Visual Exercises You Can Practice at Home
Exercise, an excellent option if you want to strengthen your muscles, can also help you enhance your vision. If you suffer from fatigue, eye strain, occasional blurry vision or difficulty focusing, you may want to try a few of these exercises.
Improve Focus with Simple Exercises
If your vision blurs momentarily when you change your focus from one object to another, try one of these exercises the next time you notice the problem:
- Pen Exercise. Hold a pen upright in your hand and fully extend your arm in front of you at eye level. Look at the pen, continuing to maintain your focus while you slowly move it closer to your face, then farther away again. As you repeat the exercise, try to keep the pen in perfect focus as you move it. Cover each eye in turn and try the exercise again.
- Thumb Exercise. Hold your thumb about 10 inches in front of your eyes. Stare at it for five seconds, then look at an object 20 feet away for five seconds. Repeat the exercise several times.
Boost Eye Coordination with a Brock String Exercise
Vision therapists often use Brock string exercises to help their patients improve eye coordination. If your eyes don't work well together as a team, you may experience blurred vision, double vision, headaches, and eyestrain. Eye coordination is often a problem for people who have strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eyes).
You can buy a Brock string online or make your own by stringing a few colored beads on a string that's about 5 feet long. Tie one end of the string to a chair or other secure object and place the other end against your nose, keeping the string taut.
Move the beads until the first one is about 15 inches from your eyes, the next 30 inches from your eyes, and the final bead 5 feet from your eyes. When you focus correctly on each bead, you should see two versions of the other beads. If you don't, both of your eyes may not be focusing correctly on the bead.
Ask a family member or friend to watch you and let you know which eye is aimed directly at the bead. This eye is your dominant eye. Cover the dominant eye with a piece of paper and focus on the bead with your weaker eye only. As you slowly remove the paper from the dominant eye and begin to use both eyes together, you may notice an improvement in your focusing ability.
Enhance Tracking Ability with a String and a Ball
The ability to follow objects with your eyes is important in reading, sports and copying spelling words. It may be possible to improve tracking simply by tying a small ball to the end of a string.
While you lie on your back, ask a friend to swing the ball in a circle and from side to side. Keep your head still and use your eyes to follow the movement of the ball.
Refine Hand-Eye Coordination and Memory with Video Games
Shooting at targets, catching rapidly falling objects or playing matching games offer more than just a way to pass time. In fact, video games may help you improve tracking, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, visual processing, and memory.
Games may even improve contrast sensitivity, the ability to distinguish slight differences in shades of gray. Contrast sensitivity allows you to recognize faces easily and read fine print. During a study conducted at the University of Rochester, researchers discovered that participants who played action video games improved their ability to see small differences in contrast by 58 percent.
Eye exercises are just one of the techniques that vision therapists used to treat focusing, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, depth perception, strabismus, amblyopia, and other vision conditions and issues. Your treatment plan is specially designed to improve your vision problem and may involve activities, exercises, computer games, prisms, lenses, balance balls, and other tools and techniques.
Could vision therapy improve your visual ability? Call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.