Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Artistic Vision

Sliver of a Pond, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x12

About 6 years ago, several things concerning my vision happened in the space of just a few months. I had to take the vision test in order to renew my driver's license and I just barely squeaked by, which kind of surprised me. I noticed at the figure drawing classes that being in the front, closer to the model was working better for me, not good for a confirmed back of the classroom kind of girl. And when I tried on Doug's new glasses, needed for his long distance vision, and could immediately see that the kids in the back corner of the yard weren't dancing and skipping, they were actually throwing dirt at each other, I realized it was time to see an ophthalmologist. Turns out my loss of vision was fairly minor, age related-and considered normal. I came home with a pair of prescription glass plus a pair of sunglasses as well. For several years I only used them for driving and watching movies in a theater.

In the last year or so I have noticed a marked decrease in the effectiveness of my glasses however. I began to wear them more, to watch tv, when shopping and at figure class, even though that is a bit of a problem as it bothers me to wear them while doing close things, but I need them to see the figure properly (don't even talk to me about bifocals!). Very irritating.

And so while it seemed clear that I need stronger glasses I am not exactly the type to simply accept what I am told either-that my eyesight will continue to worsen as I age, that it's normal. I have heard over the years about exercises that can improve eyesight, so I did some research and found a few books that looked interesting.

After reading Improve Your Vision Without Glasses or Contact Lenses. I began to do the daily eye exercises that the author recommends. He suggests doing them while waiting at traffic lights, but since our town only has one blinking light, and I don't even leave the house on some days, I do them in the evening before I go to bed. I have been doing them daily for about 2 months and there is a noticeable difference in my vision. I no longer wear my glasses while shopping, my driving at night vision is MUCH better (I still wear the glasses for driving of course) and I can almost read the scrolling news at the bottom of the news channels. An added benefit is that I am less tired and have had fewer, if any headaches since I began the exercises. The author also suggests a few lifestyle changes, such as diet, sleep and less "screen" time that will help with improved vision and um, well I am working on those. Kinda. Sorta.

Anyway, I don't have to say how important vision is to an artist and to all of us in general and I am so happy to have come across this information, so I wanted to share it. Many of our problems with eyesight are the same as other health problems-lack of exercise. By strengthening the muscles around the eyeball, which is way, way, way easier than going to the stupid gym every day, it is possible to take some control back over a worsening situation. I am not sure that I will be able to throw out my glasses entirely but I will be happy if I just don't lose any more ground.


Lisa said...

I might have to check out that book. I've had contacts since I was high school although my eyesight hasn't changed in years and years.

Except for that pesky problem of near vision getting a bit worse (the normal you are old - you need longer arms to read the menu syndrome). Have you notice any improvement there? Or just distance?

Tracy said...

My near vision is still ok, however the book says that that especially can be improved.

Casey Klahn said...

I feel the need to go in the studio and do a violet work. The intensity of that tree is "Off Da HOOK!"
That means I love it.

Tracy said...

Thanks Casey, glad to inspire:)

dianeclancy said...

I love this painting - as I usually do love your work - your style really works for me!

Good idea about the eye exercises. I think I have that book - having bought it years ago. But maybe it is time to get it out and start doing them.

~ Diane Clancy