|As you might imagine, improving the ROM of the eye is pretty simple. All you have to do is look far away, right? Okay, well it’s not THAT simple. However, just by making some little changes in your routine, you can start to build resilient eyes that last a lifetime.
#1) Look OUT not UP
One thing you may have heard to give your eyes a rest is to look up from your screen every once and a while. While this can be helpful to a degree, as we’ve seen, just looking up to an indoor wall may only challenge your ROM by a fraction of a percent.
What we want is to stretch your seeing abilities further and more often. That’s why you should look OUT every once and while. More specifically, at least every 25 minutes, go to a window or, even better, outside, and look OUT into the distance. This will allow the ciliary muscles to relax and the eye lens to flatten out. Do this throughout the day for about 3-5 minutes at a time.
#2) Speaking of out, get OUTSIDE!
We talked in-depth last week about the importance of light for the health of the body and, more specifically, the circadian rhythm. This healthy light exposure helps to improve many things, such as sleep, hormone levels, dopamine levels, and more. Well, as you can imagine, light is also imperative for eye health itself.
There are cells in the eye, called melanopsin ganglion cells, that help the eye with blue and yellow contrasts. When you get outside in the sunlight, the ultimate source of blue and yellow light, these cells interact with structures of the eye, such as the ciliary muscles, iris, and retina, to keep them functioning optimally. And, no, you can’t just view sunlight through a window because the window shuts out 90% of the sun’s rays.
It’s been shown that getting yourself outside for 2 hours a day can offset the near-work viewing we do throughout the day. If that seems like too much for you, just start with SOMETHING! Maybe it’s 5 minutes, maybe it’s 50 minutes. No matter what, get outside for some amount of time to give your eyes and your health and chance to function at their best!
#3) Practice Accommodation
We saw that accommodation is the eyes’ ability to adjust to things FAR away, and things close up. To help increase your eyes’ ROM, take some time throughout the day to practice this FAR and close adjustment.
All you have to do is find a place where you can view something up close and view something further away. Maybe you sit in front of a window and use a book as your up-close object and a tree outside as your far-away object. For about 2-3 minutes at a time, maneuver your eyes back forth, from the book to the tree, allowing them to adjust as well as possible. This will challenge the ciliary muscles to contract and relax, improving their ROM and keeping your eyes healthier, longer.