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Ditch Your Glasses And Terrible Eyesight With These 6 Eye Exercises

Your eyes aren’t broken. It’s your lens use and bad habits that weaken your eyes over time. And the massive hundred billion dollar optics industry loves it. They keep you in ever increasing prescriptions and tell you stories of the genetic myopia condition. 

eye glasses; eye exercises
Photo by Tan Danh from Pexels

It’s nonsense. Your eyes may not be perfectly healthy, but there’s no need to diagnose them under unnecessary conditions.

The National Eye Institute reports that “About 42 percent of Americans ages 12-54 are nearsighted, up from 25 percent in 1971. A recent review reports that myopia prevalence varies by ethnicity. East Asians show the highest prevalence, reaching 69 percent at 15 years of age. Blacks in Africa had the lowest prevalence at 5.5 percent at 15 years of age. Children from urban environments are more than twice as likely to be myopic as those from rural environments.”

I think it’s no coincidence that those who are more prone to myopia are also the same ones who spend more time in front of a screen. As for the genetic aspect of myopia, science has shown that our own thoughts and actions can change our genetic makeup, and that DNA gets passed down to later generations. A generation of screen watchers begets another, more susceptible, generation of screen watchers. And it’s not just screens that cause myopia. Holding anything close to your face, such as a book, places a certain strain on your eyes and trains them to stay that way. It works the same for farsightedness as well.

If you suffer from poor eyesight, you’ve probably been told that you need to wear either glasses or contact lenses or to save up for expensive lasik surgery. Improving your sight by exercising your eyes might seem pretty unbelievable but a number of ophthalmologists believe that certain exercises may indeed keep your eyes in better shape. These findings are nothing new. In fact, evidence of these claims have been around for almost 100 years! But sadly, because it would greatly affect the optics industry, major studies have never been done.

The Man Who Introduced Eye Exercising

Back in the 1920s, Dr. William Bates, a New York ophthalmologist determined that if eyes responded to glasses by getting weaker, the muscles around the eyes were the key factor in poor vision. He found that a tremendous amount of muscular tension builds up in and around the eyes, causing problems with their ability to see. So, he developed a series of eye exercises to relax those muscles in order to release tension and restore circulation to help improve the eyes’ functioning. 

The three fundamental eye exercises from the Bates Method are “sunning”, which involves shining the sun or a full spectrum light on closed eyes; “palming”, which is covering the eyes with your palms, and massaging them gently; and “swinging”, which is keeping your eyes focused on an object as you turn your head back and forth from left to right.

Since then, there have been many other eye exercises developed that are very easy to implement at any time.

eye exercises can improve your eyesight

Eye Exercises Are Becoming More Popular

Conditions such as astigmatism, far and nearsightedness, as well as weakening sight, have been improved and sometimes cured by the Bates Method, and some clinical trials appear to prove its effectiveness.

At the time, eye exercises were a highly controversial idea, and it still is. Mainstream optometrists widely disapprove, but tens of thousands of people swear by using the Bates Method. By learning to relax their optic muscles, people can improve their eyesight. When you think about it, it’s unbelievable that more studies on this haven’t been done.

Lately, though, Bates’ ideas have been receiving unexpected confirmation from scientists who are studying neuroplasticity—a branch of neuroscience that is developing from an understanding that the brain is capable of self-repair and healing, more than we ever thought possible.

Psychiatrist Norman Doidge, a neuroplasticity expert, writes: “The natural vision principles behind what [Bates] did can be applied far more widely than is done now, from the milder problems of those who have blurry vision to more serious ones, and to prevent future vision problems.”

He continues on by saying, “Exploring the Bates Vision Method, David Webber discovered the work of Meir Schneider. Schneider, born with vision issues, also had failed surgeries and vision of 20/2000. But working with the Bates method up to 13 hours a day, he eventually brought his vision to 20/60. I hope you caught that: 13 HOURS A DAY. Schneider decided to develop his own approach to restoring vision which is highly influenced by Bates’ work.”

Behavioral Optometry

Some of the key principles of eye exercising are being more and more accepted by mainstream eye care. The idea that the eyes need care and stress relief just as the rest of the body has been developed as a part of a discipline called behavioral optometry. Within this practice, eyesight is considered to be an indivisible part of the whole being and therefore influenced by our behaviour, environment, stress and the cognitive functioning between eyes and brain.

Vision links with the other senses. Balance, spatial perception, and mismatches in seeing and hearing can all lead to distortion and mixed signals between the eyes and brain. Behavioral optometry uses visual therapy to fix issues like insufficient focusing, for instance in squinting.

You can also help boost your eye exercises by using supplements designed for eyes. Most include extracts such as marigold, bilberry, gingko, and eyebright, in addition to antioxidants and vitamins and minerals such as A, C, E, lutein, and zinc.

6 Eye Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

1. Eye Circles

Eye circles will help tone and stretch your eyes’ muscles. Slowly move your eyes in a clockwise direction 20 times. Make as wide a circle as you are can. Relax for 10 seconds and repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Do this exercise a few times throughout the day. If having your eyes open for this exercise is too uncomfortable, you can opt to close your eyes.

2. Zooming

Focus exercises can help strengthen your eyes. Hold a pen upright or simply use a thumbs up motion and straighten your arm in front of your body. Focus your eyes on the tip of your thumb or pen. Focus for 10 seconds. Slowly bring the pen towards your nose while gazing at the tip. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly extend your arm again while focusing your eyes on the tip and repeat the process three times. Try to blink as little as possible. Relax your eyes and repeat throughout the day.

3. Face Focus

Lower your eyes and gaze at the tip of your nose and hold this position for 15 seconds. Do not blink. Slowly return your eyes to the original position. Close your eyes and relax for 20 seconds. Open your eyes and look up at your eyebrows for 15 seconds. Return your eyes to the original position. Close your eyes and relax for another 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise throughout the day.

4. Eye Squeezes

Squeezing will strengthen and stretch your eye muscles. Tightly contract your eye muscles by closing and squeezing your eyes together. Hold this tension for 4 seconds. Open your eyes. Quickly blink your eyes a few times. Relax for 5 seconds and repeat. Do this exercise throughout the day.

5. Up and Downs

Strengthen your eye muscles by doing up and down maneuvers. Look up at the ceiling a few feet in front of you and hold for 5 seconds. Return your eyes to the straight-ahead position. Relax for 6 seconds. Move your eyes to look down at the floor a few feet in front of you and hold for 5 more seconds. Return your eyes to the original position. Blink quickly to relax your eyes. Repeat this exercise throughout the day.

6. Figure 8 

Practice controlling the movement of your eyes. Imagine a giant figure eight right in front of you and trace the figure eight with your eyes, slowly. Trace it one way for about 30 seconds and then relax your eyes for 15 seconds. Trace the opposite way for another 30 seconds. Relax and repeat throughout the day.

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