A Sight for Sore Eyes: How To Protect Your Vision From The Strain of Screen-Staring

A Sight for Sore Eyes: How To Protect Your Vision From The Strain of Screen-Staring

If you work in an office setting, you probably spend a good portion of your day in front of a computer. As the hours of screen time accumulate, you might start to experience symptoms of eye strain. These can include blurred or double vision, dryness, irritation or itchiness, redness, and headaches.

Any of these symptoms can indicate the onset of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), or digital eye strain. CVS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that it develops due to repeated use. The rapid shifting of images and focus points on a computer screen place a high demand on the eye muscles, resulting in fatigue. Glare, flicker, insufficient contrast, and reduced blinking rates can also contribute to eye strain. In addition, computer screens emit blue light, which can interfere with the production of melatonin and disrupt normal sleep cycles.

Research suggests that between 50% and 90% of regular computer users experience one or more symptoms of CVS, and kids who use tablets or computers for long periods of time can develop them too.[1] The good news is, the effects of CVS are reversible, and computer usage doesn’t have to lead to long-term damage. With simple mitigation strategies, you can reduce your eye muscle fatigue and keep your vision strong—no career change necessary.

First things first: How’s your setup? Your computer screen should be positioned 20-28 inches away from your face and tilted so that your focus point is slightly below eye level. Situate any reference materials above your keyboard but below your computer screen, so that you don’t have to turn your head to consult them. If you’re sitting, use a comfortable chair and adjust the height so that your entire foot rests flat on the floor. Your spine should be straight and your neck should be neutral to ensure that your eyes can focus naturally.

Next, what does your screen look like? Turn it away from harsh direct light sources, like windows (or close the blinds, if rearranging isn’t an option), and use fewer or softer lights to reduce glare. Try increasing your text display size and contrast for better visibility, and consider using an app like F.lux to adjust the screen’s color temperature. You could also invest in a pair of blue light-blocking glasses to help regulate melatonin production and encourage healthy sleep patterns.

How often do you take breaks to let your eyes rest throughout the day? Doctors and optometrists suggest following the 20-20-20 principle: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break from focusing up close and will probably help you remember to blink more often. After two hours of computer work, take a 15-minute break from staring at a screen to prevent the onset of fatigue.

Is your prescription up to date? Even minor vision problems or deficiencies can quickly become exacerbated by screen time. If you wear glasses or contacts to correct one sight-related issue, you may need a different pair of lenses for computer work. Eyeglasses might prove beneficial for individuals who don’t otherwise require them to prevent computer-related strain. It may also be helpful for people who regularly wear contacts to switch to glasses one or two days a week.

You only get one set of eyes—it’s up to you to protect them. Take these simple steps to keep your vision strong far into the future!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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