EYExercise: Do They Really Improve Vision?
Natural Health Speaks to Leo Angart, World Renowned Vision Trainer
It may seem incredible even down right unbelievable that you can actually regain your natural clear eyesight by vision training. Yet more and more people are benefiting from vision training approaches that do not involve any expensive equipment nor any invasive procedures. Scientific studies indicates that a little more than 98% of all 6 year old have perfect eyesight. However, at the age of 16 more than 25% of all school children need corrective lenses.
What would happen if vision training was already introduced in childhood?
The experiences so far indicate that many of the children would never need glasses. Just a few hours of vision training, introduced early on, will easily restore normal clear vision to most children. Miraculous, but definitely possible. There are many people who as children were fitted with glasses, but for one reason or another they never wore them, and as a result, today they have perfect eyesight. Are we putting glasses on children for trivial reasons?
Why do people need glasses?
The common vision problems such as near-sight, far-sight, astigmatism, the need for reading glasses are to a large extent influenced by external factors. Simply, we are using our eyes too much and develop chronic strain. Studies done by American psychiatrist Dr. Bennet Brown with Multiple Personality patients show dramatic, objective and measurable, changes in the curvature of the cornea, pressure in the eyes and other physiological changes that arenot supposed to be possible. The Mind-Body connection is capable of amazing things, including natural clear eyesight.
To understand more about our vision and what we can do about it naturally, we spoke to Leo Angart, world renowned vision trainer.
How did you get the idea that you can exercise your ability to see?
In my early 20’s I developed short sight and wore glasses for 26 years. My grade was 5.5 diopters, meaning that I really needed two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for seeing things at a distance. At the time my optometrist was talking about Bi-focal glasses. But I thought I was too young to wear this kind of glasses.
For many years I thought that vision problems were an inevitable consequence of getting older. You know there is this wide spread belief that we can expect various body parts to fail. Like with old cars expect more maintenance.
A friend of mine was doing some sort of eye-exercises to improve his eyesight. However, he had been doing this for three years and was still wearing his glasses. Personally, I am not interested in things that take a long time. I want to feel some sort of progress in 20 minutes or less otherwise I will drop it.
Incidentally my vision was not helped by the Bates Method or any of the conventional approaches. I already had 20/20 vision by the time I read any of the available vision improvement books.
I was able to get rid of my glasses at the age of 53 and have not worn glasses since 1991. Today I have good distance vision and I can still read really fine print, even in poor light. Eye doctors are usually shaking their head in amazement when they test my near vision. Apparently, you aren’t supposed to be able to read anything beyond headlines after age 52. I can easily read print as small as 3 points in daylight.
What causes vision problems like near sight, astigmatism, etc.
The physical part of eyesight is mostly muscles. There are 6 major muscles around each eye and three muscles inside the eye. Natural clear eyesight is an amazing interplay between all these muscles. About 90% of vision happens in the brain. Problems such as near sight have many causes. There are many theories attempting to explain myopia (near sight). None of them are able to explain the phenomena.
One of the more logical explanations is the idea that we overuse our eyes. My grandmother was talking about “blind stitches” or embroidery so fine that the girls who made it lost their vision. Today we do this with computers. When you work with a computer all day you are maintaining your focus at about 50 cm. the distance to your computer screen. If you are a two finger typist, like me, then you shift your vision between the screen and the keyboard which is even closer.
Typically, you begin to experience difficulty in focusing at the distance. It takes a while before your eyes can see clearly. If you continue this you will soon be nearsighted. 50 cm happens to be equivalent to 2 diopters near sight. The scientific term for this is “Sustained Accommodation.” In other words you are holding your focus at a narrow range neglecting to your ability to focus at other distances.
When you are fitted with glasses the condition tends to get worse. If you wear glasses you soon realize that things you could read perfectly well without glasses is now impossible to read without them. You could say that the glasses are addictive. You get dependent on them. Of course, everyone knows that glasses do absolutely nothing for your eyesight. You are still nearsighted when you take your glasses off, aren’t you?
What about astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea, the clear part of the eyes, has become more oval. Think of it as a warping of the cornea. The effect is that images are formed at different planes in front of the retina. You experience this as blurriness or shadows. I think of astigmatism as an un-equal tension pattern in the eyes.
The cornea and the eyes are flexible like a rubber ball. Since the cornea is responsible for about 80% of the focusing power of your eye even minute stress patterns have a dramatic effect.
Typically, we see a “bowtie” shape on eyes that has astigmatism. It is a very common problem usually combined with other vision problems such as near sight or reading glasses. It is also important to realize that astigmatism can occur at different distances. It can also change its axis from near to far. You can have astigmatism in just one eye and the axis can be different in each eye. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. The corneas are not perfect doom shaped. Astigmatism less than 0.5 diopters is usually safe to ignore since it has only minute impact.
