Are Your Gadgets Giving You Headaches (or Blurry Vision)?
As our enthusiasm for using computers, tablets and smartphones grows, our eyes are paying the price.
If these symptoms affect you, use these tips to ease the strain and avoid the pain.
1. Reduce glare
Letters on a screen are not as clear as letters on a printed page. Too little contrast between letters and background or glare on the screen makes your eyes work harder. The result: sensitivity to light. Position your screen to avoid glare from overhead lights or windows. Close the blinds on your windows or switch to lower-watt bulbs in your desk lamp. If you cannot change the lighting to minimize glare, buy a glare filter for your screen.
2. Rest your eyes
When using a computer or device for an extended period of time, take regular breaks to prevent eyestrain. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer and look at a distant object for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a chance to refocus. After two hours of continual computer use, rest your eyes for 15 minutes.
3. Blink often
People normally blink about 18 times a minute, but computer users tend to blink only one-fourth as often. This increases the chance of developing dry eye. To reduce this risk, remind yourself to blink more often. And refresh your eyes periodically with lubricating eye drops.
4. Get your eyes checked
Uncorrected vision problems — farsightedness or astigmatism, problems focusing or coordinating the eyes and eye changes associated with aging — can contribute to eyestrain and musculoskeletal pain.
Even if you don’t need glasses or contacts for daily activities, you may need them for computer or device use. If you do wear glasses or contacts and need to tilt your head or lean toward the screen to see it clearly, your lens prescription may need to be adjusted. Get an eye checkup to make sure your prescription is right. Doing so can help prevent pain in the neck, shoulders or back that results from contorting your body to see the screen.