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october 2012

Eye Spy!Exercises To Refresh

Aditya Goyal
“My eyes are tired.”
“My eyes hurt after working on computers.”
“My eyes are burning.”
“I am unable to keep things in focus, though the doctor says that my power is okay.”

… those lines go for some commonly heard problems in almost every household and workplace.

The reasons behind these complaints or the symptoms are plenty. They can be attributed to busy lifestyles, unhygienic visual habits, late hours, long hours before a computer screen, pollution and the list goes on.

A complete eye examination is a must when such symptoms persist and manifest for a prolonged duration. The examination should also include a detailed binocular vision examination. If anything is amiss, then it should be corrected or treated under specific medical guidance. In normal circumstances, people engaged in occupations that strain the eye can help themselves by a few eye exercises for relief. These exercises can be done at home.

The varied visual display devices of modern day use - mobile phones, computers, PC tablets and so on - tend to strain our eyes. That is because our eyes were not designed to undertake such kind of visual work. The result is visual fatigue. The ability to and the quality of focus, vergence mechanism (the convergence and divergence of the eye to view things from up close and at a distance), and dry eyes due to pollution, are things involved in visual fatigue.

Perform the exercises listed below daily and you’ll feel refreshed – visually. As it is said, ‘Happy eyes make happy souls!’

Exercise For Focusing Mechanism
  • Take a newspaper, cut out the headlines and tape them on the wall in a well lit room, keeping the small print with yourself.
  • Sit 20 feet away from the wall, patch one of the eyes and read the print on the wall, alternating it with the small print in the hand.
  • Carry out the exercise with each eye for about 5 minutes and follow it with both the eyes.
  • While doing the exercise, ensure that the print is clear before shifting the focus between the small print in the hand and the large print on the wall.
Exercise For Vergence Mechanism
  • Take a strong string - about 6 feet in length and three small beads of different colours on it.
  • Tie one end of the string to a door knob and keep the other end in your hand. Move the farthest bead about 3 feet from yourself, the middle bead about 2 feet away, while keeping the nearest bead about a foot away.
  • Hold the end of the string (which is in your hand) on the bridge of the nose.
  • View the farthest end of the string, and you should see a figure “V”.
  • Look at the farthest bead, and you’ll see the string attain the shape of letter “X”.
  • Continue to alternate between the beads and see the shape of letter “X” come closer as you view the closer beads.
  • Once these beads are clear, move them closer towards yourself, until you can see them single, when the closest bead is at least 3 inches away.
  • Perform this everyday for about 15 minutes.
Palm On Eye
  • Palm both the eyes simultaneously by creating a hollow with your palms.
  • While palming, roll the eyes in all directions.
  • It provides a lot of relief to tired eyes. Take care not to exert pressure on the eye while palming.
Aditya Goyal is Behavioural & Developmental Optometrist, Association for Schools & Colleges of Optometry (ASCO-India), Chennai.