How to protect your eyes from digital eye strain at work

Many of us spend the bulk of our working day looking at screens – laptops, tablets, cellphones, particularly now that so many meetings happen on video conferencing platforms. 

Don’t get us wrong, digital technology has revolutionized the world of work, but it also comes with its downsides. 

As this month is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, we’re going to focus on how you can support good eye health while you’re working.

Digital eye strain

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Those of you who spend a lot of time in front of screens may experience the unwelcome side effects of digital eye strain. These may include the gritty feeling in your eyes, occasional blurred vision(at near or even at distance), headaches, fatigue, and neck and shoulder tension.

When working at a computer, tablet, or anything within approximately 6 feet, your system must maintain a constant state of focus. The closer the object or screen is, the more your eyes have to work to focus. Maintaining this constant strain for hours at a time eventually leads to vision problems. Plus, when you’re in the zone, you also tend to blink less frequently, which can result in dry, sore eyes. 

Tilting your head or straining your neck and shoulders due to computer eye strain can quickly lead to discomfort while you’re working, causing an unwelcome distraction.

How can digital eye strain be treated?

The good news is there are some simple adjustments you can make to help minimize digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome symptoms, keeping your eyes comfortable during extended periods of screen time. 

Computer set up – Your screen should be approximately an arm’s length away, with the top no higher than eye level. Use a document holder next to your screen if you need to refer to physical documents frequently.

Regular breaks are important – Be sure to take frequent eye breaks every 20 minutes or so. The “20-20-20” rule is a good one – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This helps relax the muscles inside the eye. You can also close your eyes for a moment and roll them around.

Don’t forget to blink frequently. It’s easy to stare at digital devices for long periods, and this causes us to blink less. Many people find it useful to set reminders on their cellphones or put a note on their desk as a reminder. 

Take regular breaks from your desk; get up, walk around and stretch. This will help your circulation as well as your eyes. 

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Adjust your screen brightness and color contrast – Your screen should match the brightness of your surrounding workspace. Bright light sources like windows can cause glare, so adjust blinds as needed. Make the text size larger if you find yourself leaning in or squinting.

Decrease the color contrast on your screen slightly – bright white backgrounds can be harsh on the eyes over time.

Computer glasses – Finally, if you find your eyes are still feeling strained, pick up some computer glasses with anti-reflective lenses. These special lenses are designed to reduce glare, increase contrast, and optimize focus – giving your eyes a break from constantly adjusting to the screen.

Book your appointment today

Use these tips to manage your workplace eye wellness, and contact us if you have any concerns regarding your vision. If you’re struggling to find us, just Google “eye doctor Quincy IL”.

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