Eyes are the most important organs that not only help us feel the depth and color but also help us manage the light signals that keep your body’s internal clock running properly.
As almost all of us spend our maximum time of the day straining at either a computer screen or television or mobile screen, eye strain has become a major life style related complaint. Now there are smart-phones, tablets, e-readers, and MP3 players—not to mention the screens that we encounter at airports, subway and train stations, movie theaters, and sporting events. The contrast and the glare of an electronic screen can eventually lead to eyestrain and, in some cases, computer vision syndrome, which happens after prolonged use and overworked eyes are prone to short term and long-term eye and vision problems.
These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes. To help protect your eyesight and keep healthy eyes, minimize strain by following the below mentioned tips.
1. Eye Exam
Your visual abilities in everyday life influence how little or how much prolonged computer use will affect you?
Regular eye checkup is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer users should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.
2. Proper Lighting
While working on a computer, avoid bright and harsh light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from interior lighting. Position your computer monitor or screen in such a way that the windows are to the side, instead of in-front or behind.
3. Glare & Reflection
- Glare from walls and reflections on your computer screen also cause eye strain.
- Install anti glare screen on your monitor or wear anti reflective (AR) coating glasses.
- Keep your computer screen clean. Dust on your screen can further reflect light into your eyes.
- Replace your older CRT monitor with a flat panel LCD screen that is easier on eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a noticeable “flicker” of images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. When choosing a new flat panel display, select a screen with the highest resolution possible.
4. Computer Display Setting
- Brightness- Brightness of the display should be same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. As a test look at the white background of your screen, if it looks like a light source, it’s too bright and if it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark. If you’re working in a brightly lit room, you can increase your brightness settings; if the room is dim, lower the settings. While the screen should be brightest object in the room, it shouldn’t be on the brightest setting in a dark room.
- Text Size- According to computer vision syndrome expert Dr. James Sheedy, it should be three times the smallest size that you can read from your normal viewing position. Black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort. Apply the same on your cell phones also.
- Color Temperature – Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.
Whatever type of digital screen you’re using, you’ll enjoy it more if you make the effort to adjust the view for your visual comfort.
5. Blink Often
Since your body won’t blink as much naturally, you’ll have to be conscious of this and force yourself to blink. To prevent eye dryness and irritation, blink often to moisturize your eyes while working.
To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.
- Look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.
- Look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds and then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times.
7. Frequent Break
Take frequent break during working hours to avoid neck, back and shoulder pain and computer vision syndrome. Stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
Many workers take only two 15-minute breaks from their computer throughout their work day. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when they took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks”.
8. Maintain Distance
Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen. Maintain an arm distance from the screen.
Also locate the screen 4-5 inches below your eye level. This ensures that more of your eyeball is covered by your eyelid, keeping your eyes moisturized and healthy.
9. Healthy Diet
7 foods for healthy eye
Foods rich in antioxidants like vitamin A & C, green& leafy vegetables and fish can really help you protect your eye sight and maintain it. Antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, vitamin A protects against blindness, and vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids appear to help the eye in a variety of ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding against macular damage.
Follow the same rules from computer usage when looking at a smart-phone, tablet, or television. With the proliferation of portable electronic devices, many people are experiencing digital eye strain from looking at smart phones. You should apply the same rules you would follow when using a computer to anything with a screen: clean the screen, adjust the brightness, take breaks, and minimize glare. In addition, there are a few more things you can do when viewing portable devices. Hold your phone or tablet 16-18 inches from your face. Holding it closer puts significant strain on your eyes. Although many people look at their phones while in bed, this is a bad habit. Remember, if the screen is significantly lighter than the environment, it puts strain on your eyes. Try to keep this habit to a minimum. If you continue doing this, at least put the brightness settings all the way down to minimize eyestrain as much as possible.