On average, Americans spend over 7 hours a day looking at screens. This is about half of the time we’re awake, so it should be no surprise that as a result of this screen time, many Americans suffer from problems with their eyes.
One common affliction they have is eye strain. While it’s not dangerous, it can certainly be a troublesome and annoying condition to have. But the good news is, there are ways to alleviate it.
In this article, we’ll show you the symptoms of eye strain, as well as how to reduce eye strain so you take better care of your eyes!
What’s Eye Strain?
Eye strain (also known as eye fatigue) is a condition that happens when you overuse your eyes. So it’s possible to get eye strain from things other than digital devices, such as driving long distances or doing a project for hours.
Temporary eye strain is nothing to worry about since it can be alleviated in several ways (more on this later). But if your eyes constantly feel tired, no matter what you do, then it might be a sign of an underlying eye condition. In this case, you’ll want to book an eye exam near you to find out if there’s something more serious going on.
Eye Strain Symptoms
You’ll know immediately if you have eye strain because the symptoms are very noticeable. In fact, for many people, they’re so serious that they need to pause what they’re doing to alleviate the symptoms.
Eye strain symptoms include:
- Dry eyes
- Eye discomfort
- Red eyes
- Eye twitching
- Blurred vision
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
How to Reduce Eye Strain
While eye strain can be annoying to deal with, luckily, there are several ways you can decrease or even mitigate the symptoms. Here are some ways to reduce eye strain.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Even if your eye strain symptoms aren’t persistent, you should get your eyes checked regularly. For most people, this is every 1 to 2 years.
The eye doctor can give you an up-to-date prescription, as an outdated one can cause you to get worse eye strain. They can also diagnose you with other possible conditions, such as dry eye, so they can recommend the right steps forward to alleviate them. Being proactive means you’ll keep your eyes in fantastic condition.
Glare can be harsh on your eyes since it reflects bright light directly into your eyes. To fix this, you’ll want to be mindful of where you’re sitting, what light’s hitting your screens, and what part of the day it’s doing this. You can then adjust your working area and objects, and pull down the blinds when necessary to decrease glare.
You should also consider fitting your computer screen with an anti-glare screen. And if you wear glasses, you should switch to ones with anti-reflective coating on the lenses.
Adjust Your Lighting
Along those same lines, you should also adjust your lighting. It’s important that you don’t sit in the dark while working, as this is harsh on your eyes. But having excessively bright lights can also be bad for your eyes.
Again, you can pull down the blinds, as well as draw the curtains if needed. You can also either take out some light bulbs in the room or swap them out for soft white LED ones instead. And be mindful of where you place these lights; if possible, don’t put them directly over your work area.
Adjust the Lighting on Your Devices
Whether it’s your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you’ll have the option to adjust the brightness level. You’ll want to set it to around the same brightness as your surroundings.
Most (if not all) modern devices also give you the option to change the color temperature. For example, on smartphones, you might notice something called “Eye Comfort Shield”.
Devices emit blue light, which can contribute to eye strain. If you change the color temperature of your devices to warmer hues, such as red and orange, it can be easier on your eyes.
Have you noticed that when you’re on your computer or phone, you blink a lot less? You might not think much of it, but blinking actually has an important function. It keeps your eyes moist and lubricated so they function with little issues.
When you blink less while using your devices, this causes your eyes to dry out more easily. This, in combination with dry work environments, makes your eyes red and tired.
Try to make a conscious effort to blink more. If you still can’t get your eyes properly lubricated, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears to help your eyes out.
Practice the 20-20-20 Rule
When we get immersed in work, we can sometimes lose track of time. Before we know it, we’ve spent 5 hours in a row hunched over at our computer. There’s no wonder why our eyes, neck, and shoulder pay for it!
Practicing the 20-20-20 rule can keep eye strain symptoms at bay. Basically, every 20 minutes, you should take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away. This helps your eye muscles relax and stay refreshed.
Keep Your Eyes Happy and Healthy
Now you know all about eye strain, including how to reduce eye strain.
Make sure you get your eyes checked regularly, even if you’re not actively experiencing eye strain. Taking care of your eyes is vital; you only get one pair, after all. By having a professional examine them on a schedule, you’ll be ensuring a lifetime of happy and healthy eyes.
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