With people stuck at home and the online world being our main connect to our friends and family, it’s no surprise that everyone, from adults to children, are spending more time in front of screens than ever before. These extended hours of screen time is causing an increase in a worrisome condition called DES – or Digital Eye Strain. DES causes painful symptoms such as eye strain and fatigue, dry eyes, blurry vision and even headaches.
The good news is that you can help prevent DES by taking regular breaks away from your screens and by practicing some stress-busting eye exercises. Below we’ve compiled a list for you of the 5 essential eye exercises you’ll need if you’re getting a bit too much screen time lately.
Remember, the most important part of reducing DES is to go for regular vision screenings. If you suffer from any of the symptoms of DES like eye strain or fatigue, blurry vision, headaches or light sensitivity, it’s important to have your eyesight checked out by a professional. Many regular optical and eyecare stores like Target Optical not only offer certified eye exams, but they also provide affordable glasses and contact lenses for you to invest in. With this Target Optical promo code here, you can save on all the eye care products you need to enjoy healthy screen time!
Our first exercise is all about relaxing your eye muscles with a little bit of heat! It’s called Palming and it’s easy to do. First rub your hands together so that they heat up. Then, gently place the palms of your hands over your eyes. Make sure you’re not exerting any pressure on them! The point is to simply allow the heat from your palms to warm up your eyes which will relax your eye muscles. This exercise is best practiced in a dark room if possible. Do it once or twice a day for best results!
One of the major causes of DES is the fact that when using screens we tend to not blink as much as we normally would. This causes our eyes to become dry and irritated which in turn further exacerbates DES. One easy solution to this problem is to practice slow blinking. Simply find a blank wall around you and stare at it. Slowly close your eyes, keep them shut for a couple of seconds, and then slowly open them again. Do this 15-20 times in a row, once or twice a day. This practice helps keep your eyes well lubricated and will relieve some of the dryness caused by screen use.
This exercise is also known as focusing since it’s all about improving the focus of your eyes. It’s easy to do:
You can practice this exercise either sitting or standing up:
• Find the nearest window to you and look at it.
• Take one of your hands, make a thumbs up sign, and move your hand away from your body.
• Focus on the tip of your thumb.
• Without moving your hand or your body, shift your focus from the tip of your thumb and look towards the window.
• You can focus on anything outside of the window for about three seconds. Then, slowly shift your focus back to the tip of your thumb.
That’s all it takes! Repeat this exercise about ten times to improve your focus and help your eyes relax.
Every once in a while your eyes deserve a refreshing massage too! Massaging the muscles around your eyes can help alleviate some of the eye strain caused by too much screen time. To massage your eyes, simply use your index and middle finger to massage clockwise circles on your eyes. Once you’ve done about ten reps, switch directions. Just make sure not to press too hard, your eyes are sensitive and this is meant to feel relaxing! So don’t hurt yourself in the process and cause more damage than necessary!
After staring at an object close up for so long, your eyes need a break and they need to readjust to looking at objects both near and far. This next exercise is called Visual Scanning and it helps relieve the symptoms of DES by relaxing your focus. To start, find an object on the opposite side of the room from you.
Start to trace the outline of that object with your eyes and once you’re done, move onto the next nearby object. The point of this exercise is to slowly and deliberately keep your eyes in constant movement. While it may seem counterintuitive, the shift away from starting at one object and instead keeping your eyes in movement will actually help relax your eyes!
By following these eye exercises, you will not only relax your stressed out eye muscles after a long day of staring at a screen, you will also prevent more long-term damage such as DES. Remember, eye health is extremely important in the digital age!