I’m sure your doctor will tell you, your need for glasses is based on the shape of your eye, the size of your pupil, and the ability to shift focus, which declines as we age. And while there is little evidence to support the theory that eye exercises will improve your vision, doing them may alleviate some strain. So, there is something you can do to help your eyes. Read on…
Not too long ago you could read success stories and visit websites with claims of people who followed an expensive exercise program and improved their vision. So much so that they were able to stop wearing glasses. But thankfully, people got wise to unsubstantiated claims and saw the red flags. I found one site that states “claims have not been proven clinically or evaluated by the FDA”. You can’t even find these types of products on search engines and for good reason.
From a young age, we spend our days staring at a monitor, TV or electronic game. That’s a lot of strain on your eyes. So, the good news – there are things you can do, but as always, especially if you are feeling pressure or pain in the eye, see your doctor.
Do Eye Exercises
Do eye exercises work? A long-standing criticism of eye exercises by eye doctors is the absence of scientific research that demonstrates eye exercises can effectively reduce or eliminate refractive errors and decrease your need for glasses or contact lenses. (1) While you won’t throw away your glasses, eye exercises can help you in other ways.
Think of this – what exercise do your eyes get? Is the daily rubbing you give them when you’re tired or suffering from eyestrain the only attention you give your eyes? Eye exercises are actually good for your eyes. Do you ever blink to clear blurry vision or look away from a computer screen to give your eyes relief? Those are actually exercises. Give your eyes a workout with the exercises we show below (look for Print to the right of Eye Exercises to print the series). I try Palming on my lunch break because it gives my eyes a mid-day break.
Other Ways to Improve Your Eyesight
Good vision is an important part of overall health. While we may continue to need our glasses or contacts there are other ways that we can improve our vision. (2) Here are ways you can help your eyes:
- Get your ZZZ’s – adequate sleep cannot be overrated. If you are sleepy, you may experience blurry vision and eyestrain that can be damaging to your vision over time.
- Eat your herbs – herbs such as biberry, ginkgo and passionflower can help improve night vision, help prevent cataracts and strengthen capillaries, not to mention the other health benefits you may get from herbs.
- Eat your Carrots – in other words, eat healthy – there’s some truth in the old wisdom that carrots are good for your eyes. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. (3) Other foods that can be beneficial to good vision: carrots, eggs, blueberries, spinach, kale, grapes, and fresh garlic. (2)
- Take your vitamins – when you take a vitamin supplement you are making sure your body gets the minerals and vitamins you may not get from your diet. Take omega-3s – omega-3s are fatty acids found in fish oil such as salmon, tuna and sardines they reduce the risk of macular generation which is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. They have plenty of other health benefits too.
- Alleviate stress – stress is terrible for your health and your eyes are no exception. Try relaxing with meditation, take up yoga or a hobby that you enjoy. If still stressed, talk with your doctor.
Give your eyes a workout with the following exercises.
Eye Exercise #1 – Blinking
Dry eyes can lead to blurry vision, headaches and eye strain and often stem from continued TV or computer use. That’s because the average blink rate drops from 16-20 blinks per minute to 6-8 bpm while looking at a screen.
The simple way to combat this is to blink more, especially when doing computer work.
- Blink as fast as you can for a few seconds.
- Close your eyes tightly, open and repeat.
Do this exercise 3 to 4 times daily.
If you start to feel eye strain coming on – blink! This lubricates your eyes.
Eye Exercise #2 – Palming
This is an eye relaxation exercise for when your eyes are feeling tired from doing work close-up.
- Cup your hands over your eyes and create a gentle pressure around the bone around the eye socket. Don’t put any pressure on your eyes.
- With your eyes closed, stare into the blackness as if you are staring into space. See how far you can focus into the distance.
- Allow all colors to fade to black – this helps “reset” your vision, allowing your eyes to relax fully and lubricate again.
Note: Do this for as long as you like, usually at least 30 seconds is needed. Your eyes will feel rejuvenated when you take your hands away!
Eye Exercise #3 – Focusing
- Hold one finger a few inches away from your eye.
- Focus on the finger.
- Slowly move the finger away.
- Focus far into the distance and then back to the finger.
- Slowly bring the finger back to within a few inches of the eye.
- Focus on something more than 8 feet away.
- Repeat 3 times.
Ideally all four points are along the same line of sight so it’s just a subtle change in focus.
Spend about 1-2 seconds on each item.
Eye Exercise #4 – Zooming
- Hold your thumb out at arm’s length and focus on it.
- Bring your thumb closer to you until it’s three inches in front of your eyes, maintain focus.
- Move your thumb out again.
Do this for a few minutes to strengthen your focusing skills.
We hope this helps you and want to Thank you for taking time to visit us.
Wishing you the best of health!
- Do Eye Exercises Really Improve Vision? – By Rob Murphy, with updates by Marilyn Haddrill and Gary Heiting, OD
- How to Improve Vision Naturally | eHow – By Darlene Zagata
- 10 Benefits of Carrots: The Crunchy Powerfood – By Diana Herrington
- NIH – National Institute of Health