10 Ways to Reduce Eye Strain from Computer Use in 
If you work online, you have to stare at a computer screen for hours daily to get things done. And by the end of the day, your eyes feel dry and strained.
As a matter of fact, eye strain from computer use symptoms is common in today's digital world. But the good news is that there are habits that can lower risks and protect your eyes from damage. It only takes a few shifts to your environment and work patterns.
Keep reading to learn about 10 simple tips that can help reduce eye strain from extended screen time.
What is Computer Lighting Eye Strain?
Spending long hours staring at a computer screen can cause computer lighting eye strain. In fact, eye strain from computer use symptoms are very common in today’s digital age.
Computer lighting eye strain is characterized by dry eyes, blurred vision, irritation, and headaches. These symptoms are noticeable but often temporary.
What Causes Digital Eye Strain Vision?
Several factors contribute to computer vision syndrome, and here are some of them.
Prolonged Screen Exposure
The continuous focus on digital content without adequate breaks can result in eye fatigue, dryness, and discomfort. Worse, it strains the eye muscles, leading to visual issues.
White Light Emission from Screen
The bright white light emitted by computer screens can strain your eyes over time. In fact, blue wavelengths can disrupt your circadian rhythm - your body's natural wake-sleep cycle.
Usually, your eyes register the warm orange tones of sunrise and sunset, causing an increase or decrease in hormones like melatonin to make you alert or drowsy. However, exposure to blue light after dark sends the wrong signals to your brain, making it harder to fall asleep.
Incorrect Screen Ergonomics
Placing and setting up screens incorrectly can cause pain and visual fatigue. If the screen is at the wrong height, angle, or distance, it can put your eyes in situations that aren't natural.
Screens that aren't at eye level or are at weird angles require the eyes, neck, and shoulders to be moved all the time. This can make your muscles tense up and hurt. Places that aren't well-lit or have too much glare can also worsen eye strain from computer screen.
Difference Between Blue and Yellow (Ambient) Light
Blue and yellow (ambient) light are two distinct types of light that can affect our eyes, sleep patterns, and well-being. Learning their differences is crucial in managing light's potential impact on our health.
Blue Ambient Light
Yellow Ambient Light
LED lighting, digital devices
Color temperature adjustments, ambient lighting
High-energy, closer to ultraviolet
Lower energy, farther from ultraviolet
Potent emission due to digital devices
Controlled to reduce glare and strain
Increased visual fatigue and discomfort
Softer tones for minimized strain
Suppression of melatonin production
Limited interference with circadian rhythm
Long-term risk with prolonged exposure
Lower likelihood of causing harm to the retina
Ways to Reduce Eye Strain from Computer Use Symptoms
Follow these 10 tips for computer eye strain relief to alleviate eye strain and promote healthier vision:
1. Check Your Workspace
When you reevaluate your workspace ergonomics, you can make a difference in reducing these symptoms. With that in mind, follow the steps below:
- Ensure your monitor is slightly below eye level so you're looking down at a slight angle.
- Aim for a screen at least 24 inches, with a 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher resolution.
- Use overhead and desk lighting to illuminate your workspace evenly.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
2. Use Proper Lighting
Proper lighting is key in reducing eye strain from computer use symptoms, as it helps with visual comfort and well-being. Following these proper and balanced lighting tips can decrease your chances of growing tiredness, sore eyes, and headaches from extended computer use.
Use Natural Light When Possible
Open the blinds or sit near a window to take advantage of daylight. This helps reduce glare and provides the full light spectrum for your eyes. If natural light isn't an option, use bulbs that mimic natural light.
Position Lights Correctly
Place task lights or desk lamps to the side of your screen, not behind or above. Ensure the light is aimed at the screen, not directly at your eyes. This reduces glare while still illuminating your work area.
Adjust the Brightness
Dim your screen to match the lighting in your room. A screen that's too bright in a dark room or too dark in a bright room strains your eyes.
3. Installing an Anti-Glare Screen
An anti-glare screen is a simple solution to help reduce eye strain while using a computer. Anti-glare screens have a matte finish that diffuses light. It even prevents harsh reflections that can cause:
In fact, you can purchase anti-glare screen protectors that stick directly to your existing monitor screen. These are very affordable, easy to apply, and can instantly make your screen easier on the eyes. For the best results, look for an anti-glare screen that blocks at least 70% of reflected blue light and has a matte surface.
Aside from that, if you experience eye strain from your laptop use, you can also find built-in anti-glare displays when purchasing a new device. Several brands have anti-glare screen options that reduce glare by up to 95%. While more expensive, having an anti-glare display built into your laptop provides the maximum benefit and convenience.
4. Adjust Your Computer Display Settings
Adjusting your computer display settings is crucial for reducing symptoms of eye strain during computer use. Poor display settings contribute to discomfort, headaches, and blurred vision.
