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Eye Care: A Holistic Approach

Updated on July 7, 2016
Anatomical Parts of the Human Eye
Anatomical Parts of the Human Eye | Source

Approaching senior citizen status, I have suffered from myopia and astigmatism nearly my entire life.Now presbyopia and mild cataracts have manifested. This is a self-help reminder that vision can be improved with conscientious effort. Good eyesight is an indicator of overall health. This article discusses breath, eye exercises, walking, diet and supplementation, as well as affirmations as an aid in changing poor, ingrained thought patterns that lead to poor health, and, ultimately, poor vision. Of course, the information herein is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Medical consultation by a licensed practitioner is always helpful when trying to cope with any visual or bodily abnormality.

Can vision be improved?

The eye is a remarkable organ controlled by seven muscles, as pictured below. According to Dr. William Bates, when these muscles habitually become tight and imbalanced, the shape of the eye can become distorted over time and result in myopia or hyperopia, and astigmatism. The key is to become aware of these muscles and learn how to relax them.

The Muscles of the Eye
The Muscles of the Eye | Source

Deep Breathing, A Key to Relaxation

Breath is life, yet so many people don't breathe properly or are unconscious of their poor breathing habits, and even hold their breath, which results in oxygen deprivation to the body, including the eyes.

Watch a baby in sleep. Notice that the belly moves in and out with exhalation and inhalation of the breath. Good vocalists are aware of the diaphragm and the importance of using the stomach muscles to get the most efficient use of their lungs.

The following video reviews the mechanics of breathing. It will help you reinforce a proper breathing habit and posture.

The Mechanics of Breathing

Five Important Eye Exercises

I. Palming - This is the most effective way of relaxing the eyes. Energy from the hands also aids healing the eyes. The technique is done with eyes open and is as follows:

  1. Rub palms together (15-20X)
  2. Cup palms over eyes
  3. Breathe deeply (3X)
  4. Slowly move palms away from eyes, focusing on palms as they move away

Repeat the four steps three or more times, as desired. Use palming to relax the eyes between each of the following exercises.

II. Sunning - Eyes are starved for light in our artificially lit world. On a sunny day, go outside and close the eyes. Move head upward until you sense the bright light and warmth of the sun hitting your eyelids. Breathe. Bring face to natural position. Palm using the previous steps given, but keep eyes closed and eliminate step 4. Position closed eyes for direct sunlight once again. Rotate the eyes beneath the closed lids. Breathe regularly. Repeat both steps 3-5X

III. Eye Rotation - The following video demonstrates the basic eye exercise for the eye muscles. The exercise is based on up-and-down, back-and-forth movement, as well as circular. These exercises help relax the eye muscles.

IV. Focal Point Variation

Holding your right thumb up (fingers closed) at eye level, look at it. Look at a point or object on a far wall or farther away in the yard. Using these two distances, move the eyes at a moderate pace between the two, focusing on each point or object as you change your gaze. Notice that when you look at your thumb, the far-away point or object appears doubled. When you look at the far-away point or object, your thumb appears doubled. This is normal and is due to both eyes seeing the point, object, or thumb from slightly different angles. Repeat 3-5X.

Now use your left thumb and repeat the exercise the same number of times you did with the right thumb.

You may change distances by holding your thumb closer or at arm's length and picking an object a little closer or farther away, if possible.

V. Peripheral Awareness

Cup your palms and place the sides of your hands nearest the pinky together. Fingers are all closed together. Place your fingertips at the base of your hairline. Palms do not touch the face, but are directly in front of your line of vision. Light and colors of objects are visible from the thumb sides of your hands. Do not move your eyes, but just relax and observe the light and colors coming in from the outer sides. Take a deep breath, then breathe normally. Hold your hands in this position and just observe, not trying to see anything, for 15 seconds. Remove the hands and relax. Repeat the entire exercise 3-5X.

The peripheral exercise and good nutrition help maintain peripheral vision.
The peripheral exercise and good nutrition help maintain peripheral vision. | Source
Brisk walking is as good as running.
Brisk walking is as good as running. | Source

Walking, A Most Practical Exercise

Getting regular exercise improves metabolism and circulation, including the circulation of blood flow to your eyes. Walking is the safest and least expensive exercise available, and brisk walking is aerobic.

Most fitness coaches agree that you should:

  • walk three to five times per week (3-5X/wk)
  • walk at least 20 minutes on each outing
  • walk at a pace that you can talk
  • wear supportive shoes or go barefoot on a sandy beach

Benefits of walking (in addition to eye health):

  • helps maintain healthy blood pressure level
  • aids in losing weight and then keeping a healthy body weight
  • reduces cholesterol
  • makes you feel good

So, make a promise to yourself that you will set a goal of including healthy walks as part of your lifestyle and just do it!

