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12 eye exercises to improve eyesight

Dr. SatabdiApr 30, 2024

You may have heard that carrots are good for the eyes. Well, they are! But there is something else that is even better for your eyesight. Eye exercises! Experts say eye exercises are helpful in improving your vision and maintaining your eye health. Read on to know 10 eye exercises to improve your eyesight.




Top 12 eye exercises to improve your eyesight

Here are 12 simple exercises for better eyesight.

1. Near and far focusing

This exercise helps in improving the flexibility of your eyes and improves your focus. Follow these instructions to perform it.

  • Sit down on the floor of a room at least 6m by 6m.

  • Take a pencil and hold it at least 6 inches from your nose. 

  • Glance at the tip of the pencil and quickly change the vision to an object about 10 to 20 ft away. Do this for a few seconds and then look at the pencil tip for a few seconds.

  • Repeat the process 10 times every day. You can start shifting to objects that are farther away as your vision improves.

2. Figure of eight

This exercise strengthens your eye muscles and increases their flexibility. Here is how you perform it.

  • Focus your eyes on a point that is about 10 feet away from you.

  • Trace an imaginary ‘8’ with your eyes along this point.

  • Repeat this for 30 seconds and then change the direction.

3. Palming

This exercise helps in relaxing your eye muscles and relieving your eye fatigue. Perform it as follows

  • Rub your palms vigorously against each other for a few seconds to warm them.

  • Close your eyes and place the arm over your eyes and hold it until the afterimages disappear.

4. Blinking

Blinking is an essential process that distributes oil across your eyes to facilitate lubrication. If you are someone who works on computers or has prolonged periods of screen time, you may not blink sufficiently. This can cause irritation, dryness and a burning sensation in the eyes. Here is how you can prevent this. 

  • Take a small break to blink multiple times. 

  • Close your eyes and pause for a few seconds before opening them again. 

  • Repeat this multiple times.


Source: giphy

5. 20-20-20 rule

If you are someone who has prolonged screen time, this exercise would help you to reduce eye strain. Take a break every 20 minutes, and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

6. Zooming

This exercise helps in relieving eye fatigue. Here is how you can perform it.

  • Sit straight. Hold your thumb straight upwards and stretch your arm out in front of you.

  • Focus on the tip of your thumb for a few seconds.

  • Slowly bend your hand and bring the thumb closer to you until it is 3 inches away. 

  • Now, slowly move it away to the original point. 

  • Repeat this process at least 3 times.

7. Refocusing

Refocusing exercise helps in relaxing your eyes after spending prolonged hours in front of the screen. It is performed as follows.

  • Take a break away from the screen and focus on the farthest object across the corridor or a faraway building from your window for a few seconds.

  • Hold your thumb in front of your eyes and focus on it for a few seconds.

  • Repeat this exercise at least 5 times.

8. Roll your eyes

This is an exercise that helps in relieving eye strain. You can perform it as follows.

  • Look to your left and right side several times without moving your head.

  • Following this, look up and down several times.

9. Pencil push-ups

The ability to look in the same direction and obtain a three-dimensional view of the surroundings is called binocular vision. In certain cases, binocular vision may be defective. Pencil push-up exercises are useful for correcting such defects. This is how you do it.

  • Hold a pencil in front of your eyes at arm's length.

  • Slowly bring the pencil closer to your eyes until you see a double image of the pencil. 

  • Draw the pencil to its initial position.

  • Repeat this several times during the day.

10. Around the world

This exercise helps to strengthen your eye muscles. It is performed as follows.

  • Sit comfortably in a place.

  • Look straight up for 3 seconds.

  • Look down for 3 seconds.

  • Look ahead to a point for 3 seconds.

  • Look to your left and right each for 3 seconds.

  • Look to the top left and top right for 3 seconds each.

  • Rotate your eyes clockwise and anticlockwise two times each.

