Contributed by: Rachana Arya
As COVID-19 continues to have an effect on our personal and professional lives in ways thought unimaginable just a few months ago, we find that the amount of time spent staring at our laptop has risen dramatically. Since the announcement of the Covid-induced lockdown, we spend the majority of our time glued to our laptop screen due to work from home (WFH) mandates. With more people working remotely right now, many of us find that screens have completely taken over our daily schedule.
Lockdown and increased digital interaction have led to the development of several eye issues, ranging from visual fatigue and headaches to more complicated problems like computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain. CVS is an umbrella term that refers to a group of vision-related issues that result from prolonged digital eye strain. It is characterized by blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, loss of focus, dry irritated eyes, burning eyes, tired eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. During the current lockdown, these symptoms have become so popular among remote employees, that eye specialists have coined the term “work from home hangover.”
The good news
Though WFH is a new reality, at least for some time, there’s no reason for you to panic. We’ll show you preventive strategies for lockdown-related ocular surface disorders. Before you go back to your laptop screen, check out these six tips for giving your eyes, some time off. After all, you don’t want working-from-home to be a pain in the neck — or back — or your precious eyes.
- Location of the computer screen: First things first, if the screen is too close or too far away from your face, your eyes will have to work harder to remain focused. Optimally, the computer screen should be at or just below eye level, with a gap of 20 to 40 inches between your eyes and the monitor. Researchers consider this to be the ideal environment for the eyes.
- Eliminate Reflective Glare: If your workstation is in a corner with a lot of light coming in through a window, you can try to move it or close the blinds. External light reflection or glare on the displays is reduced as a result. Another source of glare may be too bright overhead lights, in which case you can switch them off. If nothing else, a glare blocker for your monitor or a pair of anti-glare glasses would suffice. Having said that, you can make sure that your workspace isn’t too dark and that there’s enough light in the room.
- Experiment with the brightness levels: If you’re one of those people who insist on having an excessive amount of light on all of their screens, whether it’s too bright or too dark, you may want to rethink. In addition to the brightness, the size and contrast of the text on your computer will strain your eyes. Simply fiddle around with your settings before you find a display choice that fits you perfectly. You can also reduce the amount of blue light on your screen adjusting contrast and changing the color temperature to less taxing hues.
- Relax and unwind: Even if you have a deadline approaching, it is important for your eyes to rest. Try adopting the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes of work to look at something 20 feet away. If you’re wondering why 20 seconds, it’s because it takes your eyes around that long to fully relax and reset their concentration. Remember to take a break from the computer on a regular basis – at least once an hour. When you’re away from the screen, it’s also beneficial to do some eye exercises, such as concentrating on something in the distance for 20 seconds. This allows the eyes to move about and relax their muscles, which helps to prevent eye exhaustion and pressure.
- Warm-Up: Rub your palms together for a few seconds before placing them over your eyes for thirty seconds to a minute. This will make you feel a bit more energized right away. (This is similar to when your yoga teacher instructs you to take a few deep breaths before beginning a class.)
- The Bedtime Routine: Lastly, simple lifestyle changes can help protect your eyes from both short- and long-term harm. One of the simplest is to limit your screen time, especially an hour before bedtime. It has been shown that using electronic devices late at night tricks our brain into delaying the natural body clock, impacting the quality of sleep and the rest your eyes need.
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