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Could Working From Home Be Hurting Your Vision?

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Working at home certainly has its advantages, such as no commute and more flexible hours, but there can be unexpected consequences such as dry eye and eye strain. Individuals who spend a good deal of their day on a computer or other digital device may have headache, blurred vision, sore eyes, or an achy back.  

When working in the office, people can take coffee breaks and socialize, while those who work solo at home, often spend more time on the computer without breaks.   They often work beyond the typical 9 to 5 schedule. All this can increase the likelihood of developing digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), affects an estimated 70% of adults, especially those between the ages of 18 and 34.  Working on computer, concentrating, physically focusing, and pointing the eyes in toward the screen (converging) for long periods, can lead to eye strain.  This can be exacerbated when working on certain monitors.  

When we work on a screen, or even when reading a printed book, we tend to blink less often. Blinking is very important in keeping the front part of the eye moist.  Blinking also stimulates the glands that are on the edges of the lids to produce the oil that keeps the eye moist.  This oil also prevents tears from evaporating too quickly and drying out the eyes.  Dry eyes can cause blurry vision and that causes further eye strain.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

Some of the common symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Sore Eye
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck, back and shoulder pain

How Can I Prevent Digital Eye Strain?

Below are some helpful tips to reduce the negative impact of screen time on our eyes. .

Take Breaks

  • Take frequent breaks that don’t require screen time.
  • Drink plenty of water. 
  • Take a walk or a short nap. These breaks not only give your eyes a rest, but can rest your mind for a few minutes so you can work more efficiently.
  • Adopting the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend in front of a screen, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This will minimize straining your eyes and will encourage you to blink more, and will provide your eyes with the needed lubrication.  

Adjust Screen Brightness

Bright screens can put a burden on your eyes.  Consider adjusting your screen’s brightness.

Have a Vision Exam that is specific for heavy computer users.  

If you spend long periods in front of the screen, it is important to schedule an eye examination with us.  We can recommend eyeglasses that are designed specifically for computer use.  They enable you to be more productive at your job, with less strain.  We test and measure tear quality and quantity, and the ability to converge and diverge your visual system.  Special filters reduce glare from the computer screen.  

Whether you are troubled from any of the symptoms related to digital eye strain or want to prevent these problems, please consider scheduling an appointment in our office, Family Eye Care in Old Bridge. With the right eye direction and work habits, you will be more successful and reduce eye strain.

Q&A With Our Optometrist

How long does it take to recover from computer eye strain?

Often symptoms of digital eye strain can be addressed within hours, if the answer is special computer eyeglasses.  At times, there are more complex issues that may require Vision Therapy.  If you have recurrent eye strain, please let us know.  We will identify the problems and offer solutions to solve them.  

Can digital eye strain affect my work productivity?

Definitely.  You may think spending hours in front of a computer screen will improve your productivity, when in reality, it may do just the opposite.  A study at the University of Alabama/Birmingham School of Optometry identified that even relatively minor vision problems, such as eye strain, disrupt worker productivity by at least 20%.

Take steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen.  Establish proper working distances and posture for screen viewing. To learn more and to alleviate or prevent eye strain, contact Family Eye Care today.