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Sharp Health News

6 tips to reduce eye strain while working from home

May 3, 2022

Man with glasses rubbing eyes in front of computer

Since the pandemic, many people have transitioned to working from home and are spending more time than ever before looking at screens. More screen time has led to more people experiencing digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Digital eye strain can cause visual fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. Many people may also experience dry eye from blinking less than they normally do when working at a computer.

“While these symptoms cause discomfort, the good news is digital eye strain is temporary and will resolve with time,” says Dr. Jennifer Tam, an optometrist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “Many people feel better after adjusting their screen habits.”

Dr. Tam shares 6 tips to help reduce eye strain while you work from home:

  1. Change your lighting. Improve ambient lighting around your computer to match the same intensity. For example, do not work in the dark with the computer as the glowing source of light.
     
  2. Reduce glare. Apply an anti-glare filter to the front of the screen, adjust computer settings to night light mode, or wear an antireflective pair of blue-light-blocking glasses.
     
  3. Position yourself properly. Maintain a proper sitting position and align the top of the screen to eyebrow level. Your screen should be positioned at a 15-to-20-degree angle downward in your line of vision.
     
  4. Take a break away from the screen. When using a computer for an extended period, take regular breaks. Follow the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
     
  5. Blink more. Try blinking exercises. Close your eyes and blink hard three times. Allow your natural tears to coat the surface of your eye and help prevent dry eye symptoms.
     
  6. Schedule annual eye exams. Regular eye examinations are important, especially if you are constantly experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain. Uncorrected vision can strain your eyes even more. Your eye doctor may correct any possible refractive error, which occurs when the shape of your eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image. Even a mild prescription may be beneficial.

“The key to working from home is balance,” says Dr. Tam. “Make sure you take those breaks and set up your workstation appropriately to let you work smarter and not harder. If you need some guidance or have any digital eye strain symptoms, seek an eye care provider to help you address these concerns.”

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