Give Your Eyes A Break
by Elizabeth Abraham
Our eyes, like every other part of our body, function better
or worse depending on how we use them. But what are we taught
about how to use our eyes? Virtually nothing. All we know
is that when we complain of blurry vision—whether we
are 8 or 80—we are given glasses. When we can no longer
see as clearly through those glasses, we are given a stronger
pair. Glasses compensate for the fact that our vision is
blurry, but do nothing to change the reason why we stopped
seeing clearly in the first place. We need to learn how to
use our eyes well so that they can function well.
There are as many hours
in the day to use
the eyes well as to use them badly.
– Dr. W.
What do our eyes need? Our eyes function better when they
are relaxed and moving than when they are strained and fixated.
Here are a few things you can do to develop good vision habits
during your daily life, whether or not you use glasses.
At the Computer
1) Maintain good posture as you sit at the computer in
order to allow maximum circulation to your neck and eyes.
Have the screen two feet away from you, centred in the middle
of your visual field, and just below your natural line of
sight. 2) Drink water. Electronic equipment can be dehydrating.
Our eyes like to change focus often. 3) Take a 30-second
break every fifteen minutes and a longer one every hour.
During these breaks you can: close your eyes and take five
deep breaths; look into the distance or at a photo of a distant
scene; look at something very close (your shirt button or
your nose) then look out the window; turn your head from
side to side and let your eyes skim over objects in front
of you; close your eyes and remember a time when you felt
relaxed and calm; get up and stretch.
You will find many ways to give your eyes a break. The
part that takes some time and awareness is developing the
habit of remembering to do it!
Look at your surroundings with interest. Many people are
lost in thought as they walk and miss the opportunity to
allow their eyes to explore freely at all distances.
Count things. Give your eyes and mind a chance to change
focus and move from detail to detail as you count objects
of the same colour, branches of trees, windows in houses
you pass, as well as squirrels, dogs, pigeons, or whatever
else interests you.
Whenever you feel safe doing so, walk without your glasses.
Look up ahead even if it is blurry, and notice that everything
on either side of you appears to move backwards as you walk
Playing with Kids
Play ball games without your glasses on. If the kids are
young and you are very near sighted, sit on the floor and
roll balls back and forth. With older children practice throwing
balls of various sizes and from different distances, and
even learn to juggle if that interests you. Watching moving
objects is an excellent way to relax your eyes and get them
function better when they are relaxed
and moving than when they are strained and fixated.
If you work inside and the kids are in school all day,
take them outside after school, on weekends, and whenever
you have the opportunity. Go to the beach, to a park, or
to an open field where you can fly kites, run, and look far
into the distance under open skies. This is a great antidote
to the stresses of a sedentary lifestyle.
Don’t read or watch television while eating. Good
digestion is important for healthy vision and is encouraged
by eating slowly and with awareness.
Eat a diet of eighty percent high water content foods (fresh
fruits and vegetables) and twenty percent concentrated foods
(meat, cheese, grains, legumes, pasta, etc.).
Cut down on or eliminate caffeine and sugar as they are
dehydrating and tend to constrict the vascular system and
Elizabeth Abraham, founder
of the Vision Education Centre in Toronto and co-founder
of the Vision Educator Training Institute (www.visioneductors.com),
has been teaching people to take care of their eyes since
1991. She uses a holistic approach which includes movement
and emotional healing, as well as the Bates Method of Vision
Education. Elizabeth can be reached at (416) 599-9202 or
email firstname.lastname@example.org to
arrange for lessons or to register for workshops in Toronto