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How to Avoid Eye Strain From Screens: 6 Tips and Exercises

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These days, we do everything looking at a screen. From work, gaming, catching up with friends, or relaxing with our favorite streaming sites, we spend almost every waking moment fixated on a different-sized screen. Whether it’s our laptops, tables, or phones, it’s one black mirror after another… and it’s causing havoc on our eyes.

Many of us experience stressful symptoms of the dreaded computer eye strain like blurred vision, dry eyes, and headaches. Long-term eye strain can lead to less productivity, vision problems, and fatigue. Furthermore, it’s generally uncomfortable. So, how does one avoid it?

Eye Exercises to Avoid Eye Strain

While the simple answer is to lessen computer eye strain symptoms to reduce screen time altogether, the reality is that many of us don’t have that luxury. However, there are some easy exercises that you can do to calm down your eyes and reduce strain as much as possible. Here are a few of them.

1. Palming

Similar to a hot compress, palming is when you use your palm’s body heat to ease the tension on the muscles near your eyes. To try this, wash your hands before rubbing them together to generate heat. Next, place both of your palms on your eyelids. You can repeat this as often as necessary until the muscles around your eyes relax.

2. Eye Roll

We know it sounds silly, but eye rolls are actually a great way to relieve eye strain. It’s no wonder why many divas don’t have eye problems. To keep your eye muscles trained, sit comfortably and roll your eyes clockwise ten times. Then, roll your eyes counter clock-wise ten times. To prevent getting dizzy, do this exercise slowly and take breaks in between.

3. Zoom

No, we don’t know mean the video chatting app. Zooming entails training your eyes to adjust focus occasionally to not focus on the same distance for too long. All you have to do is lift any finger and watch it while slowly moving closer and away from you. For this, don’t forget to let your eyes adjust while moving.

When working in an air-conditioned room with a humidifier, the environment often lacks the same moisture as being outdoors. Aside from this, working extended hours in front of a computer also means we don’t blink as often. To keep your eyes naturally lubricated, you should take a moment intentionally to blink very slowly, sporadically.

5. Tracing

One way to break the monotony for your eyes is to find objects around you and trace their eyes with your eyes. For best use, you may also look outside your window and focus on leaves swaying or outlines of buildings. This will help exercise the less used muscles surrounding your eyes.

6. Write on the Wall

If you’re unable to look through a window, you can find any blank wall instead. With your shoulders relaxed, you can proceed to visually write words out on the wall with your eyes. Don’t forget to vary the length of words that you write with and take rests every few seconds.

Tips to Avoid Eye Strain

There are several factors that exacerbate computer eye strain, such as poor lighting and device settings. Apart from exercises, here are some additional methods you can try to keep your eyes healthy.

Man Squinting at Screen

1. Set Screen Time Breaks

Most devices will have a built-in screen time tracker. However, it’s good to manually set alarms that can help you take intermittent screen breaks throughout the day. It can be as simple as setting up several alarms after every few minutes. In fact, you can even download Pomodoro apps to remind you to take a break.

2. Set Your Devices to Dark Mode

Most screens on electronic devices will likely have a dark mode feature, wherein it will adjust your device viewing settings to have a darker layout. Best for users who like to work at night, it helps reduce the natural contrast between your screen and the environment.

The dark mode isn't perfect, as some users report additional eye strain with white text on a dark background, but it's worth experimenting with.

3. Warm Compress

When your hands aren’t enough to relax your eyes muscles, you can use the aid of a warm compress. Using a clean washcloth dipped in warm water, you can put these over your eyes to help calm your eye muscles after a long day at work.

4. Use a Lamp

Illumination makes a big difference to avoid eye strain. The right lamp can help reduce the contrast between your screen and the surrounding area. The color and the type of bulb also make a difference in terms of the long-term viewing experience.

5. Drop Eye Lubricants

If you suspect that your vision is due to dry eyes, you may need to purchase eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated. When using the screen for extended users in dry environments, it’s common for eyes to need a little extra help.

6. Consider Seeing an Eye Specialist

Eye Test with Doctor

Should you find that you experience eye strain or pain often, it may be time to consult a licensed professional for proper evaluation. Besides computer vision syndrome, chronic eye strain may be due to other factors as well. For example, your prescription lenses or contacts may need to be re-evaluated.

On the other hand, it may also be due to undiagnosed astigmatism or injury. While these exercises and tips may work for most people, some causes of eye strain may need additional treatment and professional help to resolve.

Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Unlike the years before artificial light, our eyes have fewer breaks from bright environments. With this, many of us are experiencing vision problems that could have been avoidable. While eye strain is not lethal, it’s definitely a massive inconvenience. By doing these exercises, following the tips above, or consulting an eye care professional, you can take care of your eyes better and longer.

Apart from taking care of your eyes, you should also take care of your body while in front of a screen. If you spend hours in front of screens for work, you can do plenty of other things to make it more comfortable for you.

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