Take 20 to Beat Eye Strain

A flexible tape measure shows 20 inches against a red backgroundNear the end of a long workday, it strikes. My neck and shoulders feel achy, my eyes dry and tired. I fight the urge to rub my eyes. Lifting my tea mug, I realize I’m out of water. A headache finishes off the job, sealing me into a bad mood until I spend time resting.It’s five o’clock somewhere.

It’s no fun, but feeling poorly after too much screen time affects more than those of us with vision loss. It happens to anyone using digital devices. The longer you stare at a screen–computer, cell phone, tablet–the greater your chance of symptoms. The pain has a name. The American Optometic Association calls it Computer Vision Syndrome. The pain doesn’t have to last though. Routine things like getting adequate sleep and eating well are important; checking your work environment is critical. Reduce strain by sitting an arm’s length away from your device. Blink more. Further ease symptoms of CVS by adjusting light and minimizing glare.

When you’re staring at a screen all day, perhaps the best way to limit the eye strainer CVS is the 20-20-20 trick. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends:

“every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.”

Do it now. Look away from your screen and gaze at something in the distance. Blink and breathe a few times before you return. It’s refreshing. It’s simple. It’s easy. Make screen breaks a habit a few times every hour of digital device time. Experience less pain, less eye strain. My eyes feel better already.

Do you experience eye strain? When do your eyes feel dry and irritated? How often do you take breaks from your electronics? What do you do to reduce achy eyes? Tell me about it.

 

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Casee says:

    These are great tips and I know to do them but when I am engrossed in work I find it hard to look away from the screen. I often set alarms on my phone for fifteen minutes increments and that forces me to look away. I then get up a do a walk around to stretch my legs. It is amazing how hypnotic staring at a screen can be! 🙂

    1. Great idea to set a phone alarm, Casee. Standing up and moving around is wise, too. The sedentary screen lifestyle wears is down.

  2. Casee says:

    My new tip for eye strain concerns the KNFB Reader app. I just got it on my Android phone and it is awesome! The speed that it converts a photo to text is amazing and the voice is pleasant and doesn’t annoy me the way some synthetic voices do. This app will definitely help with eye strain and it is 15% off from April 1 until April 5, 2016. It is expensive but at least, on Android I got to try it out with 25 free uses so I know what I am getting. I got it for $84 but would have paid the $99. I like that I own the app and it is not a subscription. I have enough of those already.

    1. Thanks for sharing that info about the KNFB reader app, Casee.

  3. These are good tips Susan. As I was reading the post I was thinking along the lines of what Casee said and that it is so difficult to get unengrossed. But 20 seconds is doable although like Casee I’ll have to set reminders. Hopefully this will be a new habit for me.

    1. Right before I left you a reply, I took a 20 second break! I hope you are able to incorporate more breaks into your screen time, too.

      1. Yes, I’m going to make a concerted effort to do this.

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