Are your eyes tired? Is your vision blurry? Your smart phone, computer, and television could be the culprit. According to a recent poll, most of us spend nearly 13 hours a day looking at a screen. Thankfully, these three easy science-proven tricks can relieve tired eyes in seconds.
Look out the window.
“Near-focus” tasks like looking at a computer cut your blink rate in half, leading to dry eyes and even corneal damage. “Each time you blink, a coat of tears is applied to the cornea,” says James M. Stringham, Ph.D., a research scientist at Duke Eye Center. “Blinking is like using windshield wipers: It wipes the window clean so you can see clearly.” The simple to-do: Every 20 minutes, look into your yard for 20 seconds, blinking 20 times.
Add a squeeze of lemon.
Ever notice that some days, your vision is worse than other days? Scientists now know why — and their intriguing research suggests that simply sipping a glass of lemonade might almost instantly improve vision for more than 75 percent of us. Turns out, eyes are one of the first areas in the body to suffer when we’re mildly dehydrated, making tears less slippery and causing corneas to crinkle, temporarily distorting both near and distance vision. Tip: Sip 8 oz. of water with a healthy squeeze of lemon. Research shows that high levels of vitamin C in the citrus slash the risk of eye complaints by 57 percent.
Turn up ambient lighting.
A surprising cause of eye damage: Looking at a backlit screen in the dark — or even in a dimly lit room! Low lighting causes pupils to open wide, Dr. Stringham explains, allowing more high-energy blue light to reach the backs of the eyes and overload the delicate cells of the retina. “Turn up room lights,” he advises. “The pupils will constrict, significantly reducing the blue light getting into your eyes.”
Also: try wearing a pair of blue-light blocking glasses when looking at your screen! These can help prevent eye damage and keep you from suffering from eye strain and fatigue.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.