How often do you give yourself a good old-fashioned eye massage? And, no, we’re not talking about rubbing the eyes (which isn’t good for them!). If you’re like most of our patients, the answer is “never.” But we want to change that.
Gentle eye massages have multiple benefits, from increasing circulation and lubrication in the eye to a reduction in eye strain. Some studies even suggest regular eye massages may prevent or decrease the risk of glaucoma and other leading causes of vision loss.
The What & Hows Of Eye Massages
As mentioned above, an eye massage is not the same as rubbing your eyes, which is actually bad for them. However, the urge to rub your eyes is a sign that you probably need more eye massages in your life! There are two methods to benefit from eye massages.
The first is via a special massaging device called an automated eye massager. These are specially designed to comfortably provide mechanical massage stimulation on and around the eyes with gentle pressure. You can ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist whether you should invest in an automated eye massager or whether DIY massages will suffice.
The second method is to massage your eyes manually. Using a combination of pressure and motion, you can use your fingers to relieve pressure around the eyes, the temples, the cheekbones, and the forehead. Doing this at least once – or a few times – each day takes only a few minutes but has real, evidence-based benefits.
6 Reasons To Give Yourself Daily Eye Massages
Most causes of vision loss involve multiple factors, such as lifestyle choices, age-related changes, and environmental factors. The more we can do to support a healthy body, the more we reduce the risk of vision loss in our patients.
In addition to a healthy diet, weight management, and getting plenty of healthy sleep, eye massages can also support eyes that are less strained, well-oxygenated, hydrated, and less fatigued.
Increased ocular blood flow (OCB)
Healthy blood flow is essential for tissue health. That blood flow through the vascular system provides the oxygen and nutrients cells need to heal, regenerate, and thrive. Increasing circulation also helps the body detox, moving unhealthy toxins into the lymph and waste systems for evacuation.
Eye massages increase circulation, which generates healthy blood flow, keeping the eyes and surrounding tissues healthier and more vibrant.
Reduce eye strain
There are multiple causes of eye strain which range from needing glasses, wearing the wrong eyeglass prescription, not getting enough sleep, and so on. Massaging the areas around your eyes gives them a break while nourishing optical tissues with increased blood flow and lubrication. This relieves and prevents eye strain.
Other things you can do to reduce eye strain include:
- Scheduling routine eye exams to keep prescription lenses current.
- Read with sufficient light sources.
- Protect them from UV (sun) damage.
- Give your eyes plenty of screen breaks during the day (See #4).
- Get plenty of rest each night.
While eye strain doesn’t necessarily permanently compromise vision, strained eyes cause temporary blurriness and may also experience light sensitivity.
Prevent (or relieve) dry eye
Dry eye is a common eye condition. There are several causes of dry eye. Some people are more prone to it due to genetic factors. Others experience dry eye due to age- or hormone-related changes in the body. For example, did you know women are more prone to dry eye after menopause? Additional factors that increase the chances of getting dry eye include environmental factors, medication side effects, or lifestyle choices (poor diet, not hydrating enough, smoking, etc.).
Patients with dry eye use over-the-counter eye drops for relief; some may even need prescription eye drops or ointments. Regardless, anyone suffering the side effects of dry eye experience immediate relief by taking time at least twice a day for an eye massage. While external lubricants are better than nothing, the best way to hydrate the eyes is to stimulate their own moisture production – one of the benefits of eye massages.
Enjoy a screen break
There is no debating that the amount of time we spend on screens has its consequences. In addition to the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle, staring at screens increases the risk of eye strain while simultaneously decreasing the number of times you blink each minute.
We’re hearty advocates of the 20-20-20 rule; take a screen break every 20 minutes, for at least 20 seconds, while shifting your gaze to something at least 20 feet away (looking out a window for a view of nature is a preferred option). While you’re at it, we recommend integrating eye massages to further take advantage of your screen break. Check out a video demonstrating a 1 minute Eye Strain Relief Exercise from U.C. Health Cincinnati.
Reduce overall stress levels
Taking time out to care for yourself has an immediate, beneficial effect on the nervous system. For example, when you pair an eye massage session with long, slow, deep breaths, your body shifts back into a parasympathetic mode – reducing stress hormones.
Stress management also supports eye and vision health. Did you know that blood pressure is a leading risk factor for several eye conditions that lead to vision loss, such as hypertensive retinopathy, ocular hypertension, and glaucoma? When stressed, we’re also more likely to lose sleep or make poor diet choices, further compromising our overall health and well-being. Practicing stress management naturally lowers blood pressure, benefitting your eyes as well as your body.
Talk To Us About Recommended Eye Massages
Are you interested in learning more about how automated eye massagers relieve eye strain and benefit eye health? Schedule your next eye exam at Atlantic Eye Institute. We’ll let you know whether or not it’s worth the investment and which brands we recommend. We’ll also show you more DIY eye massage techniques to improve vision and eye health on your own.