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Can Simple Eye Exercises Really Improve the Health of Your Eyes?

Many studies have been conducted to find out if eye exercises can improve your physical vision, making it possible to see again without glasses or contact lenses. However, these studies have disproved this myth. Though your eye muscles can be strengthened, your vision will not be improved enough to lose the need for glasses or contacts because “your need for glasses is based on the shape of your eye, the size of your pupil, and the ability to shift focus…” (Dailey, WebMD).

Eye exercises will strengthen weak eye muscles, improving blood circulation and muscle tone. Your eye muscles should be tone in order to achieve the sharpest vision possible, with help from glasses and contacts, if needed. This toning helps to minimize eye strain, allowing your eyes to work more efficiently.

The following are a few eye exercises that can help improve your eyes’ muscle tone:

  • Figure Eight: According to Dailey, tracing an imaginary horizontal figure eight with your eyes can slow the progression of myopia, or nearsightedness.
  • Eye Circles: While sitting or standing, move your eyes in a clockwise direction 20 times, making the circle as wide as you can. Relax for 10 seconds, then repeat in the opposite direction. Doing this three times daily will help to stretch your eye muscles.
  • Focus Shift: Change the focus of both of your eyes by looking at a far-away object for 6 seconds, until it becomes clear. Then, shift your gaze to a close object for 6 seconds, until it becomes clear. Do this exercise repeatedly until your eyes feel slightly tired.

Some exercises are focused specifically for patients with astigmatism in one of both of their eyes. Rebuild Your Vision defines astigmatism as “…the front surface of your cornea not curving the way it should: usually one side will be more flat than the other. Light tries to pass through the cornea but because of the incorrect curving, the light does not pass through evenly and this results in the blurry vision you may be experiencing.”

  • A simple exercise to combat your astigmatism involves your head, that’s it! Many people with astigmatism will tilt their head to one side, compensating for one of their eyes.  Instead of tilting your head in one direction, try tilting it opposite of what feels comfortable or keep it straight. This exercise will help your brain understand what “straight ahead” truly is.
  • Another exercise to help your eyes focus and work together involves a type of focus shift.  Without glasses, begin reading text (a book, article, ect.) and then shift your gaze to a different object on the desk (anything other than a line of text). Continue back to the text and keep reading. Switch back and forth until your eyes feel tired, but not strained.

Complete Eye Care’s very own vision therapy specialist, Dr. Hilary Gesford, often incorporates several of these exercises in her office-based vision therapy program for patients. Dr. Gesford specializes in helping kids and adults improve their eye teaming, eye focusing, and eye tracking to alleviate eye strain and headaches and to enhance overall performance in all areas of everyday life.

In conjunction with the correct prescription glasses, eye exercises can strengthen your eye muscles and allow your eyes to be more effective. Also, vitamins such as MacuHealth can help to improve overall eye health and slow or prevent harmful ocular diseases.

Information in this article was obtained through the following resources:

Rebuild Your Vision: Eye Exercises for Astigmatism

WebMD: Natural Vision Correction: Does it Work?

WebMD: Eye Exercises Exercises to Strengthen Weak Eye Muscles