Friday, December 9, 2011

How Flexible Are Your Eyes?

Those of us who are near or far-sighted have a rigid focusing system so that the muscles that control our ability to focus are too stiff and inflexible to focus clearly.
(without glasses or contacts)

Hold a finger up near your face and focus on it, and then quickly look at something beyond it in the distance. Then look back at your hand.
If you've got clear vision, here's what you should see:

Your hand will be clearer than the distant item when you are focusing on your hand. When you're focused on the distant item, it will be clearer than your hand.

However, if you're nearsighted, your hand will be clearer, even when you're looking at the distant item.

And if you're farsighted, the distant item will be clearer, even when you're looking at your hand.

In other words, if you've got a vision problem, your eyes can't change focus, swiftly, easily and sharply, from far to near.

Many people think there's nothing that can be done about that, perhaps even believing that it's because the eye is the wrong shape (that's one of the 5 Vision Myths that I tear apart in

But you can train the muscles in your eyes to focus better at different distances, and here's why:

The lens in the eye changes its shape to bring objects into focus. The lens needs to be flatter to see objects that are further away more clearly. And it needs to become fatter to focus on something closer.

We are always changing what we are looking at, so the lens is continually making fine adjustments in its shape.

Normally, the lens changes its focus - and thus its shape - more than 100,000 times each and every day.

The shape of the lens is controlled by a group of muscles that surround the lens. These muscles have to work together to change the lens into the exact shape required to bring whatever you are looking at into sharp focus.

This changing of the eye's focusing power is called Accommodation. It's one of the 6 Critical Visual Skills you'll develop when you use

But if you've got a vision problem, these muscles around the lens become stuck and stiff. Some of them can't relax when they need to, while others can't stretch when they need to.

If you're nearsighted, they're "stuck" for near vision and the lens has too much power. On the other hand, if you're farsighted, these muscles are "stuck" for distance vision; the lens has too little focusing power.

Like any other group of muscle in the body, the muscles around the lens can be exercised. When you exercise them correctly, they can regain flexibility and tone, and they'll work the way that they're supposed to.

Here's one exercise from that re-trains accommodation: Near-To-Far Shifting.
(without glasses or contacts)

1. Look at your finger, about 4-6 inches in front of your eyes.
2. Shift your focus to a distant target, at least 10 feet away.
3. Shift your focus back and forth from your finger to the distant target 10 - 20 times.
4. Repeat as many times during the day as you remember. The more the better!

Make sure that your focus rests for a brief moment before you shift your vision again.

With practice, you'll be able to train the muscles around the lens to become more flexible and to change focus more easily and quickly. The result: You'll see better and better through an increasing range of distances.

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