Charles Hollander O.D.,F.A.A.O.
Due to COVID-19 about 42% of the Americans are now working from home according to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Among those who are reporting spending more time in front of screen, 45% say that they have experienced their eyes feeling dry as a result and over 60% are concerned about what result the screen time will have on their eye health. With more people working from home during the pandemic, people are spending more time in front of their screens with fewer and shorter breaks.
You may not realize your posture and eyes are connected, but maintaining the proper sitting position while you work is actually the first line of defense against eye strain. When you sit down at your computer make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and your wrists are slightly elevated rather than resting on the keyboard. Your screen should be positioned just below your natural line of sight. The computer should be positioned for a slightly downward gaze. It is easier on the eye than looking straight across or viewing upwards. A downward gaze helps bring the eyelid down. Make you are sitting up straight.
Even if your screen is backlift, the proper room lighting matters. If it is too bright or too dim, it can lead to increased eyestrain and headaches. You can reduce glare by using an anti-glare coating, and obtaining a pair of good quality blue blocker lenses.
If you notice yourself squinting to try and read the text on your computer screen, increase your font size. This can reduce some of the stress on your eyes and prevent unnecessary strain.
Blinking is typically considered an involuntary action, but when you are in front of the computer screen all day you should make a conscious effort to blink more. The blink produces moisture and is essential component of how the eye takes care of itself. Regular blinking occurs about 15 times per minute, however, studies indicate blinking only occurs about 5-7 times in a minute while using computers and other digital screen devices. A lapse in blinking can lead to dryness, irritation and reduced vision.
You also need to give yourself frequent breaks. Many experts recommend going by what is called 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes divert your focus to something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you can step away from the computer screen and get a glass of water or go outside for few minutes that will even be better.
Blue light is everywhere even in the sunlight, but the computer and phone screens contain significant concentrated amounts that are difficult for your eyes to filter out. Prolonged exposure to blue light can lead to eye strain, headaches, and negatively affect your sleep. It is recommended wearing blue blocker lenses when looking at the screens.
If you wear glasses, make sure the prescription is up-to-date. Wearing incorrect prescription can cause eyestrain on their own.
These tips can help reduce eyestrain. It is recommended to create a technology-free zone in certain areas of your home like bedroom, den, living room. If you spend the entire day working on the computer, getting in bed and scrolling through social media until you fall asleep would not do your eyes any benefit. When one is done for the day truly unplug all the devices, read a book or spend some quality time with your family members without your phone.
If you have additional questions or wish to schedule an appointment, please call (212) 921-1888 or go to the website at sightimprovementcenter.com.