Healthy Vision Month: Make Eye Health a Priority

Eye Health

By 2030, the National Eye Institute expects more than 11.4 million people will develop diabetic retinopathy, 4.2 million will develop glaucoma and 3.7 million will develop age-related macular degeneration. Each of these eye-related illnesses can cause visual impairment or even blindness and many times don’t present symptoms.

Just like practice can enhance your skill and coordination in sports, there are exercises you can do for your eyes to improve coordination and function.  In recognition of Healthy Vision Month, MyEyeDr. is sharing six skills you can perfect at home to strengthen your eyes.

  • Eye-Muscle Movements. Flashlight tag can be a fun way to engage with friends or family members but, with a few tweaks, it can also play a key role in developing the eyes’ muscle motor movements. Use masking tape to place an X at eye level in the middle of a large wall at least 15 feet away. Have a partner direct the light from their flashlight in a zigzag pattern slowly along the wall. Use your flashlight to follow their light without moving your head. To make this more difficult, have your partner change the patterns up and move the light at a quicker rate.
  • Focusing. Two Pennies Three is a quick way to improve convergence or focus on nearby objects. Place two pennies heads up an inch apart on a table in the same orientation. Position your head roughly 16 inches above the pennies so that your nose is pointing to the spot in the middle of the two coins. Cross your eyes in a way that makes the two pennies become three and concentrate on the penny in the middle, holding that gaze for 10 seconds, then releasing for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times. To increase difficulty, move the pennies another inch apart until it is no longer easy to see a third penny.
  • Peripheral Awareness. Drawing circles on a whiteboard or chalkboard can help improve peripheral awareness. Place a marker or piece of chalk in each hand and begin drawing a clockwise circle with your right hand at around 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Trace around this circle over and over. After the circle is complete, begin drawing a similar circle with the left hand and continue for about one minute. Have a partner guide you to change the direction you are drawing with your right hand, 30 seconds later change the direction of your left hand and then reverse each hand sporadically as directed by your partner for approximately five minutes.
  • Zooming. Improve the eye’s ability to change optical power as distance varies with Card Focus. Number a set of 20 blank note cards from one to 10 so that you have two of each number. The number should be an inch high and located in the center of the card in portrait orientation. Grab a partner and stand about 15 feet away facing each other. Give one set of cards to your partner and shuffle each deck. Have your partner hold their stack of cards face down at chest height while you hold your stack face down at belly button height. Start the exercise by flipping your first card and reading it while your partner flips their first card for you to view after reading your card. Continue this back-and-forth pattern until you have gone through the entire deck five times.  
  • Eye-Hand-Body Coordination. See how high you can bounce the ball with a partner while improving eye-hand-body coordination. Face your partner about 15 feet away and bounce the ball about 10 feet in the air. When you throw the ball, have your partner do a complete spin, find and catch the ball as it comes down from the bounce. Practice these same steps as your partner sends the ball your way. Repeat 10 times each.
  • Visual Memory. To help improve visual memory and peripheral awareness, play a memory card game. Grab a deck of cards, divide the deck in half and place the cards face down on the table. Have a partner draw and display a card from each stack before flipping back over into a new pile. Your goal is to accurately recount the two cards drawn. Go back and forth until you reach the end of the deck.

There are several healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve eye health; similar to overall health and wellness, nutrition and exercise play a key role. When assessing your health, choose foods rich in nutrients that are good for vital organ functions, but don’t leave your eyes in the dark. Opt for citrus, leafy greens, legumes and carrots to guarantee your diet includes those nutrients that are especially beneficial for your vision health.

 “Practicing these exercises and selecting foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are simple ways to optimize your vision,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr. “However, having a routine, comprehensive eye exam is the most important component to prevent or treat vision issues and ensure your eye health is at its best.”

Healthy Vision Month, which occurs every May, promotes eye health and provides education about eye diseases. Make your eye health a priority and schedule an annual eye exam today at 

About MyEyeDr.

MyEyeDr. is a network of more than 300 local optometry practices in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and District of Columbia. Each MyEyeDr. office offers comprehensive eye care services, a wide selection of designer and value prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses and standard and specialty prescription contact lenses. By welcoming all vision insurance plans and providers, MyEyeDr. makes vision health attainable for all individuals. The full-service eye care management company is headquartered in Vienna, VA.  For more information about MyEyeDr., visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.