We all know the feeling – a stinging sensation, sore, tired, watery eyes, and all we want to do is rub or keep our eyes closed. Eye strain is annoying and frustrating, especially if you work at a computer all day and frequently experience these symptoms. But the good news is that there are ways to avoid eye strain from occurring.

Seven Ways to Prevent Eye Strain

Start With an Eye Exam

It’s never a bad idea to start by getting a professional opinion from an eye doctor. Your optometrist will complete a comprehensive eye exam in order to determine if there are any underlying issues. You can also discuss how you use and interact with digital displays such as a work computer, TV, phone, or tablet with your doctor. You’ll also want to let them know how far away the devices are from your face so that they test your vision at those distances.

Use Proper Lighting

How the lighting is set up near your workstation, how bright the light is, and what type of light can all affect your vision. Eye strain is commonly caused when light is too bright, whether from outside sunlight or interior light bulbs. In most office spaces, the overhead light is too bright, so if you’re working from home, try to create an ambient light that is about half as bright as the office.

  • Cover windows with light-colored drapes or shades to reduce exterior light and glare.
  • Use fewer bulbs inside or choose a bulb with a lower intensity.
  • Choose LED lighting with soft white light.
  • Try using lamps rather than overhead lighting.
  • Position your workstation so that sunlight is at your side, rather than in front or behind you.
  • Install an anti-glare screen on the monitor.

Adjust the Settings

Adjusting certain settings on your display screen can also help reduce computer eye strain.

  • Brightness: If your computer is a light source on its own, it could be too bright. Adjust the brightness of the display so that it’s close to the brightness of your surroundings.
  • Color Temperature: Blue light, which is often the color that is emitted from computer screens, can increase eye strain. Adjust the color temperature so that orange or red wavelength hues are stronger.

Upgrade Your Monitors

The quality of the monitor can also impact the severity of your eye strain. Old CRT screens can flicker, which is a significant factor in eye strain. When shopping for a monitor, choose a flat-panel LED screen that has an anti-reflective surface. You’ll also want to note the display’s resolution. A high-resolution screen has a small “dot pitch” and generally has sharper images. Look for a monitor with a .28 mm or smaller display.

Blink More

Telling you to blink more might sound like asking you to count how many times you breathe in and out – it’s often not something that we pay attention to. But blinking is an essential part of keeping our eyes moist. When we’re focusing on work at a computer, we tend to blink less, which can lead to dryer eyes and more irritation. If you begin to feel your eyes becoming tired, try taking a minute just to blink, but do it intentionally. Try blinking 10-15 times, but slowly, as if you’re about to fall asleep. This will help keep your eyes lubricated.

Take Breaks

In addition to blinking breaks, it’s also important and healthy to get up away from your desk every once in a while as well. Aim for a five to 10-minute break every hour; during this time you can stretch your legs, arms, and neck. And while giving your entire body a break can be beneficial. It’s also important to give your eyes a rest throughout your day. Your eye doctor may suggest following the 20-20-20 rule. This rule is when you look at something that is at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. This can help relax the muscles that have been working so hard focusing on close-up images.

Try Photochromic Glasses

Your eye doctor may also suggest trying a pair of photochromic glasses. They work similarly to adjusting the color temperature on the display. The glasses work by reducing the amount of blue light that your eyes are exposed to.

Work With an Eye Doctor at Spectrum Eye Care in Colorado Springs

Our team at Spectrum Eye Care is committed to helping you get the best eye care possible, whether you’re struggling with computer eye strain, an age-related disease, or simply need an updated prescription for your eyeglasses. And if you haven’t had an eye exam in the last year or two, we can complete a full examination to ensure that your eyes are healthy.

Give these tips for avoiding computer eye strain a try, and if symptoms aren’t improving, contact us right away.