The question ‘Can I improve my eyesight naturally?’ is commonly asked by those who have noticed their vision gradually deteriorating. And the number of people suffering from poor eyesight is on the up. The amount of individuals who need to wear glasses or contact lenses has risen steadily over the past 15 years. The reason? In the modern world, most of us spend long periods of time staring blankly at a computer screen at work. We then get home, put our feet up and spend hours squinting at a television screen. All of this strain is bad news for our eyesight.
Why glasses and contact lenses don't work in the long term
Once we start to notice that we can’t see as well as we used to, we seek the help of an optician, who gives us a series of eye tests and eventually diagnoses us as being short or long-sighted and needing spectacles, bifocals or contact lenses to see properly. Essentially if we take his advice without question, we are committing ourselves to a steady decline in the quality of our sight for the rest of our lives. We accept that it is a normal part of getting older. The trouble with this attitude is that the more we rely on glasses or lenses, the worse our vision will become; our eyes adapt to the lenses and rely on them to see clearly, thus becoming weaker. There is then no option but to increase the strength of the prescription.
Many people nowadays turn to laser eye surgery as it is a relatively affordable and effective, but others are in search of a more natural method to improve their defective eyesight. Is it even possible to reverse or halt the deterioration of our eyesight without surgery or the assistance of an optometrist?
What we need to understand to improve eyesight naturally
Eyes don’t like strain
Vision worsens due to straining. As children, did you spend hours watching TV, playing video games or even staring at the pages of a favourite book? Lack of movement in the eyes = strain. Movement of the eyes = relaxation and flexibility. Just like other parts of the body, the eyes become tense if fixed on one point for longer than a few seconds. Over long periods of time, the stress and tension build up and can even lead to bigger problems like myopia. Other conditions that this lack of movement can cause are hyperopia and astigmatism. Eye strain has a very gradual, negative impact on the clarity of our vision. So, avoid staring, squinting and straining as much as possible.
You may not feel like you are straining at all, but the lenses in your spectacles cause your eyes to lock and tense. This induces chronic strain. However, not wearing your glasses can obviously worsen the strain, as you have become so reliant on having your vision corrected that you’ll probably be squinting to see without the prop of your lenses.
So how can you relieve or counteract the strain and improve eyesight naturally?
The eyes are similar to any other muscle in the body; with regular exercise they will become healthier and stronger. Of course depending on how bad your vision has become, you may never regain 20/20, but many people (including myself) notice significant improvements by following a few simple steps. Many more have used the techniques I’m about to outline to halt the process of deterioration. Even if you are sceptical that you’ll notice any results, what have you go to lose?
You must be aware that there is no magic potion to give you perfect eyesight overnight. If this is what you are seeking, natural vision improvement is probably not the path for you; I’d advise saving up the money and looking into having laser eye surgery instead.
Try incorporating three simple changes and make a conscious effort to do them until they become second-nature.
- Blink every 2-4 seconds – blinking is the most natural way of refreshing and re-awakening your eyes.
- Breath deeply from the diaphragm (shallow breathing is potentially detrimental to eyesight as your eyes require a large amount of oxygen to function effectively).
- Shift your gaze from point to point rather than stare rigidly; don’t attempt to see an entire object all at once, work in small snapshots.
Perhaps the most important point I’m attempting to make in this article is this; movement of the eyes makes them more relaxed and flexible. The more agile the muscles of your eyes are, the better your sight will be. The majority of famous sports players do not need glasses; much of this is due to the fact that their eyes are constantly moving.
The movement of your eyes is facilitated by several sets of muscles that control up and down and side to side motion. Perhaps most significant is the ciliary muscle which comprises smooth muscle fibres which are connected to the eye by minute ligaments. As with any muscle, the ciliary muscle can be strengthened and stretched. And, as with any health and fitness programme, you must commit to the following exercises to see any improvement; make them part of your daily routine.
This simple exercise relieves stress and strain and is perfect for computer breaks as it allows a few moments of darkness.
- Take 5 deep breaths.
- Get comfortable and close your eyes.
- Place both of your hands over your eyes. The cup of your palm should cover your eyes. Place your fingers on your forehead and the heels of your hands on your cheekbones. Make sure you are not restricting or placing undue pressure on your eyes; you should be able to blink freely. Rest in this position for at least two minutes.
Focus Near and Far
This exercise can be done almost anywhere; it is designed to strengthen the eye muscles naturally.
- Sit comfortably or stand in an easy position.
- Place your thumb about 12 inches away, directly in front of your face. Focus on it.
- Now focus on a random object that is around 12-20 feet in front of you.
- Alternate between your thumb and the object on every intake of breath.
Figure of eight
This exercise is fairly self-explanatory but excellent for increasing the flexibility of your eyes. Imagine a huge figure of eight in front of you (around 8 feet away). Turn the eight on its side and trace the outline of the figure of eight with your eyes very slowly. Do it in one direction for a few minutes and then reverse the motion.
With continued use, this exercise will hone your ability to focus and improve your vision.
- Sit comfortably.
- Stretch your arm out in front of your face and put your hand into a ‘thumbs up’ position.
- Focus on your thumb (but don’t forget to blink when you need to)
- Now slowly bring your thumb towards your face maintaining your gaze. Stop when your thumb is about 3 inches in front of your face.
- Now reverse the process by moving your thumb away but keeping engaged with it.
- Repeat 10 times.
At this point I must stress that I am not an optician, but have researched the subject matter of this article and experienced positive results personally using the methods described.
There are other changes you can make to significantly up your chances of achieving your goal of better vision; don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking, as well as specific dietary changes. For more information on this, see the following article:
Answering the question ‘Can I improve eyesight naturally?’ is not simple, but if your stick with the natural vision improvement exercise regime and make the habit changes, you should see positive results. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t wake up tomorrow with 20/20 vision. Improving your eyesight naturally takes time and commitment.