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What are the Benefits of Eye Exercises for Nearsightedness?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Mecomber
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which a person sees near objects clearly but cannot clearly see distant objects. Although there has been no comprehensive global census of the prevalence of myopia worldwide, some researchers estimate that anywhere from 800 million to 2.3 billion people suffer from nearsightedness. Besides corrective and contact lenses, some practitioners recommend eye exercises for nearsightedness. Although eye exercises have not conclusively been shown to improve nearsightedness, the benefits of eye exercises can include strengthening the eye muscles to relieve such problems as double vision, focusing difficulties and strabismus.

Early in the 20th century, American doctor William Bates developed a system of eye exercises for nearsightedness, claiming that such exercises for myopia would radically improve vision. In his book The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment Without Glasses, Dr. Bates prescribed a series of myopia eye exercises to strengthen the external muscles of the eyes, believing that these muscles controlled the eye lenses. Modern research has shown, however, that the ciliary muscles, not the external muscles, cause the lenses of the eyes to focus. There is no scientific evidence showing that myopia exercises improve myopic vision.

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Nearsightedness is primarily a genetic condition, mainly caused by two physical factors: the shape of the eye and the shape of the cornea. For many myopics, the oblong shape of the eye inhibits the proper convergence of light against the retina, causing blurred vision of distant images. In other cases, the cornea of the eye has too much curvature. Although there are some benefits of eye exercises, the specific benefits of eye exercises for nearsightedness are inconclusive and therefore are considered invalid by most physicians.

On the other hand, vision therapy is a valid and beneficial practice. Orthopics and other eye exercise regimens have shown to relieve amblyopia, also known as lazy eye; double vision; focusing problems; and strabismus, also known as crossed eyes. Various forms of vision training are practiced by athletes to improve focus, and eye exercises are prescribed as rehabilitation for patients who have suffered brain injuries. For people suffering from poor vision, even the slightest benefits of eye exercises for nearsightedness is welcome. Such exercises will not improve the condition of myopia but will help the eye to focus more quickly and will reduce eye strain.

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anon336392
Post 5

I personally tried exercises and they worked quite well.

Don't expect to throw your glasses away within a month, but I got 0,5 correction on both eyes, using these methods for three and a half months. I didn't believe it because my doctor told me nothing about it, when I asked his opinion.

anon296549
Post 4

Modern research showed that the ciliary muscle plays a role in accommodation, but there are studies showing people without eye lens that are still able to accommodate.

empey
Post 3

I believe genetics plays a strong role in myopia. One of the causes of myopia is an elongated eyeball, a trait that is certainly inherited. No amount of exercise will change that!

I do wonder, however, why so many people today wear corrective lenses compared to people centuries ago. Has the "bad" gene of myopia been passed down to more of us? Were people of the past less myopic because they were outdoors more frequently (an agricultural society) and used their eyes to see longer distances more frequently? Or are we more "bespectacled" simply because we have access to eyeglasses more than the people of the past did? Hmm.

Mykol
Post 2

I have seen several children who have a lazy eye. It seems in most cases, they have to wear glasses when they are very young, and many times when they are older will also have some surgery done to help correct the problem.

In situations like this, I can see how eye strengthening exercises would be very helpful. If they are cross-eyed, the corrective lenses in the glasses also help train the eyes. It is amazing what they can do, even for young children so they can see better and to correct the lazy eye problem.

sunshined
Post 1

I am sure there are some eye exercises to improve your vision, but I also think that genetics play a big role in whether you will need corrective lenses or not.

My Dad has had to wear glasses for being nearsighted since he was a boy, while my Mom has never had to have any kind of corrective glasses, other than reading glasses. I am nearsighted and have had to wear glasses since I was a girl. My sister is just like my mom, and has never had to have any correction.

I could probably do some exercises that would help, but I cannot imagine being able to improve my vision enough that I would not need to wear any glasses or contacts. It would be great if I could because I get tired of wearing them all the time.

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