As many of us adapt to a new reality of remote work lifestyles, taking care of our eyes is as important as ever. Headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and eye fatigue are all symptoms of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. It’s something many people experience daily, especially when working in an unfamiliar office setting. Luckily, you can keep symptoms at bay and protect your eyes with these tips from our ophthalmologists serving patients in New York City and Long Island with 5 location in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1. Reduce glare.
Glare happens when too much light, either direct or reflected, enters your eye and decreases your ability to see clearly. To cut down on glare in your home office, make sure to position your computer away from bright windows or overhead lights.
If you’re unable to move away from a window, use curtains or blinds to reduce the incoming light or angle your desk, so the window is not directly in front or behind you. Consider investing in an anti-glare monitor that can make your screen much easier to read in any lighting condition.
2. Optimize your computer settings.
You can adjust quite your computer settings to make things easier on your eyes. Start with these tips:
- Use your settings to filter out blue light that can be harsh on your eyes. This filter is often called a “night light” or “night mode,” though you can use it at any time of day.
- Adjust your brightness to a comfortable setting. Try different levels and take note of how tired, red, or dry your eyes feel at the end of the day.
- Customize your font size to prevent squinting and straining. Making your default font even a couple sizes larger can reduce the straining that often leads to headaches and tired eyes.
Where you physically place your device matters, too. The American Optometric Association recommends positioning your screen 20 to 28 inches from your eyes and 4 to 5 inches below your eye level.
3. Take breaks from your screen.
Limit your screen time by using breaks to look away from screens—and yes, that includes your phone! Try the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Taking regular breaks also helps manage stress, which has its own effects on your vision. Learn more in this previous blog post.
4. Remember to blink.
Blinking may not seem like something you need to focus on consciously, but our blinking habits change when we’re looking at screens. Less frequent blinking is one of the biggest causes of dry eyes related to digital eye strain. Try to blink more often when you’re looking at a device, especially if you are beginning to notice irritation or redness.
5. Keep your prescriptions up to date.
If you’re noticing blurriness, double vision, or other problems seeing your screen clearly, it may be time to check in with an ophthalmologist. Our team of physicians is highly experienced, not only in treating symptoms of digital eye strain but also in assessing your overall eye health to make sure you’re not experiencing any underlying issues.