6 Muscles to Train for the Eyes to Send Proper Signals to the Brain

Published On - 19 October, 2023By Alina Butunoi

Did you know that 100% of vision happens in the brain? Vision and eyesight are two terms often used interchangeably; however, they're actually different things.

Eyesight is how well you can see, but vision goes beyond that and allows you to understand what you're seeing.

Vision is a skill that's valuable when it comes to anything. It is in fact the most valuable resource for the brain to change signals. You need the ability to take visual information and process it.

By exercising your face muscles, you can build that skill. How does it work?

Keep reading to learn more about how you can train your eyes to send proper signals to your brain.

1. Superior Rectus

The superior rectus is a small but mighty muscle located at the top of your eye. It attaches to the front of your eyeball and runs along the roof of your eye socket. Its primary function is to elevate or lift your eye upward.

When this muscle contracts, it pulls on the top of your eyeball, causing it to rotate upwards toward the ceiling. This movement helps you look up at objects that are located above you.

However, if this muscle becomes weak or damaged due to injury or aging, it can lead to problems with upward gaze and cause difficulty in reading or looking at things from a distance.

2. Inferior Rectus

The inferior rectus is one of the six extraocular muscles that control eye movements. It arises from the common tendinous ring and inserts into the lower part of the eyeball or, more specifically, to its posterior section. This muscle plays an important role in eye movement, particularly when looking downwards.

When you train your inferior rectus muscle, it helps improve your ability to look down without tilting your head. This is especially crucial for athletes who need quick reaction times, like basketball players or tennis players.

Strengthening this muscle can also help people with certain medical conditions such as strabismus (crossed eyes) or nystagmus (involuntary rapid eye movement).

3. Superior Oblique

This muscle originates from the upper inner side of the back of the eye socket and wraps around a pulley-like structure before attaching to the eyeball. Its primary function is to move the eye downward and inward toward the nose.

When this muscle contracts, it pulls on a tendon that passes through a small loop called the trochlea. The trochlea acts as a pivot point, allowing for smooth and precise movement of the eyeball.

A weak or imbalanced superior oblique can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Double vision (especially when looking down)
  • Difficulty reading at close range
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain

4. Inferior Oblique

The inferior oblique muscle is situated on the outer side of each eye. This muscle elevates the eye and moves it outwardly, away from the nose. The primary function of this muscle is to rotate the top part of the eye so that it faces toward your nose while rotating the bottom part outwards.

Keeping your inferior oblique muscles in good shape helps improve overall vision health by reducing strain on other surrounding muscles. So make sure to include these exercises in your daily routine for better eye health!

5. Lateral Rectus

The Lateral Rectus muscle is responsible for moving the eye laterally. This muscle originates from a small bony protuberance in the skull and attaches to the outer side of the eye. When this muscle contracts, it pulls on the eye, causing it to move toward the temple.

The movement of this muscle is essential for horizontal vision and helps us scan our surroundings efficiently. However, if not trained properly, it can cause various issues such as strabismus or crossed eyes.

6. Medial Rectus

The Medial Rectus is responsible for the inward or medial rotation of the eye, allowing you to focus on objects within close proximity.

Located near the nose in each eye, this muscle works in conjunction with its counterpart from the opposite side to coordinate accurate binocular vision. Dysfunction of this muscle can cause a condition called esotropia, commonly known as cross-eyed.

Training your Medial Rectus, along with other facial muscles, can improve overall eye health and function.

How Do These Muscles Work Together?

The six facial muscles mentioned above work together in a coordinated manner to help us move our eyes and send proper signals to the brain. Each muscle has its own specific function, but they all contribute to eye movement.

For example, when we look up, the superior rectus muscle contracts while the inferior rectus muscle relaxes. This allows for upward eye movement. Similarly, when we look down, the inferior rectus contracts while the superior rectus relaxes.

The oblique muscles are responsible for diagonal eye movements. The superior oblique muscle helps us move our eyes down and outwards, while the inferior oblique muscle moves them up and outwards.

The lateral and medial rectus muscles control horizontal eye movements. The lateral rectus allows us to look toward our outer field of vision, while the medial rectus enables inward eye movement.

All these muscles work together seamlessly to provide precise control over our visual tracking abilities.

What Exercises Can Help?

To train and strengthen the facial muscles responsible for proper eye signals, there are various exercises you can do. These brain training exercises target specific areas of the eyes and surrounding facial muscles.

We'll cover two exercises to get you started. However, the four we would recommend include the following:

  1. Eye circles
  2. Eye Spirals
  3. Pencil Pushup
  4. Near/Far

Eye Circles

Eye circles help to train and exercise your ability to track objects in the full range of your visual field. This exercise requires visual strength and coordination.

To do this, you'll stand in a comfortable position where you're relaxed and balanced. You'll then hold a visual target, like a pen or your finger, at arm's length in front of your nose.

Keep your head as still as possible and focus on your visual target. Make three big circles in each direction. Make sure you remain relaxed.

If you begin to feel tense, make smaller circles and go slower.

Eye Spirals

Eye spirals follow the same concept as circles, but they add depth and movement, making the exercise more challenging. You'll stand comfortably. Make sure you feel balanced and relaxed.

Hold a visual target in front of your nose. You'll keep your head as still as possible and make a circle with your visual target. Start out close to yourself and slowly move out an arm's length away.

Gradually increase the size of the circle as you do this. Over 30 seconds, move the spiral away from you and then bring it back towards you over 30 seconds.

You'll repeat this in a vertical direction.

Strengthen Your Face Muscles by Training Your Eyes

Are you ready to strengthen your face muscles? Before you get started, test your neck and back mobility to see how much it changes before and after implementing the exercise. This will allow you to see just how quickly and easily you can make changes with simple exercises.

Try these exercises and watch your visual field improve.

Are you looking for more ways to train your brain and improve your performance? Book an appointment to learn how to connect all the parts of your body together.

About Author

Alina Butunoi

Alina Butunoi is one of Ottawa's most respected brain training and pain management practitioners. A previous nominee for the Ottawa 40 Under 40 business leaders, she is also a certified Movement Neurology Specialist with Z-Health, a cutting-edge neuro-exercise system that helps improve health, alleviate pain and maximize athletic performance.

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