Reduce Eye Irritation Without Eliminating Screen Time
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), workers spend an average of seven hours a day on the computer. Long hours spent staring at a computer screen, smartphone, e-reader, or tablet can result in dry and tired eyes at the end of the day.
Why do screens cause eye strain?
Normally, we blink at least seven to 10 times each minute, which spreads tears over the eyes to lubricate them to prevent dryness and irritation. However, research has shown that people blink half as often when they are reading, watching, or playing games on a screen. The contrast of the text against the background along with the glare and flickering from digital screens is also hard on the eyes.
While you can’t (and likely don’t want to) cut out screen time completely, here are some tips from our New Orleans optometrists to help prevent and relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain:
Tip #1: Become aware of your work habits.
Keep your distance. You should ensure that your screen is at least 25 inches (an arm’s length) from your eyes. The center of the screen should ideally be about 10 to 15 degrees below eye level.
Take breaks. Try to observe the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds to relax the eye muscles. For every two hours spent on the device, you should also take a 15-minute break to allow your eyes to rest.
Tip #2: Optimize screen features.
Minimize glare. Cut screen glare by using a glass-coated, matte screen filter, or adjust your screen’s brightness manually to help reduce glare. Avoid bright fluorescent and tungsten lights in your office, and turn off or move desk lamps farther from your monitor to reduce screen glare.
Adjust your screen. You can reduce digital eye strain by raising the contrast on your screen, enlarging the text, adjusting the brightness so that it isn’t lighter or darker than your surroundings, raising your device’s refresh rate to reduce flickering, and lowering the color temperature of your screen so that it gives off less blue light, which is linked to eye strain.
Upgrade your display. Replace your old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor (if you haven’t already done so) with a flat-panel LED screen with an anti-reflective surface. CRT screens cause a noticeable flicker of images, a major cause of digital eye strain.
Tip #3: Give your eyes a little TLC.
Keep your eyes moist. Run a humidifier in the room where you most often work off a screen and use artificial tears to moisturize and refresh your eyes whenever they feel dry.
Wear glasses instead of contacts. Wearing contact lenses for long periods can dry your eyes and cause strain. During your annual eye exam, ask your eye doctor about whether you need to wear a different pair of glasses when you’re working on the computer.
Get regular eye exams. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of digital eye strain and Computer Vision Syndrome, a condition that can be diagnosed during a yearly comprehensive eye examination.
If digital eye strain is affecting your vision, regular eye exams and a discussion with an optometrist can help solve the problem. Schedule an appointment with our caring team and experience the most progressive eye care in New Orleans.