COVID-19 has seen a lot of us set up offices at home. That means your eyes need to make adjustments to longer hours in these surroundings. You may have been in a well-lit office with a big monitor which now looks more like a laptop on the kitchen bench with less than ideal lighting. The good news? Bupa Optometrist Karen Makin has a few tips for keeping your eyes healthy.
When you’re looking at screens and devices for long periods, it’s important to take regular hourly breaks. “Even if you just look out the window and change your focus, that will relax your eyes and give them a break from that constant focus up close,” Makin says. It’s also another good reason to get up for a short walk or a glass of water.
Working in a hot, stuffy environment with poor ventilation? That can put extra strain on your body, “which then will put unnecessary strain on your eyes”, Makin says.
Lighting is also a really important consideration. “When you’re looking at a screen or paper, you don’t want shadows on the object that you’re looking at,” Makin says. “You want good, even lighting.” You could try a lamp directed onto your work for starters.
We’ve heard it all before, but it’s never been more important to have good posture when you’re working. “You shouldn’t read or work while lying down or on the couch, or half sitting up in bed, which can put strain on your body and therefore on your eyes,” Makin says.
Setting up your monitor? Position it slightly down from eye level. “The most comfortable position of gaze for your eyes is not directly ahead, it’s just slightly downwards,” Makin explains.
“You don’t want to be looking at a monitor that’s directly in front or up high, because then your muscles are moving, constantly working to lift your eyes up.”
It’s no surprise that a lot of us are using our computers, tablets, and phones at home more than we have before. But these devices emit blue light, which can keep you awake and tire out your eye muscles.
Optometry Australia suggests that when you’re winding down for the day, try using apps that dim your screens and lessen that blue light. It’s also best to put the phone away around an hour before bed.