Computers have become an integral part of our lives. While it’s a good thing, too much technology can be dangerous. Spending seven to eight hours a day in front of your computer— be it for leisure or work purposes— results in vision blurring, headache, and eye discomfort.
Medically, this is known as Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. An estimated 60 million people worldwide suffer from this syndrome, with one million new cases occurring yearly.
While reducing screen time will minimize the risk of computer eye strain, the symptoms will keep returning if you use digital devices daily. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve eye strain caused by digital screens, and this guide discusses them. Dive in, then!
#1 Adjust Your Computer Display Settings
Making minor changes in your computer display settings can be a game-changer for heavy computer users. Adjust your display settings such that screen viewing is easy on your eyes.
Start by adjusting the brightness of your computer. Your computer display must neither be too bright nor too dim. Either way, it will put unnecessary strain on your eyes. As a rule of thumb, the brightness of your computer screen must be the same as the surrounding workstation.
In a well-lit space like a sunny room, increase the brightness. Turn down the brightness of your computer screen if you’re working from a dimly lit area.
Simply adjusting brightness levels isn’t enough. You must also change the contrast of your computer display so that the screen is easy to read.
A high contrast ratio will make the text more legible and the colors more vivid. A low contrast ratio, on the other hand, will make the text blurry and the colors more washed out. To minimize eye strain, set the contrast ratio to 50 percent or higher, but never lower.
Also, increase the font size so that you can read the text on the screen without difficulty.
#2 Use Artificial Tear Drops
Excessive screen time is one of the culprits behind eye dryness. That’s because screen time lessens the number of times a person blinks their eyes. Incomplete blinking leads to evaporation of tears, causing dry eye disease. That is where artificial tears enter the picture.
Over-the-counter artificial tears relieve dry eyes by lubricating them. These eye drops also provide relief against burning and itching of the eyes.
Artificial tear drops are safe for use as often as you need them, provided they aren’t formulated with preservatives. Those that contain preservatives must not be used more than four times daily. Otherwise, you will develop sensitivity to the preservative. For regular use, it’s advisable to opt for preservative-free artificial tears.
When buying an eye lubricant, it’s a good idea to steer clear of EzriCare Artificial Tears. That’s because it has been linked with bacterial eye infections and bloodstream infections. In some users, this artificial tear drop led to permanent vision loss.
More than 80 users have contracted eye infections due to EzriCare Artificial Tears, notes TorHoerman Law. Fourteen cases of vision loss and four deaths have also been reported.
A drug-resistant bacteria, pseudomonas aeruginosa, is believed to cause these infections. While studies are yet to confirm, researchers have found a similar bacteria in used bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
On February 2, 2023, the FDA warned users against using EzriCare’s eye drops due to potential contamination. People who developed drug-resistant infections or suffered vision loss are filing lawsuits against Global Pharma Healthcare, the manufacturer of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
In the EzriCare Artificial Tears lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that Global Pharma Healthcare’s EzriCare Artificial Tears infected their eyes with pseudomonas aeruginosa. As of July 2023, there have been no jury trials or settlements.
#3 Give Your Eyes a Break From the Screen
Taking a break from the screen may feel like a waste of time, especially if you’re working on something important. But it is necessary, as staring at screens for a long time can lead to digital eye strain. Getting your eyes checked regularly to prevent any potential damage to your vision caused by digital eye strain.
To prevent that, follow the 20-20-20 rule — look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds. Doing this regularly will offer your eyes a small break from the backlight of the computer.
You can further adjust the focusing ability of your eyes by looking at an object close to you.
The eyes are a delicate organ, which is why taking care of them should be your priority. More so, since our dependence or reliance on digital devices is growing. By following these tips, you will be able to reduce your risk of computer eye strain.
Other than the tips mentioned above, you must blink your eyes often to refresh them. Blue light-blocking lenses are also an excellent option, as they block blue light to a great extent. In case you notice vision changes or discomfort in the eyes, make an appointment with an eye specialist right away.