People who use computers for longer periods experience numerous uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, back pain, neck strain, and wrist pain (overuse injury). The most prevalent symptoms of using computers for a prolonged period are eye strain, dry eye, and blurred vision.
Unfortunately, most computer users overlook these symptoms. Research shows eyesight problems and vision damage are frequently reports issues among computer users. Symptoms of screen fatigue or digital eye strain are caused by how people use screens rather than the screen itself.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure an ergonomic work environment to avoid or overcome problems associated with computer screens. At the same time, you have to look after your eyes by avoiding insufficient and infrequent rest periods, unsuitable lighting, incorrect positioning of your computer screen, and poorly designed work area. Here are a few eye care tips for computer users.
Take Frequent Breaks
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Working on a computer for a prolonged period causes your eyes to focus on the screen, causing fatigue and strain. It is crucial to take brief rest to give your eyes some rest. Experts recommend giving your eyes at least a 20-30 minutes break. Make sure you have sufficient screen behind the screen. That way, you can look beyond the screen and relax your eyes.
Adjust Screen Settings/Position
Adult your screen settings to levels of contrast and brightness that you find comfortable. Clean your computer screen with a soft cloth. You can also use commercial screen sprays for deep cleaning.
Maintain a distance of at least 50cm between your eyes and the screen surface. Select a suitable font size when setting up software. Ensure the screen center is 10cm to 15cm below your eye level.
Eliminate unnecessary airflow over your eyes because it can exacerbate symptoms of dry eye. It is particularly important for people who wear contact lenses. The heat generated by your computer can dry the surrounding air, leading to dry eye symptoms. You can use eye drops to alleviate any discomfort.
Adjust Contrast and Resolution
Proper resolution setting offers clarity and improves comfort levels. Adjust your screen’s resolution to the highest your monitor can support. If the highest resolution makes icons too small, make sure you increase the font size to compensate.
In addition, adjust the contrast between the background and characters on the monitor to read the letters easily. Brightness adjustment is essential because it protects your eyes from eyestrain. Ensure the display is not too dim or bright.
Minimize Reflected Glare
Reduce reflected glare on your computer’s screen using dimmer switches on lights, window treatments, and glare reduction filters. Make sure you use glare reduction filters approved by the American Optometric Association.
Proper adjustment will eliminate reflected images on your computer screen. Eliminate bright light sources to reduce glare. Focus on removing bright light sources from your peripheral vision. Position your screen perpendicular to windows or any other bright light source.
Wear Blue Light Glasses
A general eyeglass prescription is not an adequate option to protect your eyes from strain. Computers are higher than a typical reading task. People who wear standard eyeglasses don’t have adjusted bifocals for this new distance and angle.
Therefore, these glasses are not suitable for using the computer. On the other hand, blue light glasses can protect your eyes even if you use your computer for a prolonged period. Research shows that ultraviolet (UV) light is dangerous to the skin.
However, a growing body of research evidence concludes that it can significantly damage people’s eyes. At the same time, the blue light emitted from your computer screen can cause macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Blue light penetrated deep inside your eye’s structure can damage retina cells, leading to a wide range of complications, including permanent vision loss. Blue light glasses can protect your eyes from ultraviolet and noxious blue light.
Unlike traditional glasses or lenses, blue light glasses do not discriminate in the light spectrum. These glasses can accurately block higher energy and short-wavelength blue light, allowing computer users to read the screen without fatiguing or straining their eyes.
Besides, some high-end blue light glasses allow users to zoom in on light, blocking the unnecessary light and letting some light get through. Such blue light glasses designs are specific for more selective light. Here are a few more benefits of blue light glasses for computer users.
Fewer Headaches and Migraines
Some systematic review studies show that about 64% to 90% of people who use computers for long time experience headaches and migraines. Eyes strain due to blue light can trigger migraines and make headaches more frequent, affecting your productivity. Thanks to blue-light-blocking glasses, you can reduce the risk of headaches and migraines.
Improved Sleep Patterns
Blue light can suppress melatonin production in your brain, leading to disrupted circadian rhythms and an increased risk of sleep disorders like insomnia. Remember, poor sleep patterns are directly proportional to numerous health conditions, including stress, anxiety, diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, inadequate metabolic and homeostatic levels.
When you use your computer, smartphone, or tablet before bedtime, you will experience sleep problems. Shorter wavelengths of visible blue light have antagonistic effects on melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine. At the same time, it triggers your brain to speed up cortisol production, leading to increased stress and depression.
Blue light glasses can reduce these symptoms by blocking these shorter wavelengths. As a result, your brain won’t produce elevated cortisol levels and suppressed levels of melatonin hormones. Thus, wearing these glasses won’t disrupt your sleep patterns and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm even if you use your computer before bedtime.
Eye problems and disorders caused by prolonged computer can affect your overall health and wellbeing. The computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain can result in permanent vision loss if you fail to mitigate the effects of harmful blue light.
Health professionals recommend maintaining a balanced diet, performing regular exercise, and use other protective measures, such as blue light glasses, to reduce the risk of cataracts, digital eyestrain, and macular degeneration.