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ESH #64 | How to Prevent Eyestrain


There’s one thing we can all agree on: instead of just relieving eyestrain when it occurs, we are much better off preventing eyestrain in the first place. One of the main reasons why we have gone into so much detail in our last three podcasts (“What Causes of Eyestrain,” “The Symptoms of Eyestrain” and “How to Relieve Eyestrain“) is so that you can better understand the nature of eyestrain and how to now prevent it. If you have not done so already we highly recommend you listen, watch or read those podcasts to get a better understanding of what is being covered here.

There are two main ways to prevent eyestrain form occurring

  1. Positive visual habits and

  2. Eye exercises

Other then your parents telling you to “not sit too close to the television or your eyes will go square,”  you probably have had very limited education on how to use your eyes in a healthy way. Most of us have no idea on how to use our eyes and visual system in a positive way, in a way that works with how our eyes should be used naturally.

How to Prevent Eyestrain – Positive Visual Habits

By incorporating positive visual habits into your lifestyle throughout the day you will avoiding eyestrain. With these positive visual habits you will be relaxing the eyes rather than building up fatigue from overuse and you will be avoiding the many symptoms of eyestrain: headaches, dry eyes, itchy eyes and blurred vision.

So you can better understand how to have better visual habits and we have discussed each preventive step in more detail.

1) Positive Visual Habit –  Looking into the Distance

By looking into the distance on a regular basis you will greatly reduce the chances of eye strain. In our modern day lives we are spending excessive hours and hours looking from near. When we do this we are overusing the muscles within and around the eye in order to stay focused on near objects. By looking into the distance we allow these muscles to relax and the lens to flatten, preventing eyestrain and fatigue.

2) Positive Visual Habit –  Balanced Use of Both Eyes

Most people have one eye that they favor over the other, just like having a dominant arm or leg.
You could imagine if you only used one arm all day how it would soon become fatigued. By balancing the two eyes you can prevent your eyes from becoming too tired in this way.


This can be achieved by taking regular vision breaks from your daily activities. Get up from where you are working and walk around the room or better yet go outside. You will enable the brain to use both eyes equally on the larger objects you are seeing.

Another imbalance of the eyes is overusing the central vision and underusing the peripheral vision. Our peripheral vision used to be our main visual mode of function because it helped us see movement or activity around us in our natural environment. Now, most modern lives depend instead upon using central vision to work and survive. So, by paying more attention to our peripheral vision and keeping it active we can balance out the eyes and further prevent eyestrain from occurring

3) Positive Visual Habit –  Adapting to Sunlight

It is unnatural for people to be spending long hours indoors and avoiding the healthy rays of sunlight. The eyes in particular need the sun for nourishment and to fully activate their cells. By avoiding the sun we weaken it’s ability to function naturally in sunlight.

By spending time in the great outdoors (whilst still being smart about avoiding overexposure to the sun) we are allowing the eyes to adapt to the sun’s healthy rays. This keeps our vision strong and prevents the eyestrain that comes from squinting and straining in the sunlight.

4) Positive Visual Habit –  Resting the Eyes

If you become more conscious about how much you are using your eyes on a regular basis, you can help prevent visual fatigue. When you decide to rest in the evenings after a long day’s work notice whether you’re still using your eyes for many of your leisure activities in much the same way you did at work: watching television, reading, using the Internet. These are all  ways of further exerting the eyes even though they are already tired from work. So by finding leisure activates that can rest the eyes or at least do not further work the eyes, we can prevent our visual system from drifting into even more strain.

Eye Exercises to Prevent Eyestrain

Luckily the same eye exercises that could be used to relieve eyestrain, which was covered in last week’s podcast, can also be used to prevent eyestrain from occurring in the fast place.

In summary you can use:

1) Distance Looking Eye Exercise

The distance looking eye exercise to prevent eyestrain that is caused from looking near.

2) Obstruction Eye Exercise

You can use the Obstruction Eye Exercise to prevent overusing the stronger eye. Perform the Peripheral Vision Eye Exercise to bring balance between the central and peripheral vision.

3) Sunning Eye Exercise

The Sunning Eye Exercise helps improve adaptation to sunlight.

4) Palming Eye Exercise

The Palming Eye Exercise brings deep rest to the visual system.

Check out last week’s podcast on “How to Relieve Eyestrain with Eye Exercises” for more details on these exercises and to find out more about how they can help prevent eyestrain.

Question of the week

In the question of the week this week we discuss how bifocal progressive lenses are not the best choice for glasses.

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