March is “Save Your Vision Month,” a reminder to take care of your eyes and break some bad habits in front of the computer that may be taking a toll on them. Dr. Steven Zabin, Westmed Eye Care physician, offers the following tips:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Find a comfortable distance. Sit 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 to your eyes.
- Remember to blink. Minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently. You may also want to keep over-the-counter “artificial tears” eye drops nearby, and use them before or while working if you experience dry eye. This will help to relieve the strain as you are staring at the computer monitor.
- Get a regular eye exam–including an eyeglasses refraction–to be sure that your glasses are up-to-date. Dr. Zabin further advises, “Everyone over 40 should have an annual exam. Those under 40 who have risk factors such as a family history of glaucoma or blindness, for example, or systemic diseases such as diabetes or other conditions that may have ocular manifestations should also follow up annually. “