what is digital eye strainAll day long, I sit at my computer desk. I’ve made some changes to my office setup to compensate for writing fatigue and improve productivity. More to come on that in a later article.

I have no commute. I have no coworkers outside of our team Zoom meetings. Outside of taking a break to go to the bathroom or eat some lunch, I’m in my home office staring at either my dual monitor setup or my iPhone.

Those of us who work in front of computers all day long know that digital eye strain is a real problem. I know it is for me. I will periodically take breaks throughout the day and tell my kids that I need to go let my eyes breathe. They just give me a strange look knowing your eyes don’t breathe, but in a sense it’s true.

If I’m hyper-focused on an article I’m writing and in the zone, I’m not going to take the time to look away from my computer monitor. Without any set boundaries I have the potential to stare for hours as I type out page after page of copy. When you have deadlines to meet, you want to meet those deadlines or beat them.

When I’m done for the day and I will walk out of my office to join my family for dinner. My family can generally tell how intense my day was purely by the look in my eyes.

That’s because my eyes are tired – they need to breathe.

Can you relate?

The Digital Eye Strain Epidemic

One study suggested that 50% of the population suffers from digital eye strain. That’s a lot of people struggling with eye strain! And that study was published in 2019, long before the world banished everyone from office buildings and forced many to work from home.

Now, not only are we staring at the computer all day for our work, but now our meetings require us to stare into that screen that much more.

Some of the more common digital eye strain symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Trouble focusing
  • Eye pain or soreness

These aren’t minor issues. Eye strain isn’t permanent, but even having one of these problems is going to keep you from getting your writing done.

All is not lost, however. With a few small tweaks to your environment and behavior, you can reduce eye strain considerably and potentially eliminate the discomfort and headaches that keep you from working at full productivity most days.

how to relieve digital eye strain

Try These 5 Simple Tweaks to Reduce Digital Eye Strain

A lot of companies want to sell you products and apps that they claim will eliminate your digital eye strain.

As long as you are working at a computer, though, eye strain is probably going to be an issue in some capacity.

You can start working on it today without breaking the bank. Here’s how.

Try Following The 90-20 Rule

Basically, for every 90 minutes spent in front of your computer screen, take a 20-minute break. I know that sounds like a lot of break time when you add it up at the end of the day. Trust me though, you’ll notice a significant increase in your creativity and the quality of your written content. I challenge you to try it for a day and tell me if I’m wrong.

Set a timer on your phone to keep you accountable for your much needed breaks. It relaxes your eye muscles, which will in turn recharge your energy and focus.

Speaking of taking a break, try working outside if the weather permits you to do so. I’ve found that sitting on my front porch with access to some fresh air does a great job of reducing eye strain. This is something I’ll do towards the end of the workday to give me that mental boost to finish strong.

Turn Down The Brightness

I love a bright, crisp display on my computer. I also love eyes that function properly. So I turn down the brightness whenever possible.

Whenever I have the option to choose custom themes such as with Gmail, I’ll always choose the dark theme.

It’s just easier on my eyes that way.

what is digital eye strain

Adjust Your Device’s Display To Be Warmer

Blue light is the problem, but there are apps and settings that can reduce blue light.

Every device is a little different, but most have the ability to warm up the display as the sun goes down, reducing the blue light exposure that is wearing out your eyes. And speaking of blue light…

Get a Pair of Blue Light Glasses

These glasses filter out all the blue light so that you are free to look at your device’s display without pumping your eyeballs full of the blue light stuff. I was originally against this as I didn’t want to look weird wearing them in an office full of people.

With most of us working from home now in some capacity, it’s much easier to wear them.

glasses for digital eye strain

Put Your Electronic Devices Away For The Evening

As simple as this sounds, it’s the toughest to follow through with.

When you’re done working for the day, try to put some distance between you and your digital devices. Keep your phone in your pocket or put it across the room and do something else.

If you have a dedicated home office, that makes this a little easier. I like to leave my phone in my office with my laptop for the majority of the evening.

Too many of us are leaving our computer monitors only to stare at our phones all night and that doesn’t give our eyes the rest that they need.

digital eye strain relief

Conclusion | It’s Up to You

Nobody is going to fix this problem for you and there isn’t a magic pill for it either.

If you want to prevent eye strain from killing your productivity, you need to be proactive. Implement a few of the above steps and watch the quality of your life, work, and content writing go up substantially.

By Published On: April 20, 2021Categories: Writer Development

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