Reduce Eyestrain and Reduce Your Need for Corrective Lenses

Eyestrain Exercises



I've worn glasses since the age of eight; how about you? Many of our children may be better off knowing about the following ways to reduce eyestrain. These exercises probably help anyone, so take off those specks or take out those contacts, and let's begin. 


With the pointer finger of each hand, massage your temples (the side of the head on the level with the eyes) in the depression that you will find there.  If you wear glasses, the depressed location is right underneath each side of your glasses frame. 


Use the finger and thumb of one hand to gently pinch and massage the uppermost part of the nose. Again, if you wear glasses, this is right under where the center of the glasses sets upon your nose. 

You may have, unconsciously, already been doing the above two exercises when you've had a headache or sore eyes. Here's four more for you to try: 


This is a tricky one. Place the ball of your thumb along the underside of the upper margin of your eyesocket, find the supraorbital notch, and press.  ("What?") In other words, press up under the eyebrow with the ball of your thumb. Just under the top of each eye socket there is a little notch. No kidding, you can feel it. This tells you that you've got the right place. Press carefully upward. 

Now, at the same time, take your fingers and rest them along your front hairline (or where your front hairline used to be!). Draw the fingers DOWN together, while drawing the thumb up, bringing it all together as you gently mush your forehead skin in the middle. I call this exercise the "Boris Karloff Exercise" because you feel (if not look) like the Frankenstein monster in full forehead make-up. 


Smile. No, really: smile. An upper line formed by your grin curves up on each side towards your nose. One finger's distance out from each nostril, right on this smile line, is the location for this massage point. The facial nerve emerges from the maxilla bone at this point. After stimulating this point, try a deep breath through your nose. Many people find that it helps clear their sinuses. 

So far, we have massaged, and relaxed, all four major muscle areas around the eye. The eye can move in all directions because of the four attachments. It is much the same control provided by a joystick in a computer game or airplane. We've just relaxed all "remote controls" to the eyes. Ophthalmologist William Bates, M.D. explains how this can improve one's vision in Better Eyesight Without Glasses (available through interlibrary loan or from internet used booksellers). 


One of my favorites, and Dr. Bates would agree that it is quite relaxing. Close your eyes and lightly and rapidly stroke the lids with your fingertips.  Back and forth, top and bottom lids as well. 


We're not even close to the eye muscles, but there is reason to believe that reflex or trigger points operate throughout the human organism.  Utilization of such a point is in your hands, literally. With your palm open and your thumb up, you will notice a ridge of skin between your thumb and a top plateau that runs flat up to your forefinger. Take the thumb of your opposite hand and place it over this fold of skin on top, like a tent. Roll the thumb further over the side and you will locate a point about a thumb's distance in. Meet your thumb with the forefinger and press together. You have the point if you feel a wincing pain like when the dentist is drilling a tooth. I hate going to the dentist as much as any one, but after stimulating this point a few times daily I can take my glasses off and see better than I should be able to. To learn other pressure points, please refer to The Natural Healer's Acupressure Handbook, by Michael Blate. (available on the internet used book market [try a Google search] or via interlibrary loan).


 1. Always stimulate points bilaterally. That is, be sure to do the points with each eye, on both sides of the face and on each hand. 

 2. Your fingernails should be short to avoid hurting yourself. 

 3. Do not do the exercises if you have a good reason not to. It is probably best to avoid using any pressure points while pregnant unless you have first checked them out with your doctor or midwife. 

 4. One may generally do the exercises several times a day. I do each one for a count of about fifteen. 

 5. Behavioral optometrists are often willing to provide additional vision training. If you want to know if your practitioner is qualified (and interested), ask!  Or, try contacting the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc. for information and referrals. Or, ask at a health food store. 

 6. Here's a book that's good for your eyes: Total Vision, by Richard S. Kavner O.D., and  Lorraine Dusky (A & W Publishers)



Here’s a way you can reduce eyestrain for sure, and myopia possibly: exercise your eyes’ extrinsic (outside) muscles. This is my personal adaptation of one of the Dr. Bates eye exercises (Bates, William: Better Eyesight Without Glasses.)


Here goes: Cup your hands and gently press the palms over your eye sockets, without touching the eyes or eyelids themselves. Your fingers should be pointing out and upwards, towards your hairline, or where your hairline used to be. Now press your palms evenly inward, creating a uniform pressure all around the skull and muscles that enclose your eyes. Done right, it will feel as if you are wearing deep-sea diving goggles, and we all know exactly what THAT feels like, don’t we.


As you press, “look” to the left. It will be dark, of course, but you can feel the eye muscles at work. Now “look” to the right. (Now stand up. Sit down. Fight, fight, fight. Just kidding! Say seated and relax.) Continue to press, and “look” up, then down. Repeat all four motions. Then repeat once more, and then again.  Now easily remove your hands, slowly open your eyes, and wait a bit before you put your ‘specks on again. How’s that feel? Tension gone? Vision a tad sharper? Not bad for one session. Try to do these exercises three times daily. And you can tell your friends you “palmed” another hint from DOCTOR YOURSELF!


Copyright C 2008, 2005, 2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. 

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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Last Updated:
Feb 8 2008


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