One of the biggest problems many of us are experiencing right now since transitioning to remote working is digital eye strain. Also known as computer vision syndrome, typical symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, tired eyes, and even pain in the neck and shoulders; and the cause is largely down to staring at computer screens all day.
Here are our top tips on how to look after your eyes while working from home.
1. Take regular eye breaks
If you work on a computer all day long, experts recommend taking regular eye breaks following the 20-20-20 rule - every 20 minutes, divert your focus to something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
2. Maintain good posture
Did you know that your posture and eyes are connected? When you sit at your computer, your feet should be flat on the floor and your wrists slightly elevated, rather than resting on your keyboard. Position your screen slightly below eye level, so your eyes are gazing downward, not straight ahead or up. Experts also recommend you should be about an arm’s length, or 18 to 25 inches, from your computer screen.
3. Increase your font size
If you are squinting to read text on your computer screen, adjust the font size which can reduce the strain on your eyes. If working from home is likely to continue into the future, you could consider investing in a bigger monitor.
4. Position your workstation near a window
Choose a location near a window for your workstation so you have enough natural light. You'll also be able to take a quick break to look out the window every time you gaze up from your computer screen.
5. Do your eye workouts
Your eyes contain muscles as well, which require daily exercise to stay healthy and strong. When you're in front of a screen all day, you should make a conscious effort to perform eye exercises at regular intervals to help reduce eye strain. This includes closing and opening your eyes, eye rolls, and even blinking. Studies have shown that people working at a computer blink less than they should, which can cause eye dryness, irritation and reduced vision. Try to get into the habit of blinking regularly.
6. Wear computer glasses
Blue light emitted by screens is harmful to your eyes, especially if you are exposed to it for long durations. Computer glasses, also known as blue-light-blocking glasses, have become popular as a way of alleviating the effects of digital eye strain. If you wear prescription glasses, you can also include blue light blocking technology into your lenses.
7. Eat eye-healthy meals
A healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining good eye health. Foods that are good for the eyes include leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale or asparagus, as well as legumes, nuts and beans. Vitamin A, which can be found in yellow and orange vegetables, including carrots and sweet potatoes, also improves eye health. Fruits like bananas, grapes, and mangoes are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which tend to prevent eye diseases. Omega 3 is excellent for tear formation, which relieves dry eyes, so eating salmon or other cold-water fish is great for maintaining healthy eyes.
8. Make sure your prescription is correct
If you wear glasses, make sure your prescription is up-to-date and that the glasses you’re wearing are right for the job. If your glasses are meant for distance, they might not be suitable for viewing text on a computer screen. It’s also important to schedule an eye exam with your optician or eye doctor at least once a year.
9. Create technology-free zones
And finally, think about how you can create technology-free zones in certain areas of your home, like your bedroom or bathroom. If you spend the entire day working at your computer, scrolling through your social media feed in the evening won't do your eyes any favours. Once you're finished for the day, truly unplug. Read a good book or spend quality time with family, without the devices.