Most of the body’s reactions to vision exercises are enjoyable: fewer headaches, less neck and shoulder tension, deeper easier breathing, greater relaxation and peace of mind. Occasionally a client, puzzled, will ask me about his eyes stinging when practicing with the eye chart, or actively focusing on central fixation, which is noticing that you see the central point of your vision most clearly, and everything away from that less clear. Isn’t vision improvement supposed to feel good?
Someone recently wrote “I experience clear flashes regularly, which are always soon accompanied by a burning sensation in my eyes. I do blink and move my gaze. It really seems like the clarity itself is causing the burning.” I responded that yes, this is a symptom of improvement, and recommended she be more gentle with herself. It’s like starting a new workout at the gym and throwing all you have into it because you want to progress so badly — of course your muscles will be sore!
I’ve only seen occasional mention of this in vision books, perhaps because the author didn’t want vision improvement to sound painful, or because he doesn’t have a good explanation of exactly what’s occurring in the eye when this happens. I liken it to stretching a stiff muscle (again, go slowly!), and think the eyeball itself is getting used to letting in more light.
When I first heard about this eye stinging, I had hardly experienced it myself at all. Was I doing vision improvement wrong? With my gym mentality of “no pain, no gain!”, I thought I had to struggle and suffer to know I was actually accomplishing something. When I started working with the eye chart and felt the stinging, mostly in my left eye which saw less clearly, I was glad!
Believe me, vision improvement doesn’t have to hurt. I’m writing this just so you know if you do feel a bit of stinging, it’s unlikely it’s an indication of a problem. And it will fade as your eyes get used to the new healthier way of seeing. I’m also writing this because the eye stinging happened to me for the first time in a while last night.
Yesterday I did a lot right for myself vision-wise. I had a variety of distances to look at, was moving around, and was relaxed because it was the weekend. I did some computer work, pausing occasionally to look out the window, mowed the grass, drove to the grocery store, and chopped up and cooked some vegetables, again looking out the open kitchen window often. I had bare feet all day (except in the grocery store!), which helps me be aware of my body. As it started to get dark I listened to and tapped along with an EFT audio.
So I was unusually relaxed when I started my eye chart session in the evening. I noticed immediately that the letters were more separate, the black letters and the white spaces more distinct from each other than usual, instead of blurring together. I moved back a bit (you don’t want to make it too easy! says the over-achiever in my head), and realized I could see better at that distance than I usually can. I kept calm, chasing away eager thoughts of “Is this a permanent improvement?”, just appreciating it as I continued to scan the letters. My left eyeball started stinging and watering a bit, and I kept my gaze moving easily. The stinging got slightly more sharp, then started to fade, as my busy brain wondered “has my left eye learned what it needs to, to see more clearly?”. My right eye briefly stung just a bit, much less so than the left one.
Overnight I slept well, and while I can’t say my vision is improved in a major way from yesterday, I still feel very relaxed. The stinging went away as soon as I stopped the chart practice, and I also suspect it would have stopped if I’d closed my eyes or palmed, as I think it has to do with the eyes getting comfortable with a new way of looking. I’ll do another eye chart session a little later, and it will be interesting to see if the stinging shows up again, and how well I can see the chart. I don’t need every speck of progress recorded however — it’s enough to know that I’m moving in the right direction. Ever onward!