Did you ever find yourself sitting at your desk squinting like Mr. MaGoo? Have you ever felt yourself tearing up over an end-of-the-year report that shouldn’t provoke any form of weeping since the numbers look good?
Or, maybe you have experienced dry eyes when it feels like your eyes are stuck to your inner eyelids. How about blurred vision? Have the letters and numbers on your laptop or mobile screen ever morphed into ancient hieroglyphics as your vision blurs from overuse? Learn how to protect eyes from computer.
CVS: an Occupational Hazard for the Executive
The typical executive spends at least seven hours or more looking at a digital screen. Devices like laptops, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers are an integral part of each executive’s business day, but the strain on your eyes can take a serious toll on your productivity and comfort. This particular form of eyestrain known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain is a result of prolonged and extended periods of time staring at digital screens – something most executives must do to stay informed and to fulfill their job requirements.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Government (OSHA) defines CVS as a “complex of eye and vision problems that are experienced during and related to computer use. It is a repetitive strain disorder that appears to be growing rapidly. Some studies estimate that 90% of the 70 million US workers using computers from more than three hours per day experience CVS in some form.”
Studies suggest that CVS may well be the most common occupational hazard of the 21st century. The truth is that the human eye gets fatigued and even exhausted from staring at a digital screen all day.
Aye or Nay?
Ask yourself these questions to see if you might be experiencing executive eyestrain or CVS.
• Do you find your eyes watering while working on your computer or smartphone?
• Do you feel yourself squinting to see the words on the screen?
• Do the words and numbers on the screen seem to swim around or blur together?
• Do you get headaches while working on your digital devices?
If the “ayes” have it, and you’ve said yes to the majority of the questions above, then you are most likely suffering from a form of digital eyestrain. Symptoms will only get worse unless you adjust your digital device habits and usage.
Since CVS will not go away without some adjustments in your cell and computer use, it’s imperative to make changes now. Learn how to protect eyes from computer.
1. Apply 20/20/20 Rule
The 20/20/20 rule will help protect your 20/20 (otherwise known as perfect) vision. “20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity” Try it out. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. It is a habit you can adopt that will actually increase your productivity.
It gives your eyes a break from the digital screen, and it allows you to blink and refresh your eyes.
Studies show computer users blink less often than people who aren’t staring at a screen. Tablet and smartphone users have similar problems. Blinking is an important part of eye health because it moistens and soothes the eyes and helps to deter dry eye symptoms that cause a gritty, sticky and even painful feeling in your eyes.
2. Wear glasses (especially computer glasses)
You can also try wearing computer glasses that are designed to reduce glare from the computer and smartphone screens. Glasses made with an anti-reflecting coating are much kinder to your eyes and give you a break from wearing contact lenses during the workday. Contact lenses often become uncomfortable and dry when you spend an inordinate amount of time doing work on your computer.
“Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen,” according to allaboutvision.com.
Eyeglass technology is continuously improving. The optical industry has recently developed lenses that protect your eyes from the blue light glare associated with digital screens.
3. See your Eye Doctor
If you haven’t been to an ophthalmologist’s office recently, it’s wise to make an appointment at the first signs of eyestrain. A thorough eye examination will rule out any unusual reasons for your symptoms, and it gives your doctor a baseline on your eye health for future eye appointments.
4. Buy an Anti-Glare Screen
If possible, purchase an anti-glare screen for your digital devices and adjust your display settings up or down to a level that eliminates glare and straining. You can also increase your font size to make it easier to read your screen. Some people find computer hoods help to keep excessive light from reflecting back from the screen to your eyes.
5. Dim the Light
According to experts in the field of CVS, “Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting.” If you are able to adjust the lighting in your office by softening the light, you will place less strain on your eyes.
6. Give Your Eyes and Your Entire Body a Break
As a busy executive, you want to show your co-workers your devotion to your job. However, the best way to do that is to give your entire body a break at least once an hour. Your eyes, especially, need a vacation from staring at a computer or smartphone screen from dawn to dusk. That means it’s important to get up and walk around.
Or, you can even sit back in your chair and close your eyes for a few minutes so that they hydrate and eye muscles relax. You can use this short break to solve a work problem, or you can just breathe and blink and enjoy a mini meditation session that will renew your body, your mind and especially your overworked eyes.
Extra tip: Increase Your Font Size to Make it Easier to Read Your Screen.
Do you have other strategies to protect eyes from computer? Feel free to share your comments with us!