© 2018 by Sanford Severin, MD

Dr. Sanford L. Severin

San Ramon, CA 94582 USA


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Optic Yoga for the Eyes

October 16, 2017

Yoga is an age old discipline that has many has many health benefits. Perhaps some of you are yoga advocates and practice it on a regular schedule. What I am going to present to you is a different kind of yoga. We call it optic yoga and it is a method of eye therapy that reduces eye strain and strengthens the muscles that you use to look around and to read. 


We recommend these exercises to our patients who complain of chronic eye fatigue and strain. Many of these patients have demanding high tech jobs that require hours of working with a computer. They find these eye yoga exercises very helpful.


The first exercise is palming. It is beneficial for relieving eye strain. Sit comfortably in a chair. Rub your hands together rapidly to warm the palms. Cup your palms over your closed eyes. Tilt your head and body forward so your elbows rest on your knees and hold this position for 20 or 30 seconds. Never press directly against your eyes and always palm between the following exercises.


The second exercise is called center gazing. Touch your index finger to your forehead. Continue gazing at the finger as you fully extend your arm. Continue watching the finger until it touches your forehead. Do the palming exercise then repeat  the center gazing.


The third exercise is shoulder gazing. Extend your arm forward with the thumb up. Focus on the thumb and slowly move your arm to the side going as far as you can without moving your head. Slowly return to the center and then repeat the movement to the opposite side. Return to center, drop your arm and do the palming. Repeat a second time and then palm again.


The fourth exercise is defocusing. Extend your arms to the front with thumbs up. Continue watching your thumbs as you move your arms apart. Go as far as you can until you lose site of either thumb. Hold for one minute and slowly return to center. Relax your arms and palm.


The fifth exercise is up and down gazing. Extend your right arm to the front with your forefinger pointing to the left. Focus on it while you slowly raise and lower and your arm without moving your head. Go as high and as low as you can Do this several times on each side palming after each set.


The final exercise is candle gazing. Sit facing a candle about three feet away. The flame should be at eye level. Gaze at the flame without blinking for 10 seconds. Then do the palming exercise for 30 seconds. Next gaze with one eye at a time. Finally focus on the flame while turning your head from side to side. slowly increase the duration until  you can perform each look for several minutes.


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