On an average day, your eyes have to deal with a barrage of unhealthy environmental elements, from sunlight and glowing monitors to smoke and smog. Ophthalmic equipment has done wonders to ensure better eye health, but you can do plenty of things on your own to keep your eyes in tip-top shape.
Using your eyes requires the complex synchronized work of several muscles, and like any muscle, your eye muscles could use some simple workouts for improved strength and relaxation. Eye exercises are a common part of low vision therapy, but read on for some simple exercises you can do to improve your eye health.
1. Eye Rolls
Rolling your eyes is often a sign of exasperation, but it may actually be even more beneficial than you’d thought. Rolling or rotating your eyes loosens up ocular muscles, improving the blood flow to surrounding areas in your eyes. To perform this exercise simply rotate your eyes clockwise 10 to 15 times then roll them counterclockwise another 10 to 15 reps. Close your eyes to prevent yourself from getting dizzy.
A quick break from reading or working on the computer, palming is a great way to relax and relieve strain around your eyes. Lean forward with your elbows on a desk or resting on your knees. Your neck and back should be straight during this exercise. Place your hands on your eyes such that your palms are covering but not touching your eyes. You should be able to blink freely and see only darkness. It’s as simple as that. Leave your hands on your eyes for a few minutes then remove. It doesn’t sound like much of an exercise but it’s a great way to relax your sight and your mind.
Sit or stand comfortably. Hold your thumb or a pencil about ten inches in front of you and focus your sight on it. Focus on something 10 to 20 feet in front of you without moving your thumb or pencil. Switch between the two distances after each breath. Continue for two to three minutes. This strengthens your eyes and improves your overall vision, but the exercise may garner some strange looks when done in public.
Similar to focusing, start by stretching your arm out with your thumb up. Focus on your thumb. Bring your arm closer, continuing to focus on your thumb, until your thumb is about three inches from your face. Slowly stretch your arm out again. Continue for a few minutes. Zooming strengthens your eye muscles and improves your focusing abilities.
This is not so much an exercise as it is a reminder. When you read, use your computer, or watch TV, you tend to blink less. You don’t need a confocal microscope to note the strain and dryness that comes from not blinking enough. As a simple exercise, blink every three seconds for two minutes. Your eyes will feel significantly more relaxed and hydrated. While you don’t always need to blink that frequently, take note of how often you do blink throughout the day, especially when you’re focusing on a book or computer screen.
Have fun and enjoy getting your eye muscles working hard.