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So I recently went and had an eye exam for the first time probably since i started doing photography on a serious kind of level. It was free and I had an hour to kill. In the past my eyesight has always been excellent, above average and i was better at seeing long distance than short distance (but no issue with short distance). Now however, it appears that my left eye, is slightly long-sighted and i have a slight delay in focusing on objects that are closer to me.

I generally spend a long time behind a computer, but i've done so for the past 15 years, in addition, i generally do most of my work at night and avoid sunlight where possible (in addition to wearing sunglasses).

I do find, that if i'm taking lots of shots the muscles in my face and around my eyes tire out and become quite sore. Additionally, long stints focusing intently when editing photos also often leaves my eyes a bit red as i forget to blink.

While i've heard of several warnings regarding photographing bright lights (the sun / lasers etc) with regards to damaging eyesight, i'm wondering if its possible that any damage has been done due to straining my eyes at night or just spending to long taking photos in a day?

I'm asking this here because its only one eye that appears to be affected and it roughly correlates with the timeframe of my photography endeavours. It may indeed be completely unrelated. I'd like to know, either way, if there's any possible issues with eye-health and photography and if there's anything I can do to reduce eye-strain when taking photos.

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    The sceptic in me suspects that "free" eye tests always find something wrong. That said, I'm not an optometrist, perhaps a second opinion from someone qualified is what you want? RE. cameras and eye strain, I've never heard of anything like this and a quick Google around just gets me pictures of various eye problems. I suppose this is also a job for someone qualified though. – alex Sep 2 '14 at 4:26
  • I'd previously gone and they'd found no issues. I'm usually skeptical as well, but there was a noticeable difference, especially in the time it took for me to focus between eyes. Edit: same here, googling eyes and photography leads to photos of eyes -_- – NULLZ Sep 2 '14 at 4:29
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    Have you been doing anything silly, like aging? In my early forties, I went from a life-long OS -3.75/OD-3.25 and the ability to focus on the end of my nose sans glasses to OS -3.0/OD -2.5 and the need for +1.75/+2.0 correction for close vision -- and the change was alarmingly quick (went through four pairs of glasses in 3 years). The only known non-optical solution is to stop spending time -- any time at all, for any purpose. – user28116 Sep 2 '14 at 4:44
  • @user28116 i'm actually in my mid twenties. I previously had better than 20-20 vision. Something like 20-15 i believe which is why i found it somewhat alarming when i was told it was no longer so good. – NULLZ Sep 12 '14 at 6:13
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You have just strained your eyes. If there is any damage, you can undo it.

  1. Try to relax your eyes. Avoid situations with looking down or up excessively (typical when you are lying on the bed and watching TV, the worst thing you can do to your eyes...).
  2. Avoid focusing long to one fixed distance. Imagine you have to hold a kilogram with your left hand for hours. The muscles get tired. Take breaks, go out, and look away, literally as far as possible, into the distance for ten minutes. E.g. look at the skyline.
  3. Eat collagen. It helps to recover the elasticity of skin and eyes. No kidding. A high dose of protein + C vitamin also helps building collagen, but direct intake of special collagen products is the best, they are usually balanced.
  4. In general, avoid fixing your focus on one point, as you are fixing your eyeball in a certain shape.

There are several exercises you can do to exercise your eye! Probably it won't be too smart to just write them all, as not doing them properly can get you some sore muscles in the eye! And that's the worst thing ever. You should find some books on eye exercises. I share three that helps me a lot (I am not an eye-specialist but I live basically on the monitor):

  • Look left, look right, repeat. Look up, look down repeat.

  • Make circles with your eyes.

  • The best: find some large space. Hold a finger about 30 cm away. Focus on the finger. Then focus away to infinity. Try to just not move anything else so that you learn how to do this intentionally. Focus close, focus far. It helps the muscles in your eyes to recover flexibility and elasticity of the eyeball.

NOW: Don't force! Don't try to move over the natural limits! That is not the goal at all. Never strain your eyes. This is not bodybuilding. Maybe you cannot even repeat the drill. I cannot do them easily and comfortably when my eyes are very tired. Fine. Don't force! (You should not do these at all if your eye is tired...) It is just a comfortable motion drill. Don't do it too fast. The focus far - focus close is the best drill though I found in my life. You just do near-far-near-far, and your sharp vision will get back. In fact, this also helps any long- or shortsightedness.

Again, do it with moderation. (E.g. do without repetition for a few days). It can take a few weeks, but you can undo anything you have done to your eyes.

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