Aspirus Health shares tips to protect your eyes

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – Over the last three years, many people say they’ve spent more time in front of screens and suffered because of it. They complain of eye strain, headaches, and dry eye. They also worry they might be doing permanent damage to their vision.

In honor of March’s designation as Workplace Eye Wellness Month, Aspirus Health and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are sharing tips on how to create a comfortable work environment to avoid digital eye strain.

Digital eye strain is a group of eye problems that can happen after staring at a screen for too long. The symptoms can include blurry vision, headaches, and tired, dry eyes. It happens because we blink less often when using screens. Blinking is important because it keeps the surface of the eye moisturized. Extended reading, writing, or other intensive work done within an arm’s reach of the eyes can also cause eye strain.

The good news is that looking at a computer, tablet, or smartphone for long periods of time will not cause permanent damage,” said Dr. Steven Slezak, ophthalmologist with Aspirus Health in Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids. “As we’ve all experienced, staring at a screen for too long can cause some uncomfortable symptoms. But there are some simple changes you can make to ease the discomfort.”

If a day in front of the screen leaves your eyes dry, red, and irritated, here some tips to help:

  1. Make taking breaks a habit. Practicing the 20-20-20 rule will help you remember to blink. Set a timer on your phone or watch to remind you to look 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This can be as simple as looking away from your computer screen or out the window. If you’re not in the middle of a Zoom call, you can also just shut your eyes for 20 seconds.
  1. Practice eye ergonomics. Sit 18 to 25 inches away from your computer screen, about arm’s length. Adjust screen brightness and contrast so it feels comfortable. Also, position the screen so your eyes gaze slightly downward, not straight ahead or up.
  1. Use artificial tears. Eye drops will help keep your eyes moist and relieve the discomfort of dry eye. These can be bought over the counter without a prescription.
  1. Consider a humidifier. A humidifier will add moisture to the air and minimize dry eye. This is especially good for people who live in cold areas and use heaters often.
  1. Consider computer glasses. If you have trouble seeing your screen, ask your medical provider about computer glasses. These progressive lenses are specifically designed for focusing on computer screens, which are usually positioned about 20 to 26 inches away from the face.
  1. Skip the blue light-blocking glasses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend blue light-blocking glasses because there is no scientific evidence that blue light coming from a computer screen causes digital eye strain or damages the eye.

“Practicing healthy eye habits at work like wearing proper eye protection or decreasing the amount of time you sit in front of a screen whenever possible, can help save your sight,” said Dr. Slezak. “We know for those in an office setting, the average person spends about seven hours a day on the computer. Those individuals can be at an increased risk of digital eye strain.”

You may schedule an appointment with Dr. Slezak or his colleague, Dr. Thomas O’Malley by calling 715-342-7825 or by scheduling online at or the MyAspirus app. To learn more about Aspirus Health’s many locations, services, and providers, visit