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9 Eye Exercises After Stroke That Help Restore Vision

eye exercises after stroke

Eye exercises after stroke can help patients improve their vision.

Up to a quarter of stroke survivors suffer vision loss, according to the Stroke Foundation. Luckily, partial recovery or natural vision improvement is possible.

Eye Exercises After Stroke May Help Restore Vision

There are many kinds of vision problems after stroke, and if you suffer from severe visual deficits, it’s best to work with a professional.

However, if you struggle with impaired eye movement control (which can present as blurry vision, double vision, or difficulty focusing eyes), then these eye exercises can help. They will help you rewire the brain to control the 6 muscles that control your eye.

Never do anything that hurts, and start slowly.

Here are the eye exercises after stroke:

1. Slow Blinks

Sometimes stroke patients don’t blink because they have lost the involuntary movement. To help encourage the body to start blinking again, practice slow blinks daily.

Simply breathe in and close both eyelids, and breathe out while you open your eyelids. If you don’t have control of your eyelids, then gently use your finger to assist your eyelids.

Repeat 10 times.

2. Clock Rotations

Next, fix your gaze straight ahead. Then, look up at 12 o’clock with your eyes (without moving your head) and feel a gentle stretch in your eye muscles. Then, breathe out and return to a relaxed forward gaze.

Then, breathe in and look at your 1 o’clock. Repeat this all the way around so that you do 12 repetitions total.

This helps retrain the 6 eye muscles that control your eye while improving blood flow and eye health.

3. Near/Far Focusing

Next, hold your finger out in front of you, about arm’s length away. Breathe in while looking at your finger, then breathe out while you gaze into the distance past your finger.

Switch between focusing on your finger and focusing on the distance a total of 12 times.

4. “Tromboning”

With your eyes still focused on your finger extended in front of you, start to gently bring your finger in close to your face. Breathe in as you remain focused on your finger as you bring it closer and closer.

Then, breathe out and begin to move your finger away. This movement should feel like you’re pumping a trombone back and forth, slowly. Repeat 5 times.

Want 25 pages of stroke recovery exercises in PDF form? Click here to download our free Stroke Rehab Exercise ebook now (link opens a pop up for uninterrupted reading)

5. Squeeze Blinks

Now that you’re halfway through, let’s give your eyes a little break. Close your eyelids and gently squeeze them shut.

Do NOT squeeze so hard that it hurts. You simply want to gently stimulate your eyes.

Squeeze for half a second, then relax. Squeeze, then relax. Repeat 10 times.

6. Pencil Exercises

Start by taking a pencil and holding it about 18 inches from your face at eye level. Then, with your eyes focused on the pencil, slowly move it from left to right as far as you can see without moving your head.

Return to center and then move the pencil up and down as far as you can see – again, making sure to avoid moving your head. Repeat this 5 times in both directions.

7. Peripheral Vision Stimulation

If you have a caregiver or friend around, have them help you with this peripheral vision exercise.

Give your caregiver two pencils and have him/her hold them on both sides of your face. Look straight ahead and make sure that you can see both of the pencils in your peripheral vision.

Then, have your assistant move one pencil slightly closer to you and one further away. Your only job is to guess which is closer. Do this 10 times, or until you’re bored.

8. Homemade Letter Searches

Similar to a word search, have a friend write down 20 random letters in a single line. Then, ask them to assign you a certain letter to search for. Search for at least 5.

9. Computer Games

If you’re ready for some fun, try practicing online vision games from Eye Can Learn that allow you to work on your peripheral vision, among many other things. And best of all – it’s free!

You can also check out Lumosity if you’re willing to spend a little on fancier games. It’s one of our top recommended apps for stroke recovery.

Eyes Feeling Fatigued?

If you begin these exercises and your eyes feel fatigued, pay close attention.

Is it a dull ache? That might mean that you gave your eyes a good workout! Be sure to get lots of sleep and allow your eyes to rest. You’re rebuilding muscle and rewiring the brain, congrats!

If it’s a sharp pain, stop the exercises immediately and consult a vision restoration therapist. There might be complex medical issues that deserve attention.

And there you have it! We hope these eye exercises help you regain your sight after stroke.

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Get Inspired with This Stroke Survivor Story

Mom gets better every day!

“When my 84-year-old Mom had a stoke on May 2, the right side of her body was rendered useless. In the past six months, she has been blessed with a supportive medical team, therapy team, and family team that has worked together to gain remarkable results.

While she still struggles with her right side, she can walk (with assistance) and is beginning to get her right arm and hand more functional. We invested in the FitMi + MusicGlove + Tablet bundle for her at the beginning of August.

She lights up when we bring it out and enjoys using it for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time. While she still doesn’t have enough strength to perform some of the exercises, she rocks the ones she can do! Thanks for creating such powerful tools to help those of us caring for stroke patients. What you do really matters!”

-David H.

FitMi is a neurorehab device that you can use from the comfort of home. It works by motivating you to accomplish high repetition of therapeutic exercises.

As you work through the program, you’ll unlock more difficult exercises when you’re ready. It’s like having a virtual therapist available anytime you need it.

See how quickly Sudhir was able to notice improvements:

Saw results within a few days

“I bought FitMi about a month and a half ago. Quite impressed with the range of exercises for hand, arm, leg and foot. I suffered a stroke about 2 years ago which paralyzed my right side. I do walk now with a cane or walker, but my right hand curls up and my right arm is also weak. Within a few days of trying it out, I could note a distinct improvement in stamina before tiring. So, I am looking forward to continued improvement.”


Not only is FitMi approved by survivors, but it’s also approved by therapists, too. FitMi is used in some of the top clinics in the world, including the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, the #1 ranked rehab hospital in America. Plus, two PTs on YouTube with over 3 million subscribers (you may know them as Bob & Brad) gave FitMi the thumbs up, too.

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