Since the time I began using the computer and the smartphone on a regular basis, I started noticing a change in the health of my eyes. My eyesight has never been in a great shape, but the strain I felt almost everyday was reason enough for me to worry about my eyes.
The constant staring at the computer and the smartphone screens was putting too much stress on my eyes and that was the reason I was experiencing the pain and the strain.
Years ago, I had learnt some eye exercises, and some simple ways to care for my eyes. I decided that it was time I put that knowledge to use and restore my eye health before things got out of control.
The use of computers and smartphones requires us to focus our eyes at a single distance near our face. Seldom do we remember to blink (an action that cleans our eyes and keeps them moist), or give our eyes the rest they require. Our eyes were not made for such kind of work and as a result bear the brunt of all that they are subjected to.
Our eyes need care, the kind of care we give our bodies through workouts and diets. So, today, I am sharing with you some easy-to-do exercises that require just 5 to 10 minutes of your time, have long-lasting benefits and could restore the health of your eyes! Do consult with your optometrist before commencing this routine. And, I would suggest doing these first thing in the morning, before the rush hour.
Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed for these few minutes. Sit cross-legged on the floor with your spine erect and your hands on your knees, close your eyes and give yourself some time to settle down. Breathe and try to relax those frazzled nerves and try to calm your wandering mind. Become aware of yourself, your breathing, your body. The exercises you will be doing need you to concentrate on yourself.
1. Workout for your eye muscles: Open your eyes once you know you can focus on your exercises. Then, slowly, without moving your neck, move your eyes towards the ceiling. Stop for a second and then, slowly, move them down to look at the floor. This up and downward movement of the eyes should be carried out as slowly and with awareness. Do this routine five times and then close your eyes to give them a short break.
Next, look left to right, as slowly as you did the above exercise, without moving your neck. Do it for five times, and then again, close your eyes for a break.
Next, focus at the ceiling and then, slowly, move the eyes in a clockwise direction, for five times and then anti-clockwise for five times. And, remember to go slow. If you concentrate on the eye muscles as you do these exercises, you will be able to find the places where you feel a slight stiffness and/or pain. These are the muscles that have borne the strain of having to stare constantly at the screen.
2. Blinking: Open your eyes wide and then close them tight and immediately open them wide. Again, shut them tight and open them. Repeat this 10 times. The quick shutting and opening of the eyes is a good workout for the muscles around the eyes. It increases blood flow to the eyes and relaxes them by the end of it. After 10 times of blinking, close your eyes and relax.
3. Palming: This exercise is to relax the eyes at the end of the routine. So, rub your palms for 10 to 15 seconds till you feel them warm and then place the palms on closed eyes, with the fingers resting on the forehead and the base of the palms on your cheeks. Count to 100 (or 200) in your mind and relax, let your eyes bask in the warmth. Once done, slowly remove your palms and open your eyes.
4. Staring: Hold your hand straight in front of you with your fist closed and thumb up. Stare at your thumb. Slowly, move your hand to the right without bending it at the elbow and without moving your neck. Keep gazing at your thumb as it goes to your far right. Bring your hand back in front of you, and then use your left hand in the same manner to stare at your thumb on the left side. Do it once to the right and to the left. Finally, bring your thumb close to your nose and then move it back away. All the while, focus on the tip of your thumb.
While working at the computer, always remember to blink regularly. This will keep your eyes from drying. Or, close your eyes and roll them clockwise and anti-clockwise, slowly, and feel your eyes getting a massage! You could also do palming every once in a while when your eyes feel the strain.
Also, remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away at a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds and give your eyes the respite they need after staring at the screen so close to your face. I know, it’s difficult keeping track of time once we immerse ourselves in our work. So, you could set an alarm for 20 minutes in your phone and let it remind you to take the much-needed break.
Follow the above rules even while reading a book. Remember to look out of your window or look at something at a distance. Reduce the pressure you put on your eyes. You will instantly notice how relaxed your eyes feel.
Following this routine regularly will help in keeping your eyes agile and the eye muscles flexible. It’s akin to feeling your body becoming flexible after a regular workout. Do try it out for the sake of your eyes. And, do remember, that these exercises in no way help in improving your eyesight, but, they will definitely maintain your eye health.