In the beginning, men and woman had little need for their "close" vision. It was their distance vision. It was their distance vision that was most important when hunting and protecting themselves. Today, however many of us spend more time doing close work such as reading, paperwork, work at a video display terminal and assembly or repair of small objects. Because our eyes were not initially intended for close viewing, they can easily become tired. Signs of eye strain and fatigue include droopy eyelids, redness, squinting, excessive blinking, burning, dryness, the feeling that there's "sand" in your eyes- even headaches can be warning that you should take a break.

There are many ways to rest your eyes when they're feeling overworked. Here are some helpful ideas to give you relief from eye discomfort.

  • Take breaks to focus on distant objects when doing close work. Take frequent five or ten seconds breaks and focus on things that are far away. Tranquil scenes, such as a pastoral pond or a spring meadow, have a calming effect that can also relieve other kinds of tension, even in short glimpses.

  • Work in good light. Experts suggest that the light you work in be three times brighter than the light in the rest of the room.

  • Read and write with your eyes in mind. Keep reading materials about 16 inches away from you to avoid eye strain. Also sit up straight rather than leaning to avoid overfocusing of the "leaning" eye. When writing, hold your pen an inch or so from the tip so that you can see and guide it without tilting your head to one side, causing you to overfocus with one eye.

  • Sit eight to ten feet from television. Staring at the set at close range will cause strain and your eyes will need relief from long periods of sustained focus. Also, keep some indirect lighting on in room to cut the glare from the television screen. Glare magnified in a completely dark room can be another source of eye strain.

  • Don't read, watch television, or do paperwork lying down. When you're in a prone position, your eye muscles strain more.

  • Don't try to work or read while you're passenger in a moving vehicle. Trying to read words that are bouncing with the vehicle's motion may cause eye strain.

  • If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, take care of them. Following cleaning and sanitizing instructions for contact lenses explicitly. With eyeglasses, clean the frequently with tissues that won't scratch or damage your lenses.

Working to keep your eyes rested requires only a few simple steps, and the results are worth the effort to achieve comfort and ultimately, protect your sight.