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Get rid of digital eye strain with these easy and effective expert-approved tips

Blinking your eyes consciously when working for long hours and taking a break of two minutes every half-n-hour can help reduce the digital strain considerably.
Digital eye strain is basically a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet or cell phone use.(Unsplash)
Published on Oct 21, 2021 05:59 PM IST
ByParmita Uniyal

With pandemic blurring the lines between work and home and our lives increasingly becoming dependent on screens, it's natural for our eyes to bear the brunt of our largely digital lives. Digital eye strain in adults as well as children no wonder has become common and it's thus important to take care of your precious eyes before it's too late.

Digital eye strain is basically a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet or cell phone use. Many people experience eye discomfort and vision problems when staying glued to digital screens for extended periods.

So, if you are experiencing redness, discomfort, blurry vision or dryness in eyes, you must follow these tips to prevent yourself from developing eye issues.

ALSO READ: World Sight Day: 7 easy tips to keep your eyes healthy

Dr Jyoti Shetty, Consultant – Ophthalmology, Manipal Hospitals Old Airport Road, Bengaluru, in a telephonic conversation with HT Digital shares with us some very effective tips to get rid of digital strain or reduce it considerably.

Dr Shetty suggests blinking eyes consciously when working for long hours and take a break of two minutes every half-n-hour to ensure our tear fills are replenished. The ophthalmologist also advises us to change our mobile screen setting to reading mode for avoiding harmful blue light.

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Here are other tips by Dr Shetty to maintain your eye health:

Get your eye check-up done

With the pandemic-induced work from home and online classes scenario, people will tend to have some sort of digital eye strain because of prolonged screen hours using gadgets that are held pretty close. Typically, over a long period of time, the patients or the people will present with problems like headache, eye strain, pain, redness, blurring of vision at certain distances. Other related symptoms would be neck stiffness, shoulder pain etc. It is always wiser to have an eye check-up done. While you cannot completely eliminate digital strain, you can make it much lesser.

"The reason why you should visit an ophthalmologist is you might be having an uncorrected spectacle power that you do not know and because of this continuous viewing that could be creating this eye strain. Using gadgets at a very short distance might create certain problems with eye-coordination and the muscle movement," says Dr Shetty.

Blink your eyes

When we stare at the screen continuously, we forget to blink. When we don't do that our tear fills are not replenished which could cause dryness in eyes and aggravate pain, watering of eyes or blurring of vision.

"Learn to blink a little more consciously when you are working on your monitor so that your tears are replenished. While some amount of dryness is inevitable, keep a bottle of tear substitutes which have good preservatives. Use them two-three times a day as moisturizer for eyes; this will help decrease pain and redness in the eye that you get towards the end of the day," says Dr Shetty.

Get your viewing angle right

Ideally gadgets should be located an arm's length away, around 20-28 inches from the eye. The height of the screen should be just about four inches below the eye level, not very low. There are people who keep iPads, laptops on their laps and continuously bend their necks while watching which contributes to all the problems. Use your laptops or pads like a desktop. Raise their level using certain books or keep them on a table. Sit absolutely erect with neck extended and not bent.

Decrease glare from screen

The brightness of the screen should be similar to the brightness of the room you are sitting. It should not be very different from surrounding brightness. The best way to adjust this is to keep your contrast at 100%, keep your illumination at lowest level and slowly increase the illumination so that it is at a comfortable level and matches your room lighting.

Never work in the dark

"Do not lie on your bed, switch off the room lighting and depend on screen illumination. That's not good. Also, the room light should ideally be over your head. It should not be falling on the screen or in front of you or falling in your eyes, warns Dr Shetty.

How to avoid blue light from screens

"There is a lot of talk about using blue light filters on your screen to cut off the blue light that is emitted by screens. I don't recommend blue light filters on your glasses because it is a permanent addition and some amount of blue light is required for various physiological functions of the brain. So the best way is to put a blue light filter on your monitor. Your mobile, iPads, have a reading mode option which is nothing but a blue light filter option. Switching it on would cut down the amount of blue light emitted from the screen.

20-20-20 rule

20-20-20 rule is look at a target 20 feet away after every 20 minutes of work for 20 seconds. To avoid straining your eyes, after every half-n-hour of continuous work on the monitor, stop and look away at something far away 20 feet away. "Look out of window, look out at a bird or tree, focus on that subject for about two minutes and come back to work. This will help relax muscles that are constantly stressed. This will go a long way in decreasing the visual stress," says Dr Shetty.

Get some sunlight

Most of the children are staying indoors and their exposure to sun is very little. "Early morning exposure to sun is important. When children used to go to school, they spent time outside even during the way, which is essential for the ideal growth of eye ball. A lot of children are having glasses nowadays because of excessive screen time and less exposure to sunlight. There are lot of studies to prove the same. Children can consciously play in the balcony or terrace in morning till pandemic stress is gone. That would provide requisite amount of sunlight for their growth," says Dr Shetty.

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