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Eye Strengthening Exercises

This is a free article about exercising your eyes to improve vision health. Feel free to copy and distribute this article, just give us credit for writing it.

I do eye strengthening exercises to reduce dependence of glasses. I believe it improves the health of my vision. How do I know this? My optometrist says my eyes have changed from 70/20 to 50/20. The prescription for my glasses has gone from tri-focal down to bi-focal. Also, I no longer get headaches caused by eyestrain. This is enough evidence for me to continue doing eye exercises.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation on the Internet about eye exercises. There are several websites that call Dr. William Horatio Bates (1891) a quack. They say he advised patients to stare directly at the sun to benefit from its warmth. Dr. Bates said no such thing. He proposed facing the sun with your eyelids fully closed, which many people do while sun bathing. Common sense would tell you this is not the same thing as looking at the sun, which should be avoided.

Dr. Bates had very respectable credentials. In 1881, he graduated from Cornell University and in 1885 from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He published his ideas about vision in a book, The Cure of Imperfect Eyesight by Treatment Without Glasses (Bates Method 1920).

Eye exercises make sense

One of Dr Bates main ideas is that people get used to using glasses as a crutch and, as a result, their eyes get lazy and they gradually need stronger and stronger prescriptions. If the eyes rely on the glasses to focus, it makes sense that the eyes would gradually loose some ability to focus. We have yet to find a study on this but we are still looking.

You know that exercise is good for your muscles. It improves your strength, stamina and circulation. It makes sense to exercise your eyes to promote your vision health. This collection of natural eye exercises will give a workout to your entire visual system. With exercise you can strengthen your eyes naturally.

Exercise Your Eyes

If you are really interested in keeping your eyesight, the people at Vision For Life have put together a complete kit with everything you need, well worth a look. In the mean time, here are some free ones:

Eyesight Strengthening - Focusing

Start with your ability to focus. If you spend a lot of time at the keyboard or in a job where, what you are focusing on, is always at the same distance from your eyes, then you will likely benefit from this exercise.

Start by going outdoors where you can see something a mile away. It doesn't matter what it is or how clearly you can see it. The idea is to flex your focusing muscles by looking at several points at various distances.

1. Pick something that is within three feet of you, and see it as clearly as you can. As soon as you have noticed how clearly you see it, go to the next step.

2. Pick something about 30 feet away (about a couple car lengths), and see it as clearly as you can.

3. Next pick something about a block away (about 500 feet), and see it as clearly as you can.

4. Now pick a point as far away as you can see and focus on it as well as you can. When you see it as well as you can, return to your closest point. Cycle through these four steps at least ten times, twice a day.

If you don't have a good imagination, skip this paragraph. A variation on this exercise works only for those with a good imagination or visualization skills. Imagine an object (cube, ball, triangle, a word, etc.) about two feet in front of you. Focus on this image and watch as it moves away from you. Keep your focus on it and watch as it shrinks in size only enough for you to keep seeing it clearly, as it moves away a mile or more. Then watch it slowly return to it's original size and position. Watch this happen ten times, all the while, keeping your focus on your chosen object. Do this twice a day.

Eyesight Strengthening - Muscle Check

Here's an easy way to find out if your eye muscles are in good shape. If, at any time, discomfort becomes pain, stop the exercise, look straight ahead, close your eyes and relax.

Holding your head steady, look up to find the edge of your range of vision. It's the darkness that begins where your vision ends. Follow it all the way around to the right, down, and back up to the top on the other side. Now look straight ahead, close your eyes and relax a moment. Do this again going to the left, down, around and back up.

Any pain you feel while doing this exercise should be taken as a warning to ease off and take it slower. Put less demand on your muscles until you work up to 10 circles at a time, twice a day or as many times as you feel comfortable doing.

Feedback on Eye Exercises

Subj: Yoga
Date: 4/21/2004
While searching for eye exercises I came across a yoga site that suggests looking at the tip of your nose for as long as you can, and then closing your eyes and relaxing. Then looking at your "third eye" (middle of eye brows) for as long as you can and closing your eyes and relaxing. Are these harmful? or do they help strengthen different parts of our eye muscles?

