Tips for Protecting Your Eyes from Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain can be harmful, unpleasant, and painful. The following are examples of how it can negatively impact your eyes and vision if you don’t take precautionary measures to protect your eyes now:
- Dry eyes
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Blurred vision
- Permanent changes to your vision
Everyone practically lives with devices that radiate blue light, whether from their smartphones or computer monitors. With that said, here are some best practices for protecting your eyes against digital eye strain:
Make Sure Your Office or Workstation is Ergonomic
Among other things, ergonomics is the science and discipline of ensuring that you set up every single aspect of your office or workstation well. This means you can reach for anything and see anything you need without straining yourself. Not everyone is aware of how their work setup affects their overall well-being. But did you know how you set up your monitor, keyboard, desk, chair, mouse, and other work essentials can significantly influence your health?
The following are basic steps for ensuring that your office setup is ergonomic:
- Make sure your monitor or screen is horizontal to your eyes and is at least an arm’s length away. Adjust your screen a bit forward, sit upright, and ensure that your elbows and knees are at a right angle to prevent discomfort and pain.
- Your mouse and keyboard must be in line with your elbows, and your hand should be able to rest to avoid having them bend.
- Your feet must be placed firmly on the floor, and if your legs can’t properly reach it, find a footstool. This is a way to protect your back, too.
Set Up Your Devices’ Screen Settings Properly
The visible light spectrum emanated from your screens is called blue light. Studies show that being exposed to abnormal amounts of light can yield the following consequences for our health:
- Permanent vision changes
- Negative impact on our sleep-wake cycle
- Increased risk for certain cancers
- Links to depressive symptoms
In some cases, blue light can also contribute to age-related macular degeneration. This condition causes deterioration in your retina area that allows for sharp, central vision. Not to mention the effects of increased screen time for kids. To help ensure that your eyes are not exposed to more blue light than is necessary, here are some safety measures you can take:
- Adjust your phone, tablet, and laptop’s screen brightness to automatic so that it automatically brightens or darkens according to your surroundings. If your device has issues with this feature, take it to a professional specializing in screen repair for cellphones. That way, you’re not using a phone with a brightness level that’s too high or too low.
- If you wear glasses, ask your eye doctor if you need to invest in glasses that protect against blue light. There is technology now that allows this. However, there is still some debate on its effectiveness. So ask your eye doctor if they think it’s something worth investing in.
Limit Your Screen Time
This step might be the hardest to take, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when almost everyone is working from home. But with enough drive and discipline, there’s no reason why you can’t put down your phone or tablet when you don’t need it. Here are some ways you can bolster your discipline and stop using your devices to allow your eyes to rest:
- Pick up another hobby that does not involve a screen. This means no Netflix or computer games—just something else that will allow you to work with your hands without straining your eyes. Some examples include baking, cooking, gardening, and other activities that don’t require you to use your vision too much.
- Eat your meals without watching anything on your phone, tablet, or TV.
- When clocking off from work, ensure you’ve really checked out from anything work-related. That means stopping yourself from checking work emails and other communication channels when you don’t need to.
- Avoid watching TV shows or movies in bed.
- Reduce socializing through the internet. Just meet up with friends in person, or consider calling them up.
- Set a timer whenever you’re working. Pick up the Pomodoro technique so you have five-minute breaks every time you work.
Because there’s always so much to get done during the day, you might forget just how your relationship with your devices can impact your general well-being, least of all your eyes. Take these safety measures to help protect your vision and your health. And if your symptoms persist, you’ll need to visit your eye doctor to help you understand what you need to do.