Whether at home, at the office, or even while travelling, it is almost hard to imagine life without mobile screens, computer screens and the television! For corporate professionals, both their professional and social life often involves staring intently at a screen.
For these reasons, a lot of computer users today are developing edigital eye strain’ or ecomputer vision syndrome’ and experience symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision, says Dr. Mahmood Hussein, Head of Ophthalmic Department, Saifee Hospital, Mumbai.
If you spend a lot of time looking at a screen and have started to experience any of these symptoms, the first thing to do is to reduce your screen time. The doctor, who is also associated with mfine, a virtual hospital on the cloud, shares useful tips to take better care of your eyes.
1. Place the computer screen at least 20 inches away from you
Ideally, the computer screen should be between 20-40 inches away from you. If it is too close or too distant, it may cause you to sit in an awkward position. Also, the top of your computer screen should be at or a little below eye level, to minimise any strain on the eyes.
2. Ensure that the screen is not too bright
When your screen is very bright, you are exposed to more eblue light’. This type of light can harm the eyes and affect your vision. Moreover, if you are sitting too close to a window or you can see reflected light in your computer screen, it can lead to eye strain and fatigue. Instead, ensure that the room is well lit. Reduce the brightness of your screen and add a glare filter if possible. Also, reduce the colour temperature of your display in order to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by the monitor.
3. Use a separate pair of computer glasses if necessary
Some people who do not need glasses for everyday use may benefit from using glasses specifically prescribed for computer use. Others who are nearsighted may find that their current prescription is not ideal for the computer; they could also benefit from special glasses meant for intermediate distances, rather than progressive or bifocal lenses.
4. Take a break and look away from your screen
If your work requires you to look at a computer screen for a long time, make sure you take regular breaks. Follow the 20:20:20 rule to reduce eye strain: every 20 minutes, look at an object about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If possible, walk away from your desk every hour or two, and look at a distant object through a window. This change in focus helps to exercise and thus relax the muscles of the eye.
5. Keep your eyes refreshed
When you stare at a screen, you tend to blink less, which tires and dries the eyes. This, coupled with the air-conditioning of most corporate offices, may result in the eyes becoming very dry. To avoid this, take a break every couple of hours to splash some cold water on the eyes. Remember to blink more often to keep the eyes lubricated. Cooling drops can also help to refresh the eyes.
If you still experience trouble with your vision despite taking all these precautions, you are encouraged to visit an ophthalmologist at the earliest and get your eyesight checked.