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Digital Eye Strain

Chances are you are reading this on a screen of some sort.  Screens are now an integral part of life, whether it is for work, meetings, entertainment, or online-schooling. Looking at a screen for a long time is tiring: If you spend two or more consecutive hours in front of a computer per day, you may develop computer vision syndrome (CVS). Common symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, tired eyes, and even neck and shoulder pain related to head and eye tension.

While cutting out all screens is nearly impossible, developing consciousness about responsible screen use can help.
Here are some ways to look after your eyes while using your screen:

  • Apply the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet (six meters) away for 20 seconds. That will give your eye muscles a rest.

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  • Try to blink regularly. Focusing on a screen may make you blink less, which may make your eyes dry and uncomfortable.
  • Position your computer screen so that:
    it is between 40 and 76 centimeters from your eyes,
    the top is level with, or slightly below, your eyes,
    it is tilted away from you at a 10- to a 20-degree angle,
    there are no distracting reflections, e.g. from a window.
    Once you have adjusted your screen, adjust the font size so it’s easy to read.
  • Use document holders for reading or reference materials. Place them close to the screen at the same distance from your eyes. This will enable your eyes to remain focused as they move between the screen and the documents.
  • Stop using your digital device(s) one hour before bedtime.

If prevention methods are not enough, and you are sure you have the correct prescription for glasses or contact lenses, you may need to ask about special lens designs; like blue-blocking antiglare coatings that reduce the amount of blue light from computer screens that hits your eyes, as well as lenses that are designed around visual behaviour during digital device use.