We all know how important it is to keep our bodies fit by keeping active and maintaining a regular exercise routine. But did you know that you can exercise your eyes as well? Much like any other part of the body, the eyes require exercise in order to function and perform at their best.Eye exercises are designed to strengthen your eye muscles, improve focusing, eye movements, and stimulate the vision center of your brain. Although there is no scientific proof that eye exercises will improve your eyesight, the exercises may help to counteract existing eye problems you may have and maintain your current eyesight level.
How to Prepare for Eye Exercises
- Before you attempt eye exercises, it’s a good idea to get a professional eye exam done by your optometrist. Your optometrist can then tell you if you have any existing eye problems or issues.
- Before you try eye exercises, you should ask your optometrist if these exercises would benefit your eyes.
Keep in mind that eye exercises will not help people who have nearsightedness, dyslexia, or excessive blinking or squinting of the eyes. Also, these exercises are usually not effective for paralysis of an eye muscle, or eye muscle spasms.
There is no harm in trying these eye exercises if you do not have any eye conditions that will be aggravated by the prolonged use of your eyes. But if you have serious eye conditions like cataracts or a recovering cornea injury, avoid doing these exercises.
Eye Exercises – General Instructions
In order to achieve your goal of improved vision, it is important that you have a quiet and private space with good lighting.
Smile and get in a positive mood – this can help you to reduce any tension you might be holding in your eyes. So, smile through this practice and as you go through life. Keep smiling all the time while doing the following exercises.
Breathe – As in yoga, good breathing technique is essential to getting the most out of your exercises. Breathing regularly will bring more oxygen to your eyes and reduce stress on your vision.
Enjoy and have fun – These exercises should be something you enjoy doing rather than a task you have to get through.
Make a commitment – As with anything you really want in life, it is important to commit yourself to your goals and in this case, your goal is to improve your vision.
Don’t move your head – Move both eyes in all directions as shown below and make the movements as big as possible
Take your glasses off.
How to Exercise Your Eyes
Directional Eye Exercises
1. Up and Down – Look up and focus on what you see. Look down and focus on what you see. Look up and down 5 times. Repeat this cycle 3 times.
2. Left and right – Look to the left and focus on what you see. Then look to the right and focus on what you see. Move your eyes side to side 5 times. Repeat this cycle 3 times.
3. Diagonal vision exercise – Look straight ahead. Look down and to the left. Then move your eyes diagonally and look up and to the right. Focus on what you see. Repeat this exercise 5 times, then look straight ahead and do the same exercise looking down and to the right and then looking up and to the left. Repeat this cycle 3 times.
Up and Down Zig Zag – Look straight ahead and move your eyes in up and down in zig zag movement as in the illustration above.
The Figure 8 for Relaxed Eye Movement and Clear Vision
This is a great exercise to practice controlling the physical movement of your eyes.
Imagine a giant figure 8 on the floor, about 10 feet in front of you.
Trace the figure 8 with your eyes, slowly.
Trace it one way for a few minutes and then trace it the other way for a few minutes.
Use both the standing and the lying figure 8.
Rolling Your Eyes for Improved Vision
1. Roll your eyes in a circle – Sit up straight and relax. Look to the left and slowly roll your eyes in a circle clockwise. Do it clockwise 5 times and then counterclockwise 5 times. Repeat this cycle 3 times.
2. Roll your Eyes in expanding circles – Sit up straight and relax and move your eyes in circular motion as in the right side illustration.
Sit up straight, relax and remember to smile! Roll your eyes as in the above illustrations.
Near and Far Focus
- Sit on a chair or stand in front of a blank wall and focus on a nearby object, e.g. a pencil. It should be about 10 inches (20-30 cm) away from your eyes.
- Focus on the object
- Look at something distant. Focus on that distant object that is 5-10 feet away and try to see it in detail.
- Look on the nearby object again.
- Change this focus 5 times. Repeat this cycle 3 times
End your Vision Exercises with Palming
Warm up your palms and cover your eyes with your palms, breathe deeply and stay relaxed for 1-2 minutes.
You can also end your eye workout by simply closing your eyes and keeping them shut in a dark, quiet room for several minutes. Let them cool down and rest.
How to Massage your Eyes for Improved Vision
A massage will improve blood circulation in and around the eyes.
1. Massage your pressure points (as in the above illustration) – Pressure points are located in areas such as the temples, the back corners of the eyes and the middle of the eyebrows. Get into the habit of pressure point massages about twice a day, once during the day and once at night.
2. Apply a warm and cold compress: Soak a towel in warm water, and a towel in cold water. Place the warm towel on your face and make sure that it drapes over your eyebrows, closed eyelids, and cheeks. After 2-3 minutes, remove the warm towel and place the cold towel on your face.
3. A full face massage: Soak a towel in warm water and rub your neck, forehead and cheeks with the towel. Then, use your fingertips to gently massage your forehead and closed eyes.
4. Eyelid massage: First you need to wash your hands well. Close your eyes and massage them with circular movements of your fingers for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to press very lightly on your eyes as you massage them. By applying light pressure you will help to stimulate your eyes.