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Eye gymnastics - instructions and benefits

Eye gymnastics - instructions and benefits

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What is eye gymnastics and what does it help against?

If you notice that your eyes get tired faster than before or that you find it difficult to read letters up close, this is not necessarily due to your eyesight. Often the eye muscle is simply out of shape.

Eye training

The American ophthalmologist William Bates (1860-1931) believed that people do not need glasses until old age if they train the eye muscles, get enough sunlight and warmth and do not strain their eyes. Scientific evidence for this is pending and many eye diseases cannot be treated with eye training alone. However, eye exercises are useful to relax overworked eyes (for example from our work on the PC).


With age, the lens of the eye becomes immobile. In order to look at objects up close, however, the lens must deform, which is why the eye muscles contract. However, since this ciliary muscle also loses its elasticity in old age, an increasingly rigid lens now meets a weak muscle. The result: we see things nearby less and less.

Eye training is also important for age-independent disorders of the eye muscles.

See on the screen

Working on the laptop strains our eyes. We constantly change the view between keyboard, screen and templates. Among other things, this can lead to blurred vision, tight muscles, double vision, tired, painful, red, watery or dry eyes. Headaches are inevitable.

The eye hardly moves when the screen is tense. The natural blink of the eye stops. Instead of 10 to 15 times a minute, we only close and open our lids once or twice. The result: The eyes dry out, redden, burn and itch.

Latent squint

Latent squint is a disturbance of the balance of the eye muscles. Those affected try to compensate for this disturbed coordination, and this leads to tiredness, stress, head and eye pain, double vision and concentration problems. Orthopic binocular therapy helps preventively (binocular means in both eyes).


It is one of the normal phenomena of aging that the muscles lose their strength and the eye lens their flexibility. The solution is now not fatalism, but the same as with other muscle weaknesses: training. The eye muscle is actually a muscle and muscles can be strengthened through targeted exercises. Eye exercises can not prevent you from having to wear reading glasses at some point, but they can extend the time until it happens.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes are shown by burning pain or the feeling of having a foreign body in the eyes. This pain arises when the eye lens is not moistened with tear fluid. The cause can be an illness, dry air (for example due to air conditioning systems), looking at the computer screen or medication.

Ophthalmologists recognize whether the tears are running low because the affected people are sick. To do this, they drop fluorescein into their eyes and measure the time between the blinking and the end of the tear film.

Simple exercises already provide relief to those affected. This includes blinking frequently, gazing into the distance and / or massaging the eyes.


Here are some tips to help prevent eye fatigue:

  1. Look into the distance and fix objects there. This interrupts rigid eye movements and keeps the muscles flexible.
  2. Provide enough humidity in the home and at work. Install humidifiers / nebulizers, spray their houseplants more often and air regularly. Water bowls over the heater also help.
  3. Blink frequently and consciously. This protects the eyes from drying out.
  4. Cover your eyes with your palms several times an hour. This gives the lens and muscle an important break.
  5. Grimace at your mouth. Rub the jawbones with your fingers, opening your mouth as if you were breathing. This is dumbbell training for the eye muscles.
  6. Take walks as often as possible, preferably in the forest.
  7. Treat your eyes to a gush of cold water at least once a day.
  8. Drink enough.

Special exercises

In addition to these general eye aids, there are special eye exercises that keep the muscle going:

  1. Hold one index finger a hand's breadth in front of your nose, your second index finger two hand's width. Then you are also looking for an object in the room. Now alternately fix your gaze on one of the fingers and the third point. Repeat this exercise daily for several minutes.
  2. Cover your left eye with your left hand, extend your arm and open your right palm in front of your right eye. Now focus on a point on the right palm and slowly move it towards the eye. Then pull your hand back to the starting point.
  3. Extend both arms halfway, open the palms towards your eyes and look at them. Now pull your hands gently to the left and right. The eyes look for fixed points. You look at the hands until they disappear from view, then bring them back to their starting position.
  4. Raise your left hand with your arm bent at the level of your eyes and look up at your left index finger. Now extend your right arm and lift your finger so that the right index finger is behind the left. You will now see three fingers when you look at the left index finger. Then fix your gaze on the right one. First the left finger is sharp, if you change your look the right one. At the end you look at another point in the room.
  5. To keep the eye lenses flexible, stand up, spread your legs and press your arms on your hips. Now swing your torso back and forth a few dozen times. You wink every time. Let your eyes wander around the room.
  6. Keep your head straight, as well as your back. Now roll your eyes three times in a circle and fix your gaze, first to the right, then to the left.

Training for better blood circulation in the eyes

To make your eyes bleed better and keep them performing better, you can do simple exercises daily:

  1. To do this, first sit down.
  2. Then you look up, then forward, then down.
  3. Next, look to the right, then to the left.
  4. Now look up to the right, then down to the left.
  5. And vice versa: first to the top left, then to the bottom right.
  6. Let your eyes circle. First to the right, then to the left.
  7. Press the lids together and open them again relaxed.

Eye massage

To relieve the strain on your eyes, put your hands on the back of your head and firmly press your thumbs against the depressions behind the earlobes under the bone. This pressure reduces the pressure on the eyes. They release the pressure slowly and repeat the whole process until they feel the relief.
Now imagine a figure eight lying in front of your eyes. They follow these eight with their eyes without moving their eyes. Then close both eyes and follow these eight without opening your eyes. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • William H. Bates: The Use of Extract of Suprarenal Capsule in the Eye. New York Medical Journal, 1896, pp. 647-650.
  • Wolfgang Hätscher-Rosenbauer: Small eye school. Compact guide: exercises and tips for healthy and lively vision, Mankau Verlag,

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