On World Sight Day 2019, start the healthy habit to exercise your eyes daily
“There are at least 2.2 billion people around the world with vision impairment,” said Dr Alarcos Cieza, Coordinator, WHO Blindness and Rehabilitation, in a video ahead of World Sight Day today.
“Of this,” Dr Cieza added, “at least 1 billion are living with a vision impairment that could have been prevented or can still be addressed.”
Some of these conditions – like short and far-sightedness – are simple to address with prescription glasses. Others, like cataract, may require minor surgery.
Eye exercises can also help to relieve strain and keep the eyes healthy. This World Sight Day, make yourself a promise to add these eight eye exercises to your daily healthcare routine:
Our eyes are supported by six muscles, known as the ocular muscles. These muscles help in the movement of the eyes - looking to your left, right, up, down or even blinking is made possible by these muscles. Try these exercises to strengthen your eye muscles, and improve focus:
Near and far focus exercise
- Sit comfortably in the corner of a big(gish) room and pick a point on the wall to gaze at.
- Hold a sharpened pencil upright, six inches away from your face, at eye level.
- Look at the point of the pencil for a few seconds.
- Now, look at the point on the wall (ideally 10-20 feet away) for a few seconds, then go back to looking at the pencil point.
- Repeat this at least 10 times per round.
- When you feel your power to focus is improving, change the point on the wall to something farther away.
Blinking is important for cleaning the eyes and keeping them moist and relaxed. Unfortunately, when we work on the computer or watch television all day, we blink less. This leads to more strain on the eyes, which eventually leads to eye fatigue, dry eyes and other related symptoms. Whenever you feel your eyes are getting tired, try this exercise:
- Close your eyes completely for three to four seconds.
- Now open them and keep them open for three to four seconds.
- Repeat this exercise seven to eight times.
- Do this exercise as often as you can remember throughout the day.
To improve flexibility and coordination of the eye muscles, try to make the infinity sign with your eyes:
- Sit upright with your back against a wall. Look straight at the wall opposite you.
- Now, imagine there’s a huge “8” drawn horizontally on the wall like so: ∞ (the symbol for infinity).
- Trace the infinity symbol starting from the right side for a few minutes.
- Now change the direction and trace the symbol by starting from the left side.
- Do this for a few minutes daily.
Blocking the light for a few minutes can relax overworked eyes. Try it this way:
- Sit comfortably on a chair.
- Rub your palms together for a few seconds to generate warmth.
- Place your palm (cupped) over the eyes without putting pressure on the eyeballs. You can place your elbows on a desk or your knees if you like.
- Relax in this position for up to three minutes.
This exercise also helps to improve the strength and flexibility of your eye muscles, and by extension, your focus:
- Sit comfortably on a chair or sofa.
- Raise one arm straight, till it is parallel to the floor.
- Point your thumb towards the ceiling.
- Now, look at your thumb as you move it towards your nose.
- Stop when your thumb is 3 inches away from your face.
- Now, move your thumb away till the arm is completely stretched.
- Repeat a few times. Switch arms if you get tired.
- Stand comfortably and look at the wall opposite you.
- Now, imagine there’s a giant clock is hanging on the wall.
- Keeping your head still, look at the 12 o’clock position for three-four seconds.
- Switch to the 3 o’clock position and look at it for three-four seconds.
- Move on to the 6 o’clock position, then 9 o’clock position and finally back to the 12 o’clock position.
- Repeat this eye movement five times.
- Now change the direction, and repeat anticlockwise.
Splashing is also a form of eye exercise. Usually, people splash water into their eyes when they feel sleepy. But it also stimulates blood circulation to the eye - blood carries nutrition and oxygen to each cell and revitalises tired eyes:
- Splash room-temperature water on closed eyes 20 times.
- Now, splash cold water on closed eyes 20 times.
- Repeat every morning and night.
Gentle eye massage can relieve strain. Try it this way:
- Sit on a chair, with your back straight and legs shoulder-width apart.
- Close your eyes. Focus on the point between the eyebrows (keep your eyes closed throughout the massage session).
- Place your thumb on this point and press gently for four breaths. You can rest your fingers gently on the forehead.
- Next, massage the bridge of your nose with the thumb and index finger: press the bridge of the nose and gently squeeze in the upward direction. Do this four times for four breaths.
- Next, place your middle finger on each cheekbone, right below the eye. Massage the area gently for four breaths.
- Place your thumbs just below the eyebrow and massage gently.
- Now, place your thumbs on the inner corner of the eye and massage gently.
- Shift your thumbs to the midline of each eyebrow and massage.
- Lastly, place your thumb below the eye centre and massage gently.
You can massage all these points at different times or in one go, depending on your convenience. Finally, a good night's sleep can go a long way to promote overall health - make sure you get at least seven hours daily.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Eye Pain.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Oct 10, 2019 15:40:18 IST
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