At our HealthOne Optometry Clinic, we regularly see patients with dry eyes caused by digital eyestrain. And although it’s easy enough to say we should reduce our screen time, for many of us with office jobs it’s not quite that simple.
Computer-related eyestrain has become a major job-related complaint and has been given the name computer vision syndrome. It can result in numerous side effects such as physical fatigue, headaches and migraines, red eye, increased work errors, decreased productivity, and eye twitching.
Although you may not be able to ditch the office, here are 7 tips for combating digital eyestrain.
1. Choose the Right Lighting
If at all possible, try to work in a room with dim lighting that is about half as bright as a regular office environment. A lot of eyestrain is caused as a result of excessively bright lighting coming in from outside or from harsh fluorescent light bulbs. Try closing the curtains, changing the angle of your computer screen, or turning off your overhead lighting.
If you are working from home, avoid buying “cool” or “bright white” fluorescent light bulbs and opt for traditional incandescent bulbs, LED’s, or halogen bulbs instead.
2. Adjust Your Settings
Adjust the brightness settings on your computer so it is about the same as the brightness in your surroundings. Also try adjusting the text size of longer documents to a size that feels comfortable to read.
3. Reduce Blue Light
Similar to “night mode” that adds an orange tinge to your cell phone during the evening hours; you can reduce the blue light emissions from most computers in the display settings. If you do not have these settings, there are several awesome programs you can download to your computer including F.lux, Iris, and Pango Bright.
4. Reduce Glare
Reflections on your screen can also cause eyestrain. Try using an anti-glare screen protector on your computer to reduce squinting. Many different types and sizes can be easily ordered online.
Strangely enough, when we are working on computers we only blink about one third as often as we would normally. This causes dryness and can also lead to red eye. Remind yourself to blink more often while doing work at your computer. You may also want to talk to your optometrist or physician about using artificial tears for this reason.
6. Exercise Your Eyes
Focus-fatigue is another common cause of computer eyestrain from focusing intently on your computer screen for long periods of time. Try looking up every 20 minutes and focusing on a distant object to relax this eye muscle.
Another exercise is to slowly close your eyes like you are about to fall asleep, and repeat this around 10 times. You can really feel the muscles in and around your eyes relax.
7. Nerd It Up!
Wearing orange glasses in the evenings has recently become all the rage in the optimal health community. If you have to stare at a screen at night, blue-blocking glasses allow you to totally block out the blue light in your environment. This is said to decrease the circadian disruption that can occur from blue lights reducing melatonin production. We sell custom blue-blocking lenses in our HealthOne Optical Suite.
Have an inspired day!
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