How often do we consciously do eye exercises? Probably not a lot. While we usually remember to exercise our backs and legs, our eyes often get overlooked. Working from home has increased our screen times to an all-time high and prolonged screen time can really take a toll on our bodies. Not only does it cause fatigue and dry eyes, but it can also cause permanent retina damage and blurred vision.
Simply taking breaks from the screen is not enough to keep our eyes healthy. Just as you would build strength in your body with exercise, your eyes also need some exercise to help maintain your eyesight. Here, we’ve compiled a few simple eye exercises to keep your eyes as healthy as possible while working from home.
We know what you’re thinking, but you’d be surprised to know how often we forget to blink while staring at a screen. Humans naturally blink around 15 times each minute, but that number can decrease by about a third while staring at a screen. In fact, lack of blinking is one of the main causes of computer-induced eye strain. Purposeful blinking helps to combat this. While blinking is an involuntary reaction, the amount of blinking we do is often not enough. Train your eyes to manually blink every 5 seconds to keep them lubricated and prevent dryness. This sounds easy in theory but while immersed in work is often easy to forget, so some practice is required.
Zooming is an eye exercise that helps you focus your eyes. Take a pen (or even your finger works fine) and stare at the tip while keeping it about 20 cm. away from your eyes. Now slowly move the pencil towards you without breaking eye contact with the tip. Bring it as close to your face as you can without losing focus. When you begin to see double, try to focus, and stabilize your vision. Once you bring it as close as possible, slowly move it back to where you started from. Repeat as long as you want. This is one of the most common eye exercises and can even benefit people with myopia.
3. The 20-20-20 rule
This rule is pretty easy, basically, for every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. Now it’s difficult to know if something is exactly 20 ft. away, so you can just focus on something that is far from you. Try going outdoors or looking out a window. Set a timer that goes off every 20 minutes if you need a reminder. 20 seconds is the optimum time it takes for your eyes to relax, but you can do it for more if you want.
Palming is one of the best ways to relax your eyes. Rub your palms together until warm and cup them over your closed eyes. Press lightly for a few minutes but make sure not to put pressure on your eyeballs. Alternate your hands and repeat. The heat from your palms lets your eye muscles relax and soothes your optic nerves.
5. Eye rolling
This is an eye exercise to strengthen eye muscles and also works wonders for tired eyes. Just close your eyes and roll your eyeballs in clockwise and anticlockwise motions. You can also try it with open eyes. This eye exercise can also be done by following the infinity symbol (or the number 8) with your eyes. The sensation is similar to stretching and you’ll really feel your muscles loosen up. This also helps with lubrication and increases eye focus.
6. Massage your eyes
Apart from doing eye exercises, even massaging them can be helpful and lets our eyes rest. Light massage over the eyelids will improve the circulation around your eyes. Whenever you feel your eyes getting tired, thoroughly wash your hands with soap. After drying your hands, put light pressure on your eyelids while massaging them in circular motions. You can also do this with a warm towel.