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Eye strain 101

How to prevent eye strain, even with increased screen-time

Written by Gantri Editorial Team

Sep 13, 2020

Halcyon Table Light by Joe Parker

We're spending much more time on our computers these days. Even socializing has moved to video call—increasing the number of hours spent staring at screens and putting all of us at increased risk for eye strain.

Fortunately, there are steps we can all take to help our weary eyes out. Below, we've put together a guide for preventing and reducing eye strain, including actions we can take daily to keep our eyes healthy and how to choose task lighting that will make your computer work easier.


What is eye strain?

Find yourself rubbing your eyes after a long video conference call? That feeling of dryness is often the first symptom of eye strain. Other common symptoms include blurry or double vision, headaches, eye twitching and sensitivity to light.

Your eye muscles are tasked with the complicated job of helping you see. Whether that means adjusting for the amount of light coming in or helping you focus so you can see at different distances—your eye muscles are constantly at work.

And when they're overworked, by a little bit or a lot, that's when you get eye strain.

Buddy Table Light by Mona Sharma

How do we prevent eye strain?

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and here’s how you can start.

1. Hydrate

Drinking enough water throughout the day will keep your eye muscles (and the rest of you) happy. Keep a water bottle or large carafe at your desk so you can sip as you work. If you tend to forget, try setting a reminder to drink water.

2. Take frequent eye breaks

Even if you have back-to-back video calls, you don't need to spend the whole time looking at your screen. Look away every once in a while and focus on something at a longer distance. A good rule of thumb is a twenty second eye break every twenty minutes.

3. Add appropriate Task Lighting

Good Task Lighting is one of the easiest long-term ways to reduce eye strain.

You might be thinking: my computer puts out light, why do I need more? Well, when the amount of light around your computer screen is much dimmer than the screen itself, your eyes work overtime to manage the two different brightnesses. That movie trope of a hacker sitting in the dark? Not great for eye strain.

Adding a task light that illuminates your work space in the right way reduces the amount of unnecessary work that your eyes are doing, allowing them to rest more. We've created a guide to help you choose the right task lighting for your space, including lighting that reduces eye strain while you do computer work.

4. Try blue light glasses

Opticians recommend using blue light glasses to reduce eye strain. If you already wear glasses, you can get a special coating that filters out blue light on your next pair. For the non-glasses wearers, there are many stylish non-prescription options out there.

5. Get your vision checked

If it's been over a year since you've had your vision checked, and or you've been experiencing frequent or prolonged eye strain, time to make an appointment. That way, you can catch any changes in your vision or potential issues earlier.

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