According to the American Optometric Association (AOA). Digital eye strain or computer eye strain and other vision-related issues affect up to 58% adults who spend two or more hours looking at a digital screen.
While it usually isn’t serious, as symptoms tend to go away on their own after resting your eyes. It does cause discomfort. And can make other issues with your eyes seem more noticeable.
Additionally, digital eye strain leads to diminished work performance. Lost productivity. And an increase in the number of work-related errors.
While the demands of your job may not give you the option of limiting how much time you can spend away from your computer. There are proactive steps you can take to minimize symptoms and promote good-eye health.
Digital Eye Strain
What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Problems with your eye caused by using a computer fall under digital eye strain or CVS. And it’s not limited to just one symptom. But instead encompasses a range of eye strain and pain, according to WebMD.
And adults aren’t the only ones affected by CVS. Kids also spend a great deal of time starring at monitors, tablets, and school computer screens.
CVS is related to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries you can get at work. And just like other repetitive motion injuries. The longer you continue the movement. The worse CVS gets.
As you work on a computer. Your eyes are always focusing and refocusing. They’re constantly reacting to images on the screen so your brain can process what it sees.
Unlike a book or piece of paper. The screen has contrast, flicker, and glare. All of which requires a lot of effort from your eye muscles.
In addition, around age 40. It becomes more challenging for your eyes to focus on objects near and far away in a condition optometrist call presbyopia.
Symptoms of CVS include:
- eye discomfort
- burning eyes
- neck and/or shoulder pain
- sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
- difficulty focusing
- dry or watery eyes
- blurred or double vision
- increased sensitivity to light
- tired feeling eyes
Click here to find out more about the effects of computer use on eye health from the AOA.
How to Avoid Digital Eye Strain
At the Office…
Modify your workstation like a boss. Improper posture and the action of looking down at a piece of paper. Then back up to the monitor contributes to eye strain symptoms.
Adjust your workstation and chair at a height that is manageable for you. Place the paper on a copy stand next to your screen.
Use adequate lighting. But not too much. Digital eye strain can be caused by excessive sunlight passing in through windows. Or bright lights in the room where you’re working.
Minimize this by using curtains to shade yourself away from direct sunlight when you can. And reduce the amount of light in your office.
Also, avoid sitting under big overhead fluorescent lights. Instead, use lamps when possible.
Take a break from your computer now and again. Get away to make some chai tea. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations of 1992 require DSE users to take breaks and change activities regularly (there’s no specification for how long).
For the Monitor…
Adjust your monitor settings by making sure the brightness is the same as your surroundings. Also, try adjusting the color temperature.
Blue light is a short-wavelength visible light associated with more eye strain than longer-wavelength colors. So, reducing the amount of blue colors on your screen can help.
Additionally, black print on a white background is hands-down the best combination for ocular comfort.
Upgrade your display from CRT to LCD. Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors contribute significantly to digital eye strain because they can flicker more than liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. Plus, modern LCDs usually have anti-reflective surfaces. Get an LCD screen with the highest resolution for your budget.
Besides your computer screen. Glare can be reflected from light-colored walls as well as other shiny surfaces.
Use anti-glare screen protector film for your monitor. Or a computer hood.
Take a break from your computer screen regularly. Focus them on distant objects; try starring out of a window for a couple of seconds. This will relax the muscles that are used for focus in your eyes; which reduces ocular fatigue.
You can use the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20-minutes of work. Take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
Take Care of Your Eyes…
Do you wear glasses? What about contact lenses?
Wearing prescription glasses will give you the greatest amount of comfort as you work on your computer. Get lenses with anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.
Contact lenses contribute to digital eye strain as they tend to become dry and uncomfortable after a long period of time at your computer. Consider wearing glasses for work at your computer instead.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations of 1992 submits that if an employee requires glasses for a job requiring the use of a DSE. The employer is obligated to pay for it.
A regular eye exam like all other checkups offers a broader health assessment. As the optometrist checks the health of your eyes. She can find signs of other medical conditions.
Not only this. But the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations of 1992 states that employees using DSEs. Or computer monitors. May request an eye examination funded by their employer.
Do Computer Glasses Really Work?
Yes. But not like regular eye glasses. Computer glasses are specifically designed to reduce symptoms caused by digital eye strain.
It has an anti-reflective coating that reduces glare that bounces off the screen. It also reduces the amount of light emitting from the digital device. Glass color tinting helps increase the screen’s contrast without it being too harsh for your eyes.
Like corrective lenses. Computer eye glasses come in several different lenses:
Single Vision Lenses are perfect for digital media consumers of every age. They reduce the risk of blurred vision, eye strain, and even bad posture by reducing the need to peer over your glasses or hunch closer to the computer screen.
Occupational Progressive Lenses are not recommended for long distance tasks. They are multifocal lenses that correct near, intermediate, and distance vision to give you a larger. More comfortable vision in front of a digital screen.
Occupational Bifocal and Trifocal Lenses are more so than just bifocal and trifocal lenses. They offer more flexibility for intermediate and near vision (the position of the intermediate and near vision zones is customizable to your needs).
These glasses aren’t for everyone. But if you often suffer from digital eye strain symptoms. Your optometrist can assist you with finding the right computer glasses for your everyday computing needs.