Screen use and eye fatigueComputers and other digital devices are central to many people’s work lives and leisure time. They help us with our banking, shopping, socialising and education, while also providing a virtually limitless source of entertainment. However, research suggests that Australians spend an average of 6.6 hours per day looking at some form of digital screen, whether it’s a computer, a tablet, a smartphone or a television. Many people develop eye trouble as a result of all that screen time. In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 90% of those who spend more than three hours a day at a computer experience screen-related eye fatigue, which can make your eyes feel tired, strained, irritated and gritty. If you’re affected, you may also notice your vision becoming more and more strained and less and less focussed the longer you spend at your computer.
Why does using a computer make your eyes so tired?Any activity that requires intense visual focus over a long period of time can tire your eyes out. However, computer monitors and other digital screens tend to strain the eyes even more than offline activities such as reading books, sewing or driving. There are three major reasons why:
- When you focus on a screen for a long period, you tend to blink less frequently, which in turn reduces the frequency with which your eyes are lubricated and refreshed by tears, leaving them drier and more prone to irritation than usual
- When using a screen, the items you’re focusing on move and change all the time – even if you’re checking your email or typing a document, your eyes will flit around the screen, focussing and refocussing over and over again, all of which is very tiring to the eye muscles
- The light that radiates from your screen also adds to your eyes’ workload, especially if the image flickers
Tips for reducing computer-related eye fatigueLooking after your eyes is important, so if they’re feeling tired, don’t ignore it! Try these tips instead:
- Consciously stop and blink intermittently throughout the day
- Take a 20 second break from your computer screen and shift your focus to something further away (about 6 metres) at least three times an hour, plus a longer break of 5-15 minutes per hour in which you do something else
- Where possible, give your eyes a break from light and glare by spending some time relaxing in a darkened room
- Apply a cool compress to your eyes. For example, make some camomile tea, allow it to cool, then dip cotton balls in the tea, squeeze out the excess liquid, then place them over your eyes and lie back and chill out for a while
- Adjust your computer settings and/or the location of your monitor in the room to minimise glare
- See your optometrist for a check up – he or she may recommend reading glasses to help you focus
Bilberry helps relieve tired eyesBilberry supports the healthy functioning of the eyes and may help to prevent and relieve visual fatigue and eye strain. It’s regarded as particularly beneficial for helping the eyes adapt to conditions of low light or varying light intensity, and also helps to maintain the health and integrity of the tiny blood vessels within and around the eyes. When choosing a Bilberry supplement, look for a formula that’s standardised for its levels of anthocyanosides, antioxidant compounds that are considered largely responsible for Bilberry’s benefits for eye health and vision. For most people who regularly use a computer for prolonged periods or who are prone to tired eyes, eye strain or poor night vision, a suitable dose is 7500mg of Bilberry extract, standardised to provide 27mg of anthocyanosides, taken 2-3 times daily.
Mr Vitamins recommendsFusion Health, premium quality Australian-made supplements that combine the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine and the science of modern Western herbalism, including:
- Fusion Bilberry:Standardised Bilberry extract to prevent and relieve visual fatigue and eye strain from computer use and other causes