Have you been spending more time in front of screens? It may seem inevitable if you're staying at home more, either working from there or turning to screens to keep you entertained — but eye strain can quickly become a problem.
If your eyes have been feeling the strain, Badrul Hussain, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, has some tips on how to reduce and prevent it.
1. Think blink
You don’t blink as often when you’re concentrating, for example when focused on a spreadsheet on a screen. This can strain the eyes, Hussain says.
To remedy this, Hussain suggests turning away from the screen every couple of hours and closing your eyes for 5 seconds to refresh the tear film.
"And remember to blink in between,” he says.
2. Adjust the screen height
Lower your monitor or use a different chair if you’re looking up at a screen.
“Computer screens should be set up at, or slightly below, eye level. Looking up towards a screen can cause more dry eye and fatigue symptoms,” Hussain says.
3. Adjust the screen distance
If you’re trying to read small text on a screen, you may be tempted to bring the screen closer. Hussain recommends making the text larger instead and always keeping your screen a good distance away from you to help reduce eye strain.
4. Boost the lighting
Poor lighting can lead to eye strain. This is because focusing on a screen that’s not bright enough or reading when there’s not enough light in the room can be hard on your eyes.
While Hussain explains that there's no evidence of long-term eye damage from extended use of smartphones or computer screens, prolonged use can sometimes lead to:
To prevent this, Hussain recommends limiting screen time where possible, and using eye drops from a pharmacist if you need them.
Quote of the day
And for tired eyes every light is too bright.
Georg Buchner, dramatist