11. Brock String

  • The Brock String, pioneered by Frederick Brock, is a versatile tool in vision therapy.

  •  To set it up, create loops on each end, securing one to a doorknob. Position three beads: the closest to the knob, a middle bead 2-5 feet away, and a near bead 6 inches from your nose. Hold the string taut below your nose. 

  • This tool facilitates exercises for training the eyes in tracking, alignment, and focusing, promoting better visual system coordination. 

12. Barrel Card

  • The barrel card is a tool designed to improve the coordination of eye convergence for close-up vision.

  • To start, hold the barrel card parallel to your nose, ensuring that the circles are aligned horizontally, with the largest ones farthest from your nose. Close one eye, so one eye sees red circles, and the other sees green circles. 

  • Adjust the card as needed to make sure both eyes view an equal portion without any tilting. Now, focus on the circles that are farthest from you. The two images should merge, creating a single red-green circle. 

  • After 5 seconds, shift your focus to the middle circle, and then to the closest, smallest circle. It's normal for the unfocused circles to appear double. After one cycle, relax your eyes. Work your way up to completing 10 cycles, holding each circle for 10 seconds.

What are the benefits of eye exercises?

Some of the benefits of eye exercises are as follows. 

  • They strengthen and tone the weakened muscles of the eye and improve blood circulation.

  • Reduce eye strain.

  • Improve the functioning of the eyes and help you to focus better.

  • Reduce the sensitivity of eyes to light.

  • Improves various aspects of vision such as perception of depth, hand-eye coordination, etc. 

With so many benefits, regular eye exercises are a must for eagle-sharp vision!

Who needs to perform eye exercises?

There is absolutely no debate on who needs to do physical exercises every day. The answer is, everyone. The same principle applies to eyes also. However, eye exercises may be of extra significance to people with certain conditions as follows.

  • Difficulty to focus the eyes for reading

  • Double vision

  • Lazy eyes (amblyopia)

  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)

  • Inability or decreased ability to focus on an object (convergence insufficiency)

  • Decreased ability to perceive depth (poor three-dimensional vision)

  • After surgery for improving muscle control

How to improve eyesight 

  • Nutrient-Rich Diet: Consume foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, along with the mineral zinc, known for their antioxidant properties. These nutrients can help prevent macular degeneration, a condition that affects central vision. Include colorful vegetables and fruits like carrots, red peppers, broccoli, and strawberries in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon and flaxseed also promote eye health.

  • Carotenoids: Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids found in the retina, play a pivotal role in improving eyesight. Incorporate leafy green vegetables, broccoli, zucchini, and eggs into your diet. Supplements are also an option, as they protect the macula by enhancing pigment density and absorbing harmful ultraviolet and blue light.

  • Exercise and Weight Management: Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight not only benefit your overall health but also your eyes. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which can harm the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, leading to diabetic retinopathy. Controlling blood sugar levels and staying fit can reduce this risk.

  • Manage Chronic Conditions: Conditions like high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis can impact eyesight due to chronic inflammation. Inflammation of the optic nerve, for instance, can lead to vision loss. While some conditions can't be prevented, they can be managed with a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and medications.

  • Protective Eyewear: Whether engaging in sports, working with chemicals, or doing activities with potential eye hazards, protective eyewear is essential. Durable eyewear, often made of polycarbonate, provides crucial protection against injuries and foreign objects entering the eye.

  • Sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation helps safeguard your eyes from conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium. Additionally, a wide-brimmed hat can provide added protection against sun damage.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: To alleviate eye strain, especially during extended computer use, adhere to the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on an object 20 feet away.

  • Quit Smoking: Smoking significantly elevates the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Quitting smoking leads to rapid improvements in overall health, including eye health.

  • Family History: Awareness of your family's eye health history can help you take preventive measures, particularly for hereditary conditions such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration, age-related macular degeneration, and optic atrophy.

