Can Eye Exercise Help Prevent the Need for Spectacles?

The eyes allow us to see the beauty of this world. In today’s world, with technology booming rapidly and screens surrounding us everywhere, we use our eyes more than ever. Many of us have our eyes fixed on a screen for more than eight hours a day owing to our jobs. However, we also spend an excessive amount of time with our eyes fixed on our smartphones during recreational hours which can cause excessive eye strain [3].

Eye Muscles and Eye Fatigue

The eye muscles are the most active muscles in the body. There are six muscles that connect the eyes to the eye sockets which allow for eye movement. When we perform activities that require us to use our eyes for a prolonged period of time such as reading, driving, or watching something on a screen, our eye muscles get strained and gradually lose flexibility. When the eyes get tired after performing such activities, the condition is known as eye fatigue. Using digital screens over an extended period of time is the biggest contributor to eye fatigue. Over time, excessive eye fatigue causes a gradual loss of flexibility and tone in our eye muscles. When this continues and occurs in habitual patterns, our eyes gradually lose their ability to focus at different distances.

Eye Exercises 

Eye exercises have been known to relax and strengthen the eye muscles. We exercise our body to keep it in good health, but rarely do we ever do anything for our eyes to maintain their health. Eye exercises are several methods to relieve your eyes of eye strain and help them relax. [1] Below are some eye exercises that you can practice:

  • Blinking: Blinking is a natural bodily function that occurs involuntarily. It is the opening and closing of the eyelid. However, when we strain our eyes for long periods, we often forget to blink, or we don’t blink as often as we should. Blinking helps relax your eyes as it creates moisture within the eyelids thereby relaxing the eyeball and the eye muscles. To relax your eyes, blink rapidly about 10 times. After that, intermittently close your eyes for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise five times. 
  • Eye rotations: To restore balance in your eye muscles, you can perform eye rotations. While keeping your eyes open, move your eyeballs side to side then move them in a circular motion, rotating them at a 360-degree angle. Alter your breath and take a deep breath in and out with every rotation. Repeat 8 to 10 times. 
  • Tracing the number eight: In order to improve the flexibility in your eye muscles, look straight into the distance and imagine the figure of the number ‘8’. Using your eyes, trace the outline of the number in a clockwise motion followed by an anticlockwise motion. Practice this for about a minute.
  • Palming: Palming is a practice performed in yoga to relax the eyes. To perform this, close your eyes and rub your hands together to generate heat. Next, hold each hand over each eyelid and hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat the entire process at least five times.

Conclusion

While there is no concrete scientific evidence to prove that eye exercises can help prevent the need for spectacles, they are a painless and low-risk practice to improve eye focus and lower stress [2]. Eye exercises are known to help improve eye fatigue which may strengthen and benefit your eye muscles in the long run. They can also be performed anywhere, and they take only a few minutes of your time. It is also important to limit screen time and ensure that you consume a nutritious diet to keep your eye health at an optimum level [4].

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