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Has anyone had experience with vision exercises?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 21, 2010 at 8:57 PM

I currently have a fairly high perscription (20/100 vision, approx) and have been looking into natural vision improvement as exemplified here:

http://i-see.org/ http://www.iblindness.org/

It hinges a lot on one guy's research, and some of it seems like bull. But this method here seems feasible: http://i-see.org/bershak.html

The concept is that non-spherical eyes cause all vision problems, and using/strengthening the ocular muscles can help reform your eyes to spherical.

I have been playing with some of the exercises recently and been wearing my glasses as little as possible. For a few minutes after exercising, or in sun light, I notice HUGE improvements in my vision.

Has anyone else tried this? Are there similar programs for other senses?

1d02c0c2fa9946de88d8f24e81ca1cf6

(215)

on May 19, 2012
at 08:51 AM

Not something that interests me since my glasses render me decidedly sexy, yet folk may find stuff of interest here: http://gettingstronger.org/

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on May 19, 2012
at 05:29 AM

I think you'll have a hard time convincing people that have actually had it work that it doesn't. It has actually worked for me. It is a very difficult thing to do though, and I doubt many people today have the diligence or persistence to do so (I'm not saying I do - made huge improvements at first and slacked off after). It is slow to see improvement and you have to work at it every day and completely change the way you see and read. It's hard to break decades of bad habits, a lot easier to throw in contacts or put on some glasses. That's the option most will choose.

D69d10c3b22d75b09a12f0ebfc7c61b9

(230)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:48 PM

+1 for vision improvement from the Bates method down from -4.25 to -3.50 here. And I found it a lot easier to order from Zenni Optical, you provide the numbers for the Rx and they do not require authentication from an optometrist. And they have cheap, cheap glasses, I think as cheap as $10 a pair.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2010
at 12:26 AM

Maaaaan, that's such a let down. Still, I do see some temporary improvement right after doing the exercises. They don't take that long, so I'll stick with it for a bit to see if anything changes. Do yo have any additional info related to vision improvement?

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6 Answers

5
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on April 21, 2010
at 10:23 PM

Unfortunatly these types of eye exercises do not appear to work desipte some people beliving they do, when people were retested it turned out they hadn't changed much. I think if they did work no one would be wearing glasses or contact lenses by now.

The whole idea was started by William Bates (1860???1931) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_method

However its theroy is mainly based on a misunderstanding of how the eye works, that muscles that move the eye are also responsible for the shape of the eye ball. In fact tiny muscles within the eye ball are mostly responsible for this and these are not under consious control.

This review study looked at available evidence on the subject of eye exercises, including 14 clinical trials (10 controlled studies) and 18 review articles. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15825744

CONCLUSIONS: Eye exercises have been purported to improve a wide range of conditions including vergence problems, ocular motility disorders, accommodative dysfunction, amblyopia, learning disabilities, dyslexia, asthenopia, myopia, motion sickness, sports performance, stereopsis, visual field defects, visual acuity, and general well-being. Small controlled trials and a large number of cases support the treatment of convergence insufficiency. Less robust, but believable, evidence indicates visual training may be useful in developing fine stereoscopic skills and improving visual field remnants after brain damage. As yet there is no clear scientific evidence published in the mainstream literature supporting the use of eye exercises in the remainder of the areas reviewed, and their use therefore remains controversial.

In summary, eye exercises may help your brain use what you have got a little better but thats about it.

This is a more interesting theory as to why myopia occurs in the first place from Loren Cordain. http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/myopia-loren-cordain.pdf

Unfortunately it seems that once you are an adult you are pretty much stuck with the eyes you've got.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2010
at 12:26 AM

Maaaaan, that's such a let down. Still, I do see some temporary improvement right after doing the exercises. They don't take that long, so I'll stick with it for a bit to see if anything changes. Do yo have any additional info related to vision improvement?

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on May 19, 2012
at 05:29 AM

I think you'll have a hard time convincing people that have actually had it work that it doesn't. It has actually worked for me. It is a very difficult thing to do though, and I doubt many people today have the diligence or persistence to do so (I'm not saying I do - made huge improvements at first and slacked off after). It is slow to see improvement and you have to work at it every day and completely change the way you see and read. It's hard to break decades of bad habits, a lot easier to throw in contacts or put on some glasses. That's the option most will choose.

