Are you looking for clearer vision, but don’t want to use corrective lenses or surgery? Though the jury is still out on whether eyesight can be improved through natural means, you can try a few tips and exercises that might help. Here’s what to do.
- Find a pencil, and mark it somewhere in the middle. Draw a letter, number or dot on the side of the pencil. For this exercise, you’ll focus on the pencil and the dot as you move it toward and away from your eyes. Pencil push-ups are reputed to correct double vision and crossed eyes, but it can’t hurt to try them for other issues — it’s free, painless, and only involves focusing and refocusing your eyes.
- Hold the pencil in front of your face, at arm’s length. Keep the pencil vertical, so that the eraser is pointing toward either the ceiling or the floor. 
- If you’re having someone else help you with the exercise and hold the pencil for you, hold out your arm to determine how far away it should be.
- Focus your eyes on the mark you drew on the pencil. Don’t proceed to the next step until you feel like your eyes are solidly focused.
- Slowly move the pencil toward your face, maintaining your focus on the same spot. Try to move it in a straight line, toward your nose.
- As the pencil comes closer, your eyes will have to adjust to maintain the same level of focus.
- Stop when you see two pencils. As soon as the pencil doubles, stop moving it closer to your face.
- Look away for a few seconds, or close your eyes. Without moving your head or the pencil, shift your focus away from the pencil for a moment. Focus on something else in your visual field, and don’t worry about looking at the pencil at all for at least 5 seconds. If you’re having a hard time, close your eyes for a moment.
- Look back at the pencil. Once your eyes are refreshed, try to focus on the pencil so that you aren’t seeing double.
- If you’re still seeing two pencils, rest your eyes for a few more seconds and try again. Don’t get discouraged if you still see two pencils after your second try — you’ll get better! Just move on to the next step.
- Slowly move the pencil away from your face. Keep your focus on the mark you drew on the pencil as it moves back. Keep going until it’s at arm’s length again.
- Repeat the exercise. Pencil push-ups work best when you do them repeatedly, as part of a daily routine. Set aside five minutes a day at first, then try ramping up to 10.
- If you struggle to keep track of the time or stay entertained, try listening to music while you practice. For instance, two songs equal roughly five minutes, and three songs are roughly 10.
- Eat foods that promote eye health. While you probably can’t change your vision with diet alone, you can make sure your eyes have all the nutrients they need. Try to incorporate these foods into your meals:
- Leafy greens (such as kale, chard, collards and spinach)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish like salmon and tuna)
- Citrus fruits and juices (such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit)
- Non-meat protein sources (like bananas, beans and nuts)
- A vitamin supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E.
- Give up smoking. If you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit. Smoking has ties to macular degeneration and other eye diseases such as cataract formation. It also costs you a lot of money and can end up killing you in the long run. Do yourself a favor and stop this nasty habit.
- Wear sunglasses.Summer is just around the corner, do you have a good pair of polarized sunglasses? Too much sun exposure can cause ocular inflammation and damage, cataract formation and retinal problems. Drop by 20/20 Eyeglass Superstore and pick up a pair of designer sunglasses. Don’t forget, we have a frame for every face and a price for any budget.
- Make sure your sunglasses UVA and UVB rays.
- Wrap-around glasses are ideal, since they’ll block light from the sides of your eyes as well as the front.
- Try to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outside.
- Reduce eye strain. Like any other muscle, the muscles around your eyes can start to feel fatigued and painful if you strain them too much. Try these tricks to cut back on visual fatigue:
- Practice the “20-20-20” trick. If your work involves staring at a screen for long periods of time, take a break every 20 minutes, and focus on a point 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Turn down brightness. If you’re looking at a computer or television screen, turn down the brightness to the lowest possible level. You should still be able to see, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re staring at a bright light.
- Make text bigger. If you’re reading on a computer, use your program’s zoom function to make the text larger. Or, if reading small print in books is a problem, invest in a reading magnifying glass or buy larger-print editions.
Professional Vison Therapy
- Locate a vision therapist. Vision therapy has a few different modalities, but the primary types are:
- Orthoptics: An orthoptist focuses specifically on related to eye movement and coordination. If you have double vision, a lazy eye, or crossed eyes, this is probably the right choice for you. You can ask your eye doctor or family practice doctor to refer you to an area orthoptist.
- Behavioral optometry: A behavior optometrist works on helping patients manage visual skills and tasks. If you struggle to recall visual information, or if you have a hard time looking at complicated visual systems (like maps or puzzles), you might consider behavioral optometry. Ask your eye doctor for a referral.
Do your homework. Studies demonstrate that vision therapy is most successful when in-office sessions are combined with at-home practice. If your therapist gives you exercises to do at home, try to be vigilant about doing them as consistently as possible.
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