Working from home is now common among many people. Working from a separate environment may influence consumption of screen time whether you're in an office or in the classroom. In an era when more people are working remotely, it is important to take good care of our eyes. Working from home has increased the amount of time people spend on devices. After widespread stay-at-home orders became effective for COVID-19, time-tracking company RescueTime found that Americans spend 52 more minutes a day on devices.
Frequently, eye fatigue and eye strain can occur while working closely, reading, or using a computer. When we spend excessive time in front of screens, we may experience dryness around the eyes, overexertion of the eye muscles, blurry vision and difficulty focusing. Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is characterized by headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and eye fatigue. People experienced it every day, especially when they began working in a new office setting.
There are several steps you can take to avoid these conditions:
- Diminish glare
Invisible glare results when there is a large amount of direct or reflected light. Move your computer away from overhead lights and windows to reduce glare in your office. Curtains and blinds can provide some light reduction in your office, or you can move your desk so that the window does not face you directly (or behind you). You can also read your screen no matter what lighting conditions there are by investing in an anti-glare monitor.
- Display settings should be optimized
If you have trouble focusing on your computer, adjust the settings. Brightness should be adjusted for comfort. You can experiment with different levels to see how tired, red, or dry your eyes feel at the end of the day. Squinting and straining can be avoided by adjusting the font size. A few size increases in your default font can help you avoid headaches and tired eyes.
- Placement of your device matters, too
Screens should be positioned between 20 and 28 inches away from your eyes and 4 to 5 inches below eye level. Whenever you're reading on a smartphone, stand your phone up in the same position as you normally would a book, and avoid lying on your side or back while you read.
- Follow the “20-20-20” rule
In order to limit screen time, you should take frequent breaks from screens, including your smartphone. Every 20 minutes, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Don't forget to blink frequently
It may seem obvious, but working at a computer screen for long periods without blinking is not uncommon for people. Dry eyes are caused by less frequent blinking. The process of blinking creates tears that lubricate the eye and prevent it from feeling itchy or gritty. It is easy to forget to do this as an unconscious reflex. Look at your device with your eyes open and repeatedly blink if you feel irritation or redness. In order to cure dry eyes, it is always a smart idea to keep moisturizing drops on hand.
- Try some safe eye exercises (not to be confused with eye yoga)
- Consult an eye doctor
A good rule of thumb is that everyone should have their eyes checked periodically, even if they don't have vision problems. It is wise to start scheduling annual eye exams once you turn 40 to detect problems such as glaucoma.
- Protect your eyes with digital eye strain protection lenses
If you use multiple digital screens throughout the day, particularly smartphones, it might also be helpful to use lenses designed specifically for such users.
- Use the night mode on your smartphone
However, there is no evidence that night mode on your smartphone is any more effective than the normal mode in reducing eye strain at night. Take regular breaks, and avoid watching screens for at least an hour before going to bed.
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