For nearly a year, since the first lockdown due to the pandemic, many people are now working from home.  This "new normal" is possible with the help of our cell phones, tablets and computers, allowing us to communicate by technology such as skype and zoom calls, and generally working remotely via computers.  All this increased screen time can put a strain on our eyes.

 

The good news is that there are ways of minimizing the eye strain from our digital devices.  Here are 6 recommendations:

 

1) ENSURE YOUR EYEGLASS RX IS UP TO DATE

Using a prescription that does not fully correct your vision can cause undo eye strain because your eyes are working too hard to see.  It is also a good idea to let your eye doctor know how often you use a computer or digital device as well as how far away your screen is from your eyes.  With this information the doctor can adjust your RX to optimize your vision while on the computer.  This is because the prescription requirements will vary depending on the focal length you require.

 

2) CONSIDER COMPUTER SPECIFIC GLASSES

For your ultimate comfort while at the computer for hours, a computer specific lens would be best.  To maximize this benefit the lens should be modified to correct your vision at the right distance to your screen.  In addition, for computers or any digital device being used for extended periods of time, a blue light filter would be beneficial.

This would filter out the portion of the blue light emitted by digital screens that may cause eye strain.  This portion of blue light also inhibits your sleep inducing hormone melatonin, which in turn affects your circadian rhythm, making it difficult to fall asleep.

 

3) MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROPER LIGHTING

Bright lighting and excessive glare on the screen can also cause eye strain.  The biggest "culprits" are generally sources of light above or behind you.  It is therefore recommended to minimize your lighting above you, particularly if they are fluorescent lights.  Light should never be directed behind or in front of your screen.  A desk lamp with "soft white" LED lighting would be ideal.  Also, avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window.

 




4) FOLLOW THE 20 - 20 - 20 RULE

In addition to a body stretching break, it is important to give your eyes a break from time to time.  The 20-20-20 rule is a form of exercising your eyes.  Every 20 minutes, look at an object that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.  This will help to ease the strain of consistent focus.

 

5) ADJUST YOUR SCREEN SETTINGS

Ensure that your monitor is 20-24 inches from your eyes and that it is level or slightly lower than eye level so that you are not straining your neck to look up.  You can also adjust settings on your screen for the brightness so it matches your surrounding work station.  The idea is to not have your screen as a light source, but not too dull either.

The text size and contrast setting can also be adjusted to maximize your comfort.

 

6) DON'T FORGET TO BLINK!

Many people blink less often than usual while staring at the computer, which will then contribute to dry eyes. Blinking refreshes the eyes and generally provides the moisture that we need to feel comfortable.