Lee’s note: Here’s a great column from Peter Burlingame, AKA VIGunfighter, president of the Self Defense Initiative on St. Thomas. Peter’s work is highly recommended.
You can access his You Tube Channel here.
See what you’ve been missing!
by Peter Burlingame
Our eyes are incredibly important to us, being our dominant sense. Thirty different parts of our brain are devoted to processing the information that our eyes send it. Considering how important they are, why do we know so little about them? Why don’t we do anything to improve them? (other than getting corrective lenses, which may actually exacerbate the problem)
Why this blog’s focus is aimed mainly at firearms, seeing better, having eyes that function more efficiently is valuable in almost every single thing we do. Wouldn’t you like to see what you’ve been missing?
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to give you a series of exercises that will improve your eyesight. Not necessarily the acuity, (although I’ve had people report back to me being able to focus on things that they couldn’t see without glasses for decades) but in how your eyes move.
There are six muscles around your eyes that control your eyes’ movement. Like any muscles, if they aren’t worked, they weaken, they atrophy. These six muscles control three types of eye movement; vergence, saccades, and persuit.
Today we are going to focus on vergence. Remember crossing your eyes as a kid? And your mom warning you that they’d stick that way? Mom did you a terrible disservice. Crossing your eyes is a movement called vergence. The line of sight of each eye converges. We do this when things are close to us, and it is one of the ways we judge distance.
The exercise we are going to learn to strengthen the muscles responsible for vergence is called “Pencil Push-Ups”. Typically, a pencil is used, but any similar object will work, including one of your fingers.
Hold the object up, vertically, at arm’s length. Focus on it. You should see one object. Slowly move it towards your nose. You will feel your eyes starting to cross. Keep going. If your vision switches and you see two objects, stop. Your eyes are at their limit as to how far they will turn your eyes inward.
Back the object off a couple of inches until you see only one, and try again. Repeat until you can get all the way to your nose and see only one object. Now for the push ups. Move the object out to arm’s length and then back in. Do ten reps and take a break. You should feel a familiar ‘burn’ in the little muscles around your eyes as the lactic acid builds up. Rest, and do another set of ten reps.
The second drill is to bring the object to your nose and keep it there. Look away, at something across the room, then back to the object. Away, object. Away, object, for another ten reps.
This is something you can do almost anywhere, at any time, so there’s no excuse not to do them. After just a short period you will notice an improvement. You can work longer before your eyes get tired. Your hand/eye coordination will get remarkably better. Performance will be increased, and you might just find that you are seeing better than you have in quite some time.
Next week’s Fitness Friday: “Saccades”, or “Why You are Blind for 45 Minutes a Day”
Diligencia Remumenor Fidelis*