What Causes Eyestrain

One of the biggest complaints for those who use computers for so many hours a day or those who watch a great deal of television is sore, tight or ‘gluggy’ eyes, which can and usually does lead to headaches… this is usually a result of eye-strain and if not tended may ultimately lead to long-term damage.

Our eyes are like any other muscle in our body and need to be catered to, looked after and exercised. To help prevent eye-strain we need to actually exercise our eyes. One would think this is exactly the opposite to what we feel we need to be doing as we are using our eyes constantly when working closely with or watching anything for long periods of time. In fact the opposite of that which we feel we need to do is what we ought to be doing!  When doing things such as using the computer or watching television our eyes are moving only a very short distance; either a little to the left, right, up or down and the ‘distance perception’ remains at one point – on the actual screen. To our inner eye, there is no depth perception in anything that is displayed on a screen, no matter how three dimensional the images themselves may look.

It Is Important To Exercise Your Eyes

If you deliberately look up from your screen right now and focus as far into the distance as you can for ten seconds you will feel an immediate change in the way your eyes feel; a ‘release’ of sorts. This is because the muscles are relaxing and this is something we need to do in order to prevent long term damage and deterioration to our eyes.

A series of very simple, very brief exercises are all you need to help prevent eyestrain. When working on the computer, or doing any kind of ‘close’ work, such as writing or painting, which requires both mental and visual concentration, it is most important to take regular breaks. It takes only a minute or two and can be done without leaving your desk if you are stuck in an office situation where you may not be able to be seen to be taking breaks.

Look as far into the distance as you can, deliberately focusing your vision as far away as possible. For preference move outside or to a window and look out to the hills; if there are no hills, focus on a cloud, or even a building in the distance; as far ahead as your surroundings will allow you to. Draw your eyes back to something half way between yourself and your most distant visual point, otherwise known as a ‘middle-ground’ point, then switch once more to your most distant visual point, remaining there for at least one minute, longer if you have the time; 3-5 minutes is always preferable. If you take regular smoko or coffee breaks, take advantage of this time.

All employers must legally allow regular work breaks

To adequately rest your eyes it is recommended to do this every twenty to thirty minutes. As it is also recommended to stand and move around every forty to sixty minutes when doing any work that requires one to be seated for long periods;  doing both together every forty-five minutes or hourly would be most beneficial.

Closing your eyes and rolling them slowly to the left, to the right, up, then down, followed by a slow circular motion in each direction will also ease eyestrain and help to lubricate them.

Look after your eyes in this way daily. It will make every difference, not only to your eyes, but also to your thought processes, resulting in a more efficient and less painful working day!

© Tezi Magazine 2013

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