How to Protect Strained, Sore Developer Eyes
Developing is hard enough to begin with, but trying to focus on code with eye pain is sometimes nearly impossible. Between not being to focus on the screen and the painful burning sensation, developers should do everything they can to protect their eyes before the soreness comes.
When developing in long sessions, it is vital to take breaks. My Fitbit reminds me to walk around at least 250 steps and I use this to remind me to rest and exercise my eyes, as well. Another trick I use to remind myself to take occasional breaks is by using The Pomodoro Technique.
On top of taking breaks while developing, I find it very beneficial to take a little bit of a technology detox before bed, as well as taking some time to read books rather than read on screens for a lot of my eduction.
Exercise & Stretching
Stretching eye muscles is essential to prevent and help resolve eye strain. These are a few eye exercises I use regularly, typically during my breaks:
If you can afford them, invest in high quality monitors. IPS monitors are optimal for reading text.
Utilizing a program like Redshift or F.lux is an absolute necessity for me. These programs reduce the blue light on your displays, typically shifting throughout the day to make daytime more blue, and nighttime less blue. They give the monitor a red tint, but they are easy to get used to. This reduced blue light shifting through the day also helps people fall asleep at night
In Windows, they have a feature called Night Light, but you might find this isn’t intense enough for your liking.
Near & Far Focus Eye Strain Exercise
- Hold you finger out about 25cm (10in) away from your face
- Find something in the distance, at least 5m (15ft) away
- Focus on your finger
- Focus on the object in the distance
- Repeat 5-8 times
20-20-20 Eye Exercise
This one is perfect to do on the breaks, or about every 20 minutes.
- Look at an object about 20ft away
- Continue looking at object for 20 seconds
This allows your eyes to refocus farther away, giving those near focus muscles a little break
- Find a spot on the floor or wall
- Draw a figure 8 with your eyes with that object at the center of your figure 8
- Continue for 30 seconds
- Switch directions
- Continue for 30 seconds
Eating a diet full of micronutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats can be a great way to keep your eyes healthy.
If you have dietary restrictions, I’ve found Super Greens tend to have good full-spectrum micronutrients to fill nutrients missing from many diets. They’re also the cheapest, highest quality I’ve been able to find.
Carrots, spinach, kale, acai, and many other fruits and vegetables have a lot of micronutrients that are great for the eyes.
- Wear sunglasses out in the sun
- Ocuvite is a Full Spectrum Eye-care supplement that I really like
- Get an eye exam every couple of years, correctly prescribed eye glasses can really help eye strain
- See an eye doctor more frequently if you have diabetes
- Some of my friends swear by Gunnar Optiks Glasses. They are a yellow tinted gaming/developer glasses that filter out harmful lights. I haven’t used them but they’re worth mentioning.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors