Every day we look at screens. As work from home employment normalizes, screens are our portal to productivity, efficiency, and connection with others. It’s more important to know how to avoid eye strain from screens to support our health.

Adjust Your Lighting

Consider these light sources when choosing your work space: (1) the light in the room, (2) the light from windows, and (3) the light from your computer, tablet, or phone. Make sure you have ample light in your home or work office. A dark space forces squinting and eye strain. If you are working near a window, your eyes will experience the same kind of strain they would if you were outside on a sunny day, so avoid glare from these outdoor spaces. And finally, adjust your computer screen to provide ample light for appropriate contrast against the background. 

Adjust Work Time

Back-to-back meetings, a long to-do list, and communicating with one another virtually by text, email, or Slack cause us to rack up screen time. Set regular break times to avoid eye strain from screens. A natural time to do this is during meals. Avoid scrolling and browsing while you are eating. This break time has the added benefit of contributing to better nutritional health as you learn to taste food and slow down food consumption. 

Adjust Your Workspace

The convenient portability of laptops and phones allows you to work from anywhere. Unfortunately, this also results in you using them in less than optimal positions for your eyes. Ideally, screens should be 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. You can avoid eye strain from screens by sitting in an ergonomically supported chair with your screen on a firm surface instead of sitting in a lounge chair or sofa with a laptop or tablet. 

Adjust Your Settings

Font size, lighting, and color temperatures are all adjustable settings on your phone, computer, and tablet. Use them to your advantage! While dark mode might look great, white font on a black background creates more eye strain from screens than the default white on black setting. Make sure you adjust your phone to night mode to avoid excess blue light in the evening hours to prevent eye strain and prepare your body for sleep. Don’t hesitate to make your font size larger on your phone or zoom in while reading off your computer. 

Adjust Your Air Quality

While this might seem odd at first glance, the quality of your workspace air impacts your eyes, too. If you are in a poorly ventilated space, your eyes are likely to be more irritated or if you have vents blowing on you while working, you will be fighting off the particles that are emitted. Outside spaces offer their own irritants, so be sure to limit time in poor air conditions to avoid eye strain from screens. 

Adjusting these five elements will improve the health of your eyes. Which one are you going to adjust to avoid eye strain from screens?