[Update June 2017: I created a simple online course to teach all 8 of these exercises. Click here for details.]
I’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news is that it’s entirely possible to start healing your eyes — without surgery — so that you no longer need glasses.
Now here’s the bad news: It takes work. A lot of work.
If you aren’t committed, if you can’t dedicate 10-15 minutes every morning to do these exercises, then don’t bother reading any further. This method isn’t for you.
If you think you might have what it takes, then read on and learn a series of special qigong techniques that can dramatically improve your eyesight, whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have an astigmatism.
(If you’re new to qigong, you can read more about it here.)
Ideally, these exercises should be done in conjunction with my 5-Phase Qigong Routine. If you don’t know this routine, I strongly recommend that you learn it, even if you’ve learned other qigong styles. Not all qigong is the same, and I can only vouch for the effectiveness of the method that I teach.
If you have any questions as you practice these techniques, then please post them in the comments section below. And post your successes too, even minor ones!
Let’s dive in:
Exercise #1 – The Closing Sequence
Go outside between dawn and about 10:00am. The earlier, the better. Don’t skip this step. It’s critical to do all of the techniques outside, in the morning light. There is something about the early morning light that stimulates healing in the eyes.
Once you’re outside, go through the Closing Sequence that we normally do at the end of the 5 Phase Routine.
Take a little longer than usual with the sequence, especially while holding the palms over the eyes. (You can hold there for as long as five minutes.)
You’re going to continue doing the Closing Sequence throughout all of the stages, so make sure you know it well.
Exercise #2 – Counting Leaves
Stand a comfortable distance from a tree, plant, or bush with green leaves. Using only your eyes (not your fingers), count the leaves. Start with roughly 50 leaves, and gradually work up to 300.
If you run out of leaves, it’s fine to recount leaves that you’ve already counted. In wintertime, you’ll need to find a suitable evergreen tree, or a bush. If this isn’t possible for some reason, then bring your own leafy plant outside with you. (Don’t forget to bring it back inside after!)
After Counting Leaves, finish with the Closing Sequence.
Exercise #3 – Rolling Stars
With the eyes open, roll both eyeballs in big circles — ten times in one direction, and then ten times the other direction. Make the circles as big as possible, and try not to move the head.
Then circle one eye clockwise, and the other one counterclockwise. Just kidding!
Finish with Counting Leaves and the Closing Sequence.
Exercise #4 – Angry Eyes
Open both eyes as wide as possible and hold for about 2 seconds, and then shut both eyes as tightly as possible, holding for 2 seconds. Repeat about 10 times.
Continue with Rolling Stars, Counting Leaves, and the Closing Sequence.
Exercise #5 – Far and Near
Stare for a few seconds at a distant object like a cloud, or a tree, or a faraway object. Then stare for a few seconds at a nearby object, like the tip of your nose, some grass at your feet, or the hairs on the back of your arm. Repeat back and forth about 10 times.
Continue with Angry Eyes, Rolling Stars, Counting Leaves, and the Closing Sequence. Practice this stage for 2 weeks before moving on.
Exercise #6 – Focusing on One
Stare gently at an object roughly 5-10 feet in front of you. Keep the eyes steady and do not blink. Hold for as long as you can, which may be a few seconds, or a few minutes. At first, your eyes will get tired, and it will probably be uncomfortable. Tears may roll down your eyes. This is part of the healing process. Don’t torture yourself, but don’t be a baby either.
Don’t get attached to the amount of time spent on this one. Some days, you’ll last longer, while other days, you’ll get tired very quickly.
Continue with Angry Eyes, Far and Near, Rolling Stars, Counting Leaves, and the Closing Sequence. Practice this stage for 2 weeks before moving on.
Exercise #7 – Nourishing Eyes
For this stage, start with the other exercises. So begin with Focusing One, Far and Near, Angry Eyes, Rolling Stars, and Counting Leaves. Then stand upright, relax, and close the eyes gently. Let your Qi nourish your eyes. At first, the eyes may feel itchy or tired. This is a good sign, and it indicates that the Qi is working on the problem.
Over time, you’ll find that your eyes get more and more comfortable, and that your mind is clearer.
Finish the session with the Closing Sequence.
Exercise #8 – Throwing Away Your Crutches
This stage is the hardest. When you are confident that your eyes are improving, then it’s time to throw away your glasses or contact lenses. If you continue to use your glasses, then your eyes will never fully heal. Remember — glasses and contacts make your eyes lazy.
As a temporary solution to help you build up confidence, try doing the eye exercises without your glasses. Some of the stages won’t work, but some will. Just do your best.
When you’re ready, resolve to take your glasses off for 1 hour every day. (Obviously, don’t take them off during dangerous activities like driving.) At first, it will be uncomfortable. You’ll want to reach for your crutches. But you can manage for 1 hour without them!
Gradually work up to 2 hours every day. Then 3 hours. Eventually, you’ll only need your glasses at night time, and you’ll be doing more and more of the morning exercises without glasses. At this point, you can confidently get rid of your glasses completely.
Tips for Success
- Cheat. If you don’t have time for all of the stages, then cheat. Always do Exercise #1, but you can pair it with one or two of the other exercises as well.
- Eat lots of liver. I know this sounds strange, but according to Chinese medical theory, eating liver will strengthen your Liver Channel, which in turn will strengthen your eyes. If you are serious about healing your eyes, then eat liver at least once per week. I recommend that you only buy organic liver. My favorite recipe is chicken livers wrapped in bacon. Yum!
- Rest. If you aren’t sleeping enough at night, then your progress will be slower. Rest your eyes, and your body, every night.
- Track your progress. You can use my progress chart, or you can use your own method. But please do something. If you don’t measure your progress, then you won’t notice it, and you’ll quickly lose motivation.
- Don’t strain. Throughout your day, become aware of the tension that you hold in your eyes. If you are constantly straining your eyes at work or at home, then you’re going to have to work even harder to heal them.
- Don’t rush. Although many people start seeing results (see what I did there?) within a week, it will probably take anywhere from 3-12 months to fully heal your eyesight if you’ve been wearing glasses for years. But isn’t that worth it? Take your time and enjoy the journey.
- Drink less. If you drink a lot of alcohol, it will put an additional strain on your Liver Energy. Cut down or quit for a while to strengthen your Liver Energy, which in turn will help heal your eyes.
- Renew your prescription. If your eyes are improving and you haven’t yet thrown out your glasses, then go get a new prescription. Yes, I know that it’s expensive, but it’s also concrete proof that your eyes are healing! If you continue down that road, then pretty soon you won’t need to spend any more money on your eyes!
- Go outside. In case you missed this advice earlier, it’s critical that you do the exercises outside. Morning light has a quality that is very nourishing to the eyes. Don’t skip this step.
- Comment. If you’re having trouble, then come back to this article and post your questions and comments. I’ll do my best to help, and you may get some advice from others as well!
- Get acupuncture. If you want a big boost, then go see someone like my wife. She’s a miracle worker, and she has also done a ton of post-graduate work on healing the eyes using acupuncture and alternative medicine. But any good acupuncturist should be able to help.
Note: This article was original published in 2012, but was completely revised and updated in May, 2016. Mindfully yours, Sifu Anthony I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world how to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. As the director of Flowing Zen and a board member for the National Qigong Association, I'm fully committed to helping people with these arts. In addition to my blog, I also teach online courses and offer in-person retreats and workshops.