Diet and Supplementation

Although I strive for a gluten-free vegan diet, I do not judge others for their choices. Medical doctors, however, are beginning to accept that excessive animal protein in the diet leads to degenerative diseases, including cancer.

When I was a young person interested in self-help books written by naturopaths, I remember the words of Dr. J. H. Tilden, "If people insist on eating meat, it is my responsibility to show them how to do it without getting sick." Basically, his principles apply as much today as they did then: 1) do not eat meat with starchy foods, 2) eat it only two or three times a week, and 3) eat meat with two or three servings of raw or lightly steamed, green vegetables--the darker, the better.

Fasting on pure water and raw juices from organically grown produce can cleanse the body of wastes accumulated from the metabolic process and aid healing, which is really the process of bringing the body and its organs back into balance.

Supplements to Aid Vision

Item
Description and/or RDA
Function
Sources
A Vitamin (betacarotene)
retinols, carotenoids/700-900mcg
for growith, immune system and vision
cod liver oil, dark leafy greens, orange vegetables
bilberry
herbal extract
improves night vision
leaves or fruit
bioflavonoids
yellow or red-blue plant pigments
antioxidant
parsley, blueberries, black tea, citrus, wine, dark chocolate
C Vitamin
ascorbic acid/40-100 mg
antioxidant, antihistamine, supports immune system
acerola, rose hips, guava, black currant, red pepper, parsley, most fruit
calcium
mineral/1000-1200 mg
bone strength, neurotransmitter, muscle contraction
seaweed, nuts, seeds, blackstrap molasses, soy beans, figs, quinoa, kale
Co-Q10
enzyme
electron transport, antioxidant
sardines, virgin soybean and olive oils, nuts and seeds, parsley, avocado
E Vitamin
tocopherol and tocotrienols/15 mg
antioxidant
wheat germ, sunflower and safflower oils
eyebright
herb
reduces swelling, helps eyestrain
leaves and flowers
flaxseed oil
lignans
antioxidant, cancer prevention
flax
garlic
spice, root
aids cardiovascular system, expectorant, antiseptic
bulb root of the Allium sativum
gingko biloba
herb
aids memory, glaucoma prevention
maidenhair tree
grape seed extract
polyphenol/50-100 mg
antioxidant, antibacterial, aids fluid balance
grape seeds, usually as capsule or tablet
Hawaiian Noni juice
tonic
supports immune systesm
Morinda citrifolia tree
lutein
extract
prevents macular degeneration and cataracts; improves light sensitivity
dark leafy greens and carrots
soy lecithin
granules
supports cellular and metabolic function; emulsifies fat
soybeans
magnesium
mineral/320-420 mg
aids calcium absorption, reduces high blood pressure, useful for type 2 diabetes
halibut, almonds, bananas, apricots, canteloupe
MSM
a purified organic form of sulfur
useful in reducing stress, mucous-membrane inflammation, allergies, gastrointestinal problems
onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, eggs
quercetin
a flavonoid
antioxidant, antiviral, bronchodilator
Red grapes, blueberries, red apples, red cherries, blackberries
zinc
mineral/15 mg
aids vitamin A, supports immune system, prevents macular degeneration and cataracts
oysters, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, and mushrooms
These supplements, which may be as part of or in addition to a good daily vitamin-mineral supplement, are recommended by several eye-health advocates. This is a partial list intended for reference. Note:1 mcg = one-millionth of a gram. RDAs are for

Nutritional Summary, A Video Overview

Affirmations

Louise L. Hay's assessment in her book You Can Heal Your Life gives an insight about the thought process behind myopia and astigmatism as the fear or resentment of being "penned in" and judged. The affirmations to counteract and heal this thought process are as follows:

  • I am free in my space.
  • I am freeing others from any critical, judgmental thought I may have had against them.
  • I am forgiving myself.
  • I am compassionate.
  • I am completely free to express my creativity and joy.

The Violet Flame and The Law of Foregiveness

My favorite Violet Flame decree* as taught by the late Elizabeth Clare Prophet for forgiveness for self and others that may have wronged you goes:

Violet Fire enfold us (3X)

Violet fire hold us (3X)

Violet fire set us free (3X)

I AM, I AM, I AM

Surrounded by a pillar of Violet Flame,

I AM, I AM, I AM

Abounding in pure love for God's great name,

I AM, I AM, I AM,

Complete by Thy pattern of perfection so fair.

I AM, I AM, I AM,

God's radiant flame of love gently falling through the air.

