The more we use computers and electronic devices for communication, the more strain we put on our eyes. Many headaches and facial-muscle tension can be attributed to the strain involved in focusing on changing text and font sizes, as can setting our eyes on moving objects on our computer screens. That’s why it’s important to learn a few exercises for relaxing the eyes throughout the day.
Two of the quickest ways to relax the eyes are: Closing the eyes, and Distance Focusing. Closing the eyes means just that. Sitting back from your computer for just a moment and closing the eyes to relax all the muscles being used to focus on objects on your screen. Many people avoid this exercise because they fear that if they close their eyes, they will fall asleep. This is an understandable fear as statistics show that most people do not get enough sleep and are therefore tired prior to beginning their work day. However, if you are disciplined or can set a brief and gentle timer, this method may work for you.
Distance Focusing is a way to get out from behind the computer (and the close proximity to the screen), and allow the eyes to focus on things much farther away. If you can, go to a window and focus on distant objects or the horizon. Mountains and even clouds are good targets to allow the eyes to shift from being focused just feet or inches away, to much farther distances. Even just looking across a large room is a nice shift from the close-proximity-focusing of your computer screen or electronic device.
In addition, gently massaging the eyes over the top of the eyelids is another way to help the eyes take a break and relax from straining. This can be done with the tips of the fingers, or the open palm of the hands. Running your hands under warm or cool water first (depending on comfort level) can be helpful in introducing a calming sensation to the eyes. If you wear contact lenses, you may want to massage the area near and around the eyes instead.
The human eyes are under much more strain than ever before in history, so it's very important that you take good care of them and know your limitations. Looking at computer screens for prolonged periods of time can cause your eyes to dry out. So it's crucial that you make a conscious effort to blink more frequently when you are doing work on your computer. Don't push your eyes to extremes that are unnatural for them.
Remember, the human body is not a machine. It's a living organism and it needs rest. The eyes were not meant to be used non-stop day and night and are certainly not meant to be exposed to light and stimulation without chances for rejuvenation. The eyes need periodic times of rest and relaxation--just like the rest of the body does-- in order to recharge and function properly for us throughout our lives.
Thanks to banoootah_qtr for the great photo - just close your eyes...and dream