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Spec-Savers helps you look after your eyes

Digital eye strain? Here’s how to help those tired eyes

Digital eye strain (DES), also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS), occurs because of the extraordinary visual demands of computer work, and estimates suggest that at least half of computer users experience it. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, red or scratchy eyes, dry eyes and increased sensitivity to light.

Although eye strain can cause discomfort, it usually isn’t serious and eases once you rest your eyes. You may not be able to change the amount of time you’re in front of a computer, or the factors that can cause eye strain, but you can take steps to reduce it. The experts at Spec-Savers share some tips.

What can I do about it?

A good place to start is to have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out vision problems and update your spectacle prescription. Numerous studies have shown that even small inaccuracies in your prescription lenses can contribute to computer vision problems. When you have your test, let the optometrist know you use computers regularly, as well as how many screens and how long you use them for.

Rest your eyes

Look away from your computer screen regularly and focus on distant objects, as this relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye, which in turn reduces eye fatigue. It’s advisable to keep the 20/20/20 rule in mind: every 20 minutes look away from your screens at something that is 20 feet (6 metres) away from you for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to relax and can alleviate symptoms.

Use adequate lighting and reduce glare

Glare reflected from light-coloured walls and shiny surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen, can cause eye strain. Some ways to reduce this include:

· Attach an anti-glare screen to your monitor, especially if there’s a window behind you.
· Reduce the external light by covering windows with curtains or blinds – particularly if there’s a window in front of you, reduce the lighting in your room and avoid sitting under big overhead fluorescent lights.
· If you’re a specs wearer, use lenses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.

Adjust your monitor’s display settings

· Make sure the brightness is the same as the surroundings and adjust the text size and contrast so that it is comfortable to read. Black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
· Adjust the monitor’s colour temperature to reduce the blue colours on your screen. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, and there is evidence that this may be associated with certain eye conditions

Modify your workstation

The way you sit at your desk and arrange your equipment can affect your vision.

· Having to keep looking down at a piece of paper and then up at your monitor can contribute to eye strain. Place documents on a copy stand next to the screen.
· Make sure your workstation and chair are at the correct height. Improper posture while working on your computer can also add strain.
· Your computer screen should be 20 to 24 inches (50 – 60 cm) from your eyes and the centre of the screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below your eye line.

Enlist the help of customised blue light computer glasses

These special-purpose glasses are prescribed specifically to reduce blue light exposure and differ from regular eyeglasses or reading glasses in various ways.

· The usual positioning of a computer screen means that it’s within your intermediate zone of vision, which is closer than driving (distance) vision, but farther away than reading – or near – vision.
· Generally, computer glasses have about 60% of the magnifying power of reading glasses to enable optimal magnification in this intermediate zone. But optimisation depends on how far you prefer to sit from your computer screen.
· Computer glasses should accurately correct any astigmatism you might have, and precise measurements should be taken to ensure the optical centre of each lens is directly in front of your pupils when you are using your preferred working distance.
For these reasons, computer glasses should be customised to your individual needs. Using weaker, non-prescription reading glasses for computer use typically won’t provide the accurate vision correction you need for sustained clarity and comfort while at your computer.

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