Myths Behind Bad Eyesight: Part 4

Welcome to the Better Vision blog where you’ll find information and tips on how to care for your eyes and improve your vision without glasses, contacts, drugs, or surgery.

This post is part of a 5 segment series entitled Myths Behind Bad Eyesight. Click on the posts below to read the rest of the series. Please visit us each month for new posts about eyes, vision, and how to see better.

1. Poor vision is inherited.
2. Vision inevitably deteriorates with age.
3. Poor vision is caused by certain visual activities.
4. Weak eye muscles cause poor vision.
5. Seeing is solely a physical, mechanical process.

Myths Behind Bad Eyesight: Part 4

(This information applies to functional vision problems - nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye imbalances, lazy eye, etc. Click here for information on cataracts, and here for macular degeneration.)

4. Weak eye muscles cause poor vision

The fourth misconception is that weak eye muscles cause poor vision.

Yet, the muscles around the eyes are 150 to 200 times stronger than they need to be for normal use. These muscles rarely weaken. Instead, tension builds up and affects these muscles, preventing them from moving in a natural, fluid manner - their movements become stiff and restricted.

An analogy: If a person is right-handed, the muscles on the right side of the body will be stronger - and more coordinated - than those on the left. Why? Only because they have been used more, not because they are inherently weaker.

The same is true for eye muscles: Over time, certain visual patterns and habits develop, and some eye muscles become stronger and more coordinated than others. But the primary source of the problem is the underlying patterns and habits. And the eyes can be trained to function with new, more effective patterns. As this retraining occurs, the symptoms of visual difficulties - such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, etc. - decrease and disappear.

Myths Behind Bad Eyesight: Part 3

Welcome to the Better Vision blog where you’ll find information and tips on how to care for your eyes and improve your vision without glasses, contacts, drugs, or surgery.

This is the third post of a 5 segment series entitled Myths Behind Bad Eyesight. Click here to read the first post.
Please visit us each month for new posts about eyes, vision, and how to see better.

Myths Behind Bad Eyesight: Part 3

Previously we posted about the five common misconceptions that lead people to think that eyesight cannot be improved:

1. Poor vision is inherited.
2. Vision inevitably deteriorates with age.
3. Poor vision is caused by certain visual activities.
4. Weak eye muscles cause poor vision.
5. Seeing is solely a physical, mechanical process.

Let’s examine myth #3 in greater detail.

(This information applies to functional vision problems - nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye imbalances, lazy eye, etc. Click here for information on cataracts, and here for macular degeneration.)

3. Poor vision is caused by certain visual activities

The third misconception is that poor vision is caused by what you do with your eyes: If you read too much, or use a computer, or watch too much TV, it will ruin your eyes.

And statistics seem to point in that direction:

Only 2% of students in the fourth grade are nearsighted; in the 8th grade, about 10% to 20% are; by the end of college between 50% and 70% of the students are nearsighted. Thus, it would seem that the more you read or study, the more likely it would be that you would become nearsighted.

But it is not because of the activity. It is because of how the eyes are used when performing the activity. And nobody is ever taught how to properly use their eyes and how to protect the good vision that they were born with.

When people are taught how to properly use and rest their eyes, then vision problems are much less prevalent.

For example, in China, students and workers are taught simple eye exercises that they practice every day in school and at work. And the rate of nearsightedness (myopia) has decreased substantially.

Unfortunately, these techniques are not yet common practice everywhere. But there have been a handful of school systems that have incorporated these and other changes with just as promising results as in China.

Extended periods of study, reading and computer use place added nutritional demands on the eyes and the body which, if not adequately met, can also contribute to visual difficulties.

But, there is no question that it is the visual habits that are critical, not the visual activity. The real problem is a lack of education. Vision care principles need to become more widely known and accepted, and more widely practiced.

Someday, there will be such a shift in attitude. But you don’t have to wait. Right now you can do something good for your eyes and protect your eyesight by practicing the right way to use your eyes.