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Have you ever looked up from reading or staring at a screen for a long time, only to find that far away objects were blurry and hard to focus on? You may think that you’re nearsighted, that you need reading glasses, and that you need to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist.

Well, you’re right about one thing — you definitely need to go see your eye doctor. However, the solution to your problem may not be corrective lenses. You may actually just need to do some eye exercises to strengthen the muscles around your eyes and relieve strain.

Some of the problems that eye exercises can improve include:

  • Weakened eye muscles after surgery
  • Difficulty focusing or shifting focus
  • A drifting or lazy eye
  • Double vision
  • Poor three-dimensional vision

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR EYE DOCTOR

First, we have to stress that self-diagnosis is never a good idea. If you’re either having trouble focusing, you’ve noticed blind spots in your field of vision, or you see any changes in your vision, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. When you meet with your doctor, you may want to ask about these exercises and how helpful they may be for your case.

ROLL YOUR EYES

Pretend you’re a frustrated teenager and your parents have just grounded you. Roll your eyes as far back up into your head as possible. You may find it helpful to close your eyes at the same time. Hold this for a few seconds and then relax. Blink several times, and then repeat between five and 10 times.

WATCH THE CLOCK

Pretend that there’s a large clock directly in front of you. Look straight ahead for between three and five seconds. Then, without moving your head, look at a position along the perimeter of the clock face for a few seconds. Return your eyes to center, and then look at another position on the clock. Repeat this, moving your eyes to different places on the clock, always moving back to the center between positions.

SQUINT, MASSAGE, AND RELAX

If you’re having trouble focusing on objects that are far away, you may want to try this exercise. Close your eyes as tight as you can for between three and five seconds, then hold a cold or hot compress against your eyes, lightly pressing your fingers against them for about five seconds. Remove the compress, blink a few times, and relax your focus. Repeat a few times until your eyes feel relieved.

PRACTICE SHIFTING FOCUS

Hold a pen up a few inches in front of your face and focus on it for several seconds. Put the pen down and focus on something that is several feet away from you. Then, move your focus to something farther away in the distance for a few seconds. Let your focus relax, and then repeat the process.

If your vision is only slightly impaired, your eye doctor may recommend that you spend time each day without your glasses or contacts to exercise your eye muscles and keep them strong. Always follow your ophthalmologist’s recommendations for your vision needs.

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