Blinking is a crucial part of keeping the right amount of moisture in the eye surface, especially during cold, dry weather. It coats the eye with a fresh layer of tears while also cleaning the surface and moisturizing it. It is an almost subconscious action that means a lot to a dry eye patient.
Whether you work at a computer for +8hrs, watch a movie, or live in a dry environment, a slow blinking rate will increase your dry eye symptoms. Under normal circumstances, your blinking rate is an average 4 seconds, about 15 times a minute. When using the computer or staring at any other bright screen our blinking rate decreases by up to a whopping 70%!
Blink break! Before you continue reading… blink a couple of times.
Will blinking alone help my dry eyes during the day?
There are various blinking exercises that can help you further improve the condition of your eyes. These are designed to work your eye muscles and maintain your eyesight during the day.
Look at a distant object
This exercise benefits people who are glued to a monitor all day (iPads, tablets and smartphones included). In this day and age, people are dependent on technology for a larger number of daily tasks. We stare at bright screens a short distance from our eyes and this is causing eye strain, since our eyes are at rest when we look at distant objects.
So the first exercise goes like this: find a window, any window; now focus on a distant tree or car for 10 to 15 seconds. Slowly refocus your eyes on an object closer to you without moving your head. Focus on this new object for another 10 to 15 seconds. Do this 4 to 5 times, going back and forth between the distant object and the closer one.
Shut, squeeze, rinse and repeat
This one’s a fairly quick one. Shut your eyes quickly, squeeze them and feel your facial muscles moving. Keep this for 3-5 seconds. Open your eyes slowly and relax the muscles, keep them open for another 3-5 seconds. Repeat this process 6 or 7 times.
Roll your eyes clockwise one full round, then counter-clockwise another full round. Next, move your eyes up and down, then left and right. Finish up this exercise but looking at your nose tip.
Palming works to relax your eyes and your mind. It is inspired by Yoga Eye Exercises and you can do this anywhere. To get started sit comfortably and rub your palms against each other until you feel them warm up (Mr. Miyagi-style!). Turn your palms facing upwards and place them over your eyes, making sure you are not covering your nose and that no light filters through them. Once your palms are positioned correctly, feel the warmth coming from your palms and close your eyes. Concentrate on the complete darkness and relax your mind for a minute.
Benefits of blinking exercises for dry eye patients
These exercises will help you relax your eyesight, clear tear ducts and prevent further vision deterioration. It is recommended that you exercise your eyes for 5 minutes for every 30 to 40 minutes of near vision work.
Try it! Leave us a comment and tell us if these blinking exercises are helping you.