Work is picking up and it is time to head back to school, which means hours of reading and report writing all on a computer or projector screen. While technology has made work and learning easier and more efficient, the eye strain caused by many devices poses a challenge. Long-term focus on a screen can lead to physical fatigue, decreased productivity, and an increase in errors, while also potentially causing eye twitching and redness. If you think you may suffer from what’s known as Computer Vision Syndrome, here are some measures you can take to reduce eye strain:
1. Get an eye exam
Regular eye exams are an important part in maintaining your eye health. Make sure you tell your optometrist how long you typically spend on a computer each day and how far you sit from your computer screen. Your optometrist may suggest preventative measures you can take, including specific lenses to help alleviate your symptoms.
2. Ensure proper lighting
Harsh bright light from electronic screens is one of the main causes of eye strain. To minimize harm, avoid using your computer in the dark or in areas with harsh overhead light. As a rule of thumb, ambient light when using a computer dimmer than the ambient light found in an office.
3. Use the 20-20-20 rule
For every 20 minutes you spend on your computer, take a visual break by looking at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. While doing this, remember to blink frequently to avoid computer-related dry eye. This will prevent your focus from “locking up,” a condition called accommodative spasm.
4. Take breaks
In addition to visual breaks, it’s a good idea to also take physical breaks. Walking around or going outside will improve your productivity and reduce eye strain while boosting your mood. It will also reduce fatigue in your neck, back, and shoulders.
5. Try Computer Glasses
As more Canadians struggle with computer eyestrain, technology has been developed to create lenses that reduce tired eyes, eyestrain, headaches, and neck and back pain while seeing near and intermediate distances. These specialized lenses can help prevent serious long-term damage and help you work for longer in front of a computer without straining your eyes.