December 2, 2023

Today I’ll tell you about my feel-good favorites for the coming spring: eye training. That refreshes me like hardly anything else over the course of a working day, spent many hours in front of computer screens, piles of paper or smartphone apps. I can really recommend it, even if you may not have to look up close as much as I do. I’ll get to the reasons in a moment and I’ll include the best eye exercises – as a video to follow through.

Eyes strained from computer work

But first of all, briefly about the history so that you understand why I find eye training useful: I am a blind fish. Severely short-sighted since school, with astigmatism, first signs of presbyopia and lots of floaters that disturb my field of vision. For someone who strains his eyes as much every day for work as I do, this is a medium-sized drama.

I know dry eyes, burning, watery, inflamed eyes. I curse when I constantly have the feeling that I have to wipe a grain of sand out of my eye, even though there is no foreign body there. The worst are the days when everything at some point blurs in front of the lens. That makes seeing exhausting. It takes significantly more mental strength than usual to grasp the content of what I’m staring at.

Eye drops do not solve the central problem

Funny is different. That is why I have approached various ophthalmologists over the years: “What can you do so that looking isn’t so difficult?” At least three advised me to change jobs. From a medical point of view, that may be correct. Looking out on a ship is much easier on the eyes than a job as a journalist. But retraining is out of the question for me.

So eye drops. If they are the right ones and if you use them regularly, they even help to some extent against them. What they cannot do, however, is reduce the mental stress caused by hours of close work. I realized that a few years ago on a sunny February day.

I left my office around noon and was blinded by the brightness. All winter long I hadn’t noticed how much daylight can be lacking. Bright ceiling lamps, eyes fixed on the dimly lit screen, dropping in eye drops every three hours. Blink? Look up? Relax and take a much-needed break ? Nothing.

Eye training creates relaxation in every way

I have loved my vision training since that February day. It gives me the interruptions that not only give my visual organs the necessary relaxation, but also refresh my mind. Also to neck pain or headache to avoid such small but regular time outs are worth gold.

Vision training against myopia? A myth

For everyone who was hoping I would tell you that my nearsightedness has improved since I started doing eye training: I have to disappoint you there. The idea that blurred vision can be remedied by training the eye muscles is unrealistic in view of the causes of myopia. The length of the eyeball and the curvature of the cornea and lens play a role in ametropia. The muscles have no influence on this.

Keep eye muscles flexible by looking far

Many ophthalmologists consider it likely that specific eye exercises can delay the problems with presbyopia a little. This is partly because the eye muscles need longer and longer to see from far to near and back again. Eye exercises, in which one consciously looks into the distance, may help to achieve this so-called accommodation for longer. When looking up close – this includes typical screen work at a distance of around 40 centimeters – the ciliary muscle is permanently tense. It surrounds the lens in a circle. If you look into the distance, he relaxes. The lens becomes flat. In order to challenge the muscle and keep it in shape, it makes sense to regularly look out into the distance – ideally simply out of the window into infinity.

I call this eye exercise “looking into infinity”. You shouldn’t fix anything, just look far away. Personally, I appreciate letting my eyes circle while doing this. Time clockwise, then the other way around. This is the moment when I consciously feel the change from watching the screen. I notice how my eyes relax and how good the visual change is for me. A pleasure that I treat myself to for a few seconds about every 10 minutes.

Lack of light spoils your eyes

The “view into the infinite” has a second, greater advantage: It guides you to brightness. From what researchers know so far, getting enough daylight seems key to maintaining your eyesight. They don’t believe that reading for hours or so will make you myopic, at least not alone. Rather, they suspect the cause is too long sitting around – which goes hand in hand with long reading and constant screen work – and the resulting lack of light. Daylight seems to be important, at least for children , so that they don’t spoil their eyes. Everyone should treat themselves to at least one and a half hours of daylight every day. My eye training reminds me of it again and again – and, in addition to eye training, I also do it at least once a daytake a real break and go outside for a long time.

Eye training: 3 easy and quick exercises to do with our video tutorial

The best immediate effect against tired and overstrained eyes is achieved with the following three exercises. Blog colleague Nadja Katzenberger shows you in the video. You can imitate them anytime, anywhere. You don’t need any equipment for this. The best thing to do is to indulge in these exercises several times a day.

First look straight ahead. Now turn both eyes to the right as far as possible without moving your head. Return your gaze to the center, then turn your eyes to the left. After as many repetitions as it is fun, close your eyes briefly and finally take a deep breath.

Eye exercise 2: switch off stimuli

Take off your glasses. Rub your palms together briefly until they are nice and warm. Close your eyes and place your cupped palms over your eyes without pressing the eyeballs. Enjoy the deep darkness and warmth as long as you can. Breathe deeply and regularly.

Eye exercise 3: Seeing near and far

Take your thumbs up and hold it so far in front of the tip of your nose that you can still see it clearly. Now alternately squint at the thumb several times and then look into the distance.

At this point it should be noted that people who have problems with their eyes should always have them checked out by an ophthalmologist before they start eye training . Eye problems are not only ametropia but also, for example, dry eyes or squinting. For example, some eye exercises are not suitable for a silver look. Exactly which one can only be determined by a doctor.

Bonus material: More tips for relaxed eyes

In addition to eye training, you can do a lot more to protect your organs of vision.

  • Ventilate more often to equalize the humidity in the room. Dry air is a strain on the eyes. But avoid drafts.
  • Blink consciously to renew the tear film on the lens. Otherwise, the blinking frequency will decrease when working on a computer screen. You stare and your eyes suffer.
  • Avoid rubbing your fingers in your eyes if they are causing you problems. In the worst case, the symptoms come from an infection and spread bad pathogens.
  • If possible, get a second screen that you place about 20 centimeters further away than the first. This way you can vary the viewing distance at work and your eye muscles don’t rust too much.
  • Avoids light reflections and incidence of light on the screen and does not place it directly in front of a window. Otherwise the eyes are easily irritated.
  • In conclusion, I would like to repeat myself: regularly look out the window into the distance and into the daylight and regularly go outside.

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