Is it useful to protect your eyes and do eye exercises?

Abstract: the reason why many people say they are very serious about doing eye exercises, but they slowly become myopia is that junior high school is just a period of rapid development of myopia, which leads to such an illusion. Now the genetic factors of myopia have been confirmed. The ocular axis begins to change after birth, and its development is often irreversible.

debate on eye exercises has occurred twice in 2009 and 2012. The cause of the debate seemed to be caused by the Internet, but in fact there were deeper reasons. In June 2009, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau jointly promoted a set of “family eye care massage exercises” to 660000 primary school students and families in the city. This set of health exercises needs to be carried out by parents. Massage many acupoints from the top of the head to the ankle. It takes 15 minutes to complete the whole set, which is more difficult than the eye health exercises done in school. The debate in 2012 was caused by a set of “new eye health care” videos called “turning white eyes” by netizens. All the actions were completed by eye rotation, opening and closing eyes, and combined with music. Was rated “too happy”. Skeptics believe that eye exercises are not only useless to protect eyesight, but also the myopia rate of Chinese people is increasing.

then, is eye exercises effective? The reporter specially interviewed Zhang Shengli, director of Ophthalmology of the first municipal hospital.

network debate: good effect or bad effect from the online debate, most opponents believe that while doing eye exercises, their eyesight slowly deteriorates on the other side. For example, “I have done it seriously for several years, and my eyesight has changed from 1.2 to 0.7.” A few supporters also said that their good eyesight is the result of doing eye exercises, such as “I use the computer for a few hours every day, but my eyesight has been 1.5, because I have been doing exercises carefully…” while more supporters said that “I feel very comfortable after doing it, and the fatigue of my eyes will be relieved at once”.

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Why are there so many differences in opinions between the two sides? Zhang Shengli explained that the reason why many people say they are serious about doing eye exercises, but they slowly become myopia is because junior high school coincides with the rapid development of myopia, resulting in such an illusion. Now the genetic factors of myopia have been confirmed. The ocular axis begins to change after birth, and its development is often irreversible. At the same time, environmental factors, such as long-term lack of distant environment and light, also play a role in the occurrence and development of myopia.

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for the reasons of supporters, Zhang Shengli believes that after doing eye exercises, “I feel eye fatigue is relieved”, which is only the fatigue of the muscles around the eyes is relieved, but the exercise itself has no effect on the ciliary muscles (muscles related to the “zoom” function of the eyes). “Of course, when doing exercises, you should close your eyes and rest for a few minutes. Of course, you can also rest your ciliary muscles. However, this can only be said to be the role of closing your eyes and rest, not the role of eye exercises.” Zhang Shengli said.

what is the role of eye exercises in protecting eyesight? Zhang Shengli said: “I have noticed that in the past 20 years, there have been no papers on this aspect in either the Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology or the Journal of Practical Ophthalmology. I don’t see the data support of scientific research that eye exercises can prevent myopia.”

maybe reviewing the history of eye exercises can clarify some problems. How did

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eye exercises come from? I believe many people still remember the dubbing of eye exercises: “protecting eyesight for the revolution and preventing myopia, eye exercises begin now…” these words just say the function of eye exercises, that is, protecting eyesight and preventing myopia, which also shows the original intention of the government to promote it.

as early as 1962 before the promotion of eye exercises, Yang Jingwen, the former deputy director of Shanghai trachoma Center (now renamed Shanghai eye disease prevention and treatment institute), once published a research paper saying: because of doing eye exercises, 34 myopia students in a primary school in Shanghai recovered their normal vision in less than half a year, of which the most prominent girl had a right eye vision of 0.2, The vision of the left eye was 0.3, and eye exercises were performed twice a day. After six months, the vision surprisingly recovered to 1.2 and 1.0 respectively.

