It seems everyone is staring at a computer screen, phone or other digital device these days.
Whether it’s to work, to relax, or just to keep up with daily life.
Adults spend about 10 hours a day absorbing media from different sources.
And it’s causing a serious problem called digital eye strain.
In medical terms it’s called Computer Vision Syndrome, and it comes from a combination of your monitor’s bright backlight, glare and staring at a screen for extended periods of time.
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain and red eyes.
Now, how to reduce digital eyestrain?
If you change how you use smartphones, computers, tablets, and other screens, you can keep from straining your eyes.
Adjust the lighting.
Avoid lights shining directly into your eyes.
When reading printed materials, try to position the light source behind you and direct the light onto your task.
A task light should be positioned to shine directly onto the page and not over your shoulder to avoid any glare when reading.
If you’re reading at a desk, use a shaded light positioned in front of you.
Adjust your monitor’s position.
Your monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes.
Additionally, the top of your monitor should be at eye level, as you should be looking down at your work, not up.
Blink more often.
Blinking is very important when working at a computer.
It moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.
Every 20 minutes, try to blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly).
This will help rewet your eyes.
Follow the 20/20/20 rule.
For every 20 minutes of looking at something in the near range, you should spend at least 20 seconds focusing on something at least 20 feet away.
This really works but unfortunately this is usually forgotten in the course of a busy work day.
Take frequent breaks.
To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent screen breaks during your work day.
During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
BONUS: Get a comprehensive eye exam.
Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive health care.
Have an eye exam every year to prevent or treat computer vision problems.
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