It is no longer news that most people spend the day looking at computers, mobile phones, and tablets. This makes this article about how to prevent eye strain from computers an invaluable piece.
Eye strain from prolonged computer use, often termed Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain, is a common issue in today’s digital world, although I gave detailed information about this later in the article.
Staying off from excessive use of your computer would have been a great idea but a lot of us earn a living from our computer and there are many factors that contribute to this ugly experience.
Factors that can Cause eyestrain
There are several factors that can contribute to eyestrain from computer use:
- Blue light exposure: Computer screens emit blue light, which can cause eye fatigue and strain. Prolonged exposure to blue light can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to digital eye strain.
- Screen glare: Glare from the screen or surrounding lighting can cause eyestrain. Reflections and bright light sources can make it difficult to focus on the screen, leading to eye fatigue.
- Improper viewing distance: Sitting too close or too far from the computer screen can strain the eyes. The recommended viewing distance is about 20-28 inches from the screen.
- Poor posture: Sitting in an uncomfortable or incorrect posture while using the computer can contribute to eyestrain. Slouching or leaning too close to the screen can strain the eyes and neck muscles.
- Lack of breaks: Staring at a computer screen for long periods without taking breaks can strain the eyes.
- Uncorrected vision problems: If you have an underlying vision problem, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, it can contribute to eyestrain when using a computer. Not wearing the correct prescription glasses or contact lenses can exacerbate the issue.
- Dry eyes: Staring at a computer screen can reduce blinking, leading to dry eyes. This can cause discomfort, redness, and eyestrain.
How to prevent eye strain from computers
Here is where my cardinal interest lies. A preventive approach is better than a curative that is one of the reasons you have to pay rapt attention to these I am about to review with you.
Having looked at the factors that contribute to causing eye strain while using the computer, It is essential to know the preventive approaches.
For every 20 minutes spent looking at a computer screen, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This can help to rest your eyes.
Take regular breaks from staring at the computer screen. It is recommended to adhere to the 20-20-20 rule.
Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices.
Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen, also can cause computer eye strain.
Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor and, if possible, paint bright white walls a darker color with a matte finish.
Adjust Display Settings
Adjust the brightness, text size, and contrast on your computer screen so that it becomes comfortable to read. The brightness should be the same as the surrounding workstation.
Blink More Often
Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. Make a conscious effort to blink regularly when looking at a screen.
Staring at a computer screen often leads to reduced blinking, which can cause dry eyes and eye strain.
Exercise Your Eyes
Look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this a few times. This can help to prevent focusing fatigue.
Modify Your Workstation
Ideally, your screen should be 20 to 24 inches from your eyes and the center of the screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below your eye level.
Consider Computer Eyewear
For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your eye care professional modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses.
This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.
Take Frequent Breaks
Give your eyes a break by standing or walking around every half hour or so.
Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Diet
Drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, C and E.
Get Regular Eye Exams
This is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. During your exam, be sure to tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer and digital devices at work and at home.
Is digital eye strain permanent?
Digital eye strain is typically not permanent. It is a temporary condition that occurs due to prolonged exposure to digital screens such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Symptoms of digital eye strain may include eye discomfort, dryness, redness, blurred vision, and headaches as earlier mentioned. Taking regular breaks, practicing good eye hygiene, adjusting screen settings, and using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help alleviate the symptoms.
Computer vision syndrome treatment
See below for the different treatment options available for computer vision syndrome (CVS)
- Rest your eyes, and take regular breaks from staring at the computer screen.
- Always ensure that your computer screen is positioned at eye level and about 20-28 inches away from your eyes. Use an ergonomic chair and adjust the lighting to reduce glare and reflections.
- Endeavor to blink frequently, people tend to blink less when using digital screens, which can lead to dry eyes.
- Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops can help relieve dryness and irritation in the eyes. Use them as directed or consult with an eye care professional.
- Specialized glasses designed for computer use can help reduce eye strain by optimizing the focus and reducing glare from the screen.
- In some cases, vision therapy may be recommended by an eye care professional. This involves a series of exercises and techniques to improve eye coordination and focus.
- If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, an updated prescription may be necessary to optimize your vision for computer use. An eye care professional can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your specific needs if you are experiencing symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
How long does eye strain last?
The duration of eye strain can vary depending on the person and the underlying cause. In some cases, eye strain may only last a few hours or a day, while in other cases it may persist for several days or weeks.
It is important to rest your eyes and practice good eye care habits to help alleviate and prevent eye strain. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to consult with an eye care professional for further evaluation and guidance.
FAQs about How to prevent eye strain from computers
1. What is eye strain?
Eye strain is a common condition that occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as working on a computer or driving for extended periods of time. It can cause discomfort, headache, soreness, blurred vision, and other symptoms.
2. What causes eye strain?
Eye strain can be caused by several factors, including prolonged exposure to digital screens, reading for long periods, exposure to bright light or glare, straining to see in very dim light, and underlying eye conditions.
3. How important is lighting in preventing eye strain?
Lighting is very important in preventing eye strain. Too much light or glare can cause eye strain, as can too little light when you’re doing tasks that require a lot of visual effort. It’s best to use lighting that’s bright enough for you to see clearly but not so bright that it causes glare on screens or other surfaces.
4. Can glasses or contact lenses help prevent eye strain?
Yes, if you’re experiencing eye strain and you need glasses or contact lenses but aren’t using them, or if your prescription is outdated, this can contribute to eye strain. Some people may also benefit from glasses specifically designed for computer use. An eye doctor can help determine if this is a good option for you.
5. How often should I take breaks to prevent eye strain?
As a rule of thumb, you should try to take a break from looking at screens or doing other visually intense tasks every 20 minutes. Even short breaks can make a big difference in reducing eye strain.
6. Are there any exercises that can help prevent eye strain?
Yes, eye exercises can help prevent eye strain. One simple exercise is to look away from your screen and focus on a distant object for a few seconds, then focus on a nearby object. Repeat this a few times. Another exercise is to close your eyes and roll them in a circular motion, first in one direction, then in the other.
7. Does screen brightness affect eye strain?
Yes, screen brightness can affect eye strain. If your screen is too bright or too dark compared to the surrounding light in the room, it can cause eye strain. The brightness of your screen should match the light level in your environment.