6 Tips To Relieve Eye Strain You Stare At A Screen All Day
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Does your eyes get dry or watery while staring at a screen? Or do you experience headaches when looking at a screen? Do you feel itchiness on your eyes?
These are signs of digital eye strain, caused due to looking at your smartphone’s or computer’s screen for long durations.
Harsh bright lights from the digital screen can mess with your eyes causing what is called computer eye strain
, something over 73% of young adults
Going by the definition on Wikipedia
, an eye strain is:
“… an eye condition that manifests through non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache, and occasional double vision.”
Eye strains produce discomfort in your eyes and your head causing one or all of the following symptoms:
- Dry eyes or Watery Eyes
- Tired or sore eyes
- Difficulty in focusing
- Sensitivity to light
- Pain in neck and shoulders
In most cases, there’s little to worry about for the long term as these symptoms don’t last for long durations.
And thankfully, you can get rid of the temporary effects of your eye strain by following some easy tips.
So, here we curated 6 tips that will help you reduce and prevent Computer Eye Strain.
1. Reset Your Screen’s Brightness
When talking displays and eyes, brightness comes first. Too much brightness irritates our eyes. Most people, thus, tend to keep the brightness at the least especially during the night. But low brightness isn’t the solution to keep your eyes safe. Just as a flood isn’t the solution to drought.
Displays too dim make it hard for your eyes to see, causing them more work resulting in more tiredness.
That effectively means too low brightness is as harmful as too high brightness.
What is the perfect brightness to prevent eye strains?
You can find the answer around you. The ideal brightness to relieve your eyes from the harsh discomforts of digital eye strain depends upon your lighting conditions around you. Your computer’s display should look as bright as your surroundings. Compare your screen’s brightness with that of a wall near your desk.
During night hours, I’d recommend using Dark Mode
. Swapping white background with a darker one will match the surroundings, effectively decreasing eye discomfort and
2. Keep your eyes away from your computer screen
The closer your eyes are to your display, the harder they have to work to focus. It may sound strange but it’s easier for your eyes to see relatively distant things than nearer ones.
For a quick demo, bring your fingers close to your eyes, and you’ll notice they get blurred.
To reduce eyes strains, keep it as distant from the screen as possible. The recommended distance is around 16 to 20 inches away. If you find it harder to read the text, try increasing the font size. (
is the shortcut for it.)
That’s for computer screens. You can’t keep your phone’s screen 20 inches away because after all, you need to see things. So, instead:
- Try doing long hour works on your computer.
- Don’t let direct light from your smartphone hit your eyes straight. I mean:
Illustrations by Kunal Mishra
3. Enable Blue Light Filtering
Blue might be your favourite colour
but your eyes hate it. Blue light emitted by your phone or computer’s screen can mess with your eyes causing eye strains, especially at night. That’s why most phones come with blue light blocking features disguised as reading mode
or night mode
. It makes the colours of your display look warmer than usual.
and most android
phones come with blue light filtering features. But are defaulted to off. Here’s how you can turn them on.
Turn on Night Shift in iPhones or iPad
- Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift.
- On the same screen, you can schedule a time for Night Shift to turn on automatically and adjust colour temperature.
Turn on Night Shift in Macs
- Swipe left from the right edge of the trackpad with two fingers to open the Notification Centre
- In Notification Centre, swipe down with two fingers and toggle on the Night Shift toggle.
Turn on Night Shift in Android
- Go to Settings > Display.
- Toggle on Night Mode
More Powerful Blue Light Filtering
If your phone doesn’t have an inbuilt reading mode or you want more intense blue light filtering, I recommend using F.lux
. I keep f.lux to the maximum filtering settings when I work at night. And that helps my eyes relax, reducing eye strains by a significant amount.
4. Blink More, Blink Better
People tend to blink less when staring on a digital screen. That’s a major cause of eye strains. Your eyes get dry and itchy when you don’t blink often.
According to Vision Source
, people normally blink around 15–20 times in a minute but when focusing in on any digital screen the rate drops to 3–8 times a minute. That’s roughly 60% less.
Studies even say most people blink their eyes so quickly while staring at a screen that they do it just halfway. A blink should rather be a full, eye pressing one.
But no matter how much you try to remember at some point you will forget to blink. So instead, I’d recommend using a blink reminder
5. Follow The 20–20–20 Rule
When it comes to reducing or preventing eye strains, there’s a famous technique known as The 20–20–20 Rule. You might have heard of it if you’ve ever searched for eye strains. This is an effective yet hard to remember the trick.
The 20-20-20 rule says:
For every 20 minutes you spend staring on a screen, spend 20 seconds staring at an object kept 20 feet away.
You should blink properly during these 20 minutes.
This trick is relatively harder than the ones mentioned previously. But, it’s worth it.
6. Don’t Fight The Light
When choosing a perfect place for your laptop or computer, make sure any bright light source like interior lights or even sunlight coming from a window doesn’t go right at the screen.
This increases glare which makes texts hard
to read on your screen. This makes it harmful for your eyes because strong rays of light get reflected from your screen towards to your eyes.
You’re advised not to look directly towards the sun because the rays can damage your retina. Similarly, when rays from the sun get reflected by a screen and go to your eye, they can damage your retina.
These rays can mess up with the image of text on your computer’s screen being formed on your eye’s retina. Which can result a damaged retina and cause eye discomfort resulting in eye strains.
Illustration by Kunal Mishra. // Icon by Pixel Perfect
So as to sum up:
Tips To Get Rid Of Eye Strains
- Head to your screen’s settings and change brightness right away.
- Make sure your laptop’s screen is no less than 16 inches away from your face.
- Schedule Night Shift or whatever blue-light filtering feature your device has for work during the night.
- Set up a blink reminder that reminds you to blink 15–20 times a minute. Try keeping your eyes close while you’re thinking.
- Set up a reminder that reminds you in every 20 minutes to look something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Make sure your display doesn’t face any direct light source.
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