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How to Protect Your Eyes From Prolonged Computer Strain at Work

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You've been working nonstop for a few hours and you start feeling that all too familiar sting and tiredness in your eyes. This happens because our eyes aren't meant to stare at one thing close up for long; our eyes are adapted for hunting and spotting food from far away.

With the advent of the computer, TV, and video games we now stay  focused on these close-up screens for prolonged amounts of time and that takes its toll on your eyes. Most of us can't avoid looking at a computer at work so here are some ways to protect your eyes from the strain.

The biggest reason we feel irritation in our eyes during a workday is that we rarely look away from our computers. Our eyes are supposed to be looking all around us, for food or danger, and the muscles are tuned for that kind of activity. Remedy this by taking time throughout the day to look around you. If you have a window in your office, take 5 five minutes, or even one minute, every hour to look out the window. Place other things to pull your vision away from your computer if you don't have a window like pictures of friends, families, pets, or travel destinations.

Even after looking away throughout the day, your eyes will get tired from focusing so give them a break. A technique used in yoga classes called palming will help you relax your eyes and de-stress at the same time. Rub your hands together for a minute or two until the friction creates heat between them. Then place your palms over your eyes and overlap the fingers on your forehead. Then take some a few deep breaths. Don't push your hands into your eyes; just let the heat do the work. If you'd like, you can massage your forehead gently with your fingers.

Many people have also found relief from eyestrain through acupressure. Using your fingers, after you've thoroughly washed your hands, you'll massage from your forehead down to the outer edges of your eyes and down to the lower lids to relieve your eyes and the muscles around them. Use gentle pressure and even strokes. Don't push too hard because the skin around the eyes is very delicate.

Staring at computers also tends to reduce the amount we blink. After a few hours of not blinking enough, our eyes get dried out, tired, and irritated. To stop this from happening, ophthalmologists recommend taking time each hour to just blink. Every half hour or so blink ten times very slowly, as if you're falling asleep. This will help moisten your eyes and keep them comfortable. If you wear contact lenses, the dryness will make the contacts dry which will only exacerbate your eyestrain. Solve this by keeping a container of eye drops at your desk or in your purse at all times. Then, once an hour place a drop in each eye.

These days we can't avoid computer work but we can take steps to protect our eyes. Use these tips to keep your eyes healthy throughout your workdays.

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