There are many eye strain exercises that can help reduce symptoms of eye strain such as headaches, dry eyes, and more. So, while eye strain is something that people often do not pay much attention to, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge it and take some steps towards making it better. For instance, by taking time each day to do your eye strain exercises.

We understand it’s easy to get distracted by bigger problems like headaches, fevers, and joint pain etc. Yet, eye strain has increased tremendously in the digital age as computers and cellular phones have become a predominant part of our daily lives. You will be hard pressed to find anything that does not involve high tech gadgets and puts tremendous strain on our eyes. Plus, eye strain causes numerous problems that hinder your performance. It usually occurs when you intensely focus on certain activities like driving a car, reading a book, or looking at a computer screen for prolonged periods.

Your eyes feel tremendous irritation and get tired. There are countless cases of people experiencing digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome due to relentless use of cell phones, tablets, and computers.

The good news about eyestrain is that you will not require dangerous invasive procedures to get rid of it. There are non-invasive methods that can easily reduce and even eliminate your eyestrain.

Related: How to Prevent Eye Strain

However, keep in mind that prolonged eyestrain and irritability is something that you should take seriously. Consulting your doctor would be a wise choice if this happens. In the meantime, eye strain exercises can help.

Common Causes of Eye straineye strain exercises

It is important to find out the common causes of eyestrain to understand how you can avoid it. Preventing eye strain altogether should be your priority, but sadly, it is almost impossible in this day and age.

Staring at digital screens for numerous hours is one of the biggest causes of eye strain. It would be advisable to cut down unnecessary use of digital screens as much as you can to avoid long term eye strain effects.

Related: Eye Strain Causes

Numerous studies conducted in the United States indicate that up to 87 percent of the population uses more than 2 screens on a daily basis. This is a troubling statistic and a great indicator of the increasing problems of eye strain all over the world not just in the US.

One of the biggest misconceptions about digital eye strain is that people often believe that it is only limited to looking at screens. This could not be any further from the truth as there are many issues that can cause discomfort and irritation just as easily.

The way we handle our digital devices is also a significant reason why we constantly battle eyes strain problems. Holding devices too far away from the eyes and viewing from a wrong angle are just a few reasons why eyes strain is so predominant these days. Correcting these problems can significantly reduce strain in your eyes.

One of the leading causes of digital eye strain is HEV light, which is short for high energy visible light. Blue light is another term used for HEV light. This light causes tremendous detrimental effects to your eyes.

In fact, the effect is even worse than colors that have a long wavelength. It is so dangerous that it can cause tremendous degenerative problems down the line such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Adults who wear prescription eye wear can also become victims of digital eye strain. The reason behind that is because their corrective lenses are not intended to view mid distance range of electronics and computers.

Other Common Eyestrain Causes

Mentioned below are some other causes that heavily contribute to strained eyes

  • Having dry eyes can be a big factor that leads to eyestrain
  • Poor eye and vision problems
  • Feeling tired or stressed
  • Being in an environment that is inadequately lit. Too bright or dim lights can be tremendously detrimental
  • Paying attention to a single task for an extended period. Reading and writing are among a few of these tasks.
  • Looking at screens that do not have well adjusted lighting
  • Exposure to blue light emission from digital devices
  • Keeping digital devices too close or too far away from your eyes
  • Not blinking normally
  • Having bad posture when looking at digital services
  • Exposure to glare
  • Uncorrected vision and other underlying problems in the eyes
  • Constantly reading without any pause

eye strain exercises to do

Eye Strain Symptoms

There are a few warning symptoms of eye strains that everyone should know in order to reduce or eliminate them immediately. Mentioned below are some common eye strain symptoms

  • Itchy eyes, burning, feeling tired, and soreness.
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sore back, shoulders, or neck
  • Concentrating difficulty
  • Failure to keep your eyes open for too long

Related: Eye Strain Symptoms

Prevention of Eye Strain: Eye Strain Exercises

Before we discuss some beneficial digital eye strain exercises, it is important that we avoid the strain as much as possible. There are numerous preventative measures that you can take to make sure that digital eye strain is kept to a bare minimum.

