It is interesting to note that our eyes see nothing without the brain; Vision involves both the ability of the eye to capture images and the ability of the brain to process the signals that the eye sends. Vision deficiencies may be a result of problems from either function.
Our eyeball comprises three layers—sclerotic or the outer layer, choroid or the middle layer and retina or the inner layer. The sclerotic layer is white and opalescent, with a transparent center called the cornea. Light is transmitted to the eye through the cornea. The choroid layer is called the iris, with the pupil at it center where light rays pass through. Directly behind the iris lies the crystalline lens, which focuses light passing through it upon the retina. Around this lens lie the ciliary muscles that control its contraction and expansion. The retina or the inner layer is like a screen that receives the projected images of external objects.
We see something when the pupil lets light pass through the cornea onto the crystalline lens. Brightness is controlled by the pupil through contraction or dilation. These rays converge upon the retina via the convex crystalline lens, forming an inverse image. The optic nerve then transmits this image to the brain, where the final sense of vision is produced.
Common Eye Defects
Eye defects can either be acquired, which implies that the person developed it over time, or may be something a person is born with. A number of them are correctable with appropriate measures; whereas some may lead to more serious problems such as blindness if the right measures are not taken to prevent them on time or get them treated early enough.
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition that occurs when rays of light entering the eye focus in front of the retina rather than directly on it. This may occur for one of two reasons--either the power of the lens is too strong or the eyeball itself is too long.
Those who suffer from myopia are able to see objects that are close just fine, however objects at a distance, no matter how large, appear blurry to them. This usually requires them to squint to see these objects and can result in headaches or eye strain.
hyperopia refers to farsightedness. Its effects are the opposite of myopia--people diagnosed with hyperopia can see objects from a distance without a problem but have difficulty with objects that are close to them. This is due to light rays entering the eye behind the retina, rather than on it. Its cause is either from an eyeball that is too short or a lens that is too weak.
Astigmatism as an eye defect is quite common, this defect does not allow the rays of light to enter the retina at any single point; some may come in or behind it, while others may focus directly on it. Those with this condition may see lines or forms in different ways--some may appear clear while others appear blurry.
When the eyes are not properly positioned or if the length of the eye is not proportional, one or both of eyes may become misaligned and the concern person may not be able to track movement. This condition, called strabismus, may interfere with depth perception and can lead to reading disabilities.
All the above mentioned eye defects are amenable to a number of ameliorative measures, especially the use of prescription glasses, which interestingly have been likened to the use of crutches as walking aid in those with walking impairment; implying that using glasses do not correct permanently but will only aid vision when it is put on. Here comes the force of argument of the proponents of natural eye exercises to correct vision defects, including those not listed above.
The use of eye exercises to correct vision was first mooted more than a century ago, in 1891, by New York physician, Dr William Horatio Bates. He recommended eye exercises to treat and cure eye defects, especially those caused by refractive error. Dr Bates original concept of using eye exercises to treat and cure vision defect had gone through serial revision and researched improvements over the years.
One of these eye exercises as originally conceived by Dr Bates takes about 3 minutes. First you need to get in a comfortable position and it doesn’t matter if you stand or sit. Now position your thumb about 10 inches from your face and focus on it. Now switch your focus on something else about 20 feet in front of you. Every time you take a deep breath you should switch your focus between both your thumb and the object 20 feet in front of you. This eye exercise will make the muscles in your eyes stronger over time and improve your overall vision.
Another well known eye exercise to improve your vision is referred to as palming. To perform this exercise you first need to take a few deep breaths. Now take the cup of your palm and use it to cover your closed eyes. Your fingers should be on your forehead and the heel of your hand should be resting on your cheekbone. You should be applying moderate pressure so your eyes can still blink freely. Palming is designed to relieve the stress around the eyes and relax them.
These eye exercises may not seem like much but they can make a huge difference. The best part about these eye exercises is the fact that they will only take a few minutes to perform them and they can be performed anywhere and anytime.
