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Yoga for Eye Care, a 7-step Program

A few years ago, I attended a workshop on "yoga and eye care" taught by one Dr. Khare who was visiting from India. The workshop presented a pretty comprehensive set of practices for improving/stabilizing vision. Part of the information was based on the book, "Better Eyesight without Glasses" by William Bates. This book came out in the forties and has been a standard resource for eye care ever since. Recently I found this website which also provides similar information in a detailed manner – "The Complete book of Eye Care" – http://eye.taragana.com/ by Dr. M. S. Agarwal. I am presenting below the "7-step Program" in a condensed version of these practices.

I suggest that you add at least a subset of the eye exercises given here as a part of your home yoga practice. Those who have attended my yoga classes will recognize many of these exercises as we try to pick a different exercise for each class. Personally, I have found that regular eye exercises have helped me maintain my eye prescription the same for at least fifteen years now. I use glasses only for reading and computer work and have given up using them for driving or outdoor work

7-step Program

  1. Eye exercises
  2. Neck and shoulder exercises
  3. Strict diet plan
  4. Yoga Asanas
  5. Pranayama
  6. Meditation
  7. Cleansing techniques

Eye Exercises

In all the exercises given here, try to move the eyes in a smooth and continuous movement. The intent is to stretch and exercise the eye muscles and the optical nerves. However, no strain should be felt while doing these exercises.

  • Vertical movement 10 times, relax
  • Horizontal movement 10 times, relax
  • Diagonal (each) movement 10 times, relax
  • Circular rotation clockwise/counter-clockwise 10 times each, relax
  • Hold thumb straight ahead, eye level, and bring it close to the eyes (3-4 inches away), first with both eyes open, and then alternately with one eye closed.
  • Hold right thumb straight ahead and move it slowly to the far right (inhale) and bring it back in front (exhale). Maintain the head in the center and follow the movement of the thumb through the corner of the eyes without moving the head. Repeat on the other side with the left thumb stretched out.
  • Stretch both thumbs straight in front. Keep the head in the center and start moving both arms to either side. Keep the head in the center and follow the movement of the thumbs through the periphery of the eyes.
  • Bounce a ball in a v-shape from one hand to the other and follow the movement of the ball with the eyes.
  • Elephant swing: From a standing position, bend forward with feet 1 foot apart. Bend the knees, hands together, hang them down and swing like the trunk of an elephant, looking down on the floor.
  • Take a sculpture/picture etc. and look at it for about 30-45 seconds. Close eyes and visualize the object with the eyes closed and relaxed. For memory, imagination and vision. Use a different object each day.
  • Distance accommodation: look at a tree for 30 sec, then look at the palm, all the lines on the palm, for 30 sec, blink and see (5 times)
  • Palming: close eyes with palms and meditate for about 15-20 minutes. Watch your breath and chant the mantra. Visualize black wool/ black velvet in front of the eyes, and visualize that the technique is actually curing the eyes.
  • Read in candle light (10 minutes)      

Acupressure

  • Eyebrows with thumb- sideways from the center out
  • Bony orbital rim (just under the eyes)
  • In the top inside corner of the eyes
  • Upper bony nose (bridge)- massage up and down
  • Prominent cheek bone- small rotation

Neck and Shoulder Exercises:

  • Massage the neck – up and down using both hands, then massage the shoulders.
  • Chin to chest and then head up looking backwards. (keep tongue touching the pallet) – 3 times
  • Circular (360 degrees) neck movement, once in each direction (3 rounds)
  • Shoulder rotation (10 times each direction)
  • Full arm rotation (10 times each direction)

Proper Diet Plan

A diet consisting of vegetarian, low fat, fresh food (called "sattvic" diet) is recommended.  Try to eat more of sprouts, vegetables (heavy on carrots, broccoli and cabbage), salads, fruits, nuts. Avoid white sugar and use little salt. Use honey or brown sugar, if you must. Avoid putting toxins in the body – caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, dope, drugs, uppers (e.g., cocaine), downers (e.g., sedatives), deep fried foods, processed foods and most chemical preservatives in packaged foods are toxic. Some useful "diet guidelines" are available on my website here.

Asana, Pranayama and Meditation

This is your basic yoga practice based on either the classes that I teach or any other yoga system that you may like to follow. For better eye care, include deep relaxation (yoga nidra) in the practice routine.

Cleansing Techniques

Trifala  treatment

Use 0.5 gallons of water with ½ spoon of trifala (available at Indian grocery stores). Boil the water and let it cool overnight. Next morning wash the eyes with this water. Also, splash cold water on the eyes every morning.

Sunbathing the eyes

Early morning, allow indirect sunlight into the eyes. At sunset and sunrise, look directly into the sun for a short period of time.

Trataka

Trataka is one of the six cleansing techniques (shad-kriya) in yoga. Light a candle and keep it at eye level at a distance of about six feet. Sit comfortably and gaze at the candle flame without blinking for about 2-3 minutes. If eyes begin to water before then, close the eyes. Once the eyes are closed, try to gaze internally at the after-image of the candle flame at the back of your mind’s eye. Repeat this whole routine one more time. This routine will help you strengthen and relax the eye muscles. Also, it is used as a practice developing focus and concentration and can be used as a prelude to meditation. At the end of this practice, you may like to continue with your palming or traditional meditation. Please get all details here.

