Whether you’re watching your favorite show at home or working on that big project for work, technology plays a big role in almost all aspects of our daily lives. While digital screens are a constant part of our work and play environments, they are also one of the largest culprits when it comes to digital eye strain. Dry eyes, fatigue, and trouble focusing can all be signs that you’re experiencing digital eye strain, and although the majority of people can’t change the amount of time they spend using digital screens, they can change how they use them to further prevent these symptoms. These seven simple tips can radically improve your overall health when using screens for work or for leisure.
Check Your Lighting
The lighting of your office or living room can have a big impact on your eyes when it comes to looking at a screen over a prolonged period of time. Working in dark environments with high brightness on your monitor can put a strain on your eyes as they deal with the high contrast between the visuals on the screen and the darkness of their surroundings. In order to create a comfortable viewing environment at home and at work, make sure there is sufficient lighting for your eyes. Another simple tip is to monitor your computer’s brightness levels to make sure it’s not too high or too low based on the ambient surroundings, which can put a strain on your eyes as well.
Get Eye Care Technology
Eye care technology has become the latest trend to protect eyes young and old from the damages of blue light and increased screen time. Companies like BenQ are innovating new technologies in their products to help alleviate the negative side effects associated with digital screens and monitors. With monitors that can reduce blue light, eliminate screen flicker and automatically adjust the on-screen brightness, you can sit back and let your monitor protect your eyes for you while you enjoy that new Netflix binge or finalize a presentation. Also you can buy lightweight reading glasses to reduce blue light.
Take breaks often
For those with desk jobs, having to stare at a computer screen for hours at a time is typical. Eye care professionals strongly recommend taking breaks throughout the workday to reduce eye fatigue and unnecessary eye strain. The most encouraging exercise for reducing eye strain is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes you should focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Incorporating this simple exercise in your daily work routine can go a long way with giving your eyes proper breaks so they can continue performing at their best.
Try Monitor Accessories
If you work in a shiny, reflective office or you love sitting on your computer by your favorite window at home, try applying a glare reduction filter to your screen to provide additional relief. Glare from sunlight or other light sources can cause strain on your eyes as you try to see through the reflective light to the screen. Another accessory that tends to go unnoticed is the screen itself. Whether it’s gloss or matte, you may find it worthwhile to compare which viewing experience is more comfortable for your eyes and reduces glare in your environment.
Nurture your eyes
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – diet plays a major role in overall health, including your eyes. Many of us forget to eat nutrients that directly support the health of our eyes. Optometrists recommend a healthy, balanced diet with lots of green leafy vegetables which provide high levels of anti-oxidants such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin. In addition to a healthy and well-balanced diet, using moisturizing eye drops or blue light reducing glasses, like those from Ziess, will prevent and nurture dry eyes.
Limit Your Screen Time
According to a 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, Americans spend more than 11 hours per day in front of screens, which is nearly 50% of the day. In order to reduce this time as much as possible and give your eyes a much-needed break, try spending some time outdoors or read a new book when you’re at home. If you’re at the office, try taking a coffee break or leave your desk for lunch. Even reducing screen time by an hour each day can have a large impact on your eyes and overall health.
Reduce daily blue light consumption
Reducing blue light, particularly in the evening hours, can play a big role in eye health. Not only does blue light impact sleep quality, but it also triggers eye fatigue after prolonged exposure. Digital devices emit uneven amounts of visible light, including large amounts of high energy blue light. Exposure to this type of light has been linked to damaged retinal cells and disruption to the body’s natural sleep cycle by interfering with melatonin production. Focus on limiting your blue light intake once the sun goes down to help protect your eyes and promote healthier sleeping habits.
It’s inevitable that screens will be a part of most people’s everyday lives. That being said, these simple tips and adjustments to your daily life can help you combat digital eye strain and the associated symptoms whether you’re at work or at home. If you’re still having issues with digital eye strain, make sure to talk to your optometrist about your experiences to ensure that there is not an underlying vision problem.
About the Author
Dr. Hanish Patel is an optometrist and founding partner of the Eye Associates of New York and the Center for Ophthalmic and Vision Research. Located in New York City, Dr. Patel offers complete eye care solutions to improve each of his patient’s eye health and overall vision. Having extensively trained alongside prominent optometrists and ophthalmologists, Dr. Patel works to finds innovative solutions for patients who struggle with issues like severe dry eye, ocular surface disease, and irregular corneal issues. Dr. Patel maintains a professional membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry to ensure that he is always up-to-date with the latest eye care advancements.