Tips to ease eye strain when working, studying from home

Tips to ease eye strain when working, studying from home

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Working from home, you and your kids may be staring at your computers or phones a little bit more than you used to, and that could be giving your eyes screen fatigue.

“Usually it’s just symptoms of dry eye — dryness from being in an indoor environment all the time,” said Dr. John Jarstad, an ophthalmologist with USF’s Department of Ophthalmology. “And then they’re using computers a lot more than actually person-to-person conferencing, so the brain will suppress that blinking mechanism of the eye, so that people won’t blink as much as they normally would and that leads to dryness.”

The solution could be as simple as a trip to the drug store. 

“Get some artificial tears. There’ a lot of different brands out there on the market. I would start with that. Maybe an hour into your session on the computer, and then replace the drop in your eyes every couple of hours while you’re working on the computer and that should allow you to go all day and all night,” he continued.

Certain age groups may want to invest in reading glasses.

“People that are in their early 40’s, their ability to see up close gets less with every year, so starting about age 40 to 42, that’s kind of the magic number when the lens of the eyes become more brittle and hard and it becomes less flexible. And at that point people need reading glasses to kind of make up the difference,” said Dr. Jarstad.

And kids in virtual school also need to give their eyes a break.

“By staying inside so much, especially with children studying indoors and not getting outside for recess, there’s a very important spectrum from the light that we’re not getting and it leads to more progressive nearsightedness. So it’s the violet light that comes from the natural light outside that kids aren’t getting, we’re not getting, and it leads to more progressive nearsightedness,” said Dr. Jarstad. “You could encourage your kids to go outside for an hour a day or you can add violet lights, these full-spectrum lightbulbs in the room that they’re most in.”

It’s simple steps to ease the strain and help you stay focused. 

“You can push your eyes,” Dr. Jarstad offered. “There’s really no limit to how long you can study or read or be on the computer as long as you keep the eyes well lubricated.”

Dr. Jarstad said supplements like fish oil and flaxseed are also beneficial for eye health.

He said using a cool mist humidifier can also help keep the eyes lubricated. 

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Robert Swift

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