Early morning starts and late evenings spent in front of a computer and smart phone screen have become the norm for today’s busy business owner.
All that time in front of a bright screen coupled with air conditioning, heating and bright room lighting can have a negative impact on your eye health. In fact, extensive use of computers can lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS), where eyes become dry, tired and even strained.
While not causing any permanent damage, common symptoms of CVS (including eye fatigue, physical tiredness, eye twitching and red eyes) can cause a lot of discomfort and irritation in the short term. In addition, use of digital screens often limits the amount of time that we blink, therefore denying our eyes the hydration they need to stay moist and healthy. Dry eye syndrome is when our eyes have become dried out, as a result of tear ducts no longer producing adequate natural tears that our eyes need.
Here are some tips on how to avoid CVS and dry eye syndrome and keep your eyes in mint condition from the start of the day to the very end.
When you’re deeply focused on a task, you tend to blink less, even if you don’t realise it. If you’re not blinking enough, your eyes are not receiving regular hydration and moisture from your tears. As a result, your eyes will begin to feel dry and irritated. Get into the habit ‘resting your eyes’ looking away and closing them purposefully, the eyelids are great protectors with lots of moisturising glands on the inside. I always follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
It’s important to have the right level of office lighting. I appreciate that it’s a fine line between good lighting that provides enough illumination and bright lighting that borders on glare. You need comfortable lighting to be able to see all kinds of documents, but these must be ones that will not blind you. Also, the lighting should not be too dim as this will make you feel sleepy and less productive.
It may seem like a small point, but if you’re straining your eyes whilst at the computer then it might be worth increasing the size of the text.
Watch the brightness of your computer screen
It’s a good idea to check the brightness of your computer screen. If it’s set to the highest setting, turn it down slightly and see if it makes any difference to how your eyes feel. An incredibly bright screen can be very harsh on the eyes, so you can minimise glare by dusting your computer monitor and investing in an anti-reflection cover. Also take note of the lighting around your computer. Try to create equal brightness in your workspace so there’s no shadowy areas or glare from lamps.
Take a break
I know it can be difficult to take a moment to yourself in a busy office with documents to draft and deadlines looming, but a 5-10-minute coffee break can work wonders. Give both yourself and your eyes a rest from your computer screen so you’re not too burnt out by the end of the day. Aside from that, simply just looking away from your computer screen for a minute or so every now and again can give your eyes a much-needed break. When you do get back to your desk from your break, you must make sure that you’re not too close or too far from the screen. Your overall workstation set-up plays a role in your eye health. So being too close or far will cause eye strain. I recommend positioning monitors at least 50cm from eyes with the centre of the screen about 10-15 degrees below the eyes. That way, the light won’t be so intense and you won’t be craning your neck.
Wear the right contact lenses
If you wear contact lenses and you’re suffering from dry eyes, then you may want to opt for a silicone hydrogel lens. Dailies Total 1 is a daily disposable silicone hydrogel lens that offers a high level of hydration, clarity and comfort, as well as 16 hours of wearing time. This makes them perfect for long days in front of the computer screen and late nights finishing off reports. But of course, if you plan to make changes to your lenses, then it’s important to consult your eye care practitioner first so that they can check your eye health and recommend the best contact lenses for you.
Stock your office desk with some handy supplies
There are a few products that you may want to keep close to you to help fight tired and dry eyes throughout the day.
comfi Drops is a premium eye drop designed to provide long-lasting relief from dry eyes.
They contain the highest concentration of sodium hyaluronate (HA), which replicates your natural tears and moisturises your eyes by improving the way that tears are held onto the surface.
If you’re on the move, then Blink Intensive Tears Vials eye drops for dry eyes are ideal. They are small pocket-sized vials that contain enough drops to rehydrate and awaken your eyes. Its formula also works to reduce blurred vision.
If you find using eye drops troublesome, there are some alternative options you can use for your eyes instead. Biotrue Daily Eyelid Wipes are preservative and detergent-free and come in a packet of 20 handy disposable wipes. Blink Refreshing Hydrating Eye Mist also offers quick and effective relief from dry eyes and is a refreshing alternative for people who don’t like using drops.
Don’t forget H20
As a last note, make sure you drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration, which, aside from making your eyes feel dry, will also make you feel drained overall.
By Alastair Lockwood, eye health specialist and ophthalmologist at Feel Good Contacts