Just like 2020, 2021 seems to be happening mostly online. With events happening virtually these days, it’s no wonder more people are noticing irritation when it comes to the use and health of their eyes.
Many long days spent staring at a computer screen, and activities that were once in real life now taking place on Zoom, we’re all thinking the same thing – this can’t be good for my eyes, right?!
We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re right; your eyes aren’t fans of prolonged screen time. In fact, after just a few hours online, you can start to develop eye fatigue. Eye Strain can cause double vision, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Here are several easy tips and techniques to reduce digital screen eye strain.
Your boss might disagree, but taking time to step away from your computer screen can not only protect your eyes but can allow you to get up, stretch, and come back in a few minutes more productive than before. Doctors recommend that you take a 5-10 min break every hour, avoiding screen time and let your eyes and body relax. If you feel the stress and are looking for a quick fix to help readjust your eyesight, use the 20/20/20 rule. If you look at the screen for 20 minutes, you should look at something 20 feet away from you (as close as you can get to that!) for 20 seconds.
Just like the rule of not reading in the dark, you shouldn’t use your computer in the dark either. When the light in front of you is significantly lighter than your surroundings, your eyes have to work harder to process the computer screen. It may be weird, but it aids your eyes to be working in rooms with less direct sunlight, so closing your blinds and using ambient and soft light bulbs are both great options to perfect your office set up. You can also adjust your screen’s brightness to match the room, so your eyes aren’t working in overdrive to see.
Without meaning to sound like your parents, everyone should be getting regular eye exams, especially with the majority of our time these days spent virtually. Making sure your prescription is up to date if you have one and making sure you are aware of any eye deterioration can help treat and prevent any issues you might have come up with due to long periods looking at a screen.
Reducing blue light on computers can really improve eye strain. Some newer computers have a blue light filter setting; check your settings or look online to see if your model has this feature.
If you’re working on an older computer, the easiest route is buying some blue light glasses.
Blue light glasses are easy to find anywhere from Amazon to places like Eye Buy Direct, a good pair of blue light glasses can reduce and prevent future damage to your eyes.
Now we sound like gen z-ers, but a newer trend called “night mode” or “dark mode” has gained popularity and has been introduced to many programs you might use daily. If there is an option for it, seeking out how to turn on night mode can benefit you and your eye strain. With less harsh light coming from your computer, your eyes don’t have to work as hard to see, thus avoiding eye fatigue or stress. It also reduces computer energy, so it saves you battery in the process. Night mode is available on Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and even Whtiehouse.gov has night mode.
Your workplace surroundings matter for more than just your sanity; things like what kind of chair you use and how far away you sit from your computer can be determining factors on your eye’s exposure to your screen and their reaction to it. It is crucial to have a comfortable chair to sit in so that your feet are placed flat on the floor. From here, you can adjust your posture and length away from your screen. A general good rule of thumb is to sit about an arm’s length away from your computer screen, so you’re not staring closely into it.
While there are many stressors surrounding virtual events, don’t let your eyes and their reaction hurt your job or life. Keeping an eye out (get it?) for your eye’s behavior after extended amounts of screen time can help you understand what you might need to do to protect your eyes in the future. Remember, taking breaks is encouraged; it’s always a good idea to readjust and come back excited to continue to connect virtually.
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