Squint / convergence exercises

Convergence theory
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The healthy eyes have a natural ability to converge on an object seen in such a way that the image is at most in the center of the yellow spot. You have certainly noticed that when looking at near objects the eyes converge naturally, while in the case of far objects the eyes set practically in parallel to each other. In both cases our sight has an extraordinary ability to keep the near and far objects in high sharpness. Of course, this refers only to the healthy sight with no convergence disorder.

The proper convergence allows deep and correct reception of the depth of sharpness of the world in 3D. The brain is able to automatically collect the images from the right and left eye in one three-dimensional whole. This ability helps us, among others, to assess the distance from us to the seen objects. Convergence disorder, when not treated medically, can lead to the development of the convergent or divergent squint.

More information on this defect can be found here

Exercise Z1. Convergence with charts
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These exercises use the charts for improvement of sight convergence. Their main aim is to generate a seeming image, which allows to work with each eye individually, strengthen coordination between the eyes and improve the functionality of eye convergence.

  1. Set the convergence training chart about 50-70 cm from the line of sight. Then, pull out the hand with straight thumb (or a pen) at half distance from the chart focusing your sight on it, while watching the shapes on the chart.
  2. You should see a total of 4 images of shapes on the chart. While keeping the convergent vision of the thumb, try to draw it nearer of further so that the 2 internal images can merge into one and you can see a total of 3 images (2 of them are real, and one is seeming). With time and experience, you will be able to see 3 images at once (even with no use of the thumb).
  3. The left and right image merge into a seeming one which should be complete, that is, contain all the details of both the left and right image. Try to see all the details of this third seeming image, draw its shape with the eyes, and then each of its elements. Helpful can be a gentle movement of the thumb back and forward as you stay focused on it. The seeming image should look sharper. With more and more practice, try this exercise without using the thumb.
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z3, Z4
Eye strain: low
Exercise Z2. Divergence with charts
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  1. Use any chart to correct divergence and set it about 40-50 cm away from you.
  2. Look between the stars or simply above the chart top and look ahead. It can be helpful to look at any object located several meters further. You should see the third image (its shade), for example, the stars between the two images on the chart. Set the chart that far so that the third image is visible more clearly, specifically between the other two images.
  3. Then, look at the next row with the stars. You will need to look slightly nearer than at the first row to see the three stars again. Look at their every detail. Notice that the white circle comes from the other side this time. If one of your eyes is weaker, you are going to find it hard to see the white circle at the first or second row of stars. If the muscles of this eye are also weakened, the central image should converge to one of the sides. Should you have such problems, stop for a few seconds or blink several times.
  4. Go on with the next lower rows, and then again with the higher rows.
  5. The exercise with stars can be also done in the eye convergence mode, setting the chart slightly farther and crossing the eyes in front of it.
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z3, Z4
Eye strain: low
Exercise Z3. Thumb exercise
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  1. Choose a far object and look at it keeping the thumb at the height of the seen object. You should see 2 images of the farther object.
  2. Keeping eye convergence on the thumb, try to watch the left image of the seen object and notice as many details as possible. Go back to the thumb again and use the same procedure for the right image of the object. If you have any problems with the “lazy eye”, you should notice that one of the images (that you see by the weaker eye) is less clear. Take more time to work on this eye.
  3. Now, reverse the procedure. Focus your sight on the farther object. You should see 2 thumbs. Repeat step 2 watching the left and right image of the thumb.
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z1, Z2
Eye strain: low
Exercise Z4. Moving thumb
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  1. Place one of the thumbs at the height of the nose about 15 cm from the face. Then, set the other thumb about 30 cm from the face.
  2. Look at the other, farther thumb. You should see the 2 images of the first thumb so that the farther thumb is visible between these split images of the nearer thumb.
  3. Keep the sight on the farther thumb and begin to move it away from you. Be aware of the 2 images of the nearer thumb for the whole time, but stay focused on the moving thumb. After moving the farther thumb away at the distance of the arm, move back to the nearer thumb. Repeat this step several times.
  4. During this exercise, you should at all times see 2 images of the nearer thumb. If you only see one image, it means that one of the eyes is not able to see. In this case, move the farther thumb slightly back to see the 2 images of the nearer thumb again.
  5. The whole exercise can be also done moving the nearer thumb, while keeping the farther thumb as far as possible and looking at the moving nearer thumb. In this case, you should see 2 images of the farther thumb.
  6. Focus on the farther thumb and when you have already seen the 2 images of the nearer thumb, move the farther thumb vertically, for instance, to the left, while staying focused all the time on the moving farther thumb. Set the thumb to see the farther thumb (that will be in the same line) through the left image of the nearer thumb.
  7. Assuming that you moved the farther thumb to the left, the left eye sees the farther thumb and the right eye sees the left image of the nearer thumb. Move the farther thumb towards the nearer thumb for about half a distance, keeping both thumbs in one line. When doing this, you can sometimes see that the farther thumb became double, which means that the eye convergence declined and one of the eyes is out of synchronization. In this case, move slightly back to see the single farther thumb again. Move the farther thumb towards the nearer thumb and vice versa several times.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, but this time moving the farther thumb to the other side, that is to the right.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z1, Z3
Eye strain: low
Exercise Z5. Two-cord exercise
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  1. Attach the ends of the cords, for instance, to the chair, and connect their other end in one place with a bead so that you can easily move this point of convergence of the cords.
  2. Now, try to converge the eyes on the 2 last, far beads. The easiest way to achieve this is to look at the bead connecting the cord on the front. You should see the images of the secondary images of the cord between the external cords. Try to set the connecting bead you look at to make the secondary images of the cord look as parallel to each other as possible.
  3. Focus on this central image of the cord, which is the convergent image of the cords on the sides. Try to look at each bead on the image. If you used beads of different color at each of the sides, your brain has to choose one dominant eye, which allows you to see the image seen by this eye.
  4. If you feel that one of the eyes is dominant and there is no image from the weaker eye, try to change slightly the position of the sight to the right or left to see the missing image of the bead again. Converge the cords again.
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z1, Z3
Eye strain: low
Exercise Z6. Scanning net
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  1. Set the cords as in the exercise Z5, but hold their ends about 30 cm before your body at the height of the chin.
  2. Move the connecting bead from the hand holding the cord by the further 30 cm. Look far at some object (just as with the divergence). You should see the double image of the connecting bead and cords. Farther from the connecting bead you should see 4 cords going farther and 2 sets of the last beads at the end.
  3. Check how far you can scan such a net, the farther you try to scan the more difficult it is since the cords come nearer to each other. Look at each of the beads trying to see it sharply, changing the scanning type, from the cord to the cord, every second bead, etc.
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 3-8 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z2, Z3
Eye strain: low
Squint theory
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Squint (strabismus) is the eye defect that manifests itself with the weakening of eye muscles, which causes the change of the visual angle of one eye against the other. The effect of the squint is the impaired stereoscopic vision.

