From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we finally close our eyes and go to bed for the night, our eyes are constantly being used. As children, we don’t worry about the damage we might do to our eyes when we play outside. We just want to be in the sun and have fun.
As we age, we become more concerned with our appearance than with the quality of our vision. For most people, it is only when they develop a vision problem that their interest dissipates and they realize how poor eyesight has a negative impact on their daily comfort. Especially since farsightedness usually occurs quickly.
Anyone over the age of 35 is vulnerable to presbyopia, which occurs when the lens of the eye hardens and is less flexible than at an earlier age. The muscles that help reshape the lens to shrink and focus it up close don’t work as well as they should as we age, which can contribute to blurred near vision.
We probably don’t give our eyes enough credit.
These are the hardest working muscles in the human body and they don’t get much rest during the day. Since we have been used to taking our eyes for granted for so long, it is a shock to us when our vision suddenly becomes a little blurry.
Many people simply assume that the blurring is a process of aging. They may go out and buy reading glasses so they can continue to read and perform their daily tasks at ease.
Blurred vision caused by aging usually doesn’t start until you reach your 40s. Then, when it does, it’s often quite upsetting after a lifetime of reliable vision.
Your ability to read and perform detailed tasks like reading or even writing begins to diminish due to blurred vision. If you’ve been diagnosed with blurry vision, you may be wondering this: can you reduce the symptoms of presbyopia naturally?
In this article, we will talk about what presbyopia is and how it can be treated with natural alternatives.
What is presbyopia?
Before we determine if you can naturally alleviate presbyopia, let’s first look at what exactly this condition is.
Presbyopia is a progressive refractive error that almost everyone will experience at some point. While you can help your farsightedness, most doctors recommend treating it with corrective glasses or laser surgery.
When we are young (or under 40, anyway), we can rely on the lenses in our eyes (cornea and crystalline) to change shape quickly so that we can easily focus on a far sign and a near map. For most people, these are normal, natural processes that we take for granted. Our eyes are flexible and we feel no tension when we use them.
Presbyopia is a condition that causes blurred vision and difficulty focusing on things up close. Presbyopia can make reading or concentrating on things close by cause eye strain, fatigue and headaches. In addition, it can be difficult to see well in dimly lit environments.
As we age, however, our lenses become more rigid and cannot change shape as they used to. This stiffness in the lenses of our eyes can lead to presbyopia.
Hyperopia occurs when light that is supposed to be focused on the retina is focused behind it. It is often related to the eyeball being too short or the cornea not being steep enough. In the case of presbyopia, presbyopia is related to the lens becoming less flexible and less able to contract over the cornea to focus on near objects.
The standard treatment for people with presbyopia is the prescription of corrective contact lenses or glasses. Surgery, in some cases, is also an option to improve presbyopic eyes. Neither of these options are great because they are considered temporary solutions.
In other words, corrective lenses don’t really correct the problem, they just treat the symptoms. When you wear them, you can see more clearly, but when you take them off, the blur comes back.
Another, much more natural and lesser known option is eye exercises. Eye exercises are marketed that claim to improve vision by making changes to the eyes. It is important to understand that most refractive errors are caused by the shape of the cornea, which cannot be improved by any type of exercise. What you can do is improve the health and flexibility of your eyes by working them to keep them functioning optimally for longer. You won’t be able to prevent presbyopia from happening altogether, but you may be able to delay it a little.
Eye exercises are designed to help strengthen your eye muscles so that they can once again function as they did in your youth (read about it: How to practice eye yoga to improve your vision).
Using eye exercises to naturally improve your vision takes a little more time. Just like exercises to strengthen other muscles in your body, you need to stick with them. Eye exercises to naturally improve your presbyopia are most effective when done on a regular basis, like any other exercise program.
What the New York Times reports can help minimize or delay presbyopia is retraining your brain. By improving perceptual learning, you may be able to read better and focus more clearly on those close-up images and objects for longer than before. These exercises involve focusing on a Gabor pattern, which uses contrast to stimulate the part of your brain that processes visual abilities.
