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  • Writer's pictureVesna Pejic

A Short Course on Visual Hygiene - Lesson 1

Having just returned from an extended time away from the office, it is not just me who feels refreshed - my eyes were on a long holiday, too! We spent only a few minutes a day looking at screens and otherwise enjoyed the scenery and the outdoors of beautiful Switzerland.

When I did read some of the books I brought along, I noticed how much difference following the 'rules' makes! Naturally, I did not follow all of them all the time, but my eyes said 'thank you' every time I was more aware of them.

So, what are these rules that I am talking about? I figured that if I put them on a page all at the same time, it might be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, I am posting one every few days so that you can start to follow them slowly but surely as well.

We can think of it as if you are going back to school and learning one lesson at a time, and implementing it immediately. I would be delighted (and so would your eyes) if you joined me on that journey.


Here we go with Lesson 1:

Do all near point activities (reading or working at PC or tablet) at least 33cm away.

So, reading, writing, knitting, stitching, working at your computer, 'face-booking', scrap-booking, cooking, crafting, etc. etc.

Make some distance between yourself and the object you are working on. This does not only help your posture (your back will be happier, too!), but your eyes will greatly benefit from this new practice.

33cm is a bit more than the length of a DIN-A4 sheet of paper (which is 29.7cm). Or a bit longer than the standard 30cm ruler. For me, 33cm is a bit less than two hands with the fingers stretched out. So, if I am not sure if I am far enough away, I just kind of measure it with my hands (and make a silly face to the book at the same time).

Why 33cm? Well, when you look at something 33cm away, your eyes should be aligned and looking straight. Conversely, if you look at something in closer range (as the boy is doing in this picture above), your eyes will converge and therefore your muscles around the eyes need to work very hard - if they slack, you will see double. This is super tiring for these muscles and eventually they give in.

So if you go below 33cm, your muscles in and around the eyes get tired, you end up tilting your head, getting headaches or it will be increasingly difficult to keep things in focus.

Will you join me in trying over the next week to follow this 'rule #1' that you have just learned (well, you have surely heard about this before, so the first 'lesson' must be really easy to follow.

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