7 Ways To Keep Your Eyes Healthy If You Stare at A Screen All Day
Many of us stare at a screen all day long for work or school on a computer, tablet, or phone. Studies have shown that anywhere from 50% to 90% of computer workers will at some point suffer from eye strain (or something equally as annoying). If you’re stuck staring at a screen all day (or you’re just attached to your phone!) follow these pointers to avoid severe eye strain.
Visit the Eye Doctor
I know that many of us ignore our appointments with the eye doctor because they don’t seem necessary (hey, I can see, why can’t I reschedule?) but if you’re always staring at a screen, there may be issues that you can’t even notice. Getting (and keeping) your eye exams can help catch any strain that might be happening that you can’t feel yet. Be sure to mention to the ophthalmologist that you’re always working on the computer (if that’s the case) and let them know how close you sit to your computer. They'll be able to give you recommendations on how to keep your eyes healthy.
A lot of eye strain is due to people using too much bright light, either from outside light shining in, or poor interior lighting. When you’re using your computer, the ambient lighting should be about half as bright as what you'd expect in most office locations. Try using curtains to keep the outside light under control, use fewer bulbs, or dim them if possible, and if you are by windows, try and position yourself so the windows at the side and not directly in front of or behind you.
Glare from lights or the sun on the walls, pictures, glass, or your computer screen are all sources of strain, so it’s best to try and eliminate it if possible. You can put an anti-glare coating on your computer screen and, if it’s still difficult to see clearly, you can paint the walls in the office a darker matte paint. If you already wear glasses opt for a pair with anti-reflective lenses, so the glare is reduced both on the front and back of the lens.
Update Your Monitor
Don’t keep your computer monitors stuck in the past! Older monitors are much harder on the eyes than contemporary LCD screens, and newer monitors usually come with an anti-reflective coating on the screen. Go for a screen with the highest resolution possible and try for a larger monitor if you can afford one, at least 19 inches on the diagonal.
Adjust Your Display Settings
Typically, some slight computer display adjustments can help prevent eye strain. Keep your brightness to a minimum, where it’s not too dim that you can’t see, but it’s not too bright that it hurts your eyes. Increase the font size so it’s easier for your eyes to read, and increase the color temperature of your screen more towards orange and red rather than blue.
Blinking helps prevent dryness and irritation in the eye, so when you’re working at a computer, try blinking more often than normal. People who work at a computer tend to blink about 1/3 less often than normal and the resulting dryness of the eyes can be a significant contributor to eye strain. If you suffer from dry eyes, try keeping some eye drops by your desk for when you notice irritation.
When you notice that your eyes are having trouble focusing, it’s time to implement some eye exercises into your day. Set a timer every twenty minutes and look away from your computer to focus on something farther away in the distance. Some experts recommend looking at something twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds. Don’t squint and just keep your eyes open and blinking frequently and you should feel the muscles around your eyes relaxing! You can always walk to a window and take a look outside. When your eyes are looking into the distance, they’ll feel more relaxed and stay stronger and healthier, reducing your irritation, strain, and pain.
There’s a long year ahead so keep your eyes healthy and comfortable starting now!