The best eye exercises aim to reduce tension, the culprit behind a host of eye-related problems.
“Tension in our eyes strains the optic nerve, increases eye pressure, contributes to the degradation of our corneas and maculae, and brings on headaches and migraines,” says Meir Schneider, PhD, LMT, author of Vision for Life: 10 Steps to Natural Eyesight Improvement. “Nearly all eye conditions can be improved by learning to use the eyes with less tension.”
Devote a few minutes a day to these exercises to help relieve eye stress.
- Palming: Sit down and rub your palms together to warm them. Rest your elbows on a table, and gently cover your closed eyes with your palms. Rest with your eyes covered, visualizing total darkness, ideally for six minutes or so, until the eyes relax.
- The Long Swing: To relax the tiny muscles around the eyes, plant your feet about hip distance apart. Let your arms hang by your side and gently rotate your body from side to side. Let your left heel rise as your torso rotates to the right, and vice versa. Let your head and neck follow naturally. Focus your eyes softly on the horizon as you rotate slowly back and forth for several minutes.
- Eye Scan: Close your eyes and take three slow breaths. Open your eyes and focus lightly on an object. Gently trace its outline with your eyes. Let your eyes shift to another object and repeat the process, moving your eyes softly, without staring.
- 20/20/20: When you’re reading, give your eyes a periodic break from screens or books with the 20/20/20 rule: Glance away every 20 minutes, focus on something at least 20 feet away, and keep your gaze there for 20 seconds.
This originally appeared as “What exercises can help strengthen my vision and protect against degeneration?” in the March 2019 print issue of Experience Life.