Our doctors always warn us about our high cholesterol, tell us to shield our livers from excess alcohol, and advise us to watch what we eat to protect our hearts. What about our eyes? Our eyes are often overlooked, and many Americans suffer from eye strain and don’t do anything about it. During the last 50 years, nearly all of our work and much of our recreation has shifted the focus of our vision to arm’s length.
Because of this, it is important recognize the signs of eye strain. Although eyestrain has not been documented to lead to permanent damage of the visual system, it can significantly impair us from doing our work efficiently.
Eyestrain may include pain and tension around the eyes or temples; eye dryness or redness; fatigue; sensitivity to light; headache; difficulty performing visual tasks; blurred vision; or double vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is very possible that you suffer from eyestrain.
The good news is that some simple changes in your day to day activities can go a long way in alleviating eye strain. Firstly, take frequent breaks. Even a few minutes look outside the window at the surrounding scenery can help your eyes relax. Secondly, improve your lighting. Poor lighting is a common cause of eye strain. Too much lighting over exposes and irritates the eyes while too little causes the eye to strain in order to see.
There are also easy eye exercises you can do during breaks to relax your eyes. One such technique is palming. First, rub your hands together for 15 to 20 seconds until the feel warm. Then place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, being careful not to touch your eyes with the palms of your hands. The fingers of each hand should overlap and rest gently on the center of your forehead. Do not create any unnecessary pressure on your face. If your arms get tired, rest your elbows on a table. Sit quietly for one or two minutes with your hands over your eyes. The more relaxed you become, the blacker the darkness you will see with your eyes closed.
This second technique, known as “near-far focus”, improves eye flexibility. First, hold your thumb six inches from your nose, focus on your thumb, take one deep breath and exhale slowly. Then focus on an object about 10 feet away; take another deep breath and slowly exhale. Repeat back and forth 15 times. Scanning is a similar technique which helps you increase the flexibility of your eyes. When sitting or standing at one end of a room, let your eyes scan around the edges of objects in the room—clocks, televisions, doors, lights, computers, etc. The object of this exercise is to keep your eyes moving in a loose and fluid way. Remember to breathe.
Finally, head rolling relaxes your neck, head and face muscles, and reduces shoulder tension. First, take a deep breath and close your eyes, on the exhale slowly drop your chin to your chest. Remember to relax your neck and shoulders. As you inhale deeply again, slowly and gently roll your head around to the left, then back, keeping your shoulders till and relaxed. Make your movements slowly, carefully, and deliberately. Now exhale full as you roll your head to the other side and down to your chest again. Repeat this sequence twice then change directions and repeat twice more.
In addition to these eye relaxation techniques, Canfo’s EyeCare™
can be a great help in attaining healthy eyes.* Although these suggestions may support healthier eyes, it is important to remember to have your eyes checked annually by a health professional. Lastly, don’t forget to get enough rest, maintain a healthy diet, and stay hydrated.*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.