  • Hygiene: Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands before touching your eyes or handling contact lenses. Proper cleaning and disinfection of contact lenses, as well as adhering to replacement schedules, reduce the risk of eye infections.

Best eye exercises 

1) Eye Circles:

  • Sit or stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your head still and look up, then start making slow circular motions with your eyes.

  • Gradually increase the size of the circles, and then switch to a clockwise direction. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes to improve eye mobility.

2) Visual Scanning:

  • Place a piece of paper with randomly scattered letters or numbers in front of you.

  • Start at one corner and scan the paper, looking for a specific letter or number. Once found, move to the next one.

  • This exercise enhances peripheral vision and fine eye movements.

3) Word and Number Searches:

  • Use word search puzzles or books with hidden pictures or numbers.

  • Concentrate on finding and circling the hidden items or words within the puzzle.

  • These activities improve visual scanning and focus.

4) Crossword Puzzles and Sudoku:

  • Solving crossword puzzles or Sudoku challenges your visual-spatial skills, memory, and concentration.

  • Engaging in these activities regularly can sharpen your mind and indirectly support eye health.

5) Concentration Exercise:

  • Hold a small object (like a coin or button) close to your eyes and focus on it.

  • Gradually move the object away while maintaining focus. Continue until it's almost at arm's length.

  • Bring the object back closer to your eyes. This exercise enhances accommodation, the eye's ability to focus on near objects.

6) Peripheral Vision Awareness:

  • Sit in a quiet, well-lit room. Gaze straight ahead and become aware of objects or movement in your peripheral vision.

  • Try to identify objects or changes in your peripheral vision without shifting your gaze.

  • This exercise enhances peripheral awareness and can be particularly useful for athletes.

7) Memory Game:

  • Place several objects on a table in front of you. Take a few moments to memorize their positions and details.

  • Close your eyes or turn away, then try to recall and describe each object without looking.

  • This exercise challenges your visual memory and concentration.

8) Tracing Shapes:

  • Draw simple shapes (circles, triangles, squares) on a piece of paper.

  • Trace the shapes with your eyes, following the lines as accurately as possible.

  • This exercise improves eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

9) Visualization:

  • Close your eyes and visualize complex scenes, such as a detailed landscape or a favorite vacation spot.

  • This mental exercise enhances visual imagination and can be relaxing.

10) Focusing:

  • To enhance focusing ability, hold a small object like a finger or a pen at arm's length. Focus on it for a few seconds, then switch your gaze to a distant object. 

  • Alternate between near and far objects for a minute or two. This exercise improves the flexibility and coordination of your eye muscles.

11) Eye Rolling:

  • Gently roll your eyes in a clockwise direction for a few seconds, then switch to a counter-clockwise direction. 

  • This exercise improves eye flexibility and can relieve eye strain caused by prolonged fixed focus.

12) Zooming:

  • Sit comfortably and extend your arm with your thumb outstretched. Focus on your thumb and slowly bring it closer to your nose while maintaining focus.

  • Once your thumb is about 3 inches from your nose, slowly move it away again. Repeat this process several times to exercise your eye's focusing ability.

Other tips to increase eyesight

1) Regular Eye Check-ups: Schedule routine eye examinations with an optometrist or ophthalmologist, even if you have no apparent vision problems. These check-ups can detect early signs of eye conditions and help maintain optimal eye health.

2) Proper Lighting: Ensure your workspace and home have adequate and appropriate lighting. Avoid glare on screens and use task lighting when reading or working on close-up tasks to reduce eye strain.

3) Reduce Screen Time: Prolonged screen time on digital devices can lead to digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. Implement the 20-20-20 rule mentioned earlier and consider using blue light-blocking screen filters or glasses.

4) Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can affect the production of tears, leading to dry eyes and discomfort. Drink an adequate amount of water to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

5) Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: Rubbing your eyes, especially with unwashed hands, can introduce germs and irritants, potentially leading to infections and eye damage. Instead, use artificial tears to relieve dryness or itching.

6) Protective Eyewear for Sports: Engage in protective eyewear, such as goggles or sports-specific glasses, when participating in sports and activities that pose eye injury risks, including racquetball, basketball, and swimming.

7) Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol intake can lead to nutritional deficiencies and harm your eyesight. Moderation is key to maintaining overall health and eye well-being.

8) Manage Allergies: Seasonal allergies can cause eye irritation and redness. Consult with an allergist or eye specialist to manage allergies and receive appropriate treatments or medications.

9) Proper Contact Lens Care: If you wear contact lenses, strictly adhere to cleaning, disinfecting, and replacement guidelines provided by your eye care professional. Neglecting lens hygiene can result in eye infections.

10) Balanced Diet: In addition to vitamins A, C, and E, maintain a well-rounded diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These provide essential nutrients and antioxidants for overall health, including your eyes.

11) Stay Active: Physical activity not only helps manage weight but also promotes overall circulation, including to the eyes. It can aid in preventing conditions related to poor circulation, like glaucoma.

12) Manage Stress: High stress levels can contribute to eye strain and potentially worsen eye conditions. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

13) Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep, as insufficient sleep can lead to eye fatigue and strain. Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night.

14) Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke: Smoking not only increases the risk of eye diseases but also harms the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the eyes. Steer clear of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

15) Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about eye health and any specific risks related to your age, family history, or underlying medical conditions. Awareness empowers you to take proactive measures.

Why are eye exercises prescribed ?

1) Eye Strain Relief: Prolonged periods of screen use, reading, or close-up work can lead to digital eye strain, characterized by symptoms like dryness, discomfort, and fatigue. Eye exercises help alleviate these symptoms by promoting relaxation and reducing strain on the eye muscles.

2)Vision Enhancement: Eye exercises can enhance various aspects of vision, including focusing ability, eye coordination, and tracking. They are especially beneficial for individuals with conditions like convergence insufficiency, where the eyes struggle to converge when focusing on near objects.

3) Prevention of Eye Conditions: Regular eye exercises can contribute to the prevention of certain eye conditions. For instance, exercises that improve accommodation (the eye's ability to focus on near objects) may reduce the risk of age-related nearsightedness (presbyopia).

4) Treatment of Specific Eye Conditions: Eye exercises are often a component of vision therapy, a specialized program aimed at treating specific eye conditions. Conditions such as strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and visual perceptual disorders can benefit from targeted exercises.

5) Enhancing Eye Muscle Control: Exercises that involve tracking objects or following specific patterns can improve the coordination and control of the eye muscles. This is particularly important for maintaining binocular vision (using both eyes together) and depth perception.

6) Stress Reduction: Palming and relaxation exercises can help reduce stress and tension in the eye and surrounding muscles. Stress reduction contributes to overall eye comfort and well-being.

7) Post-Surgery Rehabilitation: In some cases, after eye surgery, such as cataract surgery or strabismus correction, eye exercises may be prescribed to help the eyes adapt to new visual conditions and regain optimal functioning.

8) Visual Rehabilitation: Individuals who have experienced visual impairments due to accidents or injuries may undergo visual rehabilitation, which includes targeted eye exercises to regain visual skills and independence.

9) Supporting Visual Development in Children: Pediatric eye exercises can aid in the development of visual skills in children. They are often used to address issues like amblyopia, eye teaming problems, and focusing difficulties.

10) Complementary to Corrective Lenses: Eye exercises can complement the use of corrective lenses by helping individuals adapt to their prescription, improve visual comfort, and potentially reduce their reliance on glasses or contact lenses.

11) Difficulty Focusing on Reading: Eye exercises can aid individuals who struggle with focusing their eyes when reading or performing close-up tasks. These exercises aim to enhance the eye's ability to adjust and maintain focus on near objects, reducing symptoms like blurred vision and eye strain.

