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The Secret to my Daily Routine

I happen to be one of those people that like to take advantage of my “services” provided through my health coverage.  Since I have access to eye exams, I choose to get them as regularly as they are available.  A few years ago when I was at my eye doctor, I found myself being uncomfortable with the thought process that I was supposed to “accept” that my eyes were getting older.  I spend a lot of time taking care of my health and I didn’t really appreciate the comment.  This prompted me to stay away longer than I should have because I just didn’t want to hear the negative talk.  Age just simply means that I have been on this earth longer, it does not mean that I have to accept the “norm” or average way of others just to be “in the crowd”.

I finally set up my most recent eye exam.  I met the new doctor in that location and began to share my concern over the difficulty I was having with my eyesight.  I shared how I had seen a significant change in my eyes in the prior 12 months.  She began to go over my daily routine with me and we noticed how the eye strain correlated with my increased need to be on electronic devices in the last year.  It was not uncommon for me to be in front of my computer for at least ten hours a day with barely time to eat.  Not to mention increased family duties found me on my cell phone and text messaging multiple times throughout the day.  That is when my new eye doctor shared some very key advice that I will share with you now.

She explained about eye strain and that technology is severely working against all of us, especially children.  There are a number of muscles in the eye and they are what help our eyes focus and move in all directions needed.  Picture yourself looking at the tiny little screen on your cell phone to send a text message.  When your arms are holding that phone close to your face, your eye muscles are converging and contracting tightly which leads to fatigue.  She compared it to squatting, the deeper the squat, the deeper the strain on the leg muscles.  So, the more your arms are bent and holding that phone close to your face, the more your eye muscles are doing a deep squat.  This motion for a long period of time will lead to eyestrain.

My eye doctor recommended the following as my new daily routine.

  1. Take more breaks throughout the day such as at least 20 minutes off the computer per hour, ideally, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.  I realized that I had several conference calls each day.  During those calls, I did not always have to look at the computer so I could look out the window and start to meet this requirement of being “off the computer”.
  2. Staring off into space at longer distances.  While on conference calls, I practiced looking away from the computer screen and looking out the window, but this time with more of a soft gaze.  I did not squint or cause my eyes to have to strain to see.
  3. Enhance the font on my monitor.  In fact, I used to use the laptop and also had a large monitor hooked up to it.  That day, I came home and forced the laptop screen to only project on the monitor so I was now viewing the larger screen.
  4. Expand the distance between my monitor and my eyes.  By only turning on my monitor, it forced a distance between the words on the screen and my eyes to be at least an arms distance away.  No longer was I straining those muscles in a hard “squat”.

I am pleased to report that my eyes are much happier and so am I.  And the best part is, I don’t wear those slightly magnified glasses near as much as I was before and in fact, I am able to pick up a book without the glasses at all.  These slight modifications made all the difference in the world.  Thank you, Dr. Gibbs!