When we’ve had a good workout we need to stretch to relax the muscles. When we’ve had a long moment of concentration, we do something different to relax the brain. When we read for a long time or sit at the computer for a long time, we usually relax by watching TV. Poor Eyes! They are never getting a break. Presented here are a series of eye exercises that promote relaxation of the eye, or strengthens and conditions them.
General tips when doing eye exercises:
- Please take off your glasses or contact lenses, you will then feel more comfortable and relaxed.
- When doing the exercises, intensely concentrate on your eyes. Feel them working and coming to life again!
- Do them on a regular basis, e.g. ideally 3 times a day. The results will be better.
Research has shown that the extraocular muscles play a role in the accommodation of the eye. The theory goes as follows: strengthen the muscles = clearer vision. You can try it for yourself, the results are usually quite noticeable even only after a minute.
Pretend that you are looking at the centre of a giant clock face straight ahead. Keeping your head still, look up as far as possible towards the 12th O’clock position, hold for 2 seconds, then return to the original position. You must really feel the stretch in your eyeballs!
Look straight ahead – go to 12th O’clock – hold for 2 seconds – back to center. Next, do it for the 1 O’clock position, then 2 O’clock and so on. Always return to the center before moving on to the next hour. When you have finished one clockwise cycle (as indicated by the green arrow), do an anticlockwise cycle next.
This exercise will stretch your extraocular muscles, and will make them stronger and more flexible.
This vision exercise is similar to the “clock rotation” exercise. Start from the 12 O’clock position, and slowly roll to the 1 O’clock place (without returning to the centre), then 2 o’clock and so on, until one whole cycle is completed.
Remember to stretch as far out as possible all the time. Go slow, and do it properly. Again, this exercise puts your extraocular muscles through a good workout.
Near / far focusing
Near point stress has been quoted as a cause of myopia. It refers to the fact that people do too much near work, e.g. reading and computer. Near work causes the eyeballs to strain as they try to focus. As a result, the eyeballs adapts by changing its shape, becoming fatter and more circular.
This exercise will teach the eyeballs to return to its original shape, by simply by focusing near and far. Hold up a finger or a pencil in front of you, about 6 inches away. Choose a sailent object, e.g. tree, flag etc. at least 20 feet (6 metres) away. These will be your near and far points respectively. Alternate between the near and far objects, looking at each for about 2 seconds at a time. Repeat until you feel your eyes really working, then persevere some more.
The next 2 are not really exercises, more like relaxation techniques. Use them whenever you feel tired, have dry eyes, suffer from blurred vision.
This one is a real help if you have dry eyes. Solution: produce more tears to moisten the eyes.
You can stimulate the tear ducts by squeezing your eyes shut really tightly. Then blink normally a few times, and squeeze again. Repeat a few times, and your eyes will feel more relaxed and comfortable.
This is when you cover your eyes with your palms. A few things to take note:
Do not rest on the eyeballs directly. Only put pressure around the eye socket.
Please make sure that your hands are clean. Introducing germs and bacteria to your eyes does not help matters much.
Gently cover your eyes so that you can see no light. In the darkness, you may see brief flashes of light. This is normal, and simply indicates the spontaneous firing of the neurones in your eyes. But if the light flashes are too intense, they may indicate that you are too tense.
This is a wonderful relaxation technique for the eyes. I usually feel much better after each palming session. The duration is up to you. It can be as short as 10 seconds up to a few hours but try to make it about 30 minutes: That’s when the benefits can really be seen.