The eyes can move up, down, left, right, inward, and outward, always paralleling each other. The muscles are attached to the sclera (the white of the eye). Your ability to coordinate the movement of these muscles greatly determines your level of vision-fitness.
In order to preserve the fitness of these muscles, you must exercise them just as you would any other muscle group, starting with a warm-up. Seat yourself comfortably, with your hands supported and both feet firmly on the ground. Your eyes may be either open or closed. Take a few deep breaths. When you are ready, stretch your eyes as high as they can go without straining while you inhale. Hold the breath, and when you are ready to exhale, stretch the muscles into the extreme downward position and breathe out. Repeat the up-and-down movement for three breaths.
Next, stretch to the right. Then stretch up to the right and down to the left, and finally, up to the left and down to the right. If you feel any residual tension in the muscles, extend the breath slightly and reduce the degree of stretching. Avoid straining or extreme stretching.
Remember, vision-fitness develops while exercising in a relaxed way. As with any fitness procedure, do a “cooling-off” exercise. Rub your hands together until your palms are warm, then gently cover your closed eyes with the palms of your hands. Overlap the fingers above the bridge of your nose to create as much darkness as possible. Keep your eyes covered for a minute or two, counting between twenty and fifty breaths.
Not only will you relax your eyes, but you’ll probably experience quietness of the mind as well. This is like a meditation for the eyes.
When you remove your palms, you’ll observe that colors are much brighter, you’ll see more contrast, and you’ll enjoy a wonderful, relaxed feeling in your eyes and brow muscles.
Here’s another useful exercise: Turn your eyes in, crossing them. (No, they won’t get stuck, regardless of what your mother told you.)
Attempt to look at the bridge of your nose. If you can’t focus on your nose, try focusing on your thumb a few inches away from your face. Then slowly bring the thumb toward your nose and feel the eye muscles pulling in. These inner recti muscles are the turning-in muscles. This turning-in is vitally important for efficient and prolonged reading. If the inner recti don’t coordinate well, the eyes will rely on the ciliary (focusing) muscles instead, which could result in a focusing-muscle spasm and blurring. There is a connection between the turning-in of the eyes and the ability to focus. Have someone check that your eyes are turning in equally. Breathe in as you move your thumb toward your nose. Breathe out as you zoom your focus to a far-away object. Make sure your shoulders and body muscles are relaxed.
Practice this fitness exercise for ten to twenty breaths every day. You can remove your eyeglasses for these fitness routines. If you’re a contact lens wearer and can remove them, do so; otherwise, leave them in.
One further suggestion: Spend time studying the diagrams of the eye, and try to become familiar enough with them that you can visualize the eye structures with your eyes closed. When you stretch the eye muscles, or zoom back and forth, or do other eye exercises, blink and breathe, and visualize the particular portion of your eye’s anatomy that’s being stimulated. Picturing the part that is being trained will improve your performance and further enhance your overall vision-fitness.
It doesn’t take much time out of your day to do these exercises, and your eyes are worth it. Your eyes serve you well. Love them, exercise them, and maintain their vision-fitness.