People are spending more and more of their time in front of screens. From computers and television to smartphones and tablets, it’s no wonder our eyes are feeling overworked. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), sometimes known as digital eye strain, is caused by prolonged use of screens and can leave your eyes feeling tired and irritated. According to the American Optometric Association, some eye strain symptoms include dry eyes, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, and neck or shoulder pain.
Since spending time looking at screens makes your eyes work harder, it is important to take regular breaks during extended periods of screen usage. Remember the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a chance to refocus and rest.
The average person blinks between 15 and 20 times a minute. That drops by 60% during screen usage to between 3 and 8 times a minute. Blinking is a vital part of refreshing your eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often to keep the surface of your eyes moist. Reducing your chances of developing dry eye. If you find your eyes still feel irritated, talk to your doctor about using “artificial tears” or lubricating eye drops to provide some relief.
If you work on a computer, you may not be able to reduce your screen time during the workday but try to spend less of your evening watching TV or using your smartphone. Instead, read a book, play a board game, or take a walk. Rather catch up on your latest show or answer some texts? Just make sure to put the screens away and allow your eyes to rest for an hour or two before you go to bed. Some smartphones also have a feature allowing you to turn off or tone down the device’s blue light. Otherwise, the blue light emitted from your device could suppress your melatonin production and decrease your REM sleep. Making it harder for you to get to sleep, stay asleep, and get a productive night of rest.
When using a computer at a desk, move the center of your monitor about 4 or 5 inches (15 to 20 degrees) below eye level. Viewing the computer while your eyes are looking downward is more comfortable and natural. If your screen is located too low or too high, you will unconsciously move your head to account for the angle. Putting pressure on your neck and spine which can lead to pain or stiffness. Remaining in this position for long periods of time can cause long-term neck and shoulder problems. Also, be sure to sit 20 to 28 inches away from your monitor. If possible, shift your computer monitor to avoid glare from overhead lighting or windows which can make digital eye strain worse.
If Computer Vision Syndrome is a daily problem for you, try glasses designed to block blue light. These glasses filter out the blue light that contributes to screen-related eye strain and headaches. Prescription or not, there are many glasses on the market that lessen the effects of blue light. Helping you avoid sore and tired eyes.
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