25 Sep 2012

Tips for eye problems after computer work

25 Sep 2012

Prevention is better than cure

Back in the late 1980’s I was a trainer for an Apple computer dealer. I taught Microsoft Word and Excel version 1.0 for Mac, Adobe Pagemaker and Illustrator version 1.0. How cool was that?

As part of each of my courses I always added a component about office ergonomics and stress which can build up from too many uninterrupted hours at the computer screen. RSI was one of the most talked about topics. People were more often needing to wear glasses, having back aches, twitching eyes, throbbing legs, headaches, strained wrists, hunch backs, neck pain …. not to mention fatigue and an increased waistline.

One simple exercise I taught was for eye strain. When you’re working on a computer screen your eyes blink a lot less than when you’re say, looking out the window or chatting to someone. In front of a computer screen your eyes are focussed at only one distance which doesn’t need to change. So the muscles around your eyes can get “saggy” or lazy. The lack of blinking means your eyes are not washed with your lids as often as normal and they can get very dry.

Try this next time you’ve been working on a computer, iPad or television screen uninterrupted for half an hour or more.

Stand up (that’s a good start – give your butt a rest)

Go to a window or out into the corridor.

Hold your forefinger up in front of your face. (Not your rude finger – you might offend someone.)

Study as closely as you can all of your fingerprint. Look for the curls, the changes of direction, the centre. Count the lines if you want.

Then turn your attention to something as far away as possible, which is why a window is handy for this exercise. Imagine you are an eagle searching for prey. Looking into windows, the changes of colour in a far off tree. The shaded details of a cloud.

Now look for something you can watch that moves. Count the cars going past. Watch a bird – they rarely stand still. People walking. Anything that gets your eyeballs moving up and down, side to side.

Repeat a couple of times.

You only need to do this for a few minutes then you can go back to what you’re doing.

Make it even more useful

If you empty your mind while you watch, it’s a beneficial break for your brain, which can allow the answers you’re looking for to pop up.

Breathe deeply filling your lungs all the way to the top and emptying them out to the bottom. Getting rid of the stale air and filling your body with fresh oxygen will clarify your thinking, allow you to cope better with pressure and keep you happier.

Lift and drop your shoulders, gently roll your head, bend and stretch your knees like a baby squat, rise up on your toes and down again. Get those joints and muscles moving to wake them up.

Like this exercise? Keep an eye out for the new Kitegirl Stress Relief online video course due to be launched in a few weeks.


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