Why Does My Vision Get Better After Rubbing Or Squinting My Eyes?

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Pushing on your eyes or squinting them can help you see more clearly because your eyes are like a camera. For you to see correctly, the light passes through a clear lens behind your iris, i.e., the colored part of your eye. The light, then, is focused on a spot at the back of your eye, the retina. The lens adjusts itself to focus on the object for the eyes and brain to work together to process what you’re seeing.

You can see clearly after squinting or pushing on your eyes because the lens changes shape to focus on the object in front of you. The lens adjusts so that less light enters the eyes, for the thing in front of you looks sharper, much like a camera. When something gets in your eye, rubbing or applying pressure on your eyes too much can also harm your eyes. You can do specific eye exercises every day to improve your eye’s muscle tone to help you see better.

Does it often happen to you when you try to read something from afar or when you suddenly look at your alarm clock in the middle of the night- your vision is blurred, and it gets only better when you rub or squint your eyes?

I recently went into Starbucks to get their featured drinks of the season, but it seemed like an eternity to order a coffee, not because the place was crowded, but because I couldn’t read what was on the board.

And yes, I did forget my glasses at home, but I tried my mighty best to read what was written on the board, and *few hours later* I did manage to read my order by squinting and pushing on my eyes incessantly.

It might’ve happened to you too, either when you wake up in the middle of the night to see what time it is, and it’s only after squinting multiple times, the red-colored digital time on the alarm clock is visible to you.

Why can you see better when you push on your eyes or squint?

The easier way to explain how our eyes work is to think of our eyes like a camera. You adjust the lens so that the light entering is changed, and you can see the object you’re trying to focus on getting sharper.

A young man is taking break from working on his computer and is rubbing his tired eyes.

In the same way, the lens behind the iris adjusts itself and changes shape so that light entering your eyes is modified at a spot at the retina, and you can see the object more clearly.

So, what happens when you squint your eyes or rub them?

  • The eye lens changes its shape when we squint and helps us see better.
  • The eye makes minor adjustments in the lens which allows us to focus better.
  • The light entering the eye is reduced and adjusted, which minimizes the impact on the retina and allows us to see the object clearer and sharper.

Reasons why your vision is blurry?

1. You may need glasses

When your eyeball is too long or your cornea is too curved, the light entering the eyes isn’t appropriately refracted, so you’re not able to focus on an object either kept near or far.

You might experience blurry or doubled visions, frequent squinting, headaches, strain in your eyes or eyes feeling tired, trouble seeing at night.

You can correct this by wearing glasses, contact lenses, or getting minor surgery.

2. Diabetes

When the blood sugar isn’t in control, fluid can often enter into the lens, making your eyes swell and vision blurry.

This can happen before your diagnosis or when you’re changing your diabetes treatment plan. When your blood sugar comes back to normal, the lens becomes normal too.

3. Low blood pressure

I have experienced this every time I have low blood pressure.

The vision sometimes gets highly blurry, and no matter how many times I try to squint or rub my eyes, the vision gets better only once the blood pressure becomes normal.

4. Cataract

Once you’re above the age of 40, your vision might get blurry because of a cataract clouding over the lens.

Symptoms like reduced nigh-time vision, blurry or distorted vision, double vision, changes in the way you see color, and sensitivity to bright light like lamps or sunlight.

If your symptoms are mild, you might be prescribed new glasses or contact lenses, but as your cataract worsens, your doctor might recommend getting surgery to remove the cataract.

Exercises to improve your eye’s muscle

Eye exercises can improve your blood circulation in the eye, strengthen weak eye muscles, and improve muscle tone.

When you regularly perform these eye exercises, it might help you get the sharpest vision possible, and if needed, with the help of glasses or contact lenses.

Improving your eye muscle tone can also help reduce the strain in your eyes when you work continuously on your laptop or cellphone.

Follow these exercises:

  • Figure eight: Make an imaginary horizontal 8 on the wall, and trace the shape of the 8 slowly with your eyes.
  • Eye circles: Get in a relaxed position, and move your eyes in a clockwise direction 20 times, trying to touch every corner of your eye. Relax for 15 seconds and repeat the exercise in the anti-clockwise order.
  • Shift the focus: Change the focus of your eyes by concentrating on a far-kept object until it becomes clear and hold the focus for 6 seconds. Change the focus immediately to a thing kept near and focus for 6 seconds.

If you have prescription glasses, following these exercises will help strengthen the eye muscles and help them work more effectively.


How can I improve my vision naturally?

Eat food rich in antioxidants like red berries, kiwi, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, carrots. Do exercise for your eyes regularly. Get enough sleep, avoid smoking, and get regular eye check-ups.

What is the 20-20-20 rule to prevent eye strain?

The 20-20-20 rule reminds you to look away every 20 minutes at an object kept at 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. This will help reduce the strain in the eyes, especially if you’re someone working in front of a laptop.

So, to conclude…

Your eyes can become blurry for many reasons. If you’re not able to see something, don’t rub your eyes too much because it has various adverse effects like breaking blood vessels that can lead to bloodshot eyes or transferring germs to your eyes.

If there’s a foreign object in your eye, then flush it out with water instead of rubbing because rubbing can cause damage to your cornea.

When you wake in the middle of the night and can’t see the time, it’s because your eyes were resting before, and now your lens is taking time to adjust to the light available in the room and changing its shape to help you focus on the object.

But, if blurry vision persists and is hampering your everyday routine, then it’s best to consult your doctor immediately.

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