Rescue Your Eyes

I went to have my eyes checked recently and when the tests had been run on my eyes, the optometrist informed me that my eyes had not really changed much but still decided to prescribe slightly stronger lenses. At the time I did not think anything about it. However as my eyes were adjusting to the new lenses, I found that the more I used my glasses, the more dependent I became on wearing them and the less I could see when taking them off. I then realized that my eyes were depending on these crutches to see.  

When a muscle is being supported and not being used like an arm that is in a sling for a period of time, and because it is not being used, the muscle wastes and becomes weak. The same is true when eyes are looking through glasses continually; the eye muscles have no need to strengthen and after awhile you find you are totally dependent on the glasses. Since they do not have to work on their own, the eye muscles get weaker and weaker and eventually there is a need for the lenses to get stronger and stronger.  

Eyes need to be exercised. Many people spend many hours each day in front of a computer staring with little or no eye movement. If the eyes are not in front of a computer staring, they are often in front of the television or some other technological apparatus, staring. Are you staring and causing your eye muscles to become weak and useless? We may exercise our bodies regularly, but the majority of people don’t even think about exercising their eyes. Eyesight is generally taken for granted until one day things look a little blurry or foggy, and then we run to the optometrist to get some crutches for our eyes, which in the long run do not help. We make them worse because we do nothing to improve them. We just continue to stare.  

Our eyes were made for motion, just as our bodies were. The muscles of the eyes need to be exercised. You have heard the saying, “What you don’t use, you lose.” This is also true with the eye muscles. Like any neglected muscle, eye muscles that do not have to work because of crutches (glasses) weaken over time. As a result, you become dependent on glasses which need to become increasingly stronger. 

When did you last let your eyes just relax and gaze out over the ocean, or even a forest or beautiful shrubbery or some other beautiful scenery to appreciate God’s creation? We drive to work, staring all the way. We stare at a monitor all day, and then drive home. Along with all of the stress to our bodies, we now have stress to our eyes. Stress puts pressure on the eyes, which finally results in visual problems. The eyeballs cannot hold clear, distinct images. The eye muscles that would otherwise get naturally balanced exercise from the natural light and eye activity of the outdoors become weak and slack. Eyes also need to be nourished with a healthy diet, and when the body is toxic so are the eyes. The percentage of people wearing glasses is increasing, and more and more people have problems with their eyes. 

Strengthening your weak eye muscles and improving your vision is possible, but it takes time. Your eyes are worth that time!

Under normal conditions it is an automatic response requiring no effort to see, but as soon as any effort is needed to see, strain is produced. The words on a page should come into a relaxed eye and not the eye reaching out or straining after the words. Strain is evidenced by a general fatigue, headache, itching of the eyes, inflammation of the eyes or eyelids or in blurring or reduced vision. Each of us needs to learn how to relax the eyes so we can do away with the strain and to help improve the sight. 

Some people think that all they need to do to rest the eyes is not use them. That is not true. Anything that rests the mind will also rest the eyes. Eyes tire less quickly when reading an interesting book than when reading something that is not interesting. 

You might want to start with some good common sense eye exercises. Here are a few ideas and suggestions to get you started. If you will begin doing these right now, the muscles in your eyes will begin to strengthen and you may be surprised at the improvements that are possible. 

One of the first things you need to do is remove your glasses for at least an hour a day or longer. During this time your eye muscles will have a chance to adjust themselves.

Your eyes need to learn how to relax. So often we strain to see when seeing should come naturally. If you are wearing glasses, remove them during these exercises.  

Blink your eyes! The older a person gets, the less they blink, and our lifestyle activities and jobs do not promote blinking. Blinking the eyes keeps them moist, and the moistness is very necessary to keep your eyes comfortable and relaxed. Do not force your eyes to blink; blink them naturally. In fact, to get into the habit of blinking, try blinking after each line you read. Blink while driving. When you catch yourself staring, blink! You will be amazed at how good your eyes feel after a while by just training them to blink, because this is very relaxing to them, as it helps remove the stress. 

Relax your eyes! Lack of relaxation not only tenses the muscles, but pulls the eyes out of perfect focus. Here is one simple exercise to relax your eyes on and off throughout the day: Sit facing a picture or calendar, etc. Look at that picture. Close your eyes gently, cover them with the palms of your hands. Do not press on your eyes. Rest your elbows on the table or knees, etc., because you want to be relaxed. Relax, move your head a little from side to side. After a minute or so, open your eyes and blink. That picture will look much brighter and clearer because your eyes were able to relax for a moment. 

