Lots of jobs require hours of screen time on a computer. A lot of leisure hours are spent on the computer, too. Whether it's from working all day, playing too many video games, or chatting with friends all night long, your eyes can feel the effects of too much time spent looking at a screen. This adds a lot of wear and tear on your eyes, and makes proper eye care even more important.
For example, you may experience dry or tired eyes, headaches, neck pain, or blurred vision. Eye care professionals call this problem Computer Vision Syndrome. Here are six tips you can use to help reduce eye strain from computer use, and combat computer vision syndrome:
Just. Keep. Blinking
Most people tend to blink at around 18 times per minute. However, people who use a computer a lot tend to blink far less than this. Some eye care professionals have estimated measured that a computer user only blinks one-fourth as often. This increases the risk of dry eyes. When you blink, you wash your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears. Make a habit of blinking every few minutes to avoid dry eyes.
Remember the 20-20-20 Rest Rule
To prevent eye strain, you should make sure to take regular breaks from staring at your computer. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. When you do this, the focusing muscle inside your eye relaxes. This allows your eyes to rest and refocus themselves. It's an easy way to reduce eye fatigue.
Seeing Your Computer in its Best Light
Good lighting is important for your eyes. Excessively bright light, such as bright interior lighting, or sunlight through a window, also causes eye strain. When using a computer, your exterior light should not be any brighter than your monitor. It’s best to keep bright lighting to a minimum.
If you use a desk lamp, make sure to turn the lamp away from your eyes, and away from your computer screens. If there is a window nearby, shade it, or position your computer to the side of the window, rather than directly in front of it. If you can’t move the lighting, try to position or tilt your screen away to help reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights. If that’s not possible, consider purchasing a glare screen to help reduce eye strain from harsh ambient lighting.
Make Sure You Monitor Your Monitor
Eye care professionals recommend placing your monitor between 20- and 24 inches from your eyes. To reduce head and neck strain, keep the center of the screen 10-15 degrees below eye level. If you use a copy stand, make sure it sits as close to the monitor as possible, and has proper lighting.
As for the monitor itself, adjust the brightness and contrast so it is brighter than the ambient light of the room. Adjusting the size of text also helps to reduce eye strain, especially when working with long documents. Try to stick with dark print on a light background to reduce fatigue
You can also reduce the color temperature of your monitor. Optometrists and eye care professionals agree that blue light, with its shorter wavelength, strains the eye more than longer wavelength colors like red or orange. Lowering the color temperature reduces the amount of blue light your monitor emits for better long-term viewing comfort
Consider Wearing Computer Glasses
Your eye care professional can help you with a pair of eye glasses just for viewing your computer screen. This is especially a good idea if you already wear glasses or contact lenses. Your optometrist can modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses.
Talk to Your Optometrist About Overall Eye Care
During a complete eye exam, an optometrist checks for more than just computer vision problems. They also look for signs of conditions like diabetes, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. It’s an important part of your overall health routine to have your eyes checked at least once every year.
The eye care professionals at Hoff Optometry and Eyewear in Venice can help you reduce eye fatigue and repetitive eye strain from computer use. It's smart to tell your optometrist about your work habits and computer work area so they can offer advice on countering eye strain. Reducing eye strain is the key to great vision for years to come.