Limiting the use of digital media would be a great way to begin prevention of eye strain. People often find this extremely difficult; however, there are certain things you can do to make sure that the debilitative effects of digital media on your eyes are kept to a minimum.

The first thing you should do whenever you sit in front of a computer screen is keep some distance from it. A common mistake quite a lot of people make is that they often sit close to the screen. You should also fully extend your arms when you are using a computer or a laptop. Being able to put your palm flatly on the computer’s monitor comfortably is a good indicator that you are seated at a perfect and safe distance.

There is a slightly different prevention strategy that you should use for hand held devices. Holding the device just below your eye level would be the perfect way to go. You will be able to view your screen perfectly and maintain a safe distance from the screen as well.

Glare Reduction

You should check the control settings of your device to adjust its brightness. Bringing a change to the color of your background would also be a welcome change for your eyes. Opt for cooler gray instead of bright white colors. Additionally, you can also get hold of glare reduction filters as they are relatively cheap, convenient, easy to install, and most importantly, safe for your eyes.

Cleaning the Screen

You might be surprised to find out that a smudge free and dust free screen can significantly reduce its glare.

Related: Digital Eye Strain

Adjusting Your Screen

As we discussed earlier, digital screens should always be kept under your eye level and at the front of your face.

Increase the Size of Your Text

You can easily define the content of your screen by increasing the size of your text. You will not look to closely look at the screen which is one of the leading causes why people get eye strains in the first place.

Dim Your Surroundings

This is an important prevention tip that can prove to be infinitely helpful for your eyes. You should reduce or dim the lights that compete with the lights of your digital screen. Drawing the windows to reduce sunlight would also be extremely beneficial for you.

Computer Glasses

Most people do not know this but wearing computer glasses can prove to be a great solution for reducing eye strain significantly. These glasses are especially great for people who sit in front of screens for significantly long periods.

Computer glasses are great for adjusting objects at an intermediate distance. The best part about computer glasses is that they look completely similar to regular glasses. You can tell the optometrist to modify the power of your lens to provide you a greater viewing field.

Related: Best Eye Strain Glasses

Some computer glasses also have anti-reflective coating. This coating helps in softening the glare from outdoor and indoor lights and is perfect for reducing eye strain. You will even find some computer glasses that reduce the effects of dangerous blue lights. They are great for the prevention of cornea damage. The best route to go for you would be to go for computer glasses that have all of these three features.

Take Breaks

Taking a break every once in a while is an advice that you should follow every day. You should take 20 to 30 minute breaks after every couple of hours to make sure that your eyes are well rested and free from strains.

best eye strain exercises

Blink Regularly

Most people do not notice this but staring at a computer screen for an extended period can reduce your blinking.  Reduced blinking is a harmful for your eyes as it dries them significantly. You should make a conscious decision to blink more often, making sure that your eyes are moist and safe from strains.

Related: Eye Strain Headache

Eye Dropseye strain exercise

As discussed earlier, extended time in front of computer screens can reduce moisture from your eyes dramatically. Dry eyes cause insufferable irritation. This is why it would be wise to use eye drops to resolve this issue and ensure that the risk of strains reduces significantly.

Different types of Eyestrains

People often mistake eye strain for a condition when it actually is a symptom. Asthenopia is another word that is commonly used for eye strains. People get asthenopia when their numerous symptoms trigger their eyes for an extended period. Focusing your eyes on a screen, book, or numerous other things causes tremendous strain on your eyes.

Most people do not know this, but there are actually numerous different kinds of eyestrains. All of these strains affect your eyes differently. Let us discuss them in detail below.

1.     Astigmatism

People get astigmatism when the front part of their eyes or the cornea does not properly curve. This means that one-half of their eyes is significantly flatter in comparison to the other. Astigmatism causes blurred vision and can be tremendously irritating. You should immediately consult your optometrist to make sure that you are given a solution that cures you as soon as possible. Most optometrist conduct tests to see if there are any other problems than eye strains. You might be given contact lenses or glasses to get rid of this problem.

2.     Computer Vision Syndrome

As we discussed earlier, using computers constantly is a surefire way to get strained eyes.  Not blinking optimally in front of the screens is the biggest reason why eye strains are so common among computer or mobile phone users.

