Wearing glasses and undergoing laser surgery are the most established cures for short-sightedness, also known as myopia. However, maybe you prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses and do not have the money for laser surgery. In that case, another option is to try exercises that, according to some experts, can improve your sight. The exercises do not always work for everybody, so a visit to an eye doctor would be in your best interests if you do not notice an improvement in your vision.
Definition of short-sightedness
Short-sightedness is a relatively common condition in which you can clearly see objects that are close to you, while objects in the distance are blurry. In the most severe cases, patients have trouble focusing on any object that is more than a few inches away. The condition may worsen over time, starting in childhood or adolescence, and often is genetic. You are considered to have at least mild short-sightedness if you have trouble seeing any object that is within 20 feet.
Benefits of eye exercises
Cases in which eye exercises help usually involve patients whose short-sightedness results not only from genetics, but also from environmental factors such as doing too much “close focus” work – reading or looking at a computer screen, for example. The possible benefit of doing eye exercises as opposed to relying on glasses or contacts is that exercises can help solve the underlying problem, perhaps helping you avoid the need for stronger and stronger prescriptions as time goes by.
Possible drawbacks of eye exercises
Some experts dispute the notion that eye exercises can cure short-sightedness. They point to the lack of long-term studies on the subject. There have been issues with Web scams charging for eye-exercise programs, as well as a lack of consistent results even from programs that are not scams. Another issue is diligence on the part of the patient; for a program of eye exercises to stand a chance of working, you have to perform it pretty much daily for a period of at least several weeks.
The Bates Method
The most notable exercises for improving short sightedness are part of the Bates Method, named for ophthalmologist Dr. William H. Bates. The exercises first relax the eye muscles, thus allowing you to retrain your eyes to focus with minimal strain. One example of a Bates exercise that can be performed daily is to sit in a chair and cover one eye with your palm. Hold a book or magazine six to eight inches in front of your free eye, while also having something to focus on about seven feet away. Focus on the close-up material, then look at the farther object until it becomes equally clear, spending only a couple of seconds on it. Alternate focusing on one and the other for a minute or two, then change eyes. Perform this exercise every day for about a month.
General guidelines for eye exercises
When doing eye exercises, you should not use glasses or contacts unless otherwise instructed by your eye doctor or another expert. Do the exercises in non-glaring light. Avoid straining your eyes while doing the exercises. Be sure to rest your eyes at the end of each exercise. Early in the morning is the best time to do the exercises because our eyes tend to be tired after a day at work. However, you can split up the exercises – doing some in the morning and some in the evening, for example – to best fit your daily schedule.