Have you ever been told to exercise at least 30 minutes every day? Doctors recommend it for their patients; teachers enforce it with their students. Physical activity is important for the body’s muscles to stay strong and agile. And after every workout, you need to follow up with stretching. Well, just like your body, your vision needs eye exercises to stay strong, too.
The eye muscles are no different than other muscles in the body. However, they get their exercise every time you use them. Whether you’re walking the dog, texting your friend or reading this article, your eye muscles are working hard. Assuming you sleep eight hours per night, that means your eyes are working for nearly 16 hours per day. Yikes! It’s no wonder they need at least eight hours of rest.
Eye Exercises to Keep Eyes Healthy
There are other things you can be doing to keep your eyes healthy and young, besides just giving them a rest every night. Eye exercises move the eye muscles in ways that stretch and compress them. When you’re looking at something up-close, your muscles contract to help your lenses focus. Eye stretches that extend the muscles are important after spending time using your near vision.
Pay attention to how your eyes feel. You’ll notice how good staring across the street after working on the computer or reading a book feels. This is because your eye muscles have been holding a contracted position while you looked at items up-close. It’s like stretching out your arms and legs after sleeping in a curled-up position all night.
Are Eye Exercises Effective?
It’s beneficial for everyone to do some level of eye exercises and stretches. For most, they can help keep your eyes in good shape and prevent certain conditions. There is, however, some controversy over the proven effectiveness of exercises for repairing vision.
One study proved that vision training exercises can improve vision for patients with pseudomyopia. However, the study also pointed out that some refractive error levels of myopia won’t be as affected by exercises. Another study looked at the effects of yogic eye exercises on undergraduate nurses with eye fatigue. The students that participated in the yogic eye exercises experienced a decrease in fatigue.
One study that was particularly compelling was done on Chinese students in rural communities. Traditional Chinese medicine has been using eye exercises of acupoints for decades. This study had students aged six to 17 participate in an eye exercise program and then assessed for myopia. The group that exercised had a distinctly lower risk of developing myopia than the non-exercising.
The consensus is that exercising the eyes is effective for some vision conditions but unproven for others. We can all agree, however, that doing eye exercises to promote good eye health is a smart idea.
What Kind of Eye Exercises Should I Do?
For general prevention of vision decline and promotion of eye health, there are tons of easy eye exercises. The 10-10-10 Rule is a great starting point on your eye health journey. Practice it every day to maintain your vision and stretch your eyes’ muscles.
Some eye conditions are caused by not exercising or stretching your eyes enough. This is especially true among students and office workers who spend ample time on the computer. Staring at a digital screen directly in front of your face for hours on end isn’t good for your muscles. You can start to experience muscle strain, dryness and redness in the eyes. In other words, you can develop computer vision syndrome (CVS). Luckily, there are specific eye exercises for computer users you can try.
If you suffer from the following refractive errors, there are also exercises to help common vision conditions:
A common trait of all exercises is looking at objects at varying distances. This is an excellent way to stretch your eye muscles or tense them. Stretches not only relax your eyes, but they build strength in the muscles.
Do you ever notice your vision seems blurry? It might not be all the time, but every now and then you have difficulty seeing. Blurred vision is common for a variety of reasons. For one, too much UV exposure can damage the eyes and cause blurriness. Not getting enough eye health nutrients can also cause blurriness, among other conditions. Luckily, an easy way to address blurred vision is to do some eye exercises tailored to blurry vision. And, of course, improve your diet so that you’re getting all the nutrients your eyes need.
What about those who use different prescriptions in each eye? Do eye exercises help balance them out? They certainly can, but you need a mix of concentrated exercises that target each eye individually. One example is covering one eye with an eye patch and reading a Snellen chart. This and other exercises can help those with two different prescriptions.
Should My Kids Be Doing Eye Exercises?
In past decades, children’s eyesight was healthier and stronger than it is today. This is due to the prevalence of kids staying indoors to watch TV or play games instead of playing outside. When you play outside, your eyes are challenged to look at objects at varying distances constantly. It’s like built-in eye exercising while they play. Unfortunately, today’s children spend more time indoors which limits their distance vision; most things indoors are within 12 feet.
So, it’s recommended that your child does vision exercises in addition to playing outside more often. Consider playing memory games with your kids, playing at the park or going for family walks. Inside, do these kid-friendly eye exercises to benefit their vision. Child optometrists may be quick to prescribe glasses, but always ask what natural methods they’d recommend first.
Eye exercises can’t bring back lost vision, but they can help maintain your current vision and prevent it from worsening. When done in conjunction with other natural vision remedies, your eye health can improve. Some other natural remedies are getting enough vitamins or taking a vision-boosting supplement. The Ocu-Plus Formula makes an excellent companion to doing regular exercise. It contains 17 of the required eye nutrients, is 100 percent natural and makes getting all your nutrients stress-free.