SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As more people are working from home and spending more time on Zoom calls, optometrists are noticing an uptick of eye complaints in the last two years.
"Prior to the pandemic, we had fewer complaints about things like eye strain, dryness, inability to wear contact lenses comfortably all day long. I believe that doing a lot of work on devices possibly contributes to that," said Dr. Faktorovich, eye surgeon and director of the Pacific Vision Institute.
Recent reports found that Americans spend about five to seven hours per day looking at a screen. During the pandemic, those numbers doubled for many people.
One of them is Eliza Chu. She works as an executive assistant in the Bay Area and spends about 10 hours a day in front of a computer.
"When your eyesight is so good, you can tell when it starts to give out a little bit. Very easily. Like I can't see as far anymore. Your eyes get really dry too if you are not focusing," said Chu.
Her whole life she's had 20/20 vision, but recently her optometrist noticed the change.
"They said that my eyesight is OK, but I need to start wearing glasses to protect my eyes from getting worse," said Chu.
That's where Marc Morozumi comes in. He's a yoga instructor and owner of Mukunda Studio in San Francisco. He pivoted from teaching in-person to online, and now is implementing "eye yoga" to the beginning of many of his classes to help many relieve eye strain.
Luz Pena: "It's kind of ironic that you are teaching "eye yoga" via Zoom."
Morozumi: "It just happens that the pandemic has given a lot of us teachers inspiration to transfer what we normally did in the studio to be able to support people. But you are right, it is ironic, but even more needed."
We asked Morozumi to show us the "eye yoga" technique that many like Chu are implementing.
Morozumi's Technique :
- We come to a nice upward position without being stiff
- You want to think to yourself you are not going to move any other part of your body as best as you can
- Just the eyes will go up to the ceiling and without straining
- Circle the eyes to the right and down and keep moving around peripheral edge of your vision
- If you notice the eyes skipping or jumping go slowly the next time around. It's not about speed
- Go the other direction. Open the eyes and draw the eyes to the ceiling and circle to the left and down and continue
But, clinically, does "eye yoga" actually work?
"Any activity that can help reduce strain is helpful for the muscles," said Dr. Faktorovich.
Dr. Faktorovich says exercises like this are important to preserve eye health. Another simple technique is to, "Every 20 minutes, the patient could look at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds."
Eye yoga is recommended for 1-3 minutes a day.
"Bring the palms of the hands together rub the hands. Feel the head come to the surface of the palms and we do what is called cupping the eyes. Cup the hands and place them over the eyes, block out all the light and seal in all the warmth," described Morozumi.
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