How many hours do you log on your computer, smartphone or tablet every week?
From computer-dependent jobs to fun time surfing the net, our eyes are focused on screens too much. Because of this constant screen time, digital eyestrain is the most common workplace complaint today. In fact, nearly 90 percent of people who work on a computer at least 3 hours a day suffer from eye trouble, which may actually be symptoms of digital eye strain (or computer vision syndrome).
Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
If you’re experiencing two or more of these symptoms daily, optometrists Rowena and Valerie say you can be pretty sure you’re struggling with computer eye strain.
- Blurred vision: Tops the list. When you shift your focus from the computer screen to things further away, you could notice actual blurred vision or a delay in focusing your eyes, and this is particularly obvious at the end of the day driving home.
- Dry eyes: If you feel like there’s a burning, stinging or gritty feeling, your eyes are probably dry.
- Eye strain: Vague eye discomfort you can’t quite put your finger on that makes you squint or frown when you’re at the computer.
- Glare sensitivity: If your monitor is too dark or bright, your eyes are working harder to see it and can get tired.
- Headaches: Not just those in the eye area.
- Neck and shoulder pain: Like eyestrain, other bodily aches could signal ergonomic problems in your workstation.
If these symptoms hit a little close to home, talk to your optometrist Rowena or Valerie and we can recommend solutions such as adjustments to your office environment, special eyewear, eye drops or a combination approach. Also, a thorough eye exam may reveal that your computer vision problems are related to a different condition that needs treatment.
Simple Steps to Relief
Here are some simple steps you can take to help minimize the impact of digital eye strain:
- Keep blinking: It washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears.
- Remember the 20-20-20 rule:Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet (6metres) away.
- Get the right light: Good lighting isn’t just flattering – it’s healthy for your eyes. So, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Direct your desk lamp to shine on your desk, not you. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you and use blinds to cut reflective glare. Position the computer screen to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights.
- Monitor your monitor: Set the screen at least 50cm from your eyes (an arm’s length away). Adjust the screen so you look at it slightly downward so your eye height is at the level of the toolbar or top of the screen. Adjust brightness and contrast to comfortable levels.
- Adjust your posture: For every 2cm forward you lean into your screen there’s 14kg weighing on your neck!
- Wear those computer specs: Your optometrist can prescribe a pair of glasses designed for working at a computer, laptop or tablet and give some great tips on use of your smartphone.
- Talk to your optometrist about your digital demands: Get your eyes examined every year and talk about any visual demands with us so we can help customize a solution to your individual needs.