Let's just accept the fact that most of our activities during the day now revolve around staring at the screens. There’s an absolute possibility that you’re looking at one right now. Considering the hours we are spending in front of the screens every day, having a headache or feeling eye strain shouldn’t come out as a surprise anymore. It can lead to symptoms such as blurry vision, dryness, double vision, or headaches, which can also turn severe in the long term if proper precautions are not taken to care for the eyesight.
Although it’s not entirely our fault. If work demands us to spend the day looking at the screen and keep the fingers knocking on the keyboard, we ought to do it. The actual problem isn’t working on the laptop for the entire day, it’s when people don’t take precautions to maintain their health while doing so. Spending long hours in front of the screen isn’t just damaging our eyes, but it’s ruining our overall health as well. Being ignorant about the side effects can become a cause of many diseases in the long run. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the damage being caused to the eyes due to spending long hours in front of the screens, such as:
1. Maintain a distance: Don’t try to dive inside the screen. Keeping distance is important to reduce the level of the strain it causes to the eyes. An arm’s length or at least 20 inches (51 cm) distance from the screen is considered ideal. The screen shouldn’t be tilted and should be around 10 to 15 degrees below the eye level.
2. Keep a good posture: Yes, you can’t carry your own chair to work every day, but maintaining a good posture while sitting for long hours can keep your health in check. The chair should always support the spine and keep the body upright. The feet should comfortably rest on the ground which will also keep the eyes at a right level to the screen. Not just the eyes, but maintaining a good posture will save you from other health issues as well.
3. Blink, blink, blink: We’re actually living in an era where we need mobile applications to remind us to blink our eyes. We usually blink our eyes about 15-20 times a minute, but somehow screens have a way to make us forget to do that. Blinking is essential as it’s a way for the eyes to take rest, even if it’s for less than a second. It also ensures that our eyes stay moist, otherwise they’ll become dry and cause irritation.
4. Change the brightness: The brighter the screen, the more is the eye strain. The easiest way to deal with that is to reduce the brightness level by changing the settings. If you’re working at night, make sure to switch to the night mode as it reduces the amount of blue light, making it easier for your eyes to look at the screen. You can also use different applications to change the colors and adjust the brightness level according to the ambient light.
5. Get rid of the glare: Bright light from the outdoors can cause eye irritation if the light is directly falling on the screen. That is why it’s advised to avoid using smartphones in direct sunlight. Whether it’s natural light from the window or the bright overhead lights which is causing the glare, make sure that you get rid of it as it can be unhealthy for your eyes. Consider changing the position or informing the office administration about the same.
6. Consider a break: Taking all the other precautions is helpful but the most important part to remember is to use a break after every few minutes. It doesn’t have to be very long, but just enough to give a bit of rest to your eyes. Use the 20-20-20 rule - every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object about 20 feet away from you. If you’re too involved in work and usually forget about using a break, then keep a reminder for every 20 minutes to keep yourself reminded. If you keep looking at the screen for hours, you are straining the muscles which help you to adjust and focus on the things around you when we move.
7. Use computer glasses: It is a good idea to wear non-powered glasses that help to reduce the strain on the eyes while looking at the screen. Computer glasses are specially made for people who have to spend long hours working on the laptop or computers. The glasses have an anti-reflective coating to reduce the glare and a tint to increase contrast for easier focus and viewing. Some glasses also have a blue light filter to reduce the effect of the light on your eyes.