Since astigmatism is mainly caused by an unequal tension pattern in the muscles around the eye it responds beautifully to vision training exercises. We did a study of the effect of vision training exercises for astigmatism in London. This project was done in collaboration with Moorfields-the premier eye hospital in the UK. We recorded topographical images of people’s eyes before and after vision training exercises for astigmatism. We were able to confirm changes in the curvature of the eyes after just a few exercises. We will check the eyes again in 3 and 6 months to record the long term effect.
What is new in your approach?
I think the most important new development is that I have identified specific exercises for the various degrees of near sight, astigmatism, presbyopia, etc. The approach of most other authors in this field, they tend to offer lots of general exercises. In contrast I specify two or three exercises that are most effective for your particular vision problem.
If you do these two exercises then you are likely to experience improvement very quickly. For example, if you have 2 diopters or less near sight, then I would expect you to have 20/20 vision after about 2 weeks of doing two simple eye-exercises.
During the last ten years a wonderful effect has emerged from my work. You do not need to continue the exercises after you have reached your goal. Many people wrongly believe that you need to do eye exercises all the time to maintain your normal vision. Also the improvement tends to stay. In other words your near sight does not return when you stop exercising.
However, If you get sick your vision may be affected. Many prescription drugs influence your vision. Since you already know what to do this is not a big issue since you can just do the exercises again until your eyes are back to their normal clear eyesight.
Where do these exercises come from?
I am interested in the “difference that makes the difference” in other words I am looking for what works. Initially, I restored my normal vision using an energy exercise I found in the Pranic Healing approach. I did not have astigmatism only myopia so I had to go out and discover what you could do to get rid of problems such as astigmatism, presbyopia, amblyopia, strabismus, etc. I experimented with all the exercises that various authors proposed. I adapted the exercises that I found effective and developed others based on my knowledge of the visual system and how the eyes work.
I recognize Dr. William Bates as the grandfather of Vision Training, his work from the scientific ground work for subsequent development. Most important, Bates gave us the idea that you can exercise your ability to see. There is a small group of optometrists calling themselves Behavioural or Functional Optometrists. They have researched and developed vision therapy usually involving some sort of equipment. Their approach is based on regular visits to the clinical where they will help you do eye exercises. Since it often involves machines so you can only do the exercises at the optometrist’s office.
My approach is to help you discover what your vision really is and to identify what specific exercises you need to do in order to regain your vision. I go further than Behavioural Optometry in the sense that I have developed effective methods for dealing with problems such as near sight, even high degree, the need for reading glasses and astigmatism. At this point Behavioural Optometrists usually focus on amblyopia and strabismus therapy. They stop short of the common problems such as near sight and reading glasses. In fact they say that this is not possible, you have to wear your glasses.
Why the workshop format?
This is a personal preference. I get bored seeing the same person every Wednesday afternoon at 3. For me it is much better to teach you how to do the exercises and then you do them on your own. The exercises are very simple. They have to be otherwise you would not do them. The workshop format also gives enough time for you to discover a lot more about your vision than learn form a visit to the eye-doctor.
Motivation and the belief that you can do this are as important as the exercises. My outcome from the two day workshop is that participants leave knowing that they have influence over their eyes and they will also know exactly what to do. In the workshop I have enough time for participates to experience improvement so it’s no longer possible to believe it’s impossible to do. Secondly, the workshop also includes guided meditations designed to reveal any emotional issues that might be connected with your vision. We need unconscious permission before any lasting progress in vision is possible.
What results are you getting?
Vision Training depends on you actually doing the exercises. Having the information is not enough. So assuming that you do the exercises I suggest, then you will experience almost immediate improvement in your vision. The progress depends on the degree of vision problem you have. If you have minus 10 diopters then your progress will be measured in cm. If you wear just a few dioptes of correction then progress is faster. Improvement also seems to depend on your body’s natural healing ability.
The records from workshops I have conducted show an average improvement from between 1 and 3 diopters within the week following the workshop. Often participants in my workshop struggle with their current glasses because they are now too strong. They come on Sunday wearing old glasses that has lower prescription. Like in weight loss there are no guarantees but chances are that you will benefit.
At one of my workshops in Hamburg a couple of years ago I asked the participants if they had seen any progress during the workshop. On lady reported absolutely no effect what so ever. I asked her if she would be willing to do an experiment and sincerely do the suggested exercises for a month. And then decide whether they were beneficial or not. After three weeks her glasses hurt her eyes and she went to see the optometrist. To the amazement of both the optometrist and herself she now measured 2 diopters less. She had gone from minus 6 to minus 4 dioptes in three weeks. After that she was very motivated to continue the exercises.
