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Defective vision is a common problem nowadays. The main reasons for eye defects are reading in bad light (either too dim or excessively bright), excessive reading, reading in moving trains, buses or cars, watching too much television, seeing too many films, and eating artificial food. The popular belief that the use of spectacles can rectify all cases of defective vision is based on the assumption that such defects are caused by permanent changes in the eyes. This assumption is not correct as defective vision results from functional derangements which can be rectified by simple natural methods of treatment. Persons who are prescribed glasses are told that they should avoid taking them off because of the danger of eye strain and that they should always look straight through the centre of the lens. So, when looking in other directions they do not move their eye balls and eye muscles as is natural, but instead move head up and down or sideways. Thus, constant use of glasses throws the whole natural process of vision out of gear and causes ‘parking’ of the eyes. Gradually, the muscles of the eyes degenerate through non-use. Moreover, the use of glasses results in a reduction of blinking which is a movement intended to assist and preserve eye sight. Wearing glasses for many years results in stiff, dull-looking eyes without any sparkle.
Eye exercise: The following exercises will loosen the strained and contracted muscles surrounding the eyes:
Sun gazing: Sit on a bench facing the sun with your eyes closed and gently sway sideways several times for 18 minutes. Open the eyes and blink about ten times at the sun and look at some greenery. This helps shortsight and is good for inflamed eyes.
Splashing: Splash plain, cold water several times on closed eyes. Rub the closed lids briskly for a minute with a clean towel. This cools the eyes and boosts blood supply.
Palming: Sit comfortably in an armchair or on a settee and relax with your eyes closed. Cover your eyes with your palms, right palm over the right eye and left over the left eye. Do not, however, press down on the eyes. With your eyes completely covered in this manner, allow your elbows to drop to your knees, which should be fairly close together. With your eyes closed thus, try to imagine blackness, which grows blacker and blacker. Palming reduces strain and relaxes the eyes and its surrounding tissues.
Swinging: Stand with your feet 12 inches apart, hands held loosely at the sides, the whole body and mind relaxed. Gently sway your body from side to side, slowly, steadily, with the heels rising alternatively but not the rest of the foot. Imagine you are the pendulum of the clock, and move just as slowly. Swinging should be done in front of a window or a picture. You will see the object moving in the opposite direction of your swing. This must be noted and encouraged. When you face one end of the window or object, blink once. This exercise has a very beneficial effect upon the eyes and nervous system.
Natural, uncooked foods are the best diet. These include fresh fruits, such as oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, plums, cherries; green vegetable like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, turnip tops; root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrot, onions and beetroots ; nuts, dried fruits and dairy products.
Cereals are also necessary, but they should only be consumed sparingly. Genuine wholemeal bread is the best and most suitable. Nans, cakes, pastries, white sugar, white bread, confectionary, tea, coffee, etc., together with meat, fish, or eggs, soon play havoc with the digestion and the body.
The value of vitamin A for improving vision must be stressed. The intake of sufficient quantities of this vitamin is essential as a safeguard against or treatment of defective vision or eye disease of any kind. The best sources of this vitamin are cod liver oil, raw spinach, turnip tops, cream, cheese, butter, egg yolk, tomatoes, lettuce, carrot, cabbage, soya beans, green peas, wheat germ, fresh milk, oranges and dates.
The four yogic exercises prescribed for strengthening the optic nerve known as ‘trataka’ should be practiced daily. Certain yogasanas such as bhujangasana, shalabhasana, yogamudra, paschimottan asana and kriyas like jalneti are also beneficial for the eyes.
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