TAKE STEPS TO PREVENT EYESTRAIN
In recognition of Workplace Eye Wellness Month in March, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing ergonomic tips to help workers deal with dry and strained eyes.
Do you ever find yourself rubbing your eyes, blinking repeatedly and looking away from your computer screen? You may be experiencing eyestrain. Looking at small print for hours can result in eye strain, fatigue and headaches. Eyes can become dry while looking at computer screens and other digital displays, as a person’s blink rate decreases by one-third to half of its normal rate. For most people, eyestrain results from focusing too intently on a screen and not blinking enough. To help relieve eyestrain, try to blink more or use artificial tears.
The academy offers the following guidance for preventing eye strain and dry eyes:
- Keep your computer monitor 25 inches – or an arm’s length – away from your face. Consider increasing the size of type.
- To help diminish glare, place an anti-glare or a matte filter screen on your monitor. Newer phones and laptops can produce a strong glare than may irritate eyes.
- Abide by the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps relax the eyes.
- Use a desktop humidifier or artificial tears to keep eyes moist. Humidity-controlled offices and heaters in winter can dry out eyes.
- Modify lighting to lower eye strain. Eyes can strain when looking at a computer screen that is brighter than its surroundings. Try increasing the contrast on your computer monitor.
- If the text size on your monitor is too small, adjust it until it is big enough to comfortably read. Generally, this means increasing the text size by about three times.
- If you are younger than 40, AOA recommends seeing an eye doctor at least every other year; people 40 and older should make annual appointments.
- Ask your eye care provider about devices that might help, such as anti-reflective lenses or bifocal lenses.
- If you consistently have dry, red eyes or eye pain, see an ophthalmologist.