In our technology saturated world, we spend most of our waking hours looking at our smart phones, tablets or computers. When we’re not staring at screens, most of our usual tasks tend to be no more than an arm’s length away from our eyes. Everything we look at daily is at a close range!
All this close-looking for long periods of time can lead to fatigue and eye strain. What is actually going on in your eye is that the ciliary muscles of our eyes are kept in a short, contracted state through high amounts of close-looking at computers, smart phones, or books, and way too little looking at objects that are at greater distances.
Tension in the eyes comes from the failure to use our eyes in their relaxed, long-muscle orientation that comes from distance-looking. But, when we look way off at the horizon or gaze at the distant hills or high-rises, we utilize different muscle patterns than we do when looking at close objects.
It then follows that, by taking an eye-break, we provide our eyes an antidote to the modern habit of close-looking. Making a habit of practicing this simple distance-looking exercise can help you avoid eye strain and protect your vision.
How to take an Eye Break
Going beyond the 20-20-20 method, in which you look away from your screen every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, looking at objects no less than 20 feet away, these eye breaks requires you to actually leave your desk. Get started using thse simple steps:
Step 1: Go outside
It is common sense that taking a short break every hour helps to protect our bodies from the ravages of excessive sitting. By by going outside, you can walk around, stretch, breathe some fresh air, and clear your mind. This time is also a great opportunity to take an eye break! If you are unable to get outside while at work, find a nearby window that you can look out at trees or the horizon.
Step 2: Location
Find a nice spot where you have ample space to look out into the distance, approximately 40 yards away or more, or whatever objects are the furthest from you.
Step 3: Observe
Spend several minutes looking at the trees, hills, rooftops, or other far away places. Gently shift your gaze from detail to detail, such as from treetop to treetop.
Step 4: Appreciate
Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Even if your only outdoor option is a parking lot, keep an eye out for birds, or other ways that nature shows itself.
Arrange your desk and computer screen so you can look out of a window several times each hour for a minute or two.
If you're one of those people that gets caught up in their work, set a reminder on your phone as a prompt that it's time for an eye-break!