A systematic review of the applicability and efficacy of eye exercises

Ophthalmology Department, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus (Impact Factor: 0.75). 01/2005; 42(2):82-8.
Source: PubMed


To examine the current scientific evidence base regarding the efficacy of eye exercises as used in optometric vision therapy.
A search was performed of the following databases: Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, and MEDLINE. Relevant articles were reviewed and analyzed for strengths and weaknesses. Pertinent sections of classic texts were studied to provide a historical basis and to serve as a source for additional early references.
Forty-three refereed studies were obtained. Of these, 14 were clinical trials (10 controlled studies), 18 review articles, 2 historical articles, 1 case report, 6 editorials or letters, and 2 position statements from professional colleges. Many of the references listed by the larger reviews were unpublished or published in obscure or nonrefereed sources and therefore were not accessible.
Eye exercises have been purported to improve a wide range of conditions including vergence problems, ocular motility disorders, accommodative dysfunction, amblyopia, learning disabilities, dyslexia, asthenopia, myopia, motion sickness, sports performance, stereopsis, visual field defects, visual acuity, and general well-being. Small controlled trials and a large number of cases support the treatment of convergence insufficiency. Less robust, but believable, evidence indicates visual training may be useful in developing fine stereoscopic skills and improving visual field remnants after brain damage. As yet there is no clear scientific evidence published in the mainstream literature supporting the use of eye exercises in the remainder of the areas reviewed, and their use therefore remains controversial.

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    • "Thus, myopia is suggested to be a multi-faceted phenomenon, and variety of attempts for its treatment were made throughout the world, including medical therapies [14], lens and eye exercises [15,16], and massage therapies [17]. Unfortunately, these attempts did not achieve cure or became the base for standard treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of two non-surgical interventions of vision improvement in children. A prospective, randomized, pilot study to compare fogging method and the use of head mounted 3D display. Subjects were children, between 5 to 15 years old, with normal best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and up to -3D myopia. Subjects played a video game as near point work, and received one of the two methods of treatments. Measurements of uncorrected far visual acuity (UCVA), refraction with autorefractometer, and subjective accommodative amplitude were taken 3 times, at the baseline, after the near work, and after the treatment. Both methods applied after near work, improved UCVA. Head mounted 3D display group showed significant improvement in UCVA and resulted in better UCVA than baseline. Fogging group showed improvement in subjective accommodative amplitude. While 3D display group did not show change in the refraction, fogging group's myopic refraction showed significant increase indicating the eyes showed myopic change of eyes after near work and treatment. Despite our lack of clear knowledge in the mechanisms, both methods improved UCVA after the treatments. The improvement in UCVA was not correlated to measured refraction values. UCVA after near work can be improved by repeating near and distant accommodation by fogging and 3D image viewing, although at the different degrees. Further investigation on mechanisms of improvements and their clinical significance are warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · The Open Ophthalmology Journal
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    • "First, the criteria are very difficult to implement due to the heterogeneity of the dyslexic population. Secondly, it is sometimes difficult to separate poor readers from dyslexics in the first stages of learning to read.101,102 "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental dyslexia affects almost 10% of school-aged children and represents a significant public health problem. Its etiology is unknown. The consistent presence of phonological difficulties combined with an inability to manipulate language sounds and the grapheme-phoneme conversion is widely acknowledged. Numerous scientific studies have also documented the presence of eye movement anomalies and deficits of perception of low contrast, low spatial frequency, and high frequency temporal visual information in dyslexics. Anomalies of visual attention with short visual attention spans have also been demonstrated in a large number of cases. Spatial orientation is also affected in dyslexics who manifest a preference for spatial attention to the right. This asymmetry may be so pronounced that it leads to a veritable neglect of space on the left side. The evaluation of treatments proposed to dyslexics whether speech or oriented towards the visual anomalies remains fragmentary. The advent of new explanatory theories, notably cerebellar, magnocellular, or proprioceptive, is an incentive for ophthalmologists to enter the world of multimodal cognition given the importance of the eye's visual input.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Clinical ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.)
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    • "In this respect, this review is consistent with a number of recent literature reviews that have arrived at similar conclusions (e.g. Helveston, 2005; Rawstron et al., 2005). There have been attempts to improve the ability to assess the efficacy of behavioural vision therapy. "
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    ABSTRACT: In 2000, the UK's College of Optometrists commissioned a report to critically evaluate the theory and practice of behavioural optometry. The report which followed Jennings (2000; Behavioural optometry--a critical review. Optom. Pract. 1: 67) concluded that there was a lack of controlled clinical trials to support behavioural management strategies. The purpose of this report was to evaluate the evidence in support of behavioural approaches as it stands in 2008. The available evidence was reviewed under 10 headings, selected because they represent patient groups/conditions that behavioural optometrists are treating, or because they represent approaches to treatment that have been advocated in the behavioural literature. The headings selected were: (1) vision therapy for accommodation/vergence disorders; (2) the underachieving child; (3) prisms for near binocular disorders and for producing postural change; (4) near point stress and low-plus prescriptions; (5) use of low-plus lenses at near to slow the progression of myopia; (6) therapy to reduce myopia; (7) behavioural approaches to the treatment of strabismus and amblyopia; (8) training central and peripheral awareness and syntonics; (9) sports vision therapy; (10) neurological disorders and neuro-rehabilitation after trauma/stroke. There is a continued paucity of controlled trials in the literature to support behavioural optometry approaches. Although there are areas where the available evidence is consistent with claims made by behavioural optometrists (most notably in relation to the treatment of convergence insufficiency, the use of yoked prisms in neurological patients, and in vision rehabilitation after brain disease/injury), a large majority of behavioural management approaches are not evidence-based, and thus cannot be advocated.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics
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