Sixty-five percent of American adults suffer painful symptoms of digital eyestrain.

Dr. Joseph Calderone Jr, of Better Vision New Jersey in Cranford said the little bit of effort required to focus on a computer screen about 22 inches away for hours on end causes all sorts of discomfort — including eye pain, blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes, even back and neck pain.

While these symptoms are not permanent, Calderone said it's enough to ruin an entire workday and hinder productivity.

To protect against digital eyestrain, Calderone suggested a computer user practice the "20-20-20" rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet away. He said this will rest the focusing muscles in the eyes. It will allow someone to blink more so the eye's tear film will be replenished and it will break the cycle of looking at the relentless bright light on the screen.

He also suggested using anti-glare filters. The matte films cover computer screens to minimize glare and reduce the effects of digital eyestrain.

Adjust the brightness levels on the computer. Bright light causes a person to squint more, which is a major contributor to headaches, said Calderone.

Also, try sitting 25 inches from the computer screen.

"The further away you are, the less work it is for your focusing muscles and this distance is also allows for better posture which is important for your neck, back, shoulders, elbows and wrists," Calderone said.

A larger font size may also help a person maintain better posture and avoid painful neck positions.

When in doubt, check with an opthalmologist. In some cases, finding a treatment for an underlying condition like dry eye might help ease digital eyestrain, Calderone said. It's also possible a person may need a pair of computer eyeglasses, especially a person in his or her mid-50s.

"During this month of March which is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, make an appointment to fix the problem of digital eyestrain so work isn't such a miserable experience for your eyes and your boss might even like it too," Calderone said.

 

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