More and more people work at home these days. We all know why. Shutdowns are still active and we never know when a new lockdown will appear.
Unfortunately, the world was not ready for the pandemic and businesses were not ready for the difficulties associated with having a remote workforce. One of the unexpected problems was the eye strain caused by what is known as computer vision syndrome.
According to the American Optometric Association, computer vision syndrome is defined as a collection of symptoms related to vision and eyes. This includes headaches, dry eyes, blurred headaches, shoulder pain, and neck pain.
To keep it simple, as more people work from home, more time is spent in front of a computer screen. Breaks are shorter and shorter. As a result, eye strain is becoming a very common problem, together with others like maintaining your sanity or lack of physical activity.
So how do we deal with this unexpected new problem?
Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome
To keep it as simple as possible, how we use our computer causes eye strain. We basically blink less fully and less often as we use computers. We have reduced tear volume and eye stress is increased.
Our vision is overwhelmed and there are reductions in the capability to focus. Eventually, eye strain appears due to how we use computers.
The good news is that dealing with computer vision syndrome is not difficult. You just need to make some pretty simple lifestyle changes. They are presented below.
Maintaining A Good Computer Desk Posture
Most people do not know that eyes and posture are actually connected. When you maintain the right sitting position at a desk, while you work on your computer, you protect yourself against eye strain.
The position is not difficult to respect. Your feet need to be flat on the floor. Then, your wrists should be slightly elevated, not rest on the keyboard. The computer screen has to be positioned under the natural line of sight.
Learn everything about proper sitting posture at a computer here.
Use Proper Room Lighting
Contrary to popular belief, backlit screens are not enough. The light in the room matters quite a lot. When light is too dim or too dim, headaches and eye strain are increased.
Simply put, the screen should be set to a brightness level that is just enough for you not to squint. At the same time, it should not be too bright. Obviously, glare should be reduced as much as possible because it makes it more difficult to use the computer.
Remove all lights that hit the computer screen and reduce glare with the use of computer screens or antiglare coatings.
Increase Font Size
Computer resolutions are going higher and higher as time passes. As a result, the writing we see gets smaller. This increases eye strain. A simple solution is to increase font size.
Alternatively, when you have the money for it, you can buy a bigger monitor. This would naturally increase font size, together with the size of everything you work on.
Get Used To Blinking More
We are taught that blinking is involuntary. The problem is, when in front of computers for a long time, we naturally end up blinking less. This is why you should become conscious about blinking and work hard to blink more.
Blinking is a vital part of how the eye protects itself. The regular blinking rate is around 15 times every minute. When using computers, we only blink around 5 to 7 times.
You want to blink more because lower blinking rates lead to reduced vision, irritation, concentration problems, discomfort, and dryness.
Use The 20-20 Rule
There are so many that talk about this rule but so few actually use it.
Experts always recommend the 20-20 rule when using the computer. It practically means that after 20 minutes of working, you divert focus to an object located 20 feet away. Do this for 20 seconds. Whenever possible, just get away from the computer or go for a short walk outside.
The reason why the 20-20 rule works in reducing eye strain is very simple. You are not looking at the computer screen so you will naturally blink more. Also, you get to rehydrate and relax, which have their own benefits.
Remove Blue Light Exposure
If you do not know what blue light is, take a short break from this article and see what Harvard has to say about it.
When we use computers, we are exposed to a higher concentration of blue light. Our eyes cannot properly filter it out. When we work on computers are exposed to blue light for prolonged periods, we end up with headaches and eyestrain. Also, our sleep patterns are negatively affected.
The solution? Wear blue light glasses as you work on a computer. You can also buy a blue light computer screen. If you cannot buy glasses or screens, you can at least use free software like f.lux, which removes blue light from the computer screen.
Create Your Technology-Free Sanctuary
The last tip I would like to share is pretty straightforward. The advice above helps you to deal with eye strain problems when you have to work on a computer for a long time, usually every single day. However, it is not enough because computers are not the only sources of “digital” eye strain.
So many of us spend the day working on a PC. Then, when we go to bed, we pick up our smartphone and check social media profiles. This actually hurts our eyes.
The simplest thing you can do is to truly unplug. It is much better to read a book or maybe spend some time with your family. You can even play with your dogs. Create your own technology-free sanctuary and actually use it.