I will be the first to admit that I spend so much time staring at screens. I do it in my free time, while eating dinner with my husband, it’s basically my job to stare at a computer screen. As a result, I’m near sighted and need glasses when I want to focus on something far away and I know that it’s become part of pretty much everyone’s daily lives. Still, there are ways to avoid or at least minimize the damage of this addictive habit.

Computer Vision Syndrome (aka Digital Eye Strain) is the umbrella terms for eye and vision problems relating to staring at a screen too long. As expected, the issues grow with more screen usage. People report eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck/shoulder pain. But the cause is usual a combination of a few of the following: poor lighting, screen glare, too close or too far from the screen, poor posture, and already existing vision problems.

To reduce the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome, first, take care of your eyes. You may want to look into getting glasses, or have your prescription checked if you already have them. There are some glasses also specifically designed to be used if you plan on staring at a digital screen for extended periods of time.

How you stare at your screen is also important. You may ask “but how do you stare at a screen wrong?” Apparently, it’s a thing. When working at a computer, you want to have good posture—so back straight and feet flat on the floor. The screen should be about arm’s length away and just below eye level. The room should be well lit but hopefully in a way that avoids glare on the screen. Also, you’ll want to take frequent breaks from staring at the screen, especially if you’re doing it wrong. Many people suggest the 20-20-20 rule in which you take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. It gives your eyes a break from all the work, just like we need breaks from running and being awake. When it comes to your phones, try to use your phones in well lit areas and take breaks from it frequently.

Now that I’ve told all of you how to properly work with digital screens, I’m going to take a break from this screen then maybe look into those blue-light glasses. Maybe I’ll talk about that next time.

Resources: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome

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