A focus on beating digital eye strain

by Kaiser Permanente |
Person holding glasses

Whether you work at a computer or not, you’ve probably felt the strain that screen time can put on your eyes. Reading through social media feeds, checking e-mails, and smartphone use can all add up, leaving your eyes strained and your head sore. And if you work in an office environment, the effects can be even more severe.

According to Kaiser Permanente Optometrist Kyle Schwalbe, OD, there’s hope for tired eyes. Just focus on his 8 helpful strategies.

Keep your screen at an arm’s length.

Sitting about 25 inches away from your computer screen (about an arm’s length), can reduce the impact the glare has on your eyes.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. Letting your eyes adjust to a different perspective helps them relax.

Give your eyes a break.

Remove your glasses, take out your contact lenses, or just close your eyes for a few moments.

Give dry eyes some relief.

If your eyes ever feel dry, use high-quality artificial tears as needed. If your eyes get painfully dry, or are frequently dry, talk to your doctor about special drops or ointments that can help.

Get regular vision tests.

Even if your prescription is just a little off, it can contribute to major eye fatigue. Make sure your contact lens and glasses prescriptions are up to date, and your eyes will thank you for it.

Select eye-friendly font sizes.

It’s not the size of the screens that causes eye strain, but the size of the fonts you read. Experiment with your font sizes until you find something comfortable for your eyes.

Get your lighting right.

Check your overhead lighting, plus the lighting behind you, to make sure you’re not working with an excessive glare. When you can, opt for background lighting that isn’t much dimmer than the screen itself.

Soothe tired eyes.

When you get tired eyes or that telling headache, lie back and place a warm, damp washcloth across your eyelids for a couple of minutes.

By putting these tips to use, you can go a long way toward preventing eye strain and the painful fatigue that comes with it. Remember to look after your eyes, and they’ll be good to you.