Digital screens are everywhere. Just think about how many screens you interact with daily. For myself, I have a computer a work, a computer at home, a television to watch, a tablet to play on and smartphone for everything in between. I have a digital screen for nearly every part of my life! And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Reports show that almost 70% of all Canadians own a smart phone, and I’m willing to bet an even greater number own a separate television or computing device too. Frankly, that’s a lot to look at and sometimes our eyes can’t handle it.
You see, here’s the problem. When you are focused on something, like reading an article on the web, you naturally start blinking less. Less blinking means your eyes dry out faster, and dry eyes are a serious problem. Furthermore, if the process is repeated frequently enough, those dry eyes can become very difficult to treat.
So, what can you do to avoid dry eyes and make sure your eyes stay healthy? I’m glad you asked.
Get the lighting right
This point is two fold, as you can get the lighting wrong in two ways. First, if you’re reading a bright screen in a dark room, that’s going to cause you eye strain. Second, if you’re working on a screen in overly bright conditions that’s going to cause strain. Many computer users find overhead fluorescent lights, for example, to be a serious pain point. When possible, use floor lamps that provide indirect lighting instead.
Get a better screen
All screens are not created equal. Old displays can be especially hard on your eyes. If you’re using a CRT-monitor or television set, it’s time to get it replaced. Flat screens aren’t going to solve all your problems, but they’ll at least lessen the impact the screen has on your eyes.
Adjusting the display settings of your computer is another method you can use to help reduce eye strain and fatigue. This can be anything from turning your display brightness down, making the text size larger (so it requires less eye strain) or changing the “color temperature” for better long-term viewing.
Use Eyedrops (and not protective eyewear)
If you are starting to feel some dryness in your eyes, don’t hesitate to use eye drops. Eye drops help invigorate strained eyes and provide immediate relief to many symptoms of dry eyes. Don’t hesitate to use artificial tears. Like the name suggests, they add to the eye’s natural tear chemistry just like adding lotion to dry skin. Remember to use them repeatedly during visually demanding tasks.
Take more breaks and blink more often
Giving your eyes regular breaks from intense focus is very important to keeping them healthy and avoiding dry, irritated eyes. Don’t forget to blink regularly to make sure your eyes stay moist. It can also be helpful to “exercise” your eyes. This can be as simple as rolling them around a few times while your eyes are closed. Anything to get your eyes out of “intense focus” mode.
Get a comprehensive eye exam
Not only is it a good idea to get a general eye exam regularly, but if you’re experiencing regular dry eyes and strain while using a computer, you might need a change in prescription or new glasses. We can offer you total solutions for all your eye-care needs. Give us a call today at 403.526.4849.