Vision Tips for All Ages

Recently I've noticed a lot of patients complaining of neck pain, from as young as a 5 year old to a 65 year old. This inspired me to put together a handout about ways to reduce this visual-processing related tension. I wanted to share it with you.

 

Don’t Be Controlled By Your Focal Vision!

“Powered Peripheral Vision”,
Tips to Change Habits for Tension Relief

Adapted from Dr. Heidi Wise, PRI Vision, LLC

            Focal vision refers to being focused on something small at any distance, from your phone to a golf ball far away on the green.  Technology is partly contributing to our society becoming more focally near-sighted.  The more you focus on a bright device 6-12 inches from your nose, the stronger those brain pathways become.  The same is true for being focal in the distance.  Other contributors include being too busy, always striving to be faster, better, to have more, and not taking time to rest… your muscles AND your eyes. If you are reading this, your therapist thinks these things will help you.

Here are some tips to slow down, to be more mindful about what’s going on around you
and to reduce eye tension and neck strain for your or your child:

1. Take periodic breaks from seated tasks. Get up and move around.

2. When you walk slow down, don’t focus on a narrow area straight ahead. Be aware of objects on both sides of you without having to look directly at them. Sense your body moving forward past objects and sense the objects moving behind you as you propel yourself forward.

3. Look away 20 feet from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

4. Look around using only your eyes, not always your head and eyes together as a unit.

5. If you are near-sighted (your far away vision gets blurry without your glasses or contacts), walk in safe, familiar areas without your glasses on or contacts in and be OK with the blurriness. Do not strain to try to focus.

6. Read a book, not a tablet. Try to keep it as far from your eyes as is visually comfortable. If you have to read from a light source, dim the light as much as is comfortable increase the font size whenever possible. (Which is why this website uses a larger font! ;0)

7. Place computer screen at eye level.

8. If you spend time outdoors (recreationally or as a serious athlete) notice if you spend a lot of time focusing on something small very far away. If so, make a conscious effort to notice your surroundings, and peripheral vision more.

9. If you have to be in a small space for long hours every day (i.e. at work), get a picture of wide, open spaces and occasionally look at it noticing the distance.

10. Notice that as you strain to see something small (close or far) your head migrates forward changing the position of your skull relative to your neck. Over time this can cause pain and other problems. Think about pulling your skull backwards on your neck. Then relax it forward just slightly. Your ear should be lined up over your shoulder.