Although Harry Potter may have done a lot to popularize spectacles, most of us still hate the idea of having to use glasses or contact lenses to correct vision. Not surprisingly, eye exercises to improve eyesight are all the rage, with many sites even claiming that their eye exercise programs can correct visual defects.
But how reliable are these claims about the benefits of eye exercises and can visual defects really be corrected with such exercises?
Can Eye Exercises Eliminate The Need For Spectacles?
“Clinical investigations into the efficacy of eye exercises found that they offer no benefits in terms of preventing, slowing, or reducing the severity of visual problems like short or farsightedness”
The idea that you can toss out those spectacles after exercising your eyes may sound too good to be true, and that’s because it is. There is no clinical evidence to support claims that eye exercises correct visual defects and many of these exercise routines are actually based on principles that simply do not correspond with the anatomy of the eyes!
As do all exercises, eye exercises simply exercise the muscles – in this case, the muscles involved in vision.
However, the most common visual defects that necessitate corrective spectacles and contacts are caused by problems with how the eye itself is shaped, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
Moreover, eye exercises cannot reverse or prevent age-related problems like presbyopia, macular degeneration, or conditions like glaucoma. In fact, clinical investigations into the efficacy of eye exercises found that they offer no benefits in terms of preventing, slowing, or reducing severity of visual problems like myopia that result from physiological problems.
Do Eye Exercises Help At All?
“Findings from clinical trials support the use of specialized vision therapy or orthoptics to treat specific problems like crossed eyes or convergence insufficiency”
Although eye exercises may not prevent the need for spectacles, they are not entirely useless. Studies that found eye exercises to be ineffective for common visual problems also point out that vision therapy or orthoptics can help in specific situations.
Vision therapy or eye exercises prescribed by opthalmologists can help to treat conditions like crossed eyes (strabismus) or convergence insufficiency. Findings from a clinical trial published in the journal Optometry And Vision Science also support the use of eye therapy for such problems.
Although there is no evidence for the benefits of eye exercises to help prevent or reverse visual defects that require spectacles, keeping your eyes healthy may help to delay the onset of some visual problems. However, this doesn’t require specialized eye exercises that come on DVDs! Instead, follow a good eye care routine to minimize eye strain and take regular visual breaks if you work on a computer, to shift your focus onto more distant objects.
So, until there’s a more compelling case for eye exercises based on sound science, we’d advise you to hold onto your eye glasses.
December 6, 2017