In today’s technologically forward world, the usage of mobile phones and computers is inevitable. We wouldn’t be wrong in saying that they aren’t a luxury, but a necessity. People have jobs that involve sitting in front of a computer all day. More often than not, we spend a lot of time on our smartphones, either working, playing games or surfing the net. Hence, taking proper care of our eyes becomes critical. Eye strain is caused by over-exertion of eyes on digital screens for a long time. To prevent eye strains and other eye injuries, here are top 12 eye care tips every computer/phone user must follow:
12) Correct positioning
While using a computer or a mobile phone, it is extremely necessary to ensure proper positioning of the device. Your computer screen must be at an arm’s length from your eyes. You can easily verify this distance with the hi-five test: if you can hi-five the screen with your fully extended arm, you’re probably sitting too close. Position your screen 4-5 inches (15-20 degree) below your eye level. If you’re referring any material, place it above the keyboard and below the monitor; you can also use a document holder or a book to prop it up a few inches. Hold your smartphone 16-18 inches from your face.
11) Adjust your display settings
Optimize your display settings according to your surroundings, so that your eyes do not experience any discomfort. Adjust the brightness of your screen to a higher level if you’re in a brighter environment, and reduce it when you’re in a darker environment. Enlarge your text size, especially when you’re reading, to avoid straining your eyes. You can also change your contrast settings accordingly. Black print on a white background is the ideal combination for reading. Nowadays, the option of ‘night mode’ is available in many devices, so you can switch to it when you’re reading in the night.
10) Minimize the screen glare
The light in your room reflects off your screen, increasing the glare while straining your eyes. Minimize the glare by getting rid of the sunlight using drapes, blinds or shades. Use fewer bulbs/fluorescent tubes, or the ones having a low light intensity. Replacing overhead fluorescent lights with floor lamps providing indirect lighting is a good idea for reducing the glare. Avoid sitting with a window behind you; try positioning your screen to the window side. Dust on your screen can also reflect light into your eyes, so clean your screen regularly with a specialized cleaning cloth or spray. Use an anti-glare screen if necessary.
9) Protective eye-wear
Wearing a pair of specialized computer glasses while working can help you prevent computer vision problems. Ask your eye doctor to customize them. The tinted glasses will reduce the glare while protecting your eyes. Develop the habit of wearing them while working, especially if you use lenses. If you wear contact lenses, opt for zero power anti-glare glasses.
8) Never rub your eyes
Many people have the habit of rubbing their eyes frequently, whether they are working on their computers or not. Never rub your eyes, even if dirt enters into them, for rubbing them might cause the dirt to stick inside, interrupting your vision and causing irritation. “Blink several times to start your tears flowing; this will help flush out the dirt,” advises Dr Harish S Belvi, a practicing opthalmologist based in Mumbai.
7) Eye exercises
Exercising your eyes regularly is one of the best ways to ensure their health and safety. There are several various eye exercises you can find on the internet. Dr Belvi suggests a small and easy eye exercise for you to try out between the breaks at the office, or even at home – Blink your eyes several times, and then close them. While they’re still closed, roll your eyeballs clockwise and anticlockwise, and take a deep breath. Open your eyes gradually; releasing your breath simultaneously. Repeat it thrice before getting back to work.
Palming is the action of rubbing your palms against each other and placing them on your eyes. It is a very effective method to relax your worn-out eyes, for the warmth generated by your palms will soothe them effectively. Even if you are at your workstation, just move your palms against each other rapidly until they’re warm, and then lightly cup your eyes with them for a minute. Repeat this action twice or thrice whenever your eyes get weary, or as often as you please. You can either rest your elbows on the desk while palming, or keep them away and cup your eyes.
5) Tea bags and cucumbers
Over-exerting your eyes on a computer or a mobile screen can make them puffy. One simple way of reducing the puffiness is by placing tea-bags on your eyes. Put two used tea-bags in your refrigerator every morning, and when you come back home from work, place them on your eyes for a few minutes and relax. Another way of soothing them is by applying cucumber slices on your eye lids for around 10-15 minutes before bedtime. Cucumbers contain pro-inflammatory enzymes that fight inflammation.
4) The 20-20-20 rule
To make sure you do not over-strain your eyes, follow this simple and smart rule after every 20 minutes of sitting in front of the screen. First, look at an object at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Doing this will change the focal length of your eyes and relax them. Then, blink 20 times successively so that your eyes gain the required moisture. Finally, take a walk of 20 paces, as this will increase the blood circulation in your body.
3) Water therapy
Drink lots of water, for it helps in reducing the puffiness around your eyes. When you are dehydrated, especially while working in an air-conditioned environment, your body starts storing water as a defense mechanism, leading up to the puffiness. Also, splashing water on your face will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
2) Balanced diet
Having a balanced diet incorporated with vitamins A, C and E is extremely essential for healthy eyes. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, poultry and dairy products are rich sources of vitamins A, C, E and other useful minerals that keep the retina of your eyes active and functional.
1) Get your eyes checked annually
Computer and mobile users must take a comprehensive eye exam and get their eyes checked annually. This is of utmost importance, as getting your eyes checked will help you prevent and cure vision problems or eye injuries. Feel free to tell your opthalmologist how often do you use a computer/mobile, how much distance you keep between yourself and the screen, whether you notice any unnatural eye symptoms or not, etc.