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For those of us who are worried about aging, a common concern is masking the appearance of tired eyes. That explains the popularity of overnight eye creams and under-eye concealer! But beyond looks, the real issue to think about when it comes to tired eyes – and this goes for all ages, including children – is the muscle strain we put on our eyes everyday as we stare intently at our computers, televisions, and even books. If you’ve ever had dry eyes or a headache after working in front of a computer monitor all day, you understand the effects of eye strain.
Just like the other muscles in our bodies, overworking our eye muscles can lead to stress and straining; and our eye muscles are constantly at work while we’re doing commons tasks that require intense use of our eyes – particularly for long periods of time – such as reading and writing, as well as staring at devices that expose us to bright light, such as computers and smartphones. Eye strain not only leads to tired eyes and headaches but can also cause itchy eyes, blurred vision, and increased sensitivity to light.
Let’s face it, we’re not going to give up precious time spent in front of our TVs and computers, so try these simple tips to help give your tired eyes a break:
Follow the 20-20-20 rule – Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes a chance to focus on something in the distance rather than continuously focusing up close. If you need a reminder every 20 minutes, check out this app.
Give your eyes a work-out – To go along with the 20-20-20 rule, also try a simple eye exercise by holding your thumb a few inches in front of you. Practice focusing on your thumb and then something at least 20 feet away from you. Forcing your eyes todo short and long distance focusing will help them get stronger. Another easy exercise is called palming – cover your eyes with the palms of your hands for three minutes. Try to keep your eyes tightly covered so it’s dark. Repeat this exercise until your eyes no longer feel tired.
Blink regularly – Blinking produces tears and keeps our eyes from getting too dry. On a normal day, we usually blink about 18 times a minute; but studies suggest that we blink only half as often while using the computer or other digital devices.
Try an eye massage – Gently rub your top eyelid up toward your eyebrow for about 10 seconds, then massage your lower eyelid down toward the cheekbone for another 10 seconds. Thisexercise helps produce more tears and relaxes the muscles around your eyes.
Adjust your monitor and desk arrangement – Make sure the center of your computer screen is slightly below eye level and position the monitor so it’s an arm’s length away from you. You can also enlarge the text on your screen for easier viewing. To minimize glare, make sure to clean your digital screens regularly.