Better Vision With Eye Exercises

Watching TV, reading, using the computer, as well as the plethora of other close up activities put a lot of stress upon the eyes. All of this stress has an effect on the eye and can cause a deterioration of eyesight. If you are not taking breaks (as in the 10-10-10 rule) in between all of these activities, then your vision could begin to weaken over time.

We tend to take the eyes for granted, but they are like any other part of the body and require exercise and maintenance. But what things can we do?

Blinking

Blink more. Your eyes need to be lubricated often and blinking provides that lubrication by moistening your eyes to keep them from drying out. Blinking also helps to stretch the eye muscles, massage the eyeball, and dilates and contracts your pupils more efficiently. Practice this step often. Once you form the habit, your eyes will respond favorably and you will experience less eyestrain and irritation. Intentional blinking every few seconds, especially if you have been reading a while, watching television, or working at the computer.

Eye Exercises

Even your eyes need some form of exercise. There are six muscles connected to your eyeball which need strengthening. The required degree of strengthening is not nearly as intense as would be for other parts of your body. The exercises below are really easy to do and will not take a lot of time out of your day.

  1. Get in a comfortable chair with your hands in your lap or resting on the arms of the chair. Breathe deeply to relax and release the tension in your body, neck, and shoulders. Once relaxed, make sure your eyes are facing forward. Look up with your eyes only as high as you can without straining, breathe in, and hold for a few seconds. Then look down with your eyes only as low as you can, breathe in and hold for a few seconds, breathe out. Repeat this two more times
  2. Look to your right with your eyes only as far as you can comfortably, breathe in, hold for a few seconds, breathe out. Look up to the right, breathe in, hold it, breathe out. Then look to the left, eyes only as far as you can without straining, breathe in, hold, and breathe out. Look up to the left, breathe in, hold, breathe out. Bring your eyes down to the right, breathe in, hold, breathe out. Repeat twice more. Was that easy, or what?
  3. This exercise is known as palming. Again you will be sitting in a chair. First you need to warm up the palms of your hand. Rub them together vigorously. Lace your fingers and put them on your forehead with your palms covering your eyes. Make sure no light comes through your fingers. Keep your eyes closed and rested for a few minutes. Take about 20 to 50 breathes before removing your hands. When you open your eyes your should be able to see more clearly and have better focus. Try this when you have been watching television for a while, reading, or using the computer. It is a great way to rest your eyes and keep them lubricated at the same time
  4. This next exercise might be a little challenging for those of us who are not accustomed to using both sides of our brain. The right side of our brain controls the left side, and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. You will again be sitting in a comfortable chair with your back supported. Fixate on an object that is about 5 to 20 feet away from you. Slowly bring your thumb up into the line of vision about 8 inches from your face. You should see two thumbs if you are using both eyes. If you see two thumbs but one is not as clear as the other than you will need to practice more deep breathing, blinking, and palming, my friend
  5. This exercise is called swinging. Stand up and focus on a distant point, swaying gently from side to side. Repeat 50 times, blinking as you sway. Blinking cleans and lubricates the eyes, which is especially important if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer
  6. Get plenty of rest at night. Give your eyes a break from the daily routine and get sufficient sleep. Staying up all hours of the night puts a tremendous strain on your eyes, not to mention your body. Believe me, I know. I can remember when I was in high school and even into my 20’s staying up late or being out late until 2 or 3 a.m., and then having to get up in the morning around 6 or 7 a.m. to go to school or later to work. Throughout the day my eyes felt like someone was playing a nonstop game of darts or toothpicks were being stuck in my eyeballs. I had a good time, but my eyes definitely did not

Common Eye Disorders

Myopia (nearsighted or short sighted)

This is one of the most common vision disorders. It is the inability to focus on objects at a distance. The light rays are focused at a point in front of the retina, causing a blurring of the image. Myopia is typically caused by continued up close activity which causes the muscles to be in a state of constant contraction causing a lengthening of the eyeball. A person with myopia can see things up close, but they will not be as clear as they would be if the eyes were relaxed as in normal eyesight.

Hyperopia or hypermetropia (long sighted or far sighted)

This is the inability to fucus on objects at a close range. This is caused by tension that sortens the length of the eyeball, therefore becoming to short so that light rays are focused on an area behind the retina.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is an unevenly shaped cornea, almost like a corrugated iron roof. It can be as a result of uneven tension of the extraocular muscles surrounding the eye. This uneven shape causes light rays to focus unevenly, some in front of and some behind the retina.

Presbyopia

This is commonly referred to as “aging vision”. This is the name given to the hardening of the lens and a tightening of the muscles often associated with aging. This condition occurs in nearly everyone at some point in their life, usually around the age of 40. This inflexibility causes ciliary muscle to be unable to change the shape of the lens.

Human Eye Anatomy

The eye is one of the most complex parts of the body. There are more than a billion parts all working in synchronization. The eyesight is one of the most important senses, a fact supported by the amount of brain that is dedicated to process the information received through the eye.

Anatomy of the eye

Anatomy of the eye

How the eye works

The image begins as light waves bouncing or emanating from an object which enter the eye through the cornea. The cornea is a thin transparent protective shield on the front of the eye. The corneal also functions as a lens and begins focusing the rays of light by bending them (refracting) these as they enter.

These rays then enter the pupil. This is the black hole in the center of the eye, and is a door way which, along with the iris, regulates how much light comes through. Hence the term “dilated pupils”, meaning the pupil is very large letting more light rays through. The iris and pupil are constantly regulating how much light enters the eye.

Once the light rays enter through the pupil they then are focused by the lens. The lens is controlled by a band of muscle called the ciliary muscle. The natural relaxed state of these muscles would be focused at a distance of about 7 feet. In order to focus on objects closer than this the ciliary muscle must push on the lens, shaping it in a more convex shape similar to a bowl. To refocus further the muscles shape the lens to a flatter shape. Accommodation is the process by which the eye changes focus between objects that are far and objects that are near. There is much debate whether the eye focuses by the ciliary muscles acting on the lens, or whether it is the varying elongation of the eyeball caused by the extraocular muscles, or a combination of both.

The action of the lens and the shape of the eyeball then permits the light rays to travel through the rest of the eye. The vitreous humour is the transparent gel between the lens and the retina, the final destination of the light rays.

The retina is a complex light sensitive membrane that lines the inner eyeball. It contains hundreds of millions of light sensitive receptors responsible for transmitting the image to the optic nerve. These receptors are made up of cones and rods. The rods monitor how bright the rays of light are. Cones pick up sharp detail (acuity). There are three types of cones, one for each of the primary light colors. Red receptive cones are stimulated by the amount of red light for example. At the center of the retina is the macula. This has a very high concentration of cones. Within the center of the macula is the fovea. The fovea has the highest concentration if cones.

The optic nerve sends all of this information to the brain, where it is translated into what we see.

Each eye has six extraocular muscles which surround the eye and are responsible for controlling the movement of the eye. These muscles are very powerful, many times stronger than would be required to simply move the eyeball. This strength permits rapid acceleration and precise accuracy in eye movement.