Eyesight: The five simple everyday practices that can ‘prevent eye strain’ – expert

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Eye strain describes a common condition that happens when your eyes become tired. This tiredness can be induced by staring at screens for a long time or driving long distances. Professor Dawn Sim, Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, offers five tips on how to prevent this condition.

The most prominent eye strain that has come hand in hand with the rise of screen time is called digital eye strain.

This particular condition affects over 50 percent of people, according to Optometrists Network.

Unlike age-related eye conditions, digital eye strain can also target children.

Professor Dawn Sim, who’s also a co-founder of a new eye health brand MTHK, describes five simple eye exercises that could help prevent this problem.

The eye expert explained that conditions like dry eyes and eye strain can leave your eyes feeling tired, blurred or seeing double.

The five simple exercises you can do to nip this problem in the bud are:

  • Conscious blinking
  • Rolling your eyes
  • The 20-20-20 rule
  • Palming
  • Exercising peripheral vision.

Conscious blinking

The professor explained: “Most of us blink less frequently when we’re concentrating or staring at a screen.

“If you blink less, your protective tear film evaporates, drying out your eyes.”

She recommends blinking consciously and keeping eyes closed for half a second before reopening.

Repeating this for about 20 times should make the eyes “fresher” and hydrated.

Rolling your eyes

To target eye fatigue, Professor Sim recommended: “Sit with your back straight and, without moving your head, slowly and purposefully roll your eyes in a clockwise direction, starting with the left, then to the ceiling, then to the right and finally look at the floor.

“Repeat this 10 times. And then reverse the roll.”

The 20-20-20 rule

These three numbers describe the time and distance for practising this rule.

The exercise relies on looking away from your computer every 20 minutes at something that is 20 feet away for the duration of 20 seconds.

This will help to reduce strain and fatigue, according to the ophthalmic surgeon.


The eye expert described: “Place the palms slightly cupped over your eyes, without applying pressure.

“Let your fingertips overlap, resting on the forehead and try to not let any light through and breathe deeply for about a minute.”

This practice is “good” for the eyes as well as “relaxing”, she noted.

Exercising peripheral vision

This exercise requires having either a screen or a picture in front of you.

The expert said: “Without taking your eyes off it, try to locate and touch all the objects around you (a glass of water, notebook etc).

“Then, interact with the screen without losing sight of objects in your peripheral vision.”

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