Improve Your Eyesight For Free

The infomercials you see on TV are slick and at moments of weakness can really be convincing.  What a concept – do some exotic eye exercises and chuck your glasses.

What’s missing is acceptance from the scientific community or any evidence to support the effectiveness of these programs.  In particular the claims that wearing prescriptive lenses “spoil” the eyes, that eyeglasses are “eye-crutches”, that one is led to an endless cycle of even stronger prescriptions, akin to drug addiction.  Unfortunately, or fortunately for the non-believers, these programs do not align with what’s known in basic anatomy and the physiology of vision.

It is true that eyesight with refractive issues, like near and far sightedness, is largely irreversible, unless one opts for lasik or other forms of corrective eye surgery.  And Presbyopia, or the natural stiffening of the lenses of your eyes caused by old age, is just a fact of life. The frustration of endless prescription upgrades one feels is mostly illusory, as how it is explained is that the wearer becomes more demanding of clearer images, whereas previously content with slightly blurred eyesight.  It is really blameless since who would not want perfect vision?

So what can one do?  An excersise that seem to work is to simply stop when your eyes are strained – and staring at the computer for long periods of time is a common culprit.  Take frequent breaks and while during those pauses, let your eyes relax while keeping it focused on distant objects.

This is free but it is not going to improve your eyesight.  What it can do is slow down the degradation.  You could see it as an improvement directed at the future.

Bates Eye Exercises Can Naturally Improve Eyesight?

Proposed in the 1920s by the Ophthalmologist Dr. William Bates, the Bates Method, is the idea that the refractive errors of the eye, like near/far sightedness, astigmatism, myopia, etc, are caused by rigidity of the eyeball muscles, making it difficult for it to adequately modify it’s shape for gazing.  Alleviating the muscles off this strain is what could promptly improve eyesight.  Bates also attributed altered blood circulation, which he concluded is primarily controlled by thought, causes more serious conditions like glaucoma.  Bates saw eye corrective lenses as “eye crutches” and is therefore an obstacle to proper restoration of vision.

Eye movement exercises

The Bates eye exercises and eye tests consists of mental visualizations of swinging objects in minute distances.  Bates believed that the smaller the distance one can imagine, like swinging very small letters or even a period, one can attain the “Universal Swing” and thus improve vision.  Bernarr Macfadden simplified the eye exercises a bit by recommending to directly move the eyes horizontally and vertically, and alternate one’s gaze near and far.

Modern research have effortlessly concluded that there are no evidence that these method improved eyesight.  Bates’ analysis do not follow what is known with the anatomy and the physiology of vision.

Common sense should come to to play.  When your eyes are tired from excessive strain, like staring at the computer, take an eye break.  What seems to help are focusing exercises:  focus on things at further distances.  Encourage your eyes and its mechanism to do it’s job.

Pinhole Glasses and Eye Charts for Eyesight Improvement

Pinhole glasses consists of opaque lenses packed with a grid formation of pinhole-sized perforations.  Like the mechanics of a pinhole camera, the pinholes permit a highly narrow beam of light to penetrate the eye thereby minimizing the circle of confusion surrounding the retina and thereby heightening the depth of field.  This results to sharper images from eyes with refractive errors.

Light rays are focused and converge into a singular point on the retina.  Eyes with refractive errors diverge light rays on various mislocations thereby casting blurry images.  Viewing through pinholes correct these issues, allowing a narrower light beam and improving the depth of field.  The result is less blurring and clearer images.

In addition, pinhole glasses diminishes brightness and peripheral vision, which can be adverse for alert activities such as machine operation and driving.  Prescription glasses, on the other hand does not have this deficiency.  It also helps myopia by producing clear images without the pincushion effect of pinhole glasses, where straight lines appear curved.

The claim is that pinhole glasses, along with eye chart exercises can reverse the refractive errors of the eyes.  Scientific evidence has not been established to support this benefit, in so far as the United States Federal Trade Commission have outlawed these claims.

Bilberry Extract and Improving Your Eyesight

Bilberry, not to be confused with the blueberry, are similar to the blueberry, but are smaller and have a livelier taste.  Bilberries are more difficult to grow and are rarely cultivated.  Wild, they grow in Scandinavia, Scotland and England and in Northern Turkey.  Bilberries are darker than blueberries, and it’s pulp is reddish purple and causes heavy staining of the fingers and lips.

World War II Royal Air force pilots consumed bilberries to sharpen their vision for night missions.  As a convenience, bilberry extract is marketed as a supplement to improve eyesight, night vision in particular.  It is available in health stores in capsules, and should be taken supervised by your doctor.  Although safe, it does have tannins that with high doses can cause muscle spasms and weight loss.  It lowers blood sugar and prevents blood clotting so it should not be taken together with blood thinners.

The leaves and fruits of the bilberry plant can also be steeped and crushed in boiling water for tea.  Add honey to taste.

The effectiveness of bilberry for improving eyesight and night vision is controversial and contradictory.  But recent studies have provided evidence that bilberry extracts can inhibit certain eye disorders like macular degeneration.

Vitamin A and Natural Eyesight Improvement

Good Nutrition can improve almost anything, including eyesight.  Vitamin A, among others is crucial for your vision.

Although one can take supplements, it is most advisable to consume it in it’s natural form.  Beta-carotene is also safer and poses no harm at all from over-consumption.  Carrots are still the optimal source of beta-carotene, eat it raw or in juice form.  Other green fruits and vegetables also contain sufficient amounts of beta-carotene.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are the xanthophyll carotene compounds that are principal for the retina.  Lutein is the yellow pigment layer that protects the eye from impairment of blue light.  Cabbage, watercress and spinach contains Lutein.  Zeaxanthin is in the central forvea.  Corn, egg yolks, and orange bell peppers are a good source of Zeaxanthin.

Other vitamins significant for naturally improving your eyesight are the various B vitamins, vitamin C, D, E, and Calcium.  We will cover these in future posts.