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Eye Exercises for Nearsightedness: Do They Work?

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
Eye exercises for nearsightedness will not cure myopia, but they can help with eye fatigue and strain.

Nearsightedness, sometimes called myopia, refers to when a person has trouble seeing things at a distance. It affects about a quarter of Americans, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. There is no evidence eye exercises can cure or reduce nearsightedness. However, Martin Memory, OD, director of Memory Optician, tells WebMD Connect to Care that certain exercises can reduce eye discomfort and strain caused by nearsightedness. 

Can Exercises Improve Nearsightedness? 

Lifestyle changes may improve a range of medical conditions, so it makes sense that you might be interested in trying eye exercises for myopia. 

Many optometrists and opticians will dismiss any claims that exercises can improve vision, as there is no credible science behind them,” Memory says. “However, doing eye exercises can help with discomfort, eye strain and irritation. It can make your eyes feel generally better.” 

Memory says the eye is just like any other muscle. Exercising your eye strengthens it, improving muscle tone and blood circulation. 

While myopia eye exercises won’t cure nearsightedness, they can help a person have their best possible vision and minimize eye strain. This may help with problems such as vision-related headaches, especially in people who have untreated nearsightedness. 

Eye Exercises to Improve Nearsightedness

Memory recommends the following eye exercises to promote general eye health, while cautioning that there is no evidence they will improve or cure nearsightedness

  • 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This can help reduce vision fatigue. 
  • Change your focus: Challenge your focus by holding a finger a few inches from your eye, focusing on your finger, and then slowly moving it away while remaining focused. Now look into the distance. Return your focus to your finger as you move it back toward your eye. Repeat again, and do it on both sides. 
  • Figure 8: While sitting, pick an area on the floor and trace a figure 8 with your eyes. Do this for 30 seconds, then switch directions. 
  • Scan the room: This relaxing exercise can also promote mindfulness. Sit in a comfortable corner, and scan the room. Focus on each object you find, and visualize objects that are both near and far. 

Start Your Journey to Better Vision Today 

No home remedy can cure nearsightedness. While glasses and contacts can help, you can say goodbye to corrected lenses with laser vision correction. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.