working at night, taking off glasses, suffering from eye strainIn the past 18 months or so, millions of people around the world shifted into a remote work environment. We have been living in the era of virtual meetings and get-togethers and, while this was helpful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, it also presented some concerns for eye wellness. Here, we’ll discuss why now, more than ever, it is imperative to pay close attention to optical and ocular symptoms when at work, whether that is at home or back in an office.

The Hazards of Remote Work

For many people, working remotely has opened new doors for a more flexible schedule and even work opportunities. This shift has also made it more challenging to find time away from screens. In the traditional work environment, in-person meetings and social functions provided a much-needed break for the eyes. Rather than alleviating the risks of digital eye strain, our virtual meetings may be contributing to this problem. It is up to each individual who works on a screen all day to take breaks, even if that is just to close the eyes for a few minutes.

Digital eye strain is one of the most common ophthalmic problems we see these days. The symptoms of this condition include:

• Blurry vision

• Dry eyes or a gritty sensation

• Eye fatigue and eye pain

The symptoms of digital eye strain can become severe if the eyes do not get rest away from all screens. A good night’s sleep is only one piece of this puzzle. Some of the easiest ways to reduce your chances of suffering digital eye strain include:

• Set a timer for every 20 minutes. When the alarm goes off, look about 20 feet across the room for 20 seconds.

• Remind yourself to blink regularly to maintain optimal moisture in the eyes.

• Use artificial tears if necessary to reduce dry eye.

• Make sure your screen is positioned an arm’s length away from your eyes, and that the level of your screen is not above your eyes.

• Adjust the lighting of your workspace and also your computer screen to be more comfortable for your eyes. Some people increase the contrast of their screen while others prefer to lower the brightness.

• Apply an anti-glare filter or product to your computer screen.

• Take screen-free breaks throughout the day.

• Close your eyes for a few minutes.

• Take a walk outside.

If the symptoms of digital eye strain persist, schedule a visit with us. We can help you determine if your eye irritation is related to dry eye disease and assist you with resolving your symptoms sooner rather than later. Contact our Winchester, VA office at 540-722-6200.

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