Bio-Hacking Your Way To Better Vision

Bio-Hacking Your Way To Better Vision

“Oh, that’s completely normal,” the optician says when you tell her your new glasses make you feel disoriented and dizzy. “It’ll pass. Your eyes just need to get used to it.”

“Used to seeing more clearly?” you ask. “Wouldn’t that make me feel better?”

“You’d think so, right?” she says. “But your eyes aren’t used to seeing as clearly as these new glasses allow you to. It’s a stronger prescription, so… your old glasses weren’t helping as much. You’re just not used to the difference, but you’ll get there.”

You didn’t hear the words “that’s completely normal” during the eye exam, though, when you told the optometrist that the letters on the screen were moving too much for you to see them clearly.

Maybe you’d mentioned that to more than one professional in that office – and during more than one eye exam – and none of them knew what to say in response.

Sometime later, you read on Bulletproof.com about Dave Asprey’s orange Irlen glasses and the reason behind them – the light sensitivity syndrome that roughly half of us live with to one degree or another – and you’ll begin to understand why maybe it took you longer than your peers to learn to read or why the letters on the eye chart never stand still long enough for you to see them clearly. You’re not crazy. And you’re not making things up.

(You knew this, of course, but you can only get so many strange looks from doctors before you start to think, “Is it all in my head?”)

Biohacker Meir Schneider used eye exercises by William Bates (the “Bates Method”), along with others he developed, to improve his own barely-there eyesight to the point where he no longer needed glasses.

How great would that be, you think, not to need glasses anymore!

How amazing would it also be to read for hours without needing frequent breaks, without developing a headache, and without a steady stream of distractions (internal as well as external)!

Most research on biohacking to improve eyesight turns up the usual three bases to cover: nutrition, adequate rest, and eye exercise. If that last one makes you picture someone spending several minutes looking up, down, left, right, crossing their eyes, etc., there’s good news. Turns out, eye exercises like the one Schneider recommends are more innovative and varied than the boring eyeball calisthenics just described. And the results?

Meir Schneider himself was considered legally blind, but after practicing the eye exercises detailed in his books, Yoga for the Eyes and Vision for Life, he improved his vision so much, he was able to legally drive without corrective lenses.

Even with glasses, many drivers have trouble reading street signs soon enough to act on them – which means they usually end up passing them and having to find a way to turn around and come at them again. Who loves that? No one. If it isn’t stressful enough to strain your eyes to read an unfamiliar street sign, it’s even more so to find an easy place to turn around and try again from the other direction.

What if you could improve your eyesight so much that you could read those street signs early enough to make safe and timely turns without a problem?

And where do you begin?

Feast your eyes

If carrots immediately come to mind, and you’re thinking, “Don’t say carrots,” you’re not alone. And the good news is there are plenty of ways to get the nutrients you need to keep your eyes healthy and strong without munching on baby carrots all day.

A good eye health supplement (like Bulletproof.com’s Eye Armor) will provide not only the basics (like vitamin A, as beta carotene) but powerful antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin to boost eye health and prevent disease. If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, investing in a good eye supplement can minimize squinting, improve your night vision, and keep you glasses-free long past the age when you see most of your peers wearing bifocals or buying reading glasses.

Nutrition is more than just packing in the nutrients, though. It’s also about maintaining stable blood sugar levels, since an excess of sugar in the blood can damage the arteries around the eye, causing diabetic retinopathy. Stable blood sugar levels are essential to eye health – as well as to the health of the rest of your body.

High blood pressure also affects the eyes, so the better you manage your blood pressure through diet, exercise, and responsible supplementation, the healthier your eyes will be.

Rest your eyes

Your eyes were not designed to focus on computer screens for several uninterrupted hours – as easy as it is to forget that when you’re in the zone or working steadily to get as much done as you can before quitting time.

Eye strain usually manifests as eye fatigue, headaches, and dry, itchy eyes, and it’s not something you should just accept as normal – especially when there are ways you can take the stress off your eyes and, by extension, your mind and the rest of your body.

One trick is called the 20-20-20 rule, which means, for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a computer screen, you spend 20 seconds focusing on something 20 feet away.

If the room you’re in doesn’t give you a focal point that’s 20 feet away, you can use this as your excuse to look out the window.

If that’s not an option, you can also give your eyes a 10 minute rest for every 50 minutes of focusing on a screen. Palming is one of the principal exercises taught by William Bates, and by putting it into practice, Meir Schneider was able to reduce the erratic movements of his eyes, allowing him to begin to see more clearly. Combine rest time with palming to give your eyes some well-earned relaxation time.

Palming involves rubbing your hands together until they grow warm and then cupping them over closed eyes to block out the light. It may not sound like much, but this exercise can work wonders to restore your eyes – especially if your workplace has fluorescent lights overhead.

You can also invest in a pair of blue light blocking lenses (like Dave Asprey’s orange Irlen glasses) to wear while you’re working with a computer or other portable device.

Irlen color overlays can help with this, too. Try adding a colored overlay when you’re reading text on a white (or other bright colored) paper background. You might try several colors before finding the one that makes you feel more relaxed. Around half the population has some degree of Irlen Syndrome, which is sensitivity to certain spectra of light. Just filtering out the color spectra that are causing problems can make a big difference in your ability to read and to focus on what you’re reading.

If you’re wondering how you’ll find the right color lenses or overlays for your eyes, you can either look up an Irlen specialist in your area and set up an appointment for a consultation, or you can buy a sampler kit, which provides multiple color options, so you can try them all on for size and see which one helps the most. Irlen.com and Amazon.com have an assortment of Irlen glasses and overlays that can block out the offending light spectra and enable you to get more done without eye damage or undue mental stress.

