19 May 2021

How helpful is eye yoga?

Our Clinical Adviser explains the evidence for eye yoga.

You may have read in the news this week that Sir Paul McCartney has spoken about eye yoga, and shared how helpful he feels it has been for him personally.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at the College of Optometrists explains: 

“There have been a number of studies that have looked at how yoga affects eye health and the pressure inside the eye. Although some people find eye yoga helpful and it makes their eyes feel comfortable, there is little evidence to suggest that it will stop you from needing to wear glasses. People typically need reading glasses due to presbyopia from the age of about 40. Although eye yoga may delay glasses for presbyopia in some people, the reason for this is not well understood nor are the effects reproducible”

“There are six muscles around the outside of your eye, that enable your eyes to look in all directions and very small muscles inside each eye to help focus your crystalline lens so you can see things close up. Exercise is helpful for all muscles, but when you need to wear glasses because your eyeball is too long (myopia) or short (hypermetropia), eye yoga is unlikely to make a significant difference. 

“The good news is we know that yoga is not harmful to your eyes and exercising your eyes may help them feel more comfortable. Traditional forms of yoga have been shown to be helpful for both health and wellbeing and if you find it helpful we certainly would recommend you continue, however, don’t throw away your glasses or contact lenses.

“When using a screen, we recommend following the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, you spend twenty seconds looking at an object far away (20 feet) to relax your eye muscles.”

Further reading

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