As mankind advances technologically, we spend more and more time performing daily tasks through computer screens and other electronic media.
Not surprisingly that leads to a lot of eye strain within the population and can result in people looking for ways to improve their vision naturally.
But visual health isn’t just about counteracting the environment around us. Everyone, regardless of lifestyle should take an invested interest in their vision–once it’s gone, there is almost no getting it back. The concept that vision can be gradually improved is not a new one; almost a century ago a man by the name of William H. Bates, MD, believed wearing prescription lenses indefinitely hurt their eyes more than helped.
Bates thought corrective lenses allowed the eye muscles to become “lazy,” and the longer a person wore them, the worse their vision was likely to get.
Though most vision experts today dismiss Bate’s practices, it isn’t because they think his theory was unsound. Many professionals feel he simply went too far with his attempts to correct a person’s sight.
Bates was known for smashing a patient’s corrective lenses when they arrived in his office, basically forcing them to attempt vision repair “cold turkey.”
“The Bates Method tells people to get rid of their glasses and that doesn’t work,” said Marc R. Grossman, OD, LAc, to WebMD.
“You have to give people a slightly weaker prescription so they can work into it gradually. Most people’s eyes get worse little by little, so their eyes have to get better little by little,” he added. “The goal is to make the eye muscles more flexible,” said Grossman.
“Your dentist tells you to brush your teeth to keep them healthy, but your eye doctor doesn’t tell you how to keep your eyes healthy.”
Three ways to improve your vision naturally
Though every professional may have their own opinion on exercises to improve vision naturally, there are three simple, primary ways to help your eyes.
Get plenty of rest: This may seem like a common sense way to improve your vision, but resting your eyes is very important. According to Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD, you not only need the standard 8 hours of sleep a night to recover from the day, your eyes also need breaks throughout the waking hours.
Eyes should be rested 10 minutes for every 50 minutes spent reading or in front of a computer, and if your eyes feel overly strained they should be covered with something dark and cool, like a damp washcloth
Develop a routine: Eye health also means taking steps toward healthy vision everyday, much like you take steps to healthy teeth everyday. For your eyes, they should be warmed up prior to a strenuous activity, just like any other muscle in the body. Warming up the eyes can mean heating your hands by rubbing them together then placing your palms over your eyes for 15 seconds. Once warm, the eyes should be exercised by rolling them side-to-side and up-and-down, but also making them focus.
Focus can be achieved by holding a pencil at arm’s length then slowly bringing it toward the face, though some people prefer more intense focus methods, like staring at 3D puzzle books.
Eat for your eyes: What you eat fuels every part of your body, and the eyes are no exception. In order to help strengthen your vision, you must provide your eyes with the nutrients they need. Be sure to consume plenty of foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc. Antioxidants, and foods containing rich in sulfur, cysteine, and lecithin can help stave off degenerative eye diseases.
A simple rule to remember? If you want to eat for eye health, load your diet up with fruits, vegetables and coldwater fish.
So will the above efforts save you from needing prescription lenses? The odds say no. Most people, even if they manage to exercise their eyes four times a day, every day, still need some form of corrective lenses later in life. The idea, however, is to lessen the need for a prescription or possibly delay the age at which glasses are needed.