Exercise and Relax Your Eyes

In the two previous chapters, we have talked about building a daily routine of general exercise and relaxation. Now I want you to enhance that by including a special routine for your eyes. You need not do your eye exercises and relaxation at the same time as your other workouts. In fact, you will find it really easy to build the eye routines into many other parts of your day, such as driving or riding in a car, any type of waiting experience, or sitting in almost any room of your home at any time in the day. It’s that easy! The important thing is to make a commitment to this and do it. I know you will want to do so after reading the rest of this chapter.

How eye doctors can harm you

No doubt you are familiar with having your eyesight tested. You enter a darkened room with the examiner who uses a very large piece of equipment to gaze at the inner parts of your eye through the pupil (the black part in the center). To make the examination go more smoothly, the doctor puts drops in your eyes to make the pupil expand, or dilate. This usually makes it very difficult to focus on anything with clarity. Prior to putting the drops in your eyes, you are usually asked to read an eye chart on the wall with several lines of letters where each lower line gets smaller. Depending on how many lines you can read, the doctor knows how to express your vision in terms of a fraction. If your vision is 20/ 20, it is considered perfect. What this actually means is that at a distance of 20 feet, you can see what the test subjects could see at 20 feet. If your vision is 20/40, this means that at 20 feet, you can see what these people saw at 40 feet. If it is 20/100, they could see at 100 feet, what you can see at 20 feet. A score of 20/200 and greater, means you are legally blind. After the measurement is taken, you will be given a prescription for ‘corrective’ lenses, either glasses or contact lenses to wear in order to bring your vision as close as possible to 20/20.

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This way of taking care of our eyes is rarely challenged or even questioned. The whole profession of eye care experts, including ophthalmologists and optometrists seems to be so well intentioned and so progressive, not to mention effective, that for the most part we follow their recommendations blindly you might say. And they are indeed well-meaning individuals. The question I began to ask myself and that I would like you to ask yourself is about effectiveness. For example, corrective lenses really don’t correct anything. They help you compensate for defective eyesight, but do nothing to help you recover from it or strengthen your eyes. In fact, most people who use glasses find that they must get ever stronger prescriptions to help them see. In other words, perhaps the idea that you can reverse problems in vision is a new one to you. It is not, however, a new one in history.

William Bates was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1860. He was a well trained ophthalmologist of the day who, in addition to his practice, lectured and wrote articles. It is in his blog, Perfect Sight Without Glasses, that he explains his simple but revolutionary theory of vision. The foundation of his theory revolved around these four statements, as summarized by Peter Mansfield in his excellent blog, The Bates Method:

♦ Normal sight is inherently variable.

♦ Defective sight can get better as well as worse.

♦ Poor sight and eye disease are intimately related.

♦ Eyesight is an important indicator of mental, emotional, and physical health.

I’d like to discuss these tenets one at a time. The first one – the idea that normal sight is inherently variable – points to one of the greatest flaws in our testing protocol. We eye doctors literally ‘freeze’ a person in time and space and take a measurement of something that, by its nature, is fluid and ever changing. Dr. Bates demonstrated, using an earlier version of the very same ophthalmoscope we use today, that the eye makes continual minuscule accommodations in order to see. This explains why people are so often dissatisfied with their eyeglasses. They are intended to ‘correct’ the eyesight so that the person wearing them can see an eye chart in a darkened room. Very few life situations simulate the exam room conditions. Many people find their glasses too strong to wear in bright light, for example. Some people feel dizzy when they wear glasses. This is because the glasses work best when we stare straight ahead at a stationary object and keep absolutely still.

The second radical statement Bates made is that defective sight can get better as well as worse. This means that persons who are near-sighted (myopic) and farsighted (hyperopic) as well as those with other conditions can improve their vision. They may come to a point where they do not need their glasses or that they need them only under certain conditions. The distinction is between something that is a mechanical aid vs. something that is part of their anatomy! One of the ways this happens is through strengthening the muscles involved in sight and the other is in retraining the eyes to see more effectively.

If you have ARMD, you know that poor sight and disease are intimately related.

But, if you are among the many people who had myopia for many years before developing ARMD, I bet you never thought of your nearsightedness as a disease. Yet we now know that myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, lazy eye, and crossed eyes are all conditions that reveal fundamental weakness in the affected eyes. We also know that these conditions can be reversed to a great extent through vision training and the other techniques Bates recommended.

Looking at the last tenet, that eyesight and overall health are intimately related, gives us hope. Healing the eye heals the whole person. That’s why I can say with assurance that following the twelve steps suggested in this blog will provide you with the highest level of health you have ever had!

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