Eye Exercise: The Potential Benefits of an Optical Workout
Eye exercise, as well as diet and rest, is important to the long-term health of your eyes. While no exercises can change the shape of your eyes or combat serious vision problems, your ocular muscles can always benefit from a good workout.
Five More Reps!
Starting an eye workout is the same as any other: You need to warm up. Begin by rubbing your palms together to produce low heat, then place them over your eyes for several seconds. Next, roll your eyes slowly clockwise and then counterclockwise. Do this between five and 10 times per direction.
Once you’re warmed up, you’ll want to focus on focus. Start by focusing on a distant object. Once it’s clear, switch to a nearby one. When that comes into focus, switch to another distant object. Repeat five times. You can also try looking at a single object for a period of a minute or two, rather than letting your vision wander. Try setting up a pattern for your eyes to follow and do so methodically, never losing focus as you progress. When finished, take between three and five minutes to relax with your eyes closed.
One at a Time
It’s also important to train your eyes individually. Try closing one eye, and finding the furthest object you can comfortably and clearly see. Next, try to go beyond that object to another, slightly more distant one and see if you can make it accurately resolve. Do this for each eye two to three times, but stop if you start to feel lightheaded or develop a headache.
Writing on the Walls
To help improve muscle control, try this eye exercise: Sit in a chair several feet from a wall and “write” on it using only your eyes. Don’t move your head, but instead trace the shapes of letters, numbers, or symbols with your eyes. The larger you make the letters and the more controlled the motion, the better.
Getting Some Shut-Eye
Just like any other muscles in your body, those surrounding your eyes benefit from directed use, and from the occasional break. You should try to rest your eyes for 10 minutes after every 50 minutes of time spent reading or on the computer. And don’t underestimate the power of good sleep. Eight hours per night gives time for your eyes to rest and repair.
Beyond the Gym
While a solid eye exercise program can help keep your eyes strong, it can’t fix physical problems such as astigmatism (oval shaped eyes), myopia (nearsightedness), or presbyopia (an inability to change focus from far to near). In these cases, a treatment option such as LASIK may be the best choice—this procedure both corrects those issues and does so using safe and proven technology.
Physical exercise is a critical component of long-term health. Don’t leave your eyes out of the workout.