Do you start your morning checking e-mail from your phone before your feet hit the floor? Most of us do. In fact, most office workers today spend a large portion of time at work sitting in front of a computer screen. We even use digital devices at home to unwind. You may not realize it, but we spend a great deal of time interacting with our electronic devices. But, we rarely pause to think how these activities affect us until the headaches, sore eyes, and blurry vision forces us to stop what we were doing
Digital eye strain is common in today’s culture – especially for adults ages 18 to 54. In fact, the Vision Council’s report on the daily impact of digital screens on the eye health of Americans states, “nearly 70% of American adults experience some form of eye fatigue due to prolonged use of electronic devices.”
Heavy digital device users can also experience difficulty focusing, dry or watery eyes, double vision, increased sensitivity to light, or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back.
Digital eye strain is temporary. Usually giving eyes a break aids in a quick recovery. But, over time, all of that wear and tear can turn into a real (and chronic) problem. In fact, eye care providers are noting a steady rise in the number of patients with screen-related eye strain.
Fortunately, there are several ways to help you offset this eye strain.
1- The 20-20-20 Rule
The easiest way to combat digital eye strain is to make time for some quick eye exercises throughout the day. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer at an object that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
2- Blink Breaks
We don’t blink as much when we’re in front of our digital devices. Be mindful to blink more often as this helps lubricate and protect our eyes. If you need to use a Post-it Note next to your computer monitor that reads, “BLINK” in bold lettering, do it!
3- Safe Set-Ups
Whether you’re grinding out that report in the office or working from home, ensure your workspace is user-friendly. Also, keep handheld devices a safe distance from your eyes and just below eye level.
4- Glare Care
Walls and finished surfaces, as well as computer screen reflections, also cause eye strain due to the glare. According to All About Vision, “Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor, and, if possible, paint bright white walls darker colors with a matte finish.” Frequently dusting and wiping digital screens also helps reduce glare.
5- Lens Defense
If you wear glasses, All About Vision recommends to “purchase lenses with anti-reflective AR coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off of the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.” If you have an LCD screen, rest assured — it most likely has an anti-reflective surface.
6- Think About Your Diet
Do you think what you’re eating doesn’t affect your eye health? Think again. If your diet doesn’t include enough Omega-3s, your tired and strained eyes can stay that way. However, by eating a cleaner diet and taking an Omega-3 eye vitamin with other soothing ingredients, you’re less likely to experience digital eye strain.