Today, more people than ever before are working from home. With more time being spent in front of screens, often in poor light and with poor posture, with shorter or fewer breaks, the impact on the eyes can be considerable. Digital eye strain has become a far more significant problem for the workforce than it ever has before.
What can be done about this? How can we avoid eye strain while working from home?
Tips to help reduce avoid eye strain
Have good posture while you’re working
Having proper posture, whether you sit or stand while you work at home, can defend your eyes against strain and fatigue. When you’re working on a screen, sit up straight and ensure your wrists are slightly elevated instead of resting on the keyboard. Slouching over your keyboard can cause tighter muscles or tension in your back and shoulders which can restrict blood flow to your eyes, causing vision problems.
The screen itself should be just below your natural line of sight. This is easier on your eyes than looking straight across or upwards. A slightly downward gaze also brings the eyelids down, which helps protect against dryness and reduces the chance of being affected by drafts.
Ensure the lighting is right
If the lighting is too bright or too dim, it can increase eye strain and lead to headaches. Proper room lighting matters. Your screen should be bright enough so you don't have to squint, but so bright that the screen appears illuminated. It's also important to reduce glare. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display and eliminating any other light sources hitting your computer screen.
Increase your font size
Small font size can cause you to squint to try to see the symbols and words more clearly, and this causes eye strain and stress. If you notice you’re squinting or straining to read the text on your screen at all, increase your font size. A bigger monitor can also be helpful because it naturally increases the size of the symbols and words of the projects you’re working on.
Don’t forget to blink!
While people usually blink without thinking about it, when you are in front of a computer screen, you actually blink less. Blinking provides moisture and is a vital part of how the eye takes care of its own health. Without enough blinking, the eyes can become dry and irritated, and vision can be reduced.
When a person isn’t in front of a computer screen, they blink about 15 times per minute. However, when they are on a computer, tablet, phone, or another type of screen, they blink only about five to seven times a minute. So, remind yourself--don’t forget to blink!
Give your eyes frequent breaks
When you’re working from home on a screen all day, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get away from your computer for some water or go outside for a few minutes. You’ll naturally blink more often during these short breaks, and the time away from the screen gives your eyes a chance to relax and rehydrate.
Block blue light
The screens of computers, phones, and other devices contain more highly concentrated amounts of blue light, which is difficult for your eyes to filter out. Extended exposure to blue light can strain your eyes, cause headaches, and make it harder to sleep at night. Try wearing blue light blocking glasses or using a built-in blue light filter, which is standard on most computers and smartphones.
Be sure your prescription is correct
Whether you’re looking at a screen or not, an incorrect prescription can cause eye strain. Extended time in front of a screen can exacerbate this eye strain. Be sure your prescription is correct, and also that you’re wearing the right type of glasses that provide enough and proper clarity for the distance from which you’re looking at the screen.
Create spaces and times to unplug
Make the bedroom, bathroom, or other areas of the house screen-free zones. If you’re working on your computer all day long, switching over to scrolling through your phone when you’re done with work doesn’t give your eyes a chance to rest. Instead, take a walk and look at things at other distances, spend time with family and truly unplug.