Urban Optique
4935 40 Ave NW #132 Calgary AB T3A 2N1 (403) 286-4142

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Calgary, AB


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5 Vision Therapy Exercises To Reduce Astigmatism Symptoms

Whether working on the computer at home or spending time playing ball with the family, you depend on clear, comfortable vision to perform your best and enjoy your life. And while numerous conditions can affect your sight, astigmatism can affect it at near and far distances.

As a result, you can experience several irritating symptoms that affect your eye comfort.

While prescription lenses are a great way to correct your visual errors, there are a few different vision therapy exercises you could perform to manage your symptoms and keep your eyes comfortable.

Let’s take a look at a few of these exercises, go over their steps, and help you achieve the comfort you deserve. For a more personalized approach to correcting astigmatism and managing your symptoms, be sure to request an appointment with the team at Urban Optique today. 

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea’s shape affects how light reaches your eye. However, astigmatism differs from other refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) because it can affect your vision at near and far distances.

Most people have some degree of astigmatism, but it can become more apparent if you develop another refractive error alongside it.

Aside from blurry vision, astigmatism may also cause eye strain and headaches. To help manage these issues and possibly correct your vision, our eye care team can recommend:

However, if you’re looking for a way to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and eye strain, there are a few different eye exercises that might be able to help.

A young boy performing eye exercises looking down a string with blocks spaced out along the string

What Is Vision Therapy & How Can It Help?

Vision therapy is a doctor-led treatment program specifically designed to help strengthen the relationship between your eyes and brain. We typically recommend vision therapy to patients with amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), or sports vision problems, but we can recommend this treatment to anyone who may want to enhance the visual skills they use in everyday life.

Some of the most common visual skills vision therapy can help support include:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Eye-tracking
  • Binocular movements
  • Visual memory
  • Focusing

Because astigmatism is a refractive error stemming from an irregular corneal shape, we should note that vision therapy can’t help correct this issue. While some sources on the Internet claim that vision therapy could help correct astigmatism, there is no scientific proof to back them up.

Instead, we’ll look at some vision therapy exercises that could help manage uncomfortable astigmatism symptoms, like eye strain and headaches. However, it’s important to know that results may vary between patients. Please visit us for an eye exam for advice unique to your needs.

#1. Tracking Your Thumb

This exercise is to help strengthen the muscles that control your eye movements. For this exercise:

  • Hold your arm out
  • Point your thumb upwards
  • Track your thumb as you move it in a circular motion

#2. Changing Your Focus

Focusing exercises are a great way to improve this essential skill and keep your eyes comfortable while switching between near and far tasks.

For this exercise:

  • Hold your finger in front of your face
  • Slowly move it away from you, but keep your focus on it
  • Look into the distance a moment
  • Then slowly move your finger towards your face
  • Look away again
  • Repeat the exercise 3 times

#3. Figure-8s

Figure-8s is another eye exercise our team could recommend to help strengthen the muscles that control your eyes.

For this exercise:

  • Look out in front of you
  • Imagine an ‘8’ on the floor
  • Trace the shape of the 8 with your eyes for 30 seconds
  • Reverse the direction you’re going and do it again

#4. Blinking

Blinking is an essential part of our eye comfort. Whenever you blink, your eyelids reinforce your tear film with new tears and spread it evenly across your eye surface. Whenever your eyes feel uncomfortable, try blinking several times to help alleviate your symptoms.

#5. The 20-20-20 Rule

If you’re spending a lot of time doing up-close work, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet (about 6 meters) away every 20 minutes. This allows your eyes to relax and read just so you can focus on your task without discomfort.

The 20-20-20 rule is a common exercise we recommend to people who struggle with periodic eye strain. If you struggle with eye strain frequently, you should probably visit us for an eye exam so we can help determine what may be causing your symptoms.

For Personalized Strategies, Visit Our Team Today

Even though vision therapy can’t help correct astigmatism and how it affects your visual acuity, it can help address some of its more uncomfortable symptoms while also strengthening the relationship between your eyes and brain share.

Through our doctor-led treatment program, our team can help you improve the skills you need to rely on your vision. If you’re wondering how vision therapy can help enhance your relationship with your eyes, request an appointment at Urban Optique.

See clearly, comfortably, and confidently today!

Written by Russ Reisner

Dr. Reisner and Dr. Kuntz (who is also Dr. Reisner’s uncle) acquired and expanded Urban Optique into its current location in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Reisner was born and grew up in Limerick, Saskatchewan – a small farming community about an hour south of Moose Jaw. After attending the University of Saskatchewan he earned his degree in Optometry from Indiana University in 2001. Dr. Reisner is very proud of everything he and his colleagues have accomplished.

More Articles by Russ Reisner

Our Location

Located on the main floor of the Market Mall professional building. Providing eye exams, in-stock contact lenses and over 2,000 frames from over 40 brands of eyeglasses. Free parking is available for this Northwest Calgary location.


4935 40 Ave NW #132
Calgary AB, T3A 2N1

Contact Information

  • Monday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am - 5:30pm
  • Sunday: Closed
  • Dr. Russ Reisner
  • Dr. David Schmidt
  • Dr. Pri Tawar
  • Dr. Nevin McIvor
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