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Close up of my eye.I recently had my yearly eye exam and I’m happy to say that my prescription has not changed. That’s three years in a row it has stayed the same. They’re not getting any better, but at the same time they’re not getting any worse.

At work I’m in front of my computer for about eight hours a day. Some days more, some days less. When I come home at night it’s sometimes another couple of hours at the computer. So I’m real surprised that my eyes haven’t gotten any worse. There are a few things that I do to keep them from getting too strained and stressed out. Below I’ve listed six things that help me keep my eyes happy and healthy.

1. Follow the 20/20/20 Rule

Follow the 20/20/20 rule to help relieve tired eyes. Every 20 minutes take 20 seconds and look at something at least 20 feet away. This is quick and easy way to give your eyes some time away from the computer screen.

2. Exercise Your Eyes

This first exercise is pretty easy. Focus on something 1 to 3 feet away, blink your eyes 3 to 5 times, open them as wide as you can for 3 to 5 seconds, look at something farther away, and then blink again for 3 to 5 seconds.

The next exercise is not only easy, but it can also be relaxing. Take a deep breath and hold it. Close your eyes tight and roll your eyes 3 to 5 times clockwise then 3 to 5 times counterclockwise. Slowly open your eyes and exhale.

Try to do each of these exercises three times each.

3. Rub and Palm Your Eyes

Sit up straight and rub your palms together until they feel warm. Cup your hands over your eyes for 30 to 60 seconds. The warmth of your palms will help to soothe and relax tired eyes. I like to rest my elbows on my desk, but you can also keep them to your sides.

Try this for some added relaxation: while your palms are cupped over your eyes, take a deep breath and hold it for 3 to 5 seconds, then exhale slowly. Keep breathing like this during the 30 to 60 seconds set.

Do this tip whenever your eyes are tired and strained. Just don’t get too relaxed and fall asleep at your desk.

4. Reduce Glare

Bright lighting and too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see objects on your screen. Here’s some good tips on reducing glare from via MSN Health:

To check glare, sit at your computer with the monitor off. This allows you to see the reflected light and images. Note any intense glare. The worst problems are generally from sources above or behind you, including fluorescent lighting and sunlight. If possible, place your monitor so that the brightest light sources are off to the side, at a right angle to your monitor. Consider turning off some or all of the overhead lights. If you need light for writing or reading, use an adjustable desk lamp. Close blinds and shades and avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall. Use a glare-reducing screen to minimize glare from overhead lighting. Finally, adjust the contrast and brightness on the monitor to a level that’s comfortable for you, making sure the letters on the screen are easy to read. Also wipe the dust from your computer screen regularly. Dust on the screen cuts down on contrast and may contribute to glare and reflection problems.

The above says that most glare problems come from above or behind you. However for me my biggest glare problem comes from the front. From my desk at work I can look out of my office door and see out a large window and glass door that faces toward the West. On sunny afternoons the glare is really bad. I hate closing my office door, but luckily I can close another door in the hallway that blocks the window and glass door. Sometimes it is so bright that the glare gleams from underneath the door and catches the corner of my eye. I’ve taken a strip of cardboard and taped it to the bottom of the door to make a door skirt and it has worked well so far.

If you aren’t able to reduce the glare yourself, report it to your supervisor, tech support, or even maintenance. Have them sit at your desk and see the glare for themselves.

If you wear glasses I’ve heard that lens with an anti-glare coating are better for computer work. My glasses don’t have an anti-glare coating, and when I do wear them, I often take them off when working in front of the computer to help reduce glare.

5. Use Re-wetting Drops

During the day my eyes can get really dry. Blinking exercises will usually get some moisture back to the eyes. But often, when I’m really focused on something and trying to complete a task, I forget to blink and my eyes and contacts get really dry. Using some over-the-counter re-wetting drops can add some much needed moisture and relief. I really like the coolness of the drops, it’s good refresher and pick-me-up. Just be sure to use the appropriate drops if you wear contacts.

6. Use Water to Stay Hydrated and Alert

It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. An added benefit of staying hydrated is that it keeps the body from storing water as a defense against dehydration, which helps to reduce puffiness around the eyes.

Close your eyes and splash them with cool water. This can be refreshing for your eyes and give you an overall feeling of being relaxed.


Please note that I am not an optometrist or any type of health care professional. These are the tips I use to help keep my eyes happy and healthy. Use these tips at your own discretion and consult a qualified optometrist for advice relating to the health of your own eyes.