AskDocWeb: We believe it is better to gradually increase your exercise demands. If you start out by doing any exercise for as long as you can, you risk damage to muscles by overdoing it. Doing exercise within reason is required to get into, and keep in good shape.

Subj: Any hope?
Date: 8/14/2004
I am 56 years old and a have about 20/400 vision. I have worn glasses since I was 11. Is there any hope for this condition?

AskDocWeb: My opinion is that most people can improve their physical condition with the appropriate exercise program. In your case (after 45 years of wearing glasses), improvement is likely to take some time to develop but may be possible. And this brings up an idea.

We are looking for a few people to test the Vision For Life exercise kit and give us feedback about how well it works. Participants will use this website to keep an open diary so that others can benefit from their experience. If you are able to give us a running account of your experience, we invite you to share in this research. You win by improving your vision and you can help others by sharing your experience.

Subj: Lazy eye exercises?
Date: 9/9/2004
Do these exercises work for lazy eye too?

AskDocWeb: That is something we would like to find out. If you want to try the Vision For Life exercise kit mentioned above, we are reimbursing a limited number of people for the cost of the kit. You will need to contact us with your name and post office mailing address to get our confirmation before doing this.

Subj: Bags and dark circles under the eyes
Date: 12/14/2004
What causes bags and dark circles under the eyes and how might it be treated?

AskDocWeb: The skin under your eyes is very elastic and when fluid accumulates here, it forms the bags and dark circles. There are several causes such as:
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Allergic reactions like hayfever (watery eyes)
  • Cortisone medications
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Aging
  • Heredity (people with dark colored eyes are inclined to have dark shadows beneath them)
Treatment would depend on the cause, most of which is obvious if you think about it. If you've been sleeping on your stomach, sleep on your side or back, etc... If the bags interfere with your self-esteem, you need to do something about them. Using makeup will hide most bags, otherwise plastic surgery would be a last resort.

Subj: Trying the Vision kit
Date: 12/29/2004
Hello, I am 35 years old, worn corrective lenses since first grade. I would be willing to "the Vision For Life exercise kit and give us feedback about how well it works. " if you send me the kit. I can not afford to purchase and am more than interested in trying and advertising the effectiveness of this product. Is my request possible

AskDocWeb: Sorry, we have our test cases chosen. We will have them post results here when we have them.

Subj: Binocular vision problems
Date: 1/10/2005
I'm a 41yr old male that had recently returned to complete post-bac work to apply to medical school. Although my grades are excellent, I felt something was affecting my reading speed and requested that tests be administered for dyslexia. I found that although my IQ was in the top 3% of the US (140), my reading rate was 170 words per minute. The average for an adult with graduate school academics is 250 wpm. My reading speed increased dramatically when I covered my left eye. I am currently wearing lenses with prisms, which were prescribed by a neuro-optometrist, but I do not notice any improvement. What eye exercises can I do for exophoria, convergence insufficiency, and fusion dysfunction? Is it possible to treat binocular vision problems with prisms and exercises?

AskDocWeb: We are in the process of investigating this very thing. We will let you know what we find out.

Subj: 55 year old
Date: 2/14/2005
Will your program help me? I am 55yrs I use 200 reading glasses.

AskDocWeb: If you haven't had eye surgery and don't have an eye disease, it might. At 55, it would seem to be worth a few minutes a day to find out, give it a try.

Subj: PE exercises
Date: 3/22/2005
I was wondering if you could send me some pe exercises that could help me in sports? In tracking an object, peripheral vision, focusing while objects around are unstable, etc?

AskDocWeb: Sorry Dan, we don't have time for individual email replies. The best all around exercise you can do is to learn how to juggle three objects. It will take you awhile to master but it will develop your peripheral tracking abilities, which will help you in just about any sport.

Subj: Question about eye exercises
Date: 7/6/2005
Would vision for life help improve mild double vision?

AskDocWeb: It might and you could help us find out. In January of 2006 we will start testing this kit. Let us know if you would like to test this kit and get a free one in the process. If so, use the form at the bottom of this page to send us your name, address and telephone number. We will email you in December with the details.

Read more feedback.

Most recent post: August 13, 2015

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