(by Dr. Ben Kim)
Contrary to popular belief, your vision doesn’t have to decline over time. With regular exercise of the muscles that control your eye movements and visual acuity, you can reduce eyestrain and maintain or even improve your vision. Utilization of a few acupressure points can also help your vision by encouraging healthy blood flow to your eyes.
The six muscles that control your eye movements are as follows:
Lateral rectus – Primarily moves your eye outward, away from your nose.
Medial rectus – Primarily moves your eye inward, toward your nose.
Superior rectus – Primarily moves your eye upward.
Inferior rectus – Primarily moves your eye downward.
Superior oblique – Primarily rotates the top of your eye toward your nose.
Inferior oblique – Primarily rotates the top of your eye away from your nose.
Perhaps the single greatest reason why people in today’s society suffer from chronic eyestrain and deteriorating vision is the amount of time that is spent staring at computer monitors and television screens.
Your eyes are designed to move regularly. Frequent movement of your eyes is what promotes optimal blood flow and nerve tone to your eyes and the six muscles that control your eye movements.
What follows are several simple eye exercises that you can do on a regular basis to keep your eyes and vision as healthy as possible:
1. Look as far to your right as possible for 3-5 seconds, then as far to your left as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times.
2. Look as far up as possible for 3-5 seconds, then look as far down as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times.
3. Slowly roll your eyes in a circle, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence several times. Be sure to roll slowly – it should take at least 3 seconds for you to roll your eyes in a full circle.
4. Hold a pen in front of you, about an arm’s length away. Focus your vision on the tip of your pen for 3-5 seconds, then shift the focus of your vision to an object that is farther away for 3-5 seconds. The greater the distance between your pen and the distant object, the better. If you are indoors, look out a window to find a distant object to focus your vision on. Repeat this sequence of going back and forth between your pen and a distant object several times.
Just for interest’s sake, this exercise is used by some professional baseball players to optimize visual acuity, which is essential for the hand-eye coordination that is needed to play pro ball.
Please note that all of these exercises should be done with your eyes, not your head and neck. With this in mind, keep your head and neck still while you take your eyes through the movements described above.
If you would like more comprehensive guidance on how to improve and protect your vision as you age, I highly recommend that you read:
This is an outstanding book that offers a comprehensive array of exercises and information that can help you support your vision. And if you wear eyeglasses or contacts, following the guidance provided in this book may actually help you do away with your prescription eye wear or at the very least, help prevent deterioration of your visual acuity as you age.