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Save Your Eyes from Eye-strain from a Bright Screen

Save Your Eyes from Eye-strain from a Bright Screen

My life is mostly online: I am either staring at my laptop or my phone. This continuous, long exposure to a bright screen started straining my eyes. I started having red-eye, and it eventually affected my sleep — I always felt like I needed to rest but I could not sleep well. I finally went to see my ophthalmologist.

Computer Vision Syndrome

My ophthalmologist is a smart lady, and she also knows me personally. Before I could tell her about my problems, she narrated them for me. I was astonished and asked her how she figured it out. She said it is common across people who stare at a bright screen for long hours for many years.

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This condition is called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is not about one specific eye problem, but encompasses a lot of issues that originate from regular usage of computers for long hours. CVS is not limited to adults; kids these days are addicted to video games, tablets, and even cell phones. While kids spend a lot of their time in school without being in front of a bright screen, the after school time can still harm their eyes if they are in front of their favorite gadgets for longer than they should be.

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Symptoms

You may find solace in the fact that CVS does not cause any serious damage to your eyes, thanks to our body’s capability to fight and adjust with the changes in environment. However, the element of contrast, which is missing when you read a book, adds a lot of strain to your eyes. If you have CVS you may suffer from one or many of the following symptoms:

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  • Everything appears blurry: You need to put in effort to see things clearly.
  • You see double: You see something and then you see a copy of it a slight distance away from it.
  • Dry and/or red eyes: Your eyes are always red and they are dry, causing itching.
  • Eye irritation: You feel a need for eye drops.
  • Headache: You suffer from mild headaches as soon as you start working on your computer and for a short bit after you stop.

How to stop eye-strain with the 20-20-20 rule

When I asked about what I should do, my ophthalmologist gave me some eye-drops for temporarily relief. She said that while eye-drops will take care of CVS in the short term, I needed to practice an eye exercise to get rid of this problem for good. She told me about a 20-20-20 rule, which says that those who are in front of computers (or any bright screen) for long hours should take a break every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

This is one, simple rule that will take care of your eyes when you have to be in front of a bright screen. It is easy to follow, except when you are busy working and you cannot keep track of time — and you skip the exercise for hours and ultimately increase the strain on your eyes.

Being a tech-savvy person, I thought there should be an app for that. I started looking online and I found a simple app called Eye Care 20 20 20 that does only one thing: it sends you a notification every 20 minutes to take a 20-20-20 break. The app has a start button and a stop button. Before I start working every morning, I turn it on, and at the quitting time at the end of the day I stop it. This has regulated my exercise and I noticed the difference the first day. My eyes were well rested, and I slept better that night. It’s part of my regimen now. Other, similar, eye-care apps include Look Up and 20 20 20. There are also programs designed for your computer which work the same way.

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Mukesh Agarwal

Professional Blogger

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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