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With such an abundance of books and websites attesting that their eye exercises will improve your vision to a point where you will no longer need glasses, you might assume there would be some scientific evidence to justify these bold claims. Surprisingly, however, there is very little data available to definitively conclude that these eye exercises can, in fact, improve your sight.

Let’s take a look at how eye exercises can (or can not) improve your vision:

EYE EXERCISES CANNOT IMPROVE REFRACTIVE ERRORS

The term “refractive errors” refers to size-related or shape-related abnormalities in the eyeball that can result in an altered or impaired ability to focus light on the eye’s retina. When the length of one’s eyeball is too short, the eye is unable to focus on objects within close proximity because light rays entering the eye will focus onto a point beyond the retina. This condition is called farsightedness, or hyperopia. When the eyeball is too long, light rays entering the eye achieve a focal point in front of the retina, and cannot properly focus on objects in the distance. This condition is called nearsightedness, or myopia. Presbyopia occurs when the eye loses its elasticity, and has trouble adjusting its focus to see objects at varying distances. This condition occurs naturally with age, and is common in people over 40 years old.

In May of 2014, AllAboutVision.com studied a collection of scientific, peer-reviewed publications and failed to discover any research concluding that eye exercises can alter the shape or anatomy of the eyes. The shape of your eyes determines whether you experience any refractive errors. Since there seems to be no correlation between eye exercises and altering the shape of the eye, claims of eye exercises improving refractive errors, presbyopia, or corneal conditions such as astigmatism cannot be justified.

EYE EXERCISES CAN HELP CHILDREN RECOVER FROM AMBLYOPIA, OR “LAZY EYE”

While eye exercises might not be able to alter the shape of your eye, their main purpose is to strengthen and train the eye’s muscles. In other words, eye exercises probably won’t help your hyperopia, myopia, or presbyopia, but they can certainly help with a condition known as amblyopia (sometimes called “lazy eye”).

Amblyopia occurs when the vision in one eye becomes weakened after preferred use of the other eye. Typically, amblyopia develops during childhood, and is far easier to treat when the afflicted individual is young. By covering the stronger eye with an eye patch, for example, the amblyopic eye is forced to work harder and send increased signals to the brain. The process in its entirety is regarded as an exercise, but can often include additional exercises such as puzzles or video games to strengthen the muscles of the “lazy eye.”

There is some evidence to suggest that eye exercises may ameliorate temporary ailments such as headaches and computer vision syndrome, but as of now, there is no clear correlation between eye exercises and long-term vision improvement (with the exception of amblyopia). Eye exercises will not eliminate problems that demand corrective lenses, and cannot resolve issues such as macular degeneration or glaucoma.

Looking to correct your vision with a new pair of glasses or vision correction surgery? Learn more about surgical vision correction with our free e-book, Surgical Solutions for Enhancing Your Vision. Or contact Silverstein Eye Care Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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