We spend lots of time in front of screens – smartphones, TVs, tablets – staring at one spot. As a result, our eyes need exercise to stay healthy. Once you turn to glasses, your eyes get lazy and your vision continues to deteriorate. But if you exercise your eyes, you can maintain sharp vision and could even naturally improve eyesight. Here are three types of exercises for the eyes.
1. Tibetan Eye Chart
For centuries, the Tibetan people have used natural methods to correct visual weakness and naturally improve eyesight. The primary method has been to use certain exercises, which have proved effective when practiced over long periods of time.
The figure below is a Tibetan Eye Chart designed by Tibetan Lama Monks. The monks created the chart so it was simple to practice necessary corrective eye exercises. These exercises stimulate the muscles and nerves of the optical system. In addition, they strengthen the eye muscles, which helps improve vision.
Follow the simple steps below to use the eye chart. These exercises are to be done without eyeglasses or contacts. Do each movement for 30 seconds while in a sitting position, spine straight. Do not move the head side to side; move only the eyes.
1.) With the palm of each hand cup both closed eyes to relax them.
2.) Move the eyes clockwise around the outer circle of dots.
3.) Repeat this movement in a counterclockwise rotation.
4.) Move the eyes back and forth between the dots at 2 and 8 o’clock.
5.) Repeat this movement back and forth between dots at 4 and 10 o’clock.
6.) Blink the eyes briefly and finish therapy with the palming same as step 1.
Going through these steps takes less than 3 minutes. You can repeat the exercises for up to 10 minutes at a time, being careful not to strain the eyes. Try to keep your glasses or contacts off for at least a few minutes after the exercises.
This practice is recommended in the morning and evening. It may also be beneficial to do the exercises after a prolonged period on the computer or smartphone. You may notice immediate effects. Consequently, after a few months of practice, you may notice considerable changes in your eyesight.
2. Bates Method to Naturally Improve Eyesight
The Bates Method of Natural Eyesight Improvement was created and taught by ophthalmologist William Horatio Bates. The Bates Method uses techniques with the goal of effectively re-establishing clear 20/20 vision at all distances.
Although modern medicine did not support Bates, he wrote about various patients who practiced his method with successful results. The full compilation of Bates’ Better Eyesight Magazine can be found here.
The full Bates Method is quite lengthy to cover in this article, but I can get you started. The basic idea is that you use eye test charts to help exercise your eyes. For example, you can purchase the snellen eye test chart on Amazon for about $5, and then follow this method:
1.) When looking at the top end of the largest letter on the chart, the eye should see its bottom part worse than the top end. The patients having problems with vision are very rarely able to make such an observation.
2.) Look around the letter and find such a visual point from where you will see find that the top end of the largest letter is seen with the greatest acuity. Some achieve this by looking into one place and simultaneous turning of head. Others find that their central fixation point at a larger distance from the chart is several feet away!
3.) Upon identifying the point of greatest acuity, move your sight smoothly downwards and upwards the letter to the area seen the sharpest.
4.) Do this exercise six times and apply a 1-minute palming. Repeat this cycle until it is tiring for you.
Source for the instructions come from BatesEyeExercises.com. They have more of the method outlined on their website. As well, they sell all the different eye charts you might need.
You can also keep it simple and just find a copy of the snellen chart on google images and print out the top half. Then use the top letter E to perform the exercises.
Repeat the exercises 1-2 times per day, for up to 4 minutes.
Typically, as with any natural methods, to really see if this method works for you, you have to try it. Using any natural method also requires commitment. Please keep that in mind when beginning this practice.
Palming is a simple technique used to relax the eyes. It can be done at anytime, although it is most effective if done in a dark room. Here’s the process:
1.) To practice palming, start with your eyes closed. Then, cover them with cupped hands. Ensure that there is no pressure on the eyeballs. It may be comfortable to partially interlace the fingers on the forehead.
2.) Once you are palming, open your eyes and adjust your hands to ensure no light is coming in through the fingers. You want to let in as little light as possible (that’s why a dark room helps). Then, close the eyes.
3.) You can start palming for about 5 or 10 minutes. Just set your timer so you don’t have to check the clock. Just make sure to fully relax all the spaces around the eyes.
To prevent strain in the arms and shoulders, you may wish to place your elbows on a desk cushioned with a pillow, before you start.
Some people like to practice palming for up to 30 minutes, but really it really depends on your preference. It is actually better to do this more often throughout the day than just once for a long period. I’m sure your eyes need to relax more than just once per day!
It’s important to exercise your eyes. If you still have good vision but spend lots of time at the computer or looking at your smartphone, don’t take your eyesight for granted. With eye exercises and regular breaks from media screens, you’re more likely to maintain sharp vision for a long time.
When you notice that your vision becomes blurry, it is definitely a good idea to go see an eye doctor. This is especially important if you have eye pain or headaches associated with blurry vision. Please don’t think I’m telling you to ignore vision problems, because I’m not.
Yet, even if you receive glasses at the doctor, you can still practice the above eye exercises and opt out of wearing your glasses at all times. I’m not saying drive at night without your glasses, but don’t let your eyes think that it’s ok to give up. Glasses are a crutch. When you’re in a safe environment like at your house, keep your eyes challenged and continue (or begin) your eye exercises.
Of course, diet is also an important component of good eye sight. Especially if you are exercising your eyes, eat lots of leafy greens like spinach and kale….but that’s probably a completely different article altogether.
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