As most of us have transitioned to a WFH model and distance-learning format, we are spending significantly more time in front of a computer. Keeping our eyes so focused on a screen for extended periods of time, especially more than we are used to, this can put tremendous strain on our eyes. Eye strain can cause headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, twitching eyes, eye fatigue, and red eyes.

Don’t be alarmed, here are ten easy tips to ease the symptoms of eye strain:

1. Get an eye exam regularly

Getting your eyes checked regularly is not only good for your overall eye health, but is especially good to discuss any issues or changes in your eyesight and if you are already spending a lot of time on your computer. Pro tip: prior to your eye exam, measure your distance from your screen to check your eyesight at that specific distance.

2. Use proper lighting

Excessive bright light, whether it be from sunlight or artificial light, can lead to eye strain. Although we cannot control the brightness of the sun, we can control the brightness of our office space or wherever we mostly use our computers. To keep lighting to rather a minimum, use drapes, shades, or blinds to limit the exterior lighting from coming inside. Also, try to avoid fluorescent light if possible, as this can cause eye strain in addition to being in front of a computer screen.

3. Minimize glare

Glare reflecting off your computer screen can worsen the effects of eye strain. Try getting an anti-glare screen protector to reduce the glare on your screen while you work.

4. Upgrade your display

Having a computer screen with an LED screen reduces the chances of eye strain by reducing the “flicker” of images that can be seen on outdated displays, such as a CRT (or cathode ray tube). Also, resolution relates to “dot pitch,” which indicates how sharp an image appears to be, so it’s good to get a computer with a display of .28 mm or smaller. In addition, large displays are best, so the bigger, the better.

5. Adjust your computer display settings
There are three things on a display that effect eye strain; brightness, text size, and color temperature. Brightness should be relatively as bright as your work space – your display should not be able to be used as a source of light, but should also not be too dull that it appears grey or dull. Text size should be at a legible size so that you are not straining your eyes to focus on the words as you are reading them. As for temperature, displays have warm and cool tone reflection; reducing the amount of blue light emitted is best to reduce eye strain.

6. Blink more often

Dry eyes is a symptom of eye strain. The more you blink, your tears work to keep the eyes moisturized and prevent them from drying out. Make sure to pay attention to how much you are blinking while using your laptop, as this can help prevent eye strain in the simplest form.

7. Exercise your eyes

Focusing fatigue can be caused from staring at a single object for too long, let alone a computer. Try shifting your gaze every 20 minutes and focusing on a different object for at least 20 seconds to keep your eyes stimulated. Another exercise is to gaze at an object that is far away for 10-15 seconds, and then gaze at an object close up for 10-15 seconds. By doing this at least 10 times, you are able to prevent your eyes from “locking up” (having spasms) after extended periods of time of computer work.

8. Take frequent breaks

Not only is this good to give your eyes a break, but it’s also good to give your body a break. Sitting in the same position can cause neck and back strain, so take this time to step back from the computer and stretch out your body to relieve and strained muscles.

9. Modify your work station

Make sure you are extra comfortable if your know you’re going to be at your computer for some time. Poor posture also contributes to eye strain, so make sure you chair is at the right height and is extra comfortable.

10. Consider wearing computer glasses

Some eyeglass companies have created glasses just for using the computer. The glasses are known as “blue light glasses” and help protect your eyes against the blue light coming off from the computer. Consult your doctor as well on changing your prescription or even changing your prescribed glasses to blue light if necessary.

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