5 Eye exercises to improve your vision

Eye exercises for stronger vision
Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

Eye exercises for stronger vision

Over the last 10 – 15 years there has been a marked increase in the number of people who wear glasses and contact lenses. This can be put down to drastically increased computer useage both at home and at work, and increased television watching. Good news for opticians around the world – bad news for us, but it needn’t be!

Our eyes need regular exercise in order to keep them healthy, just like any other muscle in the body. The thing is, we take it for granted that our eyes will eventually give up on us and we will eventually need glasses or contact lenses. This doesn’t have to be the case if you regularly exercise your eyes. Also, if you start wearing glasses or contact lenses your eyesight will only get worse over time rather than get better as your eyes will get used to the new lense and need even stronger lenses to function properly. Everybody who wears glasses and contacts will tell you their eyes have gradually got worse over time but they have put it down to their eyesight getting worse which is not necessarily the case.

This may sound quite controversial to some people and a lot of people are opposed to this advice when I have given it. Opticians are people of some authority so why would someone listen to me rather than someone who has had years of training and years of experience and have big fancy machines to test your eyes. Simple answer is that 90% of opticians would not be required if everybody done some sort eye exercise on a daily basis.

Of course there are exceptions and a lot of people might need glasses or contacts due to congenital problems or some kind of trauma however I believe most people who wear glasses do not need them or did not need them in the first place.

I use the computer at home and at work for an average of 9 hours per day and do not need glasses. This is only because I have resisted listening to opticians who advised I need them. Instead I have exercised my eyes and after a few weeks of exercising my eyes, they have returned back to normal vision.

I know I will get a lot of abuse for this post but I stand by what I am saying and advise you, if you are a glasses wearer or contact lenses wearer to try the exercises for a few weeks and let me know how you get on. What have you got to lose?

The exercises I use are pretty standard and have been in the public domain for years but they work for me and hopefully they will work for you. I have to give credit here to Marc Grossman after finding his articles on eye exercises a few years ago.

5 Exercises to strengthen your eye muscles and improve your vision


Blinking is an often overlooked yet simple way to keep your eyes fresh and being able to focus longer. Computer users and television watchers tend to blink less, especially when they are intently focused on something. Try it just now as a simple exercise. For the next two minutes blink every 3 – 4 seconds. After you have done this for two minutes, mentally take note of how your eyes feel, are they strained, relaxed, tired. Now try and not blink for 30 seconds at a time for two minutes. Do you feel any difference?

Whenever you blink your eyes are going into a brief period of darkness which helps to keep your eyes fresh and discharges previous information ready for new information, this helps to reduce eye strain.

Your blink rate can also help with your communication skills. Think about someone who looked at you intently and you possibly felt threatened by them. What you may have missed is the fact that they had stopped blinking. When someone stops blinking and stares at you when you are talking it’s a sign of aggression. However whenever you are talking to someone and they are blinking at a 3 -4 second interval it’s a sign of a relaxed and friendly listener. Check out people’s blink rates the next time you are talking. Check out this article for more info Dramatically improve your eye contact skills


This is done to relieve stress around the eyes and as a way to relax your eyes whilst taking a computer break.

Instructions for palming

1. Take a few deep breathes before you begin.

2. Make yourself comfortable whilst leaning forward on a desk or with your elbows resting on your knees. Close your eyes.

3. Place your two hands over your eyes with the cup of your palm covering your eyes, your fingers on your forehead and the heel of your hand will rest on your cheekbone. Make sure you can blink freely and you are not putting too much pressure on your eyes.

That’s it. Palming gives you the opportunity to rest your mind and your eyes for a few minutes at a time. It may not sound much of an exercise but it can make a big difference in your working day if you stop for a few minutes and do this exercise.

3.Figure of eight

This is to exercise your eye muscles and increase their flexibility. This is quite a simple exercise but a good one.

Imagine a giant figure of eight in front of you about 10 feet in front of you. Now turn the 8 on it’s side. Now trace the figure of eight with your eyes, slowly. Do it one way for a few minutes and then do it the other way for a few minutes. It may seem very alien at first but it’s worth persevering with it.

