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Working from home causes harmful strain on your eyes, doctor says

With so many people working from home, we're staring at screens more than ever before. And that can be tough on the eyes.

If you are teleworking like millions of Americans have been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then you’ve probably noticed some discomfort. Dry eyes, headaches and difficulty concentrating are some of the biggest complaints over the last two months.

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“(It’s) very common and when you think that in reality, we’re probably spending about twice as much time on our computers that we did before. So, all these things are much more common than they typically were and we see them every day,” said UPMC assistant professor of ophthalmology Dr. Scott Drexler.

Drexler said these are natural side effects for many people these days, but there are some easy solutions to these problems.

One is the “20-20-20 rule.” If you’re stuck in front of your computer for hours at a time, take breaks and focus on something for at least 20 seconds that’s much farther away than your screen.

"What that effectively does is it forces you to blink, which is one of the big things we have to pay attention to – and it also forces you to readjust your posture," he said.

Another thing you can do is get a pair of blue light filter glasses. They can protect your eyes from glare and can help reduce potential damage to your retina from long-term exposure to blue light.

Drexler told Channel 11 you can also minimize eyestrain by paying attention to the brightness in the room where you’re working and the brightness setting on your computer.

“Typically, you want to have a dimmer light but not too dark. And I think more importantly than your ambient light is to make sure that your screen brightness matches your ambient light brightness,” he said.

Finally, don’t forget about the kids. Many of them are staring into tablets and computers more than ever these days as well. But unlike us, it’s hard for a child to know when they’re doing harm to their eyes.