During this time of increased computer work and digital communication, it is important to be mindful of eye strain and give yourself regular breaks. This is why Pacific Medical Centers, recommends the 20-20-20 rule. Specifically, for every 20 minutes you look at a screen, look away for 20 seconds at something that is 20 feet away.
Dr. Kernie at Pacific Medical Center also recommends the following preventative steps to minimize eye strain, especially during this time of working from home. Trying incorporating the following tips:
- If you have prescription eyewear, ensure that you’re wearing them
- If you get dry eyes, remember to drink water, and use artificial tears for additional moisture (not red-eye or allergy drops, as those are for different uses)
- Try to avoid glare from windows or indoor lights
- Adjust your computer screen so the top of it is level with your eyes
- Choose a comfortable and supportive chair
- Don’t forget to blink – not blinking enough can cause red, irritated, dry eyes
Those who do most of their work on computers are most at-risk of eye strain due to the visually demanding nature of digital screens. Additionally, those who are farsighted, have astigmatism or who have problems using their eyes together have a greater risk of eye strain and may require prescription glasses or eye exercises to help manage their eye strain.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious diet which includes foods that are good for the eyes. These can include green leafy vegetables (spinach, swiss chard or kale), oily fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and beans. Green leafy vegetables all have high amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthin which appear to prevent or slow down macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Foods rich in omega-3 oils such as salmon, oysters, and ground flax seeds, are good for the retina and for the meibomian glands in the eyelids (the oil glands near the eyelashes next to the eyeball that produces part of the tears).