Of course, it needs be stressed that for effective and enduring results to be achieved with curing eye defects, via natural mean of exercising the eyes, it takes much more than the examples mentioned above. It involves the path of varied packaged programs for different conditions and age groups under the professional guidance of eye training consultants and therapists. My take on this is that notwithstanding its unorthodox approach, a trial of these unconventional eye defects natural treatment methods could make the use of glasses a thing of the past for you and your family.
The concept of natural cure for vision defects through programmed physical eye exercises is now widely practiced worldwide, especially in the US, with many acclaimed successes recorded in different classes of people across different age groups. The IGC Eye Training Centre Program, packaged by Lagos-based Imperial General Company Limited, is the first of such in Nigeria; interestingly, I have had correspondences from readers attesting to the efficacy of this IGC program as a response to an earlier piece on the subject on this page.
Stressed at Work
Having a job that’s high in stress but low in power could be bad for your heart. A study released this week in the Lancet found that people who experience job strain have a 23 percent increased risk of having a heart attack compared to their peers who have it easier at work. Researchers analyzed 13 studies that included 197,473 people who were followed for an average 7.5 years. Even after controlling for age, gender, lifestyle and other factors, the increased risk remained. The study didn’t find a cause and effect between stress and heart attack. But if there were a direct link, by reducing workplace stress, the authors said, heart attacks would come down in number too. What we already know: Stress is a factor in heart disease, along with usual suspects such as smoking, diet and lack of activity. How does stress affect the heart? Stress prompts the production of adrenaline and cortisol, which can boost blood pressure and give you energy, the Mayo Clinic says.
When you think of physically destructive addictions, gambling probably doesn’t even make your top five. With the world’s abundance of bath salts, pharmaceutical pills and white powders, gambling can seem almost harmless in comparison. But according to a recent article on Alternet, gambling is one of the most physically dangerous addictions that exists. How can that be? The problem lies in the fact that gambling, unlike drug or alcohol addiction, comes with no physical precursors to alert the user that he’s in serious trouble. According to Alternet, addicts remain unencumbered by physical ailments, so their ability to cause financial devastation is infinite. And therein lies the heart of the problem; that unfettered financial destruction is a motivating factor for the addiction’s most dangerous characteristicâ€•an exceptionally high suicide rate. Alternet reports that the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates that about 80 per cent of those with a gambling addiction consider suicide, while one in five actually attempts it.
Too Much Salt
American children eat as much salt as adults, about 1,000 milligrams too much, or the same amount as in just one Big Mac. Extra salt is linked with higher blood pressure, even in kids, but government research says those who are overweight and obese may be most vulnerable to its effects. The CDC researchers looked at data on 6,200 kids aged 8 to 18 involved in 2003-08 national health surveys. The children were asked twice over several days to detail all foods they’d eaten the previous day; the researchers calculated salt intake from their answers. Overall, 15 percent had either high blood pressure or slightly elevated blood pressure called prehypertension. Those who ate the most salt faced double the risk of having elevated blood pressure, compared with those who ate few salty foods. But among overweight or obese kids, the risk was more than triple.
Diabetes and Breast Cancer
Post-menopausal women who have Type 2 diabetes appear to have a 27 per cent greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts say. An international team, writing in the British Journal of Cancer, examined 40 separate studies looking at the potential link between breast cancer and diabetes. Being obese or overweight is linked to both conditions, but cancer experts say there may be a direct connection between the two. These studies involved more than 56,000 women with breast cancer. Post-menopausal women with Type 2 diabetes had a 27 per cent increased risk of breast cancer, but there was no link for pre-menopausal women or those with Type 1 diabetes. The authors have also suggested that a high body mass index (BMI), which is often associated with diabetes, may be an underlying contributing factor. Prof Peter Boyle, president of the International Prevention Research Institute, who led the study, said:
“We don’t yet know the mechanisms behind why Type 2 diabetes might increase the risk of breast cancer.
“On the one hand, it’s thought that being overweight, often associated with Type 2 diabetes, and the effect this has on hormone activity may be partly responsible for the processes that lead to cancer growth.