Written by Editorial Team
What is the reason behind kids having difficulty focusing on near objects? Why do their eyes strain? Are spectacles the only solution? Or can eye exercises for kids help to improve vision without needing eyeglasses? The human eye possesses ciliary muscles and flexible lenses. These muscles change the shape of the lens itself, thickening it or contracting it, allowing us to focus on distant and near objects.
When the eye or ciliary muscles don’t work the right way, the eyes can start straining or the vision may become blurry when doing certain activities like reading or writing. It is called convergence insufficiency, and is a growing problem among children. To address this problem, the science of vision therapy evolved. Under this, many eye exercises are used to train and strengthen the eye muscles. Here are 10 best eye exercises for kids to improve their eyesight without relying on spectacles.
In This Article
In the age of smartphones, tablets, and computer screens, excessive screen time has become the new normal. This has led to the rise of several eye-related problems in kids like-
Problems like these make it challenging for a kid to do-
If the above problems sound familiar to you, wait no more and make your child go through an eye exam.
Habits formed at this young age can make a difference for a lifetime. We see examples all around us – people good at concentrating, reading, problem-solving, sports, and so forth. We cherish the fruit but the seeds were sowed long ago. That’s why it’s essential to address the obstacles like eye issues stopping your child from engaging in worthwhile activities.
However, it’s crucial to note that not everyone with eye problems will respond well to spectacles or contact lenses. Around 13% of children may be suffering convergence insufficiency (CI), or difficulty focusing on close objects like books, smartphones, computers, and so on.
The eye exercises which you’ll learn in a moment are safe and can be done at home. But if your kid’s problem is severe, you should check with an ophthalmologist or eye specialist.
You can teach these eye exercises to your child, and sit beside them while they do it. Supervision is necessary as kids may make many mistakes, such as doing an exercise for a long time or doing it too fast.
Here’s a list of the best eye exercises for kids to improve their vision-
Staring at digital screens for long hours dries the eyes. That’s why it’s necessary to blink many times a minute. Closing the eyelids spreads the tears all over the eyes, and lubricates them. Make your child blink their eyes rapidly at least 20 to 30 times at a go. After that, ask them to close their eyes and rest a bit. This exercise should be done at least twice a day.
Ask your kid to keep their thumb or a piece of paper with something written over it, at a distance of around 10 inches from their eyes. Tell them to keep gazing at it for a few seconds, and then move their focus to something which is around 20 feet (6 meters) away. They should focus on the far object for a minimum of 15 seconds, and again shift their gaze to look at the nearby object. Ask them to repeat this cycle a few times. It will also train their focusing system.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Let your child do their homework or any other activity which requires them to do near work (doing activity which requires looking at a nearby object or item). When time’s up, tell them to gaze 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Keep doing it until it becomes a habit without the need for a timer.
For a few seconds, ask your kid to roll their eyes in a clockwise direction, and then in an anticlockwise direction. They should repeat this four to five times every day. This exercise helps to improve weak eyesight.
Some kids may find it challenging to track moving objects with their eyes. The figure eight eye exercise will help to improve the coordination of the eye making it easier for them to track moving objects. For this exercise, ask them to sit 10 feet away from a wall and pick a point on the wall. Now tell them to move their eyes in a way so as to trace an imaginary figure eight on the wall. Repeat it for 30 seconds and then change the direction.
Focusing on an object too close to the face either blurs it or makes the object seem double. This exercise helps the eyes to focus better.
Tell your kid to hold a pencil at an arm’s distance, and focus on its tip. Now ask them to move it closer until the vision blurs or doubles. Make them again move the pencil away. Ask them to keep doing it at least 9-10 times in a day.
Make your child follow you as you move freely in a room. Keep a toy or anything in your hand, and tell your child to try to focus on it as you move your hands in different ways, directions, speedily and so on.
Make a pendulum with the help of a ball and a string. Hang it in a way that the ball is 5 inches away from their nose. Swing the ball and tell them to track its motion.
Make your child rub their palms to warm them up. Next, ask them to place the palms over their closed eyelids. This yogic eye exercise helps in rejuvenating the eyes and reduces eye fatigue.
Bounce a tennis ball on the ground. Write big alphabets all over it if possible, and tell the kid to focus on them as the ball bounces all around. They should be able to see the letters, any one of them, clearly.
Here are some ways to blend these eye exercises for kids in their daily life-
The human body, including the eye, is composed of certain nutrients. One has to keep eating them for their healthy functioning. Make foods in your home more often which are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients will nourish the eyes of your kid.
The above mentioned eye exercises for kids will strengthen and train the ciliary muscles to focus. And also, to coordinate well with the brain, or their will to focus on a certain object. This article features the safest of eye exercises but you shouldn’t try to address the problem all by yourself. It’s better to consult an eye specialist if you feel your child is not responding to these vision therapy exercises.
In that case, they might be facing myopia (can see close objects clearly but not the far ones the same way) or hyperopia (can see distant objects clearly but not the near ones the same way). Spectacles or contact lenses are the most suitable solutions to myopia and hyperopia in kids.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.