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Article: 4 Good Eye Health Habits for Graphic Designers

4 Good Eye Health Habits for Graphic Designers

As a graphic designer, your eyes are your most valuable tool. Hours spent in front of a computer screen, meticulously fine-tuning designs and colors, can take a toll on your eye health. In fact, studies show that close to 90% of individuals who spend at least three hours every day in front of a computer screen experience a range of vision-related symptoms, such as eye strain, redness, or blurred vision, known as computer vision syndrome (CVS).

In the case of one London-based former graphic design student, Natalie Burns, the hours she spent each week glued to a computer screen led to a diagnosis that is usually more common among people over the age of 50 – dry eye disease. This condition occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or they evaporate too quickly, resulting in symptoms such as light sensitivity, stabbing eye pain, and red, itchy, tired eyes.

Fortunately, with the right strategies, dry eye disease and CVS are preventable. To ensure longevity and maintain optimal vision, consider incorporating these four eye health habits into your daily work routine.

 

4 Essential eye health habits for graphic designers

Illuminate your workspace properly

Proper lighting is a cornerstone of visual health for graphic designers, as a well-lit workspace reduces eye strain and helps maintain focus during extended design sessions. Natural lighting is ideal, so position your desk near a window if possible. If natural light is scarce, invest in ambient, full-spectrum lighting that mimics sunlight or a desk lamp with an adjustable color temperature to reduce glare and enhance color accuracy.

Tip: Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor to complement ambient lighting. Aim for a balance that lets you perceive details without squinting or straining your eyes.

 

Use blue light glasses

A study published in the Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy Journal highlights that the retina and ocular surface are vulnerable to blue light hazards. For graphic designers who spend a prolonged period in front of computer displays that emit blue light, this can lead to eye fatigue, headaches, and disrupted sleep patterns. To prevent these issues, researchers behind the study suggest wearing blue light glasses. You can get glasses equipped with blue light-filtering lenses with an anti-reflection coating, like BlueReflect™ lenses, and provide increased contrast when looking at computer screens, making them ideal for graphic designers. If you’re a glasses-wearer, you can customize your blue light glasses to be fitted with your prescription regardless if you need single-vision or multifocal lenses.

Tip: Wear your blue light glasses consistently, especially during late-night design sessions, to mitigate the effects of extended screen time.

 

Practice the 20-20-20 rule

Graphic designers often find themselves immersed in their work for hours on end. Combat eye strain by adhering to the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at an object 20 feet away. This simple habit helps alleviate eye fatigue, prevent dryness, and maintain focus throughout your workday. 

Tip: Set a timer or use specialized apps like the Pomodoro app to remind you to take regular breaks. Use these breaks to stretch and refocus your eyes on a distant object, allowing them to relax and rehydrate.

 

Blink frequently and hydrate your eyes

Extended periods of staring at a screen can lead to reduced blinking, causing dry and irritated eyes. Consistent blinking helps distribute tears evenly, deterring dryness and discomfort. Additionally, keep your eyes hydrated by using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to combat the drying effects of prolonged screen exposure. Use them as needed to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

Tip: If you're struggling with remembering to blink, the American Optometric Association has developed a mobile game called Blink Land you can download that teaches you to incorporate eye-friendly screen habits to relieve digital eye strain.

 

Conclusion

Remember, your eyes are not only your creative tools but also vital components of your overall health. Incorporate these habits into your daily routine to ensure that your passion for design doesn’t compromise the health of your most precious assets – your eyes.

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