More people than ever before are working, learning and socializing digitally, due to COVID-19. Even when we are not working on our computers, we are on our phones, looking for news, entertainment or distractions from the pandemic. School lessons are conducted entirely online, and in-person socializing has been replaced by FaceTime and Zoom meetings.
The increased screen time means that you may be experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of digital eyestrain: dry, red eyes, eye fatigue, sensitivity to light and blurry vision.
Although these symptoms are uncomfortable, you can find relief with a few simple solutions. Luckily, none of these suggestions require you to buy fancy equipment or spend lots of time modifying your workspace.
Blink More Often
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain is to remember to blink more. This helps spread the tear film over the surface of your eyes, keeping it moisturized and comfortable.
Practice the “20-20-20 Rule”
Another vital adjustment is to practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second pause to focus on an object 20 feet away. This allows the focusing muscles of your eyes to relax. Close your eyes for one to two seconds for an added break.
Keep Your Eyes Lubricated
Artificial tears help lubricate dry, fatigued eyes. You might also want to use a humidifier to add more moisture to the air.
Adjust Your Screen Position
Ideally, you want your screen or monitor to be positioned about an arm’s length away from your eyes. Also, you want to gaze slightly downward at your screen. This prevents your eyes from working too hard to see digital text or images close up.
Shut Off Your Screens Before Bedtime
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blue light emitted by digital screens can interfere with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Using screens right before bedtime may prevent you from getting the quality sleep your body needs and cause your eyes to feel tired or strained the next day. Try to shut off your screen one to two hours before you go to bed.
Stay Safe and Healthy
The team at Vista Eye Specialists hopes that you and your family stay safe during these unprecedented times. If you or a loved one develops an eye emergency — such as trauma or the sudden loss of vision — please contact us today. We will do whatever we can to address your emergency.