Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance, and today we are revisiting computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain. We started this series last week discussing the three domains that we’re beginning to see show up in the literature surrounding prolonged use of screens. We talked about ocular disturbances, dry eye, blurry eyes, painful eyes, gritty eyes, difficulty focusing, et cetera.
We talked about neuro musculoskeletal headache, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain. Often things like carpal tunnel syndrome. All can be related to overuse of screens. In the third domain, was neuropsychiatric, meaning we’re having difficulty focusing after prolonged screen use, concentrating, sometimes we get emotional volatility where we get more angry the longer we’re on screens. And all of this has been related to an increased exposure to screen and increased screen time.
Now, if you didn’t watch last week’s video, please go check that out. ’cause we established some foundations. We also talked about two critical rules, the 20 20 20 rule and blinking. So we’re trying to take you through a series of how do I combat the visual fatigue that often shows up whenever we are spending all of our days on screens.
Right now in America, the average is almost seven hours and 45 minutes per day on some kind of digital device. So obviously like any habit, there’s a price to be paid for that much exposure. So one of the things that we see regularly is that people that spend all their time on screens will begin to lose the capacity to comfortably move their eyes in all ranges of motion.
So the second iteration of how do I combat computer vision syndrome is to do a little bit of eye exercise. When we look at the eyes, we have what are called extraocular muscles. We have muscles on the outside of the eye, and we have a couple on the inside of the eye. And just like any muscle in the body, at some point we need to take it through a full range of motion.
We need to challenge its strength. We need to challenge its coordination in order to keep it healthy. If I said, Hey, your bicep in your arm, you’re only allowed to move it in this range of motion for 14 to 16 hours a day for the next 20 years, you know that at some point, if you have to straighten your arm and pick up something heavy that’s gonna come at a price, it’s gonna be painful, it’s gonna be uncomfortable, and your brain will more likely perceive that as a threat. The same thing happens with the visual system. And because our eyes are so critical to moving through our environment safely, we need to make sure that we’re giving it some appropriate care, and that comes down at some level to making sure that our eyes move.
So here are basic progressions. First thing that we’re gonna do is what we call isometric holds. And we’re gonna think about a clock. So we’re going to start getting a nice comfortable stance. We’re gonna look up hold for five, like we would be on the 12 o’clock, and then we’re gonna come back to the middle, and then we’re gonna go to one o’clock, hold for five, two o’clock for five all the way around, and then reverse it. So our first exercise is just full-range eye movements with a five-second hold on each number of the clock. All right, that’s number one.
Now we want to focus on some coordination work. So we’re gonna begin going to think about that clock, and we’re going to begin by doing some smooth movements.. We call these smooth pursuits. So I’ll think about 12 to six. I’m gonna put my finger in front of me. I’m gonna focus on it. I’m gonna follow it up to the 12, down to the six. I’m gonna keep my head still. As I do that, I’m gonna come back to the middle, and then I’m gonna go one seven, and then I’m gonna come back to the middle two, eight. You don’t have to, you know, know your numbers, but all I really want you to do is think about doing smooth pursuits in each direction all the way around the clock. Once you’ve done that, we’re then going to follow. Imagine the clock running, look at each number smoothly.
So we’re now doing a circle circular motion. We’re gonna do four or five in each direction. Once we’ve done that, we now wanna start increasing the challenge of this kinda smooth pursuit eye movement by changing the depth of field. So now we’re gonna be doing what we call eye spirals. Do it with a finger, a pen. You want something to focus on.
You’re gonna have your finger out in front of you, you’re gonna look at it, you’re gonna take it up and out away from you, and you’re gonna bring it close to your nose, and then you’re going to go out and you’re gonna spiral all the way down again, keeping your head still, and then all the way back up. And then you can change the direction of the spiral.
So now I am on a diagonal and I want to again do that in each direction. Finally, after you have done, again, a couple of minutes of eye spirals, we then wanna do some quick switches of focus. For this, I’m gonna use my fingers. I’m gonna look at one finger, and then I’m gonna quickly switch to the other. I’m gonna do that 5 to 10 times, and then I’m going to change their positioning.
And again, you can use the clock numbers as a reference. You can make this more challenging by putting one finger further out and one closer. These are all coordination and strength movements and range of motion movements for your eyes. There’s a huge variety of exercises, and right now, I’m not trying to solve a specific problem for you with your eyes. I’m just trying to remind you that they do a lot of things. They can move to a position and hold that position. They can smoothly follow or track moving objects that are not changing in depth or that are changing in depth, and they can quickly shift focus from one object to another.
These are basic neuro evaluations that we would do on people. Don’t worry about the names right now, just understand that these are critical aspects of good vision. They’re critical aspects. More importantly, of defeating the hyperfocus in a short focal length issue that arises when we are constantly on screens. All right, so this is video number two of our combating digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome.
Make sure to check out the previous video, come back next week. We’re keep going looking at more stuff regarding your screens, blue light exposure, et cetera, because this is a critical factor for a lot of people in getting rid of pain. If you are new to the Z Health world, we are a brain-based education company. We specialize in working with doctors, coaches, and therapists from around the world who are interested in bringing neuroscience and practical, practically applied neuroscience into their work with clients. So if that’s of interest to you, make sure to subscribe to the channel and check out all of our ree resources on z health education.com. Alright, have a great week.