Eyesight, a person’s ability to see, involves a complex interaction between the external objects in the environment, light, the two eyes, the optic nerves, and the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Visual acuity is the clarity or sharpness of vision. Loss of visual acuity may be caused by a variety of conditions, with some appearing in childhood and adolescence and others associated with injury or aging.
Problems with eyesight are commonly treated with optical correction using glasses or contact lenses. Surgery like LASIK is an option in some cases. Other treatments, including medication, are also available and may be recommended depending upon the type of visual loss.
Natural approaches—such as diet and supplements, avoidance of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, adjustments to light and posture, and eye exercises and other types of vision therapy, are means to maintain and improve eye health, prevent the development or progression of eye diseases, and to supplement traditional methods of correcting vision.
Although not a first-line approach in modern optometry or ophthalmology, there are anecdotal reports of people restoring their vision solely using natural methods. Individuals who have loss of visual acuity and want to abandon their glasses or contact lenses without undergoing surgery may benefit from the following approach:
Eye Improvement #1: Diet and Supplements
- Get more Vitamin C. Be sure to get plenty of this antioxidant in your diet, either by eating citrus fruits, drinking orange juice, or putting lemon in your water. Vitamin C supplements may also be taken. Vitamin C decreases the progression of vision loss and, to boot, it lowers the risk of getting cataracts.
- Take Omega-3 supplements. Essential fatty acids, particularly Omega-3’s, are integral to the development and proper functioning of the retina and nervous system and, therefore, to vision. The two forms of Omega-3 that we need the most are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). If you are eating fish a few times a week, you are probably getting adequate amounts of these fatty acids in your diet. If you don’t eat that much fish—especially if you are a vegetarian, then a supplement is needed.
- Focus on Zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that helps Vitamin A get to the eye, where it creates melanin, a protective pigment that contributes to the color of the eyes. Zinc deficiencies are associated with impaired night vision, and Zinc supplements can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of vision loss among older Americans. This mineral is found in beef and lamb—as well as in sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and lentils for those who don’t eat meat.
- Be sure to get Vitamin E. Vitamin E, specifically alpha-tocopherol, is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the eyes, such as those caused by UV light. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are the best sources of Vitamin E, and significant amounts are available in green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals as well.
- Familiarize yourself with Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These are two other nutrients important for vision. You may not have heard of them, but they are carotenoids, a class of plant-derived vitamins that includes beta-carotene. They are present in leafy green vegetables and, when consumed in the diet or supplements, accumulate in the retina. Higher levels protect against AMD.
Eye Improvement #2: Modifying the Environment
- Take breaks from the computer. Where and how you spend your time can play a significant role in the quality of your vision. For instance, many people spend 8 or more hours a day looking at computer screens. When they aren’t at work, they are watching television or looking at their smartphones. Cut down on your use of screen time. If you can’t do that, at least take regular breaks.
- Optimize your light. Poor light conditions can contribute to eye strain. Use an appropriate light source for the task, such as a reading light for reading.
- Pay attention to ergonomics. Poor posture can contribute to vision problems and eye strain. If you have to sit or stand in one position for long periods, make sure you use good posture and pay attention to the placement of items you use most frequently. Consult an ergonomics specialist if one is available.
- Protect your eyes from injury. Always wear protective lenses while doing dangerous tasks. All it takes is one incident to harm your vision.
- Wear sunglasses. Avoid overexposure to harmful UV radiation by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
Eye Improvement #3: Eye Exercises
- Do daily eye exercises. Daily eye exercises can be done to improve the health of the eyes, similar to how exercise improves the health of the body. Begin by warming up the eyes; you can do this by rubbing the hands together vigorously then placing them over the eyes. Repeat as needed. Then do the following series of exercises: look up, look down, look right, look left, then look diagonally in the four directions. Do at least 10 repetitions of each exercise daily.
- Practice focusing. Take a small object and hold it out at arm’s length. Focus your eyes on it, then continue focusing as you slowly bring it in towards the face to within several inches. Then slowly move it back out to arm’s length. Repeat at least 10 times daily.
Eye Improvement #4: The Bates Method
Educate yourself about the Bates Method. If you are serious about improving your vision naturally, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the techniques developed by the ophthalmologist Dr. William Bates. They are considered the foremost methods for restoring vision naturally, without the use of lenses or surgery:
– Palming. A simple practice using the hands, this method helps relax the eyes and mind.
– Sunning. Utilizing the power of the sun, this method improves discernment of light and dark.
– The Swings. There are five types that introduce movement to the eyes and mind.
– The Sway. Like The Swings, this method helps the vision learn about movement.
– Color Days. This method improves the eye’s perception of color.
As you have learned, there are a variety of steps you can take to restore your vision naturally.
With that said, be aware that it will take time—particularly for those who use stronger corrective lenses or who have suffered from poor vision for longer.
Finally, remember that safety must come first; you will need to continue to use corrective lenses while driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing other tasks that require visual acuity.