How Often Should You Look Away from the Computer?

Computer Eye Break

Our eyes are one of the most important muscles in our bodies that we ultimately take for granted. With all the screen time we subject ourselves to with our phones, TVs, tablets and computers, we rarely give our eyes time to relax. Because of these devices, there has been a rise in people suffering from Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has dedicated a lot of time finding ways to help alleviate the amount of eye strain people are experiencing, and have even made March “Save Your Vision Month”. According to the AOA, there are many symptoms and causes for Digital Eye Strain.

If you are suffering from CVS, you are probably experiencing:

  • Eye soreness
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Blurry Vision
  • Excessive Dryness
  • Shoulder and Neck pain

Causes of CVS include:

  • Poor lighting while reading
  • Glare while on the computer or watching TV
  • Non-suitable viewing distance
  • Poor Posture  at the desk
  • Untreated existing eye problems
  • A combination of any of these

Anytime a muscle group is used excessively, there needs to be a resting period to recover; the same goes for our eyes. The AOA and The Mayo Clinic both have an extensive list of ways to help prevent weakening the eye muscles and to alleviate the pain of CVS.rubbing eyes

Here are some practices for optimal eye health:

The 20 – 20 – 20 Rule

These days the computer screen is a main focal point for work or mundane errands like checking email. This is when the 20 – 20 – 20 rule needs to be applied.

If you are staring at a computer screen for an extended amount of time, try to only stay on the screen for 20 minutes, then look away from the screen and view an item at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help prevent eye soreness from excessive screen time.

Adjust The Screen

This refers to the position of the computer monitor as well as the dynamics of the screen’s contrast and quality.

If work requires constant computer use, be sure the very top of the computer is eye level so that the text and content are about 20 degrees downward and 15-20 inches away from eyes. Also, position the computer so that natural or fluorescent lighting is coming from the side and not from in front or behind the screen. Avoiding glare helps keep away that extra/ uneven lighting from bothering your eyes.

It is a good idea to upgrade your computer to an LCD screen as they are usually anti-reflective and don’t create very much glare. Also, a higher contrast and better quality will increase eye comfort and prevent straining.

Keep Eyes Moisturized

You may think that you don’t need a reminder to blink, but if there is ever a time that you experience dry or itchy eyes after working on the computer or watching tv, this may be caused by not blinking enough. If you start suffering from constant dryness, ask your optometrist for artificial tear options that are right for you.

Organize your workspace

When you have to constantly look at the screen and then draw your attention away to a paper document, the eyes have little to no time to adjust from the screen’s text to the paper text. Find a way to put your documents by the screen or fairly close to it, to refrain from constant head movement via document holder or book stand.

Gunnar’s Glasses

These lenses were made with computer gamers eye health in mind. These glasses are tinted to block blue light and glare to help the eyes relax while viewing the screen. This will not only help you focus longer, but they will decrease your chances of suffering from digital eye strain.

Our eyes are just as important as every other muscle on our body. If you would like to learn more about how to improve and maintain your eye health, continue reading more articles on our website. One of our  best known center is located in Tucker GA

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