4.Near and far focussing

This is one of my favourite exercises as you can do it almost anywhere, I say almost as I couldn’t imagine doing it on the underground without getting strange looks from those around me.

Instructions for Near and far focussing.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, or stand, this will only take 2-3 minutes at a time.
  2. Put your thumb about 10 inches in front of you and focus on it.
  3. Now focus on something else about 10 – 20 feet in front of you.
  4. On each deep breath switch between focussing on your thumb and the 10-20 feet object in front of you.

This will strengthen the muscles in your eyes over time and improve your vision overall.


This is another one of my favourites as it is very easy and quick to do.

Instructions for zooming

  1. Sit in a comfortable position
  2. Stretch out your arm with your thumb in the hitchhike position
  3. Focus on your thumb as your arm is outstretched.
  4. Now bring your thumb closer to you, focussing all the time, until your thumb is about 3 inches in front of your face.
  5. Now move your thumb away again until your arm is fully outstretched.
  6. Do this for a few minutes at a time throughout the day.

This exercise will strengthen your focussing skills and your eye muscles in general.

I hope this post has stimulated your interest in natural vision exercises and it leads you to research this subject more. I am by no means an expert on this subject so please do your own research. I can only tell you what works for me.

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  • Hi. I used those tipe for some days and i’m still using them. They improved my strenth to use Computer before it i used to use computer but after a while i got tied. Please i want to get more help to improve my eyeist power because i hate wearing opticals. Please tell how can i improve it.

  • Here’s the thing, without all the hoopla around it, natural vision improvement techniques don’t really offer the silver bullet and by doing so, one cant expect results overnight (obviously).

    there are several techniques out there that combine different elements such as eye exercises, stress relief, visualization & relaxation techniques and so on.
    most techniques (including our own are holistic approaches for vision improvement and not purely eye exercises such as the bates method.
    The important thing to understand in such techniques that the results don’t appear overnight, rather take a few weeks.

    All in all, such techniques DO work and helped thousands of people world wide improve their vision without any surgery or so.
    hope that helped a bit

  • Hi steven. After reading your article I saw some faults. You seem to not have done any proper research on this topic. I am a young woman who wears glasses. I have done so from a young age. My eyesight has not infact deteritated as your article has suggested, it has infact improved. I have my lenses weakened everytime I visit my opticians. I understand that you could be reffering to a particular age group, but I feel that you have not specifically indentified this as you should have. I feel this article needs ajustments and you need to research more.

  • hmmm i like the spiritedness of this article. i am all for natural remedies, ayurveda, and holistic medicine so I’m bookmarking this as the start of my journey towards healthier eyes! thanks for sharing

  • HAs anyone mentioned William bates here???
    He is the doctor who did experiments and research for 3 decades and devised methods to naturally improved eyesight. There is one guy whose been promoting it, and he was actually born blind….after 7 surgeries…his vision was minimal….and after that he used William bates techniques and now he has a driving license. Check him out.

  • Our eyes are our most valuable asset. I am going to take this on and do it very regularly. THANK YOU. One other thing I used to do which I still try to do is to move away form all things electronic and look at the greenness of nature, just stare into it. I read somewhere that looking at the greenery of nature does something remarkable for the eyes, and I never tire of it. Thanks Steven!

  • I actually found a trick just the other night that really relaxed me and my eyes.

    You know when you stare at a color for a long time your eyes become saturated?

    The trick is to stare at a color so everything starts to go black/white or chrome. Then just as everything is zoned out, squint your eyes. Do this for a few minutes and then let up.

    For some reason it feels like you just had a nap for the last 2 or 3 hours.

    It sounds silly but you should try it :)
    .-= Beginner DJ´s last blog ..Music Stuck In My Head: 3/07/10 =-.

