August 25, 2020

Give Your Eyes A Break!


Keeping your eyes healthy is an important part of good ergonomics in the workplace.  Excessive screen time, stress, reduced hydration, inadequate lighting, and a number of other factors can increase fatigue on our eyes resulting in dryness, irritation, tired eyes and headaches.  You can take some proactive steps to reduce discomfort and improve your overall eye health by taking a few minutes each day to run through these exercises.  At the very least, it is suggested that you briefly change your focus from your computer to an object off in the distance, preferably out a window if possible, several times an hour.

You can set a schedule just like you might do for breaks or standing at your desk or you can randomly run through them anytime of the day when your eyes need a break.




Blinking is an often overlooked yet simple way to keep your eyes fresh and able to focus longer. Computer users and television watchers tend to blink less, especially when they are intently focused on something. Try it just now as a simple exercise. For the next two minutes blink every 3 – 4 seconds. After you have done this for two minutes, mentally take note of how your eyes feel, are they strained, relaxed, tired. Now, try and not blink for 30 seconds at a time for two minutes. Do you feel any difference?

Whenever you blink your tears lubricate the surface of your eyes reducing dryness.  Also, your eyes are going into a brief period of darkness which helps to keep your eyes fresh and discharges previous information ready for new information, this helps to reduce eye strain.



Palming relieves stress around the eyes and is a technique to rest your eyes while taking a computer break.  Some suggest that you rub your hands together first to create heat which then, when placed on your eyes, enhances the relaxation.

  1. Take a few deep breathes before you begin.

  2. Make yourself comfortable and lean forward resting your elbows on a desk or with your elbows resting on your knees. Close your eyes.

  3. Place your two hands over your eyes with the cup of your palm covering your eyes, your fingers on your forehead and the heel of your hand will rest on your cheekbone. Make sure you can blink freely, and you are not putting too much pressure on your eyes and hold for several minutes.


Tracing Infinity

Tracing an Infinity symbol with your eyes exercises the muscles and increases their flexibility.  It may seem awkward at first to try this exercise but stick with it as it will get easier with practice.  Imagine an infinity symbol in front of you about 10 feet away. Now trace the figure with your eyes, slowly. Do it one way for a few minutes and then reverse for a few minutes.


Near & Far Focusing

Near and far focusing is simple and can be done almost anywhere.  It strengthens the eye muscles and could possibly improve your overall vision.  It is especially helpful to use this technique to break up long screen time sessions and give your eyes some relief.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, or stand, this will only take 2-3 minutes at a time.

  2. Put your thumb about 10 inches in front of you and focus on it.

  3. Now focus on something else about 10 - 20 feet in front of you or look out a window.

  4. On each deep breath switch between focusing on your thumb and the 10-20 feet object in front of you.



Zooming strengthens your eye muscles and focusing skills and gives your eyes a break for a few minutes

  1. Sit in a comfortable position

  2. Stretch out your arm in front of you with your thumb in the hitchhike position

  3. Focus on your thumb as your arm is outstretched.

  4. Now, bring your thumb closer to you, focusing all the time, until your thumb is about 3 inches in front of your face.

  5. Now move your thumb away again until your arm is fully outstretched.

  6. Do this for a few minutes at a time throughout the day.


These are just a handful of techniques you may find helpful, but the important point here is that you are giving your eyes adequate rest breaks throughout the day.  Please consult your eye doctor if you are experiencing any sudden or chronic problems.