Push-up exercises help to train convergence. Convergence is when both eyes move in (towards the nose) as we follow an object coming towards us. If our eyes do not converge, the near object will be seen as two (or doubled). For any reading or computer task we are converging the eyes at different amounts to keep the image single. Accommodation (focusing clearly on a close object) is linked to convergence as we have to keep the object not only single, but also clear. Problems with convergence can lead to double vision, blur, eye-strain, headaches or fatigue when reading or doing close work.
What you will need:
- Two pens or sharp pencils
- Start by holding one pen in front of you at arm’s length.
- Bring it towards your nose at a slow, steady pace, keeping the tip of the pen focused and single.
- When the pen is very close to your nose it may become blurry - this is acceptable as long as it is still single and you cannot see two pens.
- When the pen becomes doubled, try to make your eyes work hard so that you see it single again.
- If you can get the pen to touch your nose and still keep it single, hold this position for two seconds then relax.
- If you cannot keep the pen single, move it back to arm’s length and start again.
- Repeat this for one minute (or 20 cycles) then relax the eyes by looking in the distance for one minute.
Jump convergence is harder than smooth convergence and is more similar to the visual adjustments we make in real life. When smooth convergence can be done well or when your optometrist recommends it, you should switch to jump convergences to train the eyes more effectively.
- Using two pens, hold one at arm’s length and one 10cm in front of your nose.
- Move your gaze from the far pen to the near pen. Keep the near pen you are focusing on clear and single (you should notice the pen you are not focusing on will appear doubled).
- Hold this position for two seconds, then move back to the far pen and make this single and clear.
- Repeat for one minute (or 20 cycles), then relax the eyes by looking in the distance for one minute.
- If you cannot keep the 10cm pen single, move it further away until you can. As you become better at converging you should be able to keep a pen single at 10cm.
- If you can easily keep the 10cm pen single then for the next set bring it closer to 8cm, 5cm and then touching your nose for expert convergers!
Do three of these one minute cycles at least three different times during the day.
Remember: For these exercises to be effective, the pen you are concentrating on has to be kept single ‒ if it doubles you may need to start with the pen further away. Ask us us if you have any questions about the exercises.