Because I spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen every day, I noticed that my eyesight dissintegrated as the day wore on and that I was getting low grade headaches more and more.  I had a suspicion it was due to eye strain. 

I have quite a library of books because I love books and I have many, many interests.  So that’s the first place I looked.  There, I found a book called “How To Improve Your Sight” by Margaret Darst Corbett.  I hadn’t read it in quite a while and, obviously, wasn’t using what I had learned.

One of the chapters dealt with eye strain.  So, I tried the exercises she suggested.

Here are some of the tips that I am using to help me with my eye strain issue and I hope it helps you too. Please know that I am including only what I know works for me; there’s a lot more in the book and the chapter on eye strain but these are the ones I found are easy and work:

Don’t rub your eyes because the pressure of the fist or fingers distorts the shape of the eye.

Instead: squeeze your lids tightly but gently and open them wide four or five times. This works really well for me in clearing my eyes. I wear contacts so this technique also helps to clear the contacts

Don’t hold your breath while using your eyes – this seems like an odd one but in actual fact, on the computer, sometimes, I can get so engrossed, I’m actually holding my breath – didn’t know I did that until I read this. If you pay attention, you’ll find yourself holding your breath or breathing very shallow. The eye needs oxygen.

Instead: Breath consciously – like sigh breathing.  For me this is instant – it’s amazing how this works!  Three or four deep breaths and there seems to be more “light”.

Don’t force vision – if an object is not clear, then do not look harder and longer at it. On the computer, this happens often because some of the type is so small. Did you ever notice how small some Google ad copy is?

Instead: close your eyes for a moment, loosen yourself completely, take a deep breath and look again. And this does work – my vision is clearer and it’s easier to read.  It was a little hard to believe that this technique would actually work but it does – amazingly so – just like sigh breathing to get clearer vision, for reading smaller print, just closing the eyelids, taking one breathe while loosening the tightness usually in my shoulders is usually all I need – it takes seconds.

Don’t blink hard when you blink. Your eyes are very sensitive and the tearing is important to keep your eyes lubricated and disinfected.

Instead: close your eyelids gently and softly for a few seconds, breathe. When you open them, your eyes will feel rested.   Not only will your eyes feel rested, but you will too – 5 minutes is all your really need – good for the eyes and the body!

Don’t be afraid to let your eyes work – using your eyes increases muscle strength as it does exercising any other part of the body.

Instead: go ahead and use your eyes a lot. Just rest them often. I loved this one because I’ve been told since I was little to not use my eyes too much. I love to read and love to write so my eyes are important.

Relieving eye strain, therefore, boils down to closing your eyes, relaxing and deep breathing for short periods of time.  It seems simple enough and it is – it’s remembering to do these things before the headache happens – that’s the trick.  I have a computer prompt “close & breath” (means close my eyes and take deep breaths).   When it becomes a habit, I’ll be able to remove it from my computer calendar. 

Hope this helps you too.

Lorraine Arams

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