Are you experiencing dry or watery eyes, difficulty focusing or pain in your neck, shoulders, or back? Don’t worry, you aren’t allergic to work. Instead, you might be suffering from eye fatigue. To prevent this common, yet frustrating condition, check out the techniques below to help you get through your work day.
1. Tidy Up
Cleaning your workspace regularly can help de-stress your eyes, not to mention remove the yuck-factor of food crumbs and germs. When your computer screen collects a layer of dust or smudges, your eyes work harder because images and text appear fuzzy. Keep a stash of monitor cleaning wipes in your drawer for a weekly wipe down.
2. Reduce the Glare
If you sit in a cubicle, you’re probably surrounded by artificial light. Since you can’t adjust the brightness of the office, your best alternative is to attach an anti-glare filter on the screen to reduce the blinding light. You can also try changing the contrast and brightness settings of the monitor.
3. Check your Posture
Sitting correctly at your desk can help improve eye fatigue. Your monitor should sit about an arm’s length away, as well as situated directly in front of your face. To help keep the neck relaxed, adjust the monitor so the center is 4 to 8 inches below your eyes. If your monitor is very low, try stacking a few books under it or using a monitor stand. Alternatively, you may need to adjust the height of your chair to get it just right.
4. Blink More
Staring at a complicated spreadsheet or lengthy email, for example, might actually affect your blinking completeness and frequency. Blinking helps keep the eye hydrated and removes bacteria as well as debris. However, if you are straining your eyes, you’re preventing the blinking reflex to occur naturally. To avoid dry eyes, set a timer on your phone for 20 minute intervals. Take that time to slowly open and close your eyes ten times or enjoy a 20 second shuteye.
5. Take a Break
Eye fatigue can lead to headaches, which can reduce your productivity. Instead of getting reprimanded at work, make it a point to take a 15 minute break a few times during the day. Try going for a quick walk, visit with a coworker or grab a coffee. Focusing on something other than a computer helps your eyes reset. If you can’t leave your desk, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look away from the computer and focus on an object that is at 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
6. Get Checked
It’s important to have an annual eye exam to ensure there aren’t any vision changes or underlying concerns. If you’re wearing glasses or contact lenses with outdated prescriptions, that could be the culprit for headaches and eye fatigue. Your doctor might even recommend computer glasses which are especially designed for staring at a screen.