You know what they say: never skip eye-day. Wait…that’s not right.

For over a century, people have been promoting eye exercises as a way to “naturally” improve your vision. It sounds tempting; according to this theory, all you have to do is perform a series of movements with your eyes, and you’ll be able to say goodbye to your glasses or contacts.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

There is very little credible scientific evidence that eye exercises actually work to improve your vision, and exercising your eyes will not eliminate the most common eyesight problems — near- or farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia.

However, there are still benefits to exercising your eye muscles in the right way. Let’s take a deeper look.

Can eye exercises change your eyes?

Many self-help eye exercise programs claim to reduce or eliminate refractive errors, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. This may sound too good to be true because, frankly, it is. Understanding the anatomy of the eye is important in grasping why eye exercises will not improve your vision.

For example:

  • Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball becomes too long, and light rays fall short of the focus point on your retina.
  • Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too short, and the light rays entering your eye achieve focus on a point beyond your retina.
  • If you have astigmatism, your cornea has an irregular shape, causing light rays entering your eye to split into different points of focus, creating blurry vision.

As you can see, all of these refractive errors that create the need for corrective glasses or lenses result from the eye’s anatomy.

Self-help eye exercises usually consist of moving your eyes up and down, side to side, or changing your point of focus. There is even a practice called “sunning,” which involves exposing your eyes to sunlight, which can be potentially harmful. Even if these exercises don’t damage your eyes, they are not going to change their anatomy, and therefore cannot fix refractive errors.

Possible benefits of eye exercises

Although there is no credible scientific evidence that strengthening your eye muscles will improve your vision, there may still be some benefits to performing eye exercises.

Digital eye strain

Digital eye strain, also known as computer eye syndrome, occurs when you look at screens for extended periods of time. Symptoms of digital eye strain include tired eyes, difficulty concentrating, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.

A simple eye exercise called the 20-20-20 rule has proven to be an effective way of dealing with the symptoms of digital eye strain. The 20-20-20 rule is as follows: Every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds. It takes about 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax, so make sure you don’t cut it short.

Practicing the 20-20-20 rule can help reduce symptoms of eye strain and improve job productivity. To remind yourself, set an alarm for every twenty minutes.

Eye fatigue

Eye fatigue can be a result of many factors, including prolonged time looking at screens, artificial or insufficient lighting, poor diet, eye muscle inefficiency due to long hours of office work and academic studies, psychosocial and emotional tension, and aging.

One study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that nursing students who performed yogic eye exercises had significantly decreased levels of eye fatigue than those who did not. The yogic eye exercises were performed for one hour per session, twice a week for eight weeks. The participants performed a series of exercises that included blinking, sideways viewing, front and sideways viewing, rotational viewing, up and down viewing, preliminary nose-tip gazing, and more. This was followed by a 20-minute Shavasana to relax their eyes.

While you may not be able to take a full hour twice a week just to perform eye exercises, this study suggests that exercising your eye muscles does offer benefits against eye fatigue.

Better ways to promote eye health

Exercising your eye muscles may not improve your vision, but there are still many ways to promote healthy, happy eyes.

  • Eating an eye-healthy diet: Just like the rest of your body, certain foods yield better benefits for your eyes. Incorporate some of these eye-healthy foods into your diet.
  • Get regular assessments from your eye doctor: Regular check-ups from your eye doctor can help you catch conditions or diseases, such as glaucoma or cataracts, before they get worse.
  • Protect your eyes from UV radiation: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can greatly affect the health of your eyes. Wear a hat or sunglasses while outside, and opt for contacts that have built-in UV protection.
    • Aveo daily contacts offer Class II UV blockers that protect your eyes from approximately 97% of UVB and 87% of UVA radiation.
  • Choose daily contacts that are designed to optimize eye health: If you need to wear contacts every day, it’s important to choose the best possible lenses. Daily contacts are the best choice for your eye health. Popping in a new pair of lenses each morning means that the lenses are fresh and clean, and throwing them out each night means you’re throwing away all of the buildup and allergens they may have gathered throughout the day.
    • Aveo daily contacts take eye health one step further, with leading-edge technology that puts your eye health first, such as AquaLock to lock in moisture and BlissEdge for a frictionless, stay-put fit.

Summing it up

As much as you may wish there was some magic ten-step program to improve your vision, the fact is, giving your eyes a “workout” isn’t going to correct your vision. Self-help eye exercises programs are not backed by credible scientific evidence, and some exercises can even cause damage to your eyes. However, you can use eye exercises such as the 20-20-20 rule to alleviate conditions such as digital eye strain or eye fatigue.

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