Plenty of people have problems with their eyes that require complete eye care. You should safeguard your vision with regular trips to the optometrist. Your ability to improve your eyesight doesn’t begin and end at the eye doctor’s office, however. Your eyes are complex organs, but a lot of their functions are handled by the same kinds of muscles you have in the rest of your body. Like other muscles, regular exercise helps them to function properly. Here are a few exercises you can do to keep your eye muscles in shape:

1. Palming Your Eyes

Sit at a desk or table, and take a few deep breaths to relax. Place your elbows on the table or desk in front of you, and take off your eye glasses or spectacles. Rub your palms together for a few seconds to warm them up. Place your hands over your eyes with the cup of your palm covering your eyes, the heel of your hand on your cheekbone, and your fingers on your forehead. Make sure you can still blink freely and are not putting too much pressure on your eyes. Keep your hands over your eyes for 30-60 seconds, then release.

2. On the Blink

People who stare at a monitor all day tend to blink less than they should. Optometrists recommend  blinking exercises to help you focus longer, keep your eyes fresh, and reduce eyestrain. Sit comfortably with your eyes open. Blink rapidly 20 times. Then close your eyes and relax for 20 seconds, and take a deep breath. Repeat this exercise 4-5 times.

3. The Sideways Glance

This is a good exercise that an optometrist might recommend to help increase the flexibility of your eye muscles. Sit down and take off any eyewear or spectacles. Hold your hands about 12″ in front of you, 18″-24″ apart from each other, with your thumbs up. While keeping your head straight, focus on your left thumb, then straight ahead, then on your right thumb, then straight ahead again. Breathe in as you look at your left thumb, and breathe out as you look at your right thumb. Repeat this 10 times. Afterward, close your eyes for 20 seconds and take a deep breath. Then focus back and forth again 10 more times, and close your eyes for another 20 seconds.

4. Seeing the Big Circle

This is another good exercise that an optometrist might recommend for your eye muscles. Sit comfortably and remove all eyewear. Place your left hand in your lap. Hold your right hand up about 12″ front of you, and make a slow circle motion in front of you with it. While not moving your head, focus your eyes on your hand as it makes the circle. Breathe in as you complete the upper arc of the circle, and breathe out as you complete the lower part of the circle. Repeat this circular gesture five times, in both a clockwise and counterclockwise motion. Repeat that gesture five times again with your left hand, in both a clockwise and counterclockwise direction.

5. The Ups and Downs

This exercise helps work your eye muscles in a vertical manner. While sitting with your eye glasses off, hold your hand 12″ in front of you, with your thumb up. Slowly raise your thumb up, while keeping your arm straight. As you raise your hand, follow your thumb with your eyes only, keeping your head straight. When you’ve gone as far as your eyes will go, bring your thumb back downward into your lap, keeping your arm straight. Continue to follow it down with your eyes only, without moving your head. Breathe in as you raise your arm, and exhale as you lower it. Do this 5 times with each arm.

6. Here’s Looking at You, Nose

Sit down cross-legged. Hold out your right hand as far out as it will go, with your thumb up, Focus both eyes on the tip of your thumb. While focusing on your thumb, slowly bring it to the tip of your nose. When you reach the tip of your nose. keep your thumb there for 3-4 seconds, with your eyes focused on it. Bend your arm back out as far as it will go, continuing to focus on your thumb. Repeat this motion at least 5 times. Inhale as you bring your thumb to the tip of your nose and exhale as you move your thumb away.

7. Seeing Clearly Near and Far

Stand or sit near an open window that has a clear view of the horizon. Hold your thumb out 6″ in front of you and between your eyes and the horizon. Focus your eyes on your thumb for about 5 seconds, then shift your view to the horizon for another for another 5 seconds. Inhale as you focus on your thumb, and exhale as you focus on the horizon. Repeat this exercise 20 times.

See Your Optometrist for the Best Eye Care

It’s still a good idea to make regular visits with your optometrist at your local vision center to ensure your eyes are always in good working condition. But, with these simple exercises, you can help keep your eyes healthier. And that’s definitely not a bad thing to be looking at!

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