The eyes are the mirror of the soul – Yiddish Proverb.
Though seeing is not always believing, for us, the eyes are the windows to the world, provide us vision, without which life would lose most of its meaning. But eyes are always exposed to the external environment. Spending hours in front of a laptop or PC is bound to cause eye strain, sooner or later. Do you suffer from frequent headaches while working? Are you having trouble reading street signs? If yes, there’s no doubt your eyes are getting strained. Through this article, EHC attempts to provide precious tips on care of the eyes.
Eye strain is fundamentally caused by straining one or more of the eye muscles. Most commonly it is caused by straining the ciliary body, the eye muscle responsible for accommodation. Typically the muscle is strained by keeping it in one position for a long time. In other words eye strain is caused by visually concentrating on one thing or one distance for too long.
Some common activities that can cause eye strain include:
- Computer use
- Watching television
- Pitching baseball/softball
Some environmental factors can add to the stress placed on your eyes, and they are:
- Low light Levels
- Fluorescent lighting
- Bad viewing angle
- Poor ergonomic computer setup
- Low screen contrast levels
Some personal factors contribute to eye strain as well:
- Poor and uncorrected vision
- Poor posture
- Alcohol and drug use
Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes
Exercise Your Eyes
Whenever your eyes are tired or the edges of your vision blur, do a couple of eye flexibility exercises. Move your eyes up and down and from side to side in an open space. Move your eyes slowly, as if you are making an ‘8’. Gently massage the areas around your eyes to relax the muscles. Another exercise is holding your thumb a few inches in front of you. Focus first on your thumb and then on something that is at a distance of 20 feet. Focusing your eyes simultaneously on short and long-distance objects strengthens them. Also, blink rapidly when your eyes are weary. This helps the muscles to relax and also reduces blurred vision.
Take a break
Looking at the computer continuously is not good for the eyes. You need to take breaks in between, even if it means keeping a reminder on your phone. Go for a short walk around the office. If you can’t, look out of the window and do some flexibility and strength exercises.
Get some light
Go out in the sun (not in the scorching heat, but warm sunlight), close your eyes and slowly turn your head from side to side with the sun shining on your face. It is relaxing.
Adjust screen settings
Decrease the brightness of your computer screen and increase the font size. The longer we spend on devices, the more our eyes get strained. Do not neglect your eye problems for long.
Sleeping always relaxes the eyes. If that is not practical, closing your eyes and resting for 5 minutes can help.
Dim harsh lighting and color
Lower your surrounding light levels or move into the shade while following these remaining tips. Find a spot with neutral or pastel colors as well. If you suffer from chronic eye strain, you should probably avoid wearing bright colors.
Splash your face with cold water. Try extremely cold water with ice cubes if you can stand it. Splash it on your face for 3 to 7 minutes. Also splash the back of your neck as well. If you can, use a cold compress or an eye mask that you keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
If cold water does not work, try a steaming towel just like you get during a facial. One prepared with menthol or eucalyptus oil can be quite refreshing.
Tea bags and cucumber slices
Beauty tips like placing tea bags or cucumber slices on your eye lids do help soothe them. Your eyes will get some relief. A cold compress is more effective, however.
Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated and sweetened drinks. Good hydration is the key to good health and lack of fluid in your body can strain your eyes and everything else.
Correct bad habits
Sometimes a specific task causes eye strain because of the way you do it. Breaking these bad habits and creating good habits in their place can help. Ensure you have the proper ergonomic setup, technique and equipment for the visual aspect of your task.
Wear the proper corrective lenses
Make sure your eye glass prescription is up to date. If you do not wear glasses, maybe you should. It could be as simple as needing reading glasses, especially if you are over 40 and experiencing recurring eye strain for the first time.
Use adequate lighting
Make sure you have adequate lighting levels for the task you are performing. But do not go overboard. To bright of a light can cause eye strain as well, especially if you are focusing on a light emitting source like a TV or computer monitor. As a general rule, ambient lighting for screen use should be between 50-100% of the screens brightness. For task work you want enough light to see the details you need without squinting. You also want to place light sources so that there are no shadows.
Being able to see and enjoy the world with a clear vision is something we value the most. Protect your eyes so that you appreciate and uphold that value.