How eye exercises for presbyopia can help ?
Perceptual learning exercises serve to change the way your brain processes visual stimuli, which in turn can improve reading speed, accuracy and even clarity. When you read something, your brain works to understand and process what it sees. Low contrast, small fonts and cluttered images can make it difficult to process what you see and can contribute to blurry vision. If you can improve the speed and accuracy with which you can process what you see, you may be able to understand what you see more quickly and with more clarity.
Studies, such as the one published in Vision Research, show that by using Gabor patterns to improve contrast sensitivity, processing speed can be improved and with it blurry vision. Doing these exercises for several minutes a few times a week for months can help with perceptual learning to improve vision. The Journal of Vision explains that spatial clutter, as with small fonts, can be a factor in blurred vision and that by improving the way you process these things, you can actually improve presbyopia and the ability to read and discern things up close.
While it is not possible to modify the eye itself with eye exercises to minimize or prevent presbyopia, your brain is relatively malleable and can be retrained in how it sees things. The journal Scientific Reports publishes that people struggling with presbyopia have poor contrast sensitivity, which is related to how neural responses are processed in the visual cortex region of the brain. When these functions become sluggish with age, it can be more difficult to recognize objects and letters as quickly, contributing to blurred vision.
It has been shown that regular practice of exercises, which involve looking at strategically placed Gabor patterns to improve contrast sensitivity and processing speed, can help alleviate symptoms of presbyopia and visual acuity. Perceptual learning exercises may then be able to retrain the part of your brain that is involved in vision. They may therefore improve presbyopia and restore age-related vision decline, at least partially, according to the journal Psychological Science.
An online game to train your eyes
There is a “game” online where you can do exercises to train your eyes with Gabor patterns here : Eye Extreme.
In the game, the famous Gabor pattern is found in different forms that are stacked on top of each other in columns and rows. With your finger (or the mouse), you can move a pattern to align it with others that are identical to it to form a series.
The aligned shapes disappear and others come to replace them by arriving at the top of the screen a bit like Tetris.
On the left side of the screen, you can see a pink vertical element. This line represents the time limit, which is constantly decreasing, except when you succeed in aligning. In this case, the line is lengthened, then fed by a few extra seconds. The game can continue.
When the time line is over, the game ends and the final score is expressed in seconds. The longer the time, the better your score. Try it out!
Improve your diet
In order to get the best results with eye exercises, you may need to consider a change in your diet. If you have the time, a balanced diet rich in vitamins C, E and A can help provide the nutrients your eyes need for optimal health.
Most of the vitamins and minerals that provide the greatest benefits to your vision are found in fruits and vegetables. However, we know that many people today simply don’t have the time to prepare and eat a completely natural diet. For people with busy or hectic lifestyles, a vitamin supplement focused on eye health may be the best solution.
Before starting a vitamin supplement, you should always consult your doctor. This may be especially important if you are already taking other prescription medications. Even if the vitamins are good for you, there is a risk that they may react badly with one of the medications you are currently taking.
Some tips to delay presbyopia as long as possible
- Eat balanced meals.
- Drink plenty of water regularly.
- Protect your eyes from the sun.
- Take breaks from looking at things closely.
- Stop reading or straining your eyes when you are tired.
Presbyopia affects most of society before middle age and cannot be avoided indefinitely. Reading glasses, prescription glasses or contact lenses are often needed to treat moderate to severe presbyopia, and corrective laser eye surgery is also an option. If you don’t want to have surgery or wear glasses or contact lenses, you can try the exercises seen above; ask your doctor for advice.
- Facts about presbyopia. (October 2010). National Eye Institute.
- Making perceptual learning practical to improve visual function. (October 2009). Vision Research
- Spatio-temporal masking training improves visual acuity in crowded and uncrowded individuals. (2015). Journal of Vision.
- Training the Brain to Overcome the Effect of Aging on the Human Eye. (February 2012). Scientific Reports.
- Improving vision in older adults. Behavioral training to improve vision. (March 2015). Psychological Science.