While our eyesight will naturally deteriorate even if we have perfect eyes, illnesses and conditions can also contribute to low vision. Eye exercises might not be a perfect cure, but can help you reduce eye strain, sharpen your focus, and even improve your vision.
You can gain these benefits and improve your eyesight with eye exercises, slowing the advancement of degenerative disorders and common eye conditions.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in 2012, almost 65% of the Americans over 40 years old suffered from vision problems. The conditions range from myopia to age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.
For most of these conditions, the main options available are either getting an operation or wearing corrective glasses, but eye exercises are an amazing third option most of us wouldn’t consider. You can do them anywhere and anytime.
So, why not give eye exercises a try?
Table of Contents
- Consult With Your Physician
- History of Eye Exercise
- Warm-Up Exercises For Your Eyes
- Eye Exercises to Improve Your Eyesight
- Exercises to Relax Your Eyes
- Tips to Treat Your Eyes
Consult with Your Physician
First off, pay a visit to your eye doctor. The chances are that eye exercises are a good idea for you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can go to an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to get a professional opinion. They could even give you tips on protecting your vision.
Eye exercises can be unconventional, but if you follow your doctor’s advice, you should be fine. Besides, a doctor can help you monitor your progress or stop you if you’re harming yourself.
History of Eye Exercise
Eye exercises are not something new. They have been part of our well-being for thousands of years.
For instance, in Ancient India, yogis practiced a technique that involved staring at a candle flame. This exercise, called trataka is mentioned in yogic and ayurvedic texts and is used to strengthen the energy center related to sight.
In the West, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine emphasized the importance of physical well-being and exercise to keep our body in an optimal state. Greek physicians also concluded that a healthy body and a healthy mind were intimately linked and that to keep your eyesight in good shape you had to avoid straining and see under low-light conditions.
In the dawn of the 20th century, Horatio Bates found that, according to his research, people’s vision problems were mostly due to eye strain and that strengthening and relaxing the muscles around and the eyes improved his patient’s eyesight.
Yes, you read right, eye exercises have been part of healthy eyesight since ancient times. What’s more, they can treat a variety of vision disorders.
However, like any exercise, eye exercise requires consistency to be completely useful. Keep reading, and you’ll find how to improve your eyesight.
Warm-Up Exercises for Your Eyes
Just like any muscle in your body, the muscles around your eyes need preparation. Therefore, warm-up eye exercises are essential to reduce the risk of hurting yourself or damaging your eyes.
The first thing you need is setting up space for you to exercise your eyes. It can be anywhere as long as you don’t have many visual stimuli around you and can concentrate on what you’re doing. The other thing you need is a positive attitude. Smile and relax, this will help you reduce intraocular tension.
Reduce Visual Stimuli
Concentration is key when it comes to eye exercise. You need a bright and airy place so you can relax your eyes. The idea is that by reducing the stimuli, you help your eyes from wandering around and focusing on different things. This exercise trains your eyesight and your resolve, helping you improve your vision and focus.
Breathing not only steadies your heart, but it also purifies your body, making you feel more focused and in tune with your body. For this, we recommend a breathing exercise called channel-cleaning breath, or Nadi Shodhana in Sanskrit.
1. Channel-Cleaning Breath (Nadi Shodhana)
This exercise can be a little weird but trust us; you’ll feel a lot better afterward.
- First, sit in a comfortable position
- Then, gently close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Close it with your ring-little fingers, open the right nostril and exhale slowly through the right nostril
- Repeat 3 to 5 to five times and then go back to normal breathing. Here’s a great video that could help you guide your practice.
Massage Your Eye Muscles
For these massages, we apply an ancient Chinese technique that is used for its benefits in strengthening the muscles and also stimulating the acupoints around the eye. We will show you two Chinese eyesight exercises that not only rest your eyes but also help to accelerate your blood circulation to the optic nerve.
Eye exercises improve your eyesight but also protect it, preventing and slowing the onset of eye degeneration regardless the age.
2. Chinese Eye Massage
- To start, close your eyes and press the Quanzhou acupoint, located at the inner end of your eyebrows; your other finger should be relaxed and placed on your forehead. Now, focus on your heartbeat and massage the area once per beat for a total of 36 times.
