Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.
I’ve recently heard that many people’s eyesight have degenerated rapidly, with some having dry, red or tired eyes. Some have even discovered they have eye ailments such as glaucoma and cataract.
Eyesight degeneration is closely related to long-term computer exposure. Many people are increasingly dependent on the computer for work, information search, leisure, entertainment, socialization and commercial purposes. The older generation is unfamiliar with the use of computers but they need to rely on others for computer assistance. The computer has become an indispensable companion in life.
The most obvious impact of this lifestyle is the deterioration of one’s vision. The proportion of children who are myopic is about 48% in the U.S.A. and 84% in Taiwan.
The deterioration of our vision mirrors the deterioration of our body because our eyes are directly related to our blood circulation and the functions of our liver and kidney.
The computer itself has electromagnetic radiation and interferes with our body’s energy (qi). On top of this, Internet access is generally through a wireless mode and the electromagnetic waves and microwaves increase the stress on the eyes and body.
Our eyes are small and absorb relatively more radiowave and microwave. At the same time, reading and using the computer at close proximity results in excessive use of our central vision, causing our peripheral vision to deteriorate. We need our peripheral vision to adjust our focus. Another consequence of excessively using our central vision is that our eye pressure will increase, potentially leading to glaucoma.
To improve our vision and prevent its deterioration, one principle is to treat our selves with kindness. Taking care of our eyes requires time, and necessitates changing how we habitually “see”, our lifestyle and diet. Only the blind can deeply appreciate the preciousness of being able to see.
Dr. Meir Schneider (PhD), a teacher of self-healing (particularly of the eyes), was born blind. He felt the suffering of not being able to see. Furthermore, both his parents were deaf. When he went out with his father, he would get lost and although he would cry out loud, his father could not hear him and had to rely on kind passersby to lead him to his father’s side.
When Dr. Schneider was 16 years old, another boy taught him Dr. Bates’ eye exercises and training techniques. After a year and half of intensive training, he could see words placed at the tip of his nose. Slowly, he began to recognize his neighbour’s face. Many years later, he no longer needed to wear glasses and passed the California driver’s license test. The day before the test, he spent ten hours doing palming exercise where he placed his palms over his eyes to relax them.
Dr. Schneider’s perseverance is an important factor in his recovery. When he started doing his eye exercises, he would run to the rooftop ten times a day to “sunbathe” his closed eyes. He also practiced the palming exercise three hours daily. His mother thought he was wasting his time by not doing his homework. To improve our eyesight, we need to let our eye muscles relax and undertake some exercise. If we frequently need to read at close distance, we need to balance this by looking into the distance periodically. Remember to blink and breathe deeply. These are natural movements typically forgotten by people who use the computer.
Dr. Schneider‘s recommendations for people who face the computer daily include the following:
- Let the eyes rest every 20 minutes. Allow the eye muscles that are used for near-distance reading to relax. Select four points at a distance (in the house or outside the window) and shift the eyes’ focus on each of these points. Also close the eyes and do the eye-palming for a minute. Allowing the eyes to appropriately look at a distance is important for maintaining the eyes’ health.
There is the story of a person who did computer work at work. His office overlooked the mountains and the coastline. He did not need to wear glasses till he was 60 years old. When he got promoted, he moved to another office that did not have an expansive view. Within two months, his eyesight deteriorated and he had to wear glasses. The view outside his old office had attracted him to naturally look afar.
- When we are focused intensively on the computer, we tend to stare at it and hold our breath. This will cause our eyes to be tired. One reason for dry eyes is that we forget to blink. Doing so can lubricate and massage our eyes. People with poor vision have lost their ability to blink their eyes in a relaxed fashion. One of the ways to remind ourselves is this: when we wake up in the morning, take a breath and then blink several times before breathing out. Do this three times. Then blink 10 times, rest a while and do this until you reach 100 times. Then repeat two times. This can help recover the habit of blinking.
- Periodically massage the edges of the eye socket, forehead and cheeks. When the eyes are used to looking at near distances for a long time, the eye muscles will tighten. Hence, relaxing the facial and head muscles can enable the eye muscles to relax too. Close the eyes and gently massage the eyebrow. This will also relax the eyes. Blinking will also relax the eyes.
- Another effect of looking at a screen for an extended period is that the pupil will lack the opportunity to dilate and contract because the light does not change. Over time, the pupil loses its ability to stretch and the muscles will also deteriorate. Night blindness arises because the pupil has lost its ability to naturally dilate and contract.
Practice sunbathing the eyes (keep them closed) before 10 am and after 4 pm. Also, slowly rotate the body left to right 180 degrees. Because of the light changes, the pupil has the opportunity to dilate and contract. Remember that the eyes are closed when facing the sun. Be sure to remove all glasses and contact lens as this exercise should not be done through glass surfaces. After a few minutes, rest by having the back face the sun and cover the eyes. Then repeat a few times.
