The world around is is geting more and more digitised and much of modern technology uses electronic light punched directly at the eye from a multitude of different screens. These include various digital displays in stores, cities, airports, laptops, mobile phones, electonic banners, schools and home TV screens.
The result of this digital assault on our eyes can result in ‘eye strain’ which can lead to dry, scratchy, itchy eyes, head-aches, red-eyes, dizziness and even lack of sleep.
Here is part 2 of 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome. We welcome your feedback in this regard.
- Blink more often.
Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. When staring at a screen, people blink less frequently — only about one-third as often as they normally do — and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies.
Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems. If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day.
NOTE: By the way, don’t confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to “get the red out.” The latter can indeed make your eyes look better — they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to “whiten” them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.
To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.
- Exercise your eyes.
Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.
Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times. This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up” (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work.
Both of these exercises will reduce your risk of computer eye strain. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye.
- Take frequent breaks.
To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent screen breaks during your work day (at least one 10-minute break every hour).
During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
- Modify your workstation.
If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, place the written pages on a copy stand adjacent to your screen. Light the copy stand properly. You may want to use a desk lamp, but make sure it doesn’t shine into your eyes or onto your computer screen.
Poor posture also contributes to computer vision syndrome. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height so your feet rest comfortably on the floor.
Position your computer screen so it’s 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck.
- Purchase computer glasses.
For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your optometrist modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses . This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during extended screen time.
Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen.
Also, you may want to consider photochromic lenses or lightly tinted lenses for computer eyewear to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices. Ask your optometrist for details and advice.
Very important: Always make sure you discuss and make decisions about your eye care based upon a formal appointment with your optician.
For more information and to book and eye examination please contact us:
Specs Direct | Professional Affordable Eyewear
20 McIntyre Street, Parow, Cape Town 7500
Tel: 021 939 1020
Note: We are contracted to most medical aids