How To Improve Your Eyesight Naturally At Any Age
Wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t matter that you can’t find your reading glasses? Learn the techniques and supplements that will help you improve your eyesight naturally, no matter your age. The videos will help guide you.
PART OF my job on this site is to sift through information about health topics, typically with an anti-aging slant, and curate those that I think will be most useful to my readers, like you. Of course, I often throw in my own “2 cents”, as I often have some experience in these matters.
One of the very capable health practitioners I follow is Dr. Ben Kim. A few days ago, I read his piece on how to improve your vision naturally, which reminded me of the various techniques I’ve half-heartedly used over the years to help improve my vision. I never did a deep dive into these techniques because my eyesight has not deteriorated much (perhaps given some supplements that I regularly take), and due to a habit I have of regularly looking away from the screen and focusing on something faraway. (We’ll return to the supplements and refocus methods later.)
The Dr. Kim piece instigated some more investigation. Viola, the result is this post, How To Improve Your Eyesight Naturally At Any Age, pieced together from a comprehensive Mother Earth News article, another written by Dr. Mao Shing Ni and an interview that Dr. Mercola conducted with Bates Method expert, Greg Marsh.
In this article, you’ll discover:
In this article you'll discover:
- Natural eye training exercises you can do anywhere at anytime;
- How to use Brock String Vision Therapy to naturally improve your eyesight;
- Why Dr. Joseph Mercola highly recommends the Bates Method (hint: it worked for him); and
- The two supplements that will provide you the nutrients your eyes need to see better.
The following eyesight improvement techniques are based on these four premises, cited by Michael Drake in that Mother Earth News article I mentioned:
- The art of seeing—like other fundamental skills such as talking, walking, and using one’s hands—is acquired.
- This skill is normally learned through unconscious self-instruction in childhood.
- For many of us in today’s pressure-packed world, the only way to keep perfect sight is to practice techniques of conscious eye relaxation.
- Finally, if the exercises are performed correctly for a sufficient length of time—in conjunction with a proper diet and a physical conditioning program—eyesight will improve permanently.
Given these presumptions, which I think are clearly true, let’s dive into specifics.
What You Need To Know About Vision Training
Let’s begin with various visual training techniques presented by Michael Drake and Dr. Ben Kim, and then look at two specific programs, Brock String Vision Therapy and the Bates Method — all focused on how to improve your vision naturally.
In his article, Improve Your Eyesight Naturally With Eye Exercises, Michael Drake presents a pretty comprehensive set of eyesight improvement techniques that I’ll briefly summarize. If any seem appealing to you, click over to his article for more information.
To relax the eyes, lay down on the floor and gently apply your palms to your eyes. The objective is to see a field of blackness. Be relaxed – prop your elbows on pillows so that you’re not holding up your arms.
Stand looking straight ahead, with your feet positioned about 12 inches apart. Rotate your body—head, trunk, and all—to the left, throwing your weight onto your left foot while you allow your right heel to rise from the floor. Keep your shoulders and neck straight. When you swing to the opposite side, shift your weight to the other foot. Your eyes will cover a 180° arc. Don’t focus on anything in particular.
Blinking serves to lubricates/cleanses the eyes with tears and rests/relaxes the eye muscles. Sit up and blink rapidly for a while. Repeat.
Close your eyes and face the sun. This is supposed to be relaxing.
The central portion of the retina is the point of most acute vision. The eye sees only a small part of any object sharply, with all the other areas being slightly blurred.
Looking at an object and focusing on its topmost part can demonstrate this. Without actually moving your focus downward, try to “see” the bottom of the object. You’ll find that its lower details don’t appear to be sharp.
A problem-free eye shifts quite rapidly and unconsciously while it is observing. People with imperfect vision often try to see a large part of the visual field at once, all areas equally well simultaneously, without moving their eyes. This puts considerable strain on the eye, and also on the brain, the organ that actually has to integrate what you see.
To correct this tendency, it’s important to develop your central fixation by teaching your eyes that it’s “acceptable” to see only one point clearly at a time. The orbs must learn to move and refocus rapidly, rather than straining to see an entire object at one sighting. You can do this by studying an eye chart, training yourself to look at the top of a letter on the chart while “accepting” an unfocused image of its bottom (and vice versa). When you can accomplish this easily, your eyes will be relaxed, and your vision will be improved.
Loss of vision often occurs in direct proportion to loss of eye motion, making rapid eye-shifting a beneficial exercise, particularly in cases of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and squint.
In contrast to the last exercise, force your eyes to make a series of small-scale shifts, consciously trying to sense and perceive the various sections of an object, without gazing fixedly at it to see all of its parts clearly at once.
Known as “nearsightedness”, myopia is the most prevalent of all visual defects, and is typically an acquired condition.
Strangely, the cause, says Michael Drake, is often thought to be emotional (that’s the strange part), and usually is the result of strain (that part’s understandable).
Certain techniques can be used to help decrease myopia, such as placing a calendar on the wall and sitting down in front of it, at a distance from which the numerals are barely legible. Remove your contact lenses or glasses (if you’re wearing them) and “palm” your eyes. Then practice reading each number, at first closing your eyes momentarily before looking at it. (Your eyesight is always best when your eyes are first opened, and visualizing each numeral beforehand increases your ability to perceive the figure clearly when you do look at it.)
Then read each figure on the calendar with both eyes, and then repeat the process while alternating eyes (cover the resting one with an open palm as you work). If one of your eyes is weaker, work with it more. Practice this exercise at least 15 minutes per day. In addition, try moving your chair back a foot or two each time you perform this exercise.
Your sight should improve considerably over the course of a few weeks.
Along with that, work on rapidly changing your focus from near objects to more distant ones and back again. (Recreational sports such as tennis, table tennis, and billiards can help.)
>Hyperopia and Presbyopia
While myopics are unable to see objects clearly at a distance, people who suffer from hyperopia or presbyopia are unable to focus readily on objects close to their eyes.
(Hyperopia is the condition of farsightedness in children that often persists into adulthood, while presbyopia is the farsighted condition that many persons experience when they reach middle age.)
The basics that previously presented are all beneficial in dealing with these vision problems. The calendar exercise mentioned in the section on myopia is also applicable, if you incorporate the following changes:
- Use a pocket calendar and place it about 14 inches from your eyes, or else close enough so that you can only barely read the numbers.
- Shift your gaze from side to side over an individual numeral without attempting to focus on it.
- Next, close your eyes momentarily and visualize that number before focusing it in. Repeat this procedure for each numeral on the calendar, using both eyes first, then alternating eyes. (You’ll probably want to work your weaker eye more.)
It’s best to practice this exercise at least 15 minutes a day, moving the calendar an inch closer to your eyes every few days.
Here again, the act of rapidly changing the focus from distant objects to near ones and back again can also be very beneficial.
>Astigmatism and Squint
“Astigmatism” may be your issue if your eyes are seeing blurred images and distorted shapes, as this is a focusing disorder caused by a misshapen lens. Relaxation exercises will relieve this condition.
“Squint” is the inability of both eyes to look in the same direction at the same time to produce a single image. (A person with this condition is called “cross-eyed”.)
Although severe cases usually require professional treatment, less serious “squinters” can improve their sight by performing the following drill in addition to the basic techniques already described:
- Sit facing a blank wall and hold a ruler or yardstick vertically with the narrow edge forward, about 12 inches from your nose.
- Blink as you look up and down the straightedge half a dozen times, and then—without moving your head—look up and down the wall the same number of times. (When your eyes are focused on the distant surface, there will seem to be two of the rulers.)
- Alternate between the yardstick and the wall for about three minutes, increasing that time every few days.
- Remember to “palm” before and after each drill.
- Finally, walk along a plank or balance beam in all directions—forwards, backwards, and sideways—as this is beneficial for both squint and astigmatism.
>Preventive Measures for Sure Sight
Read books, use a computer, watch TV? Even if your vision is already 20/20, these things will eventually affect the way you see if you don’t take proper precautions.
Try to temporarily change your focus regularly by looking up and out of the window, or across the room. Also, close your eyes from time to time and set aside a few moments here and there to blink rapidly.
Now, let’s turn to Dr. Ben Kim’s suggestions. In his article, How to Improve Vision Naturally, Kim asserts that:
Contrary to popular belief, your vision doesn’t have to decline over time. With regular exercise of the muscles that control your eye movements and visual acuity, you can reduce eyestrain and maintain or even improve your vision.
He then says that the chief reason people suffer from chronic eyestrain and deteriorating vision is due to the many hours many of spend staring at a computer screen (just like I’m now doing) positioned at a constant, close distance away, as well as television screens.
He asserts the obvious: that our eyes are designed to move regularly, in different directions and to view things both near and far away. Frequent movement of your eyes is what promotes optimal blood flow and nerve tone to your eyes and the muscles that control their movements.
Just as do the other experts I’m going to present to you, Dr. Kim says that physical eye mobility exercises can improve your vision. Unsurprising, given that all our muscles, like those tight hip flexors of yours, for instance, tighten up from being kept in one, constrained position. The solution is to use all our body parts over their full range of motion and function, as they were designed to do.
