Originally appeared in
Earth Star Magazine February/March 2006
Rosemary Gaddum Gordon, D.B.O., M.A.
Walks are refreshing. We get outdoors, fresh air and exercise. We walk the dog. But are you walking your eyes?
Eyes need exercise and fresh air too. The trouble is that many people walk along looking at the ground, or look straight ahead at nothing in particular. This is hard on the eyes because what they love to do is move around and explore the world. Eye muscles need a variety of activities. They need to focus in the distance as well as at near. Even if you only have ten minutes between here and there, your eyes can feel wonderfully revitalized when you use these simple techniques:
Edge the horizon. Pretend you have an invisible pencil at the end of your nose and draw along the edge of the horizon by moving your head. This may be across a valley, at the end of the street or high above you along the roof tops. Be curious about the shape of that edge. Notice what you are seeing. When it’s cold and wintry outside, walk your eyes all over the view from as big a window as you can find. Encouraging the constant motion of your eyes helps them to see well and prevents them from staring.
Take a dip in the sun. Healthy bodies need some sunlight. For a special treat take a Sun-dip. Sit or stand facing the sun, close your eyes and slowly rotate your head (as if you are saying No). Notice the sensations on your eyelids of brightness and warmth alternating with the cooler, partial shade. Sunning for a minute or so can really revive your eyes. You can even do this in the car through your open window as you wait for the lights to change. Varying your exposure to sun and shade exercises your iris muscles and allows you to adjust to these changes more quickly and easily.
Notice the apparent motion. As you walk, be aware that the stationary objects around you appear to move. The things nearer to you, like a parked car or a tree, seem to move past you while the objects further away, like a building or a hill, seem to move in the same direction as you. Let yourself notice this out of the corners of your eyes. It will remind your visual system to see the big picture and not to over-focus. If it feels unsettling at first, slow down and sense into your body. Notice the contact between your feet and the ground. Then see if you can open to the apparent motion again. People with good vision see this way all the time.
I hope you will now enjoy your walks in a whole new way. I know your eyes will be happier, and they’ll see better too.