Computer Eye Strain: How to Relieve It
by Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac.
Eye Exercises |
Your Computer Eye Exam |
About Dr. Grossman
With the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, and proper diet
and supplementation, you can significantly effect and even improve your vision.
Computers & Vision
More than half of computer users experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms
related to sustained use of the computer. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body
fatigue and reduced efficiency at work. In addition, there are now indications that heavy computer
users are at risk for glaucoma.
Many symptoms are alleviated by adjusting
workstation and posture, and using glasses with the focus at about 20" rather than a reading-a-book
distance. There are also special anti-glare screens, eye exercises and nutritional supplementation. Now with all sorts of mobile
devises we are online more than ever.
Humans born with hunters' eyes for distance gazing - but we are no longer hunters. The focus of our vision
has shifted in the last 50 years so that, except for driving or hiking, our focus has shifted to reading close and
arm's length viewing our computers. The conseqences are nearsightedness, poor eye teaming and reduced vision efficiency
in our our waking life.
Computer stress is caused by:
- an increase in the number and complexity of necessary eye movements and focusing skills
- poor lighting conditions, glare and distracting reflections
- screen flicker rate (less an issue with modern devices
- lack of blinking when on the computer
- increased hours on the computer.
Computer Stress Checklist:
Direct Computer Stress Symptoms
- headaches during or after computer use
- dry, red, irritated eyes
- blurry vision
- slower refocusing time when glance changed from computer to distance
- often losing place when viewing copy and then the screen
- clear distance vision difficulty after prolonged computer use
- occasional double vision
- color perception changes
- needing stronger and stronger glasses
Indirect Computer Stress Symptoms
- neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and tension
- upper and lwoer back pain
- pain in arms, wrists, or shoulders when working on the computer
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- lowered general vision efficiency
Relaxing Eye Exercises
You can watch our short video demonstration
The palming exercise will teach you to relax your eyes, which in turn will bring healthy energy
to your eyes.
- First, rub your hands together until they feel warm (about 15 to 20 seconds). Then place your cupped hands
over your closed eyes, being careful not to touch your eyes with the palms of your hands. The fingers of each
hand should overlap and rest gently on the center of your forehead. Don't create any unnecessary pressure on
your face. If your arms get tired, rest your elbows on a table.
- Sit quietly for one to two minutes with your hands over your eyes. The more relaxed you become,
the blacker the darkness you will see with your eyes closed.
This exercise improves eye flexibility:
- Hold your thumb six inches from your nose.
- Focus on your thumb.
- Take one deep breath and exhale slowly.
- Then focus on an object about 10 feet away.
- Take another deep breath and slowly exhale.
- Repeat back and forth 15 times
This exercise helps you increase the flexibility of your eyes.
- Sitting or standing at one end of a room, let your eyes scan around the edges of objects in
the room - clocks, televisions, doors, lights, computers, etc.
- The object of this exercise is
to keep your eyes moving in a loose and fluid way.
- Do this exercise for two minutes.
- Remember to breathe.
- Place a bowl of hot water and a bowl of cold water in front of you.
The hot water should be hot but not so hot that it burns you. The cold water should be ice cold,
so either put ice cubes in it or get it out of the refrigerator.
- Put a wash cloth in each bowl.
- Place the wash cloth from the bowl of hot water against your closed eyes for 30 seconds.
do the same with the wash cloth from the bowl of cold water.
- Continue to alternate the hot and
cold wash cloths.
- Finish by gently massaging your closed eyes with a dry towel.
- Do this for two
This exercise is to relax your neck, head and face muscles and reduce
- Take a deep breath and close your eyes.
- On the exhale, slowly drop your chin to your chest.
Relax your neck and shoulders.
- As you inhale deeply again, slowly and gently roll your head
around to the left, then back, keeping your shoulders still and relaxed.
- Make your movements
slowly, carefully and deliberately.
- Now exhale full as you roll your head to the other side
and down to your chest again.
- Repeat this sequence twice then change directions and repeat
Your Eye Examination For Computer Use
Due to the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer work, computer users should have a comprehensive eye examination periodically.
Your examination should include:
- General eye and health history
- Screening for glaucoma
- Specific history relating to computer work. Be prepared to describe the type of computer work you do, the number of hours, the time of day you usually work on the computer, the size, type and color of your screen and screen characters, positions and work distances in your workstation, the lighting in the room, and the type severity and frequency of any symptoms you're having.
- Measurement of your visual acuity at distance and near
- Evaluation of your internal and external eye health
- Measurement of possible prescriptions for distance and near working distances
- Assessment of eye focusing ability
- Evaluation of eye coordination and eye movement skills
- Your eye doctor may do additional tests based on your specific needs.
About Dr. Grossman
Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac., optometrist and licensed acupuncturist, has been helping people
preserve their vision in his private practice since 1980. He is the co-author of Natural
Eye Care - An Encyclopedia (Keats, 1999), and the author of the upcoming book Greater
Vision - A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Clarity in Everyday Life.
Dr. Grossman is currently the Eastern Region Director of the Optometric Extension Foundation
program, and lectures & gives workshops internationally on natural eye care, nutrition and Chinese medicine.