Increasing Your Vision as You Age
There is no denying that the eyes are one of the most important organs in the body. They give us the ability to see the world around us and are our primary source of information. You use it every day with almost no rest, whether working in front of a computer or relaxing, watching TV or reading a book. Despite being a necessary part of the body, the eyes are likely taken for granted. Other factors like age, genetics or lifestyle can cause your eyes to become weaker, leading to difficulties in reading, driving and working. It’s not surprising that eye fatigue and eye strain are common problems, symptoms experienced by up to 65% of Americans. So what can you do? Eye exercises to improve vision!
There are various exercises that you can do to keep your eyes healthy and help improve your eyesight. In this article, you will learn about vision therapy exercises that can help improve your vision.
What are Eye Exercises?
Focusing on objects and screens for long periods can cause eye strain. Eye exercises are a natural way to help improve the strength and flexibility of your eye muscles to reduce eye strain. They are non-invasive exercises for eyesight improvement without surgery or other apparatus.
Eye exercises are popular in Eastern parts of the world, such as China. Some eye exercises are derived from acupuncture points. These vision therapy exercises have been around since ancient times and are done by Chinese monks. Some eye exercises also have Hindu or yogic origins. Although the exact mechanism behind how eye exercises help improve vision is not yet fully understood, they are said to help by improving the blood flow to the eyes.
What Benefits Can Eye Exercises Add?
There are small-scale studies that show that vision therapy eye exercises can help with eye problems and eyesight improvement. Exercise for the eyes is moderately effective in improving the visual acuity of patients with nearsightedness. Other studies show that eye exercises can help reduce dry eye syndrome, lag of accommodation or visual acuity. However, some studies have mixed and inconclusive results. Still, exercise for the eyes can offer a variety of benefits for those looking to improve their eyesight. Here are some of the main benefits of eye exercises:
Reduced Eye Strain: Eye strain occurs due to focusing and staring at screens for long periods. This can tire the eyes. Eye exercises can help by reducing fatigue and improving comfort by strengthening the eye muscles and increasing blood flow to the eyes.
Improved Visual Acuity: Eye exercises can help improve a person's ability to see clearly, also known as visual acuity. Aside from strengthening the eye muscles, eye exercise can strengthen the connection between the brain and the eyes, which helps in having a sharp vision.
Prevention of Age-Related Vision Loss: Vision naturally declines as we get older. However, if we exercise our eyes regularly, we can help slow the progression of age-related vision loss and keep our vision clear into old age.
Improved Eye Muscle Coordination: Eye exercises have been shown to help improve eye muscle coordination, which is especially crucial for people who suffer from strabismus (crossed eyes or eye misalignment) and amblyopia (lazy eye) resulting from a lack of eye-to-eye coordination.
What are Examples of Exercise for the Eyes?
Now that you know the benefits, here are some eye exercises to help improve your vision:
Palming: Palming is a simple and relaxing exercise that can help improve your eyes. Palming involves using your warm palms to cover your eyes to create a dark environment by preventing light from entering. Light is a stimulus for the eyes, where constant exposure can cause eye stress. Palming also helps improve eyesight, as the warmth from your palms can help with blood flow and circulation. To do this exercise, rub your hands until your palms are warm, then lightly cover your eyes with your palms for several minutes.
Blinking: When people are in front of a screen, they tend to blink less. When a person doesn’t blink frequently, the eyes can dry up, leading to eye discomfort and strain. Blinking can help relax and moisturize your eyes. It gives your eyes a quick break from staring too long. To do this exercise, look straight ahead and blink quickly for a few seconds. Then close your eyes and relax your eye muscles for a few seconds. You can do this several times until your eyes feel relaxed.
Focus Shifting: Focus shifting is a technique that can help you focus on things from different distances. Your ciliary muscles are more constricted when looking at nearby objects and more relaxed when looking at farther objects. The goal is to shift your vision between near and far objects to relax the eyes. To do this exercise, you can hold an object or your thumb in front of your face. Focus on the object or thumb for a few seconds, then shift your focus to something around 10 feet away. Repeat this exercise.
Figure Eight: Figure eight is an eye exercise that helps with eye mobility. To do this exercise, you trace the shape of an imaginary figure eight with your eyes. It strengthens your eye muscles as well as improves the tone.
Eye Rotations: Aside from the figure eight exercise, eye rotations can also help with eye mobility, eye muscle strength and tone. To do this exercise, move your eyes in a circular pattern. First, go clockwise for a few seconds and then switch to counterclockwise. You can start with small circles, which gradually become bigger.
Eye Massage: Eye massage is an eye exercise that can help relax your eyes and decrease eye strain. To do this exercise, use your fingers to massage your eye area, including the temples, brow area and the muscles around the eyes. Massage with soft circular strokes, and make sure not to apply too much pressure. Not only does this help relieve tension, but it also improves circulation.
It is important to know that eye exercises should be done gently and without strain. If you experience pain while doing these eye exercises, seek consultation. Studies have shown that eye exercises are helpful, but different studies have different results. Its effects may vary from person to person. Eye exercises alone cannot replace a medical consult or treatment. Though it has some benefits, eye exercises should not be used in place of professional eye care or treatment from a qualified eye doctor.
- Does Performing the Chinese Eye Exercises Help Protect Children's Vision?
- Chinese Eye Exercises and Myopia Development in School Age Children: A Nested Case-control Study
- Efficacy of Chinese eye exercises on reducing accommodative lag in school-aged children: a randomized controlled trial
- Eye exercises of acupoints: their impact on myopia and visual symptoms in Chinese rural children
- A systematic review of the applicability and efficacy of eye exercises
- Chinese eye exercises
- Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration
- The effects of Qi-Qong ocular exercise on accommodation