The eyes contain many small muscles, and there is no doubt that eye exercises can do little harm to your eyes, but can they actually be of benefit?
A New York ophthalmologist called Dr William Bates, developed a series of eye exercises to improve eyesight without resorting to lenses or surgery. Dr Bates felt that many eye problems had their root causes in stress, tension and laziness of the eye and he thought that because of these causes, the eyes could be treated without correction such as lenses, spectacles or even surgery. Dr Bates’ methods were first devised at the beginning of the 20th century, but many people still practice them today.
Dr Bates’ theory revolved around the notion that the muscles of the eye became fixed on a scene causing strain to the eyes. Dr Bates felt that the eyes could be re-trained to relax and improve the link between the optic nerves and the brain.
Dr Bates’ theories have been largely ignored by the world of medicine. However, many people around the world have claimed remarkable improvements in short sight, long sight, astigmatism, squints and lazy eyes using these methods. Even young children are able to practice the exercises and people with normal vision may improve concentration, reading skills and co-ordination by following the routines suggested by Dr Bates.
In essence, you can expect to perform some simple exercises for about half an hour a day. These can involve some of the following:-
To rest and relax your eyes, sit comfortably in front of a table, resting your elbows on a stack of cushions high enough to bring your palms easily to your eyes without stooping forward or looking up. Close your eyes and cover them with your cupped palms to exclude light, avoiding pressure on the sockets. Breathe slowly and evenly, relaxing and imagining deep blackness. Begin by doing this for 10 minutes, two or three times a day.
Relax and keep the eyes mobile. Stand up and focus on a distant point, swaying gently from side to side. Repeat 100 times daily, blinking as you sway. Blinking cleans and lubricates the eyes, which is especially important if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
• You may be asked to have a ‘colour day.’ Choose a colour and look out for it throughout the day. When you see it, be aware of the colour rather than the form. For example, if it’s a red truck, experience the shade of red, not the truck.
Why not try some of these exercises yourself?
See Clearly Method
The See Clearly Method is another popular series of exercises and training to help with vision correction. Similarly to the Bates’ method, you are required to do 30 minutes of eye exercises a day to strengthen and enhance the flexibility of the eye’s muscles. This would usually involve making the eye change it’s focus from near to far for example. One simple way of doing this would be to hold a small object in your hand and slowly move it away from your face, ensuring that your eye follows the object and retains focus upon it.
One exercise which is know as “tromboning” has you hold a small object again, starting at arm’s length. Then you need to breath in and move the object slowly closer to your face, until it touches your nose. You are then required to breath out, looking at the object as you again move it away from your face. Hence the notion of “Tromboning”.
The See Clearly Method also employs a number of techniques which are aimed at accelerating progress or improvement. For example, there is a technique referred to as the “blur reading” technique, which asks you to turn a magazine upside-down at a distance where the words are not distinct. Then, you are supposed to choose one word and focus your attention around it, to see if you can identify any of the letters.
As with the Bates’ Method, the eye exercises suggested in the See Clearly Method are certainly worthy of a go to see if they help you at all.