Connections between exercise and eyesight aren’t made when discussing eye health. But eye exercises are effective strategies for reducing the effects of conditions such as astigmatism.
Understanding what astigmatism is—and the exercises that benefit those who are experiencing this common issue—will give you the resources you need to maintain good eye health.
Astigmatism is a common disorder that affects your ability to see when the muscles around the eyes are affected. When these muscles are imbalanced, they create undue stress on the cornea.
This stress causes the cornea to lose its shape, which alters your perception and can create blurry vision. Double vision is common in those who have astigmatism, due to the uneven refraction that occurs when light isn’t properly focused.
There are many factors that contribute to astigmatism. It can be developed at birth or result from trauma, eye surgery, or congenital conditions.
Benefits of Eye Exercises for Astigmatism
Exercises help reduce the stress that leads to astigmatism and poor light refraction. These exercises work by strengthening the eyes and allowing specific muscles to relax.
By relaxing the rectus muscles of the eyes, vision is improved over time. Individuals will results will vary, but improvements can be detected in as little as one to four weeks.
Essential Astigmatism Exercises
- Rectus Muscle Relaxation
This exercise targets the rectus muscles and works to increase their level of relaxation. It’s a simple exercise and consists of taking scheduled breaks from activities such as reading or working on your computer.
Focus your eyes on a specific object for 20 seconds. Then, slowly move your eyes clockwise in circles. By relaxing the rectus muscles, you reduce the stress placed on the cornea and restore muscle balance around the eyes.
- Head Alignment
Proper alignment of the head is critical to vision and to balancing the amount of stress being placed on the eye muscles.
It’s common for people with astigmatism to keep their head in a tilted position. This causes their perception to be altered and affects their vision. If you notice you are tilting your head, take a moment to tilt it in the opposite direction, evening things out.
This counteracts the compensation that your body is making for your astigmatism. Doing this exercise repeatedly will develop new habits that can restore head alignment and muscle balance.
- Tibetan Circles
Tibetan circles strengthen and relax the eye muscles.
You can perform this exercise by placing an image no more than 10 centimetres from your eye. Slowly move your eyes upwards and hold for two to three seconds. Then, look downward all the way to the bottom and hold for a few seconds again. Next, move eyes to the side and complete a full clockwise circle. Follow that movement with a full counter-clockwise circle to complete the exercise.
This exercise should be done as you breathe in a slow and relaxed manner in order to achieve the best results.
These are three simple and effective exercises for astigmatism. Learning how to perform them correctly and consistently minimizes the effects of astigmatism and restores balance in the muscles for healthy and functional eyes.