Health Watch: Eye Exercises
Over the last 10 - 15 years there has been a marked increase in the number of people who wear glasses and contact lenses. This can be put down to drastically increased computer usage both at home and at work, and increased television watching. More than 50 percent of computer users experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms related to sustained use of the computer. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body fatigue and reduced efficiency at work.
Many of these symptoms can be reduced through a combination of correcting workstation conditions, posture, stress-relieving lenses prescribed specifically for computer operation, special anti-glare screens, nutritional supplementation and eye exercises.
The word exercise almost always conjures up images of heavy workouts, rippling muscles and rigorous stretches. It is not very often that we realize how important it is to exercise our eyes as well. Our eyes need regular exercise in order to keep them healthy, just like any other muscle in the body. We take our eyes for granted and eventually our eyes give up on us and we need glasses or contact lenses. This doesn’t have to be the case if you regularly exercise your eyes. By doing regular eye exercises, your vision will get better and clearer as the ophthalmic nerves receive a richer supply of blood. Eye exercises help keep the muscles strong and active. They also help relieve the strain of looking at a computer screen for extended periods.
So how do you exercise your eyes? To get you started, we’ve put together a short list of some eye exercises you can start doing right away:
1. First, rub your hands together until they feel warm (about 15 to 20 seconds). Then place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, being careful not to apply pressure on your eyeballs. Make sure that no light rays enter the eyes, and leave no gaps between fingers. Hold on this position for a minute or two. If your arms get tired, rest your elbows on a table. Do this at least twice a day for 5 to 15 minutes.
2. Blinking is an often overlooked yet simple way to keep your eyes fresh and being able to focus longer. Computer users and television watchers tend to blink less, especially when they are intently focused on something. Try it just now as a simple exercise. For the next two minutes blink every 3 - 4 seconds.
3. Sit cross-legged on a chair and look straight ahead. Then inhale while turning your eyes to the right-side, and bring them back to the centre while exhaling. Repeat, this time turn the eyes to the left-side. Then, inhale again and turn your gaze upwards and while exhaling come to the starting point. Repeat; this time look downwards. You can repeat the process 2-3 times, not more. Stop and relax if your eyes feel strained.
After that is done start rolling your eyes in a circle. Turn the gaze to the right and then upwards while inhaling and to the left and then downwards while exhaling.
Finally, look straight ahead. Inhale and open your eyes as wide as possible. Then exhale and clench your eyelids together.
4. Take a pen and keep it at an arm’s length from your eyes. Concentrate on the tip of the pen. Slowly bring the pen near your eyes, stop when it touches your nose. Then, while still concentrating on the pen’s tip take it back to the original position. Try not to blink. At first your eyes may feel watery. Close them and relax. Repeat the process 2-3 times.
5. Sitting or standing at one end of a room, let your eyes scan around the edges of objects in the room - clocks, televisions, doors, lights, computers, etc. The object of this exercise is to keep your eyes moving in a loose and fluid way. Do this exercise for two minutes.
6. Imagine a giant figure of eight about 10 feet in front of you. Now turn the 8 on it’s side. Now trace the figure of eight with your eyes, slowly. Do it one way for a few minutes and then do it the other way for a few minutes. It may seem very alien at first but it’s worth persevering with it.
7. Close your eyes as tightly as you possibly can. Squeeze the eyes, so that the eye muscles contract. Hold this contraction for three seconds and then let go quickly. This exercise causes deep relaxation of the eye muscles and is especially beneficial after the slight strain caused by the eye exercises. Repeat this 7 or 8 times.
8. Focus on a distant object (over 50 m away) for several seconds and slowly refocus your eyes on a nearby object (less than 10 m away) that’s in the same direction. Focus for several seconds and go back to the distant object. Do this 5 times.
9. Try to do this eye exercise once a day. It requires a sunny day or a good desk lamp with an incandescent bulb. Close your eyes. Look directly at the sun through your closed eyes. While facing the sun, slowly rotate your head from side to side as far as you can. This gets the sunlight on the peripheral vision, and it helps bring more blood circulation to your neck. Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Too much of work affects our eyes badly. We need to take proper care for our eyes to maintain their health.
Sources: Encyclopedia on Eye and Vision, lifemojo