Eye strain occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as driving a car for extended periods, reading or working on a computer. Serious eye strain can cause a number of other problems from short term head and neck aches to long term conditions like myopia. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body fatigue and reduced efficiency at work.
Many of these symptoms can be reduced by correcting workstation conditions, posture, stress- relieving lenses prescribed specifically for computer operation, special anti-glare screens, and eye exercises.
- Take breaks: The best way to prevent eye strain is to not use them as much. Shift your focus from near to far on a regular basis. Shift focus from up close to at least 20 feet away. If you are at your computer, look out of the window for a minute. If you are driving, check your speedometer every so often.
- Palming: Not only is this exercise great for the eyes, but it is a great stress reliever that provides a sense of calmat the end of a long work day. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Rub your palms together to generate some heat through friction. Place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, right hand over right eye, left hand over left eye, fingers of the right hand slightly overlapping the fingers of the left. Don’t press on your eyes with your palms. No part of your hands should actually be touching the eyes. Sit or lie quietly for a minute or two. You can perform this exercise throughout your workday as well, to give the eyes a good rest and renew their energy.
- Visual scan: This exercise will help the eye continually adjust between far and near objects. For this exercise, sit back in your chair in your office or any room in your house. Starting at one point, use your eyes to trace the outline of every object in the room, moving along one wall to the other. Allow the eyes to literally trace around every picture frame, piece of furniture, plant, light or bookcase. The eyes should constantly be moving, though not in an erratic fashion. Continue scanning for about two minutes.
- Near-far focus: This exercise improves eye flexibility. Hold your thumb six inches away from your nose. Focus on your thumb. Then focus on an object about 10 feet away.
- Hot and cold compress: Soak one towel in hot water, and another one in cold. Take one and lightly press it to your face, focusing on your eyebrows, closed eyelids, and cheeks. Alternate between the two as desired, making sure to end with a cold compress.
- Sit in your chair with eyes closed. With your eyelids closed, look upward as far as you can without straining the eye, and then look downward. This exercise is performed slowly and should be repeated three times. Open your eyes and relax for a moment. Close your eyes again. Slowly, with eyelids still closed, move your eye toward the right, and then the left. Repeat this exercise three times and then open your eyes again. You can perform this exercise several times throughout the day to help relieve eyestrain.
- Look at the opposite wall and pretend that you are writing with your eyes. Don’t move your head. This may seem difficult at first, but with a bit of practice it is really fun. The bigger the letters, the better the effect.
- Imagine that you are standing in front of a large clock. Look at the middle of the clock. Then look at any hour mark without turning your head. Look back at the centre. Then look at another hour mark. Do this at least 12 times. You can also do this exercise with your eyes closed.
It is more important to do the exercises regularly than to do them for a long time. Even 30 to 60 seconds of eye movement every hour is very helpful.