Do you ever get tired eyes, headaches, dryness or eye strain after being on the computer for an extended period of time? I hear these symptoms from my patients several times a day. We live in a world of computers, iPhones, iPads, and i-Everything else you can think of. People spend more time on their computer every day than hours they sleep at night! It’s no wonder our eyes are uncomfortable. So what can we do about it?
Here are 11 ways to prevent and/or relieve computer vision syndrome (CVS):
- Get a comprehensive eye exam. This is the most important step! Having an outdated prescription can cause easily cause CVS, especially headaches. When you visit your doctor, be sure to let them know you use the computer and any symptoms you’re experiencing. It’s also beneficial to measure how far your computer screen is from your eyes.
- Rest your eyes with the 20/20/20 rule:
- Every 20 min, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
- Basically look at something far away every once in a while to relax your focusing muscles.
- Reduce glare. Position your computer to avoid any glare. If you can’t reduce glare by positioning it then consider purchasing an antiglare screen to place on your device.
- Good lighting. This goes hand in hand with reducing glare. You want to avoid over-illumination with fluorescent lights. Floor lamps and task lamps with warm light are preferred. Be sure the light is on your paper and not your screen or eyes. You should always have an anti-reflective coating on your glasses to help as well.
- Blink. I always recommend having a bottle of lubricating eye drops beside your computer. Blinking keeps our eyes moist but when we stare at a computer for hours at a time we tend to forget to blink our eyes! This leads to dryness and can be very uncomfortable.
- Preservative-free eye drops (e.g. Refresh Optive or Blink Tears) can be used as needed throughout the day.
- Good posture. Sit up straight and make sure your chair and computer are at the optimal height.
- Take a break. Reduce the amount of time at your computer/digital device. The longer you’re on the computer the more strain you’ll experience.
- Computer glasses. Computer glasses are prescribed to meet the visual demands of computer viewing. Even if you don’t need glasses regularly, computer glasses can alleviate eye strain. Those who already wear glasses can benefit from a computer specific pair of glasses as well.
- Blue blockers. Block blue light by reducing the color temperature on your device. Smartphones have the capability of blocking blue light and most computers do too. Look at the settings feature on your device to see if that’s an option. If it isn’t, consider putting a blue blocking filter on your glasses.
- Teamwork. Make sure your eyes are working together. Some people have issues with their eyes working together as a team and/or problems focusing. You might notice yourself closing one eye to see better. Your optometrist can diagnose and treat these conditions.
- Bigger is better. Increase the font on your device. The larger the font the less work your eyes need to do to see it.
Be sure to get your annual eye exam to maintain a lifetime of healthy vision!