Your eyes take a lot of abuse. Sleep’s their only respite from relentless use – telly, internet, squinting at tiny words. You can learn to ease eyestrain. It’s quite simple. You just need to make a habit of a few exercises. If you do, you’ll prolong the toll that ageing takes on your delicate peepers.
Where do you start? Let this article guide you. We’ll give you examples of simple exercises that can relax and tone ocular musculature. Do them for a few minutes every day and your eyes will thank you for your kind care and attention.
Massage well and make the right faces
The first thing you need to master is relaxation. Easier said than done, we know…but it’s important that you ease the tension of the musculature around your eyes. Start by applying subtle pressure to the arches of your eyebrows where they are nearest each other. Make gentle, small circles and move outward to the ends of your eyebrows. Move downwards and trace the curve of the brow bone until you return the beginning of the eyebrow. For extra indulgence (and anti-ageing), you can use a bit of almond or evening primrose oil.
One minute spent doing all kinds of facial expressions will relax your entire face. You can use the same careful, circular motions to massage your lips, jaw, tongue, cheeks, eyes, eyebrows, eyelids, nose and – if you’re really feeling carefree – your ears!
Once you’ve massaged to your heart’s content, rest for a few seconds. Breathe deeply and continue for a few more moments, concentrating on your eyes. Not only will this ritual ease eyestrain, but it will also promote younger looking skin.
Pamper with patting
Unfamiliar with patting? Time to change that, as it’s one of the most pleasantly effective things you can do for yourself. To do it, rub your hands together until they feel warm. Place the palms of your hands over your closed eyes and let the warmth soothe and relax them. You’ll feel the tension draining away.
If you have dry eyes, try blinking in rapid succession. Do this for about 30 seconds, then close your eyes tightly. When you open them, they’ll feel fresher and less irritated.
Create conscious tension
Eyestrain is often caused by excessively – and unconsciously – tensing the eye muscles. If you can learn to deliberately tense them, you’ll get such sweet relief. You can practise this exercise whenever and wherever you want, especially if you spend a lot of time staring at computer (whether for work or pleasure, we’re not here to judge).
All need to do is close your eyes. Calmly let yourself become aware of the pressure of your eyelids and eyeballs. Initially, they’ll seem relaxed. The more you concentrate, however, the more you’ll notice that tightening your eyelids affects the rest of your face. The eyeballs don’t rest in place. Your cheekbones are raised and your eyebrows and forehead tighten in response.
As you try to master this technique, alternate relaxation and tension. This facial workout is like resistance training for your glazzies.
For working the oblique muscles of the eye, this exercise is boss. It’s fabulous for fighting eyestrain. Start by focussing on the tip of your nose. If you find it difficult, you can put a finger in front of you and follow it with your eyes until it’s touching the end of your nose. Once you’ve managed that, look up toward the space between your eyebrows.
Some words of caution: don’t do this for more than 10-15 seconds without giving your vision a rest, especially when you’ve just begun practising this exercise.
Quite easy but remarkably effective is this trick for easing eyestrain. Just roll your eyes round in circles, trying to take in the widest possible area. Look first towards one side and then the other. Focus on the bits that your eyes want to skip over. If you succeed, you’ll be giving your ocular muscles a wonderful workout.
Look around you
This exercise is therapeutic in so many ways. Go outdoors. Find a wide open area of outstanding natural beauty (oceans, hills, valleys – even a meadow filled with wildflowers will do) and seek out details. Look at them closely. Find a rock or a flower and marvel at its intricacy. Then, scan the panorama, stretching your vision as far as you can. Notice the colours of nature. Green is balancing and relaxing. Its calming effects will improve your vision and your mood.
Splashing cold water on your closed eyes will certainly make you feel more alert. It will also tone your ocular muscles and help you to feel focussed. It’s an especially nice treat to for eyes that are red, inflamed or irritated.
Images courtesy of The Style PA