Squinting at the computer screen during the workday, scrolling through news stories on our smartphones before bedtime, evenings parked in front of a large television screen. In this unprecedented age of technology, our eyes are suffering the consequences with strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and more. In fact, a recent study by the American Academy of Optometry found that working for just two hours on a laptop caused a significant increase in eye pain and vision problems.
While there’s no hard scientific evidence that vast quantities of screen time lead to long-term vision damage, most of us have experienced at least some physical symptoms due to our overconsumption of technology.
So what can you do to reduce that eye strain? Take breaks from the screens, sure. Did you know there are also a few simple exercises you can perform?
It’s important to note that none of these exercises has been medically proven to improve your eyesight or eye health.
Exercise No. 1: Blinking
Pretty simple exercise, right? While a person blinks an average of 15 to 20 times each minute, when in front of a screen that number can decrease to less than half. Regular blinking moisturizes the eyes, while guarding them against bacteria, dry eyes, and other irritations.
For the next two to three minutes, blink once every four seconds. Note how your eyes feel before and after the exercise. Make it a point to regularly blink, particularly when sitting in front of a computer or smartphone.
Exercise No. 2: The 20-20-20 Rule
While on a computer or focusing on another task, take time every 20 minutes for a 20-second break in which you focus your eyes on something that’s at least 20 feet away from where you’re sitting. This simple exercise helps relax your eye’s focusing muscle and may aid in reducing eye strain and fatigue while on a screen.
Exercise No. 3: Side to Side, Up and Down
These positions may help work some of those eye muscles that, far too often, don’t get moved around enough. This eye-gaze self-test helps you check and make sure your gaze isn’t restricted. If unable to perform the following, consult your ophthalmologist to rule out any issues.
First, look up and focus on what you see. Then look down, and finally side to side, focusing each time before moving on. Now, picture a figure eight in front of you. Trace it with your eyes, moving them from end to end in that figure eight. Flip the imaginary eight on its side and trace it horizontally. Finally, roll your eyes, first in a clockwise and then counterclockwise position.
Other Eye Health Options
In addition to eye exercises, it’s important to always get routine eye exams, so be sure to visit your eye doctor regularly. And finally, eating right has many benefits for your eye health. We’ve put together some great recipes you may want to take a look at: Green Smoothie, Orange Stuffed Peppers, Mixed Berry Compote, and Shrimp and Spinach Salad. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and enjoy!