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Seven Tips To Beat Eyestrain

writer_headache_eyestrainAre you a creative writer? Then you probably know what it’s like to suffer from eyestrain. Writers are often the victims of computer-related maladies such as headaches, blurry vision, itchy or dry eyes, and eyestrain, but there are steps you can take to ease suffering and protect your eyes from further stress.

If you want to build up your writing bio or get a literary agent, you’ll need to be able to make it for the long haul.

So use these techniques to prevent eyestrain! And protect your eyes from future damage as well!

How to Avoid Eyestrain:

1. First, get a proper eye exam, update your glasses or contact lenses, and rule out any physical problems. (Studies indicate that those who spend a good deal of time in front of the computer are more at risk for glaucoma.)

2. Evaluate your workspace. Make sure your computer screen is at a comfortable viewing angle; working too close to the monitor can cause eyestrain and headaches (not to mention neck and back pain).

3. Adjust your background and font size. It’s nearly impossible to read white text on a black background, and straining to read a 10-point font is asking for trouble. If you write in the evening hours, check out a new application called f.lux, which makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day—warm at night and more like sunlight during the day. (http://stereopsis.com/flux/)

4. Reduce glare. Use indirect or reflective lighting when possible, and invest in an anti-glare filter for your computer monitor. Make sure your screen is at a 90-degree angle from any direct light source.

5. Take frequent breaks. Take a short walk, head to the break room for a cup of tea, or try this simple exercise if you can’t leave your desk: Shift your focus from your screen to an object that is at least 20 feet away, and focus on it for several seconds before returning your eyes to the screen. Repeat on a regular basis throughout the day.

6. Eating right, staying well-hydrated, and exercising regularly will have a positive effect on your eye health, and so will getting a good night’s sleep.

7. Try these two techniques to both relax and exercise your eyes (from Dr. Marc Grossman, OD, LaC, Eastern Region Director of the Optometric Extension Foundation program):

Palming Exercise

Rub your hands together until they feel warm (about 15 to 20 seconds). Then place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, being careful not to touch your eyes with the palms of your hands. The fingers of each hand should overlap and rest gently on the center of your forehead. Don’t create any unnecessary pressure on your face. If your arms get tired, rest your elbows on a table. Sit quietly for one to two minutes with your hands over your eyes. The more relaxed you become, the blacker the darkness you will see with your eyes closed.

Near-Far Focus

Hold your thumb six inches from your nose and focus on it. Take one deep breath and exhale slowly. Then focus on an object about ten feet away. Take another deep breath and slowly exhale. Repeat this process 15 times.

Writers are especially prone to eyestrain and know that it can lead to loss of productivity and even long-term health problems. So take good care of your peepers—and leave us a comment if you have your own helpful hints to reduce strain, headaches, and other eye problems!

Want more tips and hints about the writing life? Subscribe to our free weekly e-publication, Submit Write Now! In the meantime, writers, we hope you’ll take these simple steps to reduce eyestrain and protect the health of your eyes.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: What methods do you use to beat eyestrain?

15 Responses to Seven Tips To Beat Eyestrain

  1. These were great tips! I’m pulling an all nighter at the moment so I couldn’t have read this at a better time. Kudos!

  2. Thank you so much for these tips! I spend so much time at my computer, I just have to find a way to reduce the pain associated with it! I’m going to try out these tips – thank you!

  3. I thank you for the very helpful Newsletter, so many wonderful suggestions and instructions! Just wanted to drop you a note before calling it a night. I’ll probably be back up in a couple of hours; maybe I won’t be seeing double by then. :)

  4. We’re so glad you stopped by the blog! Since we are an author’s submission service, our audience is creative writers. Certainly, you don’t have to be one to take advantage of these tips. We hope this article helped you with your eyestrain!

  5. Good tips, thanks! Another easy exercise for the eye muscles is rolling your eyes slowly around the circle at the very edge of your vision, with the head staying still. It may help to trace that dark edge with your finger as you go around, eyes following the finger. Do a slow circle in each direction then close your eyes and take a breath.

  6. Judy: Glad you made the appointment, and happy you enjoyed our eyestrain tips for writers.

  7. Your timing is perfect! I’ve been struggling with eye strain AND headaches. Just an hour or two ago I made an appointment to have my eyes checked. My glasses are 3 years old! Pretty sure that’s my problem! Anyway, thanks for the other tips too!

  8. Thanks for passing this along to The Word Guild. Those of us who write can all use some help keeping our eyes in good working order!

  9. Have just been to optometrist re. blurry eye. Will be using “faux tears” to improve situation. I plan to pass your good preventative suggestions to The Word Guild, of which I’m a member. I sometimes take time out with icy cold herbal tea bags on my eyelids. It invariably puts me to sleep and my eyes are refreshed but I don’t have any doctor’s feedback on it!

  10. I’m going to try putting f.lux on my laptop. Sounds a lot easier than constantly having to adjust the brightness settings!

  11. The last two exercises seem like they’ll help in relieving some stress too. I’ll have to try them out! Thanks, guys!

  12. A great reminder and I haven’t tried some of these eye exercises before. When you spend long hours at the computer writing after work, it takes a toll on the eyes. Thanks for these tips.

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