Strabismus is a condition that can affect both children and adults and is often caused by problems with the nerves in the eye’s neuromuscular system. Sometimes referred to as “cross eyed” or “wall eyed”, this eye disorder can present itself in a number of different ways and may not always be immediately noticeable.
Strabismus defines a problem with the eyes, when they are unable to align simultaneously under normal conditions; this can affect one eye or both eyes and can be detected when the eyes are not looking in the same direction at the same time. This misalignment issue may manifest itself in various directions; the eye drifting outward is known as ‘exotropia’, the eye moving upward or downward is ‘hypertropia’, and the eye moving inward is ‘amblyopia’. Some people with Strabismus will find that their symptoms are constant, whilst others will find that their problem is intermittent and only occurs every now and again.
To cure Strabismus, it’s important that you book an appointment with your optometrist to see what they recommend as a course of action. Quite often, they will prescribe special glasses or contact lenses to help correct your eye alignment and they may suggest vision therapy. All of this can be accompanied by a few things that you can do at home.
Here are 3 proven eye exercises which can help to encourage better eye focus and alignment in one of both of your eyes.
1. The Pencil Exercise
This exercise is called HBPP (Home Based Pencil Push-Ups) and will help to engage both eyes on the same fixed point. Hold out a pencil (or a pen) directly in front of you and choose a focal point (this could be the tip of the pencil, the eraser at the end or a letter/numeral on the side) and keep both eyes fixed on this area. Slowly, slowly moved the pen / pencil closer towards you and towards the tip of your nose. Keep the pencil in focus for as long as you can and stop the exercise as soon as everything turns blurry.
2. Brock String Exercise
Developed by Swiss optometrist Frederick Brock, this exercise is designed to help improve your eye coordination. If you suffer from one lazy eye always doing its own thing, the Brock String Exercise will encourage both eyes to work together. Use a piece of string (between 5 and 12 inches long) and thread it with three different coloured beads at equal distance from one another. Stick one end of the string to a rail or pin it to the wall and hold the other end of the string to your nose. Take it in turns to look at each bead and you should see the same thing every time; the bead you are focussing on should appear to be at the intersection of two identical strings forming an “X” shape. If the “X” appears before or after the bead you’re focusing on then it means that one of your eyes is not looking at the bead. Keep practising until you get it right with all three beads.
3. Computer Therapy
If you want a go-to exercise that is quick and easy, there are many computer based eye exercise programmes that could help improve the muscle movement of your eye(s). This one found on Youtube is free of charge and can help to encourage better movement of the eye around the eye socket. Sit 1 – 2 feet in distance away from your screen, cover your healthy eye (or take it in turns to cover each eye) and follow the red dot around the screen. Make sure you keep your focus on the red dot and don’t get distracted by the black and white background.