These days if we aren’t sitting at our desks and working on the computer or watching some TV, then we are starting at our smartphones. As a result, eyestrain has become a common problem in people of all ages. Here’s how you can protect yourself.
Give it space and occasional breaks
The closer your phone or computer screen is to your eyes, the harder they have to work to focus. Studies on computer-related eyestrain suggest that screens should be no closer than 40cm from your face. If this makes it hard for you to read, consider increasing the size of the text, rather than moving the screen closer. Take regular breaks from staring directly at a screen, to give your eyes a chance to rest and rehydrate. This may not always be practical but it is very important if you want to protect your eyes. The recommended break duration is 15 minutes after every two hours of screen time.
Glare is one of the biggest causes of screen-related eyestrain. You can tackle this problem by ensuring that you are using your phone or computer in a room where the lighting is bright enough. If your device is brighter than your surroundings, this will lead to eyestrain and fatigue. Something else that can help is an anti-glare screen filter on your monitor or phone. If you wear glasses, then you can invest in lenses with anti-reflective coatings as this reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.
Blink more often and exercise your eye muscles
Blinking is very important when working at a computer as it moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. Apparently, when working at a computer, people blink less frequently – about one third as often as they normally do, and even when they do blink they are only partial lid closures. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep. This will help hydrate your eyes. Also, 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. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue and strain.