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Exercises to Combat Computer Eyestrain

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A recent survey found that nearly 70 percent of us use a computer to do our jobs. Although working on a computer all day won’t permanently damage your eyes, you might find that after several hours at the keyboard your vision is blurred and your eyes feel dry and fatigued.

When you’re engrossed in computer work, you don’t blink as often as you normally would, so your eyes get dry. You also tend to stay focused on the screen in front of you, which means your eyes aren’t getting the near-and-far-focusing exercise they need.

The work habits that lead to computer eyestrain can be easily overcome by incorporating a few simple eye exercises into your desk time routine.

  • Open and shut: Even the simplest movements, such as blinking slowly 10 times and yawning with your eyes closed will help stimulate the tear production that keeps your eyes moist.

  • 20-20-20: Every 20 minutes take your eyes off your computer screen and focus on something about 20 feet away. Stare at it for 20 seconds. Practicing 20-20-20 throughout the day will give your eyes the far-focusing exercise it needs.

Don’t spend your break with a book or crossword puzzle. Instead, give your eyes a break from constant, close-up focusing by talking with your coworkers or taking a walk.

  • Palming: Palming is a two-minute nap for your eyes. It not only helps rehydrate your eyes, it allows them to take a rest from focusing. Lean forward. Close your eyes and gently cup the palms of your hands over your eyes without touching your eyes. Rest your fingers on your forehead. Keep your eyes covered for two minutes.

  • Rolling: To give your eye muscles a good workout, close your eyes and roll them up as if you’re looking at the ceiling, then down as if you’re looking at the floor. Repeat the roll three times. Next, with your eyes still closed, slowly roll them to the right, then left. Repeat three times.

  • Scanning: Let your eyes pick out different, distant objects in the room. Focus for just a second on a particular object and then move on to the next one. Continue letting your eyes scan the room for two minutes. This exercise helps keep your eyes agile and flexible.

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