May 05, 2015

Beating the Digital Eye Strain Epidemic

You know the feeling. You've been sitting at your computer for hours and slowly you begin to feel as if the light from the screen is seeping into your brain. Your eyes begin to ache. Now, there is a name for this affliction.

A recent study from the Vision Council found that 68 percent of millennials suffer from "digital eye strain," which the organization describes as “physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.” For many content marketers and producers, digital eye strain is closer to a way of life than a medical condition. These jobs require long hours in front of a computer screen, and so many in the field simply accept eye discomfort as inevitable.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By committing to just a few small workplace adjustments, content creators can give their eyes a break while simultaneously recharging their creative batteries:

  • Talk face-to-face with co-workers: Yes, most content marketers have instant messaging capability on their computers and over time many lean on the technology for almost all office communications, even with peers sitting just a few feet away. Chatting over IM doesn’t break up continuous gazing at a screen, however. So make the commitment to chat face to face with another co-worker for at least a few minutes two to three times each day. If you can collaborate on a work-related project, that’s fantastic. If you take a few minutes to talk about a movie you recently saw, that’s good as well.
  • Go for a lunchtime walk: It may seem like a simple idea, but it’s something many professionals never think to do. Getting up from your desk to take a quick stroll helps clear your head and takes your eyes off the bright screen for a few minutes. Additionally, research now clearly indicates that taking a lunchtime walk is beneficial from both a health and productivity standpoint. A recent study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that employees who take a lunchtime walk are more enthusiastic, engaged and productive in the afternoon.

Content creators will always be at risk from digital eye strain—that is the nature of the job. But like any other aspect of the profession, there are small ways we can make improvements each day. By committing to treating their eyes a little more carefully, content producers can also improve their work and mood in the office.

Now, stop reading this article before you strain your eyes. 


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