Recently, the number of people working from home has continued to increase. Time spent on devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops has also continued to rise daily. Eye health experts says this can result in “computer vision syndrome”.
As defined by the American Optometric Association, computer vision syndrome is the collection of eye and vision-related symptoms. These include dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, shoulder and neck pain, and other symptoms that arise as a result of spending too much time looking at the tablet, phone, or laptop.
Even before the covid-19 lockdown, many people have resorted to working from home. There was however an increase in the time spent on mobile devices during the lockdown period. While spending more time in front of the screen, the majority of people take little or no break from work. As a result of this, the number of patients experiencing digital eye strain continues to rise.
Experts stress that there are ways to reduce the screen’s strain in your eyes and give your eyes a break while working from home.
Why Does Computer Vision Syndrome Occur?
Leigh Plowman, an Optometrist in Australia, says there are two main systems affected by increased screen time: the tear film and binocular vision.
One major function of binocular vision is to help your eyes converge, so you can see words and images on a screen. The tear film, on the other hand, is a layer of fluid that covers the outer surfaces are of the eye. It protects your eyes from harmful viruses and bacteria and helps your eye to function properly.
Spending too much time in front of the screen can cause a reduction in the eye’s ability to converge and bring things together. Screens can also decrease how you blink your eyes thereby affecting your vision in the long run.
There are ways to improve your site while working from home to prevent eye problems. Here are tips to help protect your eyes now and in the future.
1. Use the Right Light
Make sure you use a good light. Even if your screen is backlit, the proper room lighting is essential. If it’s too bright or too dim, it can lead to increased eye strain and headaches. Make sure your light is bright enough so you don’t have to squint, but not too bright that it looks like the screen is illuminated. It’s also important to reduce glare.
Place a folder over your head as you look at your work terminal, to test the light. If it becomes easier to read with the folder, then you may have problems and discomfort.
To reduce glare, use an antiglare coating by placing a screen around your computer, and making sure no other light sources are hitting your computer screen.
2. Take Frequent Breaks
It’s easy to sit in front of your laptop for a long time, but not advisable. You need to give yourself frequent breaks. Experts recommend going by what’s called the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, divert your focus to something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you can, step away from the computer to stretch, get a glass of water, or go outside for a few minutes.
3. Blink More
Blinking is typically considered an involuntary action and helps to release moisture in the eyes. When you’re in front of the computer screen all day, you should make a conscious effort to blink more.
Regular blinking occurs about 15 times per minute. However, studies show that blinking only occurs about five to seven times in a minute while using computers and other digital screen devices.
Not blinking regularly can lead to dryness, irritation, reduced vision, discomfort, and a loss of concentration, which can ultimately result in reduced efficiency.
4. Increase Font Size
Don’t hesitate to increase the font size of your text, if you notice yourself squinting to try to read the text on your computer screen. This can reduce some of the stress on your eyes and prevent unnecessary strain.
To be on the safe side, you can purchase a bigger monitor, which naturally increases the size of whatever you’re working on.
5. Maintain a Good Posture
In case you don’t know, your posture and eyes are somewhat connected. Maintaining the proper sitting position while you work is the first line of defense against eye strain.
When you sit to work at your computer, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your wrists are slightly elevated, instead of resting on your keyboard. Your screen should be positioned just below your natural line of sight.
Looking downwards helps to bring the eyelid down and helps eliminate the chances of being affected by drafts, and helps protect against dryness.”
Learn to sit up straight all the time. You can set a reminder for this.
Slouching over your keyboard can cause muscle tension in your back and shoulders that restricts blood flow to your eyes, causing vision problems.
6. Use the Right Prescription Glasses
If you wear a recommended glasses, make sure your prescription is up to date. Wearing the wrong prescription can cause eye strain on its own. When combined with excessive computer use, it can make your eye issues worse.
Also, make sure the glasses you’re wearing are right for the job. For instance, if your glasses are made for distance vision, they might not provide the clarity you need to view your computer screen.
7. Exercise Your Eyes
Just like you exercise your muscles, your eyes need to be exercised to stay healthy. Roll your eyes to the right and slowly shift your gaze to the left. Follow the 20-20-20 rule for eyesight. Blink your eyes more often. Also, cup your hands over the socket of your eyes to create gentle pressure.
These are a few of the many eye exercise you can perform regularly.
8. Eat Healthily
Diet plays an important role in your sight; don’t joke with it. Regular intake of legumes, nuts, fruits, spinach, beans, and asparagus helps your eyes to function perfectly.
As work from home has become a trend, try to secure your eye health from the harmful effects of your devices.