Strengthening the Eyes
by Bernarr A. MacFadden, Strengthening the Eyes; A System of Scientific Eye Training.
THE exercises given in this chapter are of a type quite differesnt from those recommended in the preceding lesson. They are designed to strengthen the power of accommodation, that is, the power of changing the focus of the eyes for vision at different distances, and will be particularly valuable to those who are either near-sighted or far-sighted.
Shut one eye and look at a pencil point held five or six inches in front of the other. Now, look through the window at some point on the horizon or any distant object. After looking for two or three seconds at this distant point, focus the eye on the pencil point. If your eyes are normal you will be able to change the focus without any consciousness of effort, but otherwise you may experience very clearly the sensation of muscular effort in and about the eyeball. Muscular action, whether one is conscious of it or not, accompanies all changes of the focus of the eye, and the power of making these changes must obviously be improved by the daily practice of some such exercise as this.
An eye-focusing exercise for both eyes. (See text.) Look first at the point of a pencil held near by, as in the upper photo; then shift to a distant cloud, or some tree or building on the horizon. Immediately upon seeing the distant object, shift back again to the pencil point.
A similar eye-focusing exercise, using one eye at a time. Look at the nearby pencil point or any close object, then at some distant object; return to the pencil point and continue.
Another eye-focusing exercise. Closing one eye, look at the end of the nose with the open eye, as in the upper photo, then at some distant point. Same with the other eye.
A combination eyeball exercise and eye-focusing exercise. First try to see the end of the nose as in the above photo. (See next photo.)
Then shift the gaze to some distant point for a moment. Look again at the end of the nose and continue, repeating only four or five times at first.
The exercises should be practiced with both eyes together, unless one is weaker than the other, in which case it may be necessary to practice the weaker one separately. At first you may not be able to see things very close to the eyes, but gradually you will find yourself able to diminish the distance. Begin by holding your pencil at whatever point you can see it most clearly, focus the eyes upon it for a moment, and then look at some distant object, such as a cloud, a tree, a house, or a chimney. You can vary the exercise, if you like, by looking at intervening distances, from a few feet up to fifty feet, one hundred feet, three hundred feet and so on. Then you can begin to hold the pencil point, thimble, needle, printed card, or whatever it is you choose to use, nearer to the eye. You will, in time, find that you can easily shift your vision from a distant object to your pencil or thimble held perhaps four or six inches in front of the eye, and see clearly and sharply at each distance.
A fairly good plan is to go to the window, and instead of using a pencil find some speck or imperfection in the glass which you can utilize as the nearby point, and then alternately shift the sight from this point to a cloud or distant tree.
Another plan is to throw the head back, shutting one eye, and with the other trying to see the end of the nose, afterward looking to the distance and then back to the end of the nose. This exercise, when practiced with both eyes together, combines the advantage of looking cross-eyed with those of rapidly changing the focus.
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