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Eye Exercises Approved by Science?

When people hear about eye exercises and the facts how somebody else got healed by doing them their reaction is furious. I get bombarded with questions like

  • “Why don’t doctors suggest eye exercises before they prescribe glasses?”
  • “Why ophthalmologists do not inform us about eye exercises?”
  • “Why doctors lie about glasses?”

And there are many other questions that don't sound as nice. But instead of being mad at the doctors let’s imagine the situation where we come to the ophthalmologist’s office with vision problems thinking that our eyesight deteriorated and we hear the answer – exercise your eyes. What is your first reaction? Just imagine that you have never heard about the effect of eye exercises before and the only information you have about vision correction is prescribing glasses.

Dr. Janice Wensveen, clinical associate professor at the University of Houston's College of Optometry, says that patient reactions to this quite common prescription range between surprise and relief, but doing the therapy can improve their performance at school and work. . Eye exercises are used to treat a variety of vision disorders.

"They're curious, especially when we tell them, instead of putting a Band-Aid on it like we do with glasses or contact lenses, we're actually going to solve your problem. You're going to be cured, and that's something we don't very often do," she said.

The patients in the study had to use different instruments and objects to improve vision like:

  • Loose-lens accommodative facility to improve amplitude of accommodation
  • Letter chart accommodative facility to increase velocity of accommodative response
  • Vectograms to increase positive and negative fusional vergence
  • Barrel card and String card to develop the kinesthetic awareness of converging and diverging; develop the ability to voluntarily converge; normalize the near point of convergence

One of the standard at-home prescription is known as "pencil push-up therapy," said Wensveen, who practices at the University Eye Institute's Vision Therapy Clinic in the Family Practice Service.

In the study patients were instructed to hold a pencil at arm’s length directly between their eyes, and an index card, serving as a suppression control, was placed on the wall 6 to 8 ft away. Patients were instructed to look at the very tip of the sharpened pencil and to try and keep the pencil point single while moving it toward their nose. If 1 of the cards in the background disappeared, patients were instructed to stop moving the pencil and blink their eyes until both cards were present. Patients were told to continue moving the pencil slowly toward their nose until it could no longer be kept single and then to try and get the pencil point back into 1. If patients were able to regain single vision, they were asked to continue moving the pencil closer to their nose. If patients could not get the pencil back to 1, they were instructed to start the procedure again...

Continue reading this article on my Eyesight blog

 
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