Myopia exercises

Myopia theory

Short-sightedness (myopia) is the most common disease of eye refraction. According to the estimates of the scientists, 30% of the Europeans and 60% of the Asians suffer from short-sightedness. In most cases, the defect occurs before the 20. year of age. When it comes to anatomy, the eyeball is lengthened, which causes the improper refraction of light rays falling into the eyeball and focusing of the rays before instead of on the retina.

More information on this defect can be found here

Exercise K1. Exercise with a Snellen chart

It is a basic exercise which is good for the defects of short-sightedness. Those who have correct vision should also do this exercise as often as possible to maintain the good sight or even better than 20/20.

  1. Set a Snellen chart in such a distance to see clearly about half the chart, its further part may be blurred and invisible.
  2. Read the letters in each clearly visible row, letter by letter. Try to draw their contours and see they are clear and black. During this exercise, blink frequently, close the eyes from time to time and visualize the letter you have just read. Imagine that it is even blacker and sharper.
  3. When reading the chart you can also raise the hands on the right and left side of your body to the height of the eyes and move your fingers and palms. This will activate your peripheral perception and reduce the stress due to central vision.
  4. When you come to the row with non-recognizable letters, do not strain your sight. Try neither to see clearly the letters, nor read them. Allow your eyes to move freely across the letters not trying to see them clearly. Watch the space between the letters, their blackness and shape. Take deep and slow breaths, blink and wave your fingers. Once in a while, close your eyes and visualize the letters repeating in the mind that the chart is white and the letters are black.
  5. Move down the chart and when you reach its end, do a short palming. Then, repeat the steps but this time starting from the bottom of the chart. Watch if earlier visible contours of letters are now better visible. Accept what is blurred and enjoy every detail you can see clearly and without stress.
Duration: 4-8 minutes
Repetitions: 1-2 times per day
Alternative exercises: K3, K6
Eye strain: medium
Exercise K2. Stretching of eye oblique muscles

This exercise is designed to relax the eye oblique muscles that are used to change the eye optical length, and are responsible for proper and acute vision.

  1. Take a pencil or use your own thumb and start to move it slowly from down, near the body and move it towards the tip of your nose. Look at the tip of your finger until it touches the nose and your eyes turn also to that point (there is a good chance that near the nose you will see two thumbs).
  2. Then, begin a horizontal movement to the right still looking at the finger as it is moving. Make movement for the length of the arm or a bit shorter. Your sight can move even further (the thumb is not as important here). Stop in this setting for a while and move back towards the nose.
  3. When moving from the nose to a particular direction, breathe in (the muscles strain), stop for 1-2 seconds, and afterwards, when moving towards the nose, breathe out (the muscles relax).
  4. Move as in the step 2, upwards and then to the left. Move smoothly, but in case of any pain, refrain from exercises. Make no more than 2-10 full turns (down, right, up, left) depending on how much your eyes are tired.
Duration: 2 minutes
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: A1, A4, R8
Eye strain: low
Exercise K3. Exercise with two charts

This exercise allows to practice the alternate perception from near and far, which improves eye accommodation and spatial perception.

  1. The exercise requires a special chart with letters that you can look at from far and near.
  2. Fix the bigger chart on the wall in the distance at which you see it more or less clearly, and hold the smaller one in your hand.
  3. Read the next 3 letters from the smaller chart, close your eyes for a second, then look at the bigger chart and read the same letters. Follow this with next 3 letters.
  4. During this exercise you can read the letters in various ways. Read them by the columns, rows or slantwise. You can also form more irregular shapes or just choose any lettering you like. Follow this procedure not more than 5 times.
  5. Now, move yourself a little bit from the farther chart to see the letters blurrily. Practice as in the steps 3-4. Blink and breath to keep your sight relaxed at all times.
  6. Should you feel any eye ache during the practice, discontinue it and do short palming.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: K1, K6
Eye strain: high
Exercise K4. Exercise with a cord

This exercise helps to assess the individual range of good vision (near and far points) and extend it.

