Eye Care for Writers

Writers, editors, and others who stare at computers for a long time are at risk of eye strain. Tips to keep your eyes healthy.

Working indoors, sitting and staring at a computer for many hours per day, is not what humans evolved for throughout history. But, our big brains have led us here, and we’ve developed a society where some people have to look at screens for many hours per day. 

Studies have shown, and it is well documented in the research that a sedentary lifestyle, including working at a computer, can serious physical effects and can be harmful to a person’s body and their physical health. 

In particular, if you are like me – a writer or other professional who stares at a computer screen for hours on end — you need to know how this can affect your eyes.

Screens Kill Your Eyes

The results are in: The blue light from your computer, television, and mobile device screens is killing the cells in your eyes

Blue light contributes to macular degeneration, which means the breakdown of cells. Researchers also believe that an indoor lifestyle can contribute to a lack of vitamin D, another contributing factor to cellular degeneration

On top of this, people who naturally are a risk of lower levels of vitamin D, such as people with darker skin tones, who absorb less natural light, may be at a greater risk.

So if you have more melanin in your skin, work indoors, and stare at screens all day, you are at a higher risk of having your eyesight fail at a younger age. 

Blue-Light Filtering EyeGlasses - Do they help?

The results are still out: I don’t know. But, it seems, most of the results out there are anecdotal. Research isn’t required for eye wear, and the effect may very well be placebo. 

But, I was experiencing eye strain. Bluriness and bleariness. Difficulties reading and focusing after many hours on the screens. 

For months, I have kept the blue light filter mode set “On” at all times on my phone. This is part of the usual “night mode” settings that are often built in — reducing the blue light after a certain time to help offset the upset that screentime can have on a person’s Circadian rhythm. But for me, I’ve just had the blue filter “On” on my phone for months anyhow. 

I think it helps. I have thought it helped for months. Often, once my eyes get tired on my computer — which has a TV screen that doubles as my second monitor — I’ll switch to my phone because it’s easier on my eyes. 

My First Pair of Blue-Light Filter Glasses

So for Christmas 2019, I was excited to receive a pair of ICU Blue Light eye glasses. They’re cute, and easy enough to wear. I’ve never worn glasses for reading or general eye problem — only the sunglasses I need to protect my vampirism — so it’s a new experience for me to wear glasses indoors, as part of a normal look.

Of course, the day after Christmas, it was back to work to push toward my end-of-the-year deadlines on projects, and I was doubly excited to give my new glasses a try. 

The results after only one day? The jury is still out. 

It was a long day — 10+ hours looking at the TV, computer, and phone screens — but I do feel like the eye strain was less. There is a noticeable difference, looking at the screens with the glasses on vs. looking at them with the glasses off. When the glasses are off, I can see how much more blue the screens look. It’s a similar effect that I’m used to when I turn the blue light filter on and off on my phone. So, it’s nice to see that I can at least see a difference immediately when putting on the glasses. Expect an update and full review after a few weeks of trying them out. 

Writers -- Eye Strain Tips

  • Give your eyes a break. Schedule yourself to look away from your screen at regular intervals. Consider using the Pomodoro technique to organize your day, and during your 5 minute breaks, spend your time looking at something without a screen.
  • Hang a landscape picture. Looking at a “distant object” gives your eyes a break. If you are near a window, great! Every 20 minutes or so, look out the window for 30 seconds at something far in the distance. If you don’t have a window, hang a picture or image of a landscape, with a house, waterfall, or other object in the distance. By gazing at the picture for 30 seconds or so every 20 minutes, you can give your eyes the same relaxation from staring at something up-close for so long.
  • Genetic eye enhancements. Consider getting upgrades for your eyes from GeneCo., the leading dystopian sci-fi corporation that can provide you with tireless, mechanical eyes. Embrace the future, chase the morning. 

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