A famous expression states “the eyes are windows to the soul”. Since there are some among us with limited, or sadly no, eyesight, presumably there needs to be flexibility in taking such an insight, as worded, literally. We could also consider hearing as listening to the soul, or touch as feeling for the soul.
We seem increasingly to live in a time in which reading is considered by too many as more of a chore than an enjoyable activity. At least in the sense of sitting down with a book or a newspaper, and using our mind in concert with the chosen words to build understanding or ponder what we imagine, popularity has declined. Substituting more instantaneous, visual, less interpretive communication, especially via social media and technology, has become vogue for large segments of society. Part of the collateral damage are the once laudable goals of correct spelling and clarity, fallen prey to the modern need for speed and simplicity.
As these often involve multi-sensory outputs, ready access to the senses is more interwoven than ever. This would implicitly seem to champion the value of eyesight.
Yet there are some – I’ve heard it said more than once – that eyesight is not the most important of the senses. There are those who feel that taste or touch are more vital. Certainly, anyone without sight could be excused for maximizing the value of the other senses they have. But having vision sure helps.
Consider the senses insofar as how western society devotes its curative and restorative energies in the consumer marketplace. In larger communities at least, it seems a truism that one can find many more clinics and retail outlets devoted to eyesight issues than to hearing loss, speech impediment, etc. One could argue about the prevalence of dental services, but dentistry serves more than the sense of taste. Since incentives and commerce are heavily dependent on the principles of supply and demand, it would appear that eye care wins, so to speak, hands down.
This week your humble commentator had a visit, for the first time, with an eye specialist. Moreover, a small, brief, but nonetheless consequential episode of laser surgery resulted. Such happenings are quick to make one see the light.
Like so much else of significance, we don’t truly appreciate our senses and health until in some way there is a threat, or at least a concern. Yet, so many people, especially in the seemingly invincible stages of the earlier years, treat themselves cavalierly. Here are some suggestions as to how to better protect ‘the gift of sight’:
- Wear glasses all the time; if a prescription isn’t needed, it’s an excuse to go for a bold, exclusive look
- When eyes are tired, especially of the surroundings or people, look down a lot
- Whenever possible, close one’s eyes and let the ‘theatre of the mind’ take charge
- Rotate the focus of activities on each of one’s five senses on a daily basis
- Look for movie titles like “The Hills have Noses” or “The Taste Buds of Laura Mars”
- Try mentally substituting the spelling of ‘eye’ with ‘I’ whenever possible
- Wink with a finger once in a while
- Practice squinting
- Exercise your eyes by wearing sunglasses indoors and reading glasses outdoors
- Routinely look at varying font sizes and widths in word documents