Myth check Can we improve our vision through training?
We take care of our arms, our legs and our face. But we hardly care about our eyes. You can actually do something for your own eyesight.
But how much is possible? Some say that you can train your eyes specifically so that you can see better again. Is it really possible? And does it bring something to do without the glasses?
Four claims about eye health in a fact check.
Claim 1: Special exercises can improve the performance of the eyes.
Facts: That we also influence our eyes with the way we live is clear. "A healthy lifestyle promotes long-term eye health," says ophthalmologist Ludger Wollring. A purposeful eye training however sees it critically.
For corneal curvature or myopia, for example, could not be changed by training, Wollring explains: "Vision training may help to temporarily get used to the refractive error, but it does not eliminate it." The expert of the professional association of ophthalmologists of Germany explains: "The habituation goes back to the processing of the visual impression in the brain. But this effect is not permanent." The reasons: A corneal curvature, which is often initially noticeable by headaches and eye pain and later by blurred vision, occurs when the surface of the eye is not evenly curved in all directions like a ball, but different radii are curved to different degrees. Wollring: "Then the surface is more like that of an egg."
Nearsightedness, on the other hand, is usually due to the fact that the eyeball is too long in relation to the refractive power of the cornea and lens, so that the light rays do not meet on the retina, but already in front of it. "Vision aids are excellent for correcting both mostly astigmatism and myopia," Wollring says. But not with eye training, according to his point of view.
The eye trainer Alfred Josef Muhlbacher from Tirol answers the question whether it can improve the eyesight by purposeful training, meanwhile with a clear "yes". Simple and into the everyday life integrable, gentle eye movements already help, as Muhlbacher says. "One should not exaggerate anything." Eye training has proven particularly effective in strengthening and improving vision in cases of nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism and against dry eyes, the "office eye syndrome," he claims.
According to the online portal "medizin transparent", which is backed by the independent scientific network Cochrane Austria, current studies do not suggest that eye training has any preventive or therapeutic effect on myopia. For most eye diseases, there is no corresponding proof of efficacy, according to the assessment. Dangerous side effects are not to be expected by the training however also.
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Claim 2: Staring at the screen for long periods puts a strain on the eyes.
FactsHours of staring at a cell phone, a game console screen or a computer can cause eye fatigue, says Muhlbacher, an eye trainer. "They begin to water, cramp, and have been shown to lose their full visual capacity."
Also ophthalmologist Wollring recommends to avoid a "gaze monotony" and thus the "office eye syndrome": "If one stares for hours at a screen, dry eyes and tensions can arise. You should take regular breaks, let your eyes wander and consciously look at objects at a greater distance," he advises. "It relaxes the eye muscles"
In addition, the eyes blink less than usual during screen work. "As a result, the tear fluid is not sufficiently distributed on the surface of the eye and the eyes dry out. So you should consciously blink more often." For children, the ophthalmologist recommends spending at least two hours outside in daylight every day. "Doing so decreases the likelihood that they will become nearsighted."
Assertion 3: Who renounces visual aids, accustoms its eyes to the defective vision.
Facts: Forgoing glasses or contact lenses to acclimate the eyes to the required visual performance does not help. "You won’t get the eyes used to anything," explains ophthalmologist Wollring. "Short-sighted people often unconsciously squint their eyes a little to see more clearly, or they change their posture. Both provoke headaches and tension", the expert continues.
According to the ophthalmologist, it is particularly important for children to have their refractive errors optimally corrected so that, for example, the progression of nearsightedness can be prevented.
Claim 4: Lifestyle influences eye health.
FactsA healthy lifestyle is certainly beneficial. Eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinal diseases develop slowly and can be influenced, as Wollring points out.
"Regular exercise, a varied diet rich in vitamins and abstaining from nicotine are part of it. For example, carrots contain a precursor of vitamin A, which is important for the retina of the eye," explains the ophthalmologist. And he recommends green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach : "It contains lutein, which protects the retina from damage at the point of sharpest vision, the macula."
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The overall conclusion
You can do your eyes a lot of good and should always relax them, for example, during screen work. However, there is little scientific evidence that eye training helps with disease. If you still want to try it, at least you don’t have to fear dangerous side effects.