How was the eye exerciser developed?
The concept of eye excercises has existed right from Greek times—Euclid's work on optics, Plato's theory of vision and Aristotle's familiarity with myopia are known to any student of antiquity.
Ptolemy in the second century after the birth of Christ, included studies of vision, the use of eye exercises and the refraction of light in his thirteen philosophical volumes.
As times advanced, the French oculist Du Bois Raymond in 1850 expressed the basic theories of eye excercises. Advanced work was done by English physicians. Worth 1880, Brewster 1885, Priestley Smith 1896 proved basic concepts along which exercises help. The Bates technique—famous due to Bates' best seller "Better sight without glasses"—used simple eye exercise techniques but drew improper conclusions of effect.
At present various universities all over the world use different sets of eye exercises which they feel are useful. The total number of such exercises would number in the hundreds. The author with a professional computer programmer has collected various exercises and then processed them using a computer-generated averaging technique with a simple flow pattern computed on a video display to provide the most effective patterns for exercises.
The exercises are simple, but properly done, can be extremely effective.
How to construct the eye exerciser
The eye excerciser consists of 5 sheets of paper with a pattern. Each must be stuck on cardboard or any firm surface. Hardboard is recommended as it does not warp or bend.
The circular side has angles marked on it and is the base of the exerciser. The form patterns are to be individually stuck on cardboard with a hole punctured in the middle such that each can rotate around a small nail, stuck in the middle of the base of the exerciser. To help punch the holes, the exact centres have been marked with a small circle.
How to use the eye exerciser
(A) The eye exerciser is hung by its base, such that the centre of the exerciser is at eye level. Please remove any glasses being worn prior to use of the exerciser.
(B) Distance from the chart: exercises must be done at 8" distance. In the beginning they may be commenced at 12" distance, but gradually the distance should be decreased to 8". Under no circumstances should the exerciser be closer than this figure.
(C) The serial order of the charts as mentioned below must be followed exactly.
(D) When the exercises are done with one eye, the chart must centre the eye; when done with both eyes, the centre of the charts should centre at the base of the nose between the two eyes to prevent undue stress on any eye.
What are the patterns named?
The naming is done just for convenience as wave, apex, diamond and spiral. The names are only to refer to them individually later and are of no consequence.
What sequence is used?
First the wave pattern then the apex, the diamond and finally spiral. It is simple to remember the sequence by remembering the word W.A.D.S.—the initial of which refers to the pattern.
This sequence must be followed exactly if the desired benefit is to be achieved.
How is the exerciser used?
(A) Set pointer
Each pattern has a pointer which should be set to the correct degree as required for each exercise.
(B) Time per pattern
Refers to the time taken to move from one end of the patten to the other and back again to the original starting point. The time is in seconds.
There is no need to be very accurate, the time is mentioned as a rough guide to the speed at which each pattern should be completed. When in doubt, doing it slower is better than faster.
Refers to the number of times each pattern is done with one eye or both eyes. When it is done with one eye, the other should be kept completely closed with the palm of the hand, without exerting pressure on the closed eye.
How does use of the exercise benefit the eyes?
The exerciser is designed to help the eye in three important ways.
(a) Optically: improving the optical image coordination between the two eyes due to an improved stereo-fusion basis.
(b) Reduction of stress: eye strain which develops especially after a prolonged bout of reading can be decreased by alternately stretching and relaxing the muscles which have been locked in a cramped position. Exercises also permit a freer circulation and relaxation of the eyes due to the movements imparted by the exerciser.
(c) Mechanically: improving the mechanical stability of the eye by co-ordinating and strengthening the eye muscles. It is particularly useful for those who develop eye strain due to poor convergence-accommodation imbalance.
Can the exerciser cure eye deseases?
It cannot cure eye conditions like cataract, glaucoma, detachment, etc. nor can it cure a large degree of squint.
It also cannot remove the spectacle number of an eye.
Supposing the patterns are seen as blurred lines?
It is quite possible that the patterns may not be seen clearly, especially if you have a spectacle number. It is not important that you see the lines clearly but simply that the eyes move along the predestined pattern. It is for this reason that the pattern lines are kept bold.
When should exercises be done?
Twice a day.
Preferably in the morning, prior to commencing your daily work and in the evening after finishing your work.
Will doing the exercises more than twice a day help the eye?
No. The exact frequency of doing the exercises and the patterns have been both matched for an optimal effect. Neither should be changed as far as possible. Though no harm would result, doing the exercises more often would only tire the eye out, with no benefit.
When should exercises be missed or not done?
During sickness, or with a severe headache or if any eye pathology is present. If in doubt you should visit your eye surgeon who would be the best judge.