Eyes strained from too much screen time?

Even before Covid-19 had us all working from home, I think a lot of us struggled with eye strain from our computers.  Looking at any monitor for7+ hours a day would wreak havoc on our eyes.

But now, with so little else happening in our lives, we’re on screens more than ever. Our nights out and meet ups with friends have been replaced by Zoom. Shopping trips are replaced with online shopping carts. Even our workout classes are now replaced with virtual training. We are on screens, big and small almost the whole day.

close up photo of gray-eyed man

No wonder our eyes are in bits! Specsavers notes the following as symptoms of computer eye strain:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

This condition can cause some serious discomfort and can also stop us from doing our jobs in this new remote world. Usually, eye strain will go away once we give our eyes a chance to rest, but these days, screens are more than essential. There are some measures you can take to help combat this becoming an everyday problem.

Take breaks

woman leaning on white table

It’s super important to regularly look away from the screen during your working day and let your eyes lose focus or focus on far away things. Look out the window at a distant tree or rooftop to allow the muscles in the eye to relax a little. If this is something that’s’ difficult for you to remember, try setting an alarm every 40 minutes or so to remind you to take a break.

Get the light right

woman's face with sunlight on eyes

Eye strain can be exacerbated by having the incorrect lighting in your workspace. An extremely bright room, from either overhead lighting or direct sunlight can irritate your eyes. Reduce the light entering the room by investing in curtains and try to use lamps rather the full bright overhead lights, especially fluorescents, when working.

Check your computer settings

white and silver electronic device

Do you ever get a shooting pain in your eyes after staring at the screen for too long? Does the bright light feel just a little too bright? There’s a setting in your computer for that. The Night Light setting helps to reduce the blue light in your computer’s screen. By turning the ‘temperature’ of the screen to a more orangey colour, you block the harmful and direct blue light. You can also turn down the actual brightness of your screen and the size of your text, both of which can help reduce eye strain and fatigue.

Have an eye test

Black and White Camera on White Tripod

Specsavers says: ‘Regular eye examinations are essential for clear, comfortable vision. But they also offer a broader health assessment – the optometrist checks the health of your eyes and looks for signs of other medical conditions. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 stipulate that employees using Visual Display Units (VDUs or computer monitors) should be provided with an eye examination, funded by their employer, when requested. When you have your test, let the optometrist know you use computers often.’

Obviously it’s difficult to book an eye test now unless you’re absolutely essential, but if this is a persistent and painful problem, it might be something worth checking out in the future.

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