An exercise to do each evening: Sit in a comfortable chair, get a little timer and set your timer for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. You will probably start out with 5 minutes because that will seem like a long time if you are not used to relaxing. Close your eyes and cover them with both hands to keep out all light. Do not press on your eyes. Do not think of anything emotional. Relax and let your mind think of relaxing things for the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, uncover your eyes, open and blink several times. The eyes really feel good after being relaxed. This exercise alone will bring much healing to the eyes. This is a natural treatment for vision problems and is really great to relieve eye strain. 

Strengthen your eye muscles. Many eye muscles will be stiff and not very flexible because of wearing glasses and/or lack of movement because of staring most of the time. Do not over exercise your eyes to the point of soreness, and if you do, skip a couple of days of exercises and then begin again. Increase the exercises gradually. You will be able to feel the muscles gaining strength as you use them more and they will feel much better, and in most cases healing will take place. Here are six simple exercises to begin with. Remember to remove your glasses. 

While keeping your head very still, look up as far as you can (do not strain) and then look down as far as you can. Keep head still. Repeat 12 times or less if muscles are sore. Then relax. Blink rapidly several times. 

Continue to hold head very still. Move your eyes from left to right 12 times. Relax and blink rapidly several times. 

Continue to hold head still. Look down at your right side; then up towards your left eyebrow 12 times. Relax the eye and blink. 

Look down at your left side; then up towards your right eyebrow 12 times. Again, relax and blink. 

Combine the last two exercises, i.e. hold head still and look down at your right side, up towards your left eyebrow; then down to your left side and up towards your right eyebrow. Do this 12 times without moving head. Relax and blink. 

Move your eyes gently around in a circle, 6 times from right to left and 6 times from left to right. Relax and blink. 

Hold the index finger of your right hand about 8 inches in front of the eye, and look from the finger to any larger object at least 10 feet away. Look from one to the other 10 times, rest for a second and repeat the 10 times two or three times. Do the exercise fairly rapidly. 

Remember, if your eyes get sore, discontinue these exercises for a few days, because your eyes are not used to exercising. Give them a rest for a few days and then continue when soreness has disappeared. It is like your body. When you are not used to exercising and start new exercises, the body muscles get sore and you need to stop until they feel better and then begin again.  

You will really be amazed how these few exercises will increase the mobility of your eyes and make them less susceptible to strain. Exercise them daily. 

Remember, the eyes muscles will not work or exercise themselves and if not used tend to become even weaker, so if you do not need to wear your glasses, don’t. Glasses are “crutches” for the eyes. Also, do not stare; keep your eyes moving and blinking so they are not strained. Our eyes need plenty of light, so reading in a dark room is hard on the eyes. Get out-of-doors and enjoy God’s creation. Let your eyes bathe in the beautiful natural colors that He has painted in nature for our delight. Wearing glasses continually keeps the sunshine filtered out of the eyes which is a great loss, because sunshine is a great doctor. However, never look directly at the sun, which can be damaging to the eyes. Glasses should be used only when absolutely needed, and the rest of the time, go without them.


Another way to keep your eyes moving is for every 15 minutes that you are reading or staring at a computer, etc., look away from whatever you are doing and look at something at least 15 feet away for 15 seconds to relax the eyes and remove the strain. Eyes need action. You might think of 15 (minutes for reading)–15 (look 15 feet away)–15 (for 15 seconds) or 20–20–20 to remind you to do this. But integrate something that is easy for you to do in your schedule.  

God has given us only two eyes and we need to take care of those eyes. Good healthy habits for your eyes must be learned and practiced and become part of your life. 

Other suggestions: The herb Bilberry helps improve the flow of blood through the capillaries in the eyes and also helps improve sharpness of vision. Eyebright is great for bathing the eye or using it as a compress (damp cloth over the eye). It has an anti-inflammatory action and is very soothing.  

If you have a juicer, drink at least one glass of carrot juice each day. Put a slice of cucumber over your eyes for about 15 minutes, which is very cooling and refreshing to the eyes and helps remove eye strain. Eat plenty of vegetables like carrots, spinach and broccoli, which are great sources of Vitamin A. Eat dark green vegetables, nuts, avocados and bananas for your Vitamin B complex. Carotene helps improve weak eyes, and some good sources for that are carrots, broccoli, cabbage and peas. These are just a few to get you started! 

Take care of your eyes. If you can, do your own research for your own eye health at the library or other sources that are available to you. May God bless you as you decide today to take care of your eyes as they are a most precious gift from Him.

Judy Hallingstad

January 2010