For many people, seeing clearly means eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. If you are over forty, seeing close objects can become more difficult, and bifocals can turn into a necessity. Whether you find things in the distance are becoming a blur, or you can't read the small print on labels, the usual first step is to make an appointment with the eye doctor, and resign yourself to the fact that you will need another pair of glasses.

Although your ophthalmologist probably won't advise you to exercise, your eyes, like any other part of your body, respond well to exercise. Since about 1910, a small group of physicians and eye doctors have been researching and advocating natural vision correction through a system of eye exercises.

One of the leading crusaders for natural eyesight improvement was Dr. William H. Bates. He believed there was more to vision than the actual act of seeing; he saw it as a mind-body process that interpreted information. This era of medicine considered the body and mind to be completely separate systems, and little attention was given to Dr. Bates ideas.

Dr. Bates first published his findings in the 1940's. He believed that many vision problems were the result of straining the eye muscles in order to see well. He developed simple stress relieving eye exercises that dramatically improved eyesight, and permitted people to get rid of their glasses.

Around the same time, Dr. A.M. Skeffington, a St. Louis optometrist, became convinced that Dr. Bates work was a break through for vision correction. He began experimenting with Bates style eye exercises, and discovered that these simple exercises could be used to treat a wide variety of vision problems.

Over the years, various other physicians and eye care professionals studied, and improved upon Dr. Bates natural vision correction techniques. Today, a small, grass roots group of these doctors remain to advocate for natural methods of improving eyesight.

Today's vision improvement exercises are used to correct many types of vision problems, including lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), near or far sightedness, and ageing vision.

There are currently over two hundred different eye exercises available to treat a variety of vision problems. Most are simple, and easily fit into your daily routine. Here is one to try if you spend a lot of time on the computer. Tack the front page of the newspaper to a wall, about eight feet away from your monitor. Every ten to fifteen minutes, glance up at the newspaper, focus on the headline, the sub-heads, pictures, and smaller type. This will minimize the blurry vision you have at the end of the day, by giving your distance vision a chance to work at regular intervals during the day.

Natural eye exercises are not a total solution, but they can help you preserve the vision you have, delay the need for bifocals, and save you money on frequently changing eye glass prescriptions. Of course, you do have to take the time to actually do the exercises.

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