Blinking is extremely essential to maintain the moisture and overall health of your eyes. You can improve this condition by taking breaks and turning your head away from the computer screen. Focusing on distant objects every now and then can also be extremely effective to maintain your eye health.

You might be surprised to find out that the bright fluorescent lights that we are often exposed to are not good for our eyes as they put tremendous strain on them. Computer vision syndrome is one of the most common types of eye strains. In fact, every 1 in 3 people have computer vision syndrome. Reducing brightness, glare, and wearing glasses with anti-reflective coating will benefit you greatly in avoiding or reducing computer vision syndrome.

The Physiology behind Eye Strains

There are basically two different categories of eyestrains, internal eyestrains and external eyestrains.

When a person has internal eyestrain, he or she feels pain inside their eyes. The stress of convergence and accommodative mechanisms is the main reason behind internal eyestrains.

People experiencing external eyestrains feel irritation and dryness in the front part of their eyes. The conditions present inside an environment are a major factor that leads to external eyestrain.

People get strained eyes when their orbital portions contracts due to constant viewing. This leads to dry eyes and reduced blinking as well.

Preventing Eye Strains by Using the 20-20-20 Ruletop eye strain exercises

It is no secret that your eyes suffer immense damage when you constantly focus them on screen, books, or anything else for that matter. They get strained, essentially causing you headaches and affecting your performance negatively. We have mentioned numerous ways to prevent these eyestrains. They are extremely effective and will reduce the intensity of the eyestrains significantly. However, there is one tried and tested method that you can never go wrong with. This is the 20-20-20 method. Using this method will make you realize that you can virtually work all day long without stressing your eyes completely.

The best thing about this rule that it is extremely simple to follow and provides instant results.  Let us take a look at what makes the 20-20-20 rule effective and how to apply it to our daily lives.

Using the 20-20-20 Rule

Jeffrey Anshel was the person who came up with this rule. He is a Californian optometrist who suggested that everyone should take a break from whatever they are doing for 20 minutes in order to relax their eyes.

The rule is extremely simple. All you have to do is take a break of 20 seconds after every 20 minutes. During this break, you should look at objects that are 20 feet apart from you. This allows your eye muscles to relax, thus reducing significant stress from them.

You can use the methods mentioned below to practice this rule regularly without any hassle

  1. Use your 20-second break for looking outside the window and gazing at objects that are twenty feet away from you. The reason why you should look outside a window or go outside is that judging objects that are 20 feet apart in your room is extremely difficult. We would recommend you to look for a lamppost or a tree on the street.
  2. Put your smart phone to good use and download an application that makes following the 20-20-20 rule extremely easy.
  3. The easiest and most effective thing you can do for learning and remembering the 20-20-20 rule is to set an alarm for every 20 minutes. It is a simple yet effective technique to ensure that your eyes are free from strain.

Going to the doctor would be a good idea if the strain lingers on for a long period. Chronic dry eye can be one of the reasons why eyestrain could be lingering on for an extended period of time.

Eye Strain Exercises

Eyestrain or eye fatigue is pretty common these days. Virtually everyone has it. However, very few people are aware of it. You can easily avoid eye strain by following the preventative measures mentioned earlier.

However, if you have eye strain, do not worry, as there are some exercises that you can follow to get instant relief from it.  You can incorporate these eye strain exercises in your daily routine to make sure your eyes are in great health all the time.

Mentioned below are important exercises for eye strain reduction:

1.     Gazing in the Distance

Using screens throughout the day can give you a nearsighted feeling. You can counteract this nearsighted feeling by gazing far into the distance. You might think that this is too simple to be true. However, be assured, that it is extremely effective. It could be as easy as staring outside your window or going out for a walk and looking at distant objects. Try it, and it will make your eyes feel infinitely better and lighter.

2.     Palmingeye strain exercises for me

This is probably the easiest eye strain exercise you can do to release eyestrain. Palming will especially feel great if you have achy and dry eyes. All you will have to do is cover your eyes completely with your palm and gently message your closed eye lids. Make sure that your hands are clean when you are palming your eyes. It would also be wise to remove accessories like watches or rings to make sure that they do not come in contact with your eyes.

