Vision problems can impact our ability to function, whether at work or in our everyday lives, and they can be a pain to fix. They can be even more frustrating if your job involves activities that cause eyestrain (such as looking at screens). However, glasses and surgery aren’t the only tools available for improving vision. In many cases, exercises for poor vision can be a valuable part of treatment. So, how can vision exercises improve your eyesight?
Can Weak Eyesight Be Improved?
In some cases, exercises for vision problems can help improve weak eyesight. Eye exercises don’t help in every case, though. Their efficacy depends on the vision problem you intend to treat.
Eye exercises strengthen the muscles that control your eyes’ movement. As a result, they can help with various vision issues, such as:
- Eye alignment;
Eye doctors might recommend eye exercises for vision problems such as amblyopia (i.e., lazy eye) or crossed eyes. Eye exercises are also a way to combat digital eye strain.
Numerous vision problems need more than eye exercises to be corrected, such as conditions affecting the eye tissue or how the brain processes visual information. Astigmatism and near-sightedness, for instance, involve the eyeball’s shape, which is why eye exercises do not ameliorate them. In addition, macular degeneration, glaucoma and other common conditions can’t be treated with eye exercises.
If eye exercises might help your vision problems, it’s best to consult a medical professional who can guide you. It’s never a positive idea to let serious eye problems go untreated. Eye exercises can be helpful in many cases, but they won’t cure all underlying medical conditions.
Benefits of Eye Exercises
Eye exercises can provide a variety of benefits when used to treat a specific set of vision problems, such as digital eye strain or lazy eye. Understanding how these conditions develop can help explain why eye exercises work.
The eyes are controlled by a series of muscles. Just like any other muscle, they can be strengthened by exercise. Since eye exercises strengthen the muscles that control your eyes, they can help achieve better eye alignment. If your eyes aren’t properly aligned, you might experience blurred vision, increased light sensitivity or eye strain. Similarly, eye exercises can improve your ability to focus.
Sometimes, people experience vision problems due to their occupation or habits rather than specific eye disorders. Digital eye strain isn’t inherent to the structure of the eyes, but it can still cause various symptoms, including blurred vision, dry eyes and headaches. It typically affects people who work with computers. It might not be feasible to take time away from computers if your job requires you to use them, but eye exercises can help. For example, taking time to blink regularly can alleviate the pain associated with dry, sore eyes.
Eye exercises have several clear benefits. Although they have limitations, they can help strengthen eye muscles and alleviate dry eyes and eyestrain. So, what eye exercises provide the most benefit for specific conditions, and how are eye exercises performed?
Best Exercises for Improving Eyesight
The following exercises are commonly prescribed for patients who experience vision problems involving eyestrain, focusing issues or improper eye alignment:
- Figure eight: The figure eight exercise is best performed from a seated position. Pick a spot on the floor approximately 10 feet away from you. Once you’ve found a spot, imagine the shape of an eight-figure and follow it with your eyes. After about 30 seconds, switch directions. This exercise will help you track objects with your eyes.
- Near and far focus: The near and far focus exercise is designed to improve focus for people who wear glasses. Alternate your focus between your thumb and an object approximately 10 feet away. Focus on each object for 15-second intervals, and ensure that you hold your thumb only about 10 inches away. This exercise is easiest to perform while seated.
- Focus change: Focus change exercises are easy to perform and can help you improve your eyes’ ability to focus. Start by focusing on your finger while holding it within a few inches of your face. Then remain focused on your finger as you move it away from your eyes. Once you’ve moved it as far away as possible, look away briefly and return your focus to your finger.
- Blink break: A blink break is a fantastic way to ease eye irritation. People blink less frequently when focused on a digital screen, so taking a few moments to blink at a regular rate is a great way to ensure that your eyes are adequately lubricated. Try a blink break if you suffer from headaches or dry eyes while watching screens. This exercise is particularly valuable for people experiencing digital eye strain at work.
- 20-20-20 rule: The 20-20-20 rule is an excellent way to practice vision exercises at work. Every 20 minutes, stop what you’re doing and spend 20 seconds focusing on an object 20 feet away.
A Parting Reminder
Eye exercises can positively affect vision problems such as lazy eyes, focus or alignment issues and eyestrain. They’re also easy to perform. If you spend your workdays staring intently at a computer screen, exercises such as the 20-20-20 rule can help you reduce eye strain and improve your eye health.
If you struggle with lazy eyes or experience problems with focus or alignment, some form of vision therapy might be exactly what you need to improve your eyesight. Exercises for vision problems aren’t always a substitute for professional medical treatment, but they can be a valuable supplement for other kinds of treatment. Talk to your doctor if you believe that eye exercises might improve your vision.