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Benefits of Eye Exercises

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Author: Suzanne Hughes

When I was young, my eye doctor had given me a simple exercise to perform a few times during the day. I was asked to hold a pen at a distance from the eye…then count ten, bring it a few inches closer and count ten again.

This process was to be continued till the pen was brought right up to the tip of my nose. What I was to stress on while doing the exercise was that I was to strain my eyes to see the pen clearly, so that it would form only one image, at every distance.

The doctor said these simple exercises were prescribed to keep the eye muscles healthy and toned. Lagging eye muscles often result in squinted eyes…a common and very embarrassing problem! The eyeball movements, up-down, right-left-as you may have seen the eastern dancers perform, are also a form of eye exercise. The eye movements keep the eye muscles and thus the eyeballs in place… they are somewhat like the stretching exercises we do; only they are for the eye!

The doctors are actually correct. Regular eye exercises help in movement and contraction of eye muscles and consequently keep them healthy. The counter- argument for this theory can be that our eye muscles, which are primarily engaged in positioning the eyeball and keeping it in place are not accustomed to such vigorous contracting and straining movements. You may have heard about a medical condition called the "lazy eye" syndrome which happens due to weakening of eye muscles.

Propounders and followers of the eye exercises believe that if you are physically "using" your eye muscles, i.e. you exercise them; you will not even suffer from refractive visual errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness. They say that chronic tension in eye muscles either cause the eyeball to contract or to elongate… which is the root cause of eye problems. Alleviating this chronic tension requires patience and regular practice and the only way to do this is to exercise your eye muscles.

It's very important to keep your eyes well lubricated at all times. One great way to do this is to blink your eyes, since our tear glands are situated in our upper eyelids and they will immediately wet the eyes. You can also blink one eye at a time as this is also an eye exercise! Now lets move on to some simple eye exercises that help keep your eye muscles in great shape!

* The first one is a very common exercise which we've all come across sometime or the other. It's very like the pen exercise I talked about in the beginning. For this, draw the letter E on a piece of paper. Now first concentrate hard on the uppermost bar, then the lowest bar and finally the center. Repeat the exercise, and each time you repeat it, keep moving the paper back by a few feet. Continue till you cannot see the E on the paper anymore.

* Another exercise you can try is outstretching your hand and wiggling your fingers and note their movement. If you cannot see it the first time, bring your hand closer and try again. The benefit of this exercise is that it stimulates the cells in your eyes that help in peripheral vision.

* The next one is also very easy! You must have seen it on the back covers of activity books… but we were too young to understand its benefit. First close your eyes and picture a circle in your mind. Then, contract the circle into an oval and draw the figure 8 round it. Of course, you have to do all this scribbling in your mind, just think you've got a pencil attached to your nose! What you have to lay stress on while doing this exercise is that you've got to follow all the hand (and nose!) movements with your eye! So concentrate hard!

* Play the eye doctor and purchase an eye chart, the one you're made to look at and read from at every eye clinic you visit. Glance up at the chart once in a while, when you're at work, or simply reading. You can even try it with other things as well; just don't concentrate hard on the particular object or word you're looking at, but pay attention to the entire space round it. Don't keep staring at one word, but look at every word you're reading and try to remember the construction of the sentence as a whole. This will help your eyes not to fix itself one only one word at a time, and will thus relax your eye muscles.

Take these eye exercises as a game. This will build your interest till you make it your habit to practice them regularly. Gradually, you'll find you're straining your eyes less and at the same time improving your concentration powers too!

Suzanne Hughes is an eyewear style consultant specializing in reading glasses online. For more information about eyeglasses, vision, or great styles such as Scojo reading visit her online


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