Whether it’s a computer, TV, phone, or another device, many people spend a long time looking at digital screens every day. However, looking at a screen for too long can cause discomfort, dry eyes, and headaches. Even if your job requires you to spend long hours in front of a computer each day, you can still take steps to prevent eye problems such as eye strain. In this article, we offer five tips to help you protect your eyes when using a computer.
What is eye strain?
Eye strain typically occurs after your eye muscles get tired from focusing on something for a prolonged period, such as driving long distances or looking at digital screens. Getting eye strain from computer screens is a common condition that people often get when working on a computer and can also be referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.
What are the symptoms of eye strain?
Symptoms are usually mild and can be easily managed by taking frequent breaks from the screen. Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Sore or tired eyes
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Back or neck pain
- Dry or itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Reduced ability to concentrate
What can cause eye strain
Symptoms of strained eyes can be caused by numerous but manageable factors such as:
- Staring at the computer, mobile screen, or a TV for too long with no breaks
- Poor lighting in the room (too bright or too dim)
- Feeling stressed or tired
- Untreated eye conditions
- Poor posture and screen positioning (the screen should be at direct eye level - you should not be looking up or down)
- Not frequently blinking
Five steps for the prevention of eye strain
As stated above, eyestrain can be common when looking at a digital screen for long periods, however, it is usually not serious and can be prevented. Below are five easy steps you can take to ensure your eyes stay healthy when looking at a digital screen.
1. Take regular breaks
Taking short and regular breaks from the computer screen can alleviate tired and strained eye muscles. When working for long periods of time in front of a screen, you could adopt the 20/20/20 rule. This rule recommends you do 20 seconds of eye exercises by looking at something at least 20 feet away, every 20 minutes you are looking at a digital screen. This technique, if practiced regularly, may help your eye muscles relax and delay the symptoms of digital eye strain.
2. Good lighting
The environment you are working in can have an influence on the performance of your eyes. If there is an excessive amount of light (natural or artificial) or not enough light, this can fatigue your eye muscles much quicker. Using curtains or blinds to adjust the brightness coming through the windows as well as avoiding sitting under bright artificial lights that emit blue light can help you create a healthier working environment for your eyes.
3. Adjusting your monitors settings
Getting lasting damage from regularly working on a computer is unlikely. However, it is still recommended to adjust the display settings as digital screens emit short wavelength hues which makes it easier to penetrate the eyes and cause eyestrain. By adjusting the display settings to filter out the blue tones for orange tones, the screen will emit longer wavelength hues which are thought to be healthier for the eyes and cause less eyestrain.
4. Wear lenses for digital screens
If you wear glasses, you can opt for specific lenses that aims to limit the glare and blue light that is emitted from digital screens. Lenses made specifically for computer screens may reduce tired eyes, limit headaches, and potentially prevent other symptoms of eye strain.
5. Book annual eye exams
Eye tests examine both your long and short vision to determine whether you require support or treatment for your eyes. Booking an annual eye exam can detect any eye problems and conditions that are at their earliest stage so they can either be treated or managed efficiently. Leaving an eye condition untreated can make eyes significantly more susceptible to symptoms of eyestrain due to your eyes having to work harder as well as more severe eye diseases.
The eyes are one of the main organs in the body to allow you to see and navigate around your day-to-day life so taking care of them is paramount. The tips in this article could help you better look after your eyes when working on a screen for a long time and can prevent you from developing symptoms that can compromise your eye health.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.