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in this regard, Zhang Shengli believes that “it is impossible”. “There must be something wrong with this paper. If there is such a magic effect, it is the medical achievement that shocked the world, and eye exercises will be promoted all over the world,” he said

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in 2012, the first debate on eye exercises was in full swing, and the media interviewed the Ministry of education. In the face of the question of whether there is a scientific basis for eye exercises, the Ministry of education can not get any data basis and expert demonstration for the record, but insisted that “the promotion of eye exercises in that year must have been certified by experts and have a certain scientific basis.”

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promoted eye exercises nationwide in 1972, when it was the cultural revolution. It is not surprising that they had not been demonstrated by experts. In fact, eye exercises started earlier and should be pushed back to 1961. It was created by Liu Shiming, director of the physical education teaching and research group of Beijing Medical College (now known as the medical department of Peking University). The reason is that he created a set of 8-section eye exercises to treat his own eye diseases. He later proposed to promote it to schools, but put it aside for six years because of social movements, and then proposed to promote it to organizations again. This time, two massage experts, Li Yutian from the orthopedics department of Beijing Hospital of traditional Chinese medicine and Lu Yinghua from the massage department of Guang’anmen Hospital of China Academy of traditional Chinese medicine, were simplified and revised to 5 sections, and then changed to 4 sections. Since 1972, they were first promoted to Beijing and then to the whole country, without the intervention of any ophthalmology experts.

Zhang Shengli said that no book mentioned eye exercises when it came to protecting eyesight, whether it was the current ophthalmic reference books or the ophthalmic textbooks of medical colleges. What’s more incredible is that although eye exercises claim to be based on the meridian theory of traditional Chinese medicine, eye exercises are not mentioned in the textbooks of Ophthalmology of traditional Chinese medicine. The compilers of

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textbooks are the most authoritative experts in various majors. They “ignore” this set of eye exercises intentionally or unintentionally. We can see their attitude towards this set of eye exercises implemented by hundreds of millions of primary and secondary school students for more than 40 years.

To come up with a convincing basis, some people say that” there are nine sets of broadcast gymnastics, and eye exercises are always the same “. It is reported that after 2000, eye exercises have been revised once, and even added lower limb movements such as” toe lying on the ground “, but for some reason, they were not officially launched. In 2009, the” new health exercises “called” rolling eyes “was introduced , it is only launched by some health care institutions themselves.

for this kind of health exercises, Zhang Shengli believes that eye rotation can only exercise the muscles outside the eyeball, not to mention the improvement of vision. As for the “family eye exercises” of whole-body massage acupoints implemented by parents in Beijing in 2012, he believes that it is based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine and cannot be commented by western medicine. “However, no matter what theory is based on, if we want to carry out this set of operation, we must produce effective evidence.” He said.

his words are also meaningful to the online debate. Netizens who support eye exercises have a “strong” refutation. The reason for questioning is “show evidence and then question”, which means that the questioner needs to show research evidence that eye exercises have no effect. But they forget that to promote a set of health exercises among hundreds of millions of people, don’t they need to show useful evidence first? As early as at the national ophthalmology academic conference in 1979, some research papers pointed out that eye exercises had no supporting basis for the prevention of myopia. In fact, in 2009, Shanghai eye disease prevention and control center published “analysis of the evolution of students’ eye exercises”, which proved that several research bases supporting eye exercises did not meet the standards of modern scientific experiments.

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in fact, such things as eye exercises are not unique to China. American ophthalmologist William Bates published “treating visual defects without glasses” in 1920, which includes a set of eye care exercises created by himself, claiming to correct myopia. But nine years later, it was regarded as “false advertising” by the Federal Trade Commission.

in 2004, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a research statement, saying that various physical methods, including eye exercises, muscle relaxation and eye massage, have no effect on improving vision and should not be used. The International Association for visual correction issued a similar statement.

and the particularity of Chinese eye exercises is that there is a set of meridian theory of traditional Chinese medicine. In the face of doubt, should the government organize an empirical study. Zhang Shengli said: “it is absolutely necessary. Moreover, the sample should be large enough and the time should be long enough, and the control group should be strictly set up to come up with convincing basis, so as to decide whether to abolish or continue or improve eye exercises in the future.”

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