For many, fluorescent lights (in stores, in workplaces, and in their homes) affect their ability to reason or to concentrate. Ever walked into a store and thought, “What sadistic monster installed those overhead lights!” and felt an overwhelming need to get away from them?

Chances are, many others in the store thought the same thing. For those with Irlen Syndrome, the sensitivity to certain spectra of light – especially when the light is intense and inescapable – makes it all the harder to think clearly and rationally while shopping, making it far more likely that you’ll walk out of the store with a cartload of things you don’t really want.

This isn’t just buyer’s remorse talking. It’s science.

Just swapping out the fluorescent lights in your home with incandescent bulbs (which come the closest to natural light) can make a noticeable difference in how you feel when you’re sitting in your favorite chair reading (or trying to read) a book – or sitting at your desk writing your first bestseller.

Give your eyes the rest and TLC they need now, so you won’t struggle just to read a book ten or twenty years from now. If AMD, cataracts, glaucoma or other eye diseases run in your family, giving your eyes the rest and care they need throughout the day is even more important.

Protect your eyes

Don’t forget to wear UV-rated sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. Not only will you not have to squint as much, but those lenses will protect your eyes from the UV rays that can cause long-term damage to your eyes – putting you at greater risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

And sunlight isn’t the only threat. Any time you’re working with substances or materials that could accidentally end up in your eye (cleaning fluids, sawdust, hot oil, glass particles, etc.), don’t forget to wear protective goggles. The same goes for sports that could potentially involve violent contact with the eye (an elbow from a fellow basketball player, for example). And swimmers know to protect their eyes from whatever harmful substances could be in the water.

Even the best eye training exercises might not do you much good if your eyes are badly damaged by corrosive chemicals or scarred by sharp or abrasive materials. Yet even Meir Schneider, whose eyes were badly scarred from five different cataract surgeries — to the point where 99 percent of his lenses was scar tissue – was able to dramatically improve his eyesight using the Bates Method and other exercises he developed. So, if you’re reading this and thinking, “The damage is already done,” there’s still hope.

Train your eyes

If you knew that doing some simple eye exercises every day could eventually give you 20/20 vision, would you do it?

Of course, no eye doctor will tell you you have a choice of either wearing glasses or contacts for the rest of your life or doing some simple exercises that will improve your eyesight without corrective lenses. According to the prevailing wisdom, the only way to improve your eyesight is to undergo expensive eye surgery or to wear corrective lenses.

But what would you do to be free of them?

If you’re picturing yourself spending hours a day on grueling and elaborate eye exercises, do yourself a favor and think, “A few minutes a day is all I need. I can do that.” No one is expecting you to quit your job and spend that time doing eye aerobics instead. If that were the case, most of us would just throw up our hands and say, “Y’know what, I’m actually fine with wearing glasses.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hours a day on eye exercises to significantly improve your eyesight. But it does require a commitment. And that commitment will depend on how much of an improvement you want and how long you want to be free of corrective lenses.

Ketones and eye training

You’ve probably heard someone mention the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve jumped on board and enjoy eating in a way that creates ketones in your body, which boost mitochondrial function and keep you going longer. If so, you’re ahead of the game. If not, it’s never too late to learn.

Since the cells in your eyes have the highest concentration of mitochondria of all the cells in your body, it makes sense to eat in a way that boosts their function while also maintaining steady energy levels for your mind and body. The ketogenic diet focuses on protein and healthy fats – like the Brain Octane oil and grass-fed (unsalted) butter in Bulletproof Coffee, which keeps your brain sharp and your body fueled far longer than a regular cup o’ joe with a typical American breakfast. Nothing in the keto diet disrupts your blood sugar balance, which is – as mentioned earlier – critical to the health of your eyes.

Check out Bulletproof.com to explore the ketogenic diet and adapt it to your own lifestyle and preferences.

Is there an app for that?

If you’re looking for an app that will take you through some effective eye exercises and even remind you to keep up with them, GlassesOff is one to try. This app exercises the visual cortex of the brain to help improve sharpness of vision, and the goal is to reduce or even eliminate dependence on reading glasses for near vision.

It’s not free ($9.99 for one month or $24.99 for three), but what price would you put on freedom from reading glasses? If you’re at the point at which you’re debating between investing in bifocals and trying a pair of reading glasses, the free one-week trial will let you test drive this app before committing to a month or longer.

Final thoughts

As Meir Schneider points out in his book, Vision for Life, most people think they’re too busy to work on themselves – to invest the time in training their bodies to perform better than before or better than what they’ve come to consider normal or “good enough.” It’s easier just to shrug and accept what the eye doctors tell us:

“Everyone’s vision gets weaker as they age.”

“If you don’t naturally have 20/20 vision, the only way to fix that is with corrective lenses or corrective surgery.”

“It’s perfectly normal for your new glasses to make you feel a bit disoriented.”

So, we write the checks and wear the lenses faithfully, hoping our eyes won’t get any worse but believing they most likely will and there’s nothing we can do about it. When you learn you can actually improve your eyesight without buying another pair of lenses with a stronger prescription, it can be life-changing – but only if you act on it.

I hope you do. You deserve to make the most of the good things you have, and your eyesight is too precious to take for granted. Look around you or out the window, now, and take notice of at least one thing that makes you grateful you can see it. What if you couldn’t? And what if you could see more – without glasses?

Is it worth taking action while you still can?

Categories: Health Topics

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