4 Tips to Rescue your tired eyes from the evil computer screen
When you’ve been staring at your computer screen too long, do you experience occasional blurriness and eye strain? If so, you’ve probably experienced CVS, otherwise known as Computer Vision Syndrome. In fact, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (couldn’t they shorten it a little?), CVS affects 90% of all people who spend 3 or more hours in front of a screen.
So what is CVS anyways? In reality, it’s not one but a whole bunch of problems that your eyes suffer when staring at a digital screen after a certain period of time. These include: headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, eye redness, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, double vision, vertigo/dizziness, and difficulty refocusing your eyes. Much of this is caused by the stress your eyes undergo from having to constantly refocus on the changing images on the screen. Blinking, flickering, reflections–all these movements require far more effort from your eye muscles than reading a physical book or people-watching in the street.
But how can you save your eyes from your screen? Well, the obvious solution is to stop looking at your screen all the time. However, if you’re like most people, avoiding your computer on a regular basis would probably end up getting you fired or worse. So here are some helpful tips:
Change your environment
Is there enough lighting where you usually use your computer? How about glare on your screen?
Make sure that there is always plenty of light around you and that there is no glare on your screen. If you can’t find a corner in your room or office that doesn’t cause the light to reflect off your screen, you can always buy an anti-glare filter.
Another option is to position yourself about 20 to 18 inches (50 to 70 cm) away from the screen and set your screen slightly below your eye level.
Rest your eyes
There are many advocates of using the 20/20 rule, meaning look at something far away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Or, if you use the Pomodoro Technique, get up and go do something away from the computer during your breaktime. There’s also the 5 minute break rule, where you take a 5 minute screen break once every hour.
Change your screen settings
This is one of my favorite ones. I constantly see so many people complaining about their eyes being tired, yet when you take a look at their screen, it feels like you are staring at a laser beam. Pretty much all laptop and computer screens have settings that you can tweak, such as brightness and contrast. You would be amazed by the difference that these settings can make to your eyes.
Then, on top of changing these settings I also use a program called f.lux, a program (which is free by the way) that changes your screen color based on the time of the day, warm at night and sun-like or blueish in the morning.
Some studies suggest that using eye glasses with small, plus-powered sunglasses (1.00 to 1.50) can actually help you help you refocus more easily and that filtering sunglasses can help ease many of the symptoms of CVS. I personally don’t use glasses and I can’t really tell, but there are some positive reviews about computer glasses such as Gunnars, that are designed specifically for this purpose.
Have you used any of these suggestions before? Which one do you prefer?