7 eye exercises: Many people believe that eye exercises can help improve vision or treat eye conditions.
Though there is limited evidence to suggest that eye exercises can actually improve vision, eye exercises can help relieve eye strain, certain eye conditions, and general well-being.
Eye exercises can be particularly useful for people with digital eye strain related to prolonged use of computers.
Read on to learn more about seven eye exercises.
Eye exercises can be useful in the following conditions:
- nystagmus, which is a condition of eye movement
- strabismus, which is also a condition of eye movement
- visual field defects
- vergence problems
- eye motility conditions
- accommodative dysfunction
- insufficient convergence
- visual field deficits following a brain injury
- travel sickness
- learning difficulties
It is important to note that people with eye conditions such as retinopathy, cataracts or glaucoma are unlikely to benefit from trying the eye exercises below.
Here are seven eye exercises that people may want to try for the conditions listed above:
1. The 20-20-20 rule
Digital eye strain can become a problem for people who have to focus on a computer screen all day while working.
Rule 20-20-20 helps relieve digital eye strain. The rule is simple: a person should watch something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes while working on a computer.
Learn more about the 20-20-20 rule here.
2. Change of orientation
Focus shift exercise can also help relieve digital eye strain. People should perform this exercise while sitting.
- Hold a finger a few inches from one eye.
- Focus your gaze on your finger.
- Slowly move your finger away from the face.
- Focus on a more distant object, then return to the finger.
- Move your finger closer to your eye.
- Focus on a more distant object.
- Repeat three times.
3. Eye movements
This eye movement exercise also helps reduce digital eye strain.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly move your eyes up, then down.
- Repeat three times.
- Slowly move your eyes to the left, then to the right.
- Repeat three times.
4. Figure 8
The exercise in Figure 8 can also help relieve digital eye strain.
- Focus on an area on the ground about 8 feet apart.
- Move your eyes to figure 8.
- Draw imaginary figure 8 for 30 seconds, then change direction.
5. pencil pumps
Pencil pumps can help people with insufficient convergence. A doctor may recommend this exercise as part of visual therapy.
- Hold a pencil at arm’s length, located between the eyes.
- Look at the pencil and try to keep a single image of it while moving it slowly towards the nose.
- Move the pencil towards your nose until there is no longer a single image.
- Position the pencil at the nearest point where it is always a single image.
- Repeat 20 times.
6. Brock string
Brock rope exercise helps improve eye coordination.
To complete this exercise, a person will need a long wire and colored beads. They can perform this exercise sitting or standing.
- Attach one end of the chain to a stationary object, or someone else can hold it.
- Hold the other end of the chain just below the nose.
- Place a pearl on the chain.
- Look directly at the pearl with both eyes open.
If the eyes are functioning properly, a person should see the pearl and two X-shaped strings.
If an eye is closed, one of the chains will disappear, which means that the eye is removing. If the person sees two pearls and two strings, the eyes do not converge on the pearl.
7. Barrel cards
Barrel maps are a good exercise for exotropia, which is a type of squint.
- Draw three red barrels of increasing size on one side of a card.
- Repeat green on the other side of the card.
- Hold the card against your nose so that the largest barrel is furthest away.
- Watch the barrel until it becomes an image with both colors and the other two images have doubled.
- Hold your gaze for about 5 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise with the medium and smallest images.
There are currently few reliable evidence suggest that eye exercises really improve eyes and vision.
In Study 2013, participants who performed eye exercises were more specific in a rapid serial visual presentation exercise than the control group. These results suggest that eye exercises can improve cognitive performance in tasks that involve attention and memory.
the pencil pumps exercise seems to be an effective therapy for symptomatic convergence failure.
Aside from these few cases, the researchers have not proven that eye exercises are an effective treatment for other types of visual or intellectual conditions.
However, certain foods can be beneficial for eye health. Read about them here.
Visual therapy is like rehabilitation therapy for a person’s eyes.
A doctor may prescribe visual therapy, which they will tailor to each person, to help improve visual skills and treatment. Visual therapy can use both sensory and movement-related activities.
Therapy usually involves a range of different tools, including computer programs, special instruments, lenses, and prisms.
Visual therapy may be helpful for some of the eye conditions listed in this article.
Certain eye symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. A person should contact a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
- red eyes
- loss of vision
- Blurred vision
- eye pain
- double vision
- swelling of the eyelids
- light sensitivity
- headache associated with eye symptoms
There is not much scientific evidence to suggest that eye exercises help improve vision in general. However, eye exercises and vision therapy can help relieve digital eye strain and certain eye conditions.
A person can easily perform eye exercises such as the 20-20-20 rule, Figure 8 and pencil pumps at home.
If a person experiences blurred vision, red eyes or eye pain or has concerns about their vision, they should contact their doctor.