You’ve probably heard that it’s important to take care of your peepers by getting regular eye exams and eating vision-supporting nutrients. But it’s pretty unlikely you’ve been doing eye yoga to keep your eyes in shape.

Much like full-body yoga, eye yoga uses a series of movements — but its goal is to exercise your eyeballs. Is that really a thing? Here are all the deets on this pro-peeper exercise.

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TBH, there isn’t a ton of research on eye yoga, and what does exist isn’t exactly solid proof.

Eye yoga fans claim it can improve vision and strengthen the eye muscles. But despite anecdotal accounts, there’s little actual scientific evidence to back up the potential benefits of this practice.

Here’s what science says about the proposed benefits.

For vision

The outlook is blurry at best when it comes to eye yoga improving your vision.

A 2012 study found that yogic eye exercises did little to nothing for folks with astigmatism or refraction errors. Researchers haven’t ruled out eye yoga completely, but there hasn’t been enough research to know whether it can help improve vision problems such as myopia (aka nearsightedness).

Another 2012 study wasn’t able to objectively measure any improvement in eyesight, but some participants did report clearer vision.

For glaucoma

Some researchers *think* eye yoga may reduce your risk of glaucoma, a condition that wears down your optic nerve and can cause blindness if not treated properly.

But there isn’t any evidence that eye yoga can actually help with glaucoma.

Some researchers have suggested that yogic eye exercises may help reduce pressure inside the eyes, but this doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of glaucoma. This is also just a theory, and no actual studies have been done yet to put it to the test.

For dry eyes

Sorry, folks with chronic dry eye. Eye yoga likely won’t ease your symptoms, as there’s zippo scientific evidence to support its ability to relieve dry eye.

For dark circles

While practicing eye yoga might help your eyes themselves, the movements likely won’t boost blood flow in the areas around your eyes. This means the practice probably won’t have any impact on dark under-eye circles.

If dark circles have got you down, there are other treatments that might help.

It might help with eyestrain

Because eyestrain is typically related to stress, eye yoga may help in a few ways. First, it may help ease stress, so you can Zen out. Second, it may help strengthen your eyes by stimulating the muscles that move them.

A small 2020 study of 32 optometry students found that performing ocular yoga exercises over 6 weeks helped significantly relieve eye fatigue by strengthening extraocular muscles.

In a small 2016 study, 40 nursing students practiced eye yoga regularly for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, participants reported less eye fatigue. It’s important to note, however, that fatigue levels were self-reported, which can limit findings.

It might improve focus

Eye yoga might help improve focus. Better focus helps boost your brain’s response to what’s around you, allowing you to be more attentive to what you see.

One 2013 study linked eye yoga to better response time. Participants were able to more quickly identify what they were looking at after performing simple eye exercises.

While they likely won’t cure all your eye woes, these eye yoga exercises may help reduce strain, ease stress, and strengthen your eye muscles. This might be especially useful after too much screen time.

Ready to get started? Try the following exercises to get your ocular yoga flow on.

Eye rolling

Eye rolling is more than just a reaction to a lame #DadJoke. It can also help relieve eyestrain.

  1. Sit up tall.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Without moving your head, slowly look up toward the sky, focusing on what’s above you.
  4. Roll your eyes to the right, so you’re focusing on what’s directly to the right of you.
  5. Roll eyes down, focusing on the floor.
  6. Roll eyes to the left, focusing on what’s next to you on that side.
  7. Roll eyes back upward and then straight ahead.
  8. Repeat several times, and then switch directions (going up, left, right, and down).

Focusing

Focusing exercises can help improve your — you guessed it! — ability to focus.

  1. Sit up straight and extend one arm in front of you.
  2. Put your hand in a thumbs-up position.
  3. Look straight ahead, focusing your eyes on your thumb.
  4. Slowly move your arm toward you.
  5. Keeping your head still, let your eyes follow your thumb until you lose focus.
  6. Repeat 5–10 times.

Focus shifting

This exercise helps ease eyestrain and sharpen your focus.

  1. Sit up straight and extend left arm in front of you.
  2. Put your hand in a thumbs-up position.
  3. Look straight ahead, focusing your eyes on your thumb.
  4. Slowly move your arm as far right as you can. Keeping your head still, let your eyes follow your thumb as your arm moves.
  5. Slowly move your arm to the left, again letting eyes follow thumb.
  6. Repeat multiple times.

Blinking

With so much screen time, we often don’t blink as much as we should. Practicing blinking can help lubricate your eyes.

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Blink 10–15 times very quickly.
  3. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths.
  4. Continue breathing with your eyes closed for 20–30 seconds.
  5. Open your eyes. Repeat 5 times.

Figure eight

Doing figure eights with your eyes can help strengthen your eye muscles and improve flexibility.

  1. Imagine a large 8 on the floor.
  2. Moving clockwise, slowly trace the 8 with your eyes.
  3. Repeat several times.
  4. Switch directions, tracing the 8 while moving counterclockwise.
  5. Repeat several times.

Palming

Palming is a calming exercise that can also help you focus. It’s a great way to wind down after doing other yogic eye movements.

  1. Rub your hands together so they get nice and warm.
  2. Place your hands over your eyes, peek-a-boo style. Make sure your palms are cupping your eyes rather than touching them. Your fingertips should be resting on your forehead, and the bottoms of your palms can rest on your cheekbone area.
  3. With your eyes open, take slow, deep breaths.
  4. Keep breathing as you clear your mind and focus on the darkness of your palms.
  5. Continue taking deep, focused breaths for several minutes.

If eye yoga isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways you can keep your peepers healthy and strain-free. Here are some tips:

Eye yoga is a movement practice that claims to help with eye health, including improving vision. However, there’s little scientific evidence to suggest that it has any benefits beyond easing symptoms of eyestrain and improving focus.

More research is needed on what eye yoga can (and can’t) do, but it’s fairly safe to try if you’re interested. Establishing an eye yoga practice is easy, and there are many simple exercises available to get you started.

Just remember that eye yoga isn’t a substitute for overall eye care, and it’s important to visit an eye doctor regularly. If you have trouble seeing or experience ongoing pain or strain in your eyes, consult an eye doc to discuss treatment options.