We all know how important it is to keep our bodies fit by keeping active and maintaining a regular exercise routine. But, did you know that you can exercise your eyes as well? Eye exercises are designed to strengthen your eye muscles, improve focusing, eye movements, and stimulate the vision center of your brain. While there is no scientific proof that eye exercises will improve your eyesight, they may help to counteract existing eye problems you may have and maintain your current eyesight level.
Preparing Your Eyes for Exercise
Talk to your optometrist about eye exercises. There is no clear scientific data that shows eye exercises improve your eyesight. So before you attempt eye exercises, it’s a good idea to get a professional eye exam done by your optometrist. Your optometrist can then tell you if you have any existing eye problems or issues. Before you try eye exercises, you should ask your optometrist if these exercises would benefit your particular set of eyes.
- Keep in mind that eye exercises will not cure or solve eye issues like myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (an inability to change focus from far to near), or astigmatism (blurred vision due to the shape of your cornea). Most optometrists are sceptical of eye exercises that claim they can help you “throw away your glasses.”
- There is no harm in trying these eye exercises if you do not have any eye conditions that will be aggravated by prolonged use of your eyes. But if you have serious eye conditions like cataracts, blindness in one or both eyes, or a recovering cornea injury, avoid doing these exercises.
Palm your eyes. Doing this will reduce stimuli to your eyes and brain. Closing your eyes and applying light pressure to them will spread the tear film in your eyes evenly and relax them.
- Sit comfortably in a chair. Rub your hands together until they feel warm.
- Close your eyes and cover them lightly with your cupped palms. Avoid applying pressure to your eyeballs. Your nose should not be covered to ensure you have enough ventilation during the palming.
- Make sure no light can enter your eyes though gaps between your fingers or the edges of your palms and nose. The light will stimulate, rather than relax your eyes, and deter the process of relaxation. Imagine deep blackness and focus on it.
- Take deep breaths slowly and evenly while thinking of a calming scene, like an empty beach, a clear lake, or a still mountain. Once you see nothing but blackness, remove your palms from your eyes.
- Repeat the palming for three minutes or more.
Massage your eyes. This will help to improve blood circulation around your eyes and face, and prepare your eyes for exercise.
- Apply a hot and cold compress: Soak a towel in warm water, and a towel in cold water. Place the warm towel on your face, making sure it drapes over your eyebrows, closed eyelids, and cheeks. After three minutes, remove the warm towel and place the cold towel on your face. Alternate between the two towels as desired, making sure to end with a cold compress. Alternating temperatures on your face will cause vasoconstriction and vasodilation, physiological changes that will stimulate your face and the skin around your eyes.
- Do a full face massage: Soak a towel in warm water. Rub your neck, forehead and cheeks with the towel. Then, use your fingertips to gently massage your forehead and closed eyes.
- Do an eyelid massage: Wash your hands well. Then, close your eyes and massage them with circular movements of your fingers for one to two minutes. Make sure you press very lightly on your eyes as you massage them. Light pressure will help to stimulate your eyes.