Can Eye Exercises Improve Vision?

Reviewed by: David Schanzlin, MD

Vision Tips & Prevention Vision Tips & Prevention

You know that physical exercise is good for your body, but should you have an exercise routine for your eyes? There are many types of eye exercises, but not all of them have been proven to be effective. We will sort out what eye exercises can and can’t do.

What Are Eye Exercises and What Can They Do?

Eye exercises are typically performed by utilizing your ocular muscles to change the focus of your vision. Orthoptic exercises are eye exercises that are prescribed by an eye doctor called an orthoptist. These specialized exercises have been proven to be effective in treating certain eye conditions such as double vision (diplopia) and amblyopia (commonly known as lazy eye). Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Management of diplopia Rom J Ophthalmol Go to Source 1

A quick internet search will reveal many types of eye exercises, such as the Bates Method, that claim to cure refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). Proponents of this type of vision therapy claim that you can eliminate the need for glasses if you practice eye exercises diligently. However, there are no clinical studies or reliable evidence that support these claims and ophthalmologists generally agree that glasses, contacts, or eye surgery are the only effective methods of vision correction. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Can I improve eye vision naturally through exercises so I don’t need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses? & Eye exercises for improved vision? American Academy of Ophthalmology & The Trustees of Columbia University int he City of New York Go to Source 2, 3

Eye Exercises To Prevent Eye Strain

Eye strain symptoms include headaches, light sensitivity and dry, red, burning, or itchy eyes. Extended computer use and lots of screen time can cause digital eye strain. This condition can be uncomfortable, but it is easily relieved with lifestyle changes and it is one case where eye exercises can help. The eye exercise commonly recommended by eye doctors to prevent or treat eye strain is called 20-20-20. Simply give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking away from your screen and turning your focus to something about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Eyestrain Mayo Clinic Go to Source 4

Can I Prevent or Reverse Presbyopia With Eye Exercises?

Presbyopia is a natural loss of near vision that happens because the lens changes as we age; many people begin to experience the beginning of age-related near vision loss around the age of 40. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source What is Presbyopia American Academy of Ophthalmology Go to Source 5 If you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, it can make sense that you would want to add vision exercises to your wellness routine. Exercises to prevent eye strain are a smart habit if you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but eye exercises will not improve presbyopia symptoms. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source The lowdown on eye exercises Harvard Health Publishing Go to Source 6 Reading glasses are the most popular option to treat presbyopia, but you can talk to your eye doctor about other clinically proven presbyopia treatments if you don’t like the look or hassle of readers.

Trusetd Source Checkbox  Sources


1 Daniela Adriana Iliescu, Cristina Mihaela Timaru, Nicolae Alexe, Elena Gosav, Algerino De Simone, Mehdi Batras, and Cornel Stefan. Management of diplopia. Rom J Ophthalmol. 2017 Jul-Sep; 61(3): 166–170.
2 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Can I improve eye vision naturally through exercises so I don’t need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/ask-ophthalmologist-q/exercise-refractive-errors Accessed October 18, 2019
3 The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Eye exercises for improved vision? https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/eye-exercises-improved-vision Accessed October 18, 2019
4 Mayo Clinic. Eyestrain. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eyestrain/symptoms-causes/syc-20372397 Accessed October 18, 2019
5 American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Presbyopia? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-presbyopia Accessed October 18, 2019
6 Harvard Health Publishing. The lowdown on eye exercises. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-lowdown-on-eye-exercises Accessed October 18, 2019

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