Computer vision syndrome is a real thing and it is affecting our eyes. It has only got worse in the past 3 years as we have switched to working from home and increased screen time in schools. As a result, our eyes are more irritated, dry, red, not to mention our contact lenses are becoming less and less comfortable. Aside from giving up computers in general, I am going to give you 5 ways to make your eyes feel better when using a computer.

The 20-20-20 Rule

One of the first things I tell my patients is to utilize the 20-20-20 rule. What is the 20-20-20 rule you may ask? It is simple, for every 20 minutes of screen time, take 20 seconds, and look 20 feet away. This will allow you to give your focusing system a rest and your eyes a chance to blink.

Computer Blink Breaks

In addition to the 20-20-20 rule, blink breaks are a must. I advise taking a sticky note and putting it on a corner of your computer and blinking whenever you see it. This is because our blink rate is cut in half when we are on a screen. Making a conscious effort to blink will help keep your eyes and contact lenses lubricated.

Artificial Tears That Treat Evaporative Dry Eye

Let’s be honest, the 20-20-20 rule and taking blink breaks sounds great in theory, but realistically there are going to be days when this does not happen. Consequently, we need an alternative option to lubricate your eyes and that is where artificial tears come into play. 

I recommend Systane Complete or Systane Balance. Systane Complete also has a preservative free option that can be used. Most artificial tears do not address the evaporative component of dry eye associated with screen time and do not provide the relief we desire. Use these morning and night, and anytime you can remember during the day. If you consistently use them more than 4 times per day, use the preservative free option. 

Drink Water

Hydration affects your entire body, including your eyes. Making hydration a priority will help you in more ways than one. Overall, your body will function at a higher level, that includes your eyes. Additionally, the more water you drink, the more frequently you are going to have to use the restroom. This will invariably force you to take more breaks! Brilliant!

Move that screen away from your eyes

Lastly, you need to increase the distance of your screen from your eyes. This may not be intuitive, but the closer the screen the more focusing power you need to use to see at near. Extend this over a long enough time period and you are going to work harder and harder to see up close. The increased concentration will decrease that blink rate and further dry your eyes out.

Now all of these are tools you can use to increase eye comfort when using screens. However, it does nothing to treat the underlying causes of dry eye and eye discomfort. If you are experiencing any discomfort or dryness, call the office (or click here to schedule online) and get a dry eye evaluation. We have at home therapies and advanced dry eye treatments to maximize your tear film and optimize your vision.