By: Janine Disanti, OD
According to the Vision Council, nearly 83 percent of all Americans use a digital device for at least two hours every day. Over time, those habits can lead to a health condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome. This condition will eventually cause issues such as blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, and pain throughout the neck and shoulders. Here are 10 steps that you can take to reduce your risk of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Schedule Annual Eye Exams
Even if your vision seems normal, you should still schedule a full eye exam at least once a year. During that exam, one of our eye doctors can look for any early warning signs that you might be developing computer vision syndrome.
Stick to the 20/20/20 Rule
One of the best ways to protect your eyes is to give them regular breaks. About once every 20 minutes, you should spend 20 seconds staring at an object that is more than 20 feet away. Giving your eyes a chance to focus on something else will relieve pressure and help with lubrication.
Blink With Purpose Every Few Minutes
When staring at a computer screen, it is very easy for your blink rate to decrease. In order to combat that, you need to blink as hard as you can once every 20 or 30 minutes. Forcing yourself to blink will stimulate tear production so that your eyes don’t become dry.
Adjust Your Monitor
Looking up at a monitor for hours at a time is bad for your eyes, neck, and shoulders. As a general rule, you should try to make sure that your screen is 15 to 20 degrees below your eye level.
Improve the Lighting
Older computer screens reflect quite a bit of light, and that glare is hard on your eyes. Using floor lamps instead of overhead lights will reduce any glare that you are noticing.
Alter Your Display Settings
Slightly reducing the brightness of your screen might help with the glare as well. Some screens and computer programs also allow you to alter the color settings to improve the contrast.
Mind Your Posture
Poor posture won’t necessarily hurt your eyes, but it could exacerbate neck and shoulder pain. Whenever you are using a computer, make sure you are in a comfortable chair that offers plenty of support.
Taking short breaks once every hour or two is one of the best ways to reduce eye strain and improve your overall comfort. During that break, you should stretch as much as possible and avoid all digital screens.
Prop Up Your Paperwork
Constantly looking down at paperwork is another bad habit that might cause neck pain. Your documents should be at the same height as your computer screen, which is why we recommend investing in a document holder.
Invest in Special Glasses or Contact Lenses
Some manufacturers are now selling glasses and contact lenses that are specifically designed to reduce eye strain while using a computer. These products are usually tinted a specific color to reduce glare and filter out blue light.
Please call us today and schedule an appointment if you believe that you or a loved one might be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.