Dr. Bates, the pioneer of natural vision improvement, was asked over 100 years ago how much time was needed each day to practice healthy vision habits. (Think of the folks who want to know how long they have to work out to get “in shape”.) This wise man replied that you have just as much time to see with straining destructive habits as with relaxed healthy ones.
Many people who start vision improvement have this same end-gaining mindset. “Tell me how often, and for how long, I should do palming“, they’ll say. They’re missing the point. The purpose of palming is not to get better at palming. It’s to give your eyes a period of deep relaxation. Other vision exercises like the Long Swing encourage fluid movement of the eyes — people can often stare without realizing it, especially at the computer. Still other exercises like eye chart practice let you hone the ability to focus on small details. The goal of vision exercises is to help your mind and eyes be more relaxed and easily focused, whenever you’re looking.
If you think of the purpose of a particular exercise, rather than getting caught up in the mechanics of it, you might find another way to do it which feels like more fun. If you usually sit in front of the eye chart, letting the letters come into view while still remaining aware of the periphery in the room, go outside instead. Find a sign, a billboard far away or a “no parking” sign down the block, then use that as a natural eye chart. You’ll be surprised how much you can make out, without straining. If it’s too easy, move back or find something farther away.
Finally, “vision practice” can be just looking, and deciphering what you see. Babies learning to see their environment don’t do eye exercises, they simply look around themselves, near and far and up and down, at toys and faces, delighted by it all. You can do the same, going for a walk, examining the depth in the roofs of the houses and the clouds overhead and the branches on the trees, the colors and angles and curves in your surroundings. The more you can see with the eyes of a child, the healthier and happier your vision will become.
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