I’ve had four people recently complain to me that they feel their eyesight is degrading, in just a two week span! That got my attention. I know that we all spend lots of time looking at screens and such these days. I wondered if there was some kind of natural way to help our eye site. I remember my optometrist telling me to do an exercise every hour if I was doing a lot of reading, of looking at something close and then far away and back at the close thing again. The idea being that by doing this you’re exercising the muscles that control the focus of your eyes. This article from Mother Earth News adds to that idea.
Today, more than ever, inappropriate response to stress is being cited as a primary cause of many ailments that plague modern humanity. Whether it’s caused by environmental, cultural, or psychological factors, anxiety can lead to a great number of mental and physical problems. Indeed, recent research indicates that stress is a major contributing factor in disorders of the eye as well.
Yet, very few folks are born with visual abnormalities. For the most part, defective eyesight is acquired. If that’s so, can poor vision be corrected? According to studies done by Dr. William H. Bates, a distinguished New York ophthalmologist who pioneered in the field of visual training, you can dramatically improve your eyesight naturally, without glasses or contact lenses!
What is Visual Training?
In the past, most vision experts worked from the theory that the eye is able to focus on varying distances solely because it can change the shape of its lens, and that most seeing problems are due to a permanent deformation of the eyeball and lens. However, contrary to these widely held beliefs, Dr. Bates’s research has indicated that the whole eye, not merely the lens, adapts itself to focusing by means of the muscles of the eyeball. When habitual tension and strain tighten them, then, a sight dysfunction may occur, and teaching these uptight muscles to relax, through a program of visual training eye exercises, can remedy many seeing disorders.
Practitioners of the visual training method suggest, however, that a person gradually decrease the amount of time spent wearing corrective lenses during the day, and that fundamental eye exercises be performed (without wearing glasses or contacts) to lessen dependency on mechanical aids.
The purpose of this article is not to debate the merits of the Bates stance against those of standard practices, but simply to present the ideas of visual training advocates so that readers who wish to can try out this lesser-known health care option for themselves. Consequently, the following information offers strictly the Bates school’s point of view.
The following techniques, then, are based on these premises: First, that the art of seeing—like other fundamental skills such as talking, walking, and using one’s hands—is acquired. Second, this skill is normally learned through unconscious self-instruction in childhood. Third, for many of us in today’s pressure-packed world, the only way to keep perfect sight is to practice techniques of conscious eye relaxation. Finally, if the exercises are performed correctly for a sufficient length of time—in conjunction with a proper diet and a physical conditioning program—eyesight will improve permanently. (The corollary to this is that the stronger the lenses you wear now—and the longer the time that you’ve worn them—the more time and effort you’ll have to put forth to achieve better vision.) All right, let’s begin.
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It’s best to “palm” while sitting or lying on the floor, with your elbows propped on a cushioned surface. Close your eyes and then cover them with the palms of your hands, crossing the fingers of one hand over those of the other on your forehead. Don’t, however, apply any pressure on the lids with your palms. Ideally, you’ll “see” a field of intense blackness, which indicates a state of perfect relaxation. If instead you witness illusions of light, bright color, or patches of gray, you’re tense to some degree. However, don’t concentrate on trying to “see” blackness, as the effort itself will produce strain. Rather, passively visualize a pleasant memory—one that helps ease your mind—while keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed. The more frequent and lengthy the periods of palming, the more likely you are to school your eyes to reduce muscle tension, with subsequent benefit to your sight.
This whole-body exercise improves vision, relieves fatigue and stress, and increases the mobility of the eyes. Stand looking straight ahead, with your feet positioned about 12 inches apart. Now, rotate your body—head, trunk, and all—to the left, throwing your weight onto your left foot while you allow your right heel to rise from the floor. Keep your shoulders and neck straight. When you swing to the opposite side, shifting your weight to your other foot, your eyes will cover a 180 degree arc. Absolutely no attempt should be made to focus your sight on anything. Just maintain an attitude of passive relaxation, making about 30 of these “arcs” per minute. You should do this exercise twice daily, completing the swing from side to side 100 times. By doing your swings right before bedtime, you’ll prevent eyestrain from occurring during sleep.
Cultivate the habit of frequent, effortless blinking. This performs two vital functions: It lubricates and cleanses the eyes with tears, and it rests and relaxes the eye muscles.
Super interesting. I didn’t know that when you close your eyes and you see bright flashes instead of just darkness that it’s a sign of muscle tension. Are you eyes tense?