  • hi can i ask u if, is it better if you do palming while moving your eyes back and forth, side to side and up and down

    i love your article

  • Very useful articles, i did sometimes the eight figure and here another advices to others people: write letters of alphabet with yours eyes, i use to do it everyweek if i don’t forget xD.
    But it’s very strange what happen to me, i wear glasses since i was 10 years old (10 years pass and i’m 20 now), i haven’t change glasses during 5 fives and i came to the ophtalmologist recently to change my glasses because they were broken. So the doctor did analyses and check my eyes and then, we have discover that my eyes had improve of +1! My eyes was -4 and after 5 years, they are now -3! ^o^
    The doctor said it was because my iris has grow or something like that. Very surprising, i didn’t know that our eyes can gain more visibility, it’s maybe because i don’t wear glasses all the times? (only while watching tv and computer and school).
    .-= Sushie´s last blog ..Soup diet =-.

  • Hey there,
    I found the article about improving your eyesight naturally very interesting.
    I’ve done eye exercises in the past and it worked like a charm. There is a website in the U.K. called ‘’ where I found the exercises I used. They also explain very clearly what happens to the eyes when your vision gets bad.
    And for all those of you readers who study optometry – there will always be a rift between theory and practice.- You can study the human body and know all there is to know and still -there will be things which go beyond the physical you’ve learned.-If you really want to help people get healthy why don’t you explore all options?-Human beings consist of the physical, the mind and the soul.- Nowadays every medical doctor should take this in consideration.
    To concentrate solely on the physical is simply old fashioned and ignorant.

  • Thanks for outlining the exercises. Some will be easy for me to start.

    One of my patrons (I’m a nurse and an artist), an eye doctor, promotes much of what you recommend. He called one of the exercises eye push-ups.

    There is anecdotal evidence that along with exercise, some dietary changes will also help improve vision. Although not my experience, I have run into a few who have been able to throw their glasses away. Two, both men, were in their 60’s.
    .-= Jon of´s last blog ..Jan 30, The Detrimental Diet are the Foods and Additives to Avoid to Maintian Health. =-.

  • “I use the computer … for an average of 9 hours per day and do not need glasses.”

    Me too (or thereabouts and have done for the past ten years) and nor do I.

    A good book on this subject is Christopher Markert’s “See Without Glasses”. The author has perfect vision at age 80 apparently.

  • Interesting read.
    I spend quite a bit of time in front of a PC so this seems like a worthy exercise (pardon the pun). Thanks for sharing!

  • I really need to do eye exercises more. I keep forgetting to do them, and they SEEM so pointless. I’d like to hear testimonials from people who have done eye exercises and improved their vision – or, even better, research on it!

  • I had a job where I was looking at the computer and paperwork for ten hours a day. I started seeing traffic signs blurry when I would go home so I thought I needed glasses.
    I went to an opthamologist who told me my eyes muscles were having a hard time focusing on items far away. She said I didn’t need glasses, I needed to strengthen my eyes. So she prescribed using a ball point pen held at arms length. Slowly bringing the tip of the pen towards me as I kept focus on the time. I do this until I can keep one image of the pen as the pen is touching my nose and not splitting into two images.
    Two to three minutes at a time, an hour a day and by two weeks, no more problems.
    This was ten years ago and I am still not wearing glasses. Every once in a while, I will start to have blurred vision so I tune my eyes up again.

  • Thanks for the exercisess, i am experiencing srtsin in my eye due to exposure to computer at work. Well i will use them, but could you mention how often u need to repeat them. Thanks again

  • thank you for the exercises i will use these now. i have been getting eye strain for a while now, always at night so i will try these to inprove my eye sight.

