Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were probably guilty of spending a little too much time staring at screens. Now, with many people shifting to a work-from-home setting, the constant contact people have with digital screens that emit potentially harmful levels of blue light has likely increased, which can have detrimental effects on vision.
As many people continue to adapt to a new reality of remote working lifestyles, they must remember to take care of their eyes. Headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and eye fatigue are all symptoms of digital eye strain. I-MED Pharma is a leader in dry eye diagnosis and management. In this article, we will share some essential tips on what eye care professionals recommend to help you protect your eyes and keep dry eyes, eye fatigue, and other symptoms of digital eye strain at bay while working from home.
What Is Digital Eye Strain?
For many people, the transition to working from home demands spending endless hours in front of a computer screen. Doing this repeatedly throughout the week can cause some to experience issues such as blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes, itchy eyes, and other discomforting symptoms that affect vision. These symptoms are a result of digital eye strain. Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS), is a group of eye and vision-related problems that are caused by extended use of digital devices such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
While COVID-19 has most likely increased the constant contact people have with digital screens, there are things that individuals can do to help care for their eyes and mitigate the risk of developing digital eye strain.
How to Care for Your Eyes While Working From Home
Limiting screen time is the easiest way to prevent digital eye strain and other discomforting symptoms. However, that is easier said than done, especially when working from home. Fortunately, there are different habits that are easy to adapt to that will help reduce the effects of eye strain.
Maintain a Comfortable Distance
People working from home likely have a designated workspace that includes their work computer. When setting up these remote workspaces, it is important to ensure that the screen is a comfortable distance from where one would sit. Ideally, a person should have about an arm’s length distance between their face and computer screen. Computer screens should also be positioned so that they are at or just below eye level. Sitting too close to a screen can increase the risk of eye strain, so it’s important that remote workspaces are set up to ensure a comfortable distance between the screen and eyes.
Work-from-Home Eye Health Tip: Having trouble reading text on screens due to maintaining a safe distance? Try increasing your computer font size to reduce squinting and any unnecessary stress on your eyes.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Digital eye strain is something that has been around for a while and affected many people. It is also why the 20-20-20 rule came into play. It is essential to give your eyes a break from screens throughout the workday and this simple rule can help—every 20 minutes or so, stare at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to reset and focus on something different for a bit and can be effective in reducing eye strain and the discomforting symptoms that come along with it.
Reduce Reflection Glare
Most homes have something that many office spaces do not—natural light! While many people have the urge to set up their remote workspaces in the brightest rooms, too much light can create a harmful screen glare that increases the risk of eye strain. Workspaces should be positioned so sunlight does not cause a glare on the computer screen. If you are unable to relocate or reposition your workspace, invest in window shades, blinds, or curtains and use indoor lighting to eliminate screen glare.
Minimize Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are one of the most common symptoms of digital eye strain. Eyes need to stay moist to stay healthy. Naturally, people blink every 3-5 seconds or so to properly lubricate the eye. With each blink, the eyes release a “tear film” that soothes and coats the ocular surface. But people don’t blink as often when they are focused on a screen, thus resulting in dry, irritated eyes. That’s why it is of the utmost importance for those working from home to take the necessary steps to minimize dry eyes. While remembering to blink is a strong start, I-MED Pharma offers a variety of dry eye products that can help provide longer-lasting comfort and relief when working from home. Our I-DROP® premium lubricating eye drops help keep eyes moistened and provide advanced comfort. Additionally, taking omega-3 supplements can help relieve dry eyes.
With all the communication to maintain, deadlines to meet, and agendas to carry out while working remotely, it can be easy to power through a few straight hours of work without taking a break away from your computer screen. However, prolonging your time spent staring at a computer screen can increase eye fatigue and strain. It’s important to schedule breaks into your day. If necessary, set a timer on your computer or phone that reminds you to step away from the computer screen for a brief moment. Take a step outside for some fresh air, make yourself a healthy snack, tackle a quick household chore—whatever you have to do to give your eyes a break from screens.
Remember to Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Regular visits to the eye doctor have always been important. Now, with many people experiencing more time spent on screens due to working from home, regular eye examinations are even more crucial, especially if you are constantly experiencing the symptoms associated with digital eye strain. Since digital eye strain is a temporary condition, an eye doctor will be able to recommend different habits and products that can help you combat the detrimental effects increased screen time can have on your vision.
Don’t Let Digital Eye Strain Become the New Normal
With more and more workplaces allowing employees to work from home, digital eye strain is well on its way to becoming the new normal. It is important for remote employees to be mindful of their eyes and to take necessary precautions and safety measures to ensure that digital eye strain and the discomforting symptoms associated with it are avoided.
I-MED Pharma offers a wide variety of eye care products that can help better manage digital eye strain symptoms. Dry eyes are a common result of digital eye strain and I-MED’s dry eye products are formulated to keep eyes lubricated and provide long-lasting comfort. Try our viscoadaptive eye drops for superior moisturizing and lubrication of the ocular surface, our omega-3 supplement for dry eye relief, our ocular hygiene cleansers, or any of our dry eye products if you are working from home and having difficulty with digital eye strain symptoms.