Millions of people are working on a computer every day, and that number is just going to grow and grow. While screens do make our lives easier, they also make our eyes work extra hard, causing all sorts of eye issues and diseases. In order to protect your eyes from the harmful effect of computers, here’s how you can work smarter and healthier:
Create a functioning workstation
The very thing that might be causing your eye strain is your workstation, but that can be fixed easily. Check out your setup and make sure your screen is at arm’s length away from your face (that usually includes 20 to 24 inches from your eyes). The screen should also be aimed 4 or 5 inches below eye level to allow better movement of the eye and a more comfortable position of the head and neck. How you’re sitting and what you’re sitting on can greatly affect your posture and eye strain, so ensure you have a proper office chair with an ergonomic design.
Adjust your settings
There are many things you can do to make your screens easier to handle for the eyes—enlarging text size, adjusting contrast, changing the color temperature and playing around with brightness. Try different settings until you find something that’s comfortable for your eyes and the environment you’re working in.
Pay special attention to the brightness of your screen at work—it should be approximately the same as the brightness of your environment. To test the setting of your screen, find a white spot on this page and see whether it looks like a light source. If yes, you need to lower your brightness. Text size and contrast can also be adjusted, especially if you spend a lot of time reading documents and research papers. Black print on white is usually the easiest to read.
If the lighting in your office is too bright, it can mess with the screen and cause glare. Glare can also cause you to shift your position, tilt your head and squint your eyes, all of which are not good for your wellbeing. This glare can appear both due to strong natural and artificial light. In case you rely on electricity, see whether you can get softer LED lighting and add shades to minimize glare. Additionally, dust the screen regularly to remove particles and fingerprints that can boost glare.
Take plenty of breaks
Taking regular breaks at work is beneficial for many reasons—it reduces eye strain, minimizes back, neck and shoulder pain and supplies your brain with oxygen so you can work more effectively. During your workday, take 10-minute breaks every hour and go grab water to stretch your legs. When you return, you can treat your eyes to a pleasant treatment with a practical eye massager machine that helps relieve tired and strained eyes. Enjoy this massage break to rest your eyes, but also lift up your legs, relax your shoulders and clear out your brain.
Adopt a 20-20-20 rule
One of the best ways to rest your eyes is also the simplest one out there—eye exercises. Practice a simple 20-20-20 routine every day: every 20 minutes look away towards an object at least 20 feet away and focus on it for 20 seconds. This exercise moves your eyes and practices your short-to-long distance perception providing you with the necessary rest.
Here’s another exercise that’s great at reducing the risk of your eyes “locking up” after prolonged computer work. Start by looking at a faraway object for 10 to 15 seconds then move to something that’s close to you for 10 to 15 seconds. Alternate between these two objects 10 times every few hours.
Get quality glasses
If you experience vision issues, see an optometrist and ask whether you need glasses to reduce eye strain. Even if you don’t need glasses to see all the time, you might need some to help make certain tasks easier or, if it’s a younger member of your family who needs them, you’ll want to find glasses for kids that will fit their face better. You should invest in lenses with anti-glare tints and blue light blockers. If you usually wear contacts, consider alternating them with glasses to reduce irritation and dryness.
Use artificial tears
No matter what caused your eye strain, artificial tears might be an effective way to minimize irritation and keep your eyes lubricated. There are many types of these drops on the market and most can be purchased without a prescription. Try several different types and brands until you find ones that feel good to your eye.
Keep up with doctor’s appointments
In case you notice deterioration in your visual health, make sure to visit your eye doctor right away. This way, they will be able to catch irregularities early, prescribe medication, eyewear or treatment and prevent further damage to your vision. Even if you don’t have any changes in vision, still visit your eye doctor regularly.
Eye health shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially in this era of computers and smartphones that require our constant attention. If you work at an office, adopt these tips and your eyes will serve you well for a long time.