9 Easy Ways To Protect Your Eyes If You Stare At A Screen All Day
If you’re like most people, you probably find yourself reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, before heading to work in an office where you work in front of a computer all day. Away from our desk we’re back on our phone, paying the bills, messaging on social media, or reading the news. Throughout the day, our eyes are fixed on a screen more than not. Have you stopped to think about what all this screen time is doing to your eyes?
Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome can lead to strain and discomfort. Blurred vision, eye irritation, and slow-to-focus vision are some of the symptoms. Fortunately, you can act proactively to prevent digital eye strain, and here’s how.
1. Use appropriate lighting
- Appropriate lighting around your workstation (or where you’re doing screen-based activities) can reduce visual discomfort, fatigue, and annoyance. Set up balanced brightness through the area by reducing intense fluorescent lighting and using blinds to filter out outdoor light.
If you’re in front of a computer, make sure your ambient lighting is about half as bright as the typical office lighting. Avoid working directly under overhead fluorescent lights and use lamps with indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.
2. Reduce glare
Sources of glare can be non-lighting ones, so look out for finished surfaces, walls, or windows. Paint bright white walls over with a darker shade or with a matte finish if necessary. If you spend all day in the office, use an anti-glare screen to minimise glare from your computer monitor. Cover your windows to reduce overall glare in the office.
3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Follow the 20-20-20 rule throughout the day. The 20-20-20 rule recommends you take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away. By looking at something in the distance, you allow your eye muscles to refocus. Tape a sign to your workstation or use a timer app to remind yourself to take regular breaks to work your eye muscles.
4. Change your display
Older displays (using cathode ray tube technology) are inferior to flat-panel displays such as LCDs. LCD screens tend to cause less strain and you can buy LCDs with a matte finish. Low-resolution LCD displays can also lead to eye strain as the images aren’t as sharp. Opt for a high-resolution flat panel display, and choose a large display ( at least 19 inches) over smaller ones so you’re not constantly having to zoom in or enlarge to read small print.
5. Maintain appropriate distance
Staying too close to the computer screen can also strain your eyes. Make sure you sit at least an arm’s length away from your screen. If you’re so close to the computer you can’t fully extend your arm, you’re probably sitting too close. Set up your workstation so you’re standing and/or sitting at least far enough to easily stretch out your arm without hitting the screen.
6. Adjust your screen settings
Adjusting brightness, font size, and other settings can reduce the risk of eye strain and other vision issues.
- Brightness – Make sure your screen isn’t too bright or too dim. Check the white background of whatever you’re working on, and compare with the brightness of your workstation. If your screen is a light source for your workstation, it might be too bright. If it looks dim in comparison, it could be too dark.
- Text size – Adjust the text size or zoom settings to optimise comfort. You shouldn’t be straining or leaning in to read.
- Contrast – If you’re doing a lot of reading, changing up the contrast settings can improve comfort and reduce strain.
- Colour temperature – The colour temperature refers to the spectrum of light emitted by your display. By reducing the blue light, you can improve comfort. In Windows devices, open up Display Settings to calibrate your colour settings. If you use an Apple device, open up System Preferences to adjust the colour settings.
7. Remember to blink
One simple tip to keep in mind is to blink. If you spend a lot of time on screens, you could be blinking less. Make sure you’re blinking more often throughout the day, as this helps moisten your eyes. Blinking can reduce the risk of dry eyes and other comfort issues.
8. Seek out alternatives
Look for other ways to do your reading. Going the old-fashion route of getting your news on paper might be impractical, but you can read the news and access websites on ebook readers like Kindle. These readers don’t have backlit displays, making them much easier on your eyes.
9. Wear computer glasses
Computer glasses are designed to filter out the blue light that could contribute to eye strain. You can also get lenses with anti-reflective coatings. Speak to your optometrist about your options for computer glasses and how they could help prevent eye strain.
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