Using a computer, cell phone, tablet, or any electronic device with a screen for prolonged periods can have a toll on your eyes and cause eye strain. This usually occurs after approximately two hours, though the amount of time can vary. Spending an extended amount of time staring at a screen tends to cause blink rates to reduce from the daily average of 18 times per minute. A study done in 2004 found that people who spend significant amount of time in front of a computer screen experienced eye strain changes in tear fluid that is similar to those suffering from dry eye disease which creates a physiological change.
Eye strain is not known to cause permanent damage to your vision system but it can make it difficult for you to perform your work. Some of the effects of the computer eye strain include eye irritation, dry eye, blurry or double vision, headaches, burning eyes, eye fatigue and excessive tearing and sleepiness. Other effects include, sensitivity to light and difficulty performing visual tasks.
The good news is that there are ways that you can use to relief these effects. Consider the below:
Specialty Glasses for Computer Use
Luckily, there are lens and glasses manufacturers that make specialty lenses designed just for computer use. Alternately, sunglasses can also be worn in a pinch. Wearing glasses like this even when you are not using the computer can help protect the eyes from incoming light. This will help you endure longer periods while in front of a monitor. If you use sunglasses, use ones that have UV protection both outdoors and indoors. This is because UV light causes fatigue, harm and discomfort. Polarized lenses that also offer UV protection are recommended because they reduce glare.
Adjust the Brightness of your Monitor and Contrast Settings
A screen that is a little low or a little high or a laptop screen that is improperly tilted could increase eye discomfort. So seriously consider adjusting your computer settings so that you can find the balance that is easy on your eyes. Also make sure you adjust the color scheme of your desktop so that it doesn’t agitate your eyes. If you are experiencing trouble reading gray text on a page with a black background then you can print it out or copy and paste it into a new document that has a white background with dark text.
Adjust Other Lights in Your Room
Light from other surroundings could also irritate your eyes even if you have set your desktop and monitor settings for optimal use. A room that is too dark affects the relative brightness of your monitor while a room that is too bright creates a glare on the monitor. Avoid glare that directly goes into your eyes and one that comes from a source of light directly behind you. If necessary, use an anti-glare shield.
Repositioning Your Monitor
Staring at the computer naturally makes you blink less often which reduces natural lubrication in your eyes. This is what leads to eye redness and dryness. It is advisable to always position the monitor below eye-level in order to reduce this effect. That way you won’t have to over expose your eyes in order to see. Making even small adjustments to the angle of your screen can help a lot! Also consider taking frequent breaks and while at it try to avoid too much concentration on the work because this could stop you from blinking in the normal way that you do in a more relaxed state.
Relaxation for Reducing Eye Strain
It is understandable that work is important but you should also consider relaxing so that you can reduce tension and stress. Take one or two longer breaks a day and frequent short ones throughout the day just to rid your mind off work. Exercise or walk so that you can grab some fresh air and relax your muscles. While at you desk, you can do shoulder shrugs, neck rolls and arm swings so that you can stretch your shoulders and neck. Release head tension by rubbing your temples. Also give your eyes some periods of darkness so that they can rest. You can do this by cupping your palms over the eyes in a quieter environment or by simply closing your eyes for sometime.
In conclusion, it is evident that looking at a screen strains your eyes more that reading a magazine or a book. Due to many people’s everyday workload, it can be impossible to avoid using a computer but you can use the above tips to reduce eye strain and be more productive.