As many as 70 million people’s eyes are at risk of computer vision syndrome, according to the New York Times. If you have your face in a computer screen three or more hours a day, they could be yours.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Does this sound like you?
- Your eyes burn
- Your eyes itch
- Your vision is blurry or doubled
- Your eyes are dry
- Your eyes are red
Why Monitors Hurt Your Eyes
There are a whole bunch of reasons your computer may be bothering your eyes:
- You don’t blink as often: Staring at a computer screen means your eyes don’t get to refresh themselves often enough. Normally, you blink about 17 times per minute. While using a computer, it’s more like 12 to 15 times.
- Your eyes are continually focusing: They’re constantly trying to make sense of the way that text characters have blurry edges as they lay across the screen’s pixels. You don’t do this consciously, but it’s constant.
- You could be sitting too close: Experts recommend sitting from 20 to 26 inches away from the monitor to give your eyes a less cramped space in which to focus.
- The monitor is too high or low: It’s advised that the center of the screen be about four inches below your eyes, so you don’t have to open them unnaturally wide to take in the whole monitor.
- The monitor is less bright than your surroundings: This makes your eyes strain to see what’s on-screen.
- The monitor is too bright: Let’s face it. Glare hurts.
What You Can Do
Aside from fixing any of the last four issues above, stick to the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes spend at least 20 seconds looking at something (not another screen) that is 20 feet away to give your eyes a chance to do something normal. Try blinking as often as you can to keep your eyes well lubricated. And if that doesn't work, treat your eyes to preservative-free lubricating eye drops.
If your eyes are bothering you, we don’t need to tell you how important it is to protect them. And make sure to visit your ophthalmologist regularly for checkups.