If you use a computer for several hours a day, chances are you get strained or fatigued eyes. What can you do about it? There are three important factors in taking care of your eyes: relaxation, oxygen and lubrication.
In general, when looking in the distance you are relaxing the eye muscles, and when you look close up you are contracting them. Imagine what it would be like if your keyboard was at shoulder height, your arms would get pretty tired. It’s the same with the eyes, so give them a break.The ten, ten, ten rule is a good one. Every ten minutes look at least ten feet away for at least ten seconds. That gives the eyes a little opportunity to rest. Also when you keep muscles contracted for periods of time, they tend to lose flexibility. For flexibility and relaxation, do the following exercises twice a day.
Warm your palms by rubbing them together, then place them over your eyes. Consciously relax your eyes and enjoy the warmth for about three minutes. Sit somewhere where you can see something about ten feet away and something in the distance without moving your head. Hold your finger in front of your face and look, in turn, at something in the disance, something ten feet away, and your finger. Look just long enough to focus on the object. While you are doing it breathe deeply and calmly. Do that for about thirty seconds.
Oxygen: Every cell in our body needs it. Muscles use more of it when they are working hard, which the eyes do when you are at your computer. The problem is, most people don’t breathe deeply enough. Plus most of us have poor posture at the computer, which restricts oxygen from getting to the head. In order to get full breaths, we need to sit tall to allow room for the diaphragm to drop into the abdomen, and for the ribcage to expand. When you sit roll your pelvis forward, creating an arch in the lower back, and let your shoulders drop back. This will expand the entire torso. Not only are you improving your breathing, but you are also decreasing your susceptibility to repetitive strain injuries. That topic is for another post. This posture also helps keep the head up. Remember to not let your head tilt forward, beacause that puts a lot of strain on the neck muscles, which further inhibits oxygen flow to the head. Stretch and relax your neck and shoulder muscles regularly, to avoid a build up of tension in the area.
Lubrication: When the eyes are dry they are uncomfortable, itchy, gritty. Even if that did not contribute to eye strain, it is no fun in itself. Make sure you get plenty of water. Not coffee, not pop, not even juice (unless it is watered down), it has to be water.Too much caffeine and sugar will defeat the purpose of getting more fluids. Aim to drink six ounces of water every hour that you sit at the computer. Over the course of an entire day, you should drink six to eight glasses of water. If your computer is in a very dry room, see if you can humidify it. For comfort humidity should be between forty and fifty percent.
Finally enjoy your time at the computer, but don’t let it take over your life. There’s a lot more to life than a 17 inch screen.