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Eye Care Tips for Online Workers

Eye Care Tips for Online Workers

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I’ll be the first to admit that I spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a screen. But the pandemic has made it worse. Although I’m one of the fortunate few who were able to successfully transition to remote work, this new work setup has done a number on my eyes.

In the last few months, I’ve noticed my eyes get dry faster and more frequently. There have been instances when my vision would blur for a few seconds. A quick Google search told me both are symptoms of digital eyestrain.

What is Digital Eyestrain?

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Prolonged digital screen use will lead to a rash of symptoms, from blurred vision to dry eyes, unless you practice proper eye care. Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Otherwise known as “computer vision syndrome,” this is an eye- and vision-related problem that occurs from prolonged digital screen use. This includes your computer, tablet, and smartphone.

So what happens when you stare at screens all day? Expect the following symptoms:

  • sore and tired eyes
  • watery or dry eyes
  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • sensitivity to light

Although it’s uncomfortable and annoying, digital eyestrain can go away by practicing proper eye care.

What is Proper Eye Care?

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How do you protect your eyes when you work online all day? For starters, give yourself a break away from the screen every 20 minutes and take 20 seconds to stare at an object about 20 feet away. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Given that working, or even studying, at home has blurred the line between our professional and personal lives, practicing eye care can be difficult. Personally, I’ve increased my smartphone use just so I can take a few minutes off my work.

But self-care is a priority during these trying times.

So here are some tips on how to take care of your eyes.

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  • Put distance between you and your screen. You should be at least an arm’s length away from your computer screen.
  • Put more importance on your workstation’s lighting. Your computer screen should be the same level of brightness as your workspace. Either modify the screen’s brightness or invest in proper lighting.
  • Give yourself breaks from your screens. You should observe the 20/20/20 rule when you’re working or studying. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at an object at least 20 feet away.
  • Blink a lot. You might not notice it, but you forget to blink when you’re looking at a digital screen. Blinking more often will help moisten your eyes and prevent irritation and itchiness.
  • Visit your optometrist. You might be hesitant to do this because of the rapidly increasing cases, but some eye conditions can worsen over time. If you think your digital eyestrain is severe, you will need to visit your doctor for treatment.

In addition to these tips, consider taking a break from work. The pandemic has taken a physical and mental toll on everyone. There’s nothing wrong with calling in sick or using one of your vacation days to rest your eyes.

What Else Can You Do to Protect Your Eyes?

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One simple act can help protect your eyes further; if you use your phone before sleeping, try to control yourself. Do this consistently and it may reduce eye strain. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

No. The tips listed above will be useless if you don’t take care of your eyes outside of work hours. Digital eyestrain is worsened because of how you use your smartphone. In recent months, I’ve decided to scale back my usage.

Here’s how I did it.

  • I keep my phone off the dinner table
  • I only check my phone at certain times throughout the workday
  • I don’t use my phone at least an hour before going to bed

Although you don’t have to do any of these, they do help reduce eyestrain. With hospitals at full capacity these days, the last thing you want to do is visit one for an eye checkup. Take care of your eyes to protect yourself.

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