12) Convergence Insufficiency: This condition refers to the inability of the eyes to work together efficiently when focusing on nearby objects. Eye exercises are often recommended to improve eye coordination, allowing for better convergence and relieving symptoms of double vision or eye strain.

13) Postsurgical Muscle Control Improvement: After eye surgery, such as cataract surgery or strabismus correction, eye exercises may be prescribed to help the eyes adapt to new visual conditions and regain optimal muscle control, aiding in visual rehabilitation.

14) Strabismus (Crossed Eyes): Individuals with strabismus may benefit from eye exercises to strengthen eye muscles and promote better alignment of the eyes. This can help alleviate cosmetic concerns and improve binocular vision.

15) Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): Eye exercises, along with other treatments, may be used to address amblyopia, a condition where one eye has reduced visual acuity. Exercises aim to stimulate the weaker eye and encourage visual development.

16) Double Vision: Eye exercises can assist in managing double vision, a condition where the same object appears as two images. These exercises focus on training the eyes to align properly, minimizing the perception of double vision.

17) Depth Perception Issues (Poor 3D Vision): Problems with depth perception can be addressed through specific exercises that improve the brain's ability to interpret visual cues and enhance stereopsis (3D vision).

Vision Therapy 

What is vision therapy?

A specialized program of eye exercises and activities called "vision therapy" is intended to develop and improve many areas of visual function and coordination. Optometrists with the necessary training frequently prescribe and oversee this procedure. Vision therapy seeks to treat particular vision issues, reduce symptoms, and improve visual abilities in people of all ages.

What does vision therapy do?

1) Correction of Binocular Vision Disorders: Vision therapy is commonly used to treat binocular vision disorders, where the eyes do not work together effectively. Conditions like convergence insufficiency, strabismus (crossed eyes), and amblyopia (lazy eye) often benefit from vision therapy. The therapy aims to improve eye coordination and alignment.

2) Visual Rehabilitation: For individuals who have experienced eye injuries, surgeries, or neurological conditions that have affected their vision, vision therapy can aid in visual rehabilitation. It helps individuals regain lost visual skills and adapt to new visual conditions.

3) Management of Eye Movement Disorders: Vision therapy addresses disorders related to eye movements, such as nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) and saccadic dysfunction (problems with quick eye movements). Exercises help improve the control and precision of eye movements.

4) Enhancement of Visual Efficiency: Vision therapy can enhance visual efficiency, improving skills like tracking (following moving objects), accommodation (focusing on near objects), and convergence (bringing the eyes together to focus on near objects). This is especially valuable for students and professionals who engage in extensive reading and close-up tasks.

What are the methods and techniques  that you should practice for vision therapy ?

1) Customized Treatment Plans: Vision therapy begins with a thorough assessment by an optometrist or eye care specialist. Based on the assessment results, a customized treatment plan is developed to address the specific visual issues of the individual.

2) In-Office and Home-Based Exercises: Vision therapy involves a combination of in-office sessions and home-based exercises. During in-office sessions, patients work with a therapist who guides them through various visual exercises and activities using specialized equipment. Home-based exercises reinforce these activities.

3) Use of Optical Devices: Prism lenses, filters, and other optical devices may be employed during vision therapy to aid in the correction of specific visual problems and to enhance the effectiveness of exercises.

4) Computer-Based Programs: Some vision therapy programs incorporate computer-based activities and software designed to improve eye tracking, focusing, and coordination.

5) Progress Monitoring: Regular progress assessments are conducted to track improvements. Adjustments are made to the treatment plan as needed to address evolving visual needs.

How is vision therapy effective and its benefits

1) Improved Visual Comfort: Vision therapy often leads to reduced eye strain, fewer headaches, and enhanced visual comfort, particularly during close-up tasks like reading and using digital devices.

2) Better Academic and Occupational Performance: Many individuals, including students and professionals, report improved academic and occupational performance after completing vision therapy. Enhanced visual skills contribute to better focus, comprehension, and productivity.

