It’s suspicious, and not made any less suspicious when they show some clipart of people who have “thrown away their glasses.” There’s not a single testimonial. No one comes on to say, “I nodded and shrugged for ten minutes a day, and after a week I told my quack eye doctor to shove his glasses up his ass! They’re lying to you! All the optometrists ARE LYING TO Y– oh no, they’ve found me! The potion didn’t wor–!”
No, they assume you believe every bit of this flagrant nonsense and you’re ready for medium-intensity looking up and down. Be sure to take frequent breaks from this ordinary eyeball motion to hold your head in your hands. Check with your local scientists to see if that’s something.
Next try side-to-side. What’s special about this video is that it’s exactly as stupid as your laziest imaginings. Like if you asked someone what an eye workout would consist of, they’d say, “Looking around in different directions, I guess?” You can’t invent something dumber. The fact that it doesn’t work is secondary to how even if it did, there’s no possible way you’re not already an expert in it. The blindest dipshit in the world would create the exact same eye fitness routine as the leading professor of eyeball science.
It’s time to move on to the most advanced direction to look– around in a circle. Bethany seems to think she invented this, and says “Don’t worry if your first attempt at circles becomes triangles. Keep trying and you’ll get better.”
Is this something that’s hard? Maybe living and working inside an American Gladiator Atlasphere has made me an eye circle genius, but I got this on the first try. And maybe making love inside an American Gladiator Atlasphere has opened my mind in ways Bethany can’t conceive of, but looking around the room in increasingly stupid ways won’t reshape your cornea.
The point is, there are really only a few ways to look around, this video found them, and none of them will help as stated by science and the VHS tape’s own disclaimer. But aside from wasting thirty minutes of your day for the rest of your life, it’s harmless. It’s not like they’re telling you to go outside and stare directly at the su– oh no.
Bethany says, “SUNNING is simple. Go outside. Close your eyes and look at the sun.” So you’re telling us the secret to improving our eyes was cooking them sous vide? Jesus fuck. And Bethany tells us, “Bates says to do this for 10 minutes 3 times a day if you can.” A lot of people can’t spare a half hour a day to grin at the sky like an ape broken by captivity, but it’s up to you if you want to put in the work.
Bates, as I mentioned, is that disgraced doctor from 1920 who notably did not make glasses obsolete. I counted twelve different times during this video where Bethany says “Bates says…” followed by ancient stupidity. The makers of this video read one book, a hundred-year-old get rich quick scheme by a discredited grifter, and they cite it like they’re medical researchers.
Okay, that’s enough sun. If we really want to improve our vision we need to sort of wiggle back and forth. This is called SWINGING, and why not? We’ve already looked around in all four directions and baked our face. Fucking do a little dance, who cares?
You should also blink, which is a thing that gets its own section and explanation. It’s when you sometimes close and open your eyes really fast. Let’s see… what else, what else…
Reading! Bethany explains, “Bates says you should read every day.” And they show her doing it for sixty uninterrupted seconds! While they explain reading! Listen, I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before, but never on this scale. Imbeciles who decide to become educators always assume they are teaching people dumber than they are. It makes sense. But when you’re teaching something that doesn’t exist, but is also too basic to require teaching, it creates a kind of stupidity spiral where their intended audience, by necessity, must become less and less capable. Anyone still watching this video must need the very concept of reading explained to them, and they need to see a woman holding a book for a full minute to really get it. I swear I’m not setting up a bit when I say these assholes are one segment away from teaching us how to wash our face.
So Bethany teaches us how to wash our face. She literally leans over an imaginary sink and splashes make-believe water onto her eyes. With the rictus grin of a North Korean prostitute, she pretends to dry her eyes with a towel. “Bates says this is very good for the eyes as it creates a massage-like vibration.” Or to put it another way, “A long dead liar claimed washing your face is like a vision-improving eyeball massage and here is an amateur mime performance about it.”
They explain a few more helpful exercises like “MEMORY OBJECT” which is really looking at objects and then trying to remember them, or “OBSERVATION” which is really looking at objects and then nothing else. You could also try “ZOOMING” which is watching your hand slap you in your own stupid fucking nose.
Which leads us to SQUEEZING. Just fucking squeeze your face and silently scream and it’s so simple I don’t know why eye doctors even bother existing. Every optometry school should be replaced with this:
If you want something more stimulating, the section called “EYE GAMES” lists all the games that can improve your vision. They cite Dominos, backgammon, and other dice games. Wait, also card games, any games with colorful shapes, Scrabble… it seems like if you’ve ever played a game, any game of any kind, you may have accidentally given yourself perfect vision. But let’s talk about NOSE PENCIL.
You draw things with a cute little finger pencil on your nose! Every person you see without glasses does this for three hours every day after they’re done sun-baking their eyelids. Anyone still blind this long after this amazing video was released wants to be.
The last section is called EDGING, but it’s not the kind you’re thinking of because if you do it right you will absolutely cum. You’re welcome, now fully satisfied and perfectly visioned reader. You’re welcome.
This article is brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: The Artist Formerly Known as Devon, who has such tantric control over his eyeballs he can look at something for up to six hours without climaxing.