Your eyes need rest. The more relaxed they are the longer you will be able to read. Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent and cure eyestrain.

Palming is an excellent eye-relaxing exercise. Rub your hands together until they are warm. Then close your eyes and cover them with your hands so that no light gets in. Do not press against your eyeballs: if you were to do so you could damage them. Cover your eyes like this for as long as you have time to.

Many people who have eye problems compound them by not blinking. If you do not blink your eyes will become dry. While reading (especially from a PC monitor) be aware of your eyes, blink often and water them. If it helps, put a sign above your PC to remind yourself to blink.

If your eyes feel particularly tired there are a number of very good eyewashes you can get from any pharmacy. Follow the instructions carefully when you use them and if necessary check with your optician or your doctor. If you wear contact lenses it is even more important to take care of your eyes while you are reading.

When you read, your eyes are limited to how much they move. An excellent way to relieve stress is to practice eye exercises. First, look straight ahead, then look up as far as you can, down as far as you can, then to the left, then to the right. Then, look to the top left, top right, bottom right and bottom left. Hold each gaze for only a couple of seconds. Then squeeze your eyes shut and repeat the exercise. When you have finished the exercise, palm for a few minutes.

READING FROM A PC MONITOR WITHOUT STRAINING YOUR EYES

Font size and type.

If someone has sent you a document and the font is difficult to read, either due to its size or type, change it. Serif fonts are easier and quicker to read.

Screen contrast.

Make sure the background contrasts the text on the screen. Keep your screen clear and clutter free.

Screen interference.

Have as little around your screen as possible. Sometimes it is tempting to have all the icons on display. The more you have around your screen the smaller the screen space. Only have what is necessary for the work you are doing.

Screen savers .

There are screen savers on the market now that remain active all the time. The one that held my attention for quite some time was a sheep that ran around my screen while I worked. Not only does it help to relax your eyes and prevents you from staring at the screen but a sheep chasing frogs across the screen is good for your sense of humour. Anything humorous is good for your stress level, which in turn is good for concentration. It is important, however, to maintain the balance between humour and distraction.

Screen position.

Keep the screen a comfortable distance away from you. It should be at least arm ’ s length away. Also, avoid having the screen directly in front of a window. The contrast in light can be uncomfortable and the activity outside can be distracting.

Comfort .

Working at a PC means that the only parts of your body that get any exercise are your fingers. Stop, stretch your body and do the eye exercises every 20 to 30 minutes.