CLEVELAND – If you recently started working from home or have been for a while, you may have noticed you’re staring at a screen a lot more than you used to, which can impact your eyes.
“We know that when people use screens for long periods of time and for reading, or really paying close attention to anything, we kind of stop blinking,” said Craig See, MD, ophthalmologist for Cleveland Clinic. “So it’s very common, especially as people have more of their meetings moved to computer and spending more time looking at a laptop that we did see more dry eye complaints.”
Dr. See said dry eyes can cause symptoms like redness, blurry vision, and itchiness. Many people also seem to notice the issue more towards the afternoon or end of the day after they have been looking at a screen for a while.
The good news is dry eyes usually won’t cause any kind of long-term damage.
So, what can someone do to help protect their eyes?
Dr. See said to start, make sure you have a comfortable work set-up. The top of your computer or laptop should be eye level with you. And you may want to consider getting a bigger monitor that sits farther away; that way you’re not having to focus so intently on your screen.
He also suggests using the 20-20-20 rule.
“Every twenty minutes, so with screen time or reading, take a twenty second break and look at something that is at least twenty feet away,” he said. “And during that time, you’ll find that you are blinking a lot more, you’re relaxing your eyes a lot more and that will help out with some of the eye strain issues that people encounter.”
Dr. See said you could also use artificial tear drops or a warm compress on your face if you notice your eyes are really starting to dry out. If that doesn’t seem to work, he recommends consulting with your physician.