Fall on us! (3X)

Blaze through us! (3X)

Saturate us! (3X)


*Author's note: A decree is an affirmation said with full voice and authority.

Decree for Christ Wholeness

The following is the first section of the decree, which can be used as an affirmation.

I AM God's perfection in body, mind, and soul--

I AM God's direction flowing to heal and keep me whole.

Oh, atoms, cells, electrons within this form of mine,

Let Heaven's own perfection make me now divine.

The spirals of Christ wholeness enfold me by his might;

I AM the master presence commanding be all light!

--Elizabeth Clare Prophet


Summary

We have been programmed since childhood with hours of indoor reading, television, and computers, a long program scenario which has resulted in poor vision habits. These poor habits, just like any habit, can be changed.

By proper breathing, exercising the eyes and body, choosing foods that support visual health and supplementation as needed, as well as changing our attitudes about life can result in normal, healthy vision over time, but only you can decide to change and actually implement those changes.

Of course, eye glasses may be necessary for driving or doing work not in your current field of vision. Use glasses minimally and keep up with the exercises while watching your nutrition. Set a goal for improved vision as a gift for yourself, your optometrist, and others. Let the process be gradual and certain.

Set Your Goal

Now that you have read this hub, will you make an effort to help your vision?

See results

Credits and Resources

Geiger OD, E. Michael; Eye Care Naturally, Safe Goods Publishing, Sheffield, MA; 2002, pp. 56 ISBN 1-884820-72-7

Hay, Louise L.; You Can Heal Your Life, Hay House, Inc., Carlsbad, CA; 1999

Jesus and Kuthumi (Prophet); Corona Class Lessons, Livingston, MT; 1086, insert pp. 28-29 ISBN 0-9167166-65-9

Mason, Roger; Zen Macrobiotics for Americans, Sheffield, MA 2022, pp. 93 ISBN 1-884820-70-0

Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare; The Science of the Spoken Word, Summit University Press, Gardiner, MT; 2004, pp. 225 ISBN 978-0-916766-07-8

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    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I'm glad you found this hub helpful, pateluday. I confess to not practicing the exercises consistently and still struggle with myopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. I won't know whether my mild cataracts have disappeared for sure until my next visit to the optometrist. I suspect avoiding gluten and excessive sugars in the diet is helpful. I hope you are able to keep your vision bright--it's such a precious gift! ***

    • pateluday profile image

      Uday Patel 3 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

      Great Informative Hub! I will use the supplement section for guidance. Thanks!

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Thank you for the read and comment, Cfin. Yes, conjunctivitis can easily spread. The eyes have to be kept clean. Fingers and hair need to be kept out of the eyes. A little sea salt in water, as you have said, is soothing to the eyes and helps clean them. I hope your daughter recovers quickly.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      My little daughter just got conjunctivitis (at least I think that's what it is) and is in the doctors as we speak. Her cousin had it and it was so contagious.

      I usually use a simple mix of sea salt with warm water in an egg cut and clean my eyes with it regularly. 20/20 vision so far. Nice article.

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Thank you for the read and comments, Dora and Seckin. So many of us take our vision for granted and don't think about vision as a warning signal that our body is out of order. I've tried to present a broad spectrum of practices that can be implemented so each reader can take into consideration where he or she is and begin to make gradual changes for the better. Blessings and thank you for the vote, Seckin.

    • Seckin Esen profile image

      Seckin Esen 3 years ago from Ankara, Turkey

      Hi Marie, this is a wonderful hub. I liked your suggestions. I didn't know that our vision can be improved with eye exercises. Thank you for sharing this valuable information with us. Voted up and useful.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Marie, this is an excellent article. You give so many useful facts and the remedial suggestions are very helpful. Thank you.

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      This subject is very important to me. I've done a lot of reading about health in my life and, depending upon whose charts and advice you follow, undoubtedly there will be disagreement among recommendations. That's because everyone is at a different level. Each person has to accept who and where he is first, then decide if he wants to make any change in his habits or lifestyle. If a change is desired, it's a good idea to start slowly with one or two goals. Trying to do too much at once will ultimately result in failure. So, be kind to yourself and think about what, if anything, you can do to improve your habits. Self-examination, I believe, is a healthy thing, as long as it isn't self condemning.

      This hub reflects where I am now with my thinking. It's not intended to be medical advice by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope it will give you some hope if you are faced with visual problems and wish for a better outcome than common prognoses allow.

      I encourage you to try, and I wish you every success.

      P.S. There are a lot of useful resources online for eye care and specific eye problems. Blessings!

      P.P.S. I did not mention negative habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol or drug use; I should think these would be self evident. The violet flame is a great tool for overcoming such habits. ***