Like most people, you probably end up spending a lot of time staring at your computer screen. Whether you’re working on a project for work or playing games for fun, the hours spent on the keyboard can take a toll on your eyes. According to estimates, people spend nearly 7 hours every day looking at screens worldwide.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an umbrella term that describes eye strain and discomfort caused by prolonged exposure to digital screens. CVS can cause headaches, eye fatigue, and dry eyes. All these symptoms can have serious implications if they go unchecked.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent CVS from happening in the first place. Read on to find out what simple changes you can make in your overall routine to keep your eyes healthy.
Here are the five steps you should take to prevent computer vision syndrome.
1. Incorporate Regular Breaks into Your Routine
Experts suggest taking regular breaks from your screen as a vital part of preventing visual fatigue, leading to CVS.
You should take a break every 20 minutes. Don’t just look away from the screen. Try to get up and walk around for a few minutes.
If walking around is not possible, try to look away at a spot 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. You should take out this 20-second break every 20 minutes. And that is the 20-20-20 rule.
Also, avoid looking at the screen when you are tired or sleepy because this will make you even more tired in the long run. Finally, if possible, don’t look at the screen when you are sick. This can make things worse by causing eye strain.
2. Get an Eye Exam
If you’re worried that you might be experiencing symptoms of computer vision syndrome, get an eye exam. Your eye doctor can look for signs that your eyes aren’t working as well as they should and recommend ways to stop any issues from getting worse.
He or she may also recommend an ergonomic evaluation if your job involves working at a computer for long periods. Schedule an appointment to visit a nearby Eye Glass Store. Your eye exam results will determine if you need a new pair of eyeglasses to correct your vision or need to replace your existing pair if you wear glasses.
A good time to schedule an appointment is when you have your routine medical checkups scheduled, such as before or after the holidays.
3. Keep Your Eyes Hydrated
Currently, 5 million adults above the age of 50 are affected by dry eyes syndrome. This phenomenon is now becoming increasingly common among youngsters too, due to the increase in screen time.
Drinking plenty of water is an easy way to prevent computer vision syndrome. It helps keep your eyes hydrated, so they’re less likely to get dry and irritated.
A healthy diet can also help keep your eyes feeling great. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress, which is, in simple words, the damage done by free radicals in the body.
Another good way to prevent dry eye symptoms is by using an eye drop. If you have dryness along with redness or irritation of your eyelids or conjunctiva, the clear covering over the white part of the eye, an eye drop might be required to give you relief.
4. Adjust Your Screen Settings
First, you should make sure your computer screen is at eye level. The strain on your neck will increase dramatically if it’s too low or too high. A good rule of thumb is to place the top of your computer monitor at eye level when sitting in a chair for an hour or so.
Secondly, set the brightness on your monitor. The brightness should be optimum. It should be just enough so that you can comfortably read everything on it without hurting your eyes.
Thirdly, get some glare filters. As anyone who has ever looked directly into a window knows, glare can be very painful after a while. Even some great tools online allow people with glasses prescriptions to customize their filters based on their specific needs. You may need prescription glasses if you haven’t already.
5. Use Proper Lighting and Position Your Screen
To prevent eye strain, you should use a lamp or other source of light to create even illumination in the area where you’re working.
The best lighting is indirect, meaning it comes from above and behind your head, so there’s no glare on your screen. Avoid bright overhead lights that cause reflections on the screen surface.
If this isn’t possible, try to move the screen away from the light source and turn off any additional room lights. Use dimmer switches when adjusting brightness levels to set up a new workspace or switch between tasks throughout an average day at home or work.
It’s also important to make sure that whatever position you choose for your computer monitor allows users’ eyes to align naturally with its center point without straining too much neck movement, which can lead to headaches.
Often, computer vision syndrome can be managed with simple preventive strategies.
To summarize, take regular breaks from staring at your computer or phone, adjust your screen settings to reduce glare, keep your eyes hydrated and get an eye exam done.
Also, use proper lighting, position your screen appropriately and ensure there is plenty of natural light in the room where you work on your computer.