3 eye exercises an optometrist does to combat dryness


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Photo: Getty Images/Manana Kverynadze

Your eyes do a lot for you. And if you have a desk job that involves staring into the abyss of a computer screen, they deserve to be repaid for all their hard work. That’s where optometrist Weslie Hamada, OD, senior director of LensCrafters comes in with eye exercises to nurse your corneas back to health.

“Thanks to our increasingly digital lifestyles, people are much more susceptible to digital eye strain than they once were,” says Dr. Hamada. “All this screen time can stress out the eyes and lead to eye fatigue. Constant digital stimulation or being on your computer for long periods can cause eye irritation, red eyes, and dry or excessively watery eyes.”

We can’t just toss our laptops, phones (and wearables, and tablets) into the ocean and wipe our hands of the whole ordeal, but the eye doc says that there’s plenty we can do to look after the health of our eyes. Below, Dr. Hamada names four exercises to do in your spare time to ensure we can all keep squinting at Instagram for years and years to come.

3 eye exercises to keep dry eyes hydrated

1. Blink

Oh. So you didn’t know that blinking was an eye exercise? Well, now you do. “Blinking cleans and moisturizes the surface of the eye. Insufficient blinking leads directly to eye fatigue, dryness, and eventually, to eye strain,” says Dr. Hamada. So wherever you are right now, bat those lashes.

2. Adjust your screen settings

This one’s not exactly an exercise, per se, but Dr. Hamada says to exercise caution around your phone’s brightness. “Harmful blue light is all around us—from tablets, to cell phones and laptops. With adults spending over nine hours a day on digital devices, and kids spending up to 8 hours per day on devices, over time, exposure to the blue light can cause serious long-term damage to your eyes and dryness,” says the doctor. So make it a habit of dimming the brightness of your screen. And if you’re working on a laptop, add a glare reduction filter.

3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule

“Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and stare at something 20 feet away. It’s gives your eyes a chance to relax and reset,” says Dr. Hamada. Think of it like a mindfulness break, but for your irises.

After a day of sitting at your desk, make sure to stretch your groin (really) and give a little love to your lower back

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