All of us are guilty of working in a stress-related environment, no matter our job profile. Add continuous hours of staring into the computer screen to that. It is of no wonder that by the time the nine-hour shift (or maybe more) ends, we are exhausted and irritable. While the work-related stress depends on your work load, your temperament and your colleagues, the stress caused by the bright computer screen on your eyes is in your hands.
What exactly is eye fatigue/eye stress?
When your eyes become red and puffy, you have difficulty seeing clearly, or the eyes are sore and irritated, these are clear indicators that you have eye fatigue. More symptoms include dry and watery eyes, double vision, pain in the shoulders, back, and neck areas, and increased sensitivity to light. Eye fatigue is caused by incessant hours spent in front of a computer screen or a smart phone. This type of eye strain is called Computer Vision Syndrome. This is not only restricted to adults; children playing video games for long periods can also be affected.
How does Computer Vision Syndrome affect me?
CVS is just like other repetitive stress injuries at work. When you do the same motion over and over again, it increases the risk of you getting injured. And the condition is only exacerbated if you continue doing it.
How can I prevent it?
Try to blink more often.
Our eyes blink 15 times per minute, and blinking moisturises the eyes, adding a fresh layer of tears while cleaning the surface.
- Research shows that when we’re working on a computer, watching TV or staring into the tiny mobile phone screens our blinking drops to almost half of the usual rate. This leads to dry and irritable eyes.
- Make your surroundings a little more ideal for long working hours. Sit on a comfortable chair with a back cushion to support your back, and make sure your computer screen is at least 20-25 inches away from your eyes.
- Take frequent breaks. Every 20 minutes, get up from your chair, walk around a bit, and stretch your body. This will ensure that productivity does not slacken.
- Focus on faraway objects. Staring into a screen with small text makes it difficult for the eyes to focus after a prolonged period of time. Look away from the computer at objects 20 feet away every now and then to relax them.
- Make sure your screen is at or a little below eye level so as to not strain the neck. Massage your neck or rotate it clockwise and anti-clockwise to relax it.
In this digital era, it is difficult to give up using our computers, TVs, and mobile phones. But with frequent breaks, we can reduce the strain put on our eyes. The key is to relax, stretch, blink often, and be conscious of our posture to not fall prey to CVS.