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For almost 100 years, certain experts in eye health have claimed that with their methods, you can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses. They say your vision issues almost exclusively derive from eye strain and weak eye muscles, and claim that you can restore your vision using the right exercises and relaxation techniques.

One of the earliest proponents of this line of thinking was Dr. William Horatio Bates, MD, who pioneered what is now known as the Bates Method. This method involved smashing patients’ glasses in a demonstration that showed corrective lenses were actually hurting rather than helping patients’ vision. Unfortunately, Dr. Bates’ methods were entirely ineffective, and some of his techniques were harmful to his patients’ vision.

EYE EXERCISES AREN’T TOO EFFECTIVE

Vision impairment is usually caused by various health disorders. You cannot, for example, use eye exercises to correct astigmatism or nearsightedness. Likewise, no exercises for your eye muscles will reverse the effects of cataracts or macular degeneration. 
Since eye exercises cannot correct most vision problems, are they still worth doing? While eye exercises cannot correct your vision problems, experts in the eye health industry say we shouldn’t necessarily do away with eye muscle exercises completely.

REDUCING EYE STRAIN

Exercising your eye muscles and shifting your focus can greatly reduce eye strain. When you stare at the computer screen for minutes or hours at a time, you’ll notice that you start feeling heavy-lidded and tired. You may even feel physically fatigued, or develop a headache. These symptoms indicate that your eyes may be strained, and it can make focusing (both mentally and physically) very difficult.

If you want to increase your productivity and the amount of time you spend working, talk to your eye doctor about eye exercises you can do to decrease eye strain.

SHIFTING FOCUS

Try taking your eyes off your computer screen once every 30 minutes or once an hour. Focus on a spot across the room for a few seconds, then focus on something just a few feet away. If you have trouble shifting your focus, try closing your eyes, and massage them gently using your fingertips.

BLINKING

Studies have shown that when we focus on a single object or task for a long period of time, the rate at which we blink decreases. If your eyes are feeling tired, deliberately blink several times in a row. Do this as you shift your focus away from the task at hand to see if it helps relieve your symptoms of eye strain.

TAKING A BREAK

If your eyes begin to feel strained, take a moment to close them. Keeping your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths and relax your shoulders. After a few seconds, open your eyes. By this time, your eyes may feel less strained.

TALK TO YOUR EYE DOCTOR

Eye strain can often be resolved by doing eye exercises regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and eating a healthy diet. If your eyes have not been examined in some time, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible. Eye strain could indicate that you may have other vision problems, which your ophthalmologist can help diagnose and treat.

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