Jala Neti (Nasal Wash)

Jala Neti is a simple technique which involves using a special "neti pot" filled with warm, slightly salted water. The nose cone is inserted into one nostril and the position of the head and pot is adjusted to allow the water to flow out of the other nostril. Whilst the water is flowing through the nasal passages one breathes through the mouth. After half a pot has flowed in one direction, the water flow is reversed. Please see details here.

I would love to get your feedback.

45 comments to Yoga for Eye Care, a 7-step Program

  • Thanks Subhashji for 7 step- care I have make my daughter do this to control her growing eye site.

  • I miss your workshops…

  • Subhash Mittal

    Dear Archana, I am glad to see that you are able to make use of the 7-step eye-care program for your daughter. I would like to know how she feels and if is helping her. I also saw your note that you have been successfully using the Jala Neti for help with sinus problems.
    Great to stay in touch with you.
    Regards to you and Dhruv.

    Subhash

  • skt

    This is very useful article. Recently I suffered major vision loss due to papilledema.
    Allopathy was not much useful. I took help of ayurveda and I am glad I recovered most of my lost eye sight.

    1. I use triphala churn everyday as directed in this post above.
    2. I eat amla in empty stomach everday.
    3. I feel quantum increase in eye sight after eating ‘Palak’.
    4. Anulom-Vilom pranayam calms my mind and eye muscles a lot.

    I have been doing it for past 4 months regularly. Hopefully with regular practise in few months I’ll be able to recover 90% of my eye sight if not all of it.

    • admin

      Dear Sujeet, thanks a lot for visiting my blog. I am really glad that you found the article on eye-care useful. Your vision improvement with the techniques mentioned is quite inspiring. I wish you all the best in regaining normal vision.
      -Subhash

  • anuj purohit

    sir, i have weak eyesight i.e. 5 and 6 dioptres in my eyes (cylindrical power), will your technique help me and how much time will it take?

    • admin

      Dear Anuj, thanks a lot for visiting the site. The techniques that I have mentioned on my site have been used for a long time and are written about in various types of yoga literature. However, whether or not their practice will help in a specific situation is very hard to say. I think the best is to just try them out for some time and see if they help. All I can tell you is that these practices are totally harmless and can only help if the situation is favorable. All the best…
      – Subhash

  • jhunu

    Hi
    my son is 6 year and he has vision problem.his eyesight is R -1.25-3.50\180 and L-1.00-3.50/167 .can he inprove his eye vision with the
    ttechnique.

    • admin

      I don’t believe that one can use Yoga as a substitute for proper medical care when needed. Yoga can be very effective as a preventive strategy. However, in the case of your son, since he already has a vision problem, the best is to go through the proper medical treatment. You may certainly use the yogic techniques of eye care as a supplement to the medical treatment. In some of the published reports people have been able to prevent further deterioration in an existing vision problem. Hope this helps.
      Wishing you all the best for your child.

    • kun

      I have relentlessly exercised my eyes doing yoga for the past 10 months. My eye power has decreased from 1.75 to 1.25. Ofcourse, Yoga always brings in imrpovement!

      • admin

        Dear Kun, it is great to know that with the help of yoga your eyesight has been helped. Could you please elaborate a little more on the “relentless exercises” that you practiced? Thanks for sharing.

  • jhunu

    sir ,thanks for the reply.doctor give glass -2.50&-3.00.and doctor said this exercise is not for him.please give your advice.

  • Dear Jhunu,
    As I mentioned earlier, please use the yoga practices that I have suggested only as a supplement to the proper medical treatment. I wish you all the best.

  • Sonam

    Hi,
    I suffer very badly from Computer Vision Syndrome. and my work requires me to work a lot on laptop. Can you please suggest me some yogic care that I can do. I otherwise follow a balanced diet and exercise routine yet I am getting very bad dark circles. I vwould really appreciate your suggestion.
    Thanks in advance

    • admin

      Dear Sonam,
      I like your email address! Just don’t “go nuts” using the laptop so much, well, not for long periods without a break. I suggest you take short breaks after every half and hour or one hour of work and close the eyes to relax them.
      Dark circles can be caused by lack of sleep or an irregular sleep pattern. You have mentioned that you are taking a balanced diet which is great. You may want to increase green, leafy vegetables in your diet as they are supposed to help with the eyes. You may also add some of the eye exercises that I have mentioned in my article in your daily yoga routine.
      I hope it helps. Keep me posted…

  • sandeep shelke

    sir i have pterigium occured in my right eye. now it is very small but what should be the treatment. pl suggest on my email as soon as posssible

    • Hi Sandeep,
      I am sorry but I don’t have any knowledge of your specific condition and am unable to recommend any specific yoga routine that might help. I wish you all the best.

  • Aman Vaishnav

    Hi Sir,
    I have been precribed – 0.5 cylindrical glasses in my both eyes by a doctor.Is there any chance of getting Improved vision after following this schedule? Is it possible to get rid of the glasses?

