The idea of working from home sounds great in theory. Wearing sweatpants all day long and cuddling with your pets on the couch during a Zoom call is certainly more appealing than being in your office! But have you noticed that your eyes are starting to feel strained, fatigued, or irritated?
Working from home has plenty of benefits, but your eyes may be getting the short end of the stick. Keep reading to learn if you could be suffering from eye strain and how you can start to feel better!
What is eye strain?
There’s not exactly a “universal” definition for what eye strain is since it can change depending on the person. More than anything, eye strain is a symptom rather than a condition.
Eye strain for one person can mean their eyes are dry. For someone else, it can mean their eyes are tired and watery. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with eye strain:
- Having dry or watery eyes
- Having tired, sore, itching, or burning eyes
- Experiencing blurred or double vision
- Your back, shoulders, or neck are sore
- You become more sensitive to light
- You find it harder to concentrate on the task at hand
- Your eyes feel fatigued or like you can’t keep them open on your own
What does eye strain have to do with working from home?
You may be trying to piece together why you’re experiencing eye strain while working from home. One of the most common causes of eye strain is computer use, as well as looking at other digital devices and screens.
For most people that are working from home, this can involve eight or more hours per day of screen time. To get the most done, you may even have a second monitor.
That means for at least eight hours a day, you’re looking at two screens. You’re also likely looking at other devices like your phone or even your tablet on breaks, and you may even have your television running in the background!
All this screen time is what could be contributing to feelings of eye strain and fatigue. If it is, you can blame computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain.
If you look at screens for two or more hours in a row every day, you are at the highest risk for developing this condition. You may have even had this while you were working at your office and not known it!
For many people right now, working from home has made it a lot harder to establish and follow their normal habits. Do you ever find yourself sitting at your computer for hours on end finishing up a task?
It’s a lot easier to feel like you can work without breaks when you’re working in a place that doesn’t feel like the “office”, and that’s something that is affecting your eyes.
So what can you do? It’s not like you can stop using computers and still do your job, after all.
Tips for reducing eye strain
It can seem difficult, but it is possible to reduce eye strain and get your eyes back to normal! Try following these tips the next time your eyes start to bother you:
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Ever heard of the 20-20-20 rule? It’s pretty simple and it’s easy to follow! Every twenty minutes, take a break from the task you’re working on.
During this break, look at an object that’s at least twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds. The purpose of the 20-20-20-20 rule is to give your eyes a break and to allow your eyes to refocus.
Not doing this won’t give the muscles in your eyes time to move around and may eventually lead to atrophy. If you have the time, get up and walk around for a minute as well. It’s not only good for your eyes but it’s good for your whole body!
Keep your eyes moisturized and well lubricated
If you’re spending hours and hours in front of a computer working, it’s natural that your eyes may get a little dry. When you sit in front of a computer, you blink about half as often as you need to, which is normally about 15 times a minute.
When you’re looking at screens, this gets reduced to only 5 to 7 times per minute. Combat any feelings of dryness by keeping eye drops and artificial tears near you at home.
This may include at your desk, in your bathroom, and anywhere that you spend the most time. If eye drops and artificial tears don’t feel like enough, think about buying a humidifier as well.
There are many options available, including tiny USB versions that you can plug into your computer for instant relief!
Consider daily contact lenses or LASIK
One thing that doesn’t go with working on a computer or electronic device is uncomfortable contact lenses. They can significantly contribute to dry eye, making eye strain worse.
If you currently wear monthly or two-week lenses, one option is to switch to dailies. These lenses are thrown away every day, giving your eyes that feeling of a fresh lens every morning.
Daily lenses are great for patients more prone to dry eye or those spending many hours on the computer. Our optometrists at Diagnostic Eye Center can quickly refit you into a healthier lens at your next exam!
Another option is to get rid of contact lenses altogether and have LASIK. Wouldn’t you rather permanently correct your vision instead of spending your money on contacts year after year? One advantage of working from home is it makes it easier than ever before to recover after having LASIK.
The recovery process after LASIK is pretty short, but imagine having LASIK on a Friday and being able to return to all your work activities with ease on Monday! It’s all possible if you’re a LASIK candidate! Take our 1-minute self-test here to find out!
Invest in a pair of computer glasses if you don’t have them
Even if you don’t normally wear glasses, computer glasses are something you may need if you’re working at home. These are prescription glasses that allow you to focus specifically at computer screen distance.
At Diagnostic Eye Center, we offer a full-service optical shop for all your eyewear needs. Whether you’re looking for a pair of prescription computer glasses or a pair of anti-reflective glasses to help with glare, our opticians can help you find what you’re looking for!
When it comes to choosing frames, we make the process easier thanks to the Visioffice 2 system. This system provides patients with enhanced lens measurements, frame comparisons, and patient education tools.
This makes it a breeze to buy the best frames for your vision needs.
Concerned about eye strain or want to learn more about LASIK? Schedule an appointment at Diagnostic Eye Center in Houston, TX today! It’s time to make working from home better for your eyes!