Looking into the distance It’s no coincidence that our school is located near the beach. In fact, it took us almost five years to convince San Francisco authorities and neighbourhood groups to allow us to operate in this residential area. The reason this location is ideal for us is that we look at the waves on a daily basis and use their sparkling beauty in our work. They shine in sunlight and have different colouration, even in the fog. You can almost always see waves here, even when the weather is gray.

Look at the waves. Look at the sky. Look at the clouds. Look at the hills and valleys.

If you aren’t near the beach, look out your window at the many other buildings.

When you look near (as when staring at a computer screen), you unknowingly strain your eyes. The ciliary muscles contract, and this changes the shape of your lens from flat to round. When you look into the distance, however, the ciliary muscles relax, and the suspensory ligaments keep the lens flat and more flexible.

Many people in our culture are used to eyestrain from looking at computers, televisions, and books so much of the time. They pay attention to the contents and not to their eyes, which causes them to strain. Looking close makes you strain. Looking with boredom makes you strain. When you push on with the computer project, or the television show, or the book, you strain your eyes—even when you are aware of the strain.

Pay attention so that your face is relaxed and your jaw is not clenched. Release and rest your eyes. If possible, give yourself a few hours away from close work. Even if struggling to meet a deadline, do yourself a favour and take ten minutes to rest your eyes by looking into the distance. Look at the movements of the waves or the clouds. Look into the distance.

Never look closer than forty yards away, because you need to look far enough to rest the eyes from looking near. Know that when you look into the distance, you don’t have to stay focused on one point; you can scan or look at different areas within the point you are looking at. Remember to blink and to avoid straining to see it. If it is fuzzy, let it be fuzzy.

For at least ten minutes every single day, look into the distance. If you wear corrective lenses, be brave: take your contact lenses out, take your glasses off, and allow your eyes to enjoy a breath of fresh air. One student in San Francisco came to me and said that after two and a half weeks of not wearing her lenses, she had started to feel comfortable, because of “the air bouncing on her eyes.” This habit will reduce your dependency on glasses or lenses, and it will gradually strengthen your visual system.

Looking into the distance can help to prevent cataracts!

If you can share this simple concept with other people, you will help to create a revolution in the world by helping to prevent the otherwise predictable cataract. Today, most physicians believe that, sooner or later, most people will develop cataracts. Looking into the distance can prevent the onset of cataracts because it gives the lens its full mobility and more life.

I realize that even if you practice this exercise every day, you will probably not look into the distance as much as life requires you to look near. Nevertheless, looking into the distance for eight to ten minutes, three times a day, will at least allow your eyes to rest and will compensate for the strain of looking near.

Meir Schneider is the founder and teacher of the School for Self-healing in San Francisco, California, where people are taught solutions for their chronic conditions, including vision problems. Meir Schneider was born blind and taught himself to see.

From Vision for Life: Ten Steps to Natural Eyesight Improvement by Meir Schneider, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2012 by Meir Schneider. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

photo courtesy Andre Hengst (CC-BY-SA)