Hulk smash eye strain and tension headaches!

Behold, Vision!

Sight is friggin amazing. The eye is amazing, the brain integrating visual data is amazing. Just the whole thing is friggin amazing. Take it away Bill Nye!

But, the eye, like any other part of our body, can become stressed, fatigued, overused and under-nourished. And this, leads to–dun dun daaaaa–eye strain and tension headaches (ominous echo).

In fact, stressed out eyes can lead to many unpleasant experiences, and these results, while not life threatening, can even become chronic:

• Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
• Watery eyes
• Dry eyes
• Blurred or double vision
• Headache
• Sore neck
• Sore back
• Shoulder pain
• Increased sensitivity to light
• Difficulty visually focusing
Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eyestrain/DS01084

eye-strainSo angry!!!

So obviously, we want to avoid these experiences simply because they are supremely irritating. But why is the League taking a closer look?

Remember, the League is dedicated to improving wellness, life enjoyment and leadership by giving clear comprehension of the principles underlying these topics, as well as simple and effective (and as much as possible, free!) techniques to create real transformation.

I consider the truly empowered human to be like a full-loaded swiss army knife: chock full tools and abilities built in without needing external equipment, services or chemicals.

The symptoms of eye strain listed above take us out of our optimal health, satisfaction and performance. So this article is all about simple and free ways of relieving eye strain and the resulting symptomatology–techniques that you can easily do at your work desk with only a few minutes to spare, getting you back on track with your awesome self.

Focusing on the Causes

So how do we typically arrive at eye strain in the first place? Some of the main activities that can induce eye strain include:

• Frequent and/or extended use of a computer or other screen-based devices (this has its own classification as ‘computer vision syndrome’*)
• Reading for extended periods of time
• Reading small font or certain colors of font
• Exposure to bright light or glare
• Trying to read in very dim light
• Dry air currents moving past your eyes from heated or air-conditioned air
• Driving for extended periods of time
• Underlying stress or fatigue

So uh, do you experience any of these factors on a daily basis? Yea, thought so. Don’t lose hope! Read on hero…

*According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, computer vision syndrome affects some 90% of the people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer.

A vision of hope

I present three techniques here that will help with all the symptoms listed above, but especially target sore and irritated eyes, tension headaches and mental fatigue.

1. Eye Exercises and Palming

This is a simple practice that relaxes the eyes and the related muscles of vision. This practice removes the need to take medicine for the headaches, as well as stimulants like coffee to stay focused through the strain and fatigue.

2. Blinkless Gazing

eye-strainThis is an ancient technique known to yogis as Trataka. This practice is very simple, and removes the need to buy and put manufactured moisturizer chemicals on your eyeballs. Score!

This technique is part of a much richer practice of bodily cleanses that has been used by many societies and civilizations throughout history. In Sanskrit, these practices are known as Shatkarmas (‘six activities’).

Blinkless Gazing forms the basis for a meditation practice, teaching the practitioner unbroken concentration. This is an awesome result of Trataka, but it is not why we are looking at this today.

One of the other results of Blinkless Gazing is that it stimulates the tear glands, creating an organic cleanser and moisturizer for the eyes. So if you get dry, itchy, irritated or blurry eyes, this one’s for you!

The steps of Blinkless Gazing:

1. Find a focal point at least arm’s length distance away. This focal point can also be very far away.

2. Keeping the head steady, the body relaxed, and the breath smooth, focus on this point, opening your eyes wide without blinking.

3. Resist all urges to blink until your tear glands release tears into the eye.

4. Once this happens, blink repeatedly to irrigate the eyes.

5. You can also close the eyes and gently use your finger pads to massage the eyeball over the eyelid.

6. Feel free to repeat this process two to three times or until your eyes feel cleansed and nourished.

7. Appreciate yourself for taking care of your eyes =)

3. 2 Minute Face Massage

Not only does this practice encourage youthful, glowing skin, it is also very helpful in relaxing eye strain.

Follow the video below for the guided exercise.

Do this at work!  Do this before an interview or presentation!  Do this when you wake up or before you go to sleep!  Your body will love you for it, and you be feeling fresh, looking fresh and acting fresh.

Scanning the Periphery

eye-strainNow, these three practices give you immediate relief, as well as a better sensitivity and understanding of your own body. These are life-long upgrades =)

But, these practices are more of a responsive therapy–though you can proactively practice them before you feel discomfort. There are also things you can do to help prevent eye strain or irritation in the first place.

Some of these things include:

• Decreasing screen brightness and glare
• Increasing font size on computer screen: according to Dr. James Sheedy, computer font size should be three times the smallest size you that you can read from your normal viewing position. Here are instructions for changing computer font
• Size, including Mac, PC and web browsers.
• Back-lighting your workstation instead of having bright light directed toward your eyes. Ambient lighting is optimal at about half the normal brightness of a typical office set-up.
• Taking frequent breaks: these breaks don’t have to be long. One study suggests ’20-20-20′: every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away or more for 20 seconds.
• Allowing in fresh air, and minimizing direct air-conditioned air that blows across your face
• Decreasing the amount of extra or unnecessary time you spend reading and looking at screens

And here are a few more resources for your ‘viewing pleasure’ (see what I did there?):

• Western Medicine and Eye Strain
Computer Vision Syndrome
A Journey through the Human Eye
Vision Training

Seeing Clearly

I hope this article has given you solid options for addressing the impacts of strained eyes through modern life. Now go forth and see clearly!

In everyday awesomeness,
Eka, aka SuperSpark

Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/149908843/

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