The ‘Eyes’ Have it: Eyes Need Rest for Health and Fitness

Fitness and health of eyes means eye rest and relaxation. Fitness for your eyes is very important for a lifetime of good vision.

Taking our Eyes for Granted

Most of us take our eyes for granted, never thinking of them as muscles or as organs needing special exercises or needing periods of complete rest.

The eye is composed of muscles. Just as any muscle in the body, when we exercise the muscles of the eye, we need to give those muscles a rest.

The best way to rest the eyes is to put them in complete darkness. By shutting out all light, we keep the optic nerve from being stimulated by outside images. Even when we sleep, we can control the resting or not resting of the optic nerve. By covering the eyes and trying to control the images in the mind’s eye, we can more thoroughly rest the eyes.

Resting the eyes has another benefit: Relaxing the optic nerve relaxes the rest of the nervous system and can do wonders for relaxing the whole body. The benefits of resting the eyes multiply geometrically, making five minutes of rest more than five times better than one minute of rest.

Eye rest is especially important as more and more of us stare at a computer’s monitor screen all day, straining our eyes.

Eye Rest Exercises

It is best to remove contact lenses before doing eye rest. Certainly glasses must be removed.


Rub your hands together vigorously to make them warm. Cup the hands slightly and cover your closed eyes with your hands. Rest your hands on the tissue surrounding the eyes rather than the eyes themselves. Now breathe deeply into your abdomen, then let the breath out completely. Relax; imagine that your incoming breath is black. Meditation is a good accompaniment to palming and will help you relax. Use pillows to support your arms when you palm while meditating.

Palm for 5 minute periods during the work day but try for one 20 minute period each day.

Cover the Eyes

Cover the eyes with a soft material, making certain you block out all light while retaining comfort. Sit in a relaxed position, lie down on a bed or reclining chair, or lie down on the floor in the yoga “Dead-Man’s Pose.” Imagine that the world around you is black. Try not to sleep; just relax into the blackness.

Meir Schneider, PhD, the eye expert who has cured himself of congenital blindness, has this to say about relaxing the eyes, “The relaxation also has an important psychological effect: it teaches the brain that the eyes do not always have to strain, that they can function better and more comfortably through relaxation than through stress.”

Simply put, fitness for your eyes is very important for a lifetime of good vision!

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