Caring for Our
in the Midst of Daily Life
by Elizabeth Abraham
Whether you are near-sighted, far-sighted, have astigmatism, or your eyes do not work well together, your vision can improve if you give your eyes what they need. No matter what your age, you can learn to lessen your dependence on prescription lenses, reduce eyestrain from reading or computer use, and return to relaxed, dynamic, vibrant vision.
Our eyes, like the rest of our body, need the right balance of stimulation and rest. They are both “windows to the soul” and one of the ways in which we connect to the world around us.
Since the way we see is a result of the mind’s interpretation of the images of light received by the eyes, when vision becomes blurry we need to re-establish the connection between our eyes and mind, introduce relaxation and movement, and develop healthy vision habits.
Here are a few things to explore with or without glasses:
Healthy eyes shift easily and rapidly all over objects to see them clearly. Strained eyes try to see too much at once. Encourage your eyes to move by looking at small details.
Look from detail to detail on people’s faces for instance, as if you were going to draw their portrait and needed to see every line, every shadow.
Look from leaf to leaf on a tree, from one part of a petal to another when you’re looking at a flower, from detail to detail when you’re looking at a photograph or painting or at the scene outside the window. Look with interest and curiosity, like a young child.
While you’re looking at details, also be aware of the peripheral field around the object you’re looking at. For instance, you might be looking at your friend’s eyes, moving from one to the other while engaged in conversation. The eye you’re looking at will be clearer than the one you’re not looking at, and clearer than the rest of the face, and clearer than the room around your friend. We often focus so intently that we neglect to pay attention to the world around the object of our attention. The periphery is support for our central vision.
When you are walking and notice that you are lost in thought, bring your attention to your surroundings, engaging your mind in the present and expanding your peripheral field.
When working on a computer or reading a book, make sure you shift your focus into the distance often, and close your eyes when they feel tired. Our eyes get tired from being held at one focal distance for too long, just as our legs get tired from standing in one place for too long.
You can also stop what you are doing, put your finger as close to your eyes as is comfortable, and shift your focus from your finger to a point at least twenty feet away. Repeat this a few times before you get back to the computer or book—chances are it will be clearer and easier to read.
When reading, introduce movement by moving your head along the line. Instead of holding your head still and moving your eyes (this tires the muscles), pretend you have a pencil on the end of your nose and you are underlining as you read. Once you get used to this new way of reading, it will relieve eyestrain and improve clarity. The little letters going by stimulate the saccadic movement in the eyes. This is much easier for your eyes than moving the muscles from left to right and back continuously.
For computer users: There is a very helpful program called Stress Away. It can be ordered from www.stressaway.com. Somebody pops up on your screen every 20 minutes and demonstrates an activity you can do to help your eyes and whole body stay in shape while you work at the computer. It also reminds you when twenty minutes has passed. I have this program on my computer and many times when it pops up I could have sworn only two minutes had gone by!
If you notice yourself staring out the window while your mind dreams of faraway places or while you worry about all the things that aren’t working well in your life, close your eyes and allow your mind to wander while your eyes follow the pictures in your mind.
Or take some time to put your hands around your closed eyes and Palm (for a full description of Palming see the WHOLifE Journal from January/February 2006). Support your elbows so that your shoulders can relax, and with your palms covering your eyes take a deep breath and breathe out again with a sigh, relaxing all the tension in your body including the tension in the muscles surrounding your eyes. Repeat this until you feel more physically relaxed.
Continue to breathe fully and imagine yourself in a place in which you have a beautiful view all around you, a place in which you feel at peace so that your mind can slow down. Stay in this place until you feel mentally relaxed, and for as long as you have time. Then take your hands off your eyes, blink your eyes open, and come back to what you were doing. Repeating this many times a day as a quick break will do wonders for your eyes and mind.
Our eyes, like the rest of our body, respond well to consistent loving care.
Elizabeth Abraham, founder of the Vision Education Centre in Toronto and co-founder of the Vision Educator Training Institute (www.visioneducators.com) has been teaching individuals and groups since 1991. She uses a holistic approach which includes movement and emotional healing as well as the Bates Method of Better Eyesight. Elizabeth can be reached at 416-599-9202 or email@example.com. She will be teaching workshops in Edmonton, Alberta, in the spring of 2012 for the Canadian Centre for Self-Healing. For details and to register contact Summer Bozohora at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.csshealing.com, and also see the colour display ad on page 23 of the 17.4 November/December issue of the WHOLifE Journal.