  • I’m nearly done with optometry school and it has been quite entertaining to read this article, and I will take a short break from studying to reply. Like Brent mentioned the amount of ametropia, or amount of near/far-sightedness you have depends, on optics. The power of your cornea, and the power of your lens (leaving out depth of focus due to pupil size, and chromatic abberation effects) as well as the length of your eye are the main factors in determining how well you see. You can not change your prescription by doing the things mentioned at the top. Those are mostly procedures that can be done to increase visual hygiene. Staring at computers and blinking more is important to prevent dry eyes. Staring up close for too long and tire your eye muscles and make your prescription actually get worse. Tip #2 just seems to relieve stress which of course is not a bad thing. Tip #3 seems quite useless to me. Tip #4 is also known as accommodative facility, the ability to focus at near and then far away quickly. This is a good thing to practice, but once again it won’t cure your vision. Tip #5 is a form of vision therapy that can build up your focusing power. Many people have deficiencies in that area, but it does not change (usually) your overall prescription. None of the tips are bad things to do, but “natural” vision cures are a hoax. Interesting article though. There are a lot of ways to tweak your vision and make it better, but it isn’t possible to do those things and make yourself 20/20 or better.

  • After a concussion in 9th grade, I struggled to see the chalk boards in school. I went to an eye doctor (this is the short of it), got diagnosed 20/80 in both eyes, received glasses and contact, and bam! I could see (again). Oh it was so addicting…

    8 years later I found Dr. William Bates’ book in a book store, I scrapped my glasses and contacts. I did natural exercise like the ones you mention. And now…it’s been 7 more years…my vision is solid 20/30 in both eyes, with occasional bursts of perfect clarity.

    I am not surprised by Brent’s reaction. My family, friends, and coworkers pushed me to not-do the exercises. The vision of eyes deteriorating with age is embedded in cultural consciousness. But I have proof of…well the title of your blog says it.

    Nice work, bringing this to mind.
    .-= S.Smith´s last blog ..Taiji Boxing Workshop =-.

  • I have to say Brent is the only person in these comments with any sense. You cannot improve your eyesight using these techniques, but what you can do is make our eyes feel better, get less eye strain, keep your eyes from drying out, less headaches, etc. They are all good tips, and I do use them often as I work on a computer most of the day. However saying they will actually improve your eyesight to the point of not neeeding glasses or contact lenses is wrong.

    Some good tips, but nothing to do with improving eyesight – only to do with making your eyes feel better.

  • Although vision problems run in my family, I’m definitely going to try these exercises. Even if my vision doesn’t become 20/20 I may get an improvement. My daughter is a teenager and she’s starting to have minor issues with her eyes, so I’ll be passing this on to her as well. Your readers may also want to look up herbal eye drops for healing vision. I haven’t used them yet, but I bought them and my fingers are crossed. Thanks so much for the tips.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..50 Regrets and the Life Lessons to Learn From Them =-.

  • Great quick tips! I am starting to work on improving my eyesight naturally more seriously than before and am blogging about my program as I go along. In fact, I just posted some tips on how to do palming on top of the basics and will be going through the other types of exercises in more detail soon.

    The results from your poll keep my faith up! I wonder if the improvements are mainly temporary or not though.

  • Steven Aitchison ,

    Thank you for your helpful tips to improve eye-sight.

    I have found out that eating Dark Chocolate also helps reduce eye-strain.
    I work on the Computer and read a lot all day, and since I added Dark Chocolate to my daily diet, I never have strained eyes .

    This tip is worth investigating.

    • In astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like a football instead of a soccer ball, so it focus light into 2 spots instead of a single point on your retina. The only thing that would change that is a laser surgery or corneal reshaping technology, or other various surgeries/implants. Astigmatism isn’t a big deal :)

  • thanks, its working a bit for me I think. I didn’t need glasses in the first place to begin with…I was so curious to know what glasses was like so I wore it all the time . My eyes were pretty messed up because of my mistake for wearing glasses when I didn’t need to :(. I will continue this exercise to see if my vision will ever go back to normal. It sucks because Im the only family member that wear glasses.

  • Go outside. Find a tree. Count forty leaves.
    This is a great exercise for the eyes as it involves focusing and refocusing, also you are looking at something natural. Especially good for computer users.

  • Thanks for your input Brent, I do appreciate it. As you can see from the bottom of the article where I state: ‘I hope this post has stimulated your interest in natural vision exercises and it leads you to research this subject more. I am by no means an expert on this subject so please do your own research. I can only tell you what works for me.’ And when I talk

    I am presuming you are an optometrist? If so have you done any research at all into imrpoving eyesight naturally?

