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Digital eye strain is a repetitive strain injury, and occurs in up to 90% of people who use a computer for more than two hours. When people are working at a computer they blink five times less frequently than they normally do, exacerbating the issue. Although digital eye strain is uncomfortable, it is not a serious condition and some simple changes to your work station, practices and general eye health routine can dramatically reduce your chances of developing digital eye strain and experiencing the discomfort of its symptoms.
Rest your eyes
It is essential that you give your eyes rest in order to prevent digital eye strain. Embrace the 20-20-20 rule that states that every 20 minutes you should take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. The process of looking away from your screen relaxes the focusing muscle within the eye, and as a result helps to reduce your eye strain and eye fatigue.
Adapt your work station
The simplest and most effective way to reduce maintain healthy vision in the workplace is to adapt your work station to help reduce eye strain. You’ve heard of ergonomics, it’s time to think of ‘eye’gonomics and adapt your work space and work practices in order to keep your eyes healthy.
Today there are several apps and browser extensions that can help reduce the risk of developing digital eye strain. Take advantage of browser extensions and apps like Protectyourvision and Flux to adjust your screen settings and remind you to take breaks
Maintain a clean screen
It isn’t uncommon for computer screens to become grubby after heavy usage in an office environment. Fingerprints and general smudges can occur on both computer screens and smartphone screens. Regularly tidy and wipe down your electronic device screens, smudges and dust can strain your eyes. Your eye begins to focus on the smudge, rather than on the content on the screen and it can contribute to further eye strain.
Remember to blink
This may seem like a silly point, but it is crucial that you remember to blink. When someone is looking at a computer screen they tend to blink five times less than they regularly would. Blinking has an important purpose as it lubricate the eyeballs and, on occasion, protects them from dust and debris. By not blinking you dry your eyes out contributing to digital eye strain.
The optimum desk sitting position
Ensure your desk is set up ergonomically with proper lighting, seat adjustments, and monitor settings. For best results have:
- Monitor approx. 16 – 18 inches away
- Viewing angle of 15° (With an angle style indicator)
- Top of screen slightly below eye level
- Neutral head position
- Spine and body upright
- Lower back supported
- Elbows close to body
- Neutral bend at wrist
- Feet flat on the ground