Primeval man was a hunter, farmer and a warrior. Nature had designed his eyes mainly for these tasks related to distant vision, such that during these tasks the eyes were at rest. Sight was supposed to be a passive action requiring no muscular action whatsoever. Near vision needed muscular adjustment of very short duration which did not place any considerable burden on this mechanism of accommodation. However, this environment was long-ago.

Today, as a human race, we have moved forward at a tremendous pace with revolutions in areas of industry and agriculture.  This rapid industrialisation came with changes in our lifestyle and work environment. And with that came the strains and stresses of modern times.

In the present day there is a lot of health awareness amongst the masses. Fitness of the body as a whole is well taken care of but this does not extend to taking care of our vision. Our eyes are in continuous use from the minute we wake up till the time we sleep. The way we utilize them will affect how well we can work all through our lifetime. Learning depends tremendously on vision, as over eighty percent is arbitrated through our eyes. Sight is our most precious sense, still most of us take our eyes for granted, never thinking of them as organs needing any kind of care until the time we face some visual disturbances.

The eye muscles include an internal eye muscle- the ciliary muscle that surrounds the lens and six muscles attached to the outside of the eye. All these muscles have to work in sync by alignment, balance and coordination in such ways that is required to change focus of vision rapidly, track speedy moving objects, create depth perception and focus clearly for both far and near.

In modern times, with prolonged working hours, the eyes have more difficulty focusing for prolonged periods of time without blurring or softening the focus. This is particularly noticeable when you shift your focus from an object that is close-up to one that is in the distance.

In today’s internet and computer driven world, headaches, focusing difficulties, burning eyes, tired eyes, eyestrain, aching eyes, dry eyes, double vision, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and neck and shoulder pain  are often caused by eyestrain from working for long periods. Near point stress is one of the most common job related symptoms of eyestrain.

Since long, people believe that poor eyesight can be treated by special eye exercises. This belief was popularized by Dr William Horatio Bates with “Bates’ eye exercises’.

These exercises do not influence visual disorders of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia as these visual problems result from natural and acquired characteristics of the lens and the eyeball and no exercise can change that.

There are scientifically-proven exercises for specific eye disorders and misalignments of the eyes which are called ‘Orthoptics’. This is a form of vision therapy which may help people with focus problems including conversion insufficiency, double vision, strabismus and amblyopia (lazy eye).

So, what can one do for normal eyes?

By adopting good eye care habits, we can prevent many of the symptoms of eye fatigue.

1) Do not read closely.

2) Make sure that you work in a well lit environment

3) Take frequent breaks – Relax your eyes.

4) Shift focus from near objects to distant objects.

5) Quit smoking.