July 2009 – Peripheral Vision Exercises

Peripheral vision exercises help balance central with peripheral vision and the use of both eyes together.

A very important part of relaxation is balanced use. If one eye works harder than the other, one eye will have eyestrain from overwork, while the other eye will suffer because the brain is suppressing its input.

***Straining to see at the computer can exacerbate such an imbalance. Similarly, if the peripheral vision is habitually ignored, the central vision is overworked and strained.  Meir feels that prolonged visual stress, especially from overworking central vision and ignoring the periphery, leads to macular degeneration.

Fortunately, many exercises that improve peripheral vision also have the effect of balancing the use of both eyes together.  Why?  The two eyes have separate, very different peripheries; when you block off the central vision, the brain has to register the input of both peripheries.  Thus, you increase peripheral vision and get a more balanced input of the two eyes.

Since, like most people, you probably have lost some peripheral vision simply because your brain has acquired the habit of ignoring the periphery, peripheral vision exercises usually result in an immediate, noticeable improvement.

  • Sit down, and have a partner stand behind you.  This is a great exercise to do with a child.
  • Look straight ahead while your helper wiggles his or her thumbs just outside your field of vision and then into it, above, below and to the sides.  When a hand comes into your field of vision, grab it.
  • As you discover where the borders of your periphery are, you can tease them back with the same exercise.  Between attempts, stop for a moment and visualize that you see the thumbs easily and well in a position just beyond where you can see them now.

Take a Break from Your Glasses

Take a walk on a beach or in a park without your glasses and notice how much of the world on your left or right tends to exist for you.  You may find that you tend to disregard one side  — not only is it an effort to keep up an awareness of it, but you have the slightly weird feeling of fighting with your own brain, which wants to distract your attention and shut down that part of the periphery.  And, as with many eye exercises, you may begin to experience how much of your personality is invested in the way you use your eyes.

***As you work at the computer, don’t let the periphery disappear.  Every ten minutes or so, as you happen to think of it, wave your hands to the sides of  your face and pay attention to the fact that, beyond your computer screen, the rest of the room exists.  This will reduce the strain in your eyes.

You might also be interested in these other natural vision improvement exercises:

Massage for Vision Improvement