After breaking my arm in Aqaba, I was reminded of how my eyes are a big player when it comes to my overall function. My right is stronger than my left. My eye doc suggests I just wear cheaters: 200 for reading, 125 for distance. But after complaining that I have CSS syndrome, he conceded in giving me a prescription for contacts.
I noticed my whole left field of vision was diminished. I could still see, but mostly it was the left side of my nose that I was looking at. Granted, this all simultaneously occurred with the increased screen time that the ACA imposed on my once very physical job in health care. I became a frickin scribe. One word to describe the situation was myopic! This for a person who never held a sitting job in her life was a major adjustment. My left eye felt frozen to my mid line, while my right could still experience peripheral vision. Whether that was really clinically true, doesn\’t matter, it was my sensation of my experience, so it became a fact for my body.
Our eyes and how they move are one of our most fundamental, primitive movements we learn. As an infant, it is one of the first group of muscles that we learn to control. The gaze of our eyes is the primary impetus to our first movements, they telegraph out movements. Without our full facility in using all the muscles of our eyes we (me) are operating like a car without all the spark plugs in, or different analogy, maybe like an electrical \”brownout\”. In a sense, that\’s what it is. All of our movements are controlled by electrical impulse that are generated from the brain. (In short).
The eyes receive that information. The cranial (optic,specifically) nerves feed directly into the central nervous system/the brain and then to the peripheral nervous system /spine. Cervical nerves (C1-C2, the neck) innervate the eyes.
This complex communication between the eyes, nerves, and eventually to your musculoskeletal system is what allows us to receive information so that we can remain upright, balanced and able to coordinate movement.
The cranial nerves innervate the head and neck area, including both somatic and autonomic motor innervation as well as sensory innervation. Together the cranial nerves supply sensory innervation of the special senses, such as taste, vision, smell, and hearing. They also supply afferents of the somatic senses: visceral sensation of the head and neck, balance, and proprioception, combining vestibular perception with proprioceptive information from the head and neck.[13
With time, that lack of mobility in the eyes will migrate and affect the rest of your body and motor control. Research has shown a correlation in eyesight loss and depression. And we know it\’s a risk factor for falling in the elderly.
You may have even started to notice as you read this on the computer, that your head is coming forward or that you are collapsing onto or into yourself. Tilting your head or spine to use one eye more than the other or seated in a less than ideal body position, is an immediate result, but unfortunately something that we reproduce many times throughout the day, days on end.
I\’m playing with isometric eye exercises, eye re-patterning, Bates, and making up a bunch of my own to meet my specific needs. I also downloaded an \”app\” for eyesight. Yes, as I sigh..I\’m not beyond the irony of doing eye exercises on a smart phone…
Try this if you want to feel how powerful your eye muscles are.
Sit back against the back rest, don\’t do this on a stool! Take the palm of your hand and cup gently without any pressure on your neck. Close your eyes and move your eyes left to right and up to down several times. Cool huh?
After you read this next section, sit back and close your eyes, uncross your legs, put your feet on the floor, take of your glasses. Or better yet, lay down on the floor, free from the constraints of gravity.
Deep easy breaths, sit tall or lay. Reach your R arm across to your L shoulder, L arm to your R shoulder. Take a few breaths, let you jaw relax, teeth separate, tongue relax, and face soften. Without consciously trying to move your head, start tracing a square with your eye path, keeping your eyes closed. Start with letting your left eye lead the movement. Clockwise and counterclockwise, don\’t skip corners. Repeat it for your right eye. Then change the orientation of your arms.
One of my most powerful eye maneuvers, eyes closed, laying flat…roll your eyes up into your head, 3 easy, lazy breaths. Take notice of how your body responds. Do you feel your back on the ground more, do you feel your front open up?
This one really works for me even though I\’ve never actually done the task. Remember clothespins? My Mother used to hang sheets out to dry on a clothesline, so maybe that\’s why this has a powerful impact on my body when I use this visualization. Imagine you are doing the same, except your clothespins are at the back of your head, above your ears. Go ahead and feel your head, so you can develop a deeper sense of where you are taking yourself. You are your sheet, hang yourself from the deepest part of your head and brain. If your sheet is heavy with water, the weight of the water draining will cause your sheet to lengthen the fibers and unkink the wrinkles…This works eyes open or closed.
Now, get off the computer and take a walk or something!