Whether you’re remote or in the office, desk jobs have become the norm. Unfortunately, staring at a computer all day can have damaging effects on your eye. If most of your days are spent staring at a screen – TV, computer, phone or tablet – your eyes may start hurting. Digital screens can cause headaches, dry eyes, itching and in some cases, grainy sight called vision snow. These eye problems may indicate a condition called computer vision syndrome.
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Red eyes
- Sore or irritated eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Light sensitivity
If you have eye strain, headaches, soreness or dry eyes, it might be related to your all-day exposure to computer screens. Realistically, there might not be a whole lot you can do to reduce your screen time. But there are multiple steps you can take to reduce the effects of digital eye strain.
Blue Light Filter
Blue lights filter glasses are a relatively inexpensive way to reduce eye strain. The high-energy blue lights that emit from the computer are straining to the retina. Filter glasses lower the amount of blue light that reaches your retina, reducing the likelihood of digital eye strain and long-term retina damage.
Similarly, you can place a blue light blocking screen panel or filer on your computer or phone. If you wear prescription glasses, consider upgrading to photochromic lenses, blue light filter lenses and anti-glare coating lenses.
Adjust your computer settings
Having your screen brightness set too high or too low can cause eye strain. Avoid websites and texts that use small hard to read fonts on colored backgrounds. Update your setting to use large black font on white backgrounds. Also, adjust your computer’s color temperature to a warmer tone.
If you’re not one to manually change your computer setting, consider downloading an app that automatically adjusts your computer’s setting. Another alternative is to use an anti-glare and blue light screen filter. These filters have the bonus of acting as a screen protector and privacy filter.
Blinks and Breaks
Concentrating on a screen for long periods decreases how often you blink. It also causes your teardrops to evaporate, which leads to dry eyes. The 20-20-20 rules advise that every 20 minutes, you should look away from your screen to an
object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
A simpler solution is to practice mindfulness and remember to blink your eyes throughout the workday. Generally, you should take 15-minute screen breaks after every two hours of work.
Increase the distance
Changing the position of your computer can help protect your eyes from straining. The American Optometry Association suggests that your computer screen be at least 20-28 inches away from your eyes.
Another option is to use a larger monitor so you can place the screen farther and reduce hunching and leaning.
Lubricate your eyes
Regularly using lubricating eye drops can help moisturize your eyes and combat eye dryness. You can buy artificial tear drops over-the-counter without a prescription. The eyedrops are easy to apply and often provide immediate relief.
If you have severe dry eyes that do not improve with OTC eyedrops, your eye doctor might be able to offer prescription strength drops and gels.
Regularly drinking water and maintaining hydration can help reduce dry eyes. Drinking water supports tear production. Dehydration can cause dry eyes, which might exacerbate the dry eyes caused by digital screen time.
Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re a regular coffee or soda drinker. Caffeinated drinks are mild diuretics, which can dehydrate you. So, try to form the habit of always having a water bottle on your desk. Take steps to ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.