With so many of us spending hours each day working in front of a computer, it’s really not surprising that doctors and opticians are reporting dramatic rises in CVS (computer vision syndrome). Recurring headaches and migraines are two of the most debilitating symptoms, often causing severe pain which impacts every aspect of life. So what are some of the steps we can take to protect ourselves and stay safe working in front of our screens?
Relax your eye muscles.
To prevent eyestrain, the American Optometric Society recommends following the 20-20-20 rule. This simply involves stopping work every 20 minutes and taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away. As it’s easy to get hypnotized by the screen and let hours pass by without looking up, set an alarm to go off every 20 minutes until you get into the habit.
Additionally, after working for 2 hours, it’s important to give your eyes a complete break for around 15 minutes. Get up, walk around, grab some water, do some exercises. Your brain and your body will thank you for it!
Minimize blue light
Headaches are often attributed to the blue light emitted by your computer screen and other devices. While it’s possible to buy a screen filter for your monitor, quality blue light prescription glasses will help to protect you no matter which device you’re using They can not only protect you against headaches, they’ve also been shown to enhance restful sleep.
Maintain good posture
In most offices, employees are provided with ergonomic chairs and other equipment to prevent skeleton-muscular problems from developing when they sit for extended periods. However, with many of us working from home, we may not have the correct back support or be sitting at the optimum height. Poor posture can not only lead to an aching lower back, but also to neck problems, which in turn result in headaches.
Performing some simple exercises during your regular screen-breaks can help to relax the muscles, but if you find yourself developing headaches and migraines, it may be wise to consider seeking chiropractic help to relieve the build-up of tension.
Appropriate ambient lighting
Sometimes it can seem that the brightness of the screen is causing us to strain our eyes, but it may also be the other lighting in our workspace. In addition to overhead fluorescent lights which are hard on the eye muscles, if the contrast between the screen and the surrounding light level is too great, this can also be a cause of strain and result in headaches. Once again, regular ‘eye-breaks’ and relaxation can help reduce the problem.
Sometimes the flickering of the monitor, which we’re not even aware of, can also result in headaches. This can be addressed by adjusting the monitor refresh rate. To do this, go to system preferences and look for the ‘advanced settings’ on the display properties tab.
Dehydration can also cause headaches. While coffee may give you energy and help you concentrate, keep a flask of cool water nearby and ensure you take a sip every 30 minutes or so.
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