Relieve eye strain

Relieve eye strain
How to relieve eye strain
Image credit:
Chiara Ang, MegRhythm Singapore

If we’ve gotten closer to anything in this era of social distancing, it’s our screens. Laptop, mobile and TV screens are now what we turn to for entertainment during this Circuit Breaker. To top that off, working from home (WFH) keeps us at our desks for long hours without the change of scenery that we’d usually get from commuting. Put these two together and we’ve got nearly every waking hour facing a screen of sorts and some very strained and tired sockets. 

For those with dry and tired eyes from long hours of screen time, here are 7 things that you can do to relieve eye strain.

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1. Use a standing desk converter 

The postures and positions that we can take on while working at home are completely up to us.  Lying on a beanbag, nua-ing on the bed, or slouching on the couch – the possibilities are endless.

standing desk converter
Multi-layered standing desk converter
Image credit: Fitfit Health 

But long hours of work inevitably give rise to eye and posture strain. And with all the long hours of work we’re doing at home, what your eyes, shoulders, neck and back will thank you for, is proper posture through the day. That is, making sure that the top of your screen lies slightly below eye level and is tilted a little upwards.

One of the ways you can ensure this is by investing in a standing desk converter. On top of raising your computer screen to an optimal height for minimal strain on the eyes, these also give you the option to be on your feet while working to combat food coma.

Alternatively, you can also DIY this setup with a couple of books under your computer – just make sure that it’s as stable as a rock before you place your precious laptop or monitor on it!

Find out how to make your WFH life as comfortable as possible.

2. Sun your eyes for 3 minutes

We all know that sun is good for vitamin D and that beach-body tan. But here’s a fun fact: they help to maintain good eyesight too, through activating the macula – the part of your retina that deals with clear central vision.

To sun your eyes, remove your glasses and contact lenses, close your eyes, face the sun and turn your head from shoulder to shoulder. According to optometrists, you should do this for about 3 minutes. But while you’re at it, make sure to avoid staring directly at the sun.

For those who OT past sunset, you can also do the same thing with a lamp.

3. Treat yourself to steam eye mask

Facial masks aren’t the only mask you can add to your vanity table. If your eyes are dry, tired and feel like they’re on the brink poppin’, consider a steam eye mask to warm up the eye area to relieve eye fatigue. The warm mask will help the muscles around the eyes relax and leave your eyes feelin’ lighter and refreshed.

steam eye mask
Relieve eye strain with steam mask
Image adapted from:
MegRhythm Singapore

Alternatively, you can also take a clean cloth, dip it into warm water, squeeze it dry, and place it over your eyes for a minute.

4. Take 5 and do eye exercises

It’s important to keep our body well-exercised and the same goes for the eyes. After a whole day of staring at documents online, bring a little eye movement into the picture with a quick eye accommodation exercise.

To do this, hold one index finger at eye level, half and arm’s length away from your eye and another index finger along the same eye line, but with the arm straightened. Bounce your gaze from one finger to the other for about a minute and this should get your eye muscles relaxed.

For an even quicker eye exercise, channel your inner Regina George and roll your eyes to give the eye muscles a quick stretch.

5. Use blue light filters

Blue light filters are a handy dandy tool that many of us use to protect your eyes from the jarring blues from our phones. But those spending plenty of time working from their computers might be glad to know that the function is also inbuilt into most laptops as well.

blue light filter on computers
Night Shift filter on Macbook
Image credit: Kezia Tan

They tend to be hidden out of sight rather than displayed on hotbars. On Macbook, you can adjust it under the Night Shift function and on Windows 10 system, find it under Night Light.

For those who prefer not to mess with the screen colours, you can also consider PC lenses that reflect blue light such those from Owndays. Contact lens wearers can check out the ACUVUE’s transition lenses which filters out both blue light and UV rays.

6. Palm eyes between long periods of work

Palming is a soothing trick that you can do at any point of your screen time to give you eyes a light massage. Given all the visual stimuli we constantly get, this quick method will immerse the eye in darkness, just like when you go to sleep, and allow them to relax for a bit. 

This simple technique only requires you to rub your palms together for some warmth and then lightly press them over your eyes. Release your hands once your eyes feel less strained.

Hygiene is paramount, especially now, so don’t be lazy and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face.

7. Place your work desk next to a window

The age-old trick to taking an eye break is to look far into the distance, but if you’re immersed in your work, it’s easy to forget to do so.

place table next to window to relieve eye strain
Image credit:
Chiara Ang

Now that you have the flexibility of moving your workspace wherever – or at least wherever in the house – pick a spot near a window. That way, you’ll get plenty of natural sunlight to light up your space. To top that off, everytime you look up, you’ll be able to take a quick eye break.

To top that off, open the window grills to enjoy the view of the great outdoors – that’ll definitely help relieve any cabin fever.

Give your eye a break

With work, Animal Crossing and Zoom calls taking up most of our time these days, it’s easy to stare at a screen non-stop for 12 hours a day. So be mindful of how much strain your eyes are feeling and give them a break every once in a while.

After all, “free as a bird” is the saying that we want to embody once the coronavirus tides over – not “blind as a bat”!