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The School of Optimal Eyesight
Improve your vision and overcome the need for glasses or contacts while avoiding laser surgery

Optimal Eyesight

My new book is available now!Optimal Eyesight book cover

From the back cover:

Optimal Eyesight offers a simple method that eliminates eyestrain and positively affects your overall well-being, as well as your sight.  Read this book if you’re fed up with glasses, tired of contact lenses, feel your eyes are “weak,” are “practically blind” without lenses, or if laser surgery scares you or cannot do anything for you.  In short, you want a better solution. 

This book helps you discover and remove the root cause of blurry vision so you can enjoy maximum clarity, vivid color perception, increase depth perception, and look younger and more relaxed.  There are no negative side-effects, you don’t need expensive equipment or risky surgery, and the method can be used at any age.  You’ll be happily surprised by how soon you see results and how easily you can regain your optimal eyesight!


With the advice Esther provides in Optimal Eyesight, I was able to throw away my glasses.  I improved from -3 diopters of myopia to clear vision and no longer need glasses for anything!  I love the easy techniques that made it possible.   
Giovannella Pattavina, M.D.

Optimal Eyesight is inspired and practical – kind, caring, creative and generous.  And it’s thorough – a treasure of information and support.  Esther is a leading resource for organizing and expressing Dr. Bates’ insights and practices.  
Ray Gottlieb, O.D., Ph.D.

This is a must-read if you want to improve your vision naturally.  Esther is a dedicated and gifted teacher of the Bates Method.  This book will become a true classic in the field of vision improvement.  I highly recommend it.  
– Marc Grossman O.D., L.Ac., author of Natural Eye Care, Magic Eye Beyond 3D and Greater Vision


Testimonials received by email from readers of OPTIMAL EYESIGHT:

I bought your book & was impressed by how reasonable and easy-to-absorb it all was. I started on my path with the Janet Goodrich books, and your book finally made me realize that her approach to sketching induced a new kind of strain. Tom Quackenbush's book was the best until I read yours, and it's head and shoulders above--far more practical, clear, actionable.
I wanted to let you know that I’ve already gotten a ton of benefit from your book. In particular, I finally understand and can successfully practice swinging and blinking in ways that decrease the strain, and which improve acuity measurably, for a while at least.
C.J., Chicago, IL

I wanted to let you know that I started reading your book yesterday.  Wow!  It's the best book I've ever read on natural vision!  I've read lots of Bates stuff & at least 10+ books by various authors. I'll post a review on Amazon when I finish it.   I absolutely love your conversational style as well as your simple approach.  I've already started incorporating your ideas & know that I'll be seeing improvements soon.
I read more last night & I'm even more excited!  This book is truly a treasure & will be my "go to" from now on, not only for me but for my family members as well.
I've read Thomas Quackenbush's book at least 3-4 times so I can only imagine how many times I will read yours as I find it MUCH MORE practical.  So practical that I probably won't need a Skype session with you.   Of all the books I've read on Bates, this one has really "clicked" for me as you've managed to confirm many of my thoughts on the topic as well as answered all of the questions I was going to ask you on Skype!  All the other books I've read have left me with more questions than answers. Thank you so much for the time & energy you put into this project.  It's certainly a beautiful legacy in many ways!
Brenda Peter, Preston, CT

Hello Esther,
I just received ‘Optimal Eyesight’. This book is a blessing! Thank you for writing it.
I've been practicing the Bates methods for the past two years but I wasted so much time, energy and hope forcing my eyes to shift, locking on details while I was forgetting the peripheral vision or even doing the nose drawing practice taught by other teachers!
It led to so much strain and pain that I gave up improving my sight while it was a life important and very symbolic goal for me. Thanks to you, I’m back on this path and I’m getting some impressive results. I’m sure now that I’ll get my optimal vision back at the age of 33, just like you did. ;-)
With all my gratitude,
Alexis Trouillas, Paris, France

The first GLOWING REVIEWS are coming in on AMAZON too!
"Momto6" writes:
5 starsBest book on improving your natural eyesight!
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would! Of all the many books I've read on restoring natural eyesight, this one is the best by far. The author did an outstanding job conveying her years of knowledge in a very conversational, warm, simple as well as practical manner. I walked away from the book with alot of peace and confidence knowing that if I pick 1 or 2 techniques that help relax my eyes then that is enough for now. I can always go back when I need some new "tricks" as this book has everything I'll need to guide me to the "finish line". Initially I was put off by the price of the book but the breathing exercises alone are worth every penny. Buy it. You won't be disappointed!!

