Computers screens have become an integral part of our lives and in our already stressful and sedentary lifestyle, we often fail to realize just how much these screens contribute to stress, especially to our eyes.
Most of us spend hours at stretch working on computers or laptops and end up with dry, itchy and strained eyes as well as headaches. Let’s understand what exactly is happening in our eyes when we stare constantly at a close object, in this case a computer screen.
When we shift our focus from a distant object to a nearer object, the ciliary muscle in our eyes contracts and the eye lens become thicker in order to make the object appear clear. While this is quite natural and normal for frequent changes in our focus, it can cause long term damage to the eye lens if one focuses at nearer objects for weeks and months at stretch.
Near point stress if not relieved for a long duration, the ciliary muscle is not able to relax sufficiently. Our eyes eventually adapt to this constant strain and stops focusing properly at distant objects, a result of what is known as ‘near point stress’. This turns into a condition called ‘myopia’ or nearsightedness.
While we can’t do much about the duration of our work on a computer screen, what we can do is take precautions and ensure that we do not cross the near point stress.
1. Keep distance: The most basic precaution is to keep the screen as far as possible within comfortable viewing. Maintaining a straight posture instead of being hunched over a laptop often rectifies the viewing distance. Ideally a screen should be kept at an arm’s length distance away from the eyes.
2. Use anti-glare technology: Another option is to reduce glare on the eyes by using anti-glare technology such as anti-glare TV and computer monitors. One may also try anti-glare glasses while working or even driving to avoid glare from oncoming headlights.
3. Adjusting contrast: Change the contrast settings of the screen to ensure that while the screen is easily view able, it should not be in high contrasts with the surroundings.
4. Adjusting color temperature: Choose a screen color temperature that is soothing to the eyes.
While some of the above precautions may or may not be possible at all times, one can consciously control how long one strains the eyes. So, take your eyes away from the screen for 20 seconds and look at distant objects to allow the eyes to relieve stress.