During the time of COVID-19, many of us turned to working from home instead of from the office. But although working from home can be quite convenient and comfortable, with no need to suffer through morning traffic, deal with unpleasant coworkers, or adhere to a rigid schedule–there are still some challenges involved. One issue that people encounter when using a computer at home (or even at the office) is eye strain or fatigue.
Eye strain is a common problem among Americans, and the problem has been growing ever since the invention of desktop computers and mobile phones. When you’re staring at a screen for hours each day, your eyes are bound to get tired. In the United States, around 70% of adults report spending at least five hours a day using digital devices. Subsequently, a survey of 10,000 U.S. adults found that 65% reported symptoms of eye strain.
How can I prevent eye strain?
If you find that you have no problem using a computer all day at work, but at home your eyes start to burn, you might need to figure out why and adjust some factors. If you find that you’re having trouble at the office, work with your facilities group to fix some of these same issues.
- Lighting. The lighting in your workspace plays a big role in eye strain. If the lighting in the room is too harsh or bright, it can create a glare effect on your computer screen, causing your eyes to work harder. And if the lighting in the room is too low, your eyes may be overwhelmed by the brightness of your computer screen. The solution is to find a lighting balance that works for you. Try playing around with the light switch or dimmer before you start work.
- Computer settings. Nowadays, computers can be configured to the user’s preference. This includes the ability to change text size, brightness, and other visual options. If you find yourself squinting at your screen, try making your font a little bigger. But the most important thing you should do to reduce eye strain is install a blue light filter. Blue light has been scientifically proven to cause eye damage, and filtering it out may just solve your eye strain troubles. Many modern computers come with a built-in blue light filter that changes your screen’s tint to a warmer color, which can be found in Preferences/Settings. If your computer doesn’t have a preinstalled filter, you can download one from the internet.
- Take regular breaks. Scientists agree that one way to prevent eye strain is to take regular breaks from your computer. A general rule of thumb is the “20/20/20” rule: After looking at a screen for 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
If you take these key steps, your eye issues may no longer bother you. But if you’ve done all of the above and still experience eye strain, consider making an appointment for an eye exam.
Written by Natan Rosenfeld