  1. This exercise requires a 1m cord, preferably elastic line, beads or other movable markers. It is also a good idea to ask other person to help you.
  2. Good vision is measured for each eye separately.
  3. Hold one end of the cord at the cheek bone (a bit below the examined eye). The other end is fixed to anything at the height of the eyes.
  4. Now, we mark our near point of acute vision that should be somewhere in the area of 5-20 cm (depending on the defect) and begin to move the marker from the beginning of the cord (at the cheek). We are interested in finding a point we will be able to see our marker clearly and acutely from. It cannot be a fuzzy or blurred image. We mark such a point.
  5. Now, we mark our far point of acute vision. We begin to move the marker from the other end of the cord (for example, by straightening our hand or aided by other person) and while coming nearer to the cheek we find our far point of acute vision we will be able to see clearly our marker from. We mark this point with the marker.
  6. With the near and far points of our acute vision marked, we can begin to work on extending the range of good vision by moving the marker about 5 cm near each point to both sides. The elastic cord that can be drawn nearer and moved away with the hand is the perfect option here. Breathe in calmly as you approach the eye and breathe out when you move away. This exercise should be performed for about 4 minutes, but quite often during the day (even to 10 times a day). If one of the eyes is weaker (“lazy eye”), we should work on it to make it as sharper as the stronger eye.
Duration: 2-4 minutes.
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: K5
Eye strain: medium
Exercise K5. Reading with playing the trombone

This exercise consists in “cheating the eyes” while reading a text (a chart or book) set very close to the eyes (0-9 cm). As we draw the chart nearer and nearer, the print starts to blur, which is due to the lack of accommodation in such a short distance. A person suffering from far-sightedness will experience focusing of the image on the retina at least for a while or even behind it (paradoxical farsightedness). Owing to that, our mind sends a signal to the eyes that the further straining of the oblique muscles is useless. This signal should result with relaxation of muscles, the so-called softening of sight and this is what we really want to achieve. Similarly, moving a book like the trombone allows to extend the perception field by the smooth change of accommodation.

  1. Set a chart or book about 15 cm and conceal one of the eyes. Draw the chart nearer to the eye slowly.
  2. When the print is blurred, move your sight across the letters and words not trying to recognize them. Blink from time to time.
  3. Now, make the return movement slowly stopping at the point when you see the text with perfect acuity. Stop at this point for a while and read one or two sentences.
  4. Then, move the chart even farther away until the text is a bit blurred. Blink and draw the chart to the point of the most acuity again, and then, even closer to the eyes until the text is almost unreadable. Go through the steps 3 and 4 (playing the trombone) several times. This technique should improve your range of good vision for the near point.
  5. Do this exercise again for the other eye.
Duration: 2 minutes.
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: K4
Eye strain: medium
Exercise K6. Exercise with a calendar

This exercise allows to practice the change of accommodation and thus improve our acuity.

  1. The exercise requires a special calendar chart with digits of three different sizes.
  2. Fix the calendar chart on the wall and set yourself at a distance from which you see clearly the largest digits, recognize the middle-sized digits with difficulty and cannot read the smallest of them.
  3. Begin the exercise from a look at the next bigger digit (for example, 1), close the eyes, turn your head right and open the eyes. Make a return movement with your eyes closed, this time stopping at the next digit (in this case, 2), close your eyes again and move your head left. Open your eyes again and go back to the chart to the next digit (in this case, 3) etc. until we reach the end of the first row (1-10). Do a short palming.
  4. Now, move to the first digit in the second row (that is, 11) and keeping your eyes open, go down-left to the medium-sized number of 11. Close the eyes for a second (imaging the digit of 11 and that we move the sight from a large to a medium-sized digit). Open your eyes again and move your eyes down right from the large to the medium-sized number of 11. Close your eyes again. Repeat the step 4 for next numbers of the second row (11-20). Do a short palming.
  5. Now, practice with the numbers from the third row (21-30) so that with your eyes open you can make the movement: large-sized number of 21, medium-sized 21 on the left, medium-sized 21 on the right and finally the small-sized 21. It is not important that you are not able to see the small-sized 21 clearly or at all. Close the eyes and imagine this motion in your mind. Visualize that you are seeing each number very clearly. Now, repeat the step 5 for the next numbers from the third row (21-30).
  6. Should you feel any eye ache during the exercise, stop doing it. In the end, do a longer palming as this exercise puts much stress to the eyes.
Duration: 4-5 minutes
Repetitions: 1-2 times per day
Alternative exercises: K1, K3
Eye strain: high