by Roger French
Our eyes need exercise, just like the rest of our
bodies, and they need it for the same reason. Vision, like many other
bodily functions, depends on muscles - in this case, muscles for focussing
and muscles for looking around. In turn, muscles depend on the bloodstream
for oxygen and nutrients and for sweeping away wastes. By exercising
the body as a whole and eye muscles in particular, the eye muscles receive
better circulation and are strengthened so that vision is improved.
we, therefore, avoid the deterioration in sight that leads to a need
for prescription glasses or, if we already have glasses, be able to
discard them - or at least avoid requiring stronger lenses every year?
In other words does the theory work?
These People Did It - We Can Too
look at some examples. Enid French (mother of the writer) has been
doing eye exercises on and off for years, as well as eating very
healthily. She is now 93 years of age and reads The Sydney Morning
Herald from cover to cover without glasses.
those of us who have found that we required glasses at say 50 years of
age needn’t feel that we have failed. After sitting at a desk for
around 30 years and focussing constantly on a page 45 cm in front of
the face or a computer screen 60 cm away, the eyes have probably done
the work of a 400-year-old person! Our eyes are not designed for
prolonged periods of fixed, close-up focussing like this. Without such
unnatural over-use, they would probably serve us adequately for life.
So we need to do exercises and lead a healthy lifestyle generally.
most striking case we’ve encountered is that of Julie of Lugarno, NSW,
who has improved her sight dramatically by applying these methods in
full. Many years ago, in an alphabet test by an optometrist she
couldn’t read any of the letters - even the largest were a blur. After
that she wore glasses all the time, requiring stronger lenses every
year. When she came across a book about eye exercises, she decided to
give them a go - morning, noon and night. At that stage, Julie made no
other changes in lifestyle.
immediate. Within a very short time, distant objects which previously
had been totally blurred, she could now see with only a slight blur.
When the optometrist told Julie that she didn’t need stronger lenses,
she was delighted. “Now that I had something to motivate me, I
continued the exercises diligently,” she told New Vegetarian and
Natural Health in August, 1997. After three to four years doing the
exercises, there was only a faint blur and she could see well enough
without glasses at all. That was 17 years ago and she was able to
discard glasses for good.
At about that time she
joined the Natural Health Society of Australia and began practising
relaxation, sunbathing, regular exercise, yoga and eating natural
foods, while persisting with the eye exercises. “This brought a further
stage of improvement and my sight became perfect for day vision, really
fully restored. It has remained this way. Four years ago, an
optometrist couldn’t believe that I’d ever had to wear glasses!”
fact, Julie’s sight continues to improve, even after all this time. She
told us by phone on 30th September, 1999, “My eyes are still getting
better. They are improving with age!”
Here’s How It’s Done
this century an American ophthalmologist, Dr William Bates, realised
that glasses quickly became addictive and weakened, not strengthened,
the eyes, making increasingly stronger prescriptions necessary. He also
realised that it is not inevitable that the lens loses its elasticity
around middle-age, and developed techniques to strengthen the muscles
of the eyes, both internal and external, in order to increase the range
of movement and improve focussing.
Dr Bates further recognised that there is a connection between shoulder and neck tension and vision.
Here is a range of techniques, based on Dr Bates’ methods, for improving eyesight.
Blinking and Yawning
firmly, squeezing the eyes shut for a few seconds several times. This
brings blood to the eye muscles, giving them a `warm-up’. A really big,
relaxing yawn releases tension.
Eye Movement Exercises
To strengthen eye-movement muscles:
Rotate the eyes slowly through big circles, that is, look to the
extreme edge of your vision in a circle. Repeat 10 times. Blink firmly
then reverse the direction, repeating 10 times. Go through this cycle
once or twice more.
(b) Look slowly along the
diagonals, that is, look from lower left to upper right and back a
number of times, then from upper left to lower right a number of times.
Continue for a minute.
(c) Move the eyes slowly from extreme left to extreme right (horizontally) a number of times.
Move eyes slowly vertically from top to bottom of vision a number of
times. Blink firmly and relax the eyes at intervals during these
Gaze into the distance to relax the focussing muscles, then extend your
arm and place the thumb in the line of sight. Focus on the thumb then
slowly bring it towards your nose, keeping focussed on it all the way.
Repeat several times.
(b) Hold your hand or a page
about 30 cm from your face. Focus on a distant object then rapidly
focus on the close object, and now back on the distant one. Repeat as
quickly as possible for 10 to 20 seconds or until the eyes tire
is an instant reviver for tired eyes after reading or sitting at a
keyboard for a long time. Place the elbows on the table, slightly cup
the hands and place a palm over each eye to shut out all light. The
hands should not touch the eyelids. Feel the warmth penetrating the
eyes. Continue for 2 to 5 minutes or until the eyes feel refreshed.
Massage Neck and Shoulder Muscles
ease tension in the neck and shoulders that restricts circulation to
the head, massage the muscles, first with one hand and then the other,
looking for sore spots and ‘kneading them’. Or spoil yourself and let a
trained masseur/masseuse do it for you.
Neck and Shoulder Exercises
rotate the shoulders forwards and then backwards slowly. Secondly, lean
the head forward then rotate it slowly to the left almost to the back
position. Reverse the direction, rotating to the front, to the right
and almost to the back again. Don’t move the head in a full circle
because the head should never be rotated while tilted backwards in case
the spinal protrusions catch on one another. Thirdly, turn your head to
the extreme right then extreme left, slowly and repeatedly.
do this when the sun is low in the sky. Face your face to the sun with
the eyes closed for no more than a few minutes at a time. At first,
limit sunning to less than a minute at a time. Move your head a little
and feel the warmth penetrating and giving vitality to your eyes.
rising and again at night, splash cold water into your eyes, blinking
as you do it. Be sure to use only pure water that is free of chlorine.
Eat For Clean, Sludge-Free Blood
eating a balance of unprocessed foods - as explained under ‘Natural
Health Dietary Guidelines’ in the Spring, 1999, issue of NVNH.
eating fruits and vegetables exclusively for a day or two. Vision will
usually be noticeably clearer than after eating heavy, sludgy food
which thickens the blood and slows circulation.
Have Regular Relaxation and Regular Exercise
help prevent a build-up of tension and keep the blood oxygenated and
pure, practise meditation, yoga or Tai-Chi or listen to relaxation
tapes, and also have regular brisk walks or other forms of aerobic
activity. (See ‘Enrich Your Life Through Physical Activity’, Winter
1999 issue of NVNH). Also remember the vital importance of plenty of
sleep. (See ‘Wake Up To the Need For Sleep’, Spring, 1998, issue of
person who practises all these techniques can expect satisfying
results. Just pausing for up to a minute or two at hourly intervals
during the day’s desk work to do a few blinking, movement and focussing
exercises and/or palming can keep the eyes relatively fresh and ward
off eye strain.
In addition to avoiding the need
for glasses or the need for stronger and stronger lenses, this may also
prevent headaches. Like Julie, with determination most of us can have
the level of vision that we choose.
Copyright © by The Australian Vegetarian Society All Right Reserved.