The average U.S. worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. And according to AOA’s 2015 American Eye-Q® survey, 58 percent of adults surveyed have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems as a direct result.
Each March, the AOA reminds Americans of the importance of eye health and regular, comprehensive eye exams through an AOA House of Delegates-designated optometry awareness campaign to educate the public. Known as Save Your Vision Month, this national health observance is the one yearly observance that the AOA truly calls its own, and one that’s been a staple in the profession and public eye for nearly 90 years.
As part of this year’s campaign, the AOA encourages both employees and employers to make eye health a priority. Symptoms of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain.
“As more people spend their days at work on a computer and their free time on handheld devices, doctors of optometry are seeing more patients who are experiencing digital eye strain,” says AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D. “The problem can be relieved by taking simple steps. Just looking away from the computer for brief periods of time throughout the day can help with discomfort and long-term eye problems.”
5 steps to relieve digital eye strain at work
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Keep a distance. The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
- View from a different angle. Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
- Decrease glare. While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Blink often. Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently.
Click here to access more AOA member tools and resources for the Save Your Vision Month campaign, including a customizable press release, social media posts and an infographic, and let them help you boost awareness of your practice.
Click here to learn about the evolution of Save Your Vision Month, and how you can leverage the national campaign locally.