A young man working on the laptop

10 steps for digital eye strain relief

If you work with computers or watch a lot of television, you may have noticed some symptoms of eye strain. Staring at a digital screen for long periods of time can cause discomfort, headaches, pain and difficulty in focusing. You may even find your eyes becoming dry and itchy – which doesn’t help when you’re trying to concentrate.

In addition, regularly straining your eyes may make existing eye conditions worse. Read on to learn about the best ways to prevent eye strain. However, it is important to note that this information does not replace the individualised information that would be provided by a specialist Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon.

1. Take regular breaks

In addition to taking a lunch break away from the screen, computer users should get up and away from their desk at regular intervals throughout the day, whether to visit the bathroom, make a drink or enjoy some fresh air.

2. Ensure good lighting

Working in a well-lit space will reduce the risk of discomfort. If the room is too dark, your eyes will have to work harder to compensate.

3. Exercise your eyes

Every half an hour, make a point of exercising your eyes; look away from your screen and focus on a distant object for 20 seconds, then close them for 10 seconds. This will help relax the muscles within your eyes.

4. Get your eyes tested

Computer users should have their eyes tested every year to minimise the risk of developing eye problems.

5. Watch out for reflecting light

Light reflecting off the screen and nearby surfaces can increase eye strain. Move any sources of light which cause glare, or consider changing the angle of your computer screen.

6. Wear your glasses

If you have been prescribed glasses or contact lenses, or have purchased reading glasses from a retailer, use them whenever you’re at your screen as instructed by your optician.

7. Adjust your display settings…

Adjust levels of brightness and colour using the buttons on your computer monitor and television screen. You can also alter text size to make it more comfortable to read. Revisit these settings every month or so to make sure they still work for you.

8. … or get a new screen

If you are finding it hard to focus on your computer screen, you may need to upgrade to a newer monitor. Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) do not usually flicker or reflect light, offering increased visual comfort.

9. Enhance your desk space

Complete a work station assessment to ensure you are sitting at the correct distance and angle from your computer screen. At home, you should not sit closer than 20-24 inches from your television screen.

10. Prevent dryness

Dryness can be a side effect of eye fatigue. In the short term, it can be remedied by closing your eyes for several seconds or blinking slowly. Ask your doctor about the best eye drops to use if the problem persists.

Voyatzis, George

Written in association with

Mr George Voyatzis

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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