Eye strain refers to a group of symptoms resulting from prolonged use of digital devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. While it can cause discomfort, it does not necessarily lead to any kind of eye damage nor have permanent consequences. Taking breaks and using your devices in the right environment can help avoid eye strain.
A local contact eye exam provider shares different ways lighting can help in reducing eye strain and improving vision.
What Is the Eye Strain?
Eye strain is not considered a disease but a symptom. A person can get eye strain when their eyes get tired from extended use of digital devices or reading for hours. You will know you are experiencing eye strain if you feel discomfort after looking at an object for a long time. Someone may also get eye strain if they are attempting to do tasks in very dim lighting or when exposed to glare.
Typically, eye strain goes away on its own after you have rested your eyes. Sometimes, eye strain is a sign of an existing eye condition that requires treatment. You don’t need to worry if your job requires using the computer for hours because there are certain measures you can take to avoid eye strain.
If you any underlying eye condition, such as muscle imbalance, myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, you may experience worsened symptoms. Make sure to visit your eye clinic regularly to ensure your prescription is updated and you are wearing the right eyewear. Using contacts or glasses with the wrong prescription may lead to eye strain.
What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Eye Strain?
A person who suffers from eye strain may experience dry eyes, pain in the shoulders and neck, double vision, blurred vision, and headaches. Headaches from eye strain are usually mild and they occur in both temples, aren’t pounding, and go away once you stop with your task.
If you still experience eye strain after resting your eyes, see an eye specialist as soon as possible. It’s the same for those who have ongoing visual loss, redness, and pain in the eyes. Your eye doctor may check if you need eyeglasses. Moreover, symptoms of eye strain are not common in children below the age of 12. If your child says they get headaches after reading or experiencing blurry or double vision, bring them to your eye doctor.
Lighting Tips to Avoid Eye Strain
Avoid Harsh Lighting
According to the American Optometric Association, more than half of office workers who use computers daily have eye strain. The lighting in your room or workspace plays a major role in your comfort while using digital devices. Many offices have extremely bright or harsh interior lighting that can trigger eye strain. Experts suggest using fewer light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
Glare can make it difficult for you to see what’s on the screen and also cause discomfort. It can occur if there is a window directly in front or behind you. A simple way to prevent glare on your screen is to move your table, close the curtains or blinds, or add an anti-reflecting coating on your glasses.
Adjust the Brightness of Your Screen
Computer screens emit blue light, which can also contribute to eye strain. One way to help your eyes feel more comfortable while working is to adjust the brightness of your screen so it’s nearly as bright as your surroundings.
Avoid Reading in the Dark or Dim Light
Good lighting is even more essential if you are doing tasks that require intense focus. While reading or using devices in the dark won’t permanently damage your eyes, they can give you headaches. You can reduce your risk of developing eye strain by using task lighting around your home, such as desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting, and reading lamps.
Good Light Can Help People With Low Vision
The older you get, the more your need for good lighting increases. According to research, a 60-year-old needs nearly twice as much light as a 30-year-old. Individuals with macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other eye conditions should talk to an eye specialist regarding specific improvements they can do to their lighting to enhance their home’s visibility.
What Are the Best Kinds of Light for Your Eyes?The best type of light for good eye health is warm light sources, such as natural light. Many modern windows can allow natural light while blocking the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. These windows will flood your home with natural light throughout the day, which is beneficial to your eyes.
Some of the most common artificial warm light sources you can get are incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs. These kinds of light are not only better for your eyes but are also more energy-efficient. Another thing you can do is to get full-spectrum bulbs for your light fixtures. These bulbs resemble the sun’s warm natural lighting but without the harmful effects of UV rays.
Which Kinds of Light Should You Avoid?
One of the worst kinds of light you can expose your eyes to is UV. Its main sources are fluorescent tube lighting and the sun. Over time, exposure to UV light can lead to cataracts and permanent vision loss. When going outside, make sure you are wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to keep your eyes protected.
Blue light is another kind of light that can possibly harm your eyes. This form of cool light generates a significant amount of energy. It usually comes from your tablet, television, computer, and smartphone screens. You can avoid excessive exposure to this light by wearing protective eyewear while using your computer. Your local eye clinic may be offering eyeglasses with an anti-blue light coating.
More Ways to Avoid Eye Strain
Get an Upgraded Display
If you still haven’t upgraded your old tube-style monitor with a flat-panel LED with an anti-reflective surface, now is the time to do so. This old-fashioned monitor can cause an obvious flicker of images, which can contribute to digital eye strain. Even if the flicker on your screen is not that noticeable, it can still cause eye strain and fatigue.
When purchasing a new monitor, select a screen with a high resolution. Displays with a lower dot pitch have high resolution or sharper images. As much as possible, go for a display with a dot pitch of 0.28 mm or smaller. Also, select a display with a diagonal screen size of 19 inches or more.
When you are doing computer work, you tend to forget to blink. Studies show that many blinks performed while working on a computer are only partial lid closures. Keep in mind that blinking is essential to keep your eyes moist and nourished. When you don’t blink for a long time, the tears coating the eyes evaporate faster, increasing your risk for dry eye.
Take a Break From Screens
Following the 20-20-20 rule can help you avoid digital eye strain. All you need to do is look away from look 20 feet away from your computer screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You may also blink 10 times by closing your eyes very slowly. This exercise will help keep your eyes moist.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams can help ensure you are wearing the proper eyewear for your needs. It can also help with the early detection and treatment of many vision-threatening conditions. At Downtown Eye, you can rely on us for your comprehensive and contact eye exam.