Think about your day for a second – especially if you work at a desk or regularly use a screen. Now ask yourself if your day typically includes any of the following:
- Sore, tired, or dry eyes
- Blurry vision that worsens with time
- Pain in your neck, shoulders, and back
If you answered yes to any of the above, your aches may be due to a condition known as eyestrain. This common problem is appearing more and more these days. And the eyestrain caused by screens specifically is so common that it’s referred to with a separate name – computer vision syndrome or digital eyestrain.
Causes Of Eyestrain
Both “ordinary” and digitally-linked cases of eyestrain are caused by us focusing on a single task for an extended period of time, without a break. This extended action – whether it’s driving, reading, or other long-term activities – puts extra strain on our eyes.
To understand why this happens, think about your muscles. You can flex a muscle for a short period of time, but after a while it begins to feel tired and overextended. Similarly, our eyes were not designed to do one thing for long periods of time. Unfortunately, life in the 21st century demands this very task from them. The result is eyestrain and its painful symptoms, which can make it tough to look at screens, books, or even the road on your way home.
Stress, existing eye problems, and bad lighting can exacerbate eyestrain during prolonged activities as well. Plus, cases of digital eyestrain can worsen if someone has poor posture, doesn’t blink often enough while working, or isn’t the right amount of distance away from a screen. Extended exposure to the blue light emitted from digital devices can also contribute to the problem.
While eyestrain is uncomfortable and annoying, the good news is that there are things you can do to prevent it.
For starters, you should always follow the “20-20-20 rule” during any extended task. Here’s how it works: shift your focus to something other than the activity at hand every 20 minutes. What you focus on should be 20 feet away, and you should look at it for at least 20 seconds. This sequence is where the 20-20-20 rule gets its name.
During these breaks, check in and take some time to blink! Many of us stop blinking as often as we normally do during prolonged stretches of work, especially when using a computer. Blinking helps to prevent dryness and irritation – so checking in on your blinking patterns is highly recommended.
If you’re using a screen during your day, take the time to make sure you’re looking at it the right way. This includes setting the screen up about an arm’s length away from your eyes, as well as right at or just slightly below eye level. This goes for handheld devices, too!
Check your lighting before working, too. Overhead light that’s too bright or too low will force your eyes to work harder to compensate and focus. Adjust the lights whenever possible, both to find the perfect ambiance and to reduce glare on your computer screen.
Breaking up your activities into smaller stretches can also help prevent eyestrain. Unfortunately, modern tasks tend to revolve around a screen, making it difficult to follow this recommendation. Fortunately, there is another option that can help! Thanks to modern day eyewear, specialized glasses for computer use can deflect a portion of unwanted blue light, reducing your risk of digital eyestrain. The best part is that many blue light protection glasses look just like an ordinary set of eyeglasses – meaning that you don’t have to compensate your looks for your health!
Want to learn more about how specialized glasses for computer use can help prevent eyestrain? You can explore the tech behind our own frames here! Phonetic Eyewear’s wide range of frame options are perfect for working at your computer or tablet, and stylish enough to wear all day long. Be sure to contact us today with your specific product questions, so that we can begin to help you see more clearly and pain-free!