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Eye Exercises for Speed Reading

Eye movement is controlled by muscles in your eye sockets and eyeballs, and like the rest of your muscles, you can strengthen them through exercise. Eye strength comes in handy for speed reading, which taxes your eyes more than regular reading because it requires your eyes to cover more distance on the page. Making your eye muscles stronger and more flexible improves your clarity of vision and retards the natural eyesight deterioration that occurs with aging.

Thumb-to-thumb glancing

Thumb-to-thumb glancing works the muscles in your eye sockets that control peripheral vision and stretches the eye muscles in general to make them healthier and more flexible.

To get the most from this exercise, try to glance at your thumbs without moving your head.

  1. Sitting or standing, look straight ahead, stretch your arms out to your sides, and stick up your thumbs.

  2. Without turning your head, glance back and forth between your left and right thumbs ten times.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 three times.

Eye writing

This exercise gets you to move your eyes in ways unrelated to normal seeing, which gives them a good workout. Eye writing exercises the extra-ocular muscles of the eye socket and is especially good for increasing the eyeball’s flexibility and range of motion. Eye writing couldn’t be simpler:

  1. Look at the wall on the other side of the room (or the wall that is farthest away from you).

  2. Imagine that you’re writing your name on the wall with your eyes.

    In other words, move your eyes as you would move a paintbrush if you were painting the letters of your name on the wall. Try writing your name in block letters and then in cursive letters.

Hooded eyes

Hooded eyes relaxes your eyes; do this exercise two or three times when your eyes need a quick timeout.

  1. Close your eyes halfway and concentrate on stopping your eyelids from trembling.

    As you concentrate on your eyelids, you’re really relaxing your eyes.

  2. With your eyes still half closed, gaze at a faraway object.

    Your eyes stop trembling.

Eye squeezes

Doing eye squeezes relaxes your eyes, makes your eye muscles more flexible, and increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your eyes and face. This exercise takes about three minutes:

  1. As you inhale deeply and slowly, open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can and stretch out all the muscles of your face.

  2. As you exhale, close and squeeze your eyes as tightly as you can while also squeezing all the muscles of your face, neck, and head and clenching your jaws.

  3. Hold your breath and continue squeezing for 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 four more times, take a short break, and then do another set of five squeezes.

Don’t attempt eye squeezes in an office or other location where other people can see you; you'll look awfully strange while you’re doing it.

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