Keep Your Eyes Strong with Eye Exercises

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 13-Jun-2013

iStock_000008494751XSmallDifficulty 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 conditions.

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 your vision. Contact Key-Whitman Eye Center to schedule your appointment at any of our Dallas, Plano or Arlington locations.

Categories: Eye Care Tips, Eye Health
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