How to Exercise Your Eye Muscles

3 mins read

Between social distancing and working remotely, it’s becoming necessary to exercise at home. If you’ve been meaning to start working out, there’s no time like the present! Most people think about the core, arms, legs, and chest, but what about the eyes? Not only has working from home and other recent changes to social and work life limited physical exercise, it has greatly increased our screen time. More screen time means more digital eye strain, and particularly eye fatigue.

Digital eye strain is characterized by fatigued, dry, and/or pained eyes. You may experience blurry vision, neck pain, and even headaches. Fortunately, eye exercises can offer relief from eye fatigue. Just like working out any area of the body, exercising the eyes increases endurance, and fends off fatigue. Working out your biceps won’t necessarily increase your focus, but working out your eyes will.

Eye exercises, as noted by Medical News Today, now number among recommended therapies for individuals with visual field defects, ocular motility conditions, convergence insufficiency and many other conditions. The bottom line? Whether you have a pre-existing condition, or just want to avoid fatigue, eye exercises are for you.


A Quick Exercise at Your Desk

Now, you’re probably wondering “how do you exercise eye muscles?” It’s not like you can throw your eyes on a treadmill, or grab a dumbbell and do some eye curls. One of the simplest eye exercises you can do is follow the 20-20-20 rule, as we mentioned in our parent’s guide to screen time. The 20-20-20 rule involves, for every 20 minutes of screen time, looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Making this a habit can greatly reduce eye strain.

Another great habit that provides additional benefits is employing a series of eye movements. This exercise regimen relieves eye strain, and offers a simple solution you can use anytime.


1. Look Up and Down

eye exercises look up and down

  • First look up, hold for five seconds, and relax.
  • Look down, hold for five seconds, and relax.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Take a break, ensuring to relax and blink your eyes.


2. Side to Side

eye exercises look side to side

  • Look left, hold for five seconds, and relax.
  • Look right, hold for five seconds, and relax.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Take a break, ensuring to relax and blink your eyes.


3. Diagonal

eye exercises eyes looking diagonally

  • Look up left, hold for five seconds, and relax.
  • Look down right, hold for five seconds and relax.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Take a break, ensuring to relax and blink your eyes.
  • Repeat on the other side, up right and down left.


4. Clockwise and Counter-Clockwise (Roll Your Eyes Left and Right)

eyes rolling clockwise and around for exercises

  • Rotate your eyes in a circle to the left 10 times.
  • Relax, blink, take a break.
  • Repeat, this time rotating your eyes to the right.


5. Focus on Your Nose (Cross Your Eyes)

crossed eyes for eye exercises

  • Cross your eyes by looking at the tip of your nose.
  • Maintain the cross, and look up at your eyebrows.
  • Transition your eyes back to the tip of your nose.
  • Relax, blink your eyes.
  • Repeat five times.


6. Blink With Meaning

eyes blinking hard

  • Close your eyes as tightly as you can, and hold for five seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Open your eyes as wide as you can, and hold for five seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.


Pencil Push-ups

Looking at your nose is tricky for some people, so if you struggled with exercise 5 you're not alone! For those needing a little assist, try this alternative eye exercise, pencil push-ups!

  • Hold a pencil at arm’s length
  • Move the pencil slowly toward your face, focusing on the pencil with your eyes until it touches your nose.
  • Rest briefly, still focusing on the pencil with your eyes crossed.
  • Slowly move the pencil away from your face until again at arm’s length.
  • Repeat 5-10 times. Don’t overdo it!

Learn to implement these exercises as preventative and reparative habits. Without eye exercise, like any other muscle, your eyes will begin to fatigue more and more rapidly. If you have ever struggled with eye fatigue, you know that anything that might help is worth a shot.


A Bonus Solution

As we said, making these exercises a regular routine will help your eyes, but that's not the only solution. The only patented gaming and computer eyewear recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision, GUNNAR glasses offer the eye-strain-preventing protection you need. Check out our blog to learn how blue light glasses can benefit you.

Back to blog