In 2016, we spend plenty of our time staring into glowing screens. Whether it’s our phones, tablets or televisions, or the many hours we sit in front of computer screens at work, our eyes are almost constantly operating at top efficiency for long periods of time.
One of the more common side effects of this is eye-strain. And while not known to lead to permanent eye damage, eyestrain can affect your productivity levels, which can be particularly frustrating at work.
Some of the symptoms of eye-strain include:
- pain and tension around the eyes and temples (which can spread to the neck, back and shoulders)
- dryness or redness of the eyes
- light sensitivity
- blurred or double vision
There are a few straightforward and easily adoptable ways of managing eye-strain.
Change your work habits
Since we spend so much of our time at work, it’s the first place you can begin implementing little ways of ensuring that you don’t over-exert your eyes.
Enlarge the text on your screen, and when you are reading lots of text, do so with purpose so that you do not stare at the screen longer than you have to. Adjust your computer’s brightness and contrast setting as well — opt for neutral backgrounds and colours so that your desktop does not agitate your eyes.
Every so often, blink or look somewhere else, just to give your eyes a moment to relax. A good way to make sure you do this regularly is to implement the 20/20 rule: work and keep your eyes on your screen for twenty minutes, and then take a twenty second break.
Importantly, relax. Take breaks and shorts walks, and make sure that you’re sitting comfortably in your chair. Stretch your muscles (desk yoga is a real thing), rub your temples to ease any tension. These are little things you can do to ensure that stress doesn’t contribute to any eye-strain you may be experiencing.
Shift your lifestyle and routine
There are also things you can do outside of work to help ease eye-strain.
Importantly, eat healthily. A balanced diet will benefit your overall health, and provide the energy you need to keep moving, which will keep your body fit and active. Both of these contribute to overall health, which helps prevent sight loss as a result of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or a narrowing or hardening of the arteries.
Visit your doctor annually for a vision checkup. Certain conditions like astigmatism and farsightedness can contribute to eye-strain, and corrective lenses can be prescribed to remedy flagging eyesight and reduce eye-strain.
This is important for people who wear corrective lenses — making sure you wear lenses fit for computer usage could be the difference between eye-strain and no eye-strain.
At the risk of making you feel like you’re in a dramatic movie, applying chilled teabags or cooled cucumber slices to your eyes actually does them a world of cool.
And as an impossible suggestion as it may seem in this screen-driven age, try not to spend too much time staring at screens after hours. This includes watching television or reading small print books.
Remembering, though, that your eyes were not designed for prolonged use and resting and relaxing them as often as possible. A fine start would be trying to implement some of the above practices as soon as you can.
Links / References:
How-To Geek – How to Avoid Computer Eye Strain and Keep Your Eyes Healthy. (09/2/10). Retrieved from http://www.howtogeek.com/54872/how-to-avoid-computer-eye-strain-and-keep-your-eyes-healthy/
NHS – Look after your eyes. (13/02/2015). Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Eyehealth/Pages/Lookingafteryoureyes.aspx
wikiHow – How to Protect Your Eyes when Using a Computer. Retrieved from http://www.wikihow.com/Protect-Your-Eyes-when-Using-a-Computer
All About Vision – Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps For Relief. (September 22, 2016). Retrieved from http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm