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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

10 Expert Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief

10 Expert Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief
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Computer eye strain is a condition that affects between 50% and 90% of people who spend the majority of their time looking at computer screens.[1] Office workers are often affected by it. Still, even children who need to access a computer or tablet for their school work are shown to be at risk of eye strain recently.[2]

When looking at digital screens from an intermediate distance, the muscles that control the eye movement are always active and adjusting to the screen. As this activity stretches over a more extended period, with few or no breaks, the eyes can become dry or tired. 

Although it causes discomfort, eye strain is not a permanent condition that threatens your eye health. This article will explain the symptoms you need to be aware of, followed by 10 tips to relieve computer eye strain.  

Symptoms of Having an Eye Strain

There are a few determining symptoms that indicate computer eye strain. Although a variety of different factors can cause these symptoms, if you suffer from two or more of the following traits simultaneously and your job requires long hours in front of a screen, they are likely indicative of computer eye strain. 

Dry Eyes

Most people blink a third less frequently when focusing on a screen over a longer time. Due to this, the tear film on the eyes can evaporate, leaving the ocular surface dry and feeling gritty. 

Computer eye strain and reduced blinking can also cause chronic conditions such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which results in dry eye symptoms that persist after the end of your working day.[3]

Headaches

Tension headaches, also described as band headaches, can be caused by concentrating on a computer while sitting in the same position for hours.[4] This type of headache usually starts from the back of the head or upper neck and moves upwards to wrap around the forehead and temples where the pain intensifies.

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The wrong posture and work stress may also cause frontal lobe headaches in which mild to severe pain settles in the temples and forehead. Those who regularly experience migraines need to be aware that tension and frontal headaches can develop into a migraine, so try to take precautionary measures. 

Eye Fatigue

An intense focus on vision while reading or driving can cause the eyes to tire and feel fatigued. The results can worsen when the focus is set on a bright light source, such as a screen. These effects get exacerbated when the rest of the environment is dimly lit or cast in dark light, causing increased light sensitivity.[5]

Eye fatigue can lead to blurred vision in either one or both eyes. The blurriness usually comes in waves, increasing towards the end of the day. 

10 Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief

If you have a refractive problem (e.g., short or long-sightedness or astigmatism) and have been prescribed to wear corrective glasses or contact lenses while working, it is essential to follow your optician’s advice and get regular eye exams. It ensures that your prescription is up to date and doesn’t cause any unnecessary, additional issues. 

Having eye exams will also make sure that no underlying eye conditions go unnoticed, particularly when symptoms may be masked as traits of computer eye strain. 

The next 10 tips are actions that you can take to relieve computer eye strain. 

1. Hydrate

Using over the counter lubricating eye drops can help relieve dry eyes. But by making simple adjustments to keep your body and environment healthy and hydrated, you can lessen the chances of your eyes becoming gritty and sore. 

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2. Drink Water

Dehydration affects your whole body, including the eyes, and drinking a sufficient amount of water every day to keep your body and your eyes hydrated can let you avoid dry eyes. 

On average, a person should drink eight glasses of water a day. However, healthy water intake always relies on your size and weight and whether you exercise every day.[6] You can ask your physician about the recommended water intake for you to keep your body hydrated and eyes healthy.

3. Avoid Dry Air

In addition to hydrating your body, it matters to pay attention to the air quality in your work environment. (Read about choosing the correct light bulbs for eye health here: I Wish I Knew These Tips on Choosing the Right Light Bulbs for Eye Health Earlier)

Many offices use air conditioners, fans, and ventilators that can move dust around the air. It can disrupt the tear film leading to dryness and irritation.

Try moving the fans so that they are not directed at your face. 

Where possible, make sure that your surrounding is free from dust. The moisture in the air can increase by using desk humidifiers.

4. Take Breaks

Scheduling time away from the computer screen does not only give your eyes but also your mind a chance to relax and unwind. 

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Studies show that those who work with computers experience less eye strain and discomfort when they take micro-breaks throughout the day.[7] Getting up from the desk to move around and stretch your limbs for a few minutes can reduce back and neck pains that may occur after sitting at your desk for hours as well.  

5. Blink

Every time we blink, we cover our eyes in a layer of tear-film, keeping them moisturized and feeling comfortable. Research reveals that when staring at a computer screen or reading for a prolonged period, people blink up to two thirds less frequently than usual, often only closing the lids partially instead of covering the eyes completely. It causes the tear film to evaporate and eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable.[8] 

If you become aware that you blink less, ideally, you can try to make a habit of blinking more often. However, as this adjustment isn’t always possible to achieve, you can try setting a reminder every 20 minutes, using this time to blink slowly or close your eyes completely. Do it for approximately ten times in a row and focus on a spot far away from your desk to relax your eye muscles. 

