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Yoga and Eye Health

warrior-pose-241611_640-300x225The health benefits of yoga are well-established. But, many people know less about yoga’s benefits for eye health. Between standard poses that enhance eye health and specialized moves especially for your eyes, yoga can help you cut down on eye strain and enjoy better vision and eye comfort.

Benefits of Yoga for the Eyes

About 70% of adults suffer from eye strain at one time or another. In most cases, the cause of the digital eye strain is the lit screens of our computers, as many people have jobs that require staring at the screen for many hours a day.

A study involving office workers in India indicated that daily yoga can significantly cut down on the blurry eyes, pain and dryness that frequent computer users experience. In the study, half of the participants did yoga for one hour per day, five days per week while the other half followed their normal routines. The yoga program included 15 minutes of yoga asanas (poses), 10 minutes of regulated yogic breathing, 10 minutes of exercises for the joints, 10 minutes of eye yoga exercises and 15 minutes of guided relaxation.

The yoga group experienced far less eye strain after their weeks spent doing yoga. The control group actually reported more eye strain than they experienced at the beginning of the study.

What Is Eye Yoga?

Eye yoga refers to specific exercises that engage all of the ocular muscles that support eye movement. These exercises help improve the flexibility in these muscles and help you focus better.

Common eye yoga exercises include:

  • deliberately and repeatedly looking up and down, then left and right
  • closing your eyes for several seconds to increase moisture on your eyeballs
  • warming your palms and then placing them over your closed eyes
  • choosing an object and staring at it without blinking. During this exercise, focus and unfocus your eyes

These exercises are performed in the morning, several times throughout the day and before bed at night. Because they just involve the eyes, they can be performed wherever you are when you have the time for them. Do these exercises before you get out of bed, on your morning commute if you use public transportation or at your desk whenever you need a break.

Not All Yoga Positions Are for Everyone

While yoga has many health benefits, some yoga poses could cause issues for people who have glaucoma. A number of inverted positions have been shown to increase pressure inside the eyes.
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In an observational study involving 10 people with glaucoma, internal eye pressure increased within one minute of assuming each pose. It returned to normal after two minutes sitting. Prolonged inner eye pressure can cause nerve damage.

Inverted yoga positions that can cause damage include:

  • downward dog
  • plow pose
  • the standard forward bend pose
  • poses that require headstands or putting your legs on the wall

Ask your yoga instructor about modified poses that can help you avoid inversions.

Improve Eye Health With Yoga

Add yoga exercises, including eye yoga moves, to your routine each day. Eye yoga can be done at your desk and your asanas in between other tasks. By taking a bit of time out of your day for yoga and relaxation, you can significantly reduce your level of eye discomfort, blurry vision and other symptoms of eye strain.

Our staff at Eye Care Institute would be happy to answer any questions you may have about eye health. Please call us in Santa Rosa or Petaluma or complete our contact form below.

 

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