Can Eye Exercises Improve Your Vision?

For many years, eye exercise regimens have been sold with the promise of eliminating the need for glasses.  In the last few years, the See Clearly Method has been heavily marketed on the radio and in periodicals.  The See Clearly Method sold kits for about $350 that claimed to contain a program of eye exercises.  They claimed these eye exercises would improve the performance of the users eyes so the user would no longer require glasses.  While the See Clearly Method is the most recent, most previous eye exercise programs are variations on the same idea.

These programs are appealing because the claims make sense.  After all, if my arms are weak, I can lift weights to build up my arm muscles and then I will be able to do more with my arms.  It follows that by the same logic, if we were to exercise our eye muscle we would be able to see better.  There is also the further appeal that such a program will save money since there will be no more need to buy glasses or contact lenses.

The problem with this line of reasoning is the eye is not simply a muscle.  The eye is an organ and is made of muscle but also many other different parts. Most people need glasses, not because the muscles are weak but because of the shape of the eye.  Nearsighted people need glasses because their eye is too long.  Farsighted people need glasses because their eye is too short.  Patients with astigmatism have corneas shaped more like a football than a basketball.  An eye exercise regimen cannot change the basic shape of the eye and therefore is ineffective.

With that stated, there are some conditions, having to do with the ways the eyes work together, that benefit from eye exercises.  A good example of this would be something called convergence insufficiency.  Normally, when we look at an object up close our eyes move in or converge.  Some individuals have poor convergence and have difficulty reading as a result of this inability of the eyes to converge.  Many well-designed studies have proven the effectiveness of eye exercises to treat this condition.  So eye exercises are appropriate for certain, specific conditions.  However, as far as getting rid of your glasses, I am afraid it is myth busted.

Incidentally, a lawsuit was filed against the See Clearly Method by the Attorney General of the State of Indiana.  The suit was successful and the company that marketed and sold the See Clearly Method was forced to suspend operations and offer restitution to its customers.

It is important to note that there are still many companies, especially on the internet, that make more or less the same claim as the See Clearly Method.  So while the See Clearly Method may be dead, the concept is still alive and well and just as ineffective.

Conclusion: Myth Busted

Do you have an eye question you have always wondered the answer to? Have you ever heard someone say something about eyes and wanted to know if it was true? Then email the Eye Mythbusters, Dr. Patty and Dr. Benfield at to find out the answer. A new myth will be examined every month.

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