May is Healthy Vision Month! Between working from home and keeping up with our family and friends via videoconferencing, we’ve all had a lot more screen time this past year. Writers in particular tend to spend even more hours squinting at a computer monitor or scribbling notes. At Writer’s Relief, we know it’s important to take care of your vision and protect your eyes! Here are our best eye care tips to help reduce eyestrain while you’re writing.
Eye Care Tips To Reduce Eyestrain And Protect Your Vision
Blink more often. Blinking is one of the most important functions of your eyes because it keeps your eyes lubricated so your eyelids don’t scratch your corneas. Keeping your eyes focused on a handwritten page or text on a screen may lower the number of times you blink per minute. Why? A bright, backlit electronic device or a poorly lit piece of paper can require so much of your brain’s attention that it forgets to prompt you to blink! When you know you are reading in bad visual conditions, drink some extra liquids to replenish your body’s hydration and make a point of blinking after every page you read. Consciously blinking more often can help offset dry eyes and eyestrain.
Try these easy eye exercises. Once you develop the habit of purposeful blinking, try these refreshing eye exercises! Take a break from writing and identify three objects spaced relatively evenly away from you in ten-foot increments. Focus on the first object for fifteen seconds, then on the second object for fifteen seconds, then on the third object for fifteen seconds, and finally focus as far away as you can (infinity if you are outside on a clear day) for fifteen seconds. This purposeful one-minute exercise will help your eyes relax.
Another good eye exercise is the 20-20-20 rule: After every twenty minutes spent using a screen, you should look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds.
Let your ears do the heavy reading. You’ve heard this before: To be a good writer, you should read, read, read! Well, listen up! Instead of reading, you can listen to podcasts and audiobooks. If you can substitute listening to a book or long article for reading the same material, you can rest your eyes. And you won’t lose your place when you pause the audiobook to make notes. You can even search for specific words or concepts when listening to the text of a book by using the index to find the information you need, thus saving yourself a lot of time.
Talk, don’t type. Rather than spending your time staring at a page or a monitor, use speech-to-text software when writing. Some versions are free, but most are available for a fee. Once the software knows your voice, you can lean back in your chair and tell your story to your computer. You may find you are more inspired and the ideas flow more freely when you’re speaking than when you’re typing or writing by hand!
Size up your eyes. If you’ve noticed you’re squinting a lot in general or that things look fuzzy, it may be time to speak to an eye specialist such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist. You might want to try eyeglasses specifically made for computer use: These computer glasses can increase contrast and make it easier for your eyes to focus on a screen. Talk to your health-care professional for more information about vision care.
Question: Do you have any eye care tips to reduce eyestrain while writing?