In this age of technological advances, we’re experiencing wonders that previous eras would never be able to fathom. But while we’re gaining from all this digital overload, are we losing something extremely important? Do we realize the effects and strain we’re placing on our bodies? From the rounding of our spine as we hunch over the computer, to our shoulders in protraction as we slump against the couch cushions watching television, to the crimping of our neck as we pin our cell phone between our ear and shoulder as we multi-task—all of these and more contribute to bad posture. Poor posture can contribute to a lot of problems within the body, but did you ever realize the way you sit and stand could negatively affect your vision?
How does posture affect the vision?
Vision is one of the most dominant senses. In fact, it controls 70% of postural coordination and movements. When someone has good posture, the communication relay between the brain and spine is swift and unhindered. The brain remains in continual control of the entire body, processing the information gathered by the five senses, including sight. However, slouched and bent posture negatively affects the interaction between the the brain and spine, triggering a delay in the vision process—how one sees an image, interprets the image, and responds to the image. What was once a lightning-fast connection, now—because of poor posture—is lagging and sluggish.
The neck, shoulders and head are closely situated anatomically, and so it only makes sense to understand that if a weakness occurs in one, then it’s most likely to negatively affect the surrounding areas. A significant amount of tension in the shoulders and neck can result in stiffness and pain. Consequently, this can lead to chronic headaches and eye strain because the flow of blood to the eyes is restricted. Less blood to the eye cells can result in blurred vision and throbbing pain around the temples.
Other problems that may arise due to poor posture includes:
- Vision fatigue
- Difficulty focusing
- Head pressure and headaches
- Vision decline
Because vision and posture are intricately intertwined, it’s important to note the causes of poor posture.
- Daily habits can contribute to a curved spine such as leaning over a computer screen, hunching over a steering wheel, slumping while manipulating a smart phone.
- Being over weight can affect the spine because a heavier midsection can pull the lumbar region forward.
- Stress can cause tension in muscles and joints, most often in the shoulders and neck, leading to poor posture.
- The shoes we wear can affect our posture. For example, high heels have the tendency to shift the body weight forward, and therefore, proposes the risk of misalignment of the spine.
Of course there are other reasons for poor posture such as hereditary conditions and injury, but the ones mentioned above are areas where lifestyle changes can vastly improve the posture which would result in greater eye health.
What can be done to correct bad posture?
There are several approaches that can help improve posture and reduce strain within the body such as acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. A study, conducted in 2011, reveals the many benefits of yoga, including reducing tension and stress. Also, being ever-conscious of the manner in which you sit and stand, making certain the center of weight of your head is balanced over the rest of the body—not hunched forward, tilted, or arched back.
In conclusion, poor posture affects the overall wellness of the body from head to toe. If your lifestyle consists of habits that promote bad posture, then “stand up” for your health and make the necessary changes.