What are they?
US opthalmologist Dr William H Bates (1865-1931) devised a series of exercises for “re-educating” visual habits and improving vision, which have since been adopted around the world.
He advocated four basic exercises:
Palming – cup your hands over your closed eyes, with your elbows resting on a table. Repeat two to three times a day for five minutes. The darkness and warmth of the palms rests the eyes.
Splashing – splash your closed eyes 20 times with warm then cold water in the morning and with cold then warm water in the evening. This improves circulation.
Focusing – hold one pencil 15cm (6in) in front of your face with one hand and another at armâ€™s length with the other hand. Focus on one, blink, then focus on the other. Repeat for a few minutes and practise twice a day to improve your focusing ability.
Swinging – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and sway from side to side while keeping your eyes fixed on a point in the distance in front of you. Repeat 50 times, blinking left and right as you do. This relaxes the eyes and reduces strain.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Stephen Hopwood in April 2009.