  • I enjoy the fact that my criticism of this article didn’t go through – how none of this has any scientific backing and isn’t true at all. How the cornea dictates vision rather than muscular development. Grow up. Delete the article. You’re giving people false hope.

  • Again, people on the internet claiming to be knowledgeable in things they haven’t really studied. Two things dictate goodness of vision: cornea shape and the ability of the lens to focus (and ability to change shape as well). The cornea shape is estimated to account for about 90% of actual focus. The extra 10% is based on that of the lens. Neither of these can be modified by muscle exercises. This is optics we’re talking about. You can only do so much via the lens and, even then, that’s using the ciliary muscles, which are in constant use and are constantly being “worked out.” Optics relies on the shape of the object light is passing through. You can’t change this with exercise. You can only change this with physical manipulation via cornea or lens surgery or glasses. Please don’t post things you have no idea about. Leave this work to the optometrists.

  • Hi dear
    Really i liked the information.I have considerable improved my vision.Now i can see very clealry at night time also.

    I am seema saxena,24 f del,unamarried,in job.

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    take care

  • I love the natural way and like you I am in front of the computer more than 10 hours a day. When I feel sleepy because of facing the computer , I will stretch my body, cover my eyes with my bare hands and voila, I’m wide awake again.

  • What I really liked about this is, I already did all of this.

    I spend MANY excessive hours on the PC, and my eyes hurt whenever I get into something a little too much.

    I’m slightly autistic. And I space out a lot and do fidgety things like these, specially the thumb focusing. xD

    Maybe this is the only reason why my eyes are okay.

  • 80% of all the information we get coming through our eyes and it’s essential to keep them healthy and fit.

    The exercises above might be very helpful spatially for people who never heard about eye exercises and eye relaxations.

    But there is one more thing to it. Our eyes is inseparable part of our body and by treating the eyes we have to take the whole body into consideration. Fact is that everything in our body is connected.

    The cause of poor vision might be hidden in your problematic back, neck or liver, emotional imbalance, trauma from childhood etc. By improving or dealing with one of the above you have a big chance to improve your vision even without doing to many eye exercises…


  • Eye is one of the delicate part of body, since childhood listing, care your eyes properly etc. but never read in such interesting informative and helpful manner. specially helpful for child who watching over limit cartoon on T.V., Working on Computer constantly, For Drivers and for many mores.

  • Hi Jeanette,

    Pinhole glasses will not improve your vision, but they may help you see better with the vision you have. The reason for this is that pinholes cut down the amount of off axis light rays getting into the eye, and create sharper focus.

    The problem with them is that they do not address the underlying deterioration of visual acuity that is probably causing your problems. (You can find more on that at

    Steven, good site and good tips too:)


  • I’m a big fan of the near far exercise.

    My wife, who is an optician, always goes on about the amount of time I spend in front of the computer and recommended I do this a few times a day.

    I get much less eye strain now.

  • I have just found this post and had a very quick read, but will be straight back to take all the details in.

    Wearing glasses is a total pain and so many people would love to be free from them, it does limit your life, there is no doubt, and makes very simple things sometimes very difficult, stupid things like just going out in the rain.
    I will try these exercises, I would so live to be free…
    Watch this space…I will be back…lets hope without the glasses.

  • This is great! I needed a way to not have to pay for contacts anymore :).

    Has anyone worked on this yet and found results in any particular length of time? I’ve always hated this inevitable, “oh yeah, your eyes will just get worse, but at least you’ll see better when you have the glasses on.”

    This is similar to my general perspective on doctors. I’m looking into more and more alternative treatments for myself and others because it seems like the more often I ask doctors for opinions they are wrong and expensive. Case in point, my girlfriend has had back problems for four years and they still don’t know what the hell is wrong with her. They certainly have made a good amount of money off of her though.

    Seek alternative treatments like this one, no doubt. I look forward to…seeing more articles like this :).

