Your eyesight can get better - it's all about your vision habits!
Pretty much everyone agrees that if an overweight person changes his unhealthy eating habits, he will start losing weight. Healthy new habits will literally shape a new body.
But what about eyesight? Maybe the bad eyesight is just bad genes, a "gift" from our parents who also wore glasses? Unfortunately, the hereditary theory just does not stand up. In Taiwan, for example, the rate of myopia (nearsightedness) in young children increased from 5% to 25% over a span of only two decades! The genes would never change that fast.
The bad eyesight boils down to bad vision habits: how we use our eyes, what we do and the environment in which we live. And just like with the example above - if we change our vision habits, our eyesight will start improving. Ideally you will not even need to do any special eye exercises!
To better understand good vision habits let's take a look on how mother nature designed us.
Let's say, someone decides to change his lifestyle from this:
Don't you think that his vision would be somewhat affected by this change? Just a tiny bit?
Let's have a look of how prehistoric man used his eyes and how we can use this information to our advantage.
Good vision habits of a prehistoric man
Prehistoric vision habit #1
Get plenty of natural light
Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.
Prehistoric men didn't have any "indoors". Ancient hunter-gatheres spent most of their time outside under the natural light - be it the clouded sky or the sun.
If you think that UV light is harmful to the eyes, there's a lot of research that shows that not only too much of UV, but also a lack of UV exposure will cause some nasty diseases in the eyes. By the same token, drinking 5 liters of water in one shot most likely will kill you, but it doesn't mean that you should avoid water all together. Moderation is the key for all nutrients, including light.
The famous neuroscientist Andrew Huberman in his podcast suggests that we should spend at least 2 hours per day outside without sunglasses to prevent myopia. He cites several studies conducted on thousands of subjects.
Healthy vision tips:
If you are inside move as close as possible to the window. Be aware though that it's only a half measure, since the glass blocks a lot of light.
Maximize the time you spend outside. If you are currently light sensitive and use sunglasses - be gentle with yourself. Start with cloudy weather, shady areas and slowly work your way to the sunlight. Your eyes will need some time to adjust to the natural light. Eventually you want to wean yourself off the sunglasses. If you go too fast, the bright light will cause strain in your eyes and we want to avoid it.
Prehistoric vision habit #2
Use peripheral vision
The human eye has two types of vision:
- foveal vision - which provides clear and colorful picture, but is very narrow (about 5% of visual field),
- peripheral vision - which is broad, and detects very well the movement, but provides mostly grey picture.
Our ancestors survived because their eyes had excellent peripheral vision. Try to detect prey or escape a predator, if all you can see is a tiny 5% area that cannot detect the movement!
The survival of a modern man does not depend as much on his peripheral vision (with the exception of driving).
When we work or study we tend to concentrate too much on a tiny area in our visual field - we use mostly our foveal vision. This creates tension - both mental and physical. We stress our minds and we stress our eye and neck muscles.
Healthy vision tips:
Move as much as you can during the day. The research has shown that self-initiated movement (when you walk or run) is beneficial for the eyesight.
When you work on the computer or read a book, make sure you have some movement happening in your peripheral vision. You can try using a stair stepper or a treadmill and see if it works for you.
Another great way to make sure your peripheral vision is engaged is to use our mobile app Eye-Opener:
Prehistoric vision habit #3
Our eyes will adapt to whatever lenses you put in front of them. If a person with normal eyesight starts wearing −5.0 diopter glasses, sooner or later he will develop myopia. Depending on different factors, this myopia may or may not be reversible.
Most archaelogists agree - glasses from 50,000 years ago are yet to be found. Prehistoric men didn't wear glasses. Does this mean they had perfect vision 100% of the time? Not necessarily.
During the day our vision constantly fluctuates. If you are stressed or tired or didn't sleep well it becomes worse. If you are rested, slept well and feel good, it becomes better. If you never wore glasses, these variations happen near the point of good vision - 20/20, when your eyes have perfect round shape.
So why glasses are bad? Let's say, recently you feel a lot of stress, your vision is sometimes blurry. Officially you have a condition called transient myopia. Being worried about it, you decide to go and see an optometrist. And at the precise moment when the vision test is performed, your eyesight happens to be −1.0 diopters. So the optometrist prescribes you −1.0 diopter glasses and you start wearing them full-time. A happy end of the story? Not really.
Do you remember how our eyes will adapt to whatever lenses we put in front of them? Now the variations in your vision described above (better at rest, worse when tired) will only happen at the point −1.0 diopter. By wearing glasses you don't give your eyes a chance to reverse to their original shape - the one they had before you started to feel stressed and decided to go to the optometrist.
Whatever caused stressed may go away, but it may be too late. Your eyes already adapted to the new reality of constant wear of corrective lenses. Next time you feel stressed and your vision gets blurry, you will need stronger glasses...
Healthy vision tips:
Progressively reduce the refractive power of your glasses. Depending on the type of activity and if you are in a safe environement, you may want to take them off completely. Give your eyes a chance to reverse to their original round shape!
There may be legal requirements to wear glasses if you drive. Most jurisdictions, however, allow driving with vision 20/50 or 20/40.