How to maintain eye health: a guide for programmers
Photo from the resource Unsplash. Author: Daniil Kuželev
Do you often use a computer or smartphone? Forced to spend a lot of time at the computer because of work? Then you unknowingly put your eyesight at risk.
On average, a software developer spends at least 8 hours per day on a computer, while he often uses multiple monitors. With such prolonged work, there is little time for outdoor activities, which negatively affects physical health. In addition, blue radiation from device screens adversely affects the brain, resulting in disturbed sleep. Blue light inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep and wake cycle.
Another consequence of prolonged use of a computer is the possibility of developing computer visual syndrome.
Consequences of Computer Visual Syndrome
This condition occurs with rare blinking. As a rule, a programmer is so immersed in his tasks that he even forgets to blink! Studies show that using a computer or smartphone, people blink twice less.
Blinking is necessary to renew the tear film, which helps keep your eyes moist. A rare blink leads to its destruction, and dryness occurs in the eyes. Consult with your doctor to find out if you are suffering from dry eye syndrome.
Discomfort, irritation, blurred vision, foreign body sensation in the eye, redness of the eyes are all possible signs of dry eye syndrome. If these symptoms have been bothering you for a long time, consult your doctor.
Another disease caused by prolonged computer work is eye fatigue. The main cause of discomfort and fatigue is the bright light emitted by the screens. Its effect can be amplified if it differs sharply from background lighting.
Simple Eye Health Tips
1. Use the “20-20-20” rule
This is one of the simplest life hacks that will not let your eyes get tired and that is widely used in ophthalmology. The idea is to force yourself to focus on different objects. Focusing on one point for a long time can cause eye strain. Therefore, follow the rule: every 20 minutes, look for 20 seconds at an object located 20 feet (6 meters) away from you.
At first you will forget to take a break every 20 minutes, and the habit will be difficult to develop. But here is a simple recommendation that I followed: set an alarm on your device for every 20 minutes so that it reminds you of the rule.
This rule may seem unacceptable because you have to interrupt your workflow. But do you really prefer to constantly harm your eyesight? The choice is yours.
2. Understand the blue light using the program f.lux
As I said at the beginning, blue light is one of the main causes of visual impairment. In small quantities, it is not harmful to the eyes, but its prolonged exposure can cause irreparable harm.
f.lux is cross-platform software designed to reduce eye fatigue. It will adjust the color temperature of the screen according to your geographic location and time of day. This program is especially useful for people working at night, as it significantly reduces the amount of blue light emitted by the screen.
3. Adjust brightness and contrast
Another factor affecting eye fatigue is screen brightness. To get the optimum brightness, make sure you adjust it to the brightness of your surroundings. You can verify this with a simple test. Open the white background on the screen: if the screen looks like a light source, it means that you need to reduce its brightness. Ideally, it is necessary that there are no windows behind the monitor, otherwise an excessive amount of daylight will force you to increase the brightness of the screen.
In addition to brightness, you also need to set the optimal contrast level so that you do not have to squint and strain your eyes while looking at the screen. Make sure that reading text from the screen is not uncomfortable. Dark letters on a light background are the perfect combination for reading.
4. Adjust the position of the monitor
Why do people often talk about the dangers of computer screens and smartphones, rather than TVs? Because, as a rule, the computer or phone screen is much closer to the eyes than the TV screen. Continued focusing on close objects can lead to myopia.
Regular users should pay attention to the distance between the screen and the eyes. Ideally, it should be at least 51 cm. It is recommended that the monitor be placed below eye level (so that the top of the screen is at eye level or slightly lower).
5. Consult a doctor
Undoubtedly, the best and most obvious way to check your eye health is to see a doctor. Unlike other diseases, a decrease in vision is not so easy to notice, because it is a gradual and slow process. In addition, most often people do not pay attention to the symptoms of blurred vision (such as a headache), since this is a common pain that many people face in everyday life. This can lead to the fact that pathologies of vision will not be identified and cured.
All regular computer users are recommended to visit an ophthalmologist once a year to make sure that everything is in order with their eyesight.
6. Change the monitor
For many of you, this recommendation may not be relevant, since most modern jobs are equipped with computers with LED displays. But those who still use CRT monitors, it is high time to replace them with LED. CRT monitors cause eye fatigue due to flicker – the lower the monitor refresh rate, the more discomfort you will experience.
If you plan to change the monitor, then look for a new one with a higher resolution and larger display size. Although such a monitor can be expensive, it is still worth the money if you spend many hours at the computer.
7. Use computers and smartphones as little as possible.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of time we spend on the screens of computers and smartphones. The saved time can be spent to good use – to engage in activities in the fresh air, which will have a beneficial effect not only on vision, but also on physical and mental health. A new hobby is one way to reduce the amount of time spent on social networks.
If you spend a lot of time reading from a computer or phone, try to get a printed version of the materials and read them on paper. If this is a book, try to find it with friends or in the library. It will be difficult at first, but over time you will get used to it.
I shared with you the tips that I apply in everyday life in order to preserve vision. However, there are other various ways. You can even try wearing computer glasses after receiving a prescription from a doctor.
In a world ruled by technology, our eyes are exposed daily to harmful effects. Therefore, be sure to take care of your eyesight!