3
1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on July 18, 2010
at 01:23 AM

I have experience with the Bates method and have improved my eyes. In 6 months I went from -2.75 to -2.00. I would say my vision is even better now but haven't been checked lately. I stopped doing the exercises as I got lazy but have just taken it up again recently.

A key thing to do is to stop using glasses/contacts whenever you can, or use a reduced prescription. You have to find an optometrist who is willing to help you out with that.

Also, you have to be diligent with preventing near point strain when reading, using the computer. You should follow at minimum the rule of 10 - every 10 minutes focus on something at least 10 feet away for at least 10 seconds. I try to do it more often to prevent strain.

Of course as with anything a good diet should help. I also took Bilberry extract- not sure if it did the trick but my eyes improved.

The great thing about a lot of these exercises, even if they don't completely fix your vision, is they teach you how to release stress in your body and carry yourself in a relaxed manner.

I truly believe you can fix your eyes and I did experience complete healing when I was 14 years old. From the age of 7 on I had poor eyesight and needed to sit at the front of classes in school. After returning from 2 months summer vacation one year, with virtually no reading/computer usage, and lots of times outdoors, I was shocked when I was sat at the back of the class and could see perfectly clear and sharp. As I returned to my usual routines my vision slowly deteriorated to where it was before.

Updated - just had my eyes checked and are now 1.75.

D69d10c3b22d75b09a12f0ebfc7c61b9

(230)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:48 PM

+1 for vision improvement from the Bates method down from -4.25 to -3.50 here. And I found it a lot easier to order from Zenni Optical, you provide the numbers for the Rx and they do not require authentication from an optometrist. And they have cheap, cheap glasses, I think as cheap as $10 a pair.

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 21, 2010
at 09:01 PM

My ex boyfriend did these for years and never got much out of it. I actually saw an improvement in my own vision, which surprised my eye doctor, after I started eating lots and lots of fish.

1
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on April 11, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Not to burst anybody's bubble but there can be statistical fluctuations. In my experience, a change within +/- 0.50 in one or both eyes is common from year to year because the refraction for glasses is subjective - and even objective measurements like an autorefractor can have more fluctuation then that! You could have been slightly overcorrected (sometimes by an entire 1.00 diopter in each eye) in the past. Sometimes when people change eye doctors, this is corrected

I tried eye exercises and those books that claim to get rid of glasses when I hit puberty and got glasses (low prescription that time). It didn't work for me. I was a bookworm devouring 1 novel per day(Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) so looking back I'm sure that contributed to my myopia.

I did do some VT - vision therapy and vision training to help with eyestrain at near/computer work which did help subjectively and objectively (measured with prisms). My mother did the same. But neither of us eliminated our glasses.

There are some genes involved with myopia. I do believe in epigenetics - gene interaction with the environment so I don't think everyone is doomed by their genes. I would also like to see someone cured without refractive surgery (LASIK, and the like) from -3.00 D to 0 (no prescription) in their glasses.

That being said, it seems that Vitamin D and being outdoors affects myopia!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/opinion/21wang.html?_r=1&src=rechp

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/752152?src=mp&spon=36

Now high insulin levels can affect myopia. There are other issues that high-carb, glucose, and insulin negatively affect the eye.

http://www.thehealthierlife.co.uk/natural-health-articles/eyesight/myopia-high-carbohydrate-diet-increase-risk-00750.html

Illiterate and less-educated populations have much lower myopia rates vs. more educated and literate populations as shown in China (rural vs. urban) and Israel (Orthodox vs. Reform Jews - the former have to memorize and read a lot more of their holy texts). This is even in populations that share much of the same genes, suggesting the environment of constant near work (computer and reading which was never part of our evolutionary history) and perhaps less sunlight/Vitamin D contributes to myopia.

I think it maybe easier to prevent (especially before the age 18) myopia then to change it afterwards. However, I could happily be proven wrong - track your glasses prescriptions!

Frankly, I have yet to see objective data for refractive error change (myopia, presbyopia, and hyperopia) for the Bates method (eye exercises), so I'm a bit skeptical. Objective data would include corneal topography, axial length changes.

