If you’re short-sighted, can eye exercises help? In this article we’ll take a look at some different types of exercises for your eyes, and explain what they do to improve eye health in people with high myopia.
Are eye exercises helpful?
First, the bad news: unfortunately there are no specific eye exercises for myopia, and you won’t improve your eyesight simply by exercising your eyes. That’s because eye exercises can’t possibly alter the shape of your corneas – which is what governs how light is refracted inside your eye. Instead, you’ll need to correct any refractive errors using glasses or contacts, or through laser eye surgery. But on the positive side, although they won’t cure myopia, eye exercises can and do help to alleviate the symptoms of eye strain.
How to exercise your eyes
If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, your eyes may feel dry, itchy or strained. To make them feel better, there are a number of different workouts that you can do every day. Here’s how to exercise your eyes, to ease the symptoms of eye strain:
Focus workout 1. In a seated position, hold one finger a few centimetres from your eyes and focus on it. Gradually move your finger further away, while continuing to focus. After a quick break, look back at your finger and keep it focused as you move it back towards your eyes.
- Focus workout 2. This is a similar exercise, but with a wider range. It involves switching your focus between an object around 20cm away, and one around 5-10m away. For best results, repeat 5 times in one sitting.
- Figure-of-eight exercise. Sit looking at the floor. With your eyes focused at a point around 5 metres from your seat, trace a figure-of-eight pattern. After 30 seconds, reverse the direction of your figure-of-eight.
Tips for looking after your eyes
Eye exercises are just one way to take care of your vision. These other small, everyday actions can also help to optimise your eye health, whether or not you have myopia:
- Take regular breaks. Looking at a computer screen, or even reading small print, for extended periods of time can cause eye strain and other issues, so set an alarm to look away from your work every 20 minutes.
- Get them checked. Regular eye tests will ensure that any changes or abnormalities are spotted and dealt with quickly.
- Protect from UV rays. Wearing dark glasses on bright, sunny days will block out harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. (Make sure your sunglasses carry a kite mark to prove they’re UV resistant).
- Eat well. Getting a balanced range of healthy foods into your diet can help ensure that your eyes are receiving all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Treatments for myopia
Exercises are all very well, but if you’re extremely short-sighted with high myopia, you might be more interested in correcting your vision. You’re probably already wearing contacts or spectacles day-to-day, but laser eye surgery is an option that’s worth looking into, if you’d prefer a more convenient option. These days, it’s possible to correct even very high prescriptions using state-of-the-art technology, so even if you were previously told you weren’t a suitable candidate, you may now be eligible for treatment. Find out more about treatments for myopia.