The COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of people home to work unexpectedly over the last year, leading to lots of reconfiguring of garages and dining rooms into home offices. For many displaced workers, poor lighting in these makeshift offices also led to eye strain and discomfort from staring at computer screens.
For those who are still working from home or who just need a better work environment, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has some tips to avoid straining your eyes.
Eye strain refers to a number of problems that occur after extended reading, writing, or other close work. It can cause headaches, blurry vision and tired or dry eyes. It usually occurs because we tend to blink less when staring at screens or focusing on reading or writing.
Here are some simple things you can do to protect your eyes.
First, follow the 20-20-20 rule. This is when you look 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This will reset your focus and remind you to blink. Eye drops and humidifiers are great ways to keep your eyes moist and reduce irritation.
Sit an arm’s length away from your screen and make sure the positioning and brightness on your device are comfortable for your workspace.
Lastly, consider wearing computer glasses. Unlike blue-light blocking glasses, computer glasses are progressive lenses designed for focusing on computer screens.
Eye strain can be overcome and typically doesn’t cause permanent damage. But it’s best to avoid it by giving your eyes a rest as often as possible.
Since it looks like many of us will be still be working from home for a while, remember to blink more and take a break from your screen. It’ll help keep your vision eye-conic.