The section on claimed success is all I can support because of the lack of objective data:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_method

" As evidence for the effectiveness of the Bates method, proponents point to the many accounts of people allegedly having improved their eyesight by applying it.[3] While these anecdotes may be told and passed on in good faith, several potential explanations exist for the phenomena reported other than a genuine reversal of a refractive error due to the techniques practiced:

Some cases of nearsightedness are recognized as due to a transient spasm of the ciliary muscle, rather than a misshapen eyeball. These are classed as pseudomyopia, of which spontaneous reversal may account for some reports of improvement.[37]

Research has confirmed that when nearsighted subjects remove their corrective lenses, over time there is a limited improvement (termed "blur adaptation") in their unaided visual resolution, even though autorefraction indicates no corresponding change in refractive error.[38] This is believed to occur due to adjustments made in the visual system.[39] One who has been practicing Bates' techniques and notices such improvement may not realize that simply leaving the glasses off would have had the same effect, which may be especially pronounced if the prescription was too strong to begin with.[1]

Visual acuity is affected by the size of the pupil. When it constricts (such as in response to an increase in light), the quality of focus will improve significantly, at the cost of a reduced ability to see in dim light. This is known as the "pinhole effect".[6]

Some eye defects may naturally change for the better with age or in cycles (ophthalmologist Stewart Duke-Elder suggested that this is what happened with Aldous Huxley[40]).

A cataract when first setting in sometimes results in much improved eyesight for a short time. One who happens to have been practicing the Bates method will likely credit it for any improvement experienced regardless of the actual cause.[1]

Some studies have suggested that a learned ability to interpret blurred images may account for perceived improvements in eyesight.[6] Ophthalmologist Walter B. Lancaster had this to say: "Since seeing is only partly a matter of the image on the retina and the sensation it produces, but is in still larger part a matter of the cerebral processes of synthesis, in which memories play a principal role, it follows that by repetition, by practice, by exercises, one builds up a substratum of memories useful for the interpretation of sensations and facilitates the syntheses which are the major part of seeing."[41] Lancaster faulted ophthalmologists in general for neglecting the role of the brain in the process of seeing, "leaving to irregular, half-trained workers the cultivation of that field".[41]

"Flashes of clear vision"

Bates method enthusiasts often report experiencing "flashes" of clear vision, in which eyesight momentarily becomes much sharper, but then reverts back to its previous state.[2] Such flashes are not the result of squinting, and can occur in one eye at a time or in both eyes at once.[42] Observation has suggested that both the quality and duration of such flashes can be increased with practice, with some subjects holding a substantial improvement for several minutes. Tests of such subjects have found that the temporary improvement in visual acuity is real, but per retinoscopy is not due to any change in refractive error.[2] A 1982 study concluded that such occurrences are best explained as a contact lens-like effect of moisture on the eye, based on increased tear action exhibited by 15 out of 17 subjects who experienced such improvement.[6] A more recent series of studies have proposed that such flashes may be caused by "negative accommodation" (i.e. an active flattening of the lens by the ciliary muscles).[43][44]

0
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on May 20, 2012
at 03:45 AM

I used "The See Clearly Method" and felt like I experienced an improvement in sight for a time period following the exercises, but I tended to pick it up for 2-3 weeks and then stop. I can't really document any improvement, but the exercises make my eyes feel great after staring at a computer screen for hours and feeling cross eyed when I leave the office. I really don't know if it is legit or not, but I have started doing the exercises that I remember from the program during the past two weeks and I feel like I see better definition in item that are further away, and I noticed that I didn't squint at the movie screen last weekend (and it is the place where I notice I squint the most usually). Anyway, I hope it works, for you and me both!

0
0d821bf7d4028b84a6838062db0e9ce0

(754)

on April 21, 2010
at 10:15 PM

I've only ever heard of one guy who managed to get his vision to come back and he was doing eye exercises at least 30 minutes a day every day. My vision in both eyes without glasses is 20/400+ so just squinting = massive improvement temporarily. It may be worth it to see if it gains you anything but it might take a lot of work for appreciable gains, if you got time might as well, I find at the least they help with eye strain and fatigue.

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