Difficulty focusing, weak or “lazy eye,” double vision, and strained eyes are all reasons an eye doctor
may prescribe eye exercises. Patients who regularly experience symptoms
such as eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, tired eyes, or who have
difficulty sustaining attention may benefit from eye exercises. Eye exercises
will not treat eye conditions such as nearsightedness, dyslexia or excessive
blinking, but may help improve focus, as well as near and far vision.
It is important to note that eye exercises are intended to help patients
whose eyes get sore once in a while from activities such as looking at
a computer screen. They are not intended to be a cure for any eye conditions.
You should always consult an eye doctor for treatment of vision or eye
Just like other muscles in the body, our eyes need exercise to stay healthy.
Eye exercises work to strengthen the muscles of the eye, which helps improve
focus and eye movements. Exercises can help prevent one eye from turning
outward, or to strengthen a “lazy eye” due to amblyopia.
By performing basic eye exercises for a few minutes each day, you may be
able to improve your vision and focus, or prevent further decline of your
vision. Here are some examples of basic eye exercises.
Blinking -- Often overlooked but so important, blinking helps prevent eyestrain and
can keep the eyes relaxed. When we sit in front of the TV or a computer
screen for hours on end, we tend to blink far less than we would when
performing other activities. Make a habit of blinking regularly to keep
your eyes from becoming dry and to prevent eyestrain. If spend a significant
amount of time looking at a screen, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20
minutes, shift your focus to an object 20 feet away from you for at least
20 seconds. Focus on blinking while you focus on a faraway object.
Palming -- This exercise is simply designed to allow your eyes to rest. Cover both
eyes with the palm of your hands for a few minutes. While your eyes are
covered, keep them open and continue to blink. This is may also help reduce
eyestrain from constant computer work.
Focusing -- Hold your hand about 10 inches from your face, with your thumb in the hitchhike
position. Locate an object about 20 feet in front of you. Every few seconds,
shift your focus from your thumb, which is near to your face, to the other
object, which is far away. This exercise will help improve focus at near
and far distances. Another variation of the focusing exercise is called
“zooming.” With your thumb in the same position, move it close
to your face (about three inches from your nose) and back out until your
arm is outstretched. Move it back and forth several times, keeping your
eyes focused on your thumb the whole time.
Figure eight -- Slowly race an imaginary, horizontal figure eight with your eyes. Move
your eyes in one direction for a few minutes, then switch and move them
in the other direction.
While eye exercises are not intended to be a cure for any eye conditions,
strengthening the muscles of the eye may in fact improve some vision problems,
such as difficulty focusing. Do not assume eye exercises will solve your
vision problems. Speak with your eye doctor about your vision problems
and ask if he or she recommends any eye exercises to help improve or strengthen
Contact Key-Whitman Eye Center to schedule your appointment at any of our Dallas, Plano or Arlington