BENGALURU : Once you get behind your computer, start scrolling through Instagram or playing that addictive video game on your phone, hours might pass before you look away or put your device down. By then, your eyes are probably dry and stinging, your vision is a little blurry, and you can feel a headache coming on along with an ache in your neck, back and shoulders.Often called Computer Vision Syndrome, digital eye strain can leave you battling many problems, even long-term ones, that you may not notice immediately. Here are a few tips on combating eye strain in your daily life:
Take regular breaks
Whenever you are in front of a device for long periods, remember the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your screen every 20 minutes by focussing on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t commit to 20 minutes, take breaks as regularly as you can. Blink often because it helps lubricate your eyes naturally preventing them from drying out. If they feel too dry, you can always opt for lubrication eye drops available over the counter at the local pharmacy or online.
Exercise your eyes
The same way yoga helps stretch the body by sending fresh blood to your muscles and relaxing them, eye exercises stretch the eyes. Use simple techniques like moving your eyes in all directions, switching focus between objects near and far, and gently massaging around your eye sockets to relax. It is beneficial to do this for about 20 minutes a day.
Check your devices
Regularly check the settings on your monitor to minimise glare as much as possible. Aligning your monitor to your chair and working in ergonomic settings will also reduce the amount your eyes have to strain while focussing. When using your phone, don’t hold it too close to your face and increase the font size if you have to. You can also adjust the brightness on your phone to a level that is comfortable to your eye.
Adjust your lighting
While indoors, make sure your ambient lighting is not too bright or too dim. Use low-intensity bulbs so there’s no glare on your screen and at the same time, it’s not so dark that you’re squinting. Draw your curtains or blinds to cut out any excessive sunlight filtering through or reflections from the screen.
Get regular eye checks
Visit a certified and trained optometrist at least once a year to get an eye check and test your eyes for any vision problems that may have to be corrected. Not wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses when you have a vision problem will cause more strain and worsen the problem. Your eye care professional will also check for any other conditions that may be affecting your eyes.
Invest in computer
Computer eyeglasses differ from regular prescription eyeglasses and are optimised for computer usage. The lenses help in intermediate vision and usually come with a coating that filters out the harmful blue light, a known cause for digital eye strain and sleep disturbances.
Eat your reds
Besides all these steps to curb the effects of digital eye strain, keep your eyes healthy by eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals good for your eyes, stay well-hydrated and get plenty of sleep at night. Leafy vegetables, carrots, papaya, dates are a great source of vitamin A.The author is chief optometrist and head professional services, Titan Eyewear Division