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Tips to alleviate eye strain

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In today’s digital age, people are spending an increasing amount of time in front of their digital devices. Studies suggest that the average American adult spends more than 8 hours a day of digital screen time. Making the growing number of complaints of eye strain, dry eye, headaches, and insomnia, no coincidence. According to research from the Vision Council Organization, more than half of individuals (59%) surveyed reported experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.

Digital eye strain is related to the prolonged use of computers and digital devices. Thankfully, digital eye strain will not permanently damage your eyes. However, it may cause some uncomfortable symptoms. While most individuals are not likely to give up their screen time, there are some things you can do for relief. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has suggested some tips to help ease eye fatigue:

  1. Adjust your position: When working at the computer, it is best to position yourself approximately an arm’s length away (32-35 inches). Position the screen so that your eyes are focused slightly downward.
  2. Adjust lighting: If your screen is brighter than the light around you, your eyes must work harder. Try adjusting the brightness of your screen to match the surrounding light. You may also consider changing the contrast and font size on your screen to reduce eye strain.
  3. Reduce glare: Glass screens can create a glare that can cause eye fatigue. Try using a matte screen filter. This will reduce glare and help alleviate eye strain.
  4. Follow the “20-20-20” rule: The “20-20-20” rule is essential when spending a lot of time in front of the computer. Take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Looking in the distance allows your eyes to relax.
  5. Remember to blink: Research suggests that individuals blink half as much as normally, when in front of their computers and digital devices. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting moisture and keeps the surface of the eyes from drying out. Making a conscious effort to blink as often as possible, will keep eyes moist and reduce dry eye.
  6. Keep eyes moist: Extended time in front of the computer can make your eyes feel dry. One way to reduce dry eye is to use artificial tears. Another effective solution is using a desktop humidifier. Using a humidifier can help add moisture back into the air and reduce the feeling of dry eyes.
  7. Consider prescription eyeglasses: Individuals that work at their computer for long periods may consider using eyeglasses specifically for reducing eye strain. These are prescription glasses that are made for focusing on the computer and may reduce headaches and eye fatigue associated with lengthy screen time.
  8. Limit screen time before bed: Evidence suggests that blue light may affect the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle, making it more difficult to get to sleep. Poor sleep will increase eye fatigue and other symptoms. Consider limiting screen time one to two hours before bedtime.

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