In the past year, our screen usage increased exponentially. Prior to COVID-19, many people worked in front of a computer all day, but had relief during meetings when we’d sit and talk face to face. The kids used to learn from a teacher in the classroom, but now have to follow along online.
Even our social lives are digital. We used to go out for dinner, cheer on the kids at their soccer game. Book festivals, music festivals and many other events are all digital now. The whole family is sitting in front of screens big or small, all day to help pass the time.
All this screen time has a negative effect on our eye health and our general wellbeing. Digital eye strain has been shown to cause tired dry eyes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, blurred vision and more. That’s why this article is focusing on tips to prevent digital eye strain.
USE PROPER LIGHTING
Eye strain is usually caused by excessively bright lighting, whether it’s from the sun, a lamp or a computer monitor. Most offices are over-lit, with poor lighting, and not in ideal spaces. Try these tips to improve the light surrounding you.
- Swap overhead fluorescent lights with “soft white” LED’s.
- Reduce the brightness of your monitor by a couple of points.
- Reduce the amount of light to be consistent with the light your monitor is producing.
- Use natural light whenever possible. Not only is it better on our eyes, but it improves our mood and productivity.
DECREASE THE GLARE
Glare is produced when light is reflected. This could be off any surface including a window, a wall, or your computer screen. Using an anti-glare screen on your display will make a huge difference in how your eyes feel at the end of the day.
You can also take glare-minimizing to a whole new level by painting. Transform your bright, light walls to a slightly darker colour with a matte finish. A matte taupe, for example, will be much better on the eyes than a glossy, or even eggshell white.
UPGRADE YOUR TECH
The older cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors were really bad on our eyes. The brightness was not as adjustable as today’s models are. They also had a noticeable flicker that really took a toll on our eyes.
We learned a lot when switching from CRT monitors to our current, thin LED screens. For example, you want to be sure to choose a screen with the highest possible resolution. When buying a new monitor look for one that has a display with a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller. This ensures sharper images and less eye strain.
Blinking moistens your eyes, preventing dryness and irritation. Researchers have found that we blink about one-third as often as we should when staring at a screen. Blinking and using lubricating eye drops can make a significant difference.
EXERCISE YOUR EYES
When your eyes are fatigued, they’re less able to focus and cause more irritation. Give them a break with some 20-20-20 exercise. Every 20 minutes, look away at a (non digital) distant object that’s 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. Looking far away is relaxing to the eye, making them feel refreshed.
If dry eyes, headaches and neck pain are bothersome, we can help. Our comprehensive eye exams will alert us to any problems or damage in the eye and can help reduce any pain and discomfort you’ve been experiencing.