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Can Eye Exercises Improve Vision?

Do you believe commercials that claim eye exercises help treat people who are nearsighted or far sighted? In 1891, a New York physician named William Horatio Bates recommended eye exercises to treat to cure nearsightedness. He graduated from Cornell University and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He claimed that the lens never changes shape and most eye defects are caused by stress which tightens eye muscles. He invented a series of eye exercises which he claimed could cure nearsightedness, farsightedness, cataracts, and glaucoma. He advised patients to cover their eyes with the palms of their hands, to look at different objects continually instead of staring at one thing, and to read under difficult conditions such as in dim light. He also told people to stare directly at the sun to benefit.

His advice is could be dangerous. Looking at a bright light can damage the eye nerve, and reading in the dark can give you headaches. He didn't even understand how the eye works. Most vision problems are caused by the improper bending of light rays by the lens of the eye. The lens normally changes shape to bend light at an angle that will strike the end of the eye nerve called the retina and bring objects into focus. Once the lens loses its ability to change shape, you become near or farsighted. In nearsightedness, light rays that enter the eye fall short of the retina, causing the patient to see nearby objects only. In farsightedness, the opposite happens. Light rays go beyond the retina, putting far objects in focus. Eye exercises are useless in nearsightedness, farsightedness , glaucoma and cataracts. They may help people with weak eye muscles that cause eye coordination or focus problems, double vision, or even crossed, turned or lazy eyes. Before you spend money on programs that claim exercises will improve your vision, get a diagnosis to see if you have any of these conditions. Many optometrists, ophthalmologists, and Certified Orthoptists offer diagnostic and treatment services.

George Nava True II

Checked 3/3/13

May 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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