Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I've Got My Eye on You

Staring at that screen? Do you remember the last time you looked away? How about the last time you blinked? Screen work is now one of the leading causes of dry eyes, which can lead to other eye-health problems such as eye inflammation and blurred vision, and leaving your eyes more susceptible to infection. It can also train your eyes to optimise for short distance viewing, which can compromise your distance vision.

Time Out for Some Eye Exercises

Turn away from the monitor. Focus on something in the middle distance. With your head still, move your eyes up and down and side to side, making sure that you move your eye as far as you can comfortably go towards the periphery of your eye socket without actually closing your eyes.

Now do this exercise diagonally: look to the top left and slide your eyes down to the bottom right and back to the top left, and then look across to the top right and slide your eyes down to the bottom left and back to the top right.

Now draw a slow large circle with your eyes, clockwise and anticlockwise, and, again, keep your head still and look as far out at each point on the circle as you comfortably can. Do this for a few minutes, closing and resting your eyes if you feel any aching or if they start watering.

Note: See your optometrist for a check up if these eye exercises hurt when you do them, or if you have a headache developing either when you are working or when you stop and try to focus on a more distant object.

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Elsa NealElsa Neal has been staring at a screen for twenty years (with breaks). She's been doing yoga for nearly ten years. Find more Exercises for Writers and Other Desk Slaves at HearWriteNow.com.

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9 comments :

  1. And palming feels so good! Rub your hands together to create warmth, then cup your palms over your eyes trying to seal the light out around the edges of your hands. Just relax into the darkness for a few moments. It is so soothing and therapeutic to do that a few times during the day, especially when your eyes start burning.

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  2. My eyes get tired sometimes, but it's usually because I've gotten too involved in the computer and haven't taken time to put in my contacts. I'll try your eye exercise.

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  3. I was familiar with some of these exercises, but not all. They do help, and I will be trying the one's you suggested, Elle. Had not heard of palming, either, but just tried it. It does feel great.

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  4. Thank you for this. I struggle with dry eyes. It's not fun and I still forget to step away.

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  5. Great tips, thanks! I used to set my kitchen stove timer for 30 minutes to force myself to get up and stretch. I need to start doing that again and incorporate the eye exercises as well.

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  6. Thanks for these excellent tips. Dani, the palming is part of the little exercise ritual I do with my art classes. I have them rub their hands together, close their eyes, then cup their hands over them to feel the warmth. After that they do the deep breath and focus part.

    Monti
    NotesAlongTheWay

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  7. Thanks everyone. Another simple one I should've mentioned is just to blink your eyes several times whenever you think of it. We forget to blink as often when concentrating on a screen, and it really helps to keep your eyes lubricated.

    Elle
    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

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  8. Thanks for the reminder. I am very guilty of not doing my eye exercises. I do notice a difference when I am more diligent about doing them. This is very timely because Nick gets his school laptop tomorrow. I'll print this out and pin it to his noticeboard!

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  9. Hi Selma

    It's so important for teens not to "train" their eyes for short distance viewing. They have so much more time where they have to live with the side effects of excess screen time.

    Elle
    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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