  • Wow, I’m glad I found this blog. I wore eyeglasses twice in the past, the last one was one month ago. It fell and broken down to pieces. I haven’t got a new pair until now. Actually I have doubts if I ever get myself a new one. I will try these tips and hopefully it will help improve my poor eyesight.

  • Very useful posting, I think it is very much useful to everyone because now days almost everyone spending their time in front of the computer.We should do some kind of activities to avoid harm to our eyes.

  • Unfortunately there isn’t anything really that has been proven to work. The science behind all the factors that cause nearsightedness or myopia is incomplete and we are still learning what leads to this worsening. It is thought that it is a combination of genetice and visual imput.

    • Very correct. I am currently doing a research paper on the process of emmetropization, which is the early development of our eyes to grow into the proper form to not need glasses. There are many theories out there, and you named the main ones of genetics and visual experiences that determine what our vision ends up being. Vision is more complicated than anyone can imagine! And it is really difficult to learn it all. I’ll be finished with optometry school soon though!

  • I think that the simple turning your eyes in clock-wise and anti clock-wise directions can really make your eyes feel a bit active! Besides, as specified by you – Blinking and palming can be used effectively as well!

  • Truly I say to you, my thumbs up. We are the same in our views on wearing eye glasses. I don’t like it either not because its expensive but I know my eyes will depend on it more. I love the natural way and like you I am in front of the computer more than 10 hours a day. When I feel sleepy because of facing the computer (eyes will get tired easily), I will stretch my body, cover my eyes with my bare hands and voila, I’m wide awake again. I will follow your steps and eventually get used to it.

  • I wore classes from 16 to 21 and then got headaches. Doc said it was my glasses, my eyes had improved and I had better than 20/20. The only change I did that may have helped is started shooting. I was on the range a lot and that does exercise your eyes.

    10 years later, 2 years after I stopped shooting, I needed glasses again.

  • I get tired after a day in front of the computer screen. Good lighting really helped ease the eye strain, and occasional breaks are a must.

  • Nice and informative Post. Thanks for sharing Useful Tips. It’s really Useful tips especially for me. I have Glasses and I want to Remove the Glasses.

  • Hi steven,
    Thanks for the help, I’m bound to use CRT monitors for work and it really driving my eyes mad, I feel dizzy sometimes, sometimes things look fuzzy. I guess I’ll give these exercises a try :)

  • Hello Steven,

    I stumbled across your website through google browsing. I have a problem and hopefully you can give me some advice. I am 28 years old and since I was a teenager I have struggled to make eye contact with people. I try but my eyes can not focus on both eyes and tend to rotate back and forth from one eye to the next. This is even from far away not just close up. I would love to able to gaze into a persons eyes during a conversation etc. I have seen an opthamologist about this and he said my vision was fine. Some advice please. Thank you.


  • I’ve tried that kind of crap for years as well as not updating my glasses prescriptions. Didn’t help at all. Excercises as well as pinhole glasses improving vision is a hoax.

  • Hiya

    Very useful article. I’ve only recently begun experiencing eye ‘ache’ after sitting infront of the computer. I’ll apply some of these techniques.
    another useful technique i use is to relax the eyes by non-focusing. I allow my eyes to take in the whole field of vision before me whilst avoiding focusing on any one object. I find i relax much more too.


  • This is really a very useful and informative post.I spend a lot of time at computer both at office and at home.I just needed these tips for my tired eyes.I just splash cold water on my eyes to sooth them.

  • Hi Roasana

    I love that word; serendipitous, it’s the second time today I’ve used it. This has been happening a lot to me lately and it’s strange that just when we need information we find it and often from people we are connected to in some way.

    Thanks for visiting the site, good to have you here.

  • Hi Steven — Serendipitous to find this article. I tend to get dry eye — living in a pretty dry climate doesn’t help, but it’s mainly the hours of concentrating on the computer. My ophtalmologist told me to blink and I’ve been doing it a lot more lately. Happened across your article from the forum we’re on together, where you hadn’t mentioned the topic of the post… and voila! The answers to some things I was wondering about blinking!


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