Eye strain is becoming an epidemic in the Western world and if there’s one thing we should be trying to improve, eyesight is one of them. So many of us use computers on a day-to-day basis, reading walls of text from a backlit screen for hours on end. Indeed, studies have indicated that between 50 and 90 percent of computer workers suffer from some form of a visual problem as a direct result of sitting before a monitor all day.
In the past we would have at least taken the time off between shifts, doing nothing more strenuous than reading the paper, or perhaps a book before bedtime, often just zoning out in front of the television.
Of course, today we are a mobile society. The time we don’t spend in front of a computer monitor is often spent in front of a tablet, smartphone, or another mobile device. We read the news, check out articles, and stream videos through these devices, almost constantly.
No wonder our eyes are tired.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to relieve the effects of eye strain and to improve eyesight.
1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
If you want to improve eyesight, you need to know what your base level is and, indeed, whether you’ve already caused yourself damage. If you use electronic screens on a regular and consistent basis (say, eight hours a day or more) you should really get an eye test at least once a year.
2. Take a break
Or, rather, take regular breaks. If your day is largely spent in front of a computer screen, be sure to take intermittent breaks throughout the day. We’re not talking about a ten-minute sojourn around the office or anything else that’s likely to get you fired. Simply take time out, every half an hour or so, to look away from your screen and focus on something else for about 30 seconds. This gives the muscles behind your eyes something to do, in much the same way that you might flex your fingers after half an hour of writing by hand. People still do that, right?
3. Use proper lighting
Squinting against bright light, be it sunlight from outdoors, or the too-bright lighting in and around your office space is a surefire way to develop eye strain. If you want to improve eyesight, always be aware of the lighting around you. Close the window blinds if you can, or position your monitor so that any windows are now at the side of it, rather than directly in front or behind. Overhead fluorescent lighting can also be a cause of eye strain. If your office permits it, turn these off, or see if you are able to dim them a little. These steps will not only lower the ambient lighting of your office, but will also minimise screen glare, which can be another contributing factor.
4. Blink more
This one sounds so simple as to be ridiculous, but there is some solid reasoning behind it. Studies show that, when we are sat in front of a computer screen, we have a tendency to blink less – up to a third less than normal. Given that we are already concentrating on the glowing screen in front of us, in the dry warm air given off by our computer equipment, its no wonder we soon start to feel the effects of eye strain. Fortunately, this is one part of the formula that is easy to rectify: simply be aware of the fact that computer use inhibits blinking and make the effort to do it more often.
5. Adjust the display settings on your computer
Another cause of eye strain is the computer screen itself. Certain settings like the brightness, contrast, and colour display mean that our eyes are straining all the more just to read what is on our screen. Take the time to adjust your computer’s screen settings. Lower the brightness so that it matches the brightness of the room around you. Adjust the contrast so that everything on-screen is brought into sharp focus. Change the size of your text to one that you feel comfortable with and, above all, ensure that text is displayed on-screen as a darker colour on top of a lighter one. All these little tips will help you reduce incidents of eye strain.
6. Stop smoking
We all know smoking is bad for us in general terms. As well as breathing problems and lung cancer, smoking affects our health in a more immediate way. Smoke rising into our eyes can be an irritant, as well as being hotter than the surrounding air and drying out our eyes.
7. Monitor your health
There are many medical conditions that can contribute to eye strain so, if you want to improve eyesight, you ought to be aware of your own medical history. Sufferers of Type 2 Diabetes are particularly susceptible to eye strain, as are people suffering from high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis.
8. Protect your eyes
When working in an environment where contaminants can potentially get into your eyes, be sure to wear the right protective eyewear, such as plastic goggles. This even applies to less strenuous activities such as going outside for a walk, where a pair of sunglasses in bright weather can work wonders if you’re hoping to improve eyesight.
9. Vitamins and minerals
It may sound like the worst buddy-cop drama on television, but taking the right vitamins and minerals can greatly improve eyesight. Key ingredients include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc. These can be taken in supplement form or included as part of your healthy diet. Foods to recommend include citrus fruits, sweet potato, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, and carrots, among others.
10. Invest in a ScanMarker
The ScanMarker is a revolutionary scanning device, capable of reading a line of text and narrating it back to you in a natural, human voice. After a long day at the office, there’s nothing better than curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book. Often the enjoyment of such an exercise is undermined if you have tired and aching eyes. With a ScanMarker you needn’t put your eyes under further wear and tear. Simply run the device across the page and have its built-in voice read the story to you.
For more information about the ScanMarker and how it can prevent eye strain and improve eyesight, get in touch today.