After another three weeks the news glasses again stared to be painful. This time she had again reduce her prescription with another 2 diopters. She was now only 2 diopters and did not need to wear the glasses all the time. Only when she was driving or was engaged in activities that required distance vision. Needless to say the next workshop in Hamburg was attended by all her friends.
You are talking about new discoveries in nutrition. How do you get healthy eyes?
There are a few vitamins which are very important for the eyes. For example, vitamin C is very important for maintaining healthy lenses. The lens and the various inner parts of the eye contain the highest concentration of vitamin C of any body part. It is seven times higher than the brain or the heart. To reduce the risk of cataracts, a condition where the lens becomes opaque, I recommend that you take 500 mg vitamin C per day.
If there are problems with the retina then Lutein, a carotene, is very useful. Lutein is the yellow spot you see on pictures of the inside of the eye. Take it as a sub-lingual spray formula this has a significantly higher absorption rate. This is especially important if you have macular degeneration or other problems with the retina. Follow the direction on the package.
Dry eyes are due to a lack of omega 3 and omega 6 oils. Dry eyes develop when the oily surface on the tear film is too thin and the tear film evaporates too fast. Cod liver oil and Evening Primrose Oil help dry eyes. Taking the oils are much better than artificial tears.
Can you do something for children with vision problems?
Children have magic in their eyes they sparkle with curiosity, fun and love. Working with children has instant rewards and they respond with amazing speed. I record a consistent record of improvement of between 15 and 25% after my Magic Eyes vision class for children. Usually, children do not have very serious vision problems so a 15% improvement is enough to give then eagle eyes.
It is my dream that all parents have an alternative when their 9 year comes home from school with a note that he or she can’t see the classroom board. Optometry and glasses is not to only solution. You child, most likely, can regain his or her vision through Vision Training. Especially, conditions like strabismus, where one eye turn in or out, can be treated successfully through Vision Training. Most parents are not aware that strabismus is quiet easily treated in most cases with a simple eye exercise. Two years ago 10 year old Isabella came to my Magic Eyes workshop in Salzburg. She had traveled with her mom from Vienna to attend this class. Isabella had been to most of the Eye doctors in Vienna. They all wanted to do surgery to tighten one of her eye muscles. However, her mother could not stand the idea of surgery in her little daughter’s eyes. A miracle happened that day because after just one exercise Isabella’s eye straightened out. Usually improvement is not that fast. Studies shows that Vision Traininis an effective therapy, far better than 80% of the cases – no surgery.
Try These Eye Exercises
The following Energy Exercise is what Leo Angart used to heal his eyesight.
This is an exercise based on the ancient Chinese tradition of acupuncture. The purpose of this exercise is to get the energy flowing in the eyes and head. It is particularly useful when you feel your mind is beginning to slow down. You use only your fingers for this exercise. There are ten points in total.
1) Hold your hands together with the thumb sticking out nail facing down. Put the tip of your finger into the inner corner of the eye as far as it go and press up. There is a point, which is more sensitive. Massage gently with circular movements. Alternately you can simply press and release.
2) The second point is located on each side of the root of the nose. Use your thumb and index finger in a move you have probably done many times before. It is the same place where your glasses rest on your nose.Massage gently with circular movements.
3) The third point is located on the edge of the cheekbone at the level of your nostrils. Use three fingers close to the nose. Massage gently with circular movements.
4) The fourth point is along the bone over the eye. There are several acupuncture points there. Use your thumb, as in the first point, and massage along the bone from inner corner and out.
5) The fifth point is the bone under the eye. Use three fingers and alternately press and release pressure.
6) The sixth point is the outer corner of the eyes. Use your index and long fingers and massage gently with circular movements.
7) The seventh point is on the hairline in front of the upper part of the ear. Continue using your index and long fingers and massage gently with circular movements.
8) Next move your fingers back to a position over your ears and spread your fingers out so they form a line above your ears. Massage gently with circular movements.
9) The ninth move is like when you shampoo your hair. Move your fingers from the hairline in front up and across the head towards the crown. Put some pressure on since this will get your energy moving throughout the head.
10) The final point is where the neck muscles and your skull meet. At the back of your scull there are two bumps where the muscles are attached. Massage first three times from right to left and then massage in circles from left to right.
Exercise 2: Reading Exercise
This exercise improves your ability to read smaller and smaller print.
1) Hold the Near Vision Test Chart*, check which paragraph can you read without glasses.
2) Turn the card upside down and scan the white space between the lines from the top to the bottom.
3) Return the card right side up and notice how far down you can read now.