As the digital age continues to grow, chronic eye irritation grows along with it. I’ve had friends make optometrist appointments, thinking it’s time for glasses, only to learn blurred vision, eye strain, and pain can all come from too much staring at screens.
Here are some tips to prevent eye strain.
1.) Invest in blue light filtering glasses
Blue light is a high-energy form of light that comes from computer screens. In fact, blue light is all around us (it even makes up sunlight). Though it is not detrimental to our health, the amount of time spent looking at sources of blue light can negatively impact our eyes.
Blue light filter glasses are lenses designed to block this light. You can add them to a prescriptive lens, or if you don’t need a prescription, you can buy an inexpensive and stylish pair online, like these.
2.) Change your phone and desktop settings to night mode
Many digital devices offer a setting to reduce eye strain, reduce brightness and balance contrast for your eye health. This setting is usually referred to as “night mode,” and can be enabled by accessing your device settings.
Some devices, such as the Apple iPhone, let you customize this setting according to what time of day it is. If you know you’re working on your desktop from 9-5, you can automatically set nightmode as the default during this time.
3.) Take breaks (if you can)
If you can space out the amount of time you need to look at a computer screen, your eyes will be able to recover from the strain in less time. This may be difficult to do with a work-from-home schedule, but these breaks do not need to be lengthy.
A great guideline to remember this is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something that’s 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Sometimes a short break is all your eyes need to adjust.
4.) Adjust the lighting in the room you work in
We have addressed the importance of your screen’s brightness, but what about the brightness of your workspace?
Ensuring there is enough light in the room allows for contrast between your computer screen and your background field of vision. Sunlight and overhead light is best, while having light behind you and directly in your field of vision tends to increase eye strain.
5.) Try audiobooks and read from paper texts
Audiobooks are a great way to keep up with reading when your eyes don’t feel up to the task. In fact, while physical branches remain closed, many online library databases are offering free audiobook access.
Whenever you are able, opt to read paper copies of novels, and get your news from the paper instead of the news app. The more ways you can find to reduce your screen time, the more your eyes will thank you.