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5 simple steps to soothing your computer eye strain
Whether it’s working behind a computer for eight hours a day, keeping up with notifications or simply browsing the web at home, it can be difficult to escape the screen. Computer eye strain, then, is no doubt a familiar annoyance, and ignoring that nagging ache will only make it worse.
A report by the American Optometric Society found that some form of eye or vision problems can be found in 70-75% of computer workers, so there’s no time like the present to settle into some good habits. Start with these five tips to help you soothe the strain.
How to relieve computer eye strain;
1. Take a screen break
Sorry to state the obvious here, but if your computer is causing you computer eye strain, then it’s a good idea to stop staring at it. Yes, we know this isn’t always possible, but even if you’re drowning in deadlines and you absolutely have to bury your head in your Macbook, then a quick screen break could even help productivity. Go for a walk if you can, fetch yourself a coffee, or play with the cat – anything that doesn’t involve a screen.
Another good tip comes from the Digital Inspiration blog, which recommends sticking to the 20-20-20 rule. This involves finding an object that’s roughly 20 feet away from you and staring at it every 20 minutes for around 20 seconds. It’s a simple and speedy exercise so, whatever your workload, you can take quick but significant breaks from the screen.
2. Get the lighting right
Another common cause of computer eye strain is lighting, which is easy to get wrong. If your artificial light is too bright or you allow too much natural light in then your eyes are going to get tired pretty quickly, so favor lamps and low-energy bulbs over blaring overhead lights, and use blinds where possible to limit the sun’s rays. Another good tip is to position the lighting in your room to the side, as any windows and lights directly behind or in front of your screen is going to take its toll over time.
3. Adjust monitor settings
Once you’ve sorted the lighting in your room, you can also adjust the settings on your monitor so that it’s less harsh on your eyes. According to Specsavers’ recommendations, you should start by setting the brightness to match your surroundings and also adjusting your text size so it’s easy to read. It’s also recommended that playing with your monitor’s color temperature can have a positive impact, while reducing the amount of blue colors on your screen is easier on the eyes.
4. Blink more
Blinking probably isn’t something that you really think about, after all, it’s just something that happens naturally – right? Well, that might be the case, but lots of people blink less frequently when sitting in front of a computer. If you’re one of those people then this is going to dry out your eyes, so we don’t care how interesting that GoExplore article you’re reading is, you need to blink more to keep your peepholes moist and prevent irritation.
Of course, a good crying session is another way to keep your eyeballs from drying out, but we’d recommend looking into eye-drops or artificial tears if you’re going to go down this road –it’s probably less embarrassing to apply these than to sob into your sleeves in the middle of a crowded office.
5. Regular eye tests
Finally, if you’ve taken these steps to relieving your computer eye strain and you’re still feeling pain, then it’s worth going for a comprehensive eye exam. All About Vision recommends taking regular eye tests regardless of whether your feeling the strain, particularly if you’re doing office work, where it’s recommended that you visit the opticians once a year. Many professions offer free eye tests or discounts as part of your contract, so ask your employer and, when you do visit, be sure to mention to the optician how long you spend staring at screens so they can properly assess the problem.