(Source Image URL from American Artifacts)
This 1930’s Natural Eye Normalizer was finished in chrome with rubber gaskets fitting the eyes. The “patient” applied the device to the eyes shutting out all light. The handle on the side of the device allows the gaskets to rotate slightly to massage the eyelids. In theory, the device was supposed to relax the eyes thereby eliminating all vision problems. The device had no effect on vision problems.
This device is one of many which sought to cash in on the theory promoted by William Horatio Bates, M.D. who published The Cure of Imperfect Eyesight by Treatment Without Glasses in 1920. Dr. Bates wrongly suggested that relaxation would cure vision problems. Today, many of his followers have altered his theory by suggesting that eye exercise will cure vision problems (and there is a kernel of truth in this for eye exercise is recommended for conditions like lazy eye and crossed eyes). In mystical ways, Bates followers suggest practicing how and where to focus, rotating eyes from left to right and back again to increase peripheral vision and more. For almost all vision problems, eye exercise has no effect. Claims that the Bates theory and exercise may “eliminate the need for glasses and contacts” are false.