6. Eat Snacks for Eye Health

Aside from a healthy lunch, you can make time for snack breaks, eating fruits and nuts high in vitamins A, C, and E to support the complexity of cells in your retina. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts and almonds and used in practice to help combat dry eyes.[9] Of course, the intake of the proper vitamins could also be achieved through supplements.

7. Sleeping Schedule

During sleep, your eyes are refreshed with nutrients and tears, making a regulated sleeping schedule necessary for healthy and happy eyes. Sleep deprivation, however, can cause the blood vessels in our eyes to dilate, leading to irritation and eye fatigue during the day. 

A set work schedule and the regulated sleeping cycle can help you to reset your eyes at the end of the day and ensure that you get appropriate rest overnight. To relax in the evening, try to avoid looking at screens, including TVs and smartphones, as the blue light from digital screens has been linked to promoting brain activity. Instead, try building a nighttime routine that includes tasks like cooking or tidying. 

8. The Right Setup

Digital eye strain caused by computers can be induced by several factors, such as small images and fonts and flickering lights.[10] You can try simple adjustments like increasing the pixel and font size on your computer or upgrading your desktop to a larger flat-panel LCD screen, ideally with a diagonal size of 19 inches.[11]

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Nevertheless, below are a couple of easy changes that you can make to achieve that. They don’t require buying new and expensive equipment.

9. Screen Position

The screen position and angle can alter your eyes’ focus when you look. As a result, it can increase eye strain if you place the monitor at an incorrect angle. 

For an ideal work setup, try positioning your screen at about an arm’s length away from your face. That’s at least 20 inches apart but no further than 40 inches.[12] If you can adjust its height, it should be centered 4 or 5 inches below eye level, so you don’t have to tilt your head too far up or down. The latter can also increase eye and neck strains. 

10. Appropriate Lighting

It’s not only the lighting of your screen but also your work environment that can impact your eye health. 

One factor is background light and the glare on your screen, considering reflections may make you squint, thus leading to tired eyes and frontal headaches.[13] To avoid that, the screen should be facing away from windows or natural light sources. If this isn’t possible in your workplace, you can try using blinds or curtains to block direct light.

Additionally, the color temperature of most screens is set to a blue light, which has often been associated with eye strain. Blue light uses shorter wavelengths than red or orange light, which means it emits higher energy and causes the muscles of your eyes to strain.[14] You can change these settings with most computers and smartphones by switching to night mode. Alternatively, you can opt for blue-light-blocking lenses on your glasses to relieve eye strain. 

Bottom Line

Computer eye strain can be uncomfortable and annoying. Still, luckily, you can get relief by following the simple tips above without needing to buy expensive equipment or take complex supplement regimes. 

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Should you feel like your eye strain persists even after trying everything, it might be time to set an appointment with your optometrist. They will be able to examine your eyes and check for underlying issues that prescription updating or eye drops may resolve.

More on Eye Health

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Roshni Patel

Roshni Patel is a qualified Optometrist

10 Expert Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief

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Last Updated on July 12, 2021

100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

    84 write random letter

      85 use a rubberband

        86 dorm smell bad

          87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

            89 how to waterproof your shoes

              90 take a picture of the name card

                91 iron inside out

                  92 old newspaper

                    93 tumble try shoes

                      keep a card like this

                        SONY DSC

                          94 soap bar

                            95 make a hole

                              96 drop the battery

                                97 use a coozie

                                  98 when taking a picture

                                    use a clean dust pan

                                      try a pants hanger

                                        use your cellphone light

                                          use a spring from an old pen

                                            quick and easy iphone speaker

                                              user binder clips

                                                wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                  put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                    clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                      use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                        doritos are great for kindling

                                                          use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                            use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                              freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                  almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                    sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                      unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                        cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                          remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                            turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                              for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                  tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                    place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                      ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                        use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                          take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                            how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                              put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                  user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                    good sandwich guide

                                                                                                      turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                        50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                          the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                            add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                              38

                                                                                                                hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                  stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                    the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                      how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                        the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                          use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                            to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                              user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                  rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                    use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                      50

                                                                                                                                        51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                          52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                            rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                              kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                  58

                                                                                                                                                    59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                      60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                        hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                          Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                            hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                              use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                  keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                    If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                      drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                        use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                          use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                            do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                              when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                  put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                    75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                      use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                        pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                          78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                            79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                              80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                  82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                    99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                      100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                        88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

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