How to prevent eye strain when using the computer

9 mins read

Now that many people are working from home due to closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak, it becomes even more important to prevent eye strain. Commercial office spaces often have better furniture and lighting than your makeshift work-from-home environment, and that can contribute significantly to increased eye strain. However, there are many easy ways to prevent eye strain and we are going to tell you how to reduce it.

improve your posture

The way you’re sitting could be the reason for your tired eyes, according to the American Association for Occupational Safety and Health. Before looking for software or hardware solutions to your problem, check if your posture is correct. In many cases, the screen is above or below eye level, leading to incorrect posture.

If you crane your neck or slouch to look at the screen, you’re straining your eyes. Try using a laptop stand or even a stack of books to raise the screen to eye level. If the screen is above eye level, try raising the chair so the screen is at eye level. Once you’ve done that, try out some apps that will help reduce eye strain even more.

The 20-20-20 rule

The 20-20-20 rule is quite effective in reducing eye strain. In a nutshell, after every 20 minutes of looking at the screen, look at an object that is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Following this rule has helped us at Gadgets & Reviews, so we can attest to that.

Keeping track of those 20-minute breaks isn’t easy, though, especially when you’re in the middle of work, so we suggest trying a free web app called Protect Your Vision (protectyourvision.org). Here we explain how to use it.

Open the Protect Your Vision website > click 20-20-20 > select your rest schedule from the dropdown menu. You can choose between 20-20-20 (recommended) or 60-5 (five-minute break every hour) or Custom (where you can choose the duration of each break and the interval between them). Once the break program has been selected, Click the black button labeled “Request permission and test notification” > Allow (Chrome) or Show for this session (Firefox) > Start PYV. The website requires desktop notifications because that’s how it reminds you to take a break. Desktop notifications are supported in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. A timer will now appear showing you how long until the next break. You can turn off sound notifications by clicking the volume icon that appears next to the timer. Once you see a notification, click it and then click Start Pause. Your screen will now go dark for the duration of the break. You must look at a point that is at least 20 feet away. You can also click Start Eye Gym on the screen and the app will show you some eye exercises (roll your eyes up and down, etc.) that you can quickly do to reduce eye strain.

Protect Your Vision is a good app, but if you want something that automatically dims your screen every 20 minutes, try FadeTop on Windows or TimeOut on Mac. They achieve the same result, and don’t require you to click any buttons to initiate sleep.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

cut blue light

According to the Vision Council, one of the largest groups of manufacturers and suppliers in the optical industry, blue light is one of the causes of digital eye strain. To make the monitor more eye-friendly, you can go into the settings and adjust the various options to reduce eye strain.

The first thing to do is adjust the brightness and contrast to a comfortable level. If your workplace doesn’t get much natural light, then you may want to cut the blue light from your screen to give your eyes some much-needed relief. You can do this manually by changing your display settings, but that’s not for everyone.

The next step is to cut the blue light from the screen to reduce eye strain. This is most effective when working under artificial light, and is not as useful for those who work during the day in rooms with lots of natural light.

Reduce blue light on Android

On stock Android, you can go to Settings > Display. Now tap on Night Light. This is where you can set how long you want the smartphone screen to cut out blue light and adjust the color temperature if needed. Note that this The feature may not be available under the same name in various customized versions of Android, where it may be called Night Mode, Reading Mode, Night Shield, Eye Care, etc. Be sure to double check your phone’s display settings to find this option.

Reduce blue light on iOS

On iOS you can go to Settings > Display & Brightness. Now tap on Night Shift. Here you can schedule it to your preference and adjust the color temperature as well.

Reduce blue light in macOS

On macOS, click the Apple logo at the top left of the screen (it’s in the top bar). Now click Display. Click the night shift tab and select the duration you want to cut the blue light. We’ve set this for all day, but you can set it to your preference. You also have the option to select how hot or cold you want the color temperature to be.

Reduce blue light in Windows

In Windows 10, open the start menu. Click the gear icon on the left side. Click System and then Display. Now enable Night Light. Here you can adjust the time and color temperature. If your version of Windows doesn’t have this feature, you can get the job done by downloading an app like Flux.

Hardware

Although the solutions mentioned above should be good enough for most situations, you may want to consider purchasing devices with anti-glare screens to reduce the strain on your eyes. If you haven’t, an anti-glare screen coating can be purchased. We tested a 3M anti-glare filter on our laptops and found it to be quite effective.

If you are using a device with a reflective screen, you may find it difficult to see your screen if you are facing the light. Glare filters are helpful in these situations and the 3M one does the job as advertised. It takes a while to latch onto the screen, but that’s a one-time hassle. Good quality anti-glare coatings cost between 1,000 and 2,000 rupees.

If that’s not an option, we suggest you visit an ophthalmologist and get yourself a good pair of anti-glare glasses. Some brands (like Gunnar) also make glasses that are supposed to be particularly helpful for “computer vision syndrome.” We reviewed two pairs of Gunnar’s eye strain reduction glasses and found them to be very effective. You can read the review and decide if you need such glasses.

These tips should have helped you reduce eye strain. If you have any other tips or if you liked our suggestions, please let us know in the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

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