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    Eye Exercises: The Myths, The Truths, How-tos, and More

    eye exercises that improve eyesight
    Eye exercises to improve vision

    Contrary to the opinion that eye exercises are a natural cure for vision problems that have gained much popularity over the years. However, Science has not been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the validity of this because only limited evidence exists.

    Eye exercises could help resolve issues like eye strain and dry eyes but not eye defects such as myopia(short-sightedness), hyperopia(long-sightedness), or astigmatism. 

    These exercises can also not help eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.

    From the foregoing, it is clear that eye exercises may not improve your vision but can help with eye comfort.

    How to Exercise Your Eyes

    Eye exercises are designed to help you focus, stimulate your brain’s vision centre, strengthen your eye muscles, ease eye movements, and help to ensure that both eyes work together properly. 

    5 Eye exercises you can try are:

    • Blinking: Our blinking rates while using digital devices reduce a great deal and cause the eyes to dry and tired. 

    To prevent this, it is essential to consciously and intentionally blink at intervals to stimulate the production of tears for lubrication of the eyes.

    • Near and Far Focus: Focusing near and far points alternately help to train the focusing systems of the eyes. This should be done in a sitting position:
    changing focus
    1. Hold out one of your fingers about 5-10 inches away from your face.
    2. Focus on that finger for 20 seconds.
    3. Slowly move the finger away from your face without losing focus.
    4. Look into the distance in the direction your hand was previously for 20 seconds.
    5. Slowly bring back your finger to your face and focus on it.
    6. Repeat the cycle multiple times.

    • Figure 8: This exercise should be done in a sitting position like the previous one.
    1. Fix your eyes at a point on the floor about 10 feet away from you.
    2. Write an imaginary figure 8 with your eyes.
    3. Continue to trace for 30 seconds before switching directions.
    • 20-20-20 Rule: The 20-20-20 rule prescribes that you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This helps prevent digital eye strain if you work long hours at a computer.

    To assist you, whenever you start work at a computer, set a reminder for every 20 minutes at which you do this exercise. You can also stand from your sitting position, take a stroll, and then return to the computer to relax the neck and back.

    • Eye movements: This can help with digital eye strain.
    1. Close your eyes.
    2. Move your eyes upward and downward slowly several times.
    3. Move your eyes left and right slowly several times.
    4. Repeat the process.

    Eye Exercises resolve 6 Conditions That May:

    Strabismus
    • Nystagmus: Referred to as ‘dancing eyes’. It is a situation whereby you can control your eye movement; it goes in whatever direction it pleases.
    Nystagmus
    • Visual field defects: This is a loss of part of the usual field of vision; in this case, some area of the eyes does not see. It affects one or both eyes.
    Visual-field-defects
    • Amblyopia (lazy eye): Lazy eye develops in childhood between birth and seven years; it is a condition in which one of the eyes (one in most cases, rarely affects both eyes) is weaker than the other.
    Amblyopia (lazy eye)

    It is caused by abnormal visual development in a child’s early life.

    It can be corrected by patching therapy, glasses and contact lenses. To detect, an eye exam must be carried out. It is recommended that a complete eye exam be done for children between 3 and 5.

    • Double vision (diplopia): Diplopia is an instance where you see a single image as two; it can affect one or both eyes. It is most severe when it affects both.
    Double vision (diplopia)
    • Convergence insufficiency (CI): CI is an eye coordination problem in which the eye drifts outward when trying to focus on something.
    Convergence insufficiency (CI)

    This is different from strabismus because eyes drift in the same direction.

    How to Maintain Healthy Eye

    • Visit an optometrist regularly: Humans are analogous to machines, and we can be referred to as biological machines. It is, therefore, essential to do maintenance checks regularly to improve efficiency.
    Visit an optometrist regularly

    Visiting an eye doctor regularly is essential for both young and old; it helps discover eye conditions early so that they can be efficiently corrected or managed. A stitch in time saves nine.

    • Know your family history: Our families determine many things in our lives, especially our health. Many eye diseases are genetic; they can be passed down from parent to child.
    Know your family history

    Knowing your family history and communicating it to your doctor will help them understand how to help you.

