Taking care of your eyes is just as important as taking care of the rest of your body and your mind. Your eyes are a principal way you experience the world and it is crucial to maintain that pathway. Here at Pacific ClearVision Institute we encourage you to take a moment and seriously consider your work environment and the possible strain you may be putting your eyes through.
For a few years now there has been quite a bit of talk and information regarding blue blocking filters (BB filters) and their importance on reducing digital eye strain (DES) when working with electronic devices. The common thought process was that these filters would significantly reduce the amount of eye strain. Many businesses adopted this methodology in an attempt to help their employees protect their eyes.
Last month a study was released in the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry that demonstrated that this logic may not actually be as beneficial as once believed. The study, which may be found in full by clicking the link below concluded:
“A filter that eliminated 99% of the emitted blue light was no more effective at reducing symptoms of DES than an equiluminant ND filter. There is little evidence at this time to support the use of BB filters to minimize near work–induced asthenopia.”
In light of this new information our friends at the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the following more proven methods of reducing DES.
- Keep your distance: The eyes actually have to work harder to see close up than far away. Try keeping the monitor or screen at arm’s length, about 25 inches away. Position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
- Reduce glare: Glass screens can produce glare that can aggravate the eye. Try using a matte screen filter.
- Adjust lighting: If a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
- Give your eyes a break: Remember to blink and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Looking into the distance allows your eyes to relax.
- Keep eyes moist: Keep artificial tears at hand to help lubricate your eyes when they feel dry. Consider using a desktop humidifier. Office buildings have humidity-controlled environments that suck moisture out of the air. In winter, heaters on high can further dry your eyes.
- Stop using devices before bed: There is evidence that blue light may affect the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. So, too much blue light exposure late at night from your phone or other devices may make it harder to get to sleep. Limit screen time one to two hours before bedtime. Use nighttime settings on devices and computers that minimize blue light exposure.
In addition, we would suggest you use a neural density filter where possible on your desktop computer and turn on your red filter on your smart phone or tablet at least two hours prior to going to sleep. As always, we encourage you to schedule regular eye exams. Not only will a yearly exam expose any potential eye issues that may have developed, which will catch them early enough for a quick response and easy care, but also an eye exam will check in on any potential eye strain.
To schedule a routine eye exam call your primary eye care provider today or schedule one with us today.
Recommendations to reduce eye strain by the AAO.