Writing for a living means, by necessity, keeping your eyes constantly glued on your monitor, laptop or tablet for many hours each day. Given the implied risks of having strained eyes, taking the time to treat them nicely can only help you to avoid nasty side effects of eye strain, which is very important for us writers and bloggers.
The Good News
The computer age has created a multitude of jobs requiring people to sit and stare at an electronic screen for hours on end. Our eyes have always been there to be used, whether by our ancestors as they squinted into the dark forest while hunting game or by us today with our unending array of electronic devices.
The Bad News
While our eyes are not at risking of unexpectedly falling from our heads after prolonged use, staring at a screen for hours at a time on a daily basis certainly does have its drawbacks.
Some common problems suffered by full-time computer users are:
- Dry, itchy eyes causing repetitive blinking.
- Headaches around and behind the eyes.
- Blurred vision when looking away from the screen.
- Persistent blurred vision following extended screen time.
One of the worst blogging mistakes you can make is to neglect your health! Now, more good news: these side effects can be fixed, but more importantly it can be entirely avoided! Utilizing these tips and tricks will allow you to take better care of your eyes, allowing you to blog with a clear vision and with the knowledge that you’re not damaging your eyes.
1. Create an Ideal Workstation
Given the number of hours that you spend writing and performing common blogging tasks, it is very important that you set yourself up for success from the start by designing a safe and effective work area. Keeping in mind that the generally accepted ideal distance from your eyes to your computer screen is about 25 inches (63.5 centimeters), arrange your work materials in such a way that you have flexibility when sitting down, allowing you to maintain that safe distance no matter which way you turn or how often you lean forward.
2. Dim the Lights
While most offices are lit brightly from a combination of overhead lighting and natural light from windows, prolonged computer use actually requires dimmer lighting if you want to protect your eyes. Use drapes or curtains to reduce natural sunlight, avoiding screen glare in the process, and work with your indoor lighting arrangement to find the perfect balance between soft, eye-friendly light and the brightness required to work comfortably.
3. Blink Early and Often
This may seem like a silly advice given our natural tendency to blink our eyes when necessary but any blogger who has spent long hours in front of their computer screen knows very well that with intense focus our body’s involuntary blinking slows down, this results in the eyes getting dry. This further puts strain on the eyes. Be mindful of your eyes at all times, blinking often in order to help them to stay moist, avoiding headaches and other eyestrain problems.
4. Take Consistent Breaks
When a writer is on a roll, the last thing they want to do is get up from their workstation and break their train of thought but, in the interest of avoiding nasty side effects, breaks are a necessity when spending hours in front of a screen. Try to time your moments of leisure so that they consistently break up your screen time and spend those precious free minutes away from your other favorite radiation-emitting screens like tablets, televisions and smartphones.
Assuming that you won’t be putting yourself at risk of an unintended nap, use some of your break time to simply close your eyes, giving them a well-deserved rest.
5. Drink Lots of Water
While you may be wondering what drinking copious amounts of water has to do with eye strain, it pays to remember that keeping yourself constantly well-hydrated actually eliminates a lot of health related issues.
When it comes to your eyes, the water you ingest is directly related to the amount of tears available as lubrication. Staring at a computer screen for long hours inevitably causes dry eyes. If your water intake is kept at a healthy level, your body is able to keep up with the various demands of your different organs, and this includes the needed lubrication for your eyes. Of course, since you’ll be going to bathroom a little more often because of the water you’re ingesting, you can consider it an additional break to your eyes.
6. Have Your Eyes Tested Professionally
Public polls repeatedly show that the most common reason that people avoid eye exams is not the cost or the fear of an unhealthy report, but rather the time necessary to make and attend an appointment with an optometrist.
But the “wasted” time should not be an issue. An appointment with an optometrist is necessary and should not be considered a nuisance. Be sure to block out the time needed to have your eyesight and health tested on a regular basis. Allowing professional to check your eyes will give you more peace of mind. You’ll find out about the exact state of your eyes and also be given recommendations — for example, if you need to wear eyeglasses to maintain good vision or nip a potential eye health problem in the bud.
Following these simple tips and tricks can help you to not only prolong the health of your eyes but also to relieve nagging irritations that show themselves as a result of eyestrain, including headaches and eye irritations.