According to the AOA, the average American worker spends seven hours a day working in front of a screen, regardless of whether they work in an office or from home. This isn’t including time spent looking at smartphones, television screens, or computer screens once they’ve finished working. No wonder that many people are reporting eye discomfort and vision problems!
One of the best things you can do to prevent vision problems at work is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Research is still being done, but blue light glasses may help prevent eye strain from digital screens. Make sure to blink often and incorporate the 20-20-20 rule to ensure that your eyes stay moisturized and rested. You can also use anti-glare coverings for screens and get anti-glare coating for your lenses.
1. Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam
One of the best things you can do to protect your vision from the effects of looking at screens all day is to get a comprehensive eye exam. For your exam, write down how much time you spend looking at screens as well as measurements of how far you sit from them. This information can help us assess your needs and provide you with advice for protecting your eyes while working.
Comprehensive eye exams are about more than protecting your eyes from digital eye strain. These in-depth exams can also give insight into your overall health by giving us a clearer view of the interior and back of your eyes.
This allows us to check for other health issues such as:
- High blood pressure
- Brain tumors
- Thyroid disease
- High cholesterol
- Autoimmune disorders
Comprehensive eye exams are about more than updating your eyeglass or contacts prescription. They allow us to work more closely with your healthcare team to help you thrive.
2. Invest in a Pair of Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses are the latest entry in the fight against the effects of digital eye strain. Also known as computer glasses, these use special lenses designed to block blue light emitted by digital screens. Advocates claim that they help to reduce glare and protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to digital screens.
Since they’re so new, there hasn’t been a lot of research into the effectiveness of these futuristic glasses. The current findings have been mixed and lack any conclusive evidence for or against using them. With that said, users have reported experiencing fewer symptoms of eye strain and even improved sleep when using them.
3. Blink More Often
Blinking is essential for reducing irritation and dry eye. This can be extremely important if you look at digital screens all day since people tend to:
- Blink less
- Not blink completely
- Experience less eye moisture due to evaporation
Evaporation can also be a problem since the air in many offices is much drier than outdoors and in homes.
If you experience dry, irritated eyes due to looking at digital screens, talk to us about lubricating eye drops. Unlike over-the-counter eye drops which may only remove redness, these eye drops actually function like real tears, giving you much more protection than the alternatives.
4. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is:
- Look at something 20 feet away
- For 20 seconds
- Every 20 minutes
Following these steps can help you take your eyes off of the screen more regularly, resulting in less eye strain while working.
Chances are that you don’t have a tape measure lying around your office or workspace, so it may be difficult to tell if something is 20 feet away. Fortunately, the exact distance isn’t the most important factor. Just choose something that’s far away. This could be something across the room or even out the window.
The 20 seconds is important since it takes about that long for your eyes to relax. This is also a great excuse to get up and take a walk around the office or outside, and grab a drink of water. Many people report that their eyes feel dried out from looking at digital screens for long periods of time, so you want to stay hydrated.
Taking a quick break every 20 minutes can be difficult if you’re absorbed in your work. In this case, you can set a timer to repeat every 20 minutes. Setting a smartwatch or a fitness tracker to go off every 20 minutes can be a helpful way to remind you. There are also apps available like Eye Care 20 20 20 which are specifically designed to help you remember when to give your eyes a break.
5. Reduce Glare From Your Computer Screen
If you’re not ready to buy new glasses then you may want to consider alternative ways to reduce glare from your screens. This can be easily done with anti-glare screens that fit over your digital displays. If you work from home and are willing to put in some elbow grease, consider painting bright walls a darker color that has a matte finish to help reduce glare.
Another option would be lenses with an anti-glare coating, or AR coating for short. This special coating reduces eye strain while also creating a clearer lens. Not only does this mean less eye strain when looking at your computer, but you’ll also experience less light reflection in photos. AR coatings that block blue light are also available.
Keeping your vision healthy while using the computer can be a struggle. Start with a comprehensive eye exam to see how your overall vision is doing. While at Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical for your exam, ask about blue light glasses and how they may be able to help. Make sure to moisturize and rest your eyes by blinking often and following the 20-20-20 rule. You can also use anti-glare covers on your digital screens to help prevent glare that can make your eyes feel tired and irritated.
Are you concerned about the effect digital screens are having on your vision? Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.