Today I want to again bring up the complex subject of how you move your eyes. It’s a major part of the method of vision improvement I promote.
Bates called it shifting. A shift, if you’re unclear, is just an eye movement, looking from one point to the next. So when you practice shifting, you’re practicing moving your eyes, which according to the Bates method is an important element of good vision. So to make sure you’re doing it right, you adopt some way of confirming that you’re moving your eyes. To confirm the eye movement you might physically feel your eyes moving or see the scene “jump” or slide around. Logically that makes sense. But is that what seeing is all about? Do people with normal vision need to confirm that they’re moving their eyes?
What I’m getting at is you should not feel your eyes moving. Every movement of your eyes that you can feel is a sign of stressing your eyes far beyond what is necessary. You should only control your eyes indirectly. You direct your attention and interest towards an object and the details of it, and your mind uses that information to direct your eyes. You can’t count how many shifts your eyes make.
Sometimes people try to obtain some sort of positive feeling of relaxation out of their eyes, as if to make up for the feelings of eyestrain. But there should be no feeling at all. There’s no need for it. Relaxing your eyes means to refuse to move them in a way where you feel them moving. It means allowing your eyes to seem apparently still while assuming that they are actually moving as long as you are paying attention to details. It means you turn your head when a new object of interest is far to the side and you wait for your eyes to center on the object of interest. For objects close to the one you’re currently looking at, it means you start considering the details of the object and find your eyes automatically moving towards it.
Think how impossible it would be to throw a ball if you were to concentrate on contracting and releasing each of a hundred different muscles. There’s no way you could do it. You have to focus on the basic intention, adjusting your movement when needed but mainly letting your body create a fluid movement on its own.
Important concepts like this are not obvious if you read Bates’s material and most other material out there. It’s a complex enough subject that you can’t assume you understand the method you’re using if it isn’t improving your vision. Speak out loud to yourself what you think you know about how to use your eyes correctly, as specifically as you can. If you find you have a doubt about something, speak that aloud to, asking yourself the question and offer some possible answers. In this way you are being clear with yourself about what you believe is the correct path and allow yourself to be uncertain about something if you’re uncertain. Inner conflicts will eat at you unless you shed light on them and be honest with yourself about what’s going on.
I founded iblindness.org in 2002 as I began reading books on the Bates Method and became interested in vision improvement. I believe that everyone who is motivated can identify the roots of their vision problems and apply behavioral changes to solve them.