There is even yoga for the eyes! And it works, counteracting eye strain that causes burning eyes, red eyes and blurred vision. Several scientific studies have been able to demonstrate the benefits of this type of ocular gymnastics, such as a research published recently that observed that undergoing eye exercises for an hour, twice a week for eight weeks, led to a significant decrease in eyestrain (Kim et al, J Phys Ther Sci., 2016). But what are these exercises, which, if practiced consistently, can bring relief to tired eyes? Let's see them! Perhaps it will not always be possible to perform exercises for an hour a day, but it will certainly help to interrupt the daily activities from time to time and practice a little yoga for the eyes.
Why eye exercises
It has been observed that vision problems such as eye fatigue, redness and double or blurred vision are generally due to problems in the functioning of the eye muscles, worsened by tensions that are triggered when we have to stare at something at the same distance for many hours, such as a book, in the case of students, or a computer, in the case of workers (Yoo et al, J Phys Ther Sci, 2014). Therefore, all the exercises that lead to the relaxation of these muscles and to the increase of their efficiency are also beneficial for the eyesight, which becomes more sensitive to perceiving stimuli (Gupta et al, Int J Yoga, 2020). Not only that, thanks to these yoga exercises for the eyes, the frequency with which the eyelids are blinked is also increased and this is useful for making the eye more lubricated (Kim et al, J Phys Ther Sci., 2016).
Palming relaxes and revitalizes the eye muscles. Not only that, this exercise stimulates the circulation of the aqueous humor, the liquid that is located between the cornea and the lens, favoring the correction of visual defects. Rub your palms together to warm them. Then, cup your hands in front of your eyes, placing them gently on the cheekbones and forehead, the eyes should not be compressed. Close your eyes and imagine a scene in motion, such as a wheat field swaying in the wind or the waves of the sea on the beach.
Occasionally stop your activities and blink, repeatedly and quickly. The blinking exercise stimulates this action to become spontaneous, inducing relaxation of the eye muscles and improving eye lubrication.
Move your eyes from side to side
Move your eyes to the right, then to the left, then to the right again, continue like this for a few cycles. Then, you can add a step. The eyes look to the right, then bring them to the center and look in front of you, then look to the left, then back to the center and so on. Moving the eyes to the side is beneficial since lateral vision relaxes the tension in the muscles, which is created by staring for several hours at a paper or computer screen at close distance, it prevents also and corrects squint. Then alternating front and side vision improves the coordination of the medial and lateral muscles, which are the muscles responsible for the movement of the eyeball.
Every now and then, during the day or, if you have time available, as an exercise within the practice of yoga for the eyes, you can roll your eyes, drawing a circle, in one direction and the other. The rotation of the eyes restores balance in the muscles surrounding the eyes and improves the coordination of both eyeballs.
Moving your eyes up and down
After looking to the side and rolling your eyes, another very useful exercise is to look up, keeping your head still, and then down. This helps balance the upper and lower eyeball muscles.
Looking at the tip of the nose
Looking at the tip of the nose improves the accommodation and the focusing power of the eye muscles.
Switch between near and distant viewing
Near and distant viewing improves the ability to focus at different distances. You can look at the tip of your nose and then shift your view to an object several meters away from you, such as the house opposite, a tree at the bottom of the garden. Alternatively, you can raise your arm so that your index finger is 15-20 cm away from your face. Observe the tip of your finger, trying to focus, observing the features, the folds of the skin, then move your view to an object at a distance of 3-4 meters from you, also in this case try to observe the object.