Eye exercises are one of the treatments for strabismus. These aim to help train the brain and eyes to work together to improve eye coordination and focusing.

Strabismus, or misaligned eyes, occurs when one or both eyes deviate from the direction of gaze. There are different eye exercises that can help to treat strabismus.

This article discusses different eye exercises for strabismus and other treatments for the condition.

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Pencil pushups train the eyes to move in toward one another and converge or focus on the same near object simultaneously. They may be beneficial for strabismus.

These are the most common exercise that optometrists prescribe.

The exercise involves the following steps:

  1. Hold out the pencil at arm’s length in front of the eyes.
  2. Look at the pencil.
  3. Move the pencil toward the face, about 2–3 centimeters from the brow, just above the nose.

An eye doctor may recommend performing this exercise for 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

The Brock string is a 10- to 15-foot white string containing several colored beads. Optometrists use it to improve convergence and suppression. Suppression is when the brain ignores visual signals from one eye to avoid double vision.

This exercise aims to improve binocular vision, eye teaming, and eye coordination at all distances.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Hold either end of the Brock string in either hand.
  2. Hold one end of the Brock string near the nose and stretch the string out in front.
  3. Look at the closest bead. It should appear by itself at the intersection of two identical strings with identical beads. The two strings should form an X, with the bead in the middle. For a person with a convergence problem, the bead focused on will appear double.
  4. Slowly switch the focus from one bead to the next, making sure that the bead focusing on is at the center of the X pattern. A person should properly focus on the bead to keep seeing the X pattern, except for the one at the far end.

Barrel cards are another vision exercise that aims to train convergence and reduce suppression.

The cards feature three red and green targets opposite each other. To use these cards:

  1. Hold the card lengthwise against the nose, with the largest barrel or target farthest from the face.
  2. Focus on the largest barrel until the two colors merge and the other two double.
  3. Maintain the focus for 5 seconds before switching to the next two.

The main goal of strabismus treatment is to restore the eye’s proper alignment. Other treatments that can help with strabismus include:

  • refractive correction using eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • treatment of amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” with atropine drops or by patching the weaker eye for 2–6 hours per day
  • prism lenses
  • miotics to constrict the pupil
  • botulinum toxin to temporarily paralyze the eye muscle causing the malalignment
  • surgery, which can include procedures for weakening, strengthening, and vector adjustment

A person’s eye doctor can advise on which treatments they recommend and provide more information about what they involve.

Learn more about strabismus.

Strabismus may worsen without treatment. A parent or caregiver who notices that the child’s eyes do not always appear straight, especially if the child is older than 4 months, should have an ophthalmologist examine them.

Here are some frequently asked questions about strabismus.

Can strabismus be corrected with eye exercises?

Frequent and consistent eye exercises can improve control of certain types of strabismus, but high compliance with the treatment is necessary.

A person should contact their doctor about the best treatment for them. Depending on the individual, eye exercises may be more or less effective when a person performs them with other treatments such as medications and refractive correction.

What is the fastest way to get rid of strabismus?

As treatments for strabismus can vary, there is no one treatment that will remedy strabismus the fastest. Eye exercises may help over time. Doctors may also recommend eye patches, drops, lenses, and other treatments.

How do you fix strabismus in adults?

The treatment for strabismus in adults is similar to that in children. Treatments include:

  • surgery
  • eye muscle exercises
  • prism eyeglasses
  • botulinum toxin

Many conditions may cause strabismus in adults, including accidents, head injuries, and health problems such as diabetes and stroke. It is best for a person to contact their doctor if they have concerns about strabismus.

Strabismus is an eye condition that causes eye misalignment. Various treatments can help treat strabismus.

Eye exercises such as pencil pushups and Brock string aim to improve eye coordination and eye-brain communication.

Doctors may recommend other treatments, such as lenses, drops, and patches. A person’s doctor can advise on which treatments may be the most suitable based on the individual’s own circumstances and how strabismus affects them.