3.     Near and Far

Our eyes are usually extremely close to the computer screens. This is extremely dangerous, and the damage these screens cause to our eyes can be detrimental.

You should start to practice looking at something nearby and then looking far away to make sure that your eyes are completely fresh. You might find it extremely hard to transition into these exercises; however, once you get a hold of them you’ll know how beneficial they are.

4.     Figure Eights

Our eyes are almost motionless when we are looking at screens. Breaking up this routine can do a world of good for our eyes.  Moving your eyes around at different areas will help you tremendously to keep your eyes fresh and free from strains.

5.     Cupping

Cupping is an easy yet effective exercise that reduces a tremendous amount of strain from your eyes. All you have to do is form a cup with both of your hands and cover your eyes completely after closing them. Make sure that light does not pass through your cupped hands.

An important thing to keep in mind is that you should never apply pressure to your eye balls, just keep it simple. You should do this exercise at least two times per day to get maximum benefits.

6.     Up and Down Movements

Try this effective exercise eight to ten times a day and notice the significant reduction of stress from your eyes. It is quite a self-explanatory exercise as you will have to keep your eyes focused as high as you can for a few seconds, and then eventually lower them.

Do ten repetitions of these movements while keeping your head perfectly still.  You can also move your eyes around in circular motion while keeping your head still. Go for clockwise as well as anti-clockwise movements.

7.     Blinking

Yes, you can eliminate eye strain simply by blinking constantly. It is no secret that people who use screens regularly do not blink enough. You can rehydrate your eyes by moving away from your computer screen and blink quickly for a minute or two. You can even alternate quick blinking with slow blinking to attain the best results.

8.     Visual Scanning

Spending numerous hours in front of the computer can fixate your eyes on nearby objects. This causes significant strain and affects your performance in a negative way. You can eliminate this problem by getting away from your computer and sitting comfortably on the chair and observing other objects of the room you are present in.

Visual scanning is a good exercise that can take stress off your eyes. In visual scanning, you have to visually outline objects present in your vicinity. The purpose of this exercise is to keep your eyeballs moving. You will be able to break free from the mundane fixation your eyeballs are in by running through different objects in the room visually.

9.     Eye Rolling

Although extremely simple, eye rolling can prove to be extremely beneficial for your eyes. It would be advisable to take a break from reading or using phones to roll your eyes for a few minutes. Your eyes will feel fresh and you will be able to concentrate for a relatively longer period. You can roll your eyes while keeping them open.

Alternatively, you can close your eyes as well. All you have to do is move your eyes around in a circular motion. Not only will eye rolling relieve stress, but it will also be extremely helpful for lubricating your eyes. Doing this exercise for a minute or two every hour can offer a lot of benefits.

10.    Glancing

Glancing is something that virtually everyone does. However, you can use this daily function for your benefit. It is a simple exercise that will ease your eye pain. You simply have to glance up for a minute while keeping the rest of your body completely comfortable. Once you are done glancing upwards, look down for a few seconds. Repeat these movements for a couple of minutes and get back to your work. You can do this exercise virtually any time you want, performing it once every couple of hours would be an ideal choice for you.

Maintaining Healthy Eyes for Reducing Eye Strains

Although preventative measures and eye strain exercises are extremely important, you should never underestimate the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle to maintain the overall health of your eyes.

Mentioned below are a few things you should do to maintain eye health, in addition to completing regular eye strain exercises.

1.     Opt for Regular Eye Checkups

Going for regular eye tests is probably the best thing you can do for your eyes. The optometrist will determine if you need any glasses or medication for your eyes to ensure that your eyes are as healthy as possible.

2.     Eating a Healthy Diet that Supports Good Vision

There are certain healthy foods that you should include in your diet that’ll help support healthy eyes. Spinach, kale, and grapes are some foods that are great for promoting overall eye health.

3.     Control Your Weight

Most of you might not know this, but too much weight is a common contributor of poor eyestrains and bad eye health. You should try to maintain a healthy weight to make sure that your eyes and overall body is perfectly healthy.

Dr. Barry

Dr. Barry

September 19, 2018

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