- For the next step, place your index on the jingling acupoint, located in the area between the inner eye corners and the nose. Press the acupoint and massage it up and down once per heartbeat. Do it 36 times.
If you’re in doubt, take a look at this video.
Do Warm-Up Eye Exercises
It’s time for you to warm up your eyes muscles before exercise. Our warm-up is composed of 5 movements.
3. Warm-up Movements
- Move your eyes to the left and right; repeat 10 times.
- Move them up and down and diagonally, from top to bottom 10 times for each movement.
- Move your eyeballs clock and counterclockwise 10 times.
- Rub your eyelids gently with your middle finger for 10 seconds.
- Rest your eyes by placing your palms on your eyes for a couple of minutes.
Eye Exercises to Improve Your Eyesight
Exercising your eyes daily will strengthen your muscles, improve blood circulation, and reduce strain. Strong muscles will help your eyes to work better, and help you see more clearly.
Near / Far Focus
These two-in-one exercises are said to help with myopia and strengthen your eyesight by helping you improve your focus. Although this exercise is known by many names, it’s working principle implies alternating your eyes’ focus between close and distant objects.
The idea is that by alternating these two focus modes, you strengthen the ciliary muscle, which is the one around the eyebrow, and in a change of eye focus.
4. Near Focus
Start by picking (or placing) an object that’s near you at a distance of 6 inches (15 cm) away from you. Now you got your object, focus on it for two seconds. Examine it in full detail.
5. Far Focus
Pick or place an object that’s far from you, at a distance where you have a hard time reading it, but you can still see it. A good object can be something on a shelf or something at the other end of your room. Focus and examine it for two seconds.
6. Alternate Focus
Alternate between the near and far focus exercises ten times.
Zoom In / Zoom Out
As the name implies, this exercise is about zooming in and out from an object, as if your eyes were a camera. For this exercise, sit on a comfortable chair and outstretch one of your arms.
Stretch your hand too and keep your thumb finger up like this (y).
7. Zoom In
Now start with your arm stretched and bend it slowly towards your eyes, zooming in and keeping the focus on your thumb.
8. Zoom Out
Stretch your arm again and zoom out. The key here is keeping your eyes on the thumb as you move it closer and farther.
Do this exercise 12 times.
This is a simple and fun exercise that helps you stretch your eye muscles and gives your blood vessels a little extra something. For this exercise, focus your gaze on a far object.
This exercise helps you alternate your focus and helps your eyes to see what’s beyond them.
9. Doing the 8s
You can do this with your eyes opened or closed, but you need to look as far as you can without moving your head,
Start by slowly drawing a number 8 with your eyes in one direction. Move your pupils as far to the edge of your eye as you can and then alternate in the opposite direction.
Feel the stretch yet?
This exercise comes from the Bates method we mentioned earlier, and it’s a great exercise to improve vision. According to the Bates Method, the swings increase blood circulation throughout the retina and help to flex and to strengthen the eye muscles. They can also help you focus better and gain heightened balance and coordination.
10. Straight Swings
Bar swings help you test the brain’s ability to focus on an object while you keep moving, keeping your balance and coordination. First off, stand in front of a barred window, fence, or something with evenly spaced, straight vertical lines.
Now, focus on something on the other side of the bars. Relax your body and change your weight from one foot to the other, moving slightly as if wanting to change your point of focus. Keep your breath steady. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds.
11. Round Swings
Round Swings are the same as bar wings, with the only difference being that instead of focusing on an object, you should use your peripheral vision to look at an object that’s not in front but around you.
This is one of the most common eye exercises, and it’s been thoroughly used to improve people’s eyesight and muscles. Don’t overexert your eyes and try to overexert your vision.
12. Up-Down Movements
Look up and keep your focus on what you can see for 3 seconds. Now, do the opposite and look down for three seconds. Repeat this exercise three times.
13. Left to Right Movements
This exercise strengthens your peripheral vision and brings blood to the optic nerve. Move your eyes left and focus on some point for 3 seconds before looking right and focusing for three more seconds. Repeat the exercise 3 times.
14. Diagonal Movements
We rarely move our eyes diagonally. For this exercise, trace diagonal lines with your eyes and try to focus your gaze both in both the upper and lower corners of your vision. Repeat this exercise 3 times for each corner of your vision.