    • Hello Aman,
      It is hard to say if one can get completely rid of glasses these yoga practices. the one thing to keep in mind is that these practices can only help and cause no threat or harm. So, my suggestion is that rather than focusing too much on an expected result, just do the practice and enjoy whatever benefits you derive from it. In my own case, even though I do wear glasses for reading, with the help of this practice, my eyesight has been stable for over fifteen years.

  • Robin

    Dear Sir,

    I have cylindrical power of -1.25 in left eye and -1.0 in right eye.

    Can the above mentioned procedure help me out to correct my vision naturally.

    • Hi Robin,
      I really have no experience with correcting vision using this exercise. Obviously, you should give it a try and see if it helps. All the best.

  • ankit

    Hi there

    i think SHirshasan is of utmost benefit to get rid of eye glasses. i get rid of mine , no bluffing.

    regards
    ankit

    • Hi Ankit,
      In general, yes, it is believed that shirshasana can help with eyesight. However, I would like to see some results from a controlled study.

      • Bibhu

        Hello sir i read ur valuable words for regain eye power

        sir, right now i am suffering bad eye power
        L- 1.25/0.7/170,
        R- 1.25/0.5/170
        is it possible to reduces my eye power if i will do practice above your words what you have described precisely.
        Thanks..

        • Dear Bibhu,
          Based on the articles that I have referenced in my article, there is a possibility of improving the vision with the practices mentioned. However, much will depend upon how regular you are with the practice. The best approach for you would be to keep doing these practices and hope that you will get some improvement.

  • Suresh

    Dear sir, i lost my right eye vision, when i was 5 Year old, a sharp edge arrow poked in my eye, that time i didnot get the proper treatment. Now i am 30 Year old. Can i get back my right eye vision, from yoga.

    • Hello Suresh, I don’t believe the practice of yoga can bring the lost vision back. However, it can do no harm to try practicing the various aspects of yoga. If nothing else, you will derive all the other benefits of yoga.

  • Jayant

    Hi, sir my father loss jer vision .. He saw blerr.dr.say he has a attect by the neuritis.can yoga will help to improve he’s vision?

    • Hello Jayant, the practice of yoga is known to help in many conditions. It is worth a try. It can possibly do no harm but will bring about many benefits.

  • shivam

    Dear Sir , I wear a spectacles from last three years, the power is minus 2 can I remove it by doing a shirshasan.

    • Dear Shivam,
      Vision becomes poor for a variety of reasons – genetics, poor diet, no exercise, poor sleep pattern, stress, and many others. You need to make every effort to fix these first. The practice of yoga that includes asana, pranayama and meditation and, of course, shirshasan, may possibly help stabilize the condition. I don’t believe that just by doing shirhasana you can fix your eyesight.

  • Sogan swaraj

    Dear sir,
    I am 17 years old and wear spectacles of power -3.25D. Should I keep wearing my spectacles while doing these exercises or should I do them without the specs?

  • Pritu Mehta

    Hello Subash ji,
    My daughter is 6yrs old. she is using specs for 2yrs now.
    her number is +2.75/-3.5/15deg and -2.75/-3.5/170deg
    please let me know will this steps help reduce her number, as i have been told.. she has to use her specs for lifetime now..
    is it true?

    • Hi Pritu,
      There is no guarantee that any of these practices will cure your daughter. I suggest you encourage her to keep doing these practices. They will not do any harm but are likely to provide benefits on an on-going basis.

  • RAJESHWARI

    SIR,
    I WANT TO REMOVE MY EYES NO WHICH IS -6.00 FOR BOTH .
    CAN I REMOVE FOR DOING ALL THIS THINGS.

    • Hello Rajeshwari, there is no guarantee that your eyesight will improve with these practices. Your best choice is to to these practices without any expectations. They will give you many benefits.

  • ravi

    I brought my vision from 1.75 ,1.5 to 0.75,0.75 in a span of 9 months

    • Dear Ravi,
      That sounds wonderful. Congratulations! I would appreciate it if you could kindly share with the readers here the full routine that you have followed for your practice to bring out these results. It will be highly beneficial for all those seeking help with their eyesight. Thanks.

  • Pooja

    Hi Sir,

    I have a vision of -6 and -5.5 with some cylindrical power in both eyes .Can you please let me know if these exercises will help me. I am 24 years old now.

    Thanks
    Pooja

  • Pinky Hasija

    Hi

    I just had eye check up and discovered I have -0.5 cylindrical. I do not face any problem in reading or vision. I needed to check do I need to use spectacles the entire day or only while using computer/television. Also does the eyesight problem vanish if spectacles would be used properly. Any yoga exercises I can attend in Pune.

  • rahul

    Sir can I recover my eyesight by doing yoga and eye exercise
    my eyesight is -3.00

    • Hi Rahul, I really haven’t heard of anyone who has recovered full eyesight with the practice of yoga. In general, you can find some improvement and stability. Much depends upon the type of practice. I always like to add that the practice of yoga will only help in multiple ways even though you may not find full cure for the eyes.