Zoom work conferences, video calls with friends and family, and binge-watching streaming programs have created an epidemic of eyestrain, dry irritated eyes, headaches…and an increase in or worsening of nearsightedness in many people. Steps that can help…
Change your focus. This is the most critical thing for “screen junkies” to do. Follow the 20/20/20 rule—every 20 minutes, look up for 20 seconds at a target 20 feet away—as a baseline. If you’re on the computer all day and/or all night, aim for 10/40/40. Eyeball rotations also are helpful. Without moving your head, look up, then to the left, down, to the right and back to center. Reverse direction. Do these exercises every two hours that you are on the computer. For more, you can download an online course about computer eyestrain at my website, AdvancedVisionSupport.com ($19.95).
Hydrate. Use saline drops for dry eyes, and drink plenty of water.
Blink. Make a habit of blinking completely, fully closing your eyelids for a second, at least once every minute.
Soothe. Once an hour, soothe your eyes by rubbing your palms together briskly to generate heat and then placing one hand over each eye like a warming pad for 20 seconds or more. Other soothers include an herb-filled eye pillow and a cold washcloth.
The blue light emitted by all of these screens increases risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. Glasses that filter blue light provide protection and are available in prescription and non-prescription. Companies to consider: Pixel Eyewear, BluTech, TheraSpecs and Swanwick.
Important: The best prescription for working at a desktop computer is different than for working on a laptop since the screens are different distances from your face. Be sure to discuss your screen set-up with your eye-care professional. To optimize your prescription for your cell phone, hold the phone about eight inches farther away from your face than you normally do.
A blue-light–filtering screen protector from a company such as Reticare is a great alternative to blue-light glasses. Prices range from $19.99 for a smartphone protector to $69.99 for a 27-inch monitor cover.
Computer and Lighting Adjustments to Ease Eyes
Turn down the brightness and turn up the contrast on screen settings, and increase font size. When possible, increase the amount of natural light, decrease the brightness of artificial light and use a desk lamp in place of overhead lighting.
Supplements Help, Too
Daily supplements with lutein (10 mg), zeaxanthin (2 mg) and astaxanthin (6 mg), plus vitamin C (2,000 mg to 3,000 mg) protect eyes, thanks to their antioxidants.