Eye exercises can prevent or slow vision loss by strengthening eye muscles and maintaining lens flexibility, says Marc Grossman, OD, LAc, author of Greater Vision (McGraw-Hill, 2001). Although practitioners often prescribe these according to individual need, some exercises help everyone compensate for computer use and other close work. Grossman particularly recommends the following eye drills.

Palming: Performed (without glasses or contact lenses) to reduce stress, calm the mind, and relax muscles around eyes. Place elbows on table or other flat surface, lean forward, and close eyes. Place left palm over left eye, resting fingers on forehead and heel of hand on cheekbone, with hollow of palm directly over eye, leaving room to blink. Place other palm over other eye the same way, crossing fingers from one hand over the other. Keep elbows low enough so weight of head is resting in palms and there’s no stress on neck. Focus on relaxing mind and eyes. Perform for three to five minutes every hour or two during computer sessions.

Figure Eights: Designed to increase eye-muscle flexibility. Stand or sit with feet shoulder-width apart, hands at sides. Do not cross hands. If standing, let knees bend slightly. Imagine a figure eight lying sideways about 10 feet in front of you and trace eyes along it without moving your head, first in one direction, then the other. Remember to breathe and blink as eyes move effortlessly. Check for tension in jaw, and release. Perform for two to three minutes every hour or two while working.

For more information and a free booklet about eye-care exercises, visit www.vision worksusa.com.