If you happen to have a less-than-good vision and think your childhood spent in front of computers and TV screens is, to a large extent, to blame – you’re right.
Depending on what kind of eyesight-related problem you have, you may benefit from a variety of remedies.
This can be getting a pair of glasses, contact lenses (which have the same effect), eye drops, ointments, or simply getting some shut-eye and rest. (Especially important for welders, for example.)
The point is that taking care of your eyesight should be a crucial part of self-care that often gets overlooked.
In this article, we’ll present to you seven eye exercises that may help you reduce eye strain at work and elsewhere and potentially even slightly improve your vision.
Read on to find out more.
Are Eye Exercises Useful?
Before we give you the tips on how you can get rid of excess eye strain through some of the exercises below, let’s address the elephant in the room first – Are eye exercises useful?
Well, the official science posits that the evidence supporting the idea that eye exercises can help improve vision is scarce and, therefore, inconclusive.
So, suppose you have poor eye vision or have an eye-related condition such as a cataract or glaucoma. In that case, you shouldn’t expect these exercises to help you fix these. Always seek professional medical help if you have vision trouble before the problem worsens.
Now, as far as eye exercises are concerned, what they can help you with would be such annoying occurrences as ‘digital eye strain’, as well as some conditions such as dyslexia and motion sickness, for example.
These exercises nowadays come in all shapes and forms.
It’s not unusual to see some exercises that work within mobile apps. Whether it’s a mobile app for binocular vision or one of those reading apps that dims your screen – it seems that high-tech’s willing to put in some real effort to shake off the eyesight-damaging reputation.
7 Eye Exercises You Can Try Out Easily at Home
Here are seven useful and easy-to-do eye exercises that you can do daily with little to no equipment. (You might need a pencil or two or some markers of different colors for some of these, but that’s about it.):
1) Focus Change
To start things off, the ‘focus change’ exercise can be a great beginner’s drill. No equipment is required, either. Here’s how to do it:
1) Hold one finger at a couple of inch distance from one eye,
2) Fix your gaze on that finger,
3) Slowly move the finger away from your face,
4) Next, change your focus on an object in the distance (not too great of a distance) and then back to the finger
5) Bring the finger back to its initial position close to your eye,
6) Focus on something in the distance again.
7) Repeating this exercise three times in a row is enough for starters.
2) 20-20-20 Drill
… based on the 20-20-20 rule, you should look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
This rule was devised, particularly for the folks who work long hours in front of computer screens and pick up a lot of digital eye strain along the way daily, so to speak.
3) Figure 8
Unless you’re Superman and can shoot lasers out of your eyes, you won’t leave any smoke marks on your carpet while doing this exercise, as those Japanese car enthusiasts do on the tarmac when drifting in their Supras.
Anyway, the goal of a figure 8 exercise is not to make you proficient in rolling your eyes, a skill that your superiors may not appreciate that much.
Instead, the goal is to train your eyes to move about in various directions and thus alleviate the eye strain you may feel after a tough welding session or working in front of a computer for an entire day.
To do this exercise, focus on a point on the floor 8 feet away.
Next, move your eyes in the shape of figure 8. The idea is to trace this figure for 30 seconds and then switch directions, so that you can engage all of your eye muscles.
4) Pencil pushups
Other than having a funny-sounding name, doctors often recommend this eye exercise to patients dealing with convergence insufficiency.
The only item you need for this exercise is the eponymous pencil. Here’s how to do it:
1) Take a pencil in one hand and hold it at arm’s length (in front of your eyes, of course),
2) Fix your gaze upon the pencil and start moving it slowly toward your nose,
3) Stop when you’ve moved the pencil close enough to your eyes where the pencil no longer appears as a single image.
4) Next, reposition the pencil at the closest point to your nose, where it was still a single image.
5) Repeat this exercise 20 times for the best results.
5) Eye Movements
This appropriately-named exercise can help you get rid of digital eye strain by, well, you won’t believe this but – moving your eyes. But in an unorthodox way, that’s the point.
Here’s how to complete this exercise quickly and successfully (no pencils or equipment required):
1) Close your eyes,
2) While keeping them closed, move them left and then right,
3) Repeat this procedure three times,
4) Next, move your eyes upwards and downwards,
5) Do this three times, as well. (Make sure to keep your eyes closed throughout this exercise.)
6) Brock String
Representing possibly the most complex exercise on this list, the Brock string drill was developed by a Swiss doctor called Frederick Brock.
What you will need to set this exercise up is a string and some colored beads, which you can place on this string.
This exercise can be completed while sitting or standing – it’s up to you. Here’s how to do it:
1) Attach one end of the string to a heavy, motionless object,
2) Hold the other end of the string just below your nose,
3) Place one bead on the string,
4) Fix your gaze on this bead and look at it with both eyes.
What you should see if your eyes are working correctly is a bead with two strings in the shape of an X.
Alternatively, you can also do this exercise with more beads to train your eyes further.
7) Barrel Cards
If you suffer from exotropia, a type of strabismus, using this exercise may help alleviate some symptoms. For this one, you will need some blank cards (you can make these yourself or buy some) and two color markers – red and green.
Here’s the correct way to do the exercise:
1) Draw three barrels of increasing size on one side of the card,
2) Do the same on the other side of the same card,
3) Hold this card against your nose so that the largest barrel is the one farthest away,
4) Fix your gaze at this farthest barrel until it becomes one image, and the other barrels have doubled.
5) Keep looking like this for 5 seconds.
6) Repeat the same exercise for smaller barrels.
All in all, while the official science is still pretty much debating whether eye exercises can truly improve vision, they can certainly help somewhat with the muscle strain and tension caused by various professions.
So, if you have an office job or are a welder, performing a couple of eye movement exercises will certainly do no harm and might improve the eye strain.