We live by sight. Most people rely on their vision for over 85% of regular, daily activities, reminding us how important it is to maintain healthy eyesight. But many neglect this aspect of their health, despite the fact that 6 out of 10 people in the world suffer from some variety of bad eyesight. Treating it, therefore, is key — but traditional therapies often come up short. Holistic approaches, in contrast, focus on the unique needs of the individual and seek to understand the underlying causes of poor vision. Techniques that improve poor vision naturally can deliver significant, long lasting benefits for this important part of everyday health.
Holistic Approaches to Poor Vision
Holistic remedies can treat and improve poor vision by addressing its underlying causes. Here are a few of the most common and effective techniques.
A Healthy Diet and Dietary Supplements
Few improvements have as positive an impact on eyesight as antioxidant-rich foods in your daily diet. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and bilberries are packed with important nutrients. So are green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and red onions, which help in preventing age-related macular degeneration. Vitamins and nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin are especially useful in treating vision disorders such as myopia (nearsightedness or difficulty in seeing things which are at a distance). Fish and other foods and supplements rich in Vitamin A and D (known to promote good vision) are also important options to consider.
30 minutes of exercise a day has been found to have tremendous impact on improving vision — and perhaps more importantly, avoiding vision problems in the first place. This makes exercise one of the greatest preventive measures available. Consider an exercise regimen that meets your needs and interests – walking, practicing yoga, and swimming are all excellent options.
Managing Your Screen Time
Spending prolonged hours in front of television and computer screens is among the leading causes for poor vision in the world today. Focusing our eyes on one thing for too long causes the 6 muscles holding the eyeball in place to get tense, leading to atrophy. Simple improvements, such as adjusting screens to ensure they’re at least 20-24 inches away from you and cutting down the total amount of time spent in front of them, can go a long way in avoiding poor vision and improving it. If this is impossible, then allow your eyes to wander every now and then while reading, working, or focusing on the screen. Giving your eyes some downtime works wonders in improving their vision.
Rest, Relaxation, and Targeted Exercise
As mentioned earlier, allowing your eyes to rest periodically helps release muscle tension, which is one of the main causes of poor vision. William H. Bates, an ophthalmologist who gained fame for his disregard for spectacles, was a great proprietor of this theory. He cited relaxation as the greatest solution to poor vision, and his techniques — known as Bates techniques — are still employed today. They include the following:
- Palming. This involves relaxing your body completely, rubbing your palms together until they’re warm, and then covering your closed eyes with them while breathing meditatively. Bates suggested doing this 3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
- Swinging. Focus your gaze on a distant object and keep swaying your body as you do this. All the while, you must keep blinking to keep your eyes moisturized. Bates suggested doing this 100 times a day.
- Color spotting. This one is both simple and fun. Pick a color and make an effort to spot that color throughout the day, no matter its shape or form.
- Sunning. Close your eyes while looking at the sun or a light bulb and then rotate your head from left to right for a few minutes allowing the colors and light to settle on your peripheral vision.
Blinking regularly is one of the easiest holistic approaches to improving your vision. It simply requires that you consciously blink more often — an activity that many neglect when staring at one thing (especially computer screens) for long periods of time. Blinking moisturizes the eyes and also prevents pollutants from entering the cornea/retina area.
Holistically Improve Poor Vision
Marc R. Grossman, OD, LAc, a holistic eye doctor, reminds us that “most people’s eyes get worse little by little, so their eyes have to get better little by little too.” Holistic approaches can work wonders in that gradual improvement. With the right mix of techniques and a commitment to their practice, patients can slow the decline of their eyesight and improve it over the long term.