While astigmatism is quite common, it can also be quite annoying. That’s because astigmatism can complicate many simple daily tasks – such as reading a book.
When you have astigmatism, it means the cornea of your eye is shaped irregularly. As a result, light refracts unevenly on your retina, leading to blurred vision. Also, the muscles around your eyes can place extra stress on your cornea, leading to double vision, eye irritation, headaches, and eyestrain. Typically, prescription eyewear is used to correct astigmatism. However, there are also some natural ways to improve astigmatism, such as eye exercises.
Our optometrist in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and The Solution Center, Ohio, offers comprehensive eye exams to diagnose astigmatism and recommend the most suitable treatment, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses or LASIK refractive surgery.
People often ask our optometrist if eye exercises can treat astigmatism? While eye exercises cannot fix astigmatism, they may help to relieve risk factors that can worsen the condition. A basic understanding of astigmatism is necessary for understanding the possible effects of vision exercises.
Did You Know There Are Two Types of Astigmatism?
The kind of astigmatism you’re likely familiar with is regular astigmatism. This refers to a football-shaped eye, and the condition is usually genetic and treated with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or LASIK. The other kind of astigmatism is irregular astigmatism, generally caused by damage to the eye. LASIK surgery or contacts are often needed to correct this type of astigmatism.
What these two types of astigmatism have in common is that ocular stress can exacerbate both conditions!
What Causes Ocular Stress?
A number of behaviors that are common among people with astigmatism can worsen ocular stress, such as:
- Extended computer use
- Reading books and digital devices
- Doing fine detailed work, such as sewing or accounting
- Watching TV or working in dim light
- Not drinking enough and/or lack of nutrients
What Exercises Can You Do to Relax Your Eyes?
We regularly perform eye exams for patients with astigmatism who complain about headaches, eye fatigue, and other symptoms of ocular stress. In response, our optometrist often recommends eye exercises to strengthen the eye muscles, reduce stress and relax the eyes. Typically, exercises help improve vision gradually or in as little as 2-4 weeks.
When reading, working at a computer, or doing any kind of detailed work, we encourage regular vision breaks to do eye exercises, such as:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet into the distance for 20 seconds. Gaze out a nearby window and focus on the scenery outside, or look into another room and focus on the artwork or shelving.
- Blinking is another effective eye exercise that can relieve some of the ocular stress
- Rectus muscle relaxation – place the thumb above the nose and move it clockwise around the nose, breathing deeply the whole time.
- Eye massage – place two fingers on each eyelid and apply gentle pressure, moving slowly in a circular motion; repeat 10 -15 times, 2 – 4 times a day
- Reading – open a book and place an object on the side. After reading a paragraph from the book, the kid should focus on the side object and keep doing that until their eyes start to get tired.
- Head tilting – if you or your child usually tilt your head to one side, spend time each day trying to tilt your head in the opposite direction.
- Eye yoga – while maintaining a straight posture (sitting or standing), close your eyes and concentrate on your eye muscles. Breathe deeply while moving your eyeballs slowly, side to side. Do this eye exercise several times a day to help strengthen eye muscles and improve focus.
Treatment for Astigmatism Starts with an Eye Exam
Step one is to visit our specially trained optometrists for a comprehensive eye exam in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and The Solution Center, Ohio. If astigmatism is diagnosed, we’ll recommend the most effective treatment program, which may include eyeglasses, contact lenses, LASIK surgery and/or eye exercises.
At Professional VisionCare, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.
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