What does eye strain feel like?
Eye strain can be uncomfortable and very distracting, especially during a workday. It can happen due to tiredness, reading, driving long distances and using digital devices for long periods of time (digital eye strain). Symptoms of eye strain include:
- Burning eyes
- Dry eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Struggling to keep your eyes open
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
Is my eye strain the sign of a refractive error?
Another contributing factor to eye strain can be refractive errors, which will need to be corrected with either contact lenses or glasses. Other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism play a role in the worsening of eye strain too, so it’s important to have regular sight tests.
Lastly, wearing glasses with an incorrect or outdated prescription can also be the cause of eye strain.
How to look after your eyes at work
Luckily, there are some ways you can minimise the symptoms of eye strain at work.
Take breaks from the screen
It’s important to take regular breaks away from screens (that includes your phone screen!) and there’s a handy way to remember this. The 20-20-20 rule is a brilliant way to keep your eyes rested throughout extended screen use. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance for at least 20 seconds.
Adjust the position of your computer screen
Your computer screen should also be slightly below your eyeline. The position of your screen also matters, try to turn the screen so that you avoid getting glare from the light outside, which can be uncomfortable for your eyes. Anti-glare covers can also be applied to your screen to minimise reflections.
Adjust the lighting
Keep the brightness of your computer as bright as the room you are in for the most comfortable reading/viewing experience. Overhead fluorescent lights can cause eye strain. Avoid working under dim lighting or your eyes will have to strain to see properly. However, if the room is too bright, your eyes will feel strained from the glare, so try to strike the right balance. Some other tips include:
- Choose screens that tilt and swivel
- Regularly clean your screen as smudges can reduce contrast
- Use a glare filer
- Reduce glare on your screen through proper lighting
- Use an adjustable chair
Wear blue light glasses
Too much blue light can contribute to strained eyes. Blue light glasses can help to block out some of the blue light that emits from the screens of your digital devices.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is important to your overall health, including the health and function of your eyes.
Try to blink more
You can also make a conscious effort to blink more. Blinking helps to lubricate your eyes throughout the day by spreading tears over the eyes, which is even more important when your eyes are under such strain. We also tend to blink a lot less when at our screens due to concentrating.
Try some eye drops
For sore and irritated eyes, eye drops can provide immediate relief when your eyes start to feel dry. Keep a bottle of eye drops on your desk for the occasions when your eyes feel worse for wear. Some artificial tears are specifically for dry eyes but also for allergies, itchy eyes and for specific conditions such as blepharitis. Read our comprehensive guide on the best eye drops of 2022 for more information.
Avoid air conditioners
Especially on a hot day, air conditioning units can give cooling relief. However, the recycled air from these units can cause havoc for our eyes. Try not to work directly in front of the air con and if this cannot be avoided, take breaks from your desk to minimise the impact.
You should protect your eyes even when you’re outside during lunch break. Even on cloudy days UV light can penetrate clouds, so remember to wear sunglasses while out and about.
The home of affordable eye care
As well as the above tips, it’s also important to get regular sight tests, to ensure your vision maintains healthy and functional. You should have a sight test at least every 2 years. If your vision changes and you’re struggling to see properly, see your optician. For all your other eye care needs, including contact lenses, glasses and eye care, you can get the most affordable prices and quick delivery at Feel Good Contacts.