More than 70% of Americans don't know—or don't believe—that they could suffer from eye strain, the Vision Council reports, though the most adults are on digital media from four to six hours a day—with 14% of young adults spending more than 12 hours a day looking at screens.
And yet anybody who spends all day in front of a screen is susceptible to eye strain—the all-too-familiar face fatigue we don't know quite how to fight.
The symptoms, as per the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty focusing
The Mayo Clinic says that if you can't tolerate these symptoms at home—like by making the adjustments below—then you should head to the doctor, especially in the case of prolonged eye discomfort, changes in your vision, or double vision.
The Vision Council report claims that the solution to eye strain is easy to enact: All you have to do is limit the time you spend in front of screens. But if your job tethers you to a desk—even a standing desk—you still are going to be dealing with screens all day. The key, then, is a mindfulness about the way you interact with the screens in your life: Just like mindlessly having your email open all day can slowly fill your body with tension, never looking away fills your eyes with tension.
Sudden eye, neck, or shoulder pain is a warning that eye strain may be coming on.
Turn down your monitor brightness. Less work for your eyes.
Wipe away dust: It reduces glare. Which means less work for eyes.
The more competing light in the room, the harder your eyes have to work.
Having the right distance between your eyes and your screen makes things less awful. To do so, check Lifehacker's ergo guide.
Optimal case is directly in front of your face, just below eye level.
Bigger the text size, lesser the eyeball labor.
Sometimes people's eyes dry out because they forget to blink. Really.
Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away.
[Image: Flickr user John Morgan]