CLEVELAND — If you’ve recently started working from home or have been doing it for a while, you may have noticed that you stare at a screen a lot more than you used to, which can have an impact on your eyes.
“We know that when people use screens for long periods of time and to read, or to pay close attention to anything, we kind of stop blinking,” said Craig See, MD, ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “So it’s very common, especially as people have more computer meetings and spend more time staring at a laptop that we’ve seen more dry eye complaints.”
Dr See said dry eyes may cause symptoms such as redness, blurred vision and itching. Many people also seem to notice the problem more towards the afternoon or end of the day after staring at a screen for a while.
The good news is that dry eyes don’t usually cause any long-term damage.
So what can you do to help protect your eyes?
Dr. See said to start, make sure you have a comfortable working setup. The top of your computer or laptop should be at eye level. And you might want to consider getting a larger monitor that sits farther away; this way you don’t have to focus so intensely on your screen.
He also suggests using the 20-20-20 rule.
“Every twenty minutes, so with screen time or reading, take a twenty-second break and look at something that’s at least six feet away,” he said. “And during that time you’ll find that you blink a lot more, you relax your eyes a lot more, and that will help with some of the eye strain issues that people have.”
Dr. See said you can also use artificial tears or a warm compress on your face if you notice your eyes are really starting to dry out. If that doesn’t seem to be working, he recommends seeing your doctor.