NOTHING could be more evident than the fact that exercise of the eyes will strengthen these organs just as exercise of any other part of the body will strengthen that part.
Exercise of any group of muscles not only tends directly to strengthen those muscles, but it so improves the circulation as to improve the condition of the adjacent parts. If any part of the body is weak, flabby, ineffective, exercises which involve the use of the muscles in that region will have a strengthening and toning-up effect. This applies with special force to exercises for the muscles of the eye.
Most persons will be surprised, perhaps even amazed, at the improvement in the condition of the eyes, resulting from two or three weeks of proper exercise of the eye muscles. This does not mean that one should keep up this work for only two or three weeks. If you will make it a daily practice you can expect to enjoy strong eyes and good vision to perhaps the end of life.
You will find that these exercises are very simple indeed. You should practice them not once a day, but a number of times each day. You can practice them while dressing in the morning, while undressing in the evening, while out on your walks, while sitting in the car, or even while taking your meals. But you should set aside some particular time for this special purpose, whether it be morning or evening, else they are more than likely to be crowded out. At this time you should follow the eye exercises by a little of the massage treatment described in Chapter XVII, and in the end use the eye bath, described in Chapter XVIII.
Exercise 1.—Turn and stretch the eyes far to the left.
Exercise 1 (Continued).—Then turn and stretch them far to the right, continuing the movement back and forth from left to right ten times or more.
Exercise 2.—Turn the eyes upward, that is to say, look as far upward as possible without raising the head.
Exercise 2 (Continued).—Then, without moving the head, lower the eyes, looking as far down as possible. Continue raising and lowering the eyes ten times or more.
Exercise 3.—Raising the eyes, look upward obliquely to the left.
Exercise 3 (Continued).—Then lower them obliquely to the other side, looking downward toward the right. Repeat ten times or more.
Exercise 4.—Raise the eyes upward obliquely to the right.
Exercise 4 (Continued).—Then stretch them obliquely downward to the left. Continue back and forth ten times or more.
Exercise 5.—Roll the eyes around in a circle, to the left upward, to the right downward, so on around. Then reverse, rolling them the other way around. Continue until slightly tired.
Exercise 6.—Shut the eyes tightly and vigorously, squeezing the eyelids together as firmly as possible. Open and repeat ten times or more.
Exercise 7.—This is an exercise that should be performed without strain, and at first with only two to four repetitions at a time. Simply look cross-eyed as though trying to see the bridge of the nose with both eyes at once.
One of the most vigorous of eye exercises, and one extremely effective for gaining voluntary control of the muscles of the eyes, is the practice of looking cross-eyed. A great many persons will naturally shrink from the thought of such an exercise from the fear that it may produce a permanent condition of strabismus.
The fact is that the ability to look cross-eyed voluntarily indicates a good muscular condition and good control of the muscles concerned, and a person with a tendency to involuntary squint will find the practice one of the best ways in the world to correct that condition.
Eye Exercise Diagram No. 1.— (Explanation in text.)
Another very simple method of exercising the eyes will be found in a system of following lines drawn within a large circle, or an imaginary system of lines based upon any diagram, such as those illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Suppose that the circle represents the completerange of vision attained by rolling the eyes around. Imagine, then, that this circle occupies the space on the wall of the room, in front of you, that you can see by rolling your eyes around. Then imagine a series of lines or a continuous line running from side to side, as in Eye Exercise Diagram No. 1, from the top of the circle to the bottom. Now, starting at the top, follow on the wall with your eyes just such an imaginary scheme of lines as that in the diagram. Practice this a few moments with one eye first, then with the other, finally with both eyes together, and then go on to the exercise suggested in Diagram Mo. 2. In Diagram No. 3 the eye starts in the center, then traces out a circular, or to be more exact, an imaginary spiral line, until the circling of the entire range of vision is attained. The head must not be moved.
Eye Exercise Diagram No. 2.— (Explanation in text.)
Eye Exercise Diagram No. 3.— (Explanation in text.)
If you follow the eye exercises offered in the photographic illustrations there will be no need of adding these imaginary line-tracing exercises. But you may find them interesting as a change.