As our population ages, vision loss from eye diseases is increasing.
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI):
About 3.3 million Americans aged 40 or older are blind or have low vision. This is about 1 in every 28 people.
By 2020, that number could be 5.5 million -- a 60% increase.
NEI has identified the most common eye diseases in people over age 40 as:
Age-related macular degeneration
Diabetic eye disease
To catch eye conditions early and help...
If you regularly experience symptoms such as eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to bright light, tired eyes, or difficulty sustaining attention, you may be a candidate for eye exercises. Eye exercises will not help people who have nearsightedness, dyslexia, or excessive blinking or squinting of the eyes. Also, these exercises are usually not effective for paralysis of an eye muscle, eye muscle spasms, or eyesight problems that do not cause the symptoms mentioned above.
With conditions such as amblyopia, eye exercises are usually most helpful when prescribed in early childhood. Providing proper eyeglasses, if needed, is the first step. Amblyopia is then treated by patching or using eyedrops to block or blur the good eye. Vision therapy exercises can also force the brain to see through the amblyopic eye, which helps to restore vision.
What Do the Eye Exercises Involve?
Eye exercises strengthen the eye muscles, improve focusing, eye movements, and stimulate the vision center of the brain. Through a series of progressive therapeutic exercises, you can be instructed on how to control your eye muscles and to see properly.
The eye exercises prescribed are usually unique to the patient and vary depending on the patient's age and other existing eye problems. Examples of different types of eye exercises include changing focus of both eyes from near to far and back to near, switching as each distance becomes clear; covering one eye with one hand and looking at different objects continuously instead of staring at just one object; concentrating the eye on a solitary object; or having the eye follow a pattern in order to build vision muscles.