To fight eye strain from too much screen time, 'eye yoga' gains popularity

Our eyes do a lot of work, especially in the age of near-constant screen time. So what if we gave our eyes a workout? 

Sir Paul McCartney does it regularly. 

"Your eyes are muscles whereas your ears aren't so you can't like exercise your ears, but your eyes you can," he explained in a recent interview on the podcast Table Manners with Jessie Ware. McCartney says he's been doing yoga for more than a decade since learning about it in India. 

At the time, he even made a video demonstrating the moves and shared it on YouTube, which he claims have helped his eyes stay sharp even into his late 70s. 

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His is just one of many videos online demonstrating eye yoga techniques, which include "palming," and looking up and down for a set period of time. 

"In a lot of ways, it's replicating what our eyes are meant to be doing out in the wild and out in nature all the time," said Meredith Amann, a yoga and health coach who teaches eye yoga. 

But is there any science behind eye yoga? 

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"Moving the muscles around your eyes has no effect on the ciliary muscle," which is the intrinsic muscle that controls the lens, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a Professor of Opthomology at Metrohealth Cleveland, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Opthomology. 

Steinemann says eye yoga is no substitute for glasses, contacts or other medical treatment. But he says it may help relieve eye stress and strain. 

"Does it help? maybe. It can't hurt," he said. 

Steinemann suggested a simple technique to relieve eye strain, known as the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from whatever screen you've been staring at, for 20 seconds, at something 20 feet away.