Easing Eye Strain With "Optical Aerobics" Exercises

Easing Eye Strain With "Optical Aerobics" Exercises

Jeff Heaton
Mar 14, 2012

Eye strain is a problem for many who work on computers all day, and can be even for those who spend a little too much time on their tablets (see the comments on my iPad/e-reader article). I'll admit 10+ hours of staring at a screen starts to wear on you. For those sufferers that feel some serious strain here are a few exercises to help. Will you feel goofy? Probably. But do they work? They've helped me.

1. Cup your palms over your eyes.
Some people like to press their eyes and massage is helpful but it's easy to apply too much pressure and get the opposite of what you want. Breathe in, tighten your eyes and breathe out as you release them.

2. Shift your focus.
I try to do this about once every 20 minutes or so. No need to keep a timer, just try to focus on something farther away than your screen. It can be something else in your office, through your window or down the hall. As you focus for longer periods on your screen (which is probably close to you) you'll likely notice it takes a bit longer for your eye to adjust to objects farther away.

3. A hot towel works wonders.
You might not have access to one all the time, but a warm towel over closed eyes gives them a rest and feels great. This is one of the benefits of working from home: nobody staring at you as you relax with a towel on your face. Well, except the judging eyes of your pet perhaps.

4. Get up and away from the computer.
I, at the very least, get up and walk around my office with a phone, but ideally I try to get out and walk around the building. You'll naturally do some these "exercises" just by getting out from behind your desk. None of this will cure your need for glasses or permanently fix anything, but a welcome side effect is often a bit of stress relief.

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(Image: Flickr user bark under creative commons.)

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