Even those of us fluent in natural healing, may not yet have extended that paradigm to our eyesight. Perhaps we are still thinking that corrective lenses or surgery are the only ways to improve our vision. Fortunately, we actually have many options now for healing the root causes of our poor vision, rather than just masking the symptom with lenses.
My vision was great until I went to University. Peering through the dimly lit lecture theatre filled with 300 students, squinting to see the text on the slide projected onto the wall trashed my long-range vision. I also noticed that my night vision decreased significantly too.
I got glasses for those times I absolutely needed them – when I couldn’t sit near the front of the class, or when driving late at night with fatigue making my vision worse – but I tried to use them as little as possible. My father is an optometrist and he told me that the more you rely on glasses, the weaker your eye muscles become, and the more you need to wear your glasses!
Well, in recent years the Bates Method for improving your vision through a combination of relaxation and strengthening exercises has become increasingly popular. With many spin-offs offering a specialized version of it and therapists who are trained to walk you through the process – teach you, guide you, and keep you on track, just like personal trainer.
First, let take a look at some lifestyle factors that you can get in the habit of doing on a daily basis – these are things you should do even if your vision is good, to help maintain your eye health.
Easy Things to Maintain & Improve Eye Health
Here are some easy actions from natural vision experts that you can make a part of your regular life, like brushing your teeth:
- Don’t use sunglasses except for intense activities like skiing or boating. There are 1200 wavelengths in sunlight that nourish the eye. So wear a cap/hat that shades your eyes, but don’t cover them up with sunglasses.
- Don’t squint to see better. Blink your eyes rapidly instead to relieve tension. Tension around your eyes, neck and shoulders is a primary cause of worsening eyesight. So become aware and use rapid blinking to release tension and you will be able to see better without squinting; which is damaging. I always remember my Dad yelling at me, “Stop squinting!”
- Don’t make the font larger on your computer screen etc. to make it easier to see. Blink and use eye exercises instead.
- Turn down the brightness on all your screens; cellphone, computer monitors, iPads, etc. to protect your eyes. A great app for that (and the one that I use) is Flux which will automatically adjust the brightness and tint of your monitor depending on the time of day; which makes it easier on your circadian rhythms too.
- Do not stare at a phone or small device close to your face for more than a few minutes, or you are likely to develop problems seeing clearly at a distance; even a short distance. This is also not a good idea due to radiation exposure either!
- Yawn as wide as you can in front of your screen, or whenever vision is difficult – this relaxes your eyes, increases oxygen and blood flow.
Okay, now you’ve got some easy tips that you can seamlessly incorporate into your daily life – you just need to remember to do them!
Let’s move on to some of the easier – yet still really effective – eye exercises you can do on your own, without an instructor.
If your vision problems are not severe, you will likely see a big improvement just from doing these exercises alone. For more entrenched or severe vision problems, you likely have to see a Bates Method Teacher.
Easy Exercises to Improve Your Eyesight
1. Palming – Rub the palms of your hands briskly together to warm them if needed. Cover your eyes fully (don’t press on your eyeballs) with the palms of your hands and close your eyes. Relax. Aim for 3 minutes of palming, then take a break, then 3 more minutes of palming, take a break, then 3 more minutes.
2. Solar bathing or sunning – Turn your face towards the sun, close your eyes and move your head gently from side to side, for however long it feels good. If you live in a very hot climate, do this closer to sunrise or sunset. If it is a very bright sunny day then do this exercise between 8-10 am or 4-7 pm.
3. Near-to-Far Shifting – This is demonstrated in the video below. Go outside. Start with your right eye open and cover up your left eye. focus on your thumb in front of your face for 10 seconds, then focus on the furthest object away from you (a mountain peak, a far off tree, etc.) for 10 seconds. Leave your thumb sticking up in front of your face when you shift to the distant object – you want to force your eyes to ignore the close object and focus on the distant object instead. Repeat 15 times. Then do the same with your left eye and repeat 15 times. Then uncover both your eyes and focus your vision on your thumb for 10 seconds, then the far distant object for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times. It is normal to see 2 thumbs when you are focusing on the distant object with both eyes (even though you are only holding up 1 thumb). Have the sun behind you when you do this – i.e. so you are not looking into the sun.
4. Massage and/or tap around your eye orbits (affects sympathetic nerves and acupuncture points) – your eye orbit is the circle of bone that surrounds your eyeball. Just tap comfortably on the bone with your fingertips, or massage all around it. Hey, yet another good reason to do EFT Tapping!
Here’s a good video demonstration of the first 3 exercises and keep in mind these work equally well for farsightedness OR nearsightedness:
Note: He is quite vigorous with the neck rolls – you may need to be gentler!
If you’d like a more scientific approach to improving your vision, here’s a great presentation by Todd Becker M.S. And again, although he’s using myopia as his example (as it’s so widespread) he too emphasized that the same info applies to farsightedness. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, this method may work better for you:
If you haven’t been to an optometrist, then you likely don’t know whether you have an astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea or lens) or not.
But here’s an easy way to check:
Remove any glasses or contact lenses.
Cover your right eye with your hand and look at this numbered wheel with your left eye.
If some of the spokes appear darker and some lighter, then you have an astigmatism in that eye.
Do the same thing with your other eye.
You can also use this astigmatism wheel to improve your eyesight, by using it to perform astigmatism exercises!