5 Tips on how to Protect your Eyes for Long Desk Hours

A (very) short guide for every office human

”Tired eyes syndrome” and eye strain represent common problems among every ”office human” nowadays, unfortunately, mostly due to long hours spent at the desk, in front of a computer or even multiple digital devices. Long lasting effects can translate, in time, in either chronic  headaches or even eye or facial spasms. We know, when there is work to be done, it shall be done. But luckily, there are valuable ”tips & tricks” out there, with the single goal of helping one combat these undesired effects. Simple yet practical and easy to commit to, these are some of the best practices against eye strain, if you too are working daily, multiple hours at a time at the office, in front of a desktop, laptop, tablet or a phone: 


1.You may not be familiar with this particular saying but in Romania, we are accustomed to an aphorism that directly translates into ”long and often breaks are the key to great success”. Surely, that does not mean to skip work but rather to pay attention to the ”recharging” phase. And we do not mean recharging your device but rather yourself or, in this particular case, your eyes.

This being said, try to unwind for at least 5 minutes every hour, keeping away from any device. Maybe go for a little walk in the room, get some fresh air on the balcony or make yourself a nice warm cup of tea. It can make all the difference. 


2. ”Blue light” is the enemy of the eyes. We basically find it on every device. Try to adjust it if you can and, when possible, go ”dark mode”. Do not join the dark side, though. They may have great cookies but those calories are not worth it. Trust us.


3. Up until last year, there was this so-called ”20-20 rule”. We know that this particular naming is something we should never utter again, therefore you could simply rename it to ”That Who Should Not Be Named Rule”. The first ”20” refers to time. The second one to distance. More commonly explained, try to relax your eyes every 20 minutes, by looking away from a screen, at a distance of at least 20 meters. Sorry dear Americans, this might make little sense. That would be 65.6167979 feet to you (now that is really not a round number…). It would really help if you would have a window in the room, of course. 


4. Going ”old timey”, you could adhere to the pampering routine of cooling your eyes and eyelids with cucumber slices or, if you are less pretentious, with simple plain sugar spoons (which are to be placed inside a fridge for about 30 minutes beforehand). Last but not least, chamomile satchels could do the trick as well. Do not use them in case of an infection though, for that would be counterproductive. 


5. Most people enjoy a nice massage (those who do not should probably not be fully trusted, ever) every once in a while. You may not know this, but your eyes like it too and probably need it the most, at least after a long, long day at the office, between lots of typing and crazy deadlines. Gently ”tap” them with your finger tips for 5 minutes after you are finished with the day’s work. They will not thank you per se, but they will be more helpful the next day. And that is even better.


Now, about adjustments. There is no ”total consensus” but the general one implies that the distance between your eyes and a device should be between 50-65 cm for a desktop and between 35-40 cm for a laptop with a diagonal between 11” – 15”. Measuring that will not be enough though. What is equally important is adjusting your chair so that your eyes would be positioned about 10-15 cm up from the center of your screen. Also, try to bend your screen at an 10-20 degrees angle so that you will be able to better see…well…the whole picture.

It should be a P.S. but it is not, really: we know, you grew accustomed to living with your devices. We get it, they certainly do our lives better and, if treated right, with care and just the right accessories, they will also last longer. Try to avoid them at least 30 minutes before going to sleep though. It will improve your wellbeing. I mean, doctors say a full hour but hey, that might be too great of a paradigm shift for some. So one step at a time. We mean…one blink at a time.

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