Relieve Eye Strain by Strengthening the Extraocular Muscles

With the pandemic, screen time has drastically increased and so has eye strain. When it comes to our beautiful eyes, it’s important we protect them. The eyes are supported by bands of muscles (the extraocular muscles) that control their movement. Exercising these muscles has significant health benefits, including improved circulation, which reduces inflammation. Additionally, exercising the eyes may minimize eye fatigue or strain caused by vision overuse patterns such as digital eye strain or frequent night driving.


Figure 8 Eye Exercise. You may have practiced this exercise, sometimes called “yoga eyes,” if you’ve ever taken a yoga class and it’s great for eye strain. This exercise should be done from a seated position, such as at your desk, while relaxing in your favorite chair, or while in an easy, seated yoga pose.

  • Pick a point on the floor about 10 feet in front of you and focus on it.
  • Trace an imaginary figure eight with your eyes.
  • Keep tracing for 30-seconds, then switch directions.

Focusing Exercises. Alternate between looking at very distant and very close objects. For example, when seated or standing at home or at the office, alternate between looking at your nose and looking at a farther away building or tree. Repeat several times. Alternate between looking right and left.

The more time spent in front of digital devices, the greater the strain on your eyes and your mind. To reduce these effects, during screen-time, use a blue-light and glare filter over your computer screen or use glasses designed to minimize the effect of screen glare on the eyes. Also, simply closing your eyes for a few moments can give those fatigued ocular orbits a much needed reprieve from visual stimuli and processing.



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