Digital eye strain results from focusing your eyes on a digital screen for long periods, like watching TV or working on your computer. If you do it too often, it can damage your vision and even make you go blind. Luckily there are ways to prevent this from happening.
Listed below are five helpful hints on how to alleviate and prevent digital eye strain.
- Blink! When you’re working on the computer, it’s easy to forget that your eyes need moisture too. Blinking will add moisture back into the cornea and sclera (white part of your eye), making it easier for you to focus. The average person blinks every four seconds. That means that in an hour, the average person blinks 11 times without even knowing it! Try to blink more often when you’re working at your computer and see how much easier it is to focus.
- Take a break! Your eyes get tired just like the rest of your body does when you run a marathon. There are muscles in your eyes, called the ciliary muscles, that help you focus when you’re reading or working on your computer. If you don’t give them a break periodically they get tired too. So every 20 minutes or so, look away from the screen and focus on something else at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Do this until you feel that your eyes have had a good rest.
- Look at the big picture! When sitting in front of the computer, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and only focus on what’s directly in front of you, but doing this will make your neck, shoulder, arm, and back muscles tense up with tension. Instead, take a second to glance at the big picture. Focus on what you have written or read, then shift your focus to something off in the distance for a few seconds. Then shift your focus back to what’s directly in front of you and repeat.
- Get an eye exam! According to eye care professionals like those at Ophthalmology Associates, digital eye strain is a very common problem among youth who constantly work with their computers or play video games. This can be easily prevented by getting regular eye exams. You don’t have to wait until your vision starts deteriorating. Eye exams should be done at least once every two years (between the ages of 12 and 60), or more often if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or other conditions.
- Take a breath! Breathing is something that people tend to forget when they are caught up in the moment. When reading or working on the computer, make sure you take short breaths from your nose and not your mouth to prevent digital eye strain. By doing this, also decrease the amount of stress you put on your eyes.
By following these helpful hints, you can decrease your chances of having digital eye strain. If you experience symptoms like redness in the eyes, blurred vision, or dry eyes after using a computer, be sure to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.