The best exercises for your eyes

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Health Advisor
Ask Felicity

31 October 2018

1 – Palm your eyes

Let’s start with an exercise that can help to bring some temporary relief to your eyes if you feel they are starting to get strained or uncomfortable. Start by rubbing your hands together until the friction generates some heat and then lightly cup your palms over your closed eyes. Don’t apply too much pressure and make sure no light can get into your eyes. Keep this position for a couple of minutes before repeating two or three times. This exercise should help to relax the muscles surrounding your eyes, potentially easing any irritation or strain.

2 – Figure of eight

This is an extremely simple exercise that you can do from the comfort of your office desk; make sure you’re sitting up straight and pick a point on the floor around 10-20 feet away from you. Focus on it and start to trace an imaginary figure of eight with your eyes for around 30 seconds or so before changing directions. This should help to enhance the physical movement of your eyes, making it easier to focus and control their activity.

3 – Roll your eyes

Ever been told off for rolling your eyes? As it turns out, a little bit of eye rolling could be just what the optometrist ordered!  When done properly, a little bit of eye rolling can strengthen your eye muscles, preventing any unwanted twitches or spasms. Begin by sitting up straight and focus ahead. Look to your right and then slowly roll your eyes upwards before dragging them down to your left and then the floor before taking your gaze back to your original position. Try to do this a couple of times clockwise and counter-clockwise for best results. 

4 – Blink

Computers, televisions, smart-phones and tablets – screens are a constant part of our daily routine and, for many of us, are a key component of our jobs too! However, spending so many hours in front of a computer can have some consequences for your eyes as they become more prone to strain, dryness and irritation. A big part of this is down to the way blue light waves can affect your eyes but also because of one fundamental thing we often forget to do when we become engrossed in our work – blink. 

This can be problematic as your eyes need to blink regularly in order to clear away debris and to keep moisturised and so this lack of blinking can lead to dryness. That’s why it may be useful to just take a quick couple of minutes from your routine to focus on blinking properly. Start this exercise by placing your fingers at the corner of your eyes and then begin a consistent routine of closing, opening and relaxing your eyes, taking a deep pause before opening them each time. 

5 – Near and far focus

If you’re sitting focused on a computer screen all day your eyes may become lazy which is where focusing exercises can help as these can enhance your near and far vision. As with most of the entrants on this list, this exercise works best when done from a seated position (which means you can easily do it from your desk!). 

First, begin by holding your thumb about 10 inches away from your face and focus on it for around 10-15 seconds. Once you’ve done this, find an object around 10-20 feet away from you and then focus on it for 10-15 seconds before returning your attention to your thumb. Repeat this exercise up to five times if necessary. 

6 – 20-20-20 rule

Ah, the 20-20-20 rule. This is the eye exercise that I tend to recommend the most here at A.Vogel Talks Eye Health as it’s great for combating the strain caused by screens. It’s extremely simple and, similar to the near and far focus exercise I’ve just mentioned, it involves paying attention to objects on the periphery of your vision. 

To begin, try focusing on an object around 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds –if you’re working in an enclosed environment, you could try looking out the window to get the distance you need. The 20 seconds part is important too as your eyes take approximately this amount of time to relax sufficiently, allowing your eye muscles to unwind if they have become tense. Try to repeat this exercise every 20 minutes or so to reap the full benefits.

7- Zooming

If you feel as though your eyes are becoming unfocused and your eyes muscles are getting stiff this could be a good one as it helps to improve muscle mobility. All you need is a small object – a pen or an eraser will do – and hold it about arm’s length away from your eyes. Focus on the tip of the object and move it slowly towards your eyes, stopping when it’s around 5 or 10 inches away. Once you’ve done this, gradually move the object away from your eyes back to its original position. You can repeat this action several times to help ease the symptoms of computer strain.

8 – Massage 

Giving your eyes a massage is a great way to relieve tired eyes plus it can help to increase the circulation to your eyes, giving them the nutrients and oxygen they need to thrive. You can begin by closing your eyes and, taking your middle finger and ring finger, gently apply some pressure to each eyelid, moving your right fingers counter-clockwise and your left fingers clockwise. Keep this circular motion going for a few minutes, alternating the direction of your fingers in order to stimulate the blood flow to your eyes. 

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