Play More, See Better


Photo from Oct 3-4 Workshop in Chicago

A few years back I was playing with my young nephew and decided to play as much as I possibly could at his level. We were playing tag with a large inflated ball. I swooped him up in kind of bear hug with the ball in his arms and ran all around the back yard with him dangling in front of me.

I just did whatever made him laugh the most, which of course was lots of movement in every direction. The ball was always right in front of us and our game was to follow the ball. We went for quite awhile until we were both worn out. Afterward I realized I had amazing sharp vision which lasted for quite awhile!

Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with how a few minutes of play can relax the eyes and bring more clarity. Games with throwing and tracking a ball seem to be particularly refreshing for the eyes. Soon after that insightful experience playing with my nephew I came across a study by optometrist Joseph Trachtman, O.D., Ph.D.

Trachtman used one group of nearsighted people who wore lenses full time and another group of people who had good or excellent vision and never wore lenses. He gave each group the same 14-question survey about their eyesight experiences. (“The Etiology of Vision Disorders”, 1990, Optometric Extension Program)

The most striking difference came from this question: “How often do you play a sport which utilizes a moving object such as a ball?”

Play always or often:

-- Good vision, 76%

-- Nearsighted, 23%

Play rarely or never:

-- Good Vision, 24%

-- Nearsighted, 72% (4% no answer)

Wow! This may explain why clients and workshop participants almost always experience clearer vision after we play with balls or balloons. We add an awareness dimension to it which seems to help even more.

One slightly nearsighted woman at one of our Vision Coach Trainings at the beach had an amazing experience. When we were tossing a ball with a partner at the beach she experienced for several minutes what she called “telescopic vision”. She said she could see every tiny detail of her partner’s face and makeup, about 10 feet away. (Fortunately her partner was a good sport about being examined so closely!) This gave her a new confidence in her vision.

Do you want to try it? Here are a couple of ways you can try it indoors at home:

  1. Buy some large balloons online, for instance 17 or 27 or 36 inches. Only fill them about ⅔ full and they will be a perfect fun weight and less likely to burst. Make a silly game with lots of movement. “Test” your vision before and after; it will help for either close or distance vision. Of course be safe with kids or pets.
  2. Toss a ball from one hand to the other, back and forth. toss it higher and watch it through the whole trajectory all the way to the other hand. Check out the photo above! We played with balloons and balls at our workshop in Chicago last week. We used soft fluffy balls so they are not scary to catch even with very blurry vision.

Maybe this is a good time to take a “play inventory” in your life! :-)


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