Home SEE WELL Can Eye Exercises Improve Your Vision?

Can Eye Exercises Improve Your Vision?

by Michael Healy
eye exercises

Vision issues caused by eye-strain are on the rise. Fueled by a dramatic increase in the time spent on electronic devices, computer vision syndrome (CSV) has become a leading cause of these eye-related health issues.

On average, people now spend nearly seven hours a day looking at their phones, computers, or television. 

Considering this, eye exercises have become a worthwhile tool for reducing eye strain and maintaining and improving overall eye health. In this article, we explore CVS and a number of other common eye health issues, share specific eye exercises and their benefits, and explain how they can help mitigate eye strain and other vision problems.

What’s computer vision syndrome (CVS)?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain (DES), is a condition that occurs when the eyes are focused on a computer or other display device for long periods. It’s caused by the eye muscles being unable to recover from the constant tension required to focus on a close object.

The most common symptoms associated with CVS include headache, blurred vision, eye irritation, and pain in the neck and shoulders.  

While CVS is a direct result of the amount of time spent on electronic devices, symptoms of the condition tend to be exacerbated by improper viewing distance, inadequate lighting, glare from digital screens, and pre-existing or unaddressed vision problems.

Eye exercises for CVS aim to reduce eye strain and promote proper focusing.

Other common issues 

Myopia (nearsightedness)

Myopia is a very common condition where distant objects appear blurry while close objects are seen clearly. This condition is often caused by elongation of the eyeball or excessive curvature of the cornea. Eye exercises for myopia are primarily used as a way to relax the eye muscles and improve focusing ability.

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Hyperopia is characterized by difficulty in seeing close objects while distant objects are clear. This condition can be due to a shorter eyeball or less curved cornea. Exercises for hyperopia aim to strengthen the eye’s near-focusing muscles.

Presbyopia (age-related focus issues)

Presbyopia is an age-related condition where the eye’s lens loses its flexibility, making it hard to focus on close objects. Eye exercises for presbyopia are designed to maintain lens flexibility and promote eye coordination.

The benefits of eye exercises

The muscles controlling eye movement and function, like any muscle in the body, can become strained and fatigued with excessive use and over time.

Eye exercises aim to strengthen and enhance the functionality of the eyes. These exercises can be particularly beneficial in alleviating ocular conditions, improving visual acuity, and reducing discomfort.

Regularly practicing a series of specific eye exercises can:

  • Improve focus and flexibility
    By training the eye muscles, these exercises enhance the eyes’ ability to focus on objects at varying distances, which is particularly beneficial for those experiencing presbyopia, age-related focus issues, and CVS..
  • Reduce eye strain
    Regular eye exercises can alleviate the discomfort associated with prolonged screen time, helping to prevent symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
  • Enhance coordination
    Exercises can improve the coordination between both eyes, which is essential for activities requiring precise depth perception and hand-eye coordination.
  • Prevent vision deterioration
    For some individuals, eye exercises can slow the progression of certain vision problems and maintain overall eye health.

Specific eye exercises and their benefits


Palming helps to relax the eye muscles and alleviate eye strain. It also reduces stress and can provide a quick break from screen time, making it an excellent exercise for those experiencing digital eye strain.

  • Sit comfortably and rub your palms together to generate heat.
  • Close your eyes and gently place your warmed palms over them, ensuring no light can penetrate.
  • Relax and breathe deeply for 2-5 minutes.

Focusing on near and far objects

This exercise enhances the eyes’ focusing ability and flexibility, which is particularly useful for combating presbyopia. It also helps in training the eyes to shift focus efficiently between different distances, reducing the effort required to shift vision during daily activities.

  • Hold your thumb about 10 inches away from your face.
  • Focus on your thumb for 15 seconds.
  • Shift your focus to an object approximately 20 feet away for another 15 seconds.
  • Alternate between focusing on your thumb and the distant object for about 5 minutes.

Figure eights

The figure eight exercise improves eye movement control and flexibility. It strengthens the eye muscles and enhances the coordination between both eyes, which is beneficial for activities requiring smooth and controlled eye movements like reading from a phone, computer screen, or tablet.

  • Imagine a large figure eight lying on its side, about ten feet in front of you.
  • Trace the figure eight slowly with your eyes, without moving your head, for about two minutes.
  • Change direction and trace the figure eight for another two minutes.


Blinking moistens the eyes and helps prevent dryness and irritation, which are some of the most common problems experienced by people who spend a lot of time staring at screens. It also promotes tear production and distribution, ensuring that the eyes remain well-lubricated.

  • Set a timer for two minutes.
  • Blink normally but deliberately and frequently for the duration of the timer


Zooming strengthens the eye muscles and improves the eyes’ ability to adjust focus between near and far objects. This exercise is particularly beneficial for those with presbyopia and other focusing issues.

  • Hold your thumb up at arm’s length and focus on it.
  • Slowly bring your thumb closer to your nose, keeping your focus on it.
  • Move your thumb back to arm’s length.
  • Repeat for 2-3 minutes.

Eye rolling

Eye rolling helps to relax and stretch the eye muscles, reducing tension and improving flexibility. It is a simple yet effective way to alleviate eye strain and promote better eye movement. Eye rolling is also a quick and easy exercise to fit in while taking a break from screen time.

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • Slowly roll your eyes in a circular motion, clockwise, for a few seconds.
  • Reverse the direction and roll them counterclockwise for the same duration.
  • Repeat 5-10 times in each direction.

Pencil push-ups

Pencil push-ups are effective for improving convergence and reducing symptoms of convergence insufficiency. Convergence of the eyes occurs when the two eyes need to focus on a close object, such as a book, computer, tablet, smartphone, etc. This exercise strengthens the muscles responsible for moving the eyes inward, which is crucial for tasks that involve close-up work.

  • Hold a pencil at arm’s length, at eye level.
  • Focus on the tip of the pencil and slowly bring it towards your nose, keeping it in focus.
  • Stop when you can no longer keep it in focus and then slowly move it back to arm’s length.
  • Repeat 10-15 times

The 20-20-20 Rule

How to perform:

This simple rule helps reduce digital eye strain by giving the eyes regular breaks from screen time. It encourages the eyes to relax and prevents the continuous focus that leads to fatigue.

  • Every 20 minutes, take a break and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.


Eye exercises are an easy,  natural, and non-invasive way to maintain and enhance eye health, particularly in an age where digital screens dominate our daily activities. By incorporating these exercises into your  eye health routine, you can reduce eye strain, improve focus and flexibility, and enhance overall visual performance. Regular practice of these exercises can help prevent vision problems and maintain healthy eyesight throughout your life.

It’s important to remember that while eye exercises can be beneficial, they are not a substitute for regular eye exams and professional eye care. If you experience persistent vision problems or eye discomfort, it is essential to consult an eye care professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment.

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