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How to reduce Phone and Laptop Eye Strain

Category : 
Author : Dr Deepak Garg

Introduction

The number of people using laptops and phones has increased over the years. They are also spending more time on these gadgets than before. Even children because of their online classes and online learning are experiencing eye strain. We believe that Covid outbreak only accelerated the shift to these gadgets.

Eye Strain is a feeling of fatigue or heaviness in our eyes. Headaches and redness of the eyes could be a part of this feeling. People often agree to feeling better when their eyes are closed for some time. 

Causes of Eye Strain

  • Increased use of laptops
  • Increased use of mobile devices
  • Lack of sleep
  • Not wearing reading glasses - condition is presbyopia
  • Not wearing the correct glasses for individuals below 40 yrs of age
  • Reduced rate of blinking
  • Increased brightness of the laptop or phone screen
  • Wrong posture while using these gadgets

Symptoms of Eye Strain

Eye strain can present in many ways. Some of these are also dry eye symptoms also known as computer vision syndrome

  • Headaches
  • Feeling of heaviness in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling of eyes being tired
  • Watering
  • Redness of eyes
  • A feeling of not having slept well in spite of having done so
  • Eyes stuck in the morning
  • Some sticky discharge in the morning
  • String like mucus coming out from the eyes

Tips to reduce eye strain from Phone & Laptop Eye Strain

  • Blink frequently 

When we look at the screen all of us tend to stare at the screen and our blink rate drops significantly. This reduced blink rate leads to dryness of the eyes.

  • 20-20-20 rule

It's important to take frequent breaks when on the screen. One way is to take a break every 20 min for 20 seconds and to look 20 feet away at that time. Looking far away, during this 20-second break relaxes the eye muscles (Ciliary muscle) which are working hard so that you can see things clearly. By looking far you give those muscles a break.

  • If above 40-42 years of glass make sure you are wearing your reading glasses

Presbyopia is a condition in which one needs to wear reading glasses. Usually, this starts after 40-42 years of age. Some strain their eyes to avoid wearing glasses and this strain can lead to significant discomfort. Here one has three options. Separate distance and reading glasses, Bifocals, or progressive lenses.

  • If you are below 40 wear your prescription glasses

When younger individuals have a small number and can manage to see things clearly without glasses they continue to do so. This continuous attempt to read while not wearing glasses leads to eye headaches and even blurred vision. These days most of these spectacles have anti-glare glasses.

  • Reduce screen brightness

The brightness of the screen should be such that you are able to comfortably see the screen. Avoid changing the screen settings to make the screen brighter than that. 

  • Wear blue-blocking lenses

For those spending long hours on laptops and mobile devices, blue-light blocking glasses could be worn. Blue light is present everywhere. Even sunlight has a blue light. Digital devices emit blue lights too. This light is known to reduce our melatonin levels which in turn affects sleep. Wearing blue-blocking lenses may thus improve the quality of sleep.

  • Reduce screen time

All of us know this already and it has become very difficult to reduce the time spent on electronic devices. However, the only way this condition will be reduced is by reducing screen time to some extent.

  • Reduce contact lenses wear

Extended periods of contact lens wear can lead to eye strain or symptoms of dryness. It's important to remove contact lenses after 7-8 hours. Daily disposable lenses can however be worn for longer hours.

  • Get adequate sleep

It's important to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is a highly underrated bio-hack that can supercharge your body and mind. Here one must remember that the quality of sleep is as important as the quantity of sleep. It's important to have sound sleep or deep sleep for at least 4-5 hours.

  • Sit in a comfortable position

When using mobile phones or laptops make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position. Maintaining a correct posture is important. This habit will also avoid neck and shoulder pain that one may experience after spending long hours in front of digital devices.

  • Change background and text colors

It's easiest to read dark text on a light background. Make sure you have a white background or a light color and black text or some other darker colors.

  • Use lubricating drops

Using certain eye drops would help you feel much better. There are quite a few brands available in the market. These drops are lubricants and coat the front surface of the eyes making the eyes moist.

  • Don't use screens a few hours before bed

Most have a habit of looking at their mobile phone before they fall asleep. One way to reduce eye power. 

How to recognize an eye strain headache

Headaches can have many reasons. Eye strain headaches have a few features

  1. They don't occur in the mornings when you get up
  2. They start after you start looking at digital screens. Maybe 45 min to 1 hour later.
  3. You feel a sense of relief when you close your eyes
  4. After 30-45 min of screen time, you feel the blurry vision
  5. Light sensitivity 

Tips to prevent or reduce eye strain headaches

  • Blink frequently
  • Make sure the top of your screen is at your eye level
  • Reduce screen brightness
  • Reduce hours of contact lens usage
  • Take breaks every 20 min for 20 seconds
  • Use lubricating eye drops
  • Don't use the phone before sleeping
  • Reduce screen time
  • Wear the correct prescription glasses or eyeglass lenses

Conclusion

Digital Eye Strain is probably one of the most common problems worldwide. Our lifestyles have led to this situation. That being said, one can take the steps mentioned above to reduce eye strain. If taken correctly, people would feel much better while working on their digital screens, especially in the evening, by which time most of us are beginning to feel fatigued. Eye Solutions, one of the top Eye Hospital in Mumbai can help you by performing a detailed dry-eye workup and making sure you are wearing the correct glasses. Drops and some other heat therapies may also help reduce eye strain.

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