Another Amazon reviewer writes:

5 starsBest Resource on Natural Vision Improvement.
My wife bought me this book for my birthday. I started trying to improve my vision a year ago through the Bates method and my vision has improved from needing -2.00 glasses for myopia to needing only -1.00. My favorite part of the book is the stories Esther gives of students who improved their eyesight and how they did it. It has given me greater insight and good examples and helped me realize how I am holding strain in my eyes on a daily basis. Following what I've learned from this book, I've been releasing this strain and trying to relax completely and see without effort. I've noticed sharper vision as I look without effort and strain.

Also on Amazon:  
5 starsMost comprehensive book on the subject!
As others have already said, this is probably the best book on improving eyesight ever written. I know because through the years I bought most of the other books. In the first place, Esther, who is likely the world's foremost authority on William Bates, MD, the father of alternative eyesight restoration techniques, has set the record straight about what Bates really taught. But in addition she approaches the subject from many novel angles that I've never seen mentioned before. She writes about posture, sleep, and massage, as well as the importance of breathing freely. Also, thank heavens, she exonerates sunlight, as Bates did, and talks of its importance rather than posing a danger. Also—and I found this fascinating—Esther suggests learning to accept a bit of blur if your eyes are not perfect. What I found, is that skipping the glasses all together, when not absolutely necessary, allows the eyes to retrain and even improve. I've stopped wearing glasses, except for night driving, and I have indeed seen improvement. I just don't need the glasses as I used to and when I put them on, that's when I feel strain!
As a writer myself, I want to say in closing that this book is very well written with a very professional blend of seriousness and jocularity. It's a joy to read! If you only had one book on eyesight improvement, this would be it!

Kay added this wonderful testimonial on Amazon:
5 starsClear Vision!
This book is amazing! I am seeing daily vision improvements and went from -4.00 diopter glasses to now going all day with just my naked eyes.♥ Esther teaches you how to overcome your self-limiting beliefs and how to relax to clear vision.♥♥♥

On, Carol writes:
This is the BEST book on the Bates method of vision improvement ever written. (As a former Bates teacher myself, I've seen many of them). This book is outstanding for content, for clarity of instructions, for technical information and practical techniques, and it is the most motivating book I've ever encountered. Esther sticks true to the original principles set out by Dr. Bates, but her book is contemporary and fresh.

How to Get Your Copy of Optimal Eyesight:
You can choose between hardcover, paperback or e-book, and you can buy it from Visions of Joy, Amazon, or your local bookstore. An audio version will come at the end of 2020. Your current options are as follows:

1. - You can buy Optimal Eyesight as an e-book.
(ISBN 978-1-935894-22-3. Twenty-eight of its 85 illustrations are in color.)
This is a 10MB PDF file of the book which costs US$19. To purchase it make a payment of US$19.00 here and send me a quick email to let me know that your payment is for the Optimal Eyesight e-book. I will then email the e-book to you. You will need Adobe Reader software to open the file, which can be downloaded for free from
No postage costs, quick service, or at most only a minor delay while I travel!

2. - You can buy the Optimal Eyesight paperback directly from Visions of Joy.
(ISBN 978-1-935894-21-6. Twenty-eight of its pages have color illustrations.)
This paperback book costs $29.50 plus $5.00 shipping in the USA (a total of US$34.50). To purchase it, make a $34.50 payment here and send me a quick email (please include your mailing address!) to let me know that your payment is for the Optimal Eyesight paperback book.
Shipping this book abroad is expensive (i.e. to Canada is US$18 in postage, while to Europe or Australia it costs US$25), so you may prefer to get the book from Amazon instead (see below). But yes, I will ship it anywhere you want, if you pay the extra postage...

EXTRA: Pay $2.00 extra to receive a Visions of Joy Bookmark with your book! This special offer is only valid for books bought directly from Visions of Joy.

3. - Optimal Eyeisght has a hardcover version (also color-illustrated)!
(ISBN 978-1-935894-24-7. Twenty-eight of its pages have color illustrations.)
This hardcover book costs $39.50 plus $6.00 shipping in the USA (a total of US$45.50). Make a $45.50 payment here and send me a quick email (please include your mailing address) to let me know that your payment is for the Optimal Eyesight hardcover book.

Shipping this hardcover book abroad is expensive (i.e. to Canada is US$30 in postage, while to Europe or Australia it costs US$40), so you may prefer to get the paperback (see above) or get the book from Amazon instead (see below). But yes, I will ship it anywhere you want, if you pay the extra postage...

