4 tips to combat digital eye strain at home and at work.
Story: Dr. Hanish Patel
Whether you’re watching your favorite show at home or working on that big project for work, technology plays a big role in almost all aspects of our daily lives. While digital screens are a constant part of our work and play environments, they also are one of the largest culprits when it comes to eye strain. Dry eyes, fatigue, and trouble focusing all can be signs that you’re experiencing digital eye strain, and although the majority of people can’t change the amount of time they spend using digital screens, they can change how they use them to prevent these symptoms.
These four simple tips can radically improve your overall health when using screens for work or for leisure:
Check your lighting
The lighting of your office or living room can have a big impact on your eyes when it comes to looking at a screen over a prolonged period of time. Working in dark environments with high brightness on your monitor can put a strain on your eyes as they deal with the high contrast between the visuals on the screen and the darkness of their surroundings. In order to create a comfortable viewing environment at home and at work, make sure there is sufficient lighting for your eyes. Another simple tip is to monitor your computer’s brightness levels to make sure it’s not too high or too low based on the ambient surroundings, which can put a strain on your eyes as well.
Get eye care technology
Eye care technology has become the latest trend to protect eyes young and old from the damages of blue light and increased screen time. Companies like BenQ are innovating new technologies in their products to help alleviate the negative side effects associated with digital screens and monitors. With monitors that can reduce blue light, eliminate screen flicker, and automatically adjust the on-screen brightness, you can sit back and let your monitor protect your eyes for you while you enjoy that new Netflix binge or finalize a presentation.
Try monitor accessories
If you work in a shiny, reflective office or you love sitting on your computer by your favorite window at home, try applying a glare reduction filter to your screen to provide additional relief. Glare from sunlight or other light sources can cause strain on your eyes as you try to see through the reflective light to the screen. Another accessory that tends to go unnoticed is the screen itself. Whether it’s gloss or matte, you may find it worthwhile to compare which viewing experience is more comfortable for your eyes and reduces glare in your environment.
Limit your screen time
Americans spend more than 11 hours per day—nearly half the day—in front of screens, according to a 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report. In order to reduce this time as much as possible and give your eyes a much-needed break, try spending some time outdoors or read a new book when you’re at home. If you’re at the office, try taking a coffee break or leave your desk for lunch. Even reducing screen time by an hour each day can have a large impact on your eyes and overall health.
It’s inevitable that screens will be a part of most people’s everyday lives. But these simple tips and adjustments to your daily life can help you combat digital eye strain and the associated symptoms whether you’re at work or at home. If you’re still having issues with digital eye strain, make sure to talk to your optometrist about your experiences to ensure that there is not an underlying vision problem.
Dr. Hanish Patel is a founding partner of Eye Associates of New York and the Center for Ophthalmic and Vision Research.