Prevent Blindness, the nation’s first eye health and vision care nonprofit organization, has declared March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month.

Because one of the many negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in screen time for many remote workers, Prevent Blindness is raising awareness of digital eye strain and providing tips on ways to decrease the effects of increased screen time. Prevent Blindness also recently launched its Take a Screen Time Out awareness campaign.

Symptoms of digital eye strain also referred to as computer vision syndrome, include tired, burning, or itching eyes, sore dry eyes, difficulty focusing, and headaches. To help reduce the effects of increased screen time, Prevent Blindness recommends:

  • Placing computer screens an arms distance (~25 to 26 inches) away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level
  • Using a document holder placed next to the computer screen (it should be close enough so you don’t have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus)
  • Changing your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections; reducing overhead lighting can help eliminate screen glare (glare filters over your digital screens can also help to decrease the amount of blue light given off)
  • Choosing screens that can tilt and swivel and a chair that can adjust; an adjustable keyboard is also helpful
  • Using computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light to ease digital eye strain by increasing contrast
  • Using anti-reflective lenses to reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from digital devices; these can be incorporated into most any eyeglass frames and some contact lenses
  • Making a conscious effort to blink as much as possible and using eye drops to refresh your eyes
  • Taking frequent breaks by using the “20-20-20” rule─ every 20 minutes look away from your screen and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds (this gives your eyes a chance to reset and replenish themselves)

According to The Vision Council, 59 percent of American adults have reported symptoms of digital eye strain. If you have more than 2 hours of screen time a day you are at risk for developing symptoms.

For additional information on Workplace Eye Wellness Month or for more tips on preventing digital eye strain, please email info@safetypartnersinc.com.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, our Associate Director of Quality, Research, and Training who has been with Safety Partners Inc. for the last 11 years.