Now that a lot of people are working from home due to lockdowns brought about thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, it becomes even more important to prevent eye strain. Commercial office spaces tend to have better furniture and lighting than your makeshift work-from-home setup and that can contribute significantly to increasing eye strain. However, there are lots of easy ways to prevent eye strain and we're going to tell you how to reduce this.
The way you are sitting could be the reason behind your tired eyes, according to the American Occupational Safety and Health Association. Before looking for software or hardware solutions to your problem, check if your posture is correct. In many cases, the display is either above or below eye level, which leads to incorrect posture.
If you're craning your neck or slouching to look at the screen, you're straining your eyes. Try using a laptop stand or even just a pile of books to raise the screen to eye level. If the screen is above eye level, try raising your chair to bring the screen to eye level. Once you've done this, try some apps that will further help you reduce eye strain.
The 20-20-20 rule is quite effective at reducing eye strain. Simply put, after every 20 minutes of looking at the screen, look at an object that is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Following this rule has helped us at NDTV Gadgets, so we can vouch for it.
Keeping track of those twenty minute breaks isn't easy though, particularly when you're in the middle of work, so we suggest you try a free Web app called Protect Your Vision. Here's how to use it.
Protect Your Vision is a nice app but if you want something that automatically darkens your screen every 20 minutes, then try FadeTop on Windows or TimeOut on Mac. They accomplish the same result, and don't require you to click on any button to start the break.
According to the Vision Council, one of the largest groups of manufacturers and suppliers in the optical industry, blue light is one of the causes of digital eyestrain. To make your monitor eye-friendly, you can go into the settings and tweak the various options to reduce eye strain.
The first thing you should do is set the brightness and contrast to a comfortable level. If your workplace doesn't have plenty of natural light, then you might want to cut out the blue light on your display to give your eyes some much-needed relief. You can do this manually by changing your display settings, but that isn't for everyone.
The next step is to cut out the blue light from the display to reduce eye strain. This is most effective when you are working under artificial light, and not that useful for those who work during the day in rooms with lots of natural light.
While the solutions mentioned above should be good enough for most situations, you might want to consider buying gadgets with anti-glare screens to reduce the strain on your eyes. If you haven't done this, you can buy yourself an anti-glare screen coating. We tested an anti-glare filter from 3M on our laptops and found it to be quite effective.
If you are using a device with a reflective screen, you may find it hard to see your screen if it is facing the light. Anti-glare filters are useful in these situations and the one from 3M does the job as advertised. It takes some time to attach to your screen but that's a one-time hassle. Good quality anti-glare coatings cost anywhere between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000.
If that isn't an option, we suggest you visit an ophthalmologist and get yourself a good pair of anti-glare glasses. Some brands (like Gunnar) also make glasses that are supposed to be particularly helpful for "computer vision syndrome." We reviewed two pairs of eye strain reducing glasses by Gunnar and found them to be very effective. You can read the review and decide whether you need such glasses.
These tips should have helped you reduce eye strain. In case you have any other tips or if you liked our suggestions, please let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How to section.
How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.