Working at a computer for long hours is like performing any other physically intensive repetitive task. Just as other parts of the body get tired and feel strained from overuse so do the eyes. Eyestrain is not limited by age or the result of any underlying causes; today eyestrain is caused by our constant digital use and its associated muscle exhaustion.
Typical eyestrain symptoms are:
- eye irritation such as redness, excessive tearing, or dryness
- muscle fatigue usually resulting in a tired, achy + heavy feeling in the eyelids + above the eyes in the forehead
- difficulty focusing or blurry vision
Eye muscles contract the eyes natural lens to bring things into focus. It is this constant state of muscle tension that causes eyestrain. You can have eyestrain when you read, write, or do any sort of close work for long periods of time which includes any sort of computer related work where in fact eyestrain is even greater because of the reflective nature of digital screens.
Computers are here to stay, and we're not cutting back on our cell phone use so here’s what you can do to relieve your eyestrain:
USE QUALITY READERS - Reading glasses in the appropriate lens power will relax eye muscles so that reading is focused without working those muscles into a constant tense state. If the lens quality is not good, the muscles will not relax, and you can even induce eyestrain. Anti-glare and blue light blocking lens treatments have protective properties and eliminate eyestrain by filtering out reflective glare and enhancing contrast.
Relaxed eye muscles mean relaxed reading which also means comfortable reading.
REMEMBER TO BLINK - The rate at which you blink is cut in more than half when you look at any digital device. Blinking lubricates the eyes with moisturizing tears which carries oxygen and soothing lubrication to the eye’s delicate layers of tissue.
Blinking is water for your eyes- water is a necessity for tissue health.
TAKE A BREAK - Make the 20-20-20 rule a habit which is shifting your eyes focus every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Breaks bring clarity- in so many ways.
YOU MUST ADJUST - Match screen brightness to the light level of your room, increase contrast, and reduce glare from reflective screens and room lighting.
For most of us work and so many of our daily interactions now live in a digital space. Making it more comfortable will make being in it better.