- Practice palming the eyes. Rub your hands together to warm them and then place your palms over your closed eyes. Both the shoulders and arms are relaxed. Practice palming for a few minutes to relax the eyes after an hour of looking at near objects. It is best to practice palming the eyes 45 minutes in total, with each session lasting at least 20 minutes. Add on a few five-minute to 15-minute sessions. This is a critical resting exercise that improves our vision.
Dr. Schneider emphasized that the most thorough way of taking care of our eyes is through exercise, rest and changing our habitual way of “seeing”. Other methods that rely on glasses and surgery are only treating the symptoms and have side effects in the long run. A person with a back injury will not use a back support to continue working and not allow his back to rest. In contrast, when our eyes are overtired and our vision deteriorates, the general practice is to merely use stronger glasses and not alter the way we use our eyes.
People who are myopic should spend 30 minutes every day to look at far distances. It is also best to look at far distances for 7 minutes before looking at near distances. Perhaps many people are of the opinion that they do not have time to take care of their eyes. The price is that not only do their eyes deteriorate but their physical and mental health would worsen as well.
Nature is the best nourishment for our eyes as well as body and mind. Our eyes will relax in a natural environment – our focal point will naturally shift from near to far and our pupils dilate and contract. Our peripheral vision will also get to exercise as the adjustment of near and far focal points rely on peripheral vision.
Walking in the dark will also develop our peripheral vision and allow our pupils to totally relax. The act of walking involves movement that will also stimulate the cells associated with our peripheral vision. Dr. Schneider recommends that we practice walking in the night a few times a month, each trip lasting 45 minutes. There was a person who did a night walk once and achieved significant improvement in his vision.
The healing power of nature has been experienced by many people and it has also been proven by research. In Japan, compared to those who walk in the city, those who practice walking in the forest have lower blood pressure, heart rates and release of stress-induced hormones. Whether a patient can see nature from his window can also affect his health.
In a small town called Paoli in the eastern part of the United States, the hospital there has a row of rooms where the windows overlook trees. Another row of rooms have windows that face walls. Researchers who investigated the recovery rate of patients who underwent gall bladder surgery between 1972 to 1981 found that those who stayed in rooms that overlooked trees had recovery rates that were four times better than those who stayed in rooms that faced walls. The former were also discharged a day earlier and needed painkillers once (compared to two to three times for the others).
The eyes are no different. Look at natural scenery more frequently. It is better to look at the indoor potted plants than to look at walls and computer screens.
The operations of the eyes and brain are closely related. In general, people do not use their left and right eyes equally—one of them is dominant. Ninety percent of the brain’s activities are seen through the dominant eye, which may deteriorate when it is overworked. The weaker eye will also deteriorate because it is not used. Letting both left and right eyes be used evenly is also an important means to improve our vision.
Stimulating peripheral vision in both eyes is also an important balancing approach. There is no issue about a particular eye being dominant with regards to peripheral vision.
Moving both fingers on each side of the eyes can stimulate peripheral vision. Do so when reading or using the computer. One way to train the weaker eye is to cover the dominant eye and use the weaker eye to see near and far.
It is possible to do so by using a cheap pair of sunglasses. Remove the lenses from the side of the weaker eye, and use tape to cover the other side. How do we determine which is the dominant eye? Roll a piece of paper into the shape of a telescope. The eye that you naturally use is the dominant eye.
Both eyes are also related to the left and right brain. The right brain controls the left eye, while the left-brain controls the right eye. The right brain deals with creativity and intuition, while the left-brain deals with logic and thinking. When both sides of the brain are not used in a balanced way, and logic and thinking is dominant, part of the brain is viewed through the right eye.
When we cover our right eye and use the left eye to see, some deeply hidden emotions will surface along with some intuition not normally present. In particular, some emotions and memories related to our mother or her family can emerge. If we cover our left eye and use our right eye, memories or thought patterns associated with our father will surface. The right eye is associated with our interactions with the external world.
The way both eyes interact also reflects how our parents relate to each other. In short, our eyes reflect the health of our body and mind, as well as our living environment and habits. Taking care of our eyes has a very deep impact that far exceeds our imagination.
The original Chinese article is published in the May 2013 issue of Lapis magazine and is accessible online at: http://www.lapislazuli.org/tw/index.php?p=20130501.html
◎ Lapis Lazuli Light is inviting Dr. Meir Schneider to hold a six-day workshop from March 27 to April 01, 2014 on “Enhancing Our Vision” Singapore. The talks will be translated into Chinese by Mr. Robin Pan. For details, please refer to page 36 of the Lapis Lazuli Light magazine.
◎ Lapis Lazuli Light will publish Dr. Schneider’s new book titled “Improving our vision, expanding our horizons” in Chinese by end of December 2013.