Here are the eye exercises Kim suggests:
- Look as far to your right as possible for 3-5 seconds, then as far to your left as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds and repeat this sequence several times.
- Look as far up as possible for 3-5 seconds, then look as far down as possible for 3-5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds and repeat this sequence several times.
- Slowly roll your eyes in a circle, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Rest for a few seconds and repeat this sequence several times. Do this slowly – take at least 3 seconds for you to roll your eyes in a full circle.
- Hold a pen in front of you, about an arm’s length away. Focus your vision on the tip of your pen for 3-5 seconds, then shift the focus of your vision to an object that is farther away for 3-5 seconds. The greater the distance between your pen and the distant object, the better. If you are indoors, look out a window to find a distant object to focus your vision on. Repeat this sequence several times.
While doing these vision exercises, remember to:
- Not use your head and neck; meaning, keep them still while you move your eyes; and
- At the end of each of the movements described above, try to focus your eyes on an actual object, something concrete, such as a doorknob or a corner of the ceiling.
You may have notices that Dr. Kim’s vision exercises are the short version of those suggested by Michael Drake. What follows is a short, to-the-point video of a fellow demonstrating some of the eye exercises mentioned above. With a view count exceeding one million, this guy must be delivering the goods:
Next up, let’s look at two vision-enhancing techniques, Brock String Vision Therapy and the Bates Method.
Brock String Vision Therapy
The Brock String Vision Therapy is a commonly used is vision therapy that excels, says Dr. Kim, at getting the eyes to work together and correct developmental issues whereby the eyes don’t work in concert with each other as designed.
This video demonstrates how to use a Brock string to promote healthy binocular vision:
You may buy the Brock strings on Amazon, or make your own.
Click here to read Dr. Kim’s suggestions about how to make and use a Brock string.
The following description is from How to Improve Vision Naturally, by Dr. Ben Kim.
Get a white string that is about 8 to 10 feet in length and 3 to 5 brightly colored beads that you slide onto your string before tying knots at the ends. Ideally, you want the beads to be distinctly different colors and about as big as a good size marble. The holes in the beads should be large enough where you can slide the beads onto your string, but it is best if the fit is snug enough where the beads don’t easily slide around while the string is held taut at a slight decline away from you.
With one end of the string held just below your nose and the other end secured by another person or against a stationary object like a door knob, the string should be taut and still, with the beads spaced 10 to 15 cm apart, with the first bead 10 to 15 cm away from your nose. It’s helpful if the distant anchor point is slightly lower than the point at which the string is held under your nose for a slight decline as the string goes away from you.
With this set-up, focus your eyes on the closest bead for 5 seconds, then the next bead, and so on until you have focused on each bead individually for 5 seconds or thereabouts.
Then, focus on the middle or second bead until the adjacent beads appear as double with two strings entering and leaving the bead that is the point of focus. If you don’t see two strings entering and leaving your bead of focus, as well as double of the adjacent beads, try blinking your eyes several times, then looking at the bead of focus with just your right eye, and then just with your left eye.
Then, go back to focusing on the middle or second bead until you see what is described above.
You can continue with this process with each bead; focus on one bead at a time until you are able to see double of the adjacent beads with two strings entering and/or leaving your bead of focus.
The Bates Method
When I was dancing around the Interwebs looking for reputable accounts of how to improve your vision naturally, the Bates Method kept popping up. I particularly like the exchange between Dr. Joe Mercola and Bates Method expert, Greg Marsh.
The full article is on Dr. Mercola’s website, which he summarizes thus in his “Story at-a-glance”:
- Your vision is not compromised because of weak eye muscles. Rather they’re too tensed to work properly, so you have to relax them.
- When you’re stressed, the strain squeezes muscles around your eyeballs and contorts them. This reduces your visual acuity, as it alters where the field of vision “lands” on your retin.a
- Far-sightedness, near-sightedness, astigmatism, cross-eye, glaucoma, cataracts, and other conditions can benefit from the Bates Method.
- The Bates Method teaches you to relax the muscles around your eyes, allowing your eye to move and function optimally.
Here’s Dr. Mercola’s interview with Greg Marsh:
Supplements for Improved Eyesight
So far the focus has been on eye exercises, but if you’re a regular reader you know my perspective that supplements can enhance the effects of exercise, irrespective of what you’re exercising.
Dr. Shing Mao Li wrote an article for Dr. Oz’s website entitled, 3 Ways to Improve Eyesight Naturally,
and there he pretty much said what we’ve already covered here, but added some suggested supplements and nutrients:
- Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight.
- Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, protect the macula from sun damage. Get these antioxidants from dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Notice any color patterns here? Current research shows that consuming yellow and green vegetables can help prevent age-related macular generation, a leading cause of blindness.
- Foods rich in sulfur, cysteine, and lecithin help protect the lens of your eye from cataract formation. Excellent choices include garlic, onions, shallots, and capers.
- Anthocyanin-rich blueberries, grapes, and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your vision.
- DHA is a fatty acid found in coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, and cod. DHA provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health.
I want to suggest two specific supplements that I’ve used and – unlike many supplements where I’m not sure if I’m getting the intended result – I think these really have helped my vision maintain its youthful vigor.
For instance, I can still read a menu in a light-challenged restaurant whilst my peers pat every pocket searching for their “readers”.
Astaxanthin is in a league all it’s own, says Dr. Mercola. Yes, we’re back to ole Joe, and in this case the reference is to his article, Astaxanthin, the Most Powerful Nutrient Ever Found for Eye Health.
Here’s the gist of what he had to say about Astaxanthin:
Science is now revealing that astaxanthin may be the ULTIMATE carotenoid for eye health and prevention of blindness. Blindness is an enormous problem worldwide. These statistics1 might disturb you:
- Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 50.
- Sixty million people suffer from ARMD worldwide, and 10 million are blind.
- Severe, irreversible vision loss affects 30 percent of people over the age of 55.
- Cataracts are another major cause of blindness, affecting more than 20 million people in the U.S. alone. Cataracts are caused by lipid peroxidation of the epithelial layer of the lens. Although they can have other causes, most are related to aging.
- Cataracts result in 3 million cataract surgeries every year.
Clinical studies tell us that photic injury from the cumulative effect of repeated “photic insults” and the resulting gradual loss of photoreceptor cells is a major cause of ARMD. Therefore, anything you can do to cut your losses from these photic insults will reduce your risk for developing macular degeneration as you age.
Astaxanthin does much more than protecting you from eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). It was discovered that astaxanthin easily crosses into the tissues of the eye and exerts its effects safely and with more potency than any of the other carotenoids, without adverse reactions.
Click here for a lot more benefits that Astaxanthin offers.
From Dr. Mercola’s Astaxantin article:
There may be no other single natural substance that performs so many beneficial biochemical functions as this little-known carotenoid. Its scope is truly amazing. Here are just some of the ways astaxanthin can positively impact your health, according to the latest research:
- Supporting immune function
- Improving cardiovascular health by reducing C-Reactive Proteins (CRP), reducing triglycerides, and increasing beneficial HDL
- GREATLY protecting your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness (which I will discuss at length below)
- Protecting your brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Reducing your risk for many types of cancer (including cancers of the breast, colon, bladder, and mouth) by stimulating apoptosis (cancer cell death) and inhibiting lipid peroxidation
- Improving recovery from spinal cord and other central nervous system injuries
- Reducing inflammation from all causes, including arthritis and asthma
- Improving endurance, workout performance, and recovery
- Helping to stabilize blood sugar, thereby protecting your kidneys
- Relieving indigestion and reflux
- Improving fertility by increasing sperm strength and sperm count
- Actually helping to prevent sunburn, and protecting you from the damaging effects of radiation (i.e., flying in airplanes, x-rays, CT scans, etc.)
- Reducing oxidative damage to your DNA
- Reducing symptoms from pancreatitis, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and neurodegenerative diseases
- I personally use it to help protect me from radiation damage when I am flying during the day. The radiation is reduced by 99 percent when flying at night so this is not an issue for night flights. However, it does have to be taken for three weeks to build up levels to provide this level of protection.
This impressive list continues to grow as more studies are being published all the time about this incredible nutrient.
Various supplements designed for eye health often use bilberry in their formulations (often with lutein). That’s because bilberry is useful for macular degeneration and night vision acuity, and for capillary function throughout the body.
Diabetics have circulation concerns that are helped with this herb.
There’s a lot of material here, but may you refuse to be overwhelmed. Simply select a technique that looks promising AND that you’re willing to practice. Once that one is a ritual, choose another.
And so on.
In addition, try astaxantin and bilberry. Of course, I have no idea what your eyesight issue might be, but I do know that these supplements have improved the eyesight of myself and others.
Like a lot of body parts that degrade over time, our eyesight begins to fail because we do not sufficiently take care of them. Do some of these exercises, take the supplements and come back here and share what you’ve experienced in the Comments below.
Last Updated on May 19, 2018 by Joe Garma