What You Need to Know about Avoiding Eye Strain

After waking up and getting ready for work, the often treacherous morning commute awaits you. For many Houstonians, rush hour means being stuck in traffic for a long time. Once you finally make it to your desk, if you’re an office worker, the majority of your day is spent staring at a computer screen. A long commute also awaits you in the evening as you make your way home. After chowing down on a meal for dinner, it’s time to kick back and relax. Watching TV, surfing the web, playing around on your phone, and/or reading a book might be on the agenda. In the digital age, using your phone frequently throughout the day is the norm. Whether it’s checking email, texting your friends, or keeping up with your social media profiles—we’re on our phones or staring at screens constantly. The common thread that ties all of these activities together? Eye strain.

Eye strain occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use. Staring at digital devices and driving long distances are two of the most common activities that cause eye strain. With that being said, focusing your attention on anything for long periods of time can lead to eye strain. In this blog, we’ll touch on some easy ways that you can be proactive in reducing your level of eye strain daily. Depending on your job and pastimes, reducing your level of eye strain may be a lofty goal. With that being said, a little here and a little there can still make a difference and keep those beautiful eyes of yours healthy and happy!

The 20-20-20 Rule

You’re likely familiar with 20/20 vision but what does the 20-20-20 rule entail? Eye strain happens when you focus your eyes on a task for a long period of time without taking a break. The 20-20-20 rule is an easy and handy way to keep your eyes fresh. Every 20 minutes, take a break from staring at your computer screen, phone, or tablet and focus on something 20 feet or so in the distance for at least 20 seconds. This is a simple way to give your eyes a break and it’s as easy as 20-20-20! There are even browser extensions that you can use to remind you to stop and take breaks throughout the day. Run a Google search to find an extension for the browser you prefer but here’s one we like for Google Chrome.

Make Your Environment More Comfortable

If you have a hectic office job, we understand that sometimes you just don’t have the time to take as many breaks away from your computer as you would like. We also can’t blame you if you get sucked into binge-watching the latest season of This Is Us after a long day at work. You can, however, take some measures to create an environment that reduces eye strain, whether in the office or at home.

One way is to position your computer or digital device at an ideal distance from your eyes. What’s the ideal length, you ask? About an arms-length away from you is a good rule of thumb. If the text on the screen is a little too small for you to read at that distance, the solution isn’t to bring the device closer to your eyes. Instead, make the text on the screen larger so you can read it comfortably.

Glare is another thing that can impact eye strain. Natural light and interior lighting can create a glare on your digital devices depending on the angle at which light reflects off of your device. Glare on your screen makes it tougher for you to see what’s on your screen, so you should take steps to reduce it. Whether it’s closing the blinds, moving to an area that has ideal lighting conditions, or adding a glare shield to your monitor—make things as comfortable for your eyes as you can.

Get an Eye Exam Regularly

Your eye health should always be a priority. You should take care of your eyes by being proactive, rather than reactive. If you work on a computer daily, we recommend getting a comprehensive eye exam each year. During this exam, you would fill us in on how often you use a computer and other devices in a typical day, among other things.

With a little effort, there are many ways that you can reduce the amount of eye strain that you experience. Let us know what you’ve tried. We’d love to hear it!

Are you experiencing trouble with your eyesight, or is it simply time to schedule your biennial eye exam? Whether you’re dealing with a problem or just looking for some preventative care, we’re the family eye care doctors for you. We’re here to help you take care of your beautiful eyes (so you can continue to crank out those expense reports but still find time to take short breaks while you’re at it). Contact us today or schedule an appointment!