Office workers across the globe spend over 1,700 hours every year in front of computer screens, and this number only increases year after year. By 2025, 90% of professionals in the workplace will need computer skills to reflect the trend of companies adopting digital processes to carry out vital business functions.
This means we will get exposed to a lot of blue light throughout the workday thanks to the many digital devices we handle at work—besides what we already get from the sun. People who are routinely exposed to large amounts of blue light, including computer users, frequently report:
It’s crucial to make sure you’re getting just the right amount of blue light by limiting what you absorb from your digital screens. Here are four hacks that can help you achieve that:
1. Adjust Your Screen Settings
Your computer has blue light reduction settings. These settings allow you to adjust your screen brightness to a warmer tone, minimizing the strain on your eyes, especially if you’re working in a dark room or at night. Here’s how you can adjust your screen on the five most common operating systems available in the market:
- For Windows 10. Click on the Start button. Then, type “Night Light,” and select the option presented in the search and then follow the instructions.
- For Android. Tap the Settings button in the top menu, then select Display and brightness. Choose the “Night Shield” option, and then follow the instructions and adjust your screen settings accordingly.
- For Mac OS. Select the Apple menu, then select System Preferences, then Displays, and select the “Night Shift” option to make adjustments.
- For Chrome OS. Open the Settings option, then find the Displays section, and then select the “Night Light” section and adjust the color temperature and schedule feature accordingly.
- For iOS. Open the Settings option, then navigate to Display and brightness. Navigate to the “Night shift” option and make your adjustments. In some iPhones, the settings are turned on by default from sunrise to sunset. If this is the case, you may have noticed your phone adopting an orange hue in the evenings.
2. Adopt the 20-20-20 Rule
Focusing on the text that’s a foot or two away from you for prolonged periods can strain your eyes. The Canadian Association of Optometrists suggests computer users should follow the 20-20-20 rule throughout their day. This means every 20 minutes; you should take a 20-seconds-break to look at a specific object that’s at least 20 feet away from you. Not only does this give your eyes a break, but it also resets your focus.
How can you tell an object is 20 feet away? If you don’t have a tape measure, you can’t measure 20 feet accurately. But being accurate isn’t the key. The goal is to focus on something far away from you. For example, look out a window at something that seems far away, such as a building or a tree.
Why 20 seconds? That’s because it only takes 20 seconds for our eyes to relax completely. While resting your eyes, it’s a brilliant idea to drink a glass of water to keep your body hydrated. You can use apps; such as Eye Care 20 20 20 to remind you to take a break.
3. Use Screen Filters
Screen filters serve many purposes. Many are privacy-based, and they reduce the angles at which your screen is visible. That’s great, especially if you’re working in public and don’t want people watching your work over your shoulder.
Other blue light screen filters, reduce the amount of blue light reaching your eyes without changing the color of your computer screen. Screen filters for almost every digital device are readily available in the market today. According to research, blue light filters can ease medical conditions, such as macular degeneration, but more evidence is needed for a definitive claim. However, blue light filtering screens may be helpful, especially if you spend extended periods daily working on a computer screen.
4. Wear Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses act as blue light privacy filter screens. They can help you from absorbing all that blue light. A study of blue light at the University of Toronto found that blue light potentially suppresses sleep, but blue light blocking glasses offer significant protection.
If you use multiple screens throughout your workday or if you don’t have a dedicated computer at work, blue light blocking glasses are a brilliant idea. A single pair of blue light blocking glasses can protect you from blue light, whatever the source is. However, because blue light glasses are a step beyond tools, such as screen filters, consult with your doctor to learn if they’re right for you.
The blue light isn’t bad, but many computer workers get too much of it, which is the problem. Our bodies use blue light from the sun to balance our hormones and maintain our schedule. However, when we get too much blue light, it’s hard for our bodies to know when it’s time to go to sleep. Also, overexposure to blue light is associated with digital eye strain, migraines, and macular degeneration. Fortunately, adjusting your screen, observing the 20-20-20 rule, using screen filters, and wearing blue light blocking glasses, can help you limit the amount of blue light you’re exposed to.
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