5 Easy Eye Yoga Movements to Reduce Eye Strain
Like a lot of people, I spend the majority of my day looking at a screen, toggling between my phone (my weekly screen-time numbers are embarrassingly high) and my computer, and in the evening I throw the TV into the mix. Even though I wear blue light glasses and try to give myself a break on the weekends, eye strain and dryness are a constant struggle. I often find myself closing my eyes for 30 seconds at a time during the day to ease some of the irritation.
Studies show I’m not alone. In fact, among computer users, it’s estimated that about 50 percent experience digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. The good news is, in addition to screen breaks and blue light glasses, many easy techniques can help reduce eye strain, dryness, and even improve your concentration.
Introducing: Eye yoga. “There are lots of benefits to eye yoga,” says Danielle Collins, a face yoga expert. “Many people use it to maintain good eyesight and even improve eyesight because we are working with strengthening and toning muscles inside the eye. It's also very good if your eyes are fatigued from a long time watching screens, and can reduce headaches, sore eyes, itchy eyes, allergies.”
So keep your yoga mat in its carrier — all you need for this yoga session is a few minutes and a comfy place to sit. Here are five eye yoga movements you can do at home to help improve your eye health.
1. Eye Rolling
Coupled with rhythmic breathing, eye rolling is a simple technique you can do throughout the day to help restore balance in your eye muscles.
- Sit in an upright position, spine straight.
- Take a deep breath to relax your muscles and calm your mind.
- Without moving your head, direct your eyes up to the sky, then slowly move your eye in a clockwise direction, paying attention to the objects in your periphery as well as your breath.
- Repeat three times.
- Close your eyes to allow them to relax.
- Repeat, this time, moving your eyes in a counterclockwise direction.
2. Focus Shifting
Like eye rolling, focus shifting helps strengthen your eye muscles, which in turn can help with eye strain and vision loss.
- Take a deep breath. Hold one arm out in front of you and make a thumbs up.
- Keep your eyes focused on your hand, then slowly move your hand toward your nose until you are unable to maintain a clear focus.
- Pause for a breath or two.
- Slowly lengthen your arm back out to its original position.
- Repeat up to 10 times.
3. Distance Gazing
Distance gazing can boost your concentration and has been shown to improve short-sightedness in some people.
- Focus your gaze toward a distant object.
- Take a deep breath.
- Slowly shift your gaze to another distant object, allowing your eyes to drift from one object to another, seeking out objects that are varying distances away.
4. Rapid Blinking
When we stare at digital screens, we often forget to blink, or don’t blink as frequently. This eye yoga movement doesn’t require much explanation, but rapid blinking every few hours can reduce eye dryness and strain.
- Blink 10-15 times in a row.
- Repeat at least three times.
Palming is a great way to close out an eye yoga session as it is meant to bring about feelings of comfort and calm and help with focus.
- Rub your hands together vigorously for 10-15 seconds until they are warm.
- Cup both hands over your eyes, resting your fingertips on your forehead and the heels of your hands on your cheeks. Do not touch your eyelids with your palms.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths, allowing your body to relax and your eyes to rest while taking in the darkness under your palms.
- Repeat for up to five minutes.