4. - You can buy the paperback from online stores such as
(ISBN 978-1-935894-17-9. NOTE: All illustrations are in grayscale.)
You can 'look inside' the book on Amazon; a nice feature.

- In many other countries you will be able to get the (English language) paperback from your local Amazon service, often with free shipping, while in the Netherlands you can purchase it from

- Other online stores that carry Optimal Eyesight:
Barnes and Noble, AbeBooks, Alibris, Better World Books, BooksAMillion, IndieBound, Book Depository, and more.

5. - You can order the book from your local bookstore. They may ask you for the title (Optimal Eyesight), author (Esther Joy van der Werf) ISBN number (978-1-935894-21-6 paperback color version / 978-1-935894-17-9 paperback grayscale version), and Library of Congress Control Number: 2019909092.
They can buy wholesale through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

6. - If you visit California, copies of the paperback (with color illustrations) are for sale at Rainbow Bridge Connection and at Poppies Art and Gifts, both on Matilija Street in Ojai. At Rainbow Bridge Connection you can also get my previous book: Read Without Glasses at Any Age.
In Santa Barbara, you'll find the grayscale illustrated version of Optimal Eyesight at Chaucer's Books on State Street, and at Tecolote Book Shop at 1470 East Valley Rd in Montecito.

7. - An Audio book version of Optimal Eyesight will be available by the end of 2020 or early 2021, this is currently in progress and going well! Subscribe to the newsletter to hear when it is ready.

8. - Lastly, you can lend it from your local library! Some libraries carry Optimal Eyesight already. If yours doesn't yet, they probably can order it!

Argh, a mistake found its way into the Optimal Eyesight book! Alas, no book ends up being perfect, and Optimal Eyesight is no exception - I'm sorry!

In Chapter 23, the following text should replace the first paragraph in Step 3, Item C:

C. Release the tense muscle(s)
Establish which of the six extraocular muscles is tenser than the others.  This can also be two muscles.  If the eye turns toward the nose, the medial rectus muscle is likely the most strained muscle.  If the eye rolls straight up, the superior rectus muscle is probably tense.  If the eye goes up and out, then either the inferior oblique or both the superior and lateral recti carry undue tension.  If the deviation is down and inward, the superior oblique or both the inferior and medial recti may be involved.  If you aren’t sure which muscle to focus on, it is okay to imagine one tense muscle attached where your eye turns most, and work toward releasing that imaginary muscle; you’ll find this works just as well.

You'll find this paragraph on page 234 in the e-book, page 237 in the paperback book, page 235 in the hardcover book.
My apologies; I didn't mean to confuse you!
Books sold on/after 12 November 2019 (e-book PDF) or 15 November 2019 (via Amazon) have the correct text while the paperback and hardcover copies that were printed in October and November now have an erratum inserted.

Links from the Optimal Eyesight Book:

Who this Book is For and How to Use It
1.    A list of vision educators world-wide

2.    Collection of Dr. Bates’ 30 medical articles (1886-1923)

2.   The Old View Turns a Blind Eye
5.    Information on laser surgery

5.   What’s Good About Blur?
2.    List of behavioral optometrists
3.    Affordable glasses online
4.    EyeQue Corporation
5.    Pinhole glasses

6.   You May Close Your Eyes
3.    Palming support and meditation
4.    Body Slant mattress
5.    David Kiesling's iblindness website
6.    Mindfold

11. Think Right for Your Sight
5.    Lichtman, Robert. M. (2010).  Myopia as an Adaptation

15. Sunlight: Friend or Foe?
26. Sunning lamps
27. Traditional Bates Method teachers; look for TBM annotation next to their name.

17. A Bold View of Letter Charts and Small Print
5.    Boomerang ball
6.    Letter charts

19. Computer Screens: Look Beyond the 20/20/20 Rule
2.    Screen projectors
3.    EyeLeo software
4.    Time Out software 
NEW: Okulox, An app that helps you incorporate the Bates Method each day.
5.    f.lux software
6.    Iris software
7.    Redshift software
8.    Sunset Screen software
9.    Dark Reader
10.   Laptop stand

22. Help a Child to Better Sight
11.  Fairy Tales for Better Eyesight

23. Two Points of View for 3-D
6.    Eye patches

24. Dr. Bates’ Perspective on Eye Diseases
6.    The Bates Method View series of e-books
7.    A list of books on how to treat eye diseases naturally

Appendix E
1.    List of websites that sell affordable glasses
2.    Information on high-index glasses
3.    Guide to buying glasses online

1.    Practice charts


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