More information on this defect can be found here

When doing the exercises for the correction of squint, we need to adjust “the position” of muscles, that is, try to improve the eye coordination and restore it to the natural balance. The treatment of squint using vision exercises can be divided into 2 stages:

  1. Improvement of the eye coordination by the exercises for eye convergence and the exercise for flexibility of the eye muscles to make the squinting eye work with the other. For this aim, we use a cord as reference point. It is all about to see the imaginary cross which will be visible when achieving the proper position of both eyes and their convergence at the object we want to see.
  2. The second stage is the correction of the deviating eye and its main defect (such as short-sightedness). This is due to the situation that the squinting eye usually has a larger defect than the other one. Therefore, achieving the same acuity in both eyes will lead to the better balance between the eyes and a full correction of squint.
Exercise Z7. Swinging in mirror
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This exercise was developed by Clara Hackett with the aim to relax the eyes and make them work together.

  1. Stand with the back facing the mirror in a small stride so that the feet are set apart at about the width of the arms.
  2. Conceal the healthy eye (let’s assume this is the right eye) with the palm and look straight ahead with the other eye.
  3. Now, turn the upper part of your body in the appropriate direction of turning the eye allowing you to see your eye in the mirror. If, for example, the left eye is facing the inside, turn your body to the left.
  4. Turn slowly to the initial position. Repeat this 4-6 times.
  5. Now, conceal the left eye and keep turning right until you can see the right eye in the mirror.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z8, Z9
Eye strain: medium
Exercise Z8. Corrective swinging
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  1. Stand straight in a small stride so that your feet are set apart at about the width of the arms and pull out the hands to the sides at the height of the shoulders.
  2. Turn your head always in the opposite direction to the deviated eye. Therefore, if, for example, your left eye is facing the inside or the right eye facing the outside, turn your head to the left and look at your left hand while moving your head and trunk.
  3. Bow the upper body to the right with the left hand raising towards the ceiling and the right hand moving closer to the floor.
  4. Straighten your body to the initial position and bow the upper body to the left with the right hand raising and the left hand lowering.
  5. Now, change the sides and repeat the exercise this time looking at the right hand.
  6. If your right eye is facing the inside or the left eye facing the outside, do this exercise as described above but start from turning the head towards the right hand.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z7, Z9
Eye strain: medium
Exercise Z9. Trombone exercise
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This exercise is proposed by Janet GoodRich and as the name suggests, it involves the movement of any object back and forth like the musician playing the trombone.

  1. Any object of the size of a small bottle will be good for this exercise. Preferably, you should use an object that has many interesting elements so that your eyes have something to focus on.
  2. If your left eye is squinting to the inside, conceal the right eye with the hand and move the object from the central line of the body outside to the left. If your eye is squinting to the outside, the object should be put in motion starting from the outside and continue to move until it achieves the central line of the body.
  3. When we have already completed the first stage of movement, we move the object back to the initial position and repeat this movement 5-20 times. We can change the speed and range of movement.
  4. In the case of the defect in the right eye, conceal the left eye and do the same steps as in 2/3.
  5. While moving the object focus your sight on different details of the object trying to see them as sharply as possible.
  6. You should preferably move the object with the cord described in exercise K4, thus allowing yourself to uncover the healthy eye at a certain point and check whether the imaginary cross is visible. If you manage to do that, enjoy the success, it means that your eyes converge properly. Otherwise, conceal the healthy eye again and do the exercises with the squinting one.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: Z7, Z8
Eye strain: medium