For centuries, people have seen eye exercises as “natural” treatment for vision problems, including sight. There is very little credible scientific evidence to prove these assertions. Although, exercising the eye can help ease eyestrain and help your eyes feel better.
Furthermore, if you have a common eye condition, such as near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism, you may not benefit from eye exercises. People with the most common eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma, will not also benefit from it.
History of Eye Exercises
During the 1920s, William Horatio Bates, MD, a Maverick ophthalmic created a program of eye exercises that became known as the Bates Method.
The Bates method has never been effective in providing a significant or lasting improvement in vision. In addition, some activities recommended by Bates, such as “sunning” (exposing the eyes to direct sunlight) and “palming” (covering the closed eye with the palm of your hand) could be harmful to the eyes.
Most modern eye exercise programs to improve vision are based on the Bates method.
Self-help eye exercise programs generally claim that they can reduce refractive errors such as myopia and astigmatism, as well as presbyopia.
Before spending time and money on something that can “throw away your glasses”, keep in mind that these programs are very controversial and that there is often no scientific proof that proves their effectiveness.
Do Eye Exercises Work?
A recent review of research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, conducted by AllAboutVision.com, failed to highlight studies that show that eye exercises can significantly alter the fundamental anatomy of the eye or eliminate presbyopia, which no one escapes after of a certain age.
Eye exercise programs occupy a foggy space between medical science and folk remedies. Most optometrists and ophthalmologists reject eye exercise programs due to the lack of scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
Before investing time and money in self-help programs to improve vision, consult a nearby ophthalmologist for professional and reliable advice on the effectiveness and safety of any program. eye exercise you are considering.
Again, eye exercises will probably not improve your vision, but they can help you with your eyes, especially if your eyes get irritated at work.
Digital visual strain, a condition that is common among people who work on a computer all day long can cause:
- Dry eyes
- Blurry vision
How to Perform Eye Exercises
Here are different types of eye exercises that you can try according to your needs.
Change of Focus
This exercise works by challenging your concentration. This must be done in a sitting position.
- Keep the pointer finger a few inches away from your eye.
- Concentrate on your finger.
- Move your finger slowly from the face still keeping your focus.
- Look away for a moment, and focus on an object far away.
- Concentrate on your outstretched finger and slowly bring it close to your eyes again.
- Look away and focus on another object in the distance.
- Repeat three times.
Near and Far Focus
This is another focus exercise. As in the previous case, this must be done in a sitting position.
- Position your thumb about 10 inches from your face and focus on it for 15 seconds.
- Find an object at a distance of approximately 10 to 20 feet and focus on it for 15 seconds.
- Turn your focus back to your thumb.
- Repeat five times.
This exercise should also be done in a sitting position.
- Pick a point on the ground about 10 feet in front of you and focus on it.
- Draw an imaginary eight with your eyes.
- Keep track for 30 seconds, then change direction.
Eye Strain is a real problem for many people. Human eyes are not supposed to be glued to a single object for long periods of time. If you work on a computer all day, 20-20-20 can help prevent digital visual fatigue. To apply this rule, every 20 minutes, look at something at 20 feet for 20 seconds.
What is visual therapy?
Visual Therapy (VT) is an umbrella for a variety of treatments based on eye exercises. Treatments targeted at treating convergence disorder, which has evidence to support it. It is also aimed at treating neurological, educational and spatial conditions but there is no evidence to support this.
Visual therapy may be prescribed when a complete eye examination indicates that it is an appropriate treatment. The specific therapy program is based on the results of standardized tests and the signs and symptoms of the person. Programs typically include exercises for the eyes and the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, specialized instruments, and computer programs. The treatment may last for several months or even years, with intermittent monitoring by the eye specialist.
Some doctors are specialized in a field of eye treatment called visual therapy. Visual therapy may include eye exercises, but only under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
The goal of visual therapy can be to strengthen the eye muscles. It can also help to improve and retrain poor visual behavior. It can also help with eye tracking issues.
There are various conditions that affect children and adults that can be treated with visual therapy. They are;
- Convergence insufficiency (CI)
- Strabismus (cross-eyed or pike-perch)
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Eye Exercises ss Compared to Visual Therapy
Self-help eye exercise programs to improve vision are not the same thing with visual therapy. Visual therapy is supervised and prescribed by eye doctors (usually optometrists) to correct some eye alignments and other binocular vision problems.
Although visual therapy is sometimes wrongly called “eye exercises”, the visual therapy prescribed by the physician includes special and specific activities to correct eye problems such as Strabismus and Amblyopia. Furthermore, it includes activities to help enhance dynamic visual skills for sports vision.
Published research has shown that many types of visual therapy prescribed and supervised by a physician are safe and effective. But the goal of visual therapy is not to reduce or eliminate your need for visual correction.
Tips for Eye Health
There are a lot of things you can do to keep your eyes healthy.
- Get a full dilated eye exam every few years. Get an exam even if you have not noticed any problems. Many people do not even know they can improve their eyes with corrective lenses. And many serious eye diseases have no noticeable symptoms.
- Know your family history. Many eye diseases are genetic.
- Know your risks. If you have an increased risk for eye problems because of diabetes or a family history of eye diseases, consult your eye doctor every six months to a year.
- Wear sunglasses. Protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays with sunglasses polarized with UVA and UVB rays.
- Eat healthily. A diet rich in healthy fats and antioxidants can help keep your eyes healthy. And yes, eat those carrots! They are an excellent source of vitamin A, a nutrient important for the health of the eyes.
- If you need contact lenses, wear them. Wearing corrective lenses will not weaken your eyes.
- Stop smoking or never start. Smoking is bad for your body, including your eyes.
Summary And Conclusion
There is no science to support the claim that eye exercises improve people’s vision. There is a likelihood that eye exercises will not help you, but they will not hurt you either. It is also important that an eye doctor examine your eyes regularly. They can often detect and treat problems before symptoms occur.
Therefore, make it a habit to visit your eye specialist regularly so as to check your eyes. Take appropriate prescription and treatment from your eye doctor if he detects any problems.
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