These days, everyone is staring at some sort of screen. From computers, phones and tablets, these digital devices are causing a serious strain on our eyes.
We’ve all felt the symptoms before: sore, burning, watery or dry eyes, double vision and increased sensitivity to light.
But how can we reduce the extent of strain your eyes take? Follow these 10 steps and your eyes will thank you for it.
1. Check with your eye specialist whether your prescription lenses are causing strain
Prescription eyewear is designed to improve vision; however they have the potential to increase digital eye strain because sometimes bifocals are not suited for reading on the computer.
If you feel like your eyes are taking strain due to your lenses, schedule an eye test with your local eye specialist and ask for glasses with computer lenses.
2. Don’t work in the dark or under bright fluorescent lights
Exposure to fluorescent lights can increase your risk of eye disease because fluorescent lights produce an artificial source of ultraviolet (UV) light. Frequent exposure to UV light can cause several eye diseases, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
On the other hand, working in the dark can be just as bad as working under bright lights. Dim light causes eyestrain and can make your eyes feel tired quicker. Not only that, but working in darkness can also make your productivity suffer.
3. Avoid Glare – Glare on the walls, the screen, or desk contribute to strain.
Too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see.
If you need light for writing or reading, you can use an adjustable desk lamp. If you’re on a computer screen, consider placing an anti-glare cover over the screen. Alternatively, close curtains and avoid putting your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall.
4. It may be time to upgrade your display screen
Older display screens can result in major eye strain because they use a cathode ray tube (CRT) that causes images to flicker.
Newer LCD screens do not have this and the display’s pixel brightness does not affect the eyes.
5. Adjust your screen Settings
Brightness should be adjusted to match the glow of your surroundings. In terms of contrast, any dark-against-light arrangement is ideal for your eyes.
Adjust your text to a size that is comfortable for your eyes, typically, a text size that is 3 times larger than the smallest normal viewing font size is best to alleviate eye strain.
6. Blink often
Blinking produces tears that moisten and refresh your eyes.
Many people blink less than usual when working at a computer, which can contribute to dry eyes. So try to make it a habit to blink more often when looking at a monitor.
7. Look away from the screen
Give your eyes a break by looking away from your monitor. For every 20 minutes of screen time, focus on an object 20 metres away for at least 20 seconds
8. Take a Break
Taking breaks from the computer will reduce body aches and eye strain.
Stretch your arms, legs, back, shoulders and neck. This helps ease tension in your muscles and also refreshes your brain, helping you be more productive.
9. Adjust your screen and seat for optimal comfort
Place your monitor at 15 degrees below eye level to prevent neck pain. Additionally, make sure your screen is 60cm away from your eyes.
10. Better air quality
Using a humidifier, reducing blowing air and avoiding smoke may help prevent dry eyes.
These 10 steps to protect your eyes can help you avoid eyestrain and maintain the health of your eyes.
If eyestrain is still a problem, schedule an appointment with your eye specialist today.
About Dr. Sachin Bawa
Sachin Bawa is a founder of Dr. Sachin Bawa Cataract and Vision Clinic. He is a qualified ophthalmic surgeon for more than 9 years. He holds a medical degree from the University of Witswatersrand which he completed in 2004.