Working adults face common eye issues as they grow older, enter the workforce, or as current working conditions change. Where in previous years spending time in bright, harsh sunlight afflicted many American adults, current studies show that dimly-lit offices, coupled with bright computers, create a host of problems all their own. These working conditions foster near or far-sightedness, macular reduction and other eye conditions like cataracts. Often, eyes can feel tired. Adults with dry or tired eyes may be tempted to relieve the soreness by exercise. Some studies show that eye exercise can improve overall vision. But, are these studies founded? Do they really improve your vision?
Let us consider some factors that can determine whether, and when, eye exercises will benefit eyesight. Among these include the eye’s structure, genetics, muscular aging over time, and the true causes of specific eye problems.
Every adult inherits an eye shape, or a projected path for how the eye will change shape over time. Largely, adults inherit these traits from their parents. While some eyes can remain perfectly round, adults are more and more commonly born with “long” eyes, “short” wide eyes, or astigmatism, among others. These are genetic conditions that determine the very structure of the eye and how light can access the retina.
Light passes through the cornea and should hit the retina. When light hits the retina, light triggers nerve impulses that send signals to the brain and inform the brain of what we see. Adults with perfect vision have properly-sized eyes where light hits the retina dead center. Unfortunately, scientists now believe that more adults will inherit and develop eyesight problems than not; we may see a future where we redefine what “perfect” vision means.
Those with near-sighted vision, also called “myopia,” possess eyes that are too long and oval. This means they cannot see far away objects and can only see objects up close. Light passes through the cornea and stops before it can hit the retina, making faraway objects fuzzy. The nerve signals that process faraway objects are less triggered. On the other hand, those with far-sighted vision have eyes that are too short and wide. Light passes through the cornea and retina both, allowing the viewer to see faraway objects, but not up-close objects.
Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea is not perfectly smooth and distorts incoming light. Then, the retina picks up more than one light “focal point,” creating distorted, blurry, or double-vision in some cases.
Other, more specific eye shape-related conditions exist; these are the three most common. These are, however, untreatable by common eye exercises. No exercise produced in the last fifty years could conclusively change the shape of an adult’s eye. The idea may prove tempting, but research shows that—while muscles exist in the eye—the passage of light from the cornea to the retina is not a muscular process. It cannot be “exercised,” or made “stronger,” with practice. In the last thirty years, scientists instead made strides in long-term surgical options, for individuals tired of remedial glasses or contacts.
Eye fatigue, or eyestrain, is an entirely different affliction. Eye fatigue accompanies the “fuzzy,” sore feeling adults gain when they focus their eyes on either an irritating focal point, like a bright or hi-res object, or on objects they actually cannot see very well at all, like a near-sighted person trying to read distant signs. Muscular strain in any vital organ will decrease that organ’s effectiveness—prolonged eyestrain can make the eye tired in faster increments and promote blurry vision from fatigue, rather than a lack of light.
Specialists recommend remedying working or living conditions to best befit the eye, spanning from rest, to breaks, to supplements. Some suggestions include:
Do eye exercises really improve your vision? In the face of genetic anomaly, studies say, no, despite other prevailing claims. But, mild breaks from focusing the eye, paired with vital nutrients, can preserve the best eye function capable of every person. Consult a doctor and perform an eye exam if you face prolonged eye pain; otherwise, adjust your day-to-day working and living conditions and remember to care for your eyes.