Sight is very important to me. It’s one of my senses that I don’t think I could ever do without. A musician might fear going deaf, but I could live with that. I’d rather not have to but if it came down to losing my hearing or losing my vision, I’d take being deaf. That’s just me.
As I’m getting older, I know that one of the inevitable symptoms of old age is a degradation of vision. This also scares me. So much of what I enjoy in life, such as photography, is dependent on having healthy eyes. That is why with all the time I spend processing photos or glued to social media on my phone, I make sure to exercise my eyes at least once every day. Here are some of the exercises I do to keep my eyes as healthy as possible.
Keep in mind that eye exercises, although beneficial, will not cure current eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and others. They may, however, delay these conditions developing over time. Just like exercising any part of your body properly keeps it in good condition, so can exercising your eyes.
When you spend hours staring at a screen at work or at home, your eyes are constantly focused at a fixed distance. To avoid this creating any issues, I put my finger in front of my eyes as close as I can focus, then I switch my focus to something in the distance. I do this about 10 times, holding to focus for a couple of seconds.
Next, I’ll stretch out the muscles in all directions for 5 seconds. Keeping my head facing straight and still, I’ll look up as high as I can and pick something to focus on and hold it for 5 seconds, then rest for 2 seconds. Then I’ll do the same looking down, then left, then right. I’ve found that if I try too hard in any direction it can start to become sore, so I make sure I back off a little if I feel I’m overstraining.
The Eye Roll
After loosening the eyes with some directional stretching, I then move on to a moving stretch. I start with keeping my head still and looking straight up, then I’ll roll my eyes slowly in one direction 3 times. After resting them for a few seconds I’ll repeat the exercise in the opposite direction.
To help cool down and relax I finish with a hard blink. Closing my eyes as tight as I can for 2 seconds and then opening them for 2 seconds. I’ll repeat this 10 times.
As well as taking the time to do these simple eye exercises once a day, and especially after a lot of screen time, there are other things you can do to look after your eyes. Just remembering to blink can keep your eyes from drying out. When staring at something intently, you’d be surprised at how little you blink compared to normal. This is exactly the time you should be blinking. Try making a conscious effort to blink more.
Wearing sunglasses when you’re outside can protect your eyes in more than one way. As well as providing UV protection for your eyes, it can also keep dust and particles from irritating them. There’s nothing wrong with wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day.
There are other eye exercises out there and ways to protect them, but these were some that work for me and are easy to fit into my life. Since this is technically a medical topic, I should point out that I am not a health professional and if you have any problems with your eyes, seek proper medical attention.
About the author: Kieran Stone is a professional photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Stone’s work on Project RAWcast, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.