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7 Exercises That'll Improve Eye Health

Other than our heart, our eye muscles are the hardest working muscle group in the body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at work, at the gym or relaxing at home – we still stare at screens. These habits weaken our eye muscles, making them tired and less efficient, which in turn weakens our eyesight and exacerbates existing problems. These six easy exercises will reduce the strain on your eyes – a leading cause of tension and tiredness.

Important: Take a 20-second break between each set.


1. Focusing on Different Distances

This exercise works on the inner eye muscles.

Healthy Eyes

Repetitions: 5

Sets: 3

  • Stand or sit comfortably.
  • Place your thumb approximately 10 inches away from your face and focus on it.
  • Take a deep breath and focus on an object that’s 10-20ft away.
  • Repeat by changing focus between objects with every deep breath.


2. Stretching the Medial and Lateral Eye Muscles

This exercise will stretch and strengthen the muscles that control the eye’s horizontal and vertical movement.

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Repetitions: 3

Sets: 3

  • Sit comfortably while maintaining an upright position.
  • Look at the leftmost point you can without moving your head. Focus on this point for 5 seconds.
  • Blink a few times and return the eye to its normal resting state.
  • Look at the rightmost point you can without moving your head. Focus on that point for 5 seconds.
  • Blink a few times and return the eye to its normal resting state.
  • Repeat the exercise by looking at the upper-most/lowest point. Remember to blink between each stretch.

3. Relaxing the Eyes

This exercise will reduce tension and stress around the eyes and is recommended when taking a break from working on the computer.

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Duration: 5-10 minutes

  • Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths.
  • Lean your elbows on a desk (place a pillow underneath to reduce strain on the elbows).
  • Rub your palms together to warm them up.
  • Close your eyes and cover them with your palms. Your fingers should be on your forehead, and the bottom of your palms should lean on your cheekbones.
  • Make sure not to put pressure on your eyes by pressing your palms on them. To be sure, try blinking.
  • Remain in this state for 5-10 minutes (it’s recommended that you use a timer).
  • If your eyes still feel tired, repeat it.

4. Half-Closing Your Eyes

This exercise, taken from traditional yoga, is meant to strengthen your eyelids, which have an important role in supporting the eye.

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Duration: 1½ minutes

  • Partially close your eyes, make sure your eyelids cover no more than half the eye.
  • If your upper lids start shaking, concentrate until they stop. You can try focusing on a distant object.
  • Remain in this state for 10-15 seconds, and then slowly close your eyes.
  • Take a few deep breaths to increase your blood flow. Visualize that the clean air you’re inhaling going into your eyes. Exhale, then repeat for a minute.

5. Number 8 Movement

This exercise will strengthen the eye muscles and will improve their flexibility.

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Repetitions: 10 per direction

Sets: 3

  • Imagine the number 8 lying down (∞).
  • Track that shape with your eyes – do this slowly without moving your head.
  • After completing 10 repetitions to one direction, blink for a few seconds, then perform 10 more repetitions to the other direction.


6. Massaging the Eyes, Temples, and eyebrows

This exercise relaxes the eyes and reduces strain and tension by increasing blood flow to these areas. Additionally, the mild pressure on the tear ducts will increase the moistness in the eyes, which provides relief for tired eyes.

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Repetitions: 3

  • Close your eyes.
  • Lightly press on your upper eyelids and gently massage them in circular motions using 3 fingers. Perform 10 clockwise movements, and then 10 counter-clockwise movements.
  • Repeat the same exercise on the lower eyelids.
  • Use your fingertips to massage your temples in circular motions. Do this 20 times in a clockwise direction, and then 20 more times in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Massage the point between the eyebrows.
  • Apply gentle pressure on the inner edges of the eyebrows (by the nose), and then release. Perform this exercise 3 times.

7. Controlled Cross-eyed Focusing


This exercise will strengthen your eye muscles, as well as train your eyes to focus on nearby objects, thus relieving stress on the eyes.

Duration: 5-10 Minutes

  • Make a noticeable mark on a pencil.
  • Hold the pencil vertically with your arm fully stretched, with the mark facing you.
  • Focus on the mark, but do not proceed to step 4 until you’re 100% focused on the mark.
  • Slowly move the pencil closer to your face, while keeping total focus on the marked pencil. Try and maintain a straight line with your nose. Your eyes will have to adjust to keep the pencil in focus.
  • Stop at the point where you start seeing double.
  • Without moving your head or the pencil, look away and focus on something else, and then take a 5-second break from the exercise. If the change in focus bothers your eyes, close them for a few seconds. During this time, do not move your head or the pencil.
  • Once your eyes feel rested, look back at the marked pencil, until you’re fully focused on it. If it takes some time at first, don’t be discouraged. If you still see the pencil twice after 2-3 tries, proceed to the next step.
  • Slowly move the pencil away from your face while staying focused on it.
  • Repeat for 5 minutes a day. Once this becomes easy, repeat for 10 minutes a day.
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