    • Know your risks: Some health conditions like diabetes predispose you to a high risk of eye defects. It is therefore essential to see a doctor regularly. 
    Know your risks

    Family history also comes into play here. Having a diabetic family member could mean you are at the risk of being diabetic and consequently may suffer some eye defects.

    • Eat healthfully: To maintain healthy eyes, healthful eating cannot be overlooked. Your meal should contain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, C & E, lutein, and zinc, as they may help to keep you protected from age-related vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration
    Eat healthfully

    It is also essential to eat moderately, avoid overheating, and maintain a well-balanced diet that helps you stay healthy and prevent obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the primary culprit of blindness in adults.

    • Keep your body hydrated: Fluids water most essentially help to keep the eyes well lubricated by facilitating optimum tear production.
    Keep your body hydrated
    • Wear protective eyeglasses: Too much exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun increases your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. You are wearing protective eyeglasses or shade shielding your eyes from UVA and UVB light. You should also avoid staring directly into bright sunshine.
    Wear protective eyeglasses
    • Quit smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels in the eyes, causing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision problems.
    QUIT SMOKING

    Best Foods For Healthy Eyes

    The best way to have a healthy body is through healthy eating. Many eye conditions can be prevented with a healthy diet. Here are the best foods to include in your diet for healthy eyes:

    • Dairy products: Products like milk and yoghurt contain vitamin A and zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps prevent cataracts and aids night vision. It helps in transporting Vitamin A from the liver to the eyes. Vitamin A protects the cornea.
    Dairy products

    The most beneficial dairy is the one gotten from grass-fed cows.

    • Fish: Fish has extensive omega-3 fatty acids (known as healthy fats). Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to visual development and help to keep the retina healthy. Salmon fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.
    Fish

    Opt for wild-caught Salmon fish instead of farm-raised ones because farm-raised Salmon fish has more saturated fats and less omega-3 fatty acids than the wild-caught. Too much intake of saturated fats could lead to heart problems.

    • Carrots: Carrots are perfect for the eyes. They are good sources of vitamin A and beta carotene, which help the eye surface and prevent severe other eye conditions. The best part is they are convenient. They are great snacks and can be shredded into certain foods. 
    Carrots
    • Oranges: Oranges and other citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and grapes contain vitamin C. Vitamin C keeps the eye’s blood vessels healthy. It can prevent the development of cataracts and works hand in hand with other vitamins and nutrients to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

    Other sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and leafy vegetables. 

    • Vegetables: Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and lettuce contain vitamins E and A, as well as beta carotene, which is all antioxidants that keep all body cells and tissues healthy, including the eyes.
    Vegetables

    Vitamins in vegetables could be lost when boiling to retain nutrients:

    1. Cook vegetables in a minimal amount of water.
    2. Reduce cooking time.
    3. Use as little water as possible to boil.
    4. Consume the water after cooking.
    5. Eat cooked vegetables within a day or two. 

    Frequently Asked Question

    How to get rid of glasses permanently?

    You cannot permanently get rid of eyeglasses; you can instead improve your eye health by diet and lifestyle that will lower your prescription.

    How to improve your eyesight when you have glasses?

    Adopting the words of Kim Van der Hoeven, you can try to spend some hours in the morning without your eyeglasses or contact lenses. Kim has tried this and was able to bring her prescription down from Rx of -7.0 to -2.0

    Can eye exercises remove glasses?

    Eye exercises can only help eye health; they do not remove glasses. To remove glasses, surgery must be done.

    How can I remove glasses from my eyes naturally?

    Eat more foods with vitamin A, carrots, zinc, Vitamin C, and E. Don’t forget the eye exercises mentioned above. And remember, you may not be able to remove the eyeglasses permanently.

    Can you fix your eyesight with exercise?

    This depends on what you are trying to fix. Exercise can help you improve eye strain but cannot cure common eye diseases.

    Conclusion

    Eye exercises can help the eye a great deal with digital eye strain but cannot resolve eye defects like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, etc. 

    But a healthy and balanced diet supplies nutrients that can improve the eyes and help prevent these conditions to a certain extent.

    To have healthy eyes, eat healthfully, avoid smoking, keep your body hydrated with fluids always, and protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

    Know someone who has trouble with eye strain? Please share this article with them.

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