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8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

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We all spend a considerable amount of time on computer monitors, smartphones, or another digital devices. This produces visual stress and can cause a new type of problems termed "Computer Vision Syndrome" (CVS).  Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eye, blurred vision, headache, neck and shoulder pain, red eye, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

What can you do to reduce your risk and limit discomfort?   

1.  A comprehensive eye exam specific to address your symptoms 

This is the first (and most important) step to treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. Please make a point of letting Dr. Roth know your working habits and conditions, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

Measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information with you when you come in for your visit.  Prescriptions are specific to the your working distance.

Computer Vision Syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our office in Old Bridge, NJ.  It is also influenced if you work in an air conditioned and heated office versus working outdoors because that influences how humid the air is.   

Often, people who may have good distant sight, assume they don’t need any glasses, however, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting 

Excessively bright light shining in though a window or harsh interior lighting can cause of eyestrain.  Reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades.  Diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs.  You may find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on your eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, Anti-Reflective (AR) lenses reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

New flat panel desktop display should have a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.  Higher resolution is usually better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then you should make it more dim. If, however, it looks dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.  Better yet, make sure you are wearing eyeglasses that are prescribed specifically for computer use.   
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. Our doctors at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ recommend special glare reducing lenses that reduce glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Roth about customized computer glasses.  These are always a prescribed lens made to improve your visual comfort.  These are for prescribed even if someone is able to see clearly at distance and for people who wear Contact Lenses.  Many people who wear contact lenses find that their eyes feel dry after wearing them for several hours of working on screen. 

We at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don't forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up less often.  Often we only make a partial blink when working on computer, and they aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This "20-20-20 rule" is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Dr. Roth at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge and set up appointment.  We can also prescribe the right type of eye drop medication, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR lenses so they can help you improve your eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.