UNDERSTANDING EYE EXERCISES

Published: 17th November 2011
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by Dr. Steven M. Beresford

How Eye Exercises Work

Just as you can improve your body with physical exercises, you can improve your eyesight naturally with eye exercises. Unlike physical exercises, however, eye exercises are not strenuous and the goal is to improve the accuracy of the focusing system rather than beefing up the eye muscles.

Some eye exercises improve vision by stimulating the flow of nutrients inside the eyes, making them healthier. Other eye exercises eliminate eyestrain and increase accommodative amplitude and perceptual enhancement.

Different Types Of Eye Exercises

There are three major types of eye exercises: Bates Method eye exercises, vision therapy eye exercises, and optometric vision therapy. When discussing eye exercises, it's important to understand that the eye care establishment opposes all methods of natural vision improvement.

The reason is simple. Optometry colleges and ophthalmology departments were built or sponsored by the optical industry for the purpose of training eye doctors to prescribe corrective lenses. The last thing the optical glass industry wants are eye exercises that reduce public demand for its products.

Nevertheless, thousands of people have used eye exercises for the simple reason that they work. In most cases, eye exercises reduce dependency on corrective lenses. In some cases, eye exercises completely restore normal vision. The question is, which eye exercises are most effective and what results are realistically possible?

Bates Method Eye Exercises

These eye exercises were developed by ophthalmologist William Bates around 1920 and are basically relaxation techniques that eliminate eye strain. However, they don't strengthen the eyes or make them healthier.

Research on the Bates Method eye exercises shows that many people experience improvement, but the claims that you can "throw away your glasses and regain perfect 20/20 vision" are not supported by the clinical evidence and are almost certainly exaggerated.

Vision Therapy Eye Exercises

In contrast to Bates Method eye exercises, dynamic techniques known as vision therapy eye exercises increase the power and range of the focusing system and improve the flow of nutrients, making the eyes stronger and healthier.
Vision therapy eye exercises are effective against myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism,
amblyopia (lazy eye), presbyopia (aging eyes) and cataracts.

Clinical studies of vision therapy eye exercises show that although some people regain normal vision, most people go from full-time dependency on corrective lenses to only using them for a few activities such as driving or movies. Because vision therapy eye exercises make the eyes stronger, it's usually possible to wear weaker glasses from previous years.
Here are the results of a clinical study of the Power Vision Program of vision therapy eye exercises that was submitted to the Journal of the American Optometric Association:
"21 subjects with common visual problems including myopia, presbyopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism completed a 6 week course of vision therapy eye exercises. 19 subjects obtained improvements in refractive error, 19 subjects obtained improvements in visual acuity, and 16 subjects reduced their dependency on corrective lenses so they no longer needed them or only wore them part of the time."

Optometric Vision Therapy

These are eye exercises performed in an optometrist's office using special lenses, prisms, and optometric equipment. In contrast to Bates Method eye exercises and vision therapy eye exercises, optometric vision therapy mostly deals with eye tracking, crossed eyes, and reading disabilities.

Try This Vision Therapy Eye Exercise

This eye exercise is known as Conducting. Make a relaxed fist and look at your thumbnail. Now slowly wave your arm in front of you in time to your breathing, like a conductor waving a baton. Up, down, forward, backward, side to side, circles, figure eights, spirals, waves and more complex patterns.
Keep you head still and slowly vary the distance from arm's length to the tip of your nose, looking at your thumbnail at all times. When your arm gets tired, use the other arm. Do the exercise for several minutes without stopping.
Which Eye Exercises Are Best?

Most eye exercise programs will give you some improvement, but beware of exaggerated claims typical of Bates Method eye exercises. The most effective eye exercises are vision therapy eye exercises, because they have been clinically tested and proven to work.
Author Information
Dr. Beresford is President of the American Vision Institute, which was founded in 1979 and is dedicated to research and development of vision therapy eye exercises. The American Vision Institute publishes the Power Vision Program, which was developed with Dr. Merrill J. Allen (Indiana University) and Dr. Francis A. Young (Washington State University) at www.visiontherapy.net.
Dr. Beresford can be contacted at visiontherapy.2020@yahoo.com

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