This past week I hurt my knee, from working out without being sufficiently warmed up. Since I am usually flexible, energetic, and easily able to move and bend, having to make my way around more slowly than I’m used to was no fun at all.
I wanted this to heal as fast as possible, so became hyper-aware of what I was doing that caused pain. I could bend it pretty deeply, but not with weight on it. The heaviness of the thick quilt on my bed hurt in certain positions, as did the bony knee of the other leg poking it when I was on my side, unless I arranged myself just right when lying down.
I quickly found I couldn’t put up with the pain, “toughing it out”, and have it improve — I had to baby myself. As soon as it started to hurt from something I did, I stopped. Immediately. And it’s almost better! OK, what did I learn that I can apply to my vision?
This seems like an in-my-face lesson to remind me of all the vision improvement principles I already know so well, and am not as consistent in practicing as I could be. I’ve been aware for a while now that I’m so used to visually straining, it seems normal to me. This is not good! I’ve wanted to raise my awareness of visual strain, so I can keep letting it go, and am now using the knee situation to give me a “leg up” (ha ha!) with that. Be careful what you ask for!
In no particular order, here’s what my knee is teaching me about my vision.
1. If it hurts (I experience eyestrain or blur), it means I need to do something differently. Continuing what I’m doing is just reinforcing a bad habit.
2. Slow and gentle movement is a better choice than rushing.
3. When I can bend it farther (see more clearly) than I could the day before, it’s time to celebrate and be grateful, not necessarily to push myself harder right away.
4. Tricks like walking with most of my weight on the other leg (or visual tricks like squinting) are only a short-term solution, and will make something else hurt. Experimenting with a wide-legged stance caused my hip to complain. This reminded me of someone I know who had a “bum knee” for years from a high school football injury, and eventually got a knee replacement and a hip replacement! I wondered if favoring his knee for so long had negatively affected the hip. Note to self: don’t look for a short-cut! Keep your posture and body alignment straight. Use your easy natural vision.
5. Healing (increased clarity) happens at its own pace. I can support it with my habits, like taking extra vitamin C since it’s such a help in physical healing (and also concentrated in the lens of the eye, coincidentally). But I can’t force it, or I’m likely to set myself back.
6. A good attitude and optimism will carry me farther than grumbling. Plus I’ll be a nicer person to be around!
7. My knee (eyes) will tell me when it’s time to push and work out again. The analogy doesn’t hold perfectly here, since my vision exercises are more like play than a “workout”. Yet if my eyes are tired and feeling strain, I should be palming (or napping!), not forcing myself to look at the eye chart.
I’m hoping something here is helpful for you and your vision program, especially if you’re athletic. I mostly wrote it for myself, to capture what I’ve learned from this exerience so I can refer back to it later. It is not smart to keep making the same mistakes, and I want to do better in the future.