Relieve computer eye strain by following 20-20-20 rule

Computer Eye Strain_Large

The amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen is increasing as our lives become more digital. On average, most of us spend more than eight hours a day in front of a screen and, as a result, more people are reporting problems with their vision while doing so. They’re suffering from what’s referred to as computer vision syndrome, a group of symptoms that can occur after staring at a screen for longer than two hours.

Blurred vision, eye strain, headaches...

Patients with computer vision syndrome often complain of blurred vision or eye strain while using their computer or mobile device. They may also experience double vision, dry eyes, a burning sensation and headaches. These symptoms can be more noticeable than those experienced from reading a newspaper or working with pen and paper because of the smaller font size, lower contrast and size of digital screens, especially when using mobile devices.

Need to be on your computer? Do this.

If you have any of these symptoms while using your computer, visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist to discuss possible reasons for your symptoms and explore treatments.

You can help your eyes by taking frequent breaks from looking at your screen, reducing screen glare, increasing the text size on your device and reducing the strain on your eyes by moving your monitor to be slightly below eye level.

Remember the 20-20-20 rule

Relieve eye stress by following the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your electronic device and look at an object 20 feet away. This simple action will allow the focusing system of your eyes to relax periodically throughout the day.

Get an eye exam

Even if you don’t notice symptoms, it’s important to have an annual eye exam to thoroughly examine your vision and the health of your eyes. Many symptoms of computer vision syndrome can be improved with an updated glasses prescription. In addition, there are special lenses and lens coatings that can be applied to your glasses to help with glare and light sensitivity while using digital devices.

Our eyes were not intended to focus on a digital screen for multiple hours at a time, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reduce our daily screen time. This means that caring for your eyes is more important than ever. Remember to give them a break from the monitor and have them examined regularly.

Dr. Stephanie Pisano is an optometrist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Havener Eye Institute.