Dr. Robert Weinstock, Director of Cataract and Refractive Services at The Eye Institute of West Florida, shares insight into protecting your eyes from digital eye strain. As more and more people are working or distance learning from home during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, they are exposed to more screen time. Dr. Weinstock shared some important techniques with Good Morning America on how to best alleviate digital eye strain.
The American Academy of Ophthalmologists suggests the following tips to help reduce eye strain related to computer and digital device use.
Top tips to prevent and reduce digital eye strain
- Blink! Humans normally blink about 15 times in one minute. However, studies show that we only blink about 5 to 7 times in a minute while using computers and other digital screen devices. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface. Make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible. This keeps the surface of your eyes from drying out. You might even want to put a sticky note on your computer screen reminding you to blink often!
- Lube ‘em up. Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry. If you are often in a dry, warm room, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Follow the “20-20-20” Rule. Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- Use computer eyeglasses. If you work on a computer for many hours at a time, you might find that using computer eyeglasses reduces eye strain. These prescription glasses allow you to focus your eyes specifically at computer screen distance (intermediate distance, which is about 20-26 inches away from your face). Some of these glasses have multi-focal lenses to help you quickly shift your focus between close, intermediate and far distances. Be aware that computer glasses for reducing eye strain are not the same as “blue light blocking” glasses.
- Adjust brightness and contrast. If your screen glows brighter than your surroundings, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your screen brightness to match the level of light around you. Also, try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
- Reduce the glare. The screens on today’s digital devices often have a lot of glare. Try using a matte screen filter to cut glare. Check with your computer store or cell phone store to see what they can provide.
- Adjust your position at the computer. When using a computer, you should be sitting about 25 inches (right about at arm’s length) from the screen. Also, position the screen so your eye gazes slightly downward, not straight ahead or up.
About the Author
Robert J. Weinstock, M.D. is a board certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained cataract and refractive surgeon. After completing his residency in 2001, he continued his training with a refractive and cataract fellowship under his father Stephen M. Weinstock, M.D. at The Eye Institute of West Florida. Dr. Weinstock currently serves as the Director of Cataract and Refractive Surgery at The Eye Institute of West Florida and the Weinstock Laser Eye Center. He is also the Medical Director of the Largo Ambulatory Surgery Center and is an associate clinical professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Weinstock is also the Fellowship Director of the Refractive Surgery Fellowship Program at The Eye Institute of West Florida. Link to bio.