Here are more tips:
- Make sure your screen isn't too bright. Most experts recommend setting your brightness between 5% to 50% of the maximum brightness
- Increase the text size on your screen so you don't have to squint. The larger the text, the less you have to strain your eyes.
- Adjust the contrast between the text and background colors. If the contrast is too low, your eyes must work harder to see the text.
- Use a simple, clean font with clearly defined letters. Sans serif fonts like Arial, Calibri, and Verdana are good options. Avoid fancy, cursive, or uneven fonts, which can be harder to read.
- Use a glare-reduction screen filter if needed. Glare causes extra strain and reflection.
5. Blink More Often
Our eyes naturally blink less often while gazing at digital devices, which can lead to dry, tired eyes. To reduce eye strain from computer use symptoms, be sure to blink frequently.
In other words, make an effort to blink every 2-3 seconds. Set a timer to remind yourself if needed. Blinking coats your eyes and keeps them lubricated. Remember, when we focus on screens, our blink rate can drop to 1/3 of normal, causing discomfort.
Manually blinking also gives your eyes a brief rest from focusing and can help reduce fatigue. Take short breaks to look away from the screen and focus on distant objects every 20 minutes or so. This helps reduce eye strain by exercising your eyes' ability to change focus.
6. Have Regular Breaks
Regular breaks during computer use can greatly reduce symptoms of eye strain. Taking breaks allows your eyes to rest, preventing strain and discomfort.
It's recommended that for every 20 minutes of screen time, you take a 20-second break and look away into the distance. This helps reduce eye fatigue by changing your focus and giving your eyes a much-needed rest. To do that, try setting a timer to remind yourself to take eye breaks. Stand up, move around, and do light exercises like shoulder rolls.
When on a break, avoid looking at other digital screens like your phone. Instead, look out a window at objects far away. This helps reduce eye strain by changing your focal distance and allowing your eyes to relax.
7. Try Blue Light-Blocking Glasses
Blue light exposure is known to cause eye strain symptoms and potentially long-term damage. Wearing blue light-blocking glasses is an easy way to protect your eyes and reduce symptoms like dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.
How Blue Light Glasses Work
Blue light glasses block harmful blue light waves from reaching your eyes while allowing other visible light to pass through. Depending on the specific lenses, they filter out 20% to 90% of blue light. The glasses don’t even have to be a prescription. You can get non-prescription glasses with blue light-blocking lenses.
Benefits of Blue Light Glasses
- Reduces digital eye strain from extended screen time.
- Prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration.
- Improve sleep quality and mood.
- Stops headaches related to eye strain.
- Relieves dry, irritated eyes.
While more research is still needed, many eye care professionals recommend them to anyone who regularly uses digital devices.
8. Conduct Regular Eye Exams
As you age, your eyes undergo natural changes that can increase the risk of eye strain symptoms, so eye exams become even more important. Regular comprehensive eye exams are one of the best ways to catch eye strain from computer use symptoms and other vision issues early.
During a dilated eye exam, eye drops are used to widen your pupils so your eye doctor can get a better view of the inside of your eyes. This allows the doctor to check for vision changes or signs of eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, or age-related macular degeneration.
For those who spend prolonged periods looking at digital screens, let your eye doctor know about your technology use. They may recommend computer glasses, eye exercises, or other treatments to help reduce your symptoms and keep your eyes healthy.
9. Use Eye Drops
If your eye hurts from looking at a computer screen, one way to relieve discomfort is buying over-the-counter eye drops. Eye drops can moisturize your eyes and provide relief from dryness and irritation.
When staring at screens for long periods, our eyes can dry out and become irritated. Artificial tears, in particular, provide lubrication and soothing relief. You can even use drops that are preservative-free for maximum comfort.
Popular brands of artificial tears include Systane, Visine, and Blink. You can find these OTC eye drops at any pharmacy. Use as directed to keep your eyes refreshed and relieve discomfort from dryness.
10. Adjust Air Quality
Adjusting air quality is a simple yet effective measure to reduce eye strain symptoms caused by prolonged computer use. Taking these steps in your workspace can reduce eye strain from computer use symptoms. These include:
- Use a humidifier to keep humidity between 40 to 50 percent. This adds moisture to the air and reduces eye dryness.
- Minimize dust, chemicals, and smoke in the air, which can irritate your eyes. Vacuum frequently, use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, and avoid smoking and aerosol sprays.
- Make sure there is good airflow in your workspace. Open windows or use fans to breathe fresh air and vent out stagnant, stale air.
Combating eye strain from computer use symptoms is essential in our digital age. Implement these tips to shield your eyes from prolonged screen time. Remember, by making small changes to your habits, you can decrease discomfort and promote eye health in the long run.
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