Yogic Eye Exercises: What Does the Research Say?
- 14 minutes read
Yogic eye exercises is another term for eye yoga. Proponents of eye yoga claim that these movements strengthen the eye muscles and also condition them. People who practice eye yoga do so intending to relieve symptoms of dry eye, improving their vision, and decreasing eye strain.
There is no scientific proof that eye yoga can correct near-sightedness, astigmatism, or farsightedness. No exercise can give your vision more clarity.
But that’s not to say that eye yoga is entirely useless. No, it isn’t. Some studies suggest that yogic exercises can improve your focusing ability and also relieve the symptoms of eye strain.
This article will review what the research says about yogic eye exercises, and also other eye exercises that can boost your eye function.
Acclaimed benefits of yogic eye exercises
Studies on the benefits of eye yoga are mixed. It may be helpful in some conditions, and unhelpful in others.
Improvement of eyesight
There is no proof that eye yoga can improve myopia. A 2012 study examining eye yoga techniques for astigmatic and refractive error patients showed very insignificant objective improvement.
The researchers are of the view that more research needs to be done before completely ruling out eye yoga as a complementary treatment for eyesight.
There are claims that yogic eye exercises can reduce the intraocular pressure inside your eye. This implies that eye yoga may slow the progression of glaucoma.
A proposition documented in the 2018 issue of the International Journal of Yoga compiled some pieces of evidence to support the claim that eye yoga was beneficial for high intraocular pressure. However, no clinical trials have been done to either verify or disprove this theory.
There is absolutely no evidence proving that eye yoga exercises can relieve the symptoms of chronic dry eye.
Post cataract surgery
Some proponents of eye yoga claim that the exercises can rebuild ocular strength after cataract eye surgery. However, trying this exercise immediately after surgery is not advisable.
Your eyes have to heal and they need time to do this. Your eye also has to adjust to the artificial lens placed by the doctor during the surgery. You must discuss with your ophthalmologist before doing any kind of eye exercise, especially after cataract surgery.
Dark circles under your eyes
It is important to note that eye yoga has no positive effect on blood flow underneath your eyes. It also does not help with the dark circles under your eyes.
There are indications that eye yoga may relieve the symptoms of eye strain. In a study involving 60 nursing students who were made to undergo eye yoga practice for 8 weeks, results from the study showed that the yogic eye exercises reduced eye fatigue and tiredness.
There is a relationship between eye strain and stress. Thus, practicing yogic eye exercises may help in two ways: first by stimulating and strengthening the muscles that control eye movement, and by reducing stress levels and allowing the students to remain focused and centered.
What does the research say about yogic eye exercises?
Many studies have investigated the benefits of eye yoga. However, there is a need for more research to verify the claims made by its proponents.
Yogic eye exercises involve maintaining focus on close and far objects. It also involves movement of the eyes in all directions (left, up, right, and down). These muscle training and focusing movements play two major roles:
First, yogic eye exercises have a calming effect on our bodies. It brings peace to your body through good and effective stress coping mechanisms, thus minimizing your risk of hypertension, which is linked to anxiety, headache, and glaucoma, all of which can aggravate eye strain and other eye conditions.
Second, by practicing how to focus, you will improve the way your brain responds to what it sees, even if your eyes send the so-called “refractive errors” that makes it hard to distinguish images. Your eyesight may not improve per se, but you will be more focused on what you see.
This explains why, in a particular study, no improvement in eyesight could be objectively measured but participants thought their vision was clearer.
A 2013 research involving 60 participants found that basic eye exercises improved the response time to what the research group was seeing. This means that they were able to identify quickly what they were looking at.
Yogic eye exercises to improve eyesight
Yogic eye exercises may improve eye strain and also decrease stress. When you are relieved of stress, you can focus better. This means that you can recognize what’s going on around you even when your eyesight isn’t “fixing” or “healing.”
You can try out these exercises after you’ve had a long screen time to see if they can ease discomfort. If you use glasses or contact lenses, you will have to take them off before trying these exercises.
It trains your ocular muscles and also improves your focusing ability.
- Stick out your left hand to the maximum and then raise your thumb in a thumbs-up posture.
- Sit straight and look straight ahead. Allow your eyes to focus on your thumb.
- Slowly move your arm to your right. Move as far as you can, allowing your eyes to follow your thumb.
- Move your arm in the reverse direction, following your thumb as far as your eye can go without moving your chin or neck.
- Repeat this as many times as you can.
Just another exercise that is designed to ease eye strain.
- Sit straight up and take a deep breath.
- Look to the ceiling slowly, allowing yourself to focus above.
- Roll both of your eyes so that they are looking to your right.
- Roll both eyes so that they are looking down.
- Roll both eyes so that they look to your left.
- Look back at the ceiling, and then straight ahead, and then breathe in. Repeat as many times as you can before switching directions and moving your eyes in a counterclockwise direction.
You can bring your eye exercises to a close with a few moments of palming. The goal is to calm you and help you to focus.
- Warm your hand by rubbing them together.
- Place them over your eyes, like you want to play “peek-a-boo.” Allow your fingertips to rest on your forehead but don’t allow your palms to touch your eyes. Cup them slightly away from your face, allowing your palms to rest on your cheekbones or around it.
- Breathe in with ease and clear your mind. Look into the darkness that envelopes your hands and think about nothing.
- Repeat this for some minutes as you breathe.
Tips to keep your eyes healthy
Apart from trying yogic eye exercises, there are many evidence-based ways to maintain your eye health.
- Go for regular eye exams. This is very important. A regular eye exam will improve your chances of detecting eye conditions early. It also gives you the chance to discuss any concerns you may have about your eyesight with your doctor. If you are above 60 years of age, you must see your doctor every year, even if your vision is flawless.
- Wear sunglasses. This will help protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.
- If you are a heavy user of the computer, ensure you take five-minute breaks per hour.
- Drink clean water always to keep your eyes and other parts of your body lubricated.
- Eat kale, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables, as well as carrots and oranges.
- Avoid vape or smoke.
Tonika Bruce, also known as The Network Nurse, is a multi-talented individual with a career spanning over 20 years. She’s a Registered Nurse, speaker, author, and advocate for change, excelling in business building and team development. Tonika holds two Master’s degrees in Nursing and Business Administration, (MSN & MBA) and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.
Her expertise extends to various fields such as nursing, entrepreneurship, business, basketball coaching, and executive leadership. She is a published author of “Relentless Pursuit: Proven Tips for Unlocking Your Potentials, Limitless Success and Post COVID Syndrome: A Guide to Repositioning the Nursing Profession for A Post COVID Era”. Currently, Tonika is working on Thrudemic, an anthology examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical professionals and patients.