Don’t worry – I won’t share a mind-boggling breakdown of the eye’s anatomy in this section. There are enough encyclopedic tomes out there that are better suited to do this. What I AM going to talk about, however, are the parts of the eyes that you need to know – especially since these parts are directly stimulated, relaxed and/or developed during the whole NVI process.
Let’s start with the outer, middle and inner layers of the eyes.
The Layers of the Eyes
The outer layer of the eyes is the protective layer of the eyes. The big, milky-white
bulk that you see is called the sclera, and that transparent film that coats the frontal section of the eyeball is the cornea. The cornea is the big, transparent bulge in the frontal sections your eyes. It shields the more sensitive components of the eyes from dirt, dust and other nasty stuff. It is also responsible for refracting some of the light that hits the eye to create a clearer, more concise image. It is also one of the most sensitive tissues in the body; forcing the muscles of the eyelids shut when it is the slightest bit irritated.
The middle layer is where a lot of the sensitive parts of the eyes are located: the iris, the pupil, the lens and the ciliary muscle. The iris is this circular muscle surrounding the pupil, which is the hole where light passes through. The color of the iris varies from person to person, but it is the contraction of the iris that affects how much light will get through to the receptors of the eyes. The lens is this layer of tissue that focuses light even further to produce an accurate image. If you are young – or have trained your eyes properly – then the ciliary muscle will be able to contract or expand the lens to focus better on an object you want to see.
And then you have the inner layer, which is basically composed of vitreous humor and the retina. The vitreous humor is this transparent, gelatinous goop that nourishes the other parts of the eyes and allows the eyes to retain their shape. It also functions like something of a shock absorber so your eyes don’t collapse when you get smacked in the head (or the eyes.) The retina is where all the magic happens.
It contains the sensitive photoreceptors that transform light into signals that the brain can interpret as images.
This is but a quick and dirty outline of the more common parts of the eyes, and can be quickly found in most basic textbook lessons about the anatomy of the eye. Keep these parts in mind and you’ll see what specific part of the eye our later activities and regimens will focus on. Now let’s move on to how we use our eyes.
When you want to look at one particular thing, you focus your eyes to better see
whatever it is you want to look at. This kind of vision is called central vision, also
known as foveal vision. This kind of ‘seeing’ lets you focus your attention to a singular
object as well as nearby things surrounding the focus of your attention. Central vision is also called foveal vision because of the part of the eye that makes this possible – the fovea centralis. The fovea centralis (or simply the fovea) is packed
with small, dense photoreceptors responsible for turning light into electric signals. The problem with the fovea, however, is that it is unable to receive enough blood when exposed to bright light. This can even reach the point of hypoxia, where the cells in the fovea die if they are exposed to light that is too bright. Remember the ten-twenty rule? This is why I recommend that you stop every ten minutes and look away for twenty seconds while reading this book – especially if you’re reading it off a computer screen!
Improving central vision is one of the chief aims of Natural Vision Improvement. Training the muscles of the eyes – from the iris to the ciliary muscle – can help you see better from a physiological point of view. Training your brain to better interpret
the signals received from the fovea centralis can help you see better from a neurological point of view. Combine the two together and you’ll be better able to
concentrate on what you want to see.
If central vision is all about focusing on one particular thing, then peripheral vision involves being aware of everything that your eyes can see. Peripheral vision is something that many of us take for granted, but becoming unaware of the things we don’t focus on can be just as crippling as losing our ability to focus on one thing.
Good peripheral vision is something that takes a lot of practice and training to master. This is because of the subjective role of concentration. We often go by the day ignoring everything around us and focusing only what we need to do. This is not the case for certain people like jugglers, chess masters or real-time strategy game (RTS) players. Jugglers train themselves to be aware of the location of the items they are juggling, which is important because they cannot focus on just one object at a time.
Chess masters need to be fully aware of all the pieces on the board. RTS players need to do the same with their games, although the glare from the TV or computer screen could potentially do more harm than good for their overall vision.
Certain activities in Natural Vision Improvement also aim to develop your peripheral vision at the same time as your central vision. After all, you might want to see that speeding car, that sparking outlet or that precariously-positioned toddler even when you don’t focus your eyesight on them.
Now that we’ve gone over the basic parts of the eyes and the two ways we use our eyes to see the world around us, it’s time we got down to the meat and bones of this guide: the actual processes involved in Natural Vision Improvement. Let’s start with the easiest ones – activities that help relax the eyes.