Sunday, 6 January 2008

Eye Exercises for Better Vision

Human Eye with different lines. The line of si...Image via Wikipedia

Bloggers like myself experience declining vision over the years,can eyesight really be improved? Well, MRI or magnetic resonance imaging coupled with the latest computer programs that map the human brain have been put to use to do research on the brain and how our eyes see. Though our eyes do ‘see’ what is around us, the images are sent to the brain and processed there. So sometimes, a glimpse of someone or something familiar, and though the eye does not see all of it, the brain recognizes the person or thing. So it is the brain that is the final decider on what you see.

Recognition of people and things begins soon after birth and is a process of associations. So what we experience and know influences how we see. Sight turns into perception only when we know something about what we are looking at. However, when the sight fails, especially if it is due to a condition like glaucoma, thanks to a decreasing ability to focus on the objects or people around, there is decreased interest as well. But the good news is that if you sharpen your powers of perception, it will help you ‘see’ better.

Let’s see what kind of exercises will help towards sharpening your perception. Before you begin any of them, however, do a bit of deep breathing. Through your nose, breathe in deeply right to your diaphragm or stomach. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Keep it slow and steady. Now begin.

Pick a building in your range of vision and observe it closely. Look carefully at the windows, the brickwork, the doors, the roof. In case you can see the number on the gate, look carefully at that as well. Make sure your eyes keep moving. Now do that to a friend. Look carefully at his face – every detail of his eyes, nose, ears, mouth. Look like you are memorizing his face so you can draw it from memory later. You can look at a tree and follow the same routine.

Remember to blink often as it’s a great way to lubricate the eyes. Open and close your eyes slowly. With eyes closed, move your head back and forth, opening your eyes slowly for just a moment then shutting them again. Try blinking one eye at a time.

Take a sheet of blank paper and with a black marker, draw a large E. Prop up the paper and first look long and hard at the lower bar, then move your gaze to the upper bar, then the vertical bar and finally the bar at the center. Now shut your eyes and picture the E in your mind. Now move back so the paper is 5 feet away from you. Gaze at it again, then blink. Do this slowly. Now keep moving back and looking at it till you cannot see the E anymore.

You need to stimulate the cells that are mainly responsible for the peripheral vision. To do this, you have to extend your arms and wiggle your fingers. Look at them so you can see the movement. If you can’t, bring them closer till you can see your fingers.

Now close your eyes and see a large circle in your mind’s eye. Imagine that the end of your nose has a pencil attached to it. Now, draw a line around the circle, try and make the circle into an oval by squeezing it and then draw around the oval. Then, try making it into a figure-8 and draw around it. Now, try and write your name if you can. Then, put a piece of paper on your nose and tape it on the bridge. Put both your index fingers in front of your eyes and turn them, one clockwise and the other anticlockwise. Follow the movements with your eyes.

Get yourself an eye chart – the ones they use to test eyes- and hang it up on a wall. Whatever you might be doing – reading or just sitting, look at the chart once in a while. Or, look out of the window at distant objects occasionally. When you are reading, stop at intervals and try and remember what the last word you read was. Think of the word, the way it looked – all black and then think of the white space around it and visualize that as well. Now look at the word once more. Just keep in mind that you should just look at it, not stare. Move your eyes around the word. This way, your eyes don’t get fixated on the page and do not get as tired.

What could also help is if you do a few exercises in order to relieve tension. Here are a few you can do. To relieve facial tension, yawn and massage your jaw. It doesn’t matter if you make a sound while yawning. Then, put your hands behind your ears and feel the muscle that goes from there to your neck and on to your shoulders. This is called the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Massage this twenty times. Now, rotate your shoulders, maybe ten times each one. Then move your head in a circular motion, clockwise, then anticlockwise ten times. This helps in minimizing the tension and in helping the circulation get better. Once the blood flow gets better, the optic nerve performs better too.

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