Did you know that over 50 percent of Americans suffer from digital eye strain? As our working culture becomes more and more reliant on screens, eye stress is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis. How can you avoid eye stress at work?
Dealing with Eye Stress at Work
There’s a new eye condition that more and more Americans are being diagnosed with every day. It’s called digital eye strain, and it’s caused by the amount of time we spend looking at screens. You might think this condition is just a problem for television bingers and video game fans, but you’d be wrong. Digital eye strain is being diagnosed more and more commonly in working adults. But why is that?
The cause becomes clear when you look at the numbers. Recent studies have shown that the majority of Americans spend over two hours a day looking at screens. And yes, some of these people are television fans, but it’s much more likely that they’re looking at those screens in order to do their jobs. In the modern working world, we rely on computers and smartphones to keep us productive, and it takes a toll on our eyes. Working primarily on a computer can add over an hour of screen time to the average American’s day. Those hours add up and may lead to eye strain, vision-related headaches, and other problems.
However, the benefits of using computers and other technology to get our work done often outweigh the costs. Studies show that workers are spending more time with screens, but that time is paying off in more productive workdays and a reduction in annoyances like endless meetings and rush-hour commutes. Instead of banning screens from your work life, experts recommend identifying ways to avoid eye stress throughout your workday.
Use the 20/20/20 Rule
One of the reasons that screens cause eye strain is because they force your eyes to focus on the same point for an extended period of time. Refocusing your eyes, and giving them a rest from looking at a screen, can significantly reduce eye strain. To allow your eyes the chance to reset, optometrists recommend taking a break from screen work every 20 minutes. During that break, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Position Yourself for Success
The location of your screen can also make a big difference in the eye strain you experience. Your screen should be positioned about two feet from your face, and the center of your screen should be about ten degrees below eye level. This helps your eyes avoid focusing on a close point for too long. You should also avoid “multitasking” with multiple screens if possible.
Keep It Humid
Most people don’t like humid conditions, but they’re actually great for your eyes while you’re getting work done. One of the reasons eye stress occurs at work is that your eyes blink less while you are concentrating on a task on a screen, which leads to dry eye. Avoid this problem by using a humidifier in the workplace, and using eye drops at least once a day.
Control the Glare
Another factor that strains modern eyes is the light exposure caused by using multiple screens every day. In order to help your eyes recover, limit their exposure to digital light however possible. Along with taking regular breaks, you should make sure that you work in a well-lit area so your computer screen is not the brightest thing in the room. You can also purchase a matte filter for your computer screen, which will filter out the majority of blue light.
See Your Optometrist
While all of these tips and tricks can be helpful, the number one tip optometrists recommend is one you’re hopefully already following: see your optometrist regularly. Your optometrist can help you understand how screen time is affecting your eye health, and they can provide personalized assistance as needed.
As the world increasingly gets online, eye stress is becoming just another workplace hazard. Stay on top of it by taking care of your eyes, and be sure to see your optometrist regularly.
Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!