Vision therapy is a very hot topic among scholars and optometrists. Can one really enhance their eyes’ health by doing a few daily exercises and not wearing any glasses or having surgery? This is what we’re here to find out. Here are all the details you need to know, as well as a set of ideas in case you want to know how to improve eyesight.
Where Did the Frenzy Begin?
Believe it or not, the idea that one can help fix his own eyes without any medical assistance dates almost 100 years ago. Last century, in 1920, there was a man called William Bates. He was a doctor, and he wrote a book which you can still read today. Its name was Perfect Sight Without Glasses. In this book, he evidently, questioned whether or not a person should really wear glasses and if one could correct his own vision without the help of a physician.
He decided both those things were true and possible. Therefore, he went on to develop what has been named the Bates method. It’s a set of ideas which one can presumably use to correct and improve their vision. This method is still very much in use to this day.
Here are some details about it. Dr. Bates’ approach centers around the word ‘strain.’ He believed that there are six muscles surrounding each eye on its outside. These muscles are the ones who help the eyeball move around. However, if you start to strain, due to stress, emotional reasons or even physical pain, then your vision will be impaired.
Dr. Bates claimed that straining squeezes the eyeball and contorts it. That’s why you have vision problems. Therefore, once you learn how to get rid of the things that make you strain and simply relax, you will get your vision back.
The method he proposed isn’t related to physical exercise. It’s more of a relaxation technique and a mental approach. Evidently, modern doctors belonging to traditional Western medicine disprove of this theory, especially when it comes to more serious damage to the eye. Retinal displacement or rupture, for example, as well as inherent problems cannot be fixed by simply relaxing.
Believers retorted saying that it’s normal for doctors to disapprove of this method. In fact, they say it is so successful that in the 1950s and 1960s, people were curing themselves on such a large scale that they were close to putting optometrists out of business. Therefore, doctors retaliated. This conspiracy theory is still up for debate, and you should, probably, view it as what it is – just a theory.
Another part of the whole Bates method basis itself on ‘faith.’ One is supposed to have faith that your eyes know exactly what they are doing. In other words, one should let nature take its course and firmly believe that your eyes will heal themselves if need be. Once again, this might be just a defeatist mentality.
Simply letting things happen can lead to severe damage to your eyes. Therefore, what you could have easily solved with a pair of glasses might result in dire consequences. Objectively speaking, it is improbable to believe that the human eye has that kind of power. None of our organs or body parts can heal themselves just by letting a disease happen. Therefore, why should our eyes do that?
Engaging in an exercise of some sort might help alleviate some of the symptoms or provide momentary relief. However, if you happen to suffer from a serious eye condition, such as permanent damage or infection, one has to question the Bates method of relaxing.
Still, if you want to know how to improve eyesight without professional help, let’s take a look at some exercises.
How to Improve Eyesight Naturally
Here are some ways through which you can ‘work on’ your vision naturally before you go to your physician.
Just like every other segment of our bodies, the eyes need nutrition as well, so that they can function normally and healthily. As is the case with other organs as well, if your diet is rich in vegetables and fruits and less in fatty foods and sugar, you can unquestionably keep your eyes healthier for a longer period.
- Include vitamins C, A, and E into your daily diet. Couple them with zinc and other minerals and they will help your vision and protect you from diseases. You can get these vitamins from foods such as salmon, eggs, strawberries, almonds, crabs, turkey, and oysters.
- Beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein are antioxidants. They are the ones who fight against sun damage when it comes to your eyes. You can find them in pumpkins, dark leafy vegetables, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
- Cysteine, sulfur, and lecithin protect against cataracts forming on the lens of your eyes. Eat some onions, garlic, and capers to enjoy them.
- Anthocyanin is an anti-inflammatory substance which you can find in grapes, goji fruit, and blueberries. It will keep infections and inflammations at bay.
- If you ingest an approximate 1, 000 mg of omega 3 fatty acids every day, you should be able to prevent dry eyes as well as macular degeneration. You can get these healthy fatty acids from salmon, herring, mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
There are a few physical exercises which you can do every day and which are bound to help stop further damage to your eye. You should do them daily, in the morning when you wake up, or at night right before going to sleep when your eyes are the most fatigued.
Seeing as you need to touch your eyes for some of these exercises, make sure your hands are clean. In this way, you can avoid infections and carrying germs from your hands to your eyes, which are very sensitive.
- Roll your eyes ten times clockwise in a circular motion. Reverse to counterclockwise for another ten times.
- Keep your finger or even a pen right in front of your nose, some six inches away from it. Stare at it intently for five seconds. Then switch your view toward an object right behind your finger or the pen. Stare at it for another five seconds. Repeat this exercise ten times.
Tip – you can even do this at work, when you take a break, in case you feel your eyes are tired.
- Rub your palms together for a few seconds until you feel they are hot. The purpose here is to get them to generate some warmth. Place them on your eyes. Keep them there for five seconds. Repeat the process three times. Do not waste any time between applications as you want to warm up your eyes.
- Gently massage your forehead, your temples, as well as the area situated right underneath your eyes. Use the knuckles on your thumb. Apply circular motions. Keep going and do this 20 times for each eye.
#3. Resting and relaxation
Even though the Bates method based on belief does seem a bit far-fetched, there are some parts of it which you can apply. The doctor was right about relaxation. Seeing as we all use our eyes every single moment, it makes perfect sense to rest them once in a while.
- Take a small three-minute break. Close your eyes and do not open them no matter what. Lean your head against something so that you can relax. Empty your mind of all the stress and negative thoughts.
- Keep your eyes focused on any object that is located 20 feet away from you. It shouldn’t be a moving or colorful object. That will only have the reverse effect and tire your eyes even more.
This is the same test they give you when trying to find out if you have 20/20 vision.
- If you spend a lot of time on the computer, reading or watching TV, you should take ten minute breaks. Do that for every 50 minutes you spend doing the activities we mentioned above.
- Get enough sleep. Not sleeping at least seven hours every night will take a toll on your eyes as well as your whole body.
#4. Working on your environment
There are also a few things you can do to optimize your natural surroundings. Needless to say, this too affects your vision to some extent. Here is what you can do.
- Make sure that all the rooms you find yourself in are lit in a soft way. Strong, fluorescent lights affect our eyes more than you think.
- When you are reading, try to keep the light behind you. It should shine on the paper or the thing you are reading rather than in your eyes or from above your head.
- In the office or when you are at a desk working, the light should come from the desk sitting opposite you. Once again, it needs to shine on your work and not in your eyes. You can put a small lamp on the desk in front of you to achieve this effect. Add a shading element to keep the light warm and soft.
- Do not watch TV or the screen of your computer in total darkness. It will strain your eyes. Instead, you can leave a small lamp on.
- If your house or office is dry, then use a humidifier. It will help you avoid dry eyes syndrome.
- Do not accept a desk which is near the vent. Ask for another location.
- Make sure that your thermostat is working properly. If there is too much air flow going in, it will carry dust, mites, and other particles which will inflate your eyes.
- When working on the computer, enlarge the font so that you don’t strain your eyes trying to read. Adjust the colors and the brightness.
From Doctor Bates’ method to simple exercises you can do at home, knowing how to improve your eyesight is easy. Some of these recommendations do not have well documented scientific studies to back up his beliefs , especially the section on eye exercises. However, remember that more severe conditions ask for a trip to the doctor.
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