Strengthening the Eyes
by Bernarr A. MacFadden, Strengthening the Eyes; A System of Scientific Eye Training.
IN conjunction with the various methods for strengthening and invigorating the eyes outlined in this book, massage of the eye and adjacent tissues will be found, in many cases, to be of great practical value.
Massage is known to be beneficial in its effects upon all parts of the body. The nerves are stimulated, the blood stirred into greater and more active circulation, and the muscles and tissues generally stimulated into more vigorous life. It is now employed to advantage in many forms of disease.
The professional beauty knows these facts, and lays the greatest stress upon both facial and bodily massage, while athletic trainers rub and massage the bodies of their charges before and after any event of importance.
Why, then, should some form of modified massage not be of value in the treatment of the eyes? Of course, one can not very well massage the eyes in the same way one would a muscle, but they can certainly be strengthened and invigorated by manipulation which quickens the circulation of the blood and stimulates the nerves.
Probably the best eye massage is applied with the heel of the hand, either at the base of the thumb or opposite as in the above photo. With gentle pressure give the hand a twisting movement. At the same time, contract and relax the eyelid muscles. This is in line with the natural impulse often felt to "rub the eyes."
Placing the thumb and finger upon the upper and lower eyelids as illustrated, impart a very gentle massaging motion. You should gently "feel" the eyeball in applying this massage. A half a minute or less should be sufficient.
With two fingers placed one on each side of the eyeball make a gentle upward and downward movement. Use no pressure. The gentlest movement will suffice.
A gentle resistance exercise. Either close or partly close the right eye, placing the forefinger at the right of the eye. Then turn the eye to the right and resist very slightly with the pressure of the finger upon the eyeball. Relax and repeat a few times only.
This massage treatment, if used, should follow the eye exercises. It is a good plan to follow the massage with the eye bath.
A continuation of the preceding resistance exercise. Shift the same finger to the inner side of the left eye, resisting slightly as before while turning the eye to the right. The left forefinger can be used on the left side of each eye.
The illustration showing the "heel" of the hand over the eye shows the position for straight pressure, which is frequently very helpful in case of the acute stabbing pains that sometimes shoot through the eye as the result of straining. When there is a definite acute inflammation this treatment must not be applied, but otherwise it gives considerable relief—not only from pain but from strain and tiredness. It may be given gently in case of glaucoma, but care must be taken in this instance to observe immediate and after effects and avoid a degree of pressure that is irritating.
Other good movements are, placing the balls of the fingers between the eyeball and the bony socket above, below, and to either side, and giving gentle pressure in the opposite direction.
When the eyes are tired either hot or cold cloths may be placed over them and gentle massage given through the cloth. In this case the heel of the hand is usually better than the balls of the fingers.
When there is pain in the eye or when they are fatigued, or when there is that occasional small twitching of the eyelid, a good treatment can be given by placing the ball of one finger over the small notch felt at the edge of the eyebrow slightly inward from the center, and giving pressure here. Pressure may be given at the notch over each eye at the same time. It is usually better to give a steady pressure for at least two or three minutes. This may follow or be followed by the hot applications and gentle massage. A similar treatment may be given to the notch at the very edge of the bony socket immediately in the center below the eye.
The ball of each forefinger or of each thumb may be applied to the inner edge of the eye, but above the margin of the lower lid where the drainage canal is situated. Steady pressure may be applied here in case of eyeache or a headache resulting from eye strain.
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