3) Treatment of Binocular Vision Disorders: Vision therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating convergence insufficiency, strabismus, and amblyopia. Research shows that it can significantly improve eye alignment and coordination.

4) Visual Rehabilitation: For individuals with visual impairments due to accidents, surgeries, or neurological conditions, vision therapy can help restore or maximize their visual potential, improving their quality of life.

5) Enhanced Sports Performance: Athletes often benefit from vision therapy as it can enhance eye-hand coordination, peripheral awareness, and tracking abilities, improving their performance in sports.

Some easy tips for your eye health:

Obtain a thorough dilated eye examination every few years. Even if you haven't seen any issues, get checked out. Many people aren't even aware that corrective lenses could improve their vision. 

Additionally, many severe eye illnesses are symptomless.

Get to know more about your ancestry because many eye conditions run in families.

Assess your risk. Consult your eye doctor every six months to a year if you have diabetes or a family history of eye illness and are at an elevated risk for eye problems.

Put on your shades. Using sunglasses that block UVA and UVB radiation, polarized sunglasses can shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.


There is no scientific evidence supporting the idea that eye exercises enhance vision. While these exercises may not provide benefits, they are also unlikely to cause harm. Regular check-ups with an eye specialist are crucial, as they can identify and address issues even before symptoms manifest. This proactive approach to eye health can help maintain optimal vision and well-being.

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The maintenance and improvement of eye health requires a variety of techniques and activities. These methods help maintain long-term visual acuity while also promoting overall ocular health. They also improve vision clarity and reduce eye fatigue.

A healthy diet full of vital nutrients, such as zinc, carotenoids, and vitamins A, C, and E, is crucial in preventing eye diseases like macular degeneration. Not only are exercise and weight control good for overall health, but they also aid in controlling diseases like diabetes, which can have a negative impact on the eyes.

Regular eye exams are essential for the early detection of eye problems, and good lighting and moderation of screen time reduce eye strain when performing close-up jobs. For maintaining eye comfort, proper hydration and allergy control are crucial, and safety precautions like clean contact lenses and eyeglasses help to prevent accidents and infections.

Avoiding harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking too much alcohol is advised, and knowing your family's eye health history gives you the power to take preventative measures. Techniques for reducing stress and getting enough sleep encourage eye comfort and general wellbeing.

Additionally, a number of eye exercises, such as palming, blinking, concentrating, and peripheral vision awareness, improve the strength, coordination, and visual clarity of the eye muscles. People can promote and protect their eye health for a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision by incorporating these habits into their daily lives and obtaining professional advice when necessary. The secret to maintaining ideal eye health throughout the course of a person's lifetime is consistency in eye care and a dedication to a healthy lifestyle.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on eye exercises.


How frequently should I perform eye exercises?

Depending on your nature of work and eye fatigue, you may have to perform eye exercises three to six times a day to ensure eye health. 

Will I be able to stop using spectacles if I do eye exercises?

You may not be able to completely stop using spectacles by just doing the exercises. However, eye exercises may help to prevent your eye conditions from worsening and would strengthen your eye muscles.

How long should I do the eye exercises?

The time taken for eye exercises depends on the type of exercise you are doing. The simplest of all the exercises is the 20-20-20 rule which can be performed in 20 seconds.

What are some yoga exercises for the eyes?

Palming and eye-rolling are some of the many yoga exercises for the eyes. In palming, you vigorously rub your hand and place it over your eyes until the afterimages disappear. Eye rolling involves shifting your eyes up, down, left, and right multiple times.

What are some other tips to protect the eyes?

In addition to exercise, it is also important that you sleep sufficiently and eat healthy food. You need to reduce your screen time and use blue light filters and night mode on your devices whenever possible. In addition, you should also drink plenty of water to ensure that your eyes stay lubricated throughout the day.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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