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How to care for your eyes when you work with screens



Due to increasing digitalization and advancements in technology transforming labour markets and the new work-from-home culture accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, more of us now spend our working days at a computer screen than ever before. The bad news is, if you regularly spend time working at a screen, you’re more likely to experience the symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, which can include headaches, neck pain and blurred vision. But what can you do to protect your eyes from excessive screen time amidst a hectic work schedule? 

– Modify your workstation – One of the easiest ways to protect your eyes, neck and back when sitting at a screen is by modifying your workstation to ensure that you’re comfortable and that your eyes are not strained. This could include investing in a new desk or purpose-built adjustable office chair that’s more suited to long stints at a screen than your typical setup. By tilting or angling your screen so that it’s below eye level and ensuring that your eyes are generally no more or less than 20-40 inches from the screen, you should be able to create the optimal working environment in which your eyes and body aren’t under too much strain. 

– Follow the 20-20-20 rule –  Because we tend to blink less when we’re looking at a screen, our eyes can quickly dry out and become irritated and tired when working at the computer. The best way to avoid optical discomfort and straining is by sticking to the 20-20-20 rule, where you take a break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at an object that’s at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. While this may sound trivial, this simple exercise can go a long way in protecting your eyes during screen time.


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– Reduce glare and use adequate lighting – As part of your workstation modification, invest in adequate room lighting such as adjustable LED lamps that you can turn up or down as necessary. Try to reduce glare from the screen wherever possible, which can strain your eyes and lead to itchiness, headaches and tiredness. Easy ways to do this include using a monitor hood, reducing the brightness settings on your device or even wearing sunglasses when you feel that your eyes are under strain. Try to keep lighting in the room low to avoid light reflecting off the screen and causing residual glare. 

– Make sure you go to the opticians regularly and keep up with appointments – If you have to wear glasses or contact lenses to use a computer screen effectively, ensure that you take extra care to give your eyes a rest. Because computer screens can exacerbate dryness of the eyes, ensure that you stay well hydrated and follow the tips above to alleviate discomfort and CVS symptoms. Always keep up with optician appointments to check up on the overall health of your eyes, especially if you put in lots of hours of screen time each month. 

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