There is no science behind eye exercises to improve vision

This article originally appeared on The conversation.

You may have seen advertisements claiming to eliminate the need for glasses through vision therapy or vision training – basically eye exercises.

These exercises include applying pressure to the eye or the palms of its hands; eye movement exercises; or straining to read by using the wrong glasses to 'train' the eyes.

Like a professor of ophthalmology – and as an ophthalmologist who has seen thousands of patients – I can tell you that no study to date provides strong evidence that these exercises eliminate the need for glasses or glasses. offer significant long-term benefits. The science is simply not there.

What science says

The lack of evidence applies to virtually all eye conditions and diseases, including common ones such as myopia, or myopia, which refers to when closer objects are bright, but distant objects are blurry. This also applies to farsightedness – also called farsightedness – which happens when objects in the distance are clear, but blurry up close. Neither do these eye exercises help with presbyopiaor the need for reading glasses, which usually begins around the age of 40.

With presbyopia, the patient is neither nearsighted nor farsighted and does not need glasses to see at a distance. But as the eye's lens becomes stiffer over time, the eye has difficulty focusing on small print and smaller text. This decline will continue with age – and with it the need for stronger reading glasses will increase.

Although some methods claim to alleviate the need for reading glasses, they do limits whether there is any evidence to suggest benefit.

That said, here are some things everyone can do to maintain healthy eyes:

Visual development in children

All children should have that a baseline eye examination during childhood and then again between the ages of 6 and 12 months. They should have a third exam between ages 1 to 3, and then a more formal exam between ages 3 to 5 to check for eye misalignment, ocular health, and the possible need for glasses.

Failure to address eye misalignment, or not providing glasses to a child who needs them, can lead to abnormal visual development or amblyopiawhich is a weak, lazy eye.

The progression of myopia in children can be slowed by taking breaks and avoiding exercise for hours on the phone or computer. Limiting reading time outside of school – screen time or otherwise – can help slow the progression of myopia in children.

Prolonged screen time is possible cause eyestrain and dehydration. I suggest you follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look 20 feet away from your device. Concentrate on relaxing the eyes and blinking. Occasional use of artificial tears, which are available without a prescription at drugstores, can help with dry eyes.

Spend more time outdoors is good for your eyes. It has been associated with a reduced incidence of myopia in childhood. One warning: staring directly at the sun, even briefly, is dangerous can cause permanent damage to the retina.

Blue light blockers and supplements

Advertisements for blue light blocking glasses claim they prevent headaches and eyestrain and improve sleep. But some studies, including a large, randomized control trial, have shown that lenses block blue did not change the symptoms of eye strain. Furthermore, there is only limited evidence showing that these lenses improve vision circadian rhythm.

Be wary of supplements or natural remedies that claim to be a miracle cure for any eye condition. These claims are not supported by rigorous scientific evidence, and there is no evidence that they improve or reduce vision eye floaters or eliminate the need for glasses. The same goes for claims that essential oils or other topical substances can improve vision.

Although omega-3 fatty acids have previously been touted for dry eye symptoms, they are true no strong evidence that they helpalthough this does not discount their many other health benefits.

One study has shown that progression age-related macular degeneration delayed in some patients after use of over-the-counter vitamins; specifically the AREDS2 formula. However, these vitamins were not beneficial in patients with early or no signs of the disease.

What works

There are some eye conditions where vision therapy may be recommended, including problems such as misalignment of the eyes and difficulty concentrating on close objects, which can result in symptoms such as diplopia, or 'double vision'.” Ultimately, these conditions are best addressed by your ophthalmologist and have nothing to do with the need for reading or distance glasses.

For overall eye health, a diet rich in vegetables and other healthy foods can help reduce the incidence of some eye diseases. Some studies also show that exercise is associated with a reduction in risk developing glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.

Cigarette smoking has been linked to several eye diseases, including age-related macular degenerationquitting or avoiding smoking is therefore crucial.

Finally, don't rub your eyes; it can lead to increased irritation. Removing makeup at night helps minimize eyelid irritation. And don't sleep with contact lenses on – it can lead to corneal infections and other conditions that can damage your vision.

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