Thursday, March 8, 2012

4 Fab Ways to Beat Eyestrain

Photo by Ali Smiles :) (Creative Commons)
I hate that tense feeling you get in your forehead, that blurred vision, those tired, dry eyes and achy head. . .Lately, my work has been keeping me in front of a computer screen for easily 6 hours a day. . .


 There has to be a way to work smarter, I decided. Here's what is helping me:

4 Fab Ways to Beat Eyestrain
  1. If you usually wear contacts, consider switching to glasses during times of heavy computer use. Scientists have observed that people focusing on screens (television, computer, whatever) blink up to 5 times less often. If you wear contacts, your eyes can turn into the Sahara.

  2. Take frequent breaks. This is an obvious one, but I find it irksome and can't usually bring myself to take breaks...Unless forced! I discovered this nifty (free!) download that forces you to take a break: EyeDefender. It's a timer, and you can set yourself to have a 1-10 minute break every 15-90 minutes. I've set it for a 2 minute break every 30 minutes. Whenever 30 minutes is up, it automatically takes over my computer, puts up a screensaver, and won't let you do anything until my 2 minutes is up. It's a little irritating, but extremely helpful. During my breaks, I practice focusing on objects 10-20 feet away (you mean there's an actual world beyond the computer screen??) and I have found this to decrease my eyestrain more than anything else I've tried.

  3. f.lux. Another free download (I found both EyeDefender and f.lux referenced at YoungPrePro.) It changes the warmth of the colors of your screen display to match your environment based on the lighting (which you have to tell it) and your location (which it can find by itself.) It looked a little weird the first night I downloaded it—but now I'm so used to it, when I booted my computer up last night, I had to disable f.lux to make sure it was working. (And when I disabled it, my eyes went "arrrggghhhhh! blinded!") Small thing: huge difference.

  4. Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Zinc, and Omega 3s are all important for healthy eyes. They affect every thing from tear-lubrication to light-sensitivty and night-vision. And the good news is--you can get plenty just by eating. Yellow and orange foods, and often meat are great sources. Carrots and--oddly enough--broccoli are your best bets for Beta Carotene. Healthy eyes=Happy eyes.

Do you have any good tools or tricks? Let me know!