Eyes feeling strained? Try eye yoga
Whether you’re continuing to work from home or you’re simply obsessed with the latest Netflix series, extended screen-time can put our eyes under more strain than usual. Look after them with these five easy exercises.
Whether you’re continuing to work from home or you’re simply obsessed with the latest Netflix series, all of us spend a lot of time using technology. But with our screen time ever-increasing, it’s now more important than ever that we take steps to protect our vision.
Eye yoga has become one of the latest phenomenons that claim to reduce the effects of eye strain. In a world where we spend hours staring at laptops, phones and TVs, it’s no surprise that this latest trend continues to increase in popularity as we try to protect all aspects of our health. Eye yoga is typically practiced by those hoping to improve their overall eye health and can involve a range of different exercises from controlled eye-rolling to palming.
With this in mind, we recruited the experts at Lenstore, as well as holistic therapist, yoga, and meditation teacher Phoebe Greenacre, to discover five of the easiest exercises we can all try to help reduce eye strain and fatigue.
5 Easy Eye Exercises to Prevent Eye Strain
Eye strain can be a result of many things, whether they be linked with tiredness, screen time or stress, so eye yoga could potentially support us in two ways. Firstly, by stimulating and strengthening the muscles that move our eyes and, secondly, by encouraging us to take time for ourselves to relax and de-stress.
- Rub your hands together vigorously for 10 seconds to create heat and energy between the palms.
- Gently place your palms over your eyes and close your eyes. Take a few deep inhalations and longer exhalations as you start to relax.
- Feel the warmth and darkness start to slowly soothe and melt away any tension in the back of your eyes.
- Allow your hands to rest there until the warmth slowly disappears.
If you find yourself staring at a screen for too long, this can have an impact on how often you’re blinking – and if you’re blinking less, it can lead to dry eyes.
This is probably the most straightforward exercise out of all five. In fact, taking a moment to blink repeatedly can help release your eyes from dryness, over-use and any discomfort you may be experiencing.
- Sit or stand straight. Keep your shoulders relaxed, neck straight, and look ahead.
- Blink your eyes very fast for 10-15 seconds.
- Gently allow your eyes to close, settle, and soften.
- Notice how the eyes feel. Try to repeat once at least every hour.
You’ll be glad to hear we don’t mean the video calling app here. What eye experts call ‘zooming’ is a great eye exercise when attempting to focus and strengthen your eye muscles. Here’s how you do it:
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Focus on an object in the distance and stay there for a few seconds.
- Move your focus onto an object closer to you and gaze at it for a few seconds.
- Move your focus to something close to you like your thumb.
- Reverse the gaze – first back to the middle object, then to the object that’s furthest away.
- Repeat this exercise several times over a two-minute period.
Figure of Eight
This exercise allows for purposeful movements, which is rumoured to calm your body down. This, in turn, helps reduce tension, which can have a positive effect on anxiety and headaches, (which can aggravate optical conditions). This should be done from a seated position – here’s how:
- Raise your hand in front of you at eye level.
- Extend your thumb and focus on it.
- Start to move your arm (keeping it straight) in a figure of eight shape.
- Keep tracing for 30 seconds, then switch directions.
Eye rolling is a very effective exercise when done regularly, (as long as it isn’t in response to your boss adding to your workload). It can help strengthen the eye muscles and enhance the shape of your eyes. Here’s the correct way to do it:
- Sit or stand straight. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and neck straight, and look ahead.
- Look to your right and then slowly roll your eyes up towards the ceiling.
- Roll your eyes down to your left, and from there down towards the floor.
- Do this in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
While there is certainly more to be done in terms of scientifically proving the health benefits of eye yoga, practicing these movements on a regular basis could be beneficial for dry eyes and eye strain. However, if you’re experiencing these symptoms from staring at your tech devices, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a moment to step away from them.
Although not an eye yoga exercise, experts always encourage us to remember the 20:20:20 rule as well. This means, for every 20 minutes you’ve spent looking at a screen, you should spend 20 seconds looking at something that is 20 feet away. But there’s certainly no harm in following up with some eye-rolling and zooming as well!