Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of office workers have left their workplaces and shifted their daily operations to their own homes.
In fact, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research reported that 42 percent of Americans are now working from home and spending more time at their computers.
This additional computer time is causing an increase in eye strain issues across the country and forcing people to visit their ophthalmologists for help.
As computer workers spend more time on their laptops, they are typically doing so in less than ideal work environments. Offices tend to be more ergonomic than work from home setups, as people tend to work from home in make-shift offices that aren’t optimized for wellness.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Too much screen time can cause people to develop Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is a type of eye strain. CVS is a term used to describe eye and vision problems that result from excessive computer use.
Some of the symptoms of computer vision syndrome include:
- Blurry Vision: When your vision is blurry, it can be harder to see smaller details and focus for a long time on your screen. Blurry vision can also happen when people switch screens or use different devices at the same time.
- Headaches: Bright screens at high contrast can cause glare that damages the eye. This can result in headaches if a person stares at their screen for too long.
- Dry Eyes: People can experience dry, irritated eyes if they focus too hard and stop blinking regularly.
- Neck or Shoulder Pain: Staring at our screens for too long can also cause our muscles to ache. Slouching can cause muscle tension that restricts blood flow to our eyes.
How Too Much Screen Time Affects Our Eyes
Our two major eye systems can suffer due to excessive eye strain. These systems include our binocular vision and tear film. Binocular vision helps our eyes come together so we can see things on our screen. Tear film is a thin layer of fluid that covers the eye and protects it. By blinking, we can smooth the surface of the tear film in our eyes. Both binocular vision and tear film suffer when we spend too much time looking at screens. These eye systems get strained and lose some of their protection, which can lead to the symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
So what can be done to protect our eyes as we spend more time than ever at our computers? We’ve rounded up some tips to help you reduce the risk of eye strain and keep your vision healthy in the long-run.
Don’t Forget to Blink
Did you know that we tend to blink a lot less when we’re staring at screens? We get so focused on what we’re doing that we actually reduce our blink rate. This can be problematic and cause our eyes to become increasingly irritated, dry, and fatigued.
If you find yourself getting super concentrated in work and feel your eyes getting fatigued, it may be a good idea to set some blinking reminders. Even a small post it on your desk can serve as a good reminder to keep blinking!
Take Breaks Often
Taking breaks from staring at our screens can do a lot to relieve eye strain symptoms. Ophthalmologists recommend following the 20-20-20 rule, in which people take a 20-second break to stare at something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.
Cut Down Glare
Proper room lighting is very important for reducing eye strain and headaches. Reduce glare by using an antiglare coating, placing a screen around your computer, and ensuring that no other light sources are reaching your screen.
Improve Your Posture
Did you know that good posture and eye health are connected? Make sure you’re sitting up straight and that your work station has been optimized for ergonomics. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your screen a little below your natural sightline. Keep your wrists elevated and try not to rest them on your desk or keyboard.
In conclusion, there are many ways to fight against eye strain as we work from home. Our eye health is connected to our overall wellness, so make sure to set up an ergonomic workspace, avoid slouching, and take breaks while working. Remember to blink often and adjust the lighting to reduce glare and ease the strain on your eyes. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to developing excellent eye care habits.
Protecting your vision may seem tedious, but it will pay off as your eyes keep their strength for years to come.[/et_pb_accordion_item][/et_pb_accordion][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]