Protect Your Peepers with these Eye Exercises
Digital eye strain is an increasingly common problem today. More than 87% of Americans are on their devices for at least two hours per day, and over 50% report using more than once device at a time. These devices emit large amounts of Blue light, also known as High Energy Visible light (HEV), which has been linked to retina damage, long-term vision problems, and cataracts. Blue light also suppresses the body’s natural melatonin levels, which negatively impacts one’s sleep cycle. In addition to an overall feeling of eye strain, individuals experience dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.
While it may be difficult to avoid blue light exposure entirely, there are many ways to give your eyes a break during the day to relieve symptoms of digital eye strain, such as increasing the font size on your screen, or following the 20-20-20 rule. To follow this, take a 20 second break from your screen every 20 minutes, and focus your gaze on something roughly 20 feet away. There are many other exercises, included in Chair Yoga, that can help to give yourself a little relief during the day. A few of my favorites are detailed below!
To warm up, I recommend Side-to-Side with Eyes. This move helps stimulate neural activity, exercise the eyes, and create more of a range of motion in your vision. Look left and right with your eyes twelve times. Then relax with your eyes closed for a few seconds.
Another move I like to try is Close/Opens. This is perfect when you need a break from staring at the screen, want to experiment with your sense perception, feel your eyes getting tired, or need a little boost. To start, close your eyes for ten seconds, then open them as wide as you can. Repeat this twelve times.
These moves, along with others in Chair Yoga, can help relieve digital eye strain symptoms throughout your day, and mitigate long-term eye damage. And of course, while computers may not be avoidable for work, try to take cell phone breaks when possible throughout the day. Not only will this help your peepers, but it will also give you a chance to decompress and connect with the people and sights around you!
For more information on Blue light, you can visit the Vision Council at https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/blue-light-exposure-and-digital-eye-strain
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!