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How to Improve Vision Naturally | Vision Therapy Exercises
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Sep 08, 2016
Contrary to popular belief, your vision doesn't have to decline over time. With regular exercise of the muscles that control your eye movements and visual acuity, you can reduce eyestrain and maintain or even improve your vision. Utilization of a few acupressure points can also help your vision by encouraging healthy blood flow to your eyes.
The six muscles that control your eye movements are as follows:
Lateral rectus - Primarily moves your eye outward, away from your nose.
Medial rectus - Primarily moves your eye inward, toward your nose.
Superior rectus - Primarily moves your eye upward.
Inferior rectus - Primarily moves your eye downward.
Superior oblique - Primarily rotates the top of your eye toward your nose.
Inferior oblique - Primarily rotates the top of your eye away from your nose.
Perhaps the single greatest reason why people in today's society suffer from chronic eyestrain and deteriorating vision is the amount of time that is spent staring at computer monitors and television screens.
Your eyes are designed to move regularly. Frequent movement of your eyes is what promotes optimal blood flow and nerve tone to your eyes and the muscles that control your eye movements.
What follows are several simple eye exercises that you can do on a regular basis to keep your eyes and vision as healthy as possible:
- Look as far to your right as possible for 3-5 seconds, then as far to your left as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times.
Look as far up as possible for 3-5 seconds, then look as far down as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times.
Slowly roll your eyes in a circle, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times. Be sure to roll slowly - it should take at least 3 seconds for you to roll your eyes in a full circle.
Hold a pen in front of you, about an arm's length away. Focus your vision on the tip of your pen for 3-5 seconds, then shift the focus of your vision to an object that is farther away for 3-5 seconds. The greater the distance between your pen and the distant object, the better. If you are indoors, look out a window to find a distant object to focus your vision on. Repeat this sequence of going back and forth between your pen and a distant object several times.
Please note that all of these exercises should be done with your eyes, not your head and neck. With this in mind, keep your head and neck still while you take your eyes through the movements described above, and at the end of each of the ranges described, try to focus your eyes on an actual object, such as a door knob or a corner of the ceiling.
Brock String Vision Therapy
A Brock string is commonly used in vision therapy, and is an excellent tool for promoting healthy binocular vision where both eyes work seamlessly together to allow the visual cortex of the brain to accurately register all that is one's field of view.
More specifically, a Brock string is often used to help correct developmental issues where the eyes don't work together as they should, where there is some suppression in activity of one of the eyes, and where the eyes don't converge properly to accommodate for an object that is moving toward the eyes.
Here is an excellent video that demonstrates how to use a Brock string to promote healthy binocular vision:
Brock strings are readily available at Amazon.com, but you can easily make your own with a white string that is about 8 to 10 feet in length and 3 to 5 brightly coloured beads that you slide onto your string before tying knots at the ends. Ideally, you want the beads to be distinctly different colours and about as big as a good size marble. The holes in the beads should be large enough where you can slide the beads onto your string, but it is best if the fit is snug enough where the beads don't easily slide around while the string is held taut at a slight decline away from you.
With one end of the string held just below your nose and the other end secured by another person or against a stationary object like a door knob, the string should be taut and still, with the beads spaced 10 to 15 cm apart, with the first bead 10 to 15 cm away from your nose. It's helpful if the distant anchor point is slightly lower than the point at which the string is held under your nose for a slight decline as the string goes away from you.
With this set-up, focus your eyes on the closest bead for 5 seconds, then the next bead, and so on until you have focused on each bead individually for 5 seconds or thereabouts.
Then, focus on the middle or second bead until the adjacent beads appear as double with two strings entering and leaving the bead that is the point of focus. If you don't see two strings entering and leaving your bead of focus, as well as double of the adjacent beads, try blinking your eyes several times, then looking at the bead of focus with just your right eye, and then just with your left eye. Then, go back to focusing on the middle or second bead until you see what is described above.
You can continue with this process with each bead; focus on one bead at a time until you are able to see double of the adjacent beads with two strings entering and/or leaving your bead of focus.
Working with a Brock string in this fashion for a few minutes each day is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways of resolving issues with eye convergence and less-than-optimal stereo vision.
If you would like more comprehensive guidance on how to improve and protect your vision as you age, I highly recommend that you read:
This is an outstanding book that offers a comprehensive array of exercises and information that can help you support your vision. And if you wear eyeglasses or contacts, following the guidance provided in this book may actually help you do away with your prescription eye wear or at the very least, help prevent deterioration of your visual acuity as you age.
For more in-depth guidance on Vision Therapy, you'll want to look at the definitive textbook on this topic here:
Beyond doing the exercises described above on a regular basis, another way to reduce eyestrain and promote your best vision is to use your fingers to apply gentle pressure to three acupressure points that can help promote healthy blood flow to your eyes and the muscles that surround your eyes.
The best such acupressure points are as follows:
BL-2 is located under the innermost section of each of your eyebrows, in the top-inner region of each of your orbital sockets. When pressing on this point, you should feel direct contact with the bony surface of your orbital socket.
Additional pictures of this point and how to apply pressure to it can be found on pages 90 and 91 of Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments
For those with knowledge of human anatomy: Application of pressure to BL-2 is meant to stimulate optimal blood flow and nerve function to the tendon of the superior oblique muscle, a number of smaller muscles that surround the orbital cavity, branches of the frontal branch of the trigeminal nerve, and branches of the supratrochlear and supraorbital arteries.
Stomach-2 and Stomach-3 (St-2, St-3)
St-2 and St-3 are located under the mid-line of each of your eyes. St-2 is about one finger-width under each eye, while St-3 is located at the bottom of each of your cheekbones. These points are described together because it is quite simple to apply pressure to both of them at the same time on both sides of your face by using your index and middle fingers.
Additional pictures of these points and how to apply pressure to them can be found on pages 90 and 91 of Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments
For those with knowledge of human anatomy: Application of pressure to these points is meant to stimulate optimal blood flow and nerve function to the infraorbital nerve, branches of the facial nerve, and branches of the facial and infraorbital arteries and a number of muscles below and within the orbital sockets.
Please note: before self-administering acupressure, it is always best to consult with your doctor to make sure that there are no contraindications to doing so.
If you work with a computer on a daily basis, and you haven't read through a two-part series that I wrote a while back on how to stay healthy in the computer era, I recommend that you view it here: How to Protect Your Health in the Computer Era - this article provides several practical tips on how to protect your eyesight while working with computers.
Another helpful related article is: Why Frequent Blinking is Essential for Healthy Eyes and Optimal Vision
Once again, the three books that I highly recommend as reference texts on how to reduce eyestrain and protect and improve your eyesight are:
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