Daily routines have changed dramatically for a majority of Irish people in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. With more people working from home, it is more important than ever to look after your vision and try to reduce eye strain.
Whether you are working on a laptop or keeping up-to-date with the latest news on your mobile phone, your daily screen time has no doubt seen a dramatic increase over the previous weeks and will continue across the coming number of weeks.
While eye strain is not usually serious and tends to go once you rest your eyes, symptoms to look out for include eye discomfort, headaches, sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes, difficulty focusing, watery eyes, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and increased sensitivity to light.
While Specsavers understands screen time for work is largely unavoidable, the company is here to offer professional advice on ways to manage computer strain and ensure a healthy working and living environment in the midst of this current situation.
Optometrist and store director Kerril Hickey has the following tips for anyone working at home:
Rest your eyes – Take regular breaks from looking at your screen. Take a minute to stare out a window as looking into a distance relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye, which in turn reduces eye fatigue
Use adequate lighting – Poor lighting, including glare and reflections, can result in eye fatigue. Use curtains/blinds to reduce brightness of excessive sunlight, avoid sitting under big overhead/fluorescent lights, and where possible, use floor lamps instead.
Reduce glare – Reflections on your computer screen can cause glare. Try reducing glare and reflections on your computer screen by attaching an anti-glare screen to your monitor – a slightly less drastic measure than changing up your wall colour to a dark, matt shade. Any glasses wearers out there should use lenses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.
Adjust your monitor’s settings – Ensure the brightness of your screen is the same as the surroundings and adjust font sizes and your monitor’s colour temperature to alter the number of blue colours on your screen. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer-wavelength hues, such as orange and red
Modify your workstation – Assess your workstation. Start with ensuring your workstation and chair are of an appropriate height to one another. Adjust the monitor height so that the top of the screen is at, or slightly below, eye level. Your eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen. Your computer screen should be 20 to 24 inches from your eyes and the centre of the screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below your eye line. Improper posture while working at a computer can also add strain to your back.
Upgrade your display – Swap out an old CRT (cathode ray tube ) monitor for an LCD screen. LCD screens are much easier on the eyes, do not flicker in the way CRT does, and usually have an anti-reflective surface.
Kerril Hickey also suggests that any glasses and contact lens wearers should ensure that they wear lenses specifically for computers.
"Wearing prescription glasses gives the greatest comfort to wearers while using a computer," he said. "I would encourage contact lens wearers to consider wearing glasses while they work from home, especially at a time when their screen time might be higher, whether it’s a combination of increased workload, keeping up to date with ongoing events on your phone or laptop, or playing with kids on a device using a screen. Contact lenses can become dry and uncomfortable during sustained screen work."
Check out www.specsavers.ie for further information and advice on eye conditions and managing your eye health.