Can Exercises And Yoga Treat Refractive Eye Problems?
To accurately correct the refractive errors and remove spectacles, the shape of the eyeball and the power of the eyes have to change. Surgery is the only possible solution to get this done. However, if the eye problems are caused by eye strain, or computer eye strain syndrome or any other developed diseases then it may be cured by eye exercises and eye yoga.
Causes of Refractive Errors
- Farsightedness: In the case when the eyeball is too short, it becomes difficult to focus on objects that are nearer to the eye because the light rays coming from the object get focused behind the retina.
- Near-sightedness: In the case when the eyeball is too long, and the light rays coming from the object get focused in front of the retina.
Can Eye Exercises And Yoga Achieve That Lenses And Surgery Can?
An expert in a press conference said that there is no surety that patients purchasing programs of eye exercises and eye yoga will have any improvement in their vision. No evidence has been found that tells that visual training and exercises improve vision.
Most people who market these exercises and their uses commercially, always provide a disclaimer. They promote these exercises but also add that the rate and extent to which your eyesight improves is completely dependent on the individual’s eye health and no two people in the world can react to the exercise program exactly.
This question can be best answered by asking yourself a set of questions. If your answer to this is positive then yes, eye exercises are capable of curing refractive errors. The questions are as follows:
- Can eye exercises change the shape of your eyeball, by making it longer or shorter?
- Can eye exercises change the power of your cornea, and result in light being precisely focused on the retina?
- Can eye exercises reshape the irregular eye surface again resulting in precise focusing of light on the retina?
- Can eye exercises restore the original elasticity of the natural eye lens?
If answers to all the above questions are obvious NO, only then the shape and power of the eye cannot be altered without surgery.
Basic Techniques of Eye Exercises And Eye Yoga
All the eye exercise programs have a disclaimer that the results are subject to your eye health and may vary from person to person. The basic eye exercises techniques include the following:
Blinking is a natural, reflex function, and there has not been any evidence found that proves that blinking helps in improving eyesight. However, it has been said that blinking your eyes voluntarily, especially while working on electric devices, can help maintain your eye health. It is because our blink rate significantly reduces when sitting in front of electric devices. Blinking redistributes the tear film and keeps the eyes lubricated. The effective way is to repeat the exercise throughout the day.
Palming is the technique of covering both eyes gently with your palms.
- Take a deep breath and relax your neck muscles.
- Your forearms and elbows should be well supported.
- Now, close your eyes.
- Gently place both of your palms on your eyes for a minute and breathe normally.
Palming is a helpful technique as it relaxes the eyes, results in redistribution of tears and lubrication of the eye.
The Figure of Eight or Circular Eye Movements
- Imagine a large “8” in front of you, about six feet away.
- Slowly revolve your eyes to trace its shape in the clockwise direction.
- Repeat the same for three to four minutes.
- Now, do the same in the anticlockwise direction.
Convergence And Zooming
- Focus on a pencil tip held at a distance of an arm.
- Slowly bring the pencil tip closer until the tip becomes blurred.
- Don’t take your eyes off the tip and try to focus on it till it becomes clear again.
- Take it back to its original position stretching your arm as much as possible.
- Repeat the process ten times.
Convergence exercises majorly strengthen your near vision muscles.
Side To Side Movement
Moving the eyes from side to side is also believed to relax the eyes.
- Sit in a relaxed position and shift your eyes to the right, looking at something at least six to eight feet away.
- Hold your sight in that direction for a few seconds.
- Repeat the same for three to five minutes.
- Now, reverse the order of your sight and repeat this for three to five minutes.
This is the same blinking and palming as done in eye exercises. Side to side-eye movements with gradual inhaling and exhaling
Just like the eye exercises, the person must move the eyes from one side to another. The only difference between yoga and exercise is that one must inhale while looking up and exhale while looking down. Similarly, inhale while looking away from oneself and exhale while looking towards oneself.
Eye yoga emphasizes eye relaxation and hence it encourages you to be aware of important functions like breathing while doing any kind of exercise. After you are done with all the exercises, you are made to lie down in the shava-asan to relax all of your muscles that had been involved in doing yoga.
Yoga should be learned from a trained guru for the best results. Certain yoga postures like shirsha-asan are not advised for people with glaucoma.
How Eye Exercises And Yoga Benefits The Eyes?
Even though refractive errors may be hereditary and due to some structural changes in the eye but there may be certain environmental causes as well. The structural changes in the eyes cannot change with exercises and yoga but environmental factors such as eye strain and fatigue may benefit a lot from eye exercises.
Although eye yoga has not been reported as an effective means of improving eyesight and getting rid of spectacles, yet it is practised by some people with the hope to improve eyesight to some extent.
Most of the yoga teachers prescribe either breathing techniques or relaxation techniques. Many of them also advise personal affirmations and visualization of your eyesight. This means to tell yourself multiple times a day that you actually do not require eyeglasses and that you can see perfectly without them.
Your yoga teachers will never ask you to abolish eyeglasses completely. Since some of the yogic postures can impact your eyes adversely conditions like glaucoma, the training must be properly discussed with your eye doctor.
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The best way to treat your eyes is to visit your eye care professional and get your eyes checked regularly. He will be able to assess the best method of treatment for your eye ailment.
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