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8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

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Everyone seems to be staring at a screen these days, whether their computer, their smartphone or another digital device. The stress it puts on your eyes can cause a condition called "digital eye strain" (DES) or "computer vision syndrome" (CVS). Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, red eyes, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

Below are a few things you can do to lower your risk or mitigate any discomfort associated with DES. 

1. See your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. During your eye doctor’s appointment, make sure to speak with Dr. Bjork about your working habits, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

If you get a chance before you come, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information to the optometrist, so that you can get your eyes tested for that specific working distance.

Computer vision syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our eye clinic in Oconomowoc.

Sometimes people who have good visual acuity assume they don’t need any glasses. However, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting is key 

Excessively bright light, whether due to outdoor sunshine coming in through the window or harsh interior lighting, is a common cause of eyestrain. When using your computer, your ambient lighting should be about 50% dimmer than what is typically found in most offices. 

You can reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades and diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs. Computer users often find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on their eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, get anti-reflective (AR) coating on your lenses to reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

If you have a CRT (cathode) screen on your monitor, consider replacing it with a flat-panel LED (light-emitting diode) screen that includes an anti-reflective surface. Old-school CRT screens can be a major cause of computer eye strain due to the flickering images. 

For your new flat panel desktop display, choose one with a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches, and the higher the resolution, the better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then it should be dimmed. However, if it appears dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. To combat these effects, Oconomowoc Vision Clinic recommends digital protection coatings, which act as a shield to cut the glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Bjork for customized computer glasses, which feature mildly tinted lenses that filter out blue light. These can be made with or without prescription vision correction, for the benefit of those with 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, though many people with contacts actually prefer to have alternative eyewear to use when their lenses become dry and uncomfortable from extended screen time.

Oconomowoc Vision Clinic can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses and lens coatings to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don't forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up to 66% less often, and often the blinks performed during computer work are only partial which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This "20-20-20 rule" is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

 

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Oconomowoc Vision Clinic in Oconomowoc to make an appointment with Dr. Bjork and learn how the right eye drops, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR coatings can improve eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

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Due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, the CDC is recommending postponing all routine care. Therefore, we have made the necessary decision to close our offices as of April 3rd. We anticipate reopening on Monday, May 4th; although this may change as we continue to monitor the situation.

If you have an eye emergency, please text Dr. David Bjork at 262-705-6958 with your name, primary office information, and a brief description of the issue. He will then be able to access your record and return your call; it will be determined at that time if you need to be seen in-office or if a telemedicine visit is possible.

If you need to order contacts, please call the office at 262-567-2295.

Your lenseswill be shipped directly to you. We will be able to extend expired contact lens

prescriptions in most cases.

We will be available to dispense glasses in emergent situations only by the way

of curbside pickup on Mondays and Thursdays from 2-5PM in Oconomowoc,

Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5PM in Watertown, and Wednesdays from 2-5PM

in Pewaukee. We will not be available for adjustments or repairs until further notice.

You can call and leave non-urgent messages on the office voicemail; we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we are able.

If your glasses are broken or lost, please call or email us. We should be able to order you a replacement pair.

If you need a medication refill, please have your pharmacy contact us.

We deeply apologize for any inconvenience and thank you in advance for your patience.

Sincerely, Oconomowoc Vision Clinic, Pewaukee Vision, & Watertown Vision