Preventing Computer Eye Strain
The use of computer screens is relatively new compared to other common work activities, but it is already apparent that looking at a digital screen all day can cause eye strain. The American Optometric Association says that computer eye strain refers to a group of vision problems caused by the use of screens for an extended period.
Some common symptoms of computer eye strain include:
- Blurry vision
- Dry, irritated eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
The good news is that no evidence has emerged that indicates computer eye strain can lead to permanent vision problems. It can, however, leave you feeling uncomfortable. Take the following steps to avoid computer eye strain and the discomfort that goes with it.
Position yourself correctly
When you think about ergonomics, you probably think about avoiding muscle strain or conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. You may not realize that good office ergonomics can protect your eyes as well.
Sit so your computer screen is 20 to 30 inches away, and you’re looking slightly downward at your work. The middle of your screen should be about 20 degrees down when you’re looking straight ahead.
Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your wrists shouldn’t be touching your desk when you type.
Lighting makes a difference
Both the lighting in the room and the brightness of your screen can make a difference when it comes to limiting eye strain. Basically, you want the two to match, so if your office is brightly lit, your screen should be as well.
Try to avoid glare on your screen. Curtains or blinds can be helpful, and lower wattage light bulbs may be necessary. If there’s no getting away from a glare, you may want to consider a filter that reduces glare for your screen.
Vision correction and eye strain
If you wear contacts, you may have more problems with eye strain than someone who doesn’t. You may want to wear glasses a couple of days a week instead of contacts, in order to give your eyes a rest.
Anti-glare coatings for glasses lenses are available. If you wear glasses but you’re still struggling with eye strain, an anti-glare coating could help.
When you’re focused on something, be it a computer screen or a book, you tend to blink less often. Normally, you blink about 15 times per minute; but if you’re focusing intently, that number may drop by as much as half. When you blink less, your eyes dry out.
Being aware that you need to blink more may be helpful, but then again, who wants to be reminding themselves to blink every minute? You may find the use of eye drops or artificial tears helpful to keep your eyes fresh and moist throughout the day.
Enforce the 20-20-20 rule
Every 20 minutes, stop looking at your screen for 20 seconds and focus instead on something 20 feet away. This simple routine will give your eyes regular breaks, and stimulate you to blink more, keeping your eyes nice and moist.
Have regular eye exams
Regularly seeing an expert at one of the convenient locations of Paragon Eye Associates is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from computer eye strain. Your eyes change as you age, and if you’re having problems with dryness or headaches regularly, you may have an issue other than computer eye strain.
Call or contact us online at Paragon Eye Associates to schedule an examination today.