3 Easy Ways to Avoid Digital Eye Strain (and Headaches)

One of the most common issues we hear about lately is eye fatigue, irritation and eye-related headaches, all from too much exposure to screens.  We call this digital eye strain.   And  there are many reasons for this, but it’s easier than you to keep your eyes healthy and feeling good!

Is Your Set Up Hurting Your Eyes?
The truth is, many of our ergo-compromised set ups and positions are dictated by our eyes.  Think about it.  If you can’t see what’s on your screen (poor eye site, tiny font, dirty screen etc.) you can bet that you will be hunching over and craning your neck to bring your eyes closer to your monitor so that you can see.

If you are a laptop user, and don’t use an external monitor, chances are you are sitting like a banana (C-Spine) in order to bring your eyes closer to the monitor to see.  Same goes for tablets and phones.

Strive to keep your screen 18 – 24 inches from your face.  However, if you are using a 27″ screen or higher, you may find that being between 20 – 30 inches away is the most comfortable viewing distance.  Experiment and see which feels the least stressful on your eyes.

What About Visibility?
There are a few things that can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see your screens.  The 3 most common are:

  1. Screen Resolution.  In general, the higher the resolution, the better.  Your images and font will be crisper and clearer and require less strain to see.
  2. Poor Contrast.  Make sure your screen is bright enough.  You’ll be surprised what a difference a bright screen makes.  The exception is at night when using your devices, try putting on the night filter to lesson the effects of blue light (more on that below).
  3. Glare. Light from windows and overhead lights can throw a nasty glare onto your screen(s)  making it hard to see.  Try to sit perpendicular to an open window and use window coverings to minimize glare.  You can also invest in a glare screen (which can double as a privacy screen).

What is All Of this Talk About Blue Light?

Blue light refers to a very short wavelength of visible light, which the human eye can see.  These wavelengths provide basic illumination and also helps to increase feelings of well-being.  Common sources of blue light include florescent and LED lighting, cell phones, tablets, laptops and computer screens.

The problem however is when we are exposed to too much blue light (which we are), then it can actually be harmful to our eyes. The biggest threat that it poses is the development of macular degeneration (a serious eye disease).  Too much blue light late at night, also messes with our natural production of melatonin (sleepy hormone) which can lead to sleep disturbances.

So, in short, please take breaks from staring at your screen, check out filters on your screens and eye wear to filter out blue light.  And make it a point to turn off screens at least 1 full hour before going to bed.

And of course, if you are struggling with eye strain and headaches, it may be time to talk to your eye doctor about causes and solutions.

Until the next time!

Vivienne & Andrew

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