Also known as suryopasana in Ayurvedic medicine, sunning implies exposing your eyes to the sun rays for a few minutes every day.
15. Sunning your Eyes
Go outside at sunset or sunrise when the rays of the sun are reddish or orange. Open your eyes and take 9 deep breaths inhaling and exhaling gently while looking at the rising or setting sun. Feel the energy of the sun on your face and eyes and visualize it coursing through your body.
CAUTION: If you can only do this during the day, make sure you close your eyes while facing the sun.
According to the Bates Method, we don’t really use our whole retina to see something. In fact, our eye has to “twitch” or do some micromovements to adjust itself and see the whole picture mostly thanks to the brain. However, an eye that’s not strong struggles more and generates more stress.
16. Snellen Chart Exercise
You can get a Snellen Chart here.
Now that you have it, look at the top end of the largest letter on the Snellen chart. Your eye should see the bottom part with more difficulty than the top. Try to see the point where you find that the top letter looks the sharpest. Try turning your head and notice your point of greatest visual acuity.
When you find that point, move your sight smoothly downwards and upwards to the area you see the sharpest.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Exercises to Relax Your Eyes
Palming means covering your eyes with your palms. Since you do it with your eyes closed, this method is great for relaxing not only the eyes but also your body and your mind. Take a few minutes to do it; after all these eye exercises, you do deserve it.
17. Warm Your Palms
We don’t know about you, but some people have cold hands. If you’re one of those, warm your hands a little before you start palming for a better experience.
18. Place Your Hands
The base of your pinky fingers should be right on the bridge of your nose. Make sure you can breathe through your nose and if you can’t, adjust your hands accordingly. Remember not to press on your eye sockets and try to achieve total blackness.
You might be picturing people rubbing their eyes when they’re sleepy, but it’s not the case this time. Rubbing means gently massaging your eyeballs and all the areas around the eye. A facial massage dissolves tension and is a great way to finish your eye exercises.
19. Gently Massage Your Eyes
Start by rubbing your fingers up the bridge of the nose and across the eyebrows to your temples in upward and downward motions. Go through your cheekbones and to the ears. Finally, pass your fingers across your forehead.
Repeat ten times.
Scanning is an eye relaxation technique that, in short, means, seeing without seeing. Since you are not trying to focus on something, you can relax your eyesight and your eye muscles by slowly moving them without focusing your gaze on something.
20. Unfocused Scan
Move your eyes and look somewhere. You don’t need to focus your vision, just keep your eyes there for thirty seconds and then change your gaze and find another spot.
Repeat 2 times.
Blinking can be a great exercise for your supraciliary muscles, and you can also relax a pair of tired eyes by blinking the right way.
21. Slow Blinks
Besides improving your vision, this eye exercise can help you relax your eyes after a day of looking at a computer screen.
Try this: Blink slowly for 10 seconds and then close your eyes for 5 seconds.
PRO TIP: Put a finger in the corner of your eye and blink. If you’re blinking as an exercise, you should feel a little pressure in your eye muscles.
Tips To Treat Your Eyes
Reduce Screen Time
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take breaks from the computer. You need to rest your eyes for at least 30 seconds every twenty minutes, or you might be overexerting your eyesight.
Remember that computer screens are sources of light and excessive bright light can hurt your vision. It’s similar to gazing at the sun. You wouldn’t want to gaze at the sun for long, would you? The same applies to screen time.
Hot Water Eye Spa
Warmth can soothe and relax your eyes, improving your vision. Warmth relieves eye muscle tension and even helps your wounds heal and cleanses your eyes.
For a great hot water spa that won’t cost you, wet a towel and soak it in hot water, but be careful not to burn your face. Then, place it over your eyes for as long as you feel comfortable. Hot water helps blood circulation, and your face will feel great.
Take Eye Supplements
Natural products have been used for centuries to treat illnesses and improve your eyesight. In fact, there is much medical evidence that says that dietary supplements can help you improve your health and give you great eyesight; we recommend you browse our website and choose the eye supplements you need based on the current conditions you need help with.
GoodLifeProvision is not a doctor, and this information shouldn't ever substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions, seek the help of your physician or qualified health provider.