I wish eye exercises were as enjoyable as this…
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if those eye exercises that some people talk about will really help my vision…
In this second part of my interview with Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, we discuss eye exercises, the Bates Method, dry eyes, itchy eyes from allergies and homeopathic remedies.
Here’s where you can listen to this interview now (my written comments follow!)…
Listen to Part 2 here:
Click the play button to start the call:
My comments on this interview with Dr. Anshel…
1. Does the Bates Method work?
I asked Dr. Anshel about the Bates Method for vision improvement. His review was mixed. Dr. William Bates believed — at the start of the 20th century that all eye issues are due to strain. While this is somewhat true and some issues are due to strain and overuse, there are other factors that contribute to poor vision.
Dr. Anshel believes that some of the methods of relaxing the eyes are, in fact, helpful, but they’re not a complete answer. Plus, it’s highly unlikely that this method will take someone from 20/500 to 20/20.
I’ve hesitated to use a technique like this regularly, because it takes a commitment that I’m not willing to make. If I have 15-45 minutes a day to exercise something, it will be my body, not my eyes. For me there is much greater reward in cardiovascular fitness than eye fitness.
But, ultimately, it’s up to you — whatever you chose.
2. Studies show children reading indoors can cause nearsightedness.
This must have been what happened to me.
I was a reader — still am — when I was young. I would play outside all day, then come inside, eat dinner and go up to my room to read.
I didn’t notice that I had poor vision until my grandfather noticed I was squinting to see the TV around the age of 10 or so. I wonder if reading this often caused my vision issues — though I’m assuming that it’s part environmental and part genetic (my mom’s vision isn’t good either.)
On the opposing side of these findings, Dr. Anshel says children who play outside have less vision issues. I wonder if I was never outside what my vision would be…
Another interesting fact shared in the interview is that children and teens from the ages of 8-18 spend, on average, 7.5 hours a day looking at digital images.
That’s a lot of digital images during a developmental time.
3. The best of the Bates Method, the Accommodative Rock.
No, this is not a song that you’ll hear at the Hop. It’s an eye exercise that Dr. Anshel feels is one of the best to come out of Dr. Bates’ work.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1 – Get a piece of paper with words on it.
Step 2 – Pick a spot about 20 feet away in the distance to focus on.
Step 3 – Cover one eye.
Step 4 – Bring the paper close to your open eye and let your eye focus.
Step 5 – Remove the paper and focus on the spot in the distance.
Step 6 – Once you focus on the distant spot, bring the paper back to your eye to focus on.
Step 7 – Repeat for a minute, then switch eyes.
4. What about the safety of eye surgery, contacts?
Dr. Anshel and I discuss the safety of eye surgery and contacts in detail. Basically, he has no problem with contacts if you wear them as instructed — which means you toss your old ones every two weeks or so.
I wear contacts and want to agree with him, but I still kind of feel like there’s something really wrong about putting plastic in my eyes every day. For convenience and sports, it makes sense, but I think it’s time for me to get a new pair of glasses — even though I will likely completely destroy them by sitting, stepping or laying on them in 4-6 months.
Dr. Anshel also explains a story about a guy like me who wanted to get eye surgery because he was active and didn’t want to wear contacts and glasses. The surgery worked for his nearsightedness, but now he has to wear reading glasses, because it changed his close up vision.
I personally have no interest in eye surgery. I’d rather wear glasses than have someone stick lasers in my eyes — no matter how safe the procedure is supposed to be.
6. Don’t use eye whiteners.
Eye whitening drops that take care of bloodshot eyes are just a temporary fix to an internal issue. When you use whitening drops, the chemicals in the product constrict your eye’s blood vessels and in the short term make your eyes whiter. In the long term, though, they make your eyes even more bloodshot.
Generally, bloodshot eyes mean poor sleep, dehydration, too much to drink, too much marijuana, long flights and bad nutrition. So if you fix some of those, you might find you don’t need some drops to make your eyes look pretty and white.
7. A homeopathic remedy for eye allergies.
Dr. Anshel discusses a homeopathic remedy for eye allergies called Natural Ophthalmics (full disclosure — he’s on the board.) This product can help reduce the itchy, redness caused by allergens. For me, this is interesting, because I’ve never had seasonal allergies before, but this year I have. Maybe because Berkeley is filled with flowers (and pollen) I’ve never been around. I don’t know, but it’s been quite a humbling experience.
Luckily, they’re now on their way out, but next year, I may try this product.
There’s also a product you will find in the health food store called Similasan. This is another homeopathic remedy that’s worth a shot.
8. A natural way to treat dry eyes.
You can work with dry eyes by addressing the dryness, or you can work nutritionally. Dr. Anshel recommends a product called Biotears. This product contains nutrients that help make your eyes moist.
Obviously, a great diet helps, but if you can’t get the relief you need, maybe this product is good for you.
9. Where do you find a good eye doctor with a natural approach?
I knew you were going to ask, so here’s the answer…
Visit the Ocular Nutrition Society here to look for a natural eye care doctor:
Your question of the day:
If you want more information about Dr. Anshel, please be sure to visit his website here.