We live in a world awash in digital displays. We stare at them as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, throughout our workdays, and even when we’re supposed to relax, it is in front of the TV or browsing through TikTok’s amusing content. Even now, while reading this text (although it will be quite useful for you! ), your eyes are getting tired. While the advent of information technologies has undoubtedly improved our quality of life in many ways, it has significantly impacted the well-being of our visual systems. If you’re reading, you probably know what it’s like to have red, sore, itchy eyes and blurry or double vision. It’s not particularly strange, but it may indicate chronic computer vision syndrome.
Our eyes become fatigued from spending too much time in fronts of digital displays like computers and smartphones. They emit artificial brightness and have glare and resolution that communicate with our eyes in a specific way.
Although it’s nearly impossible to live a life free of screens, there are tried-and-true methods for mitigating computer vision syndrome symptoms that can be incorporated into your daily routine. So, wipe away those sad or tiresome tears, as the cures are just a few paragraphs away!
Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome
Another term used for computer vision syndrome is digital eye strain (DES), which causes tearing of the eye, itchiness and redness, headaches, neck pain, and shoulder discomfort. It makes your eyes tired and affects your overall focus, especially at work.
Although a small percentage of workers may report continued symptoms after leaving the office, in most cases, these symptoms are transitory and go away before the end of the workday.
There are several reasons why the digital text is more challenging for the eyes than printed text. This is why, while spending several hours in front of a computer may result in DES conditions, reading a book may not.
There are a number of contributing causes of digital eye strain:
- Poor lighting of the room in contrast to the screen;
- Bad posture while using the computer;
- Screen glare;
- Viewing a computer screen from the wrong distance and/or angle;
- Other underlying unconditioned vision problems;
- A combination of all mentioned-above states and issues.
All of these factors can be disseminated into three groups:
- Personal: posture, viewing angle and distance, ocular and medical diseases, and aging.
- Environmental: lightning, the imbalance between computer brightness and your surroundings.
- Computer: screen resolution, contrast, glare, and slow refresh rate.
Addressing the Problems
When dealing with DES, the most important thing you can do is make simple but very effective changes based on your lifestyle.
The first, and maybe the simplest, is adapting your surroundings so they’re not only nice but also effective and comfortable. Glare can be uncomfortable, especially from bright sources like windows and overhead fluorescent lights. Controlling these bright light sources with appropriate blinds, filters, or room arrangements is necessary to obtain an acceptable lighting level and reduce eye strain.
Another contributor is the disparity in brightness between the screen and the rest of the room. Screens with dark backgrounds need less light, so you may need more reading lamps to keep your eyes from getting tired. A screen filter can help with brightness and reflection on your screen, but there are better substitutes for adequate lighting.
Maximize readability by adjusting the display’s brightness and contrast. You can avoid problems with your neck, shoulders, and back by making simple changes to your workstation.
Users of computers frequently assume awkward positions to see the screen, which can cause strain on their eyes and muscles. Getting the settings for screen distance, image size, and seat height is crucial. The distance from the eyes to the screen is 35–40 inches, and the screen should be 10–20 degrees or 5–6 inches below eye level. Ergonomic improvements to computers lessen eye strain and increase productivity.
Treatment and Exercises for Computer Vision Syndrome
One good thing about how quickly technology is changing today is that it always seems to go hand in hand with better tools and aids to help with it. Pharmaceuticals, like eye drops that lubricate only the eye, fall into this category for us.
Nonetheless, you have other choices if you would rather not use pharmaceuticals. From ground-breaking apps for your smartphones to basic workouts you can do anywhere, anytime, we’ve got you covered.
Tip #1: Take regular breaks. Research has found that taking a short break to stretch the muscles, change the scenery, and take a walk around the office can increase productivity and alleviate the visual symptoms of stress. Give your eyes’ accommodative system a chance to rest and relax by taking short breaks often. This will keep your eyes from getting tired and strained.
Tip #2: The 20-20-20 rule. The rules are straightforward: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your computer and focus on an object or point 20 feet away.
By doing so, you’ll be able to relax the muscles around your eyes, which will help you refocus and eliminate any headaches or other discomforts caused by blue light.
Tip #3: Stay hydrated. It may sound silly and overrated, but hydration is key to healthy eyes. Tears appear when our body is trying to combat the dryness of the eye, which occurs when our body has less water than it’s supposed to. Our bodies are 60% water, and leaving them dehydrated will affect their daily performance.
Prevention is the number one term you should remember after reading this article. You may shy away from exercising, but adapting your workstation and surroundings may be enough to give your eyes a much-needed rest.
But if you still have problems with computer vision syndrome even after trying these solutions, you need to see an eye doctor. All these symptoms may lead to another eye problem, which can only be diagnosed by a professional.
Let’s call it a wrap for now and encourage you to take a short break after you continue with your day; give your eyes a break and focus on what matters most—your health and happiness!