Many of us are working or continuing our studies from home, which means our days now revolve around computers and tablets. We know on some level that overexposure to electronic risks isn’t good for our health, but do we really know the extent of the problem? If we don’t manage our computer exposure, it could lead to a condition called computer vision syndrome.
Medical experts say that prolonged exposure to digital screens can lead to eye dryness and irritation. We blink less frequently when staring at a screen, even during regular use. Blinking is our body’s way of keeping our eyes hydrated, and if we blink less, our eyes are going to become dry. Even setting the screen brightness too high can cause eye strain. However, we have become so dependent on computers that no realistic way to limit our screen time.
Luckily, we now live in a time when there are high-tech solutions to our problems. Many people use smart glasses to take back control of their vision. While we won’t have to go that far, it’s important to take a proactive approach to prevent long-term eye damage. Here are a few tips to help relieve eye strain.
1. Keep your body hydrated
One of the chief causes of eye strain is dehydration, so it only makes sense that constant hydration will help counter extended screen exposure. Small adjustments to our habits and environment can go a long way in keeping our vision healthy. All you have to do is to drink lots of water.
Dehydration isn’t a localized phenomenon. If your eyes are dry, chances are your body requires hydration as well. Drinking water at regular intervals ensures that your body’s systems get the water it needs and will help mitigate the effects of prolonged screen exposure.
Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. If you drink many caffeinated beverages, you may have to drink more water to balance things out. You can use your phone to set reminders so you won’t forget.
2. Get a humidifier
Hydration and moisture go hand in hand, and the environment you’re in is just as important as your water intake. The air quality in your room can have a big impact on your health and comfort. For instance, if the humidity is too low, your skin will feel drier, and you need to hydrate more often to counteract the negative effects. Consider buying a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air.
Air conditioning and ventilation can also exacerbate eye strain and other eye-related conditions. Moving air also carries dust and other fine particulates around the room, which can end up in your eyes. If your eyes are already dry due to excessive screen exposure, irritation may occur. You may want to rearrange your workspace so that the vent is not directed at your face.
3. Take regular breaks
The only way to prevent computer-related eye strain is to look away from the screen, so make sure to schedule regular breaks to give your eyes enough time to replenish the hydration layer. Workplace studies have shown that regular short breaks can do wonders for your eye health. Step away from your workstation for a quick stretch and to refill your water bottle.
4. Close your eyes
Blinking is an essential component of eye health. A thin layer of liquid separates the eyeball from outside air, and if the film evaporates, your eyes will become red and strained. If you blink less frequently, your eyes will become more exposed to the air, and the layer will evaporate faster. Make it a point to close your eyes from time to time to replenish the liquid layer.
While blinking is an involuntary action, you may have to force yourself to remember to blink. If that’s too difficult for you, try closing your eyes for a few seconds every ten to fifteen minutes. Your eyes only need to blink once to replenish the liquid layer, so every little bit helps. Once eye strain sets in and closing your eyes no longer work, take a quick nap.
The bottom line
4 out of 5 computer users are at risk of computer vision syndrome, and while the effects aren’t permanent, the symptoms can be severe enough to hamper productivity and comfort. These four tips will help you mitigate the effects of prolonged screen exposure without the use of expensive gadgetry or untested medicine.