With devices like computers and smartphones taking over our lives, many people spend a lot of time staring at a screen. According to a 2016 Nielsen Audience report, the average American spends over 10 hours a day staring at a screen! Besides several other issues, this habit can affect your eyes, causing visual symptoms, redness, itching and strain. While you can limit personal use of these devices, this is not possible if your job is one that requires you to use a computer all day long. Here are some tips to reduce the risks of eyestrain while working on a computer:
- Lighting: Make sure that your room has proper lighting. This is important not only for computer use but also for reading and any eye-related activity.
- Break: Prolonged use of computer causes eye strain. So make sure that you take breaks in between the activity, say every 30 minutes or 1 hour.
- Cool your eyes: Splash some cold water over your eyes when you take a break. This will cool and refresh your eyes.
- Look away: After every 20 to 30 minutes of staring at the screen, look away. This will give your eyes the much needed break and also improves your ability to focus.
- Blinking: When you are using a computer, it is quite normal to blink less often, which cause your eyes to become dry. So make a conscious effort to blink frequently as you are typing or reading.
- Get an anti-glare screen: Installing an anti-glare shield on the monitor of your system would reduce eye strain. Other options to fight eye fatigue include wearing anti-glare glasses and making adjustments to your computer’s display settings.
If your vision problems and eye strain symptoms persist, get a routine comprehensive eye exam. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that those who use a computer should have an eye exam before they start working on one and once a year after that.