One problem that vision therapy and eye exercises attempt to treat is eyestrain. Like fatigue, we currently have no way to measure eyestrain. Our standard methods of evaluating vision, in the clinic, are unable to measure eyestrain.
Eyestrains occur in all kinds of situations but it is almost epidemic in offices. It is a well-known fact that sitting at a desk doing one task for several minutes without stopping constricts the mind as well as the eyes. When the eyes are irritated, so is the brain. The researcher, H.S Seung MD, in his 1996 report in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA demonstrated that, just as the brain controls the position of the eye, the eye position influences the brain.
The whole head and neck are involved in keeping the eye focused on a specific spot. Try, for instance, following a bouncing tennis ball without moving your neck and head, it is very difficult. The eyes, head, and the neck work as team. Head and neck movements are naturally integrated with the eye movements. Keeping the eyes, head, and neck still (especially while working at a computer) tenses the head and neck muscles and can cause headaches.
William H. Bates M.D, in his 1920 book Better Eyesight Without Glasses indicated that mental tension is the root of eye problems and that bad habits contribute to bad eyesight. He recommended proper eye rest.
Relaxing the body relaxes the eye, and anything that relaxes the eye causes the mind to be more relaxed as well. The goal of most eye exercises is to improve vision by relaxing the eye.
Causes of eye strains
The following are some of the numerous causes of eyestrains:
- Insufficiency or excessive bright lighting
- Exposure to smoke
- Starring at a computer screen for too long with insufficient blinking
- Reading or doing close work for long periods without stopping
- Emotional stress (which could lead to eye muscle strain and poor attention)
- Incorrect glasses prescription
How to relief your eyes of strains
- First, bathe your eyes, using cool water, to energize them.
- Then just look around the outskirts of the room you are, in a panoramic circle.
- Close your eyes gently and concentrate on breathing.
- Warm your hands by rubbing them together for about twenty seconds.
- Place a hand over each eye with a cupped palm so that the fingertips are on the forehead and the base of the palm is on your cheekbones, not actually touching your eye.
- Look into the darkness with your eyes closed
- You may even see some shimmering light. Continue to look at the darkness concentrating on taking deep breaths, relax your mind and, along with it, your eyes.
A number of eye exercise relax the eye- as well as improving outlook and vision- by relaxing the eye muscles, both those on the outside of the eyelids and those around the eye.
The following are the exercises that would help develop your focusing power.
- PENCIL PUSH-UPS:
The exercise is the standard way of developing focusing power ( i .e accommodation and convergence). Follow this steps:
- Hold a pencil (or biro) at arms length (12 – 14 inches from your eyes)
- Look at the tip of the pencil facing the ceiling
- Focus on the tip of the pencil, and bring it in toward your nose until you can no longer keep it focus and the image becomes blurry or appear double (note: at this point you may experience some tension in your eye muscle)
- At this point, relax and stop trying to focus your eyes
- Repeat this exercise three or more times
- Do this twice daily
2. ACCOMODATION JUMP (Also known as Thumbing)
- Extend your arm with your thumb pointed forward and upward
- Look beyond your thumb at a distance target for twenty seconds
- Then look at your thumb for another twenty seconds
Repeat this as many times as you can until your eyes feel tired
- Cover one eye with your palm
- Look around the room with the other eye
- Then stop and focus on the four quadrants of the room individually (looking straight up for a few seconds until it hurts, straight down, to the right, and to the left, in the same manner)
Repeat this exercise until your eyes feel tired.
If you are in a small space and cannot look at something far away, close your eyes and imagine a scene in front of you. This is the beginning of visual imagery technique, in which you control your mental scenery to accomplish an inner physical or psychological purpose.
Remember if you feel comfortable and your eyes feel more relaxed after eye exercises, add them to your own daily routines.