One of the purposes of eye exercises is to help you to reduce your dependence on eye glasses.
Today, most spectacle wearers are seen to have become so much dependent upon glasses that they feel helpless without them and reach for them the first thing in the morning. The glasses then part company with the bridge of the nose and ears only at night.
It is known that concentrated viewing tenses the eye muscles and the crystalline lens. This may force a person’s eyes to work very hard without realising it. When glasses are used, this intense concentration develops more readily since images are clearer and frames act like blinders to limit peripheral awareness. Again, eye glasses make it unnecessary for the eyes to work on their own. Since the eye glasses substitute their power for the natural power of the eyes, innate visual abilities diminish through disuse. It is a common experience that following prolonged use of eye glasses, unaided vision (vision without glasses) deteriorates; a person who could previously read three or four lines of the chart without eye glasses can later read only one or two (in spite of the fact that the spectacle numbers have not gone up). Vision is a dynamic process. Its sharpness undergoes small changes during the day. Under favourable conditions or in the absence of strain, the vision is sharper. However, its, sharpness declines if eyes are strained.
Along with the sharpness of vision, the error of refraction (ie.the visual defect) also undergoes small changes. This is a proven fact. If causative factors are not at work, a visual defect may decrease spontaneously, partially or totally. For example, excessive and concentrated near-point work is the chief cause of nearsightedness or myopia. If one keeps away from reading or writing for a considerable length of time, myopia may decrease. A number of studies have shown that the percentage of myopia in youngsters is greater during the school year than at the end of a long vacation, a time of few books and long hours outdoors. Yet few doctors take this into consideration while prescribing eye glasses at the end of the school year, unaware that the condition might improve during the vacation.
To see clearly through a particular glass, the eye has to continuously maintain the visual defect, which is otherwise liable to small changes. In other words, once eye glasses are used, the eye stays in its myopic state until it becomes permanently nearsighted.
Eye glasses are only a palliative measure in the treatment of visual defects. They do not reach the root of the problem. They may enable a person to get instant clear vision. But they do not consider the root causes of visual defects and do nothing to check their progress. The popularity that eye glasses enjoy today is solely because of our passive approach to our visual problems. We expect everything to be done to us, to our eyes; we are not ready to take pains ourselves. The fast life today has snatched away zeal and patience from our minds. When asked to take care of their eyes or to undergo visual training, people frequently say they just do not have time! But it should be well understood that the less time you give to your eyes today, the more you will have to give later in your life.
This is not to say that eye glasses are useless. Indeed they might be indispensable for many persons. But they should not form the sole treatment for visual defects. Visual training is of much greater importance.
In myopia, the distant vision is below normal. A myopic child complains that he cannot see the writing on the blackboard. The teacher moves him to the front of the classroom and sends home a note that he sbould be seen by an eye doctor. He is examined and indeed, distant images are unclear. He is prescribed eye glasses to enable him to see clearly at distance. No consideration is given to what is causing this problem. In effect, the youngster has been handed a crutch. Eye glasses do not attempt to help the eyes out of the trouble they have got into, with the hours of reading stress; they merely enforce the abnormal focussing.
Now the child has eye glasses which help him to see the writing on the blackboard from the back row; but what happens when he shiJts his focus back to the book right in front of him ? He had been recommended eye glasses for ‘constant use’. Therefore he continues to do near work with distant glasses. Thus, the eyestght continues to deteriorate, the myopia progressively worsens and the eye glasses grow thicker. In short, the trend to recommend glasses for constant use is not correct.
When a person is undergoing visual training, constant use of glasses may hinder improvement. Obviously, glasses allow clear vision only if the eyes maintain that much defect continuously, which the glasses intend to correct.
Therefore, doing away with glasses whenever possible is a key step to successful visual training. Albeit, one should be on a constant lookout to avoid eye-strain, by keeping the eyes relaxed. Practical hints about what to do and what not to do when not using glasses have been presented at the end of this chapter.
Certain points about coloured or tinted glasses, too, call for elucidation. Abundant research has clearly shown that all the seven colours of the spectrum are essential for the health of the body and the eyes. If a particular colour is not allowed to enter the eyes for long, a variety of problems may arise. Goggles and tinted glasses do precisely the same thing: Pink glasses completely absorb blue rays and blue glasses completely absorb pink rays and prevent them from entering the eyes.
Albeit special circumstances or special sports (e.g., mountaineering or water-skiing) may demand the use of coloured glasses. But their prolonged use for the sake of fashion or to keep away the sun, is a crime. The use of photochromatic lenses which automatically change from light to dark or vice versa in response to light-intensity is similarly undesirable. The pupil of our eye itself has the ability to contract or expand and thereby control the amount of light entering our eye. To snatch away this adaptation response to light from the pupils and hand over the job to coloured or photochromatic glasses is like using crutches when you have strong legs. With time, the muscles controlling the size of the pupil will become weak.
In short, it can be said that passing some time of the day without glasses is an extremely important step for every person who wishes to prevent further deterioration of his visual defect or who wants to lessen the existing defect.
Do’s and Don’ts while not using glasses
(1) Keep the eyes relaxed. Don’t strain your eyes or shut them partially in an effort to make things clearer. This defeats the purpose. Accept the blur. In a short period, the brain will learn to interpret the blurred images correctly.
(2) Close the eyes frequently. This breaks the impulse to strain or focus.
(3) Concentrate on other senses. When going without glasses, rely as much on hearing, touch and smell, as you do on vision.
(4) View the entire scene. Do not concentrate on individual objects or details.
(5) View defensively, not offensively. Be aware of general movements and changes all around.
(6) Shortsighted persons can remove their glasses when they don’t need to see at distance, e.g., while reading, writing or conversing. On the other hand, hype ropes (longsighted persons) and presbyopes require glasses especially when they are doing near work. At other times, they can take off their glasses.
(7) Do not listen to your friends’ comments that you do not look good without glasses. Your eyes and sight are more important than their opinions or your appearance.
Schedule for ‘time without glasses’
The amount of time you can go without glasses depends on how strong your glass-prescription is. The following chart is a general guide :
(1) Upto + or – 2.00 diopters (numbers) – the more time spent without glasses, the better.
(2) From +. or – 2.00 to 6.00 diopters (numbers) – go without glasses for one to three hours a days.
(3) Above + or – 6 diopters (numbers) – go without glasses for 30 to 90 minutes a day.
These guidelines are minimums. As you gain in experience and get accustomed, gradually increase the time without glasses. If you can eat your meals, talk on the phone or travel by public transport without glasses, do it. There is no way to overestimate the value of ‘time without glasses’. It breaks our physical and physiological dependence on glasses. It teaches relaxed viewing and enhances our natural visual abilities.
In short, time without glasses is the simplest yet one of the most important and effective of various visual training procedures. It can be integrated into daily activities without any inconvenience. If it becomes a habit, there will be real improvement -in the strength of your eyes and clarity of your sight without glasses. Just remember to keep the eyes relaxed. Never strain them. If headaches and eye-fatigue occur when not using glasses, you are trying to overcome the blur instead of accepting it.