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Long hours at the computer and can leave eyes red and dry—here’s help
These days most of us live on our computers, phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. The problem is this leaves us vulnerable to eye fatigue. What can we do to ease eyestrain and help to preserve vision long term? We tapped Marc Grossman, OD, LAc, an optometrist with more than 30 years of experience based in New Paltz, N.Y. The author of five books on natural eye care, Grossman has extensive experience in preventive medicine and natural healing. According to Grossman, combating eye fatigue takes a three-pronged approach:
1. Practice Good Computer Habits:
- Breaks are important. Short, frequent breaks are better than longer, less frequent time away from the screen. Try to take breaks for 2–3 minutes every 15–20 minutes; five minutes every 30 minutes; or 10 minutes every hour.
- Use an anti-glare computer monitor.
- Use proper posture. Tucked in chin, slightly curve your neck rather than leaning forward, have your upper back fairly straight with only a slight roundedness.
- Avoid overhead lights—use a desk lamp.
- Control glare from lights and windows.
- Cubicle inhabitant? Give it some “expansiveness” by putting a mirror on one of the walls. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.
2. Take Supplements
- The antioxidant carotenoid astaxanthin supports retina health and brain functions.
- Carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for retinal health.
- Omega-6 fatty acids, which can be found black currant seed oil, supports retinal health as well as immunity.
- Lutein, zeaxanthin, and blueberries help to protect vision from retinal damage.
3. Minimize Dry Eyes:
- Use homeopathic dry eye drops to keep eyes moist.
- A humidifier in the winter will help keep your eyes more comfortable.
- Remember to blink: full-blinks so that the eyelids touch briefly.
- Check your medications for any side effects that may cause dry eyes.
- Gently massage your eyelids several times a day to stimulate the tear glands.
When reading, opt for hardcopy books rather than a computer or an ebook.
Near-and-Far Focus Exercise
- This exercise improves eye flexibility as your eyes change viewing distance from near to far.
- Breathe easily throughout the exercise. This helps your muscles relax. Start with two deep breaths.
- Sit or stand with feet shoulder width apart. If you are standing, bend your knees slightly.
- Hold your thumb six inches away from your eyes directly in front of your nose.
- Gaze easily at your thumb and take a deep breath. Then focus on a distant object at least 10 feet away and take a deep breath.
- Change this focus every breath. Feel the muscles in your eyes change as you shift your focus.
- Continue for 2 minutes or six repetitions.
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