The importance of the eyes
Our eyes are our window to the world. As well known as it is, people tend to completely ignore that statement. We abuse our eyes to unbelievably extents and when they finally give up, we're not even surprised. We just get our glasses and continue to abuse.
The problem with this is that the parts of our body are not meant to be abused, they are meant to be used. And when something breaks down, it's not only that part, it's the whole body that suffers. Since the idea of this site is to share what I learn about living a good life full of energy and happiness, I couldn't pass on eyes. It's not so much that I don't abuse mine, I do, of course. The question is to acknowledge the problem and to learn how to at least mitigate the damages. Nobody is perfect, but that doesn't mean we don't have to strive for perfection.
What damages our eyes?
This is a very simple question with very complex answer.
First of all, the biggest enemy of the eyes is staring at fixed distance. When we watch something without moving our eyes too much, the muscles that control them start to deteriorate. The very ability to focus on different distances get worse very quickly. A very simple test is - spend some on the computer (or the TV if anyone is watching TV anymore :P) and lift your head to focus on a distant object. You will need some time for your eyes to adjust. At least I do. So yes, one of the biggest enemies is the computer/tv screen, even though it's not so much about the eyes getting tired, as much for the muscles that get lazy.
Not enough blinking cleaning up the eye. When you use your eyes, you blink, which keeps the surface clean and wet. When we stare at something, we often forget to blink. This puts a lot of strain on our eyes.
Bad air. As simple as this. The polluted air along with the water is one of the biggest enemies to our health.
Bad sleep! I don't know about you, but when I don't get my sleep, my eyes deteriorate a lot. Sometimes it's hard for me to focus, even though I don't wear glasses.
Stress. This one is clear, it affects everything in you.
Not enough interesting things to watch. The eyes are made to see with them, so if you don't exercise them on different and interesting things, they will simply lose their sharpness. That means different colors, distances, textures.
Everything else that is bad for your body, is bad also for your eyes. It's very simple. The body is a connected system, so anything you do to it, will affect everything in it. For example, if you have been at ophthalmologist you'll know that it's VERY hard to measure the diopters of young people, because their eyes are TOO STRESSED. They put you some drops in your eyes that widen your pupils so that they can properly examine them! Just imagine what we do to our eyes!
I can probably list even more causes, but that's not the reason why we're here, aren't we?
How to improve our vision!
First of all, the disclaimer: don't expect miracles. I don't. I try to take care of my eyes, but my life is too erratic to be very consistent. However, when I am consistent, I see the results. And if I do, so should anybody else be able to. And anyway, everything is quite simple.
- Sleep enough. Eat your vitamins. Exercise your body to keep your over-all health up.
- When you're on the computer, take breaks every hour or so and make the effort to look trough the window. Try to focus on objects on different distance. This is very important because it trains the muscles of the eyes. What I do is start with something nearby and then trace all the way to something very far. And then back. This is very easy and effective in reducing the stress.
- Blink! Blink a lot. Ok, not so much to look like an idiot, but just remember to blink when your eyes feel uncomfortable.
- Another good exercise is to take a pen (or a finger) and to hold it in front of you. Focus on it and move the pen/finger all the way to your nose and back. This trains the muscles and I read at least one scientific study saying it's good for your eyes.
- When your eyes are very tired, which usually translates into headache, just close them, rub your palms against each other until they get hot and cover your eyes with them. Enjoy the warmth coming out of your palms and the comfortable darkness. Rotate slowly your eyes in both directions. That should relax them.
- Another thing to relax both your eyes and brain is to stand near tree and to look from its bottom all the way to the top and back. Just make sure the Sun is not in your line of sight as it can damage your eyes. Doing it couple of times will also relax and train your muscles.
- Of course, the most important thing for the eyes is that you stay outside during the day for a while, so that they can enjoy the full sunlight. Our vision and optical nerves evolved to allow us to see best in the spectrum of the Sun. Our eyes are made to see during the day and they really enjoy seeing green stuff. If we stay inside the whole time, they will suffer. It's enough to get out every now and then and just to enjoy the well-lit objects around. It might be painful in the beginning if you're used to be inside the whole day, but it's very very good for you. Not least because your body produces IMMENSE amounts of vitamin D under direct sunlight and vitamin D is good not only for your bones, but also for your immune system. It is VERY good.
- Wear good sunglasses when you wear any. This is just as important, as the commercials say. Just make sure the glasses are good.
- Last but not least, an exercise I read in "100 days to better health, good sex and long life: A guide to Taoist Yoga and Chi Kung" by Eric Steven Yudelove. It's simple - take a pen or hold a finger or just find a fancy point on the wall and STARE. Stare without blinking until tears appear in your eyes. I know it sounds just the opposite to what I said so far, but it's not. Your eyes will produce eventually tears. Big fat tears. But those tears are not the same as the normal ones. These tears according to Taoists burn the toxins of the body; according to me, they wet very nicely the surface of the eyes and relax them even more nicely. So far when I've done this, I have felt my eyes more relaxed than before I started. When the tears appear, stop staring, close your eyes and cover them with your palms. And enjoy the darkness.
- In the same book, there are some massages that are also very good for the eyes, but if you want to do them, you'll have to buy the book and read them. They are all very easy and you can do them in a minute.
These are the exercises that I know of so far. When I find out something else, I'll write it here. But remember, to heal any part of the body, you must work with the whole body. You have to eat variable food (fish!), get enough sleep, stay possibly in a room with clean air and most of all, to try to be happy with yourself. Otherwise, why would you need eyes if you don't want to see with them? Life may not be always fair and pretty, but it's still worth living and there is an ocean of opportunities to feel good. Don't forget to use it!