Whether you are working, studying or just relaxing, most of our activities today revolve around staring at screens – be it a laptop, tablet or smartphones. In fact, you’re reading this post on a digital screen. Case in point.

If your eyes start to feel dry and tired or if you get a head ache at the end of the day, then the culprit is your digital devices. All these symptoms point to a unique affliction that plagues the modern era – computer vision syndrome.

It doesn’t take long for these symptoms to show considering the hours we spend in front of multiple screens. Fortunately, there are some checks you can put in place to minimise the damage our constantly glowing screens do to our eyes. Here are a few of them:

Maintain the right distance from your screen

First and foremost, always place your computer screen about 20 to 30 inches, or at arm's length away from your face. You should be able to comfortably reach out and high five your screen. Your screen should ideally be around 10 to 15 degrees below eye level.

When at work, make sure your chair supports your spine and keeps your body upright. It should be at the right height so that your feet rest flat on the ground. This trick will not only keep you at the right eye-level with your system, but it also helps you maintain the proper posture.

Remember the 20-20-20 rule

Work for 20 minutes, look away from your screen and stare at something that is 20 ft away for 20 seconds. Our eyes have muscles to help us focus on things. If you’re constantly looking at your screen for hours on end, you are straining those muscles. They’ll have a hard time adjusting when we move our eyes.

Don’t forget to blink!

Blinking is a way for the eyes to take rest. In fact, we blink almost 15 – 20 times a minute on an average. However, screens have a way of making us forget to do that. Blinking ensures our eyes stay moist. If you suffer from dry, irritated eyes, chances are you are not blinking enough. Make a conscious effort to blink and take little breaks to look away from your screen.

Adjust the brightness and the ambient light

The constant glare from your screen can stress our eyes out severely. One of the simplest ways to reduce this glare is by adjusting their screens' brightness. Your display needs to be at approximately the same brightness as your surrounding workstation. If you’re confused, look at a blank white webpage. If it makes your system look like a light source, your display is too bright. If it looks dull and grey, it may be too dark. This is even more important at night. If you are in the habit of checking your social profiles or just read before you go to bed, turn on the adaptive brightness on your smartphone. It’s a useful feature that optimises your phone’s brightness level for the available light. Many people often have this feature switched off.

Phones and laptops also come with a night mode feature. Night mode reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your screen’s display, giving it a more yellow or orange hue. This makes it easy on your eyes when you need to look at your device through the night.

If you don’t have a built-in feature to help you manage your screen’s brightness, there are several apps available that will help you with the same. They can alter the colour of your display, automatically optimise dimness/brightness depending on your ambient light, remind you to take a break from looking at your screen, etc.

Minimize glare

Bright lights either from outdoor sunlight or harsh interior lighting also causes eye irritation. You should never use your smartphone or laptop in direct sunlight. When indoors, ensure you aren’t sitting with your back to a window; sunlight should never fall on your screen. The glare it causes harms your eyes.

Try not to work near bright lights in your office or reflective surfaces. If they can’t be avoided, get an anti-glare, matte finish filter for your monitor screen.

Consider computer glasses

We only wear glasses if we have power. However, it is a good idea to wear non-powered anti-glare glasses, which will increase contrast, and optimize your vision while looking at digital screens for long hours. While anti-glare glasses are the basic version, there are more advanced ones such as Blu-V lenses. Computer glasses have a yellow tint which works as a blue light filter whereas blue lenses are completely clear. This means that they act as a blue light filter and won’t affect your vision in any way. These lenses can also be made for powered glasses and is one of the full proof ways to protect your eyes against digital screen. To get yours, visit your nearest Specsmakers store.

If you are constantly on your mobiles and laptops, it is a good idea to regularly check your eyes. Don’t miss signs that you need glasses and gift yourself a clear vision.
Odelia Christina