Macular degeneration runs in my family, with my grandmother, several aunts, and even my mother showing symptoms of loss of vision. I’m fortunate, so far, in that my eyesight is still considered near perfect, but I also spend a lot of time on the computer, reading, writing and editing, which does indeed cause eye strain.
Recently, I’ve purchased a pair of computer glasses to wear when working on the computer. I spoke with my eye doctor about options, and he suggested that these glasses, while not necessary for vision, could help reduce strain, stress, and wear and tear on the muscles of my eyes. He also said these glasses could help with tension headaches caused by eye strain and then suggested some tips for reducing eye strain, which can temporarily lead to poor vision, blurring, and headaches.
The glasses have a very small amount of magnification, so small in fact that I hardly notice it. They also have a special curvature that is made to refract light away from the eye, as well as having a light gray tint and anti-reflective coating to further reduce glare and eye strain.
While these glasses were not cheap, I consider them one of the best investments I’ve ever made, and the results of the reduced eye strain and less frequent tension headaches from using the computer so frequently that these glasses helped with were immediate.
The doctor also suggested buying a glare screen cover for my computer, as well as reducing the brightness but increasing the contrast settings on my computer monitor – all of which will further reduce eye strain and improve vision.
There are other ways to reduce eye strain and naturally improve vision in general too.
Creasing the forehead, raising the eyebrows, scrunching the nose, squinting, and other movements of the face can put strain on the muscles that control the eyes. I have a bad habit of raising my eyebrows and wrinkling my forehead when in deep thought. I wasn’t even aware of the fact I did this until someone pointed it out to me and would regularly come by and tap my forehead and lower my eyebrows.
Once I became aware of this, I realized I frequently had headaches and blurred vision when working, and now that I catch myself raising my eyebrows like this and stop doing it, I have alleviate much of the tension and headaches associated with this, and my vision is much clearer when working. In fact, my eyes focus better now, or rather, they focus on new objects much quicker.
Facial massages can also helps relax the muscles around the eyes and reduce eye strain, including massaging the forehead, temples, and the area beside the eye, being careful not to massage or rub the eye or eyelids directly.
Exercising your eye when you are not straining the muscles in everyday activities can actually strengthen the muscles in and behind your eye, which will allow your eyes to move more quickly, move in unison, as well as focusing quicker.
Raising and lowering the eyebrows several times in a row, squeezing your eyes shut tightly and rolling your eyes around in all directions, then opening your eyes and doing the same can help exercise these muscles and make them stronger and respond faster.
Search the internet for eye muscle exercises, and you can find a wealth of information, but as always, be sure to consult your eye health care professional for what is best for your eyes.
Sleep for Better Vision
It has been proven time and again that people who do not get enough sleep at night can experience reduced and/or blurred vision, focus problems, and tired eyes. Your body heals muscles during delta sleep cycles, which may not even start until you’ve been asleep for at least four hours, so it’s important to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each day/night in order to heal muscles and that includes the muscles of the eye.
Don’t Wear Corrective Lenses
I know this seems counter-productive to good vision, but glasses and contacts actually can make your vision without the glasses or contacts worse. The eye has to adjust how it sees when wearing corrective lenses, and this trains the eye to be weaker, because the eyes become dependent upon the corrective lenses to do their job.
Now, if you must wear corrective lenses to drive safely or have to wear them to work or read, then by all means do so, but whenever possible, do as much as you can without your corrective lenses, so that your eyes have to work themselves and learn how to let you see on their own, without corrective lenses.
Also, corrective lenses change how light enters your eye, and you truly will not see as well, as sharply, with corrected lenses as someone without corrective lenses would with the same vision your corrective lenses give you.
Cover Your Eyes
Every so often during the day, take a few minutes to stop and warm up your hands by rubbing them together, and make a cupped palm with both your hands. Place your cupped hands over your eyes, with your fingertips meeting at the nose, and fully cover your eyes so no light enters around your hands. At first, you will likely see some patterns, colors, and shapes that may appear to float in front of your eyes. Just relax and keep deep breathing until the colors and shapes leave and all you see is solid black.
Depending on how stressed you are and how tired your eye muscles are, this may take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes or longer. Meditation and humming may help you relax enough to see the solid black. Once you have achieved the solid black, you can rest that way for as long as you’d like.
When finished, keep your eyes gently closed and remove both hands slowly, so as to not shock the eyes with light. Slowly, when you feel ready, open your eyes again. It may take a moment for your eyes to refocus, but when they do, you should notice you are seeing things much more sharply and clearer, and you should feel less tension behind your eyes.
Sunlight and Air
Sunlight and oxygen are both important to eye health and vision. In fact, in moderation, sunlight is absolutely essential to human survival, but it also helps promote good eye health too. Of course, you don’t ever want to look directly at the sun, but during the light of day, especially at peak sunlight hours, being outside in the sun, you can clearly see that everything looks brighter, more colorful, and sharper.
Limit sun exposure, for obvious health reasons, but try to spend at least a few minutes in the sunlight each day for maximum vision and good eye health, and being outside in the fresh air helps your eyes breathe naturally too.
Diet and Exercise
Believe it or not, diet and exercise are not only good for your overall health and weight loss or maintenance, but can also improve your vision. A healthy, well balanced diet provides optimal vitamin and mineral supplements that are necessary for good eye health. Exercise builds the muscles all over the body, not just the ones used in the workout, and the increased blood flow, oxygen flow, and activity all can help improve vision.
Lutein is a natural plant carotenoid that is deficient in the average American diet. Found in higher concentrations in dark green, leafy vegetables, but can also be purchased as a dietary supplement, lutein has been shown to help with vision and also to help slow the progress of macular degeneration.
Visit Your Eye Doctor
The best way to ensure good vision is always to visit your eye doctor for regular check ups and tests to determine if there are problems with your eyes or your vision that can be prevented or caught early enough to correct. Your vision is important and such a large part of your life; take care of it as though it is that important.