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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Eye Health Tips for Digital Nomads

For digital nomads, freelancers, and remote workers the reliance on digital devices is immense. While this lifestyle offers flexibility and freedom, it also brings eye health challenges. Excessive screen time is often the cause of eye discomfort, headaches, and even insomnia. If you can relate, check out our eye doctor recommendations, coping strategies and eye health tips for digital nomads!

Understanding Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, refers to a range of eye and vision-related problems resulting from prolonged use of digital screens. Something remote workers and freelancers are quite familiar with.

In fact, most digital nomads experience eye strain and don't even realize how it affects their life and work performance.

Notable symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) are:

  • Eye fatigue

  • Dry eyes

  • Blurred vision

  • Persistent headaches

  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms impact not only productivity, but also a person's well-being. Therefore, understanding and addressing CVS can be a gamechanger for digital nomads.

CVS Coping Mechanisms for Digital Nomads

Addressing digital eye strain calls for a combination of strategies to improve comfort and promote overall eye health. Adopting proper screen habits, creating an ergonomic workspace, enhancing blinking, managing blue light exposure and use of artificial tears are a great starting point.

1. Micro Breaks from Screentime

Try to take short breaks throughout your workday.

One of the simplest and most popular ways to reduce digital eye strain is by following the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away (6 meters). This practice is highly recommended by optometrists to relax the eye muscles and reduce the risk of strain.

Here are some 20-20-20 implementation tips:

  • Use an app or set a timer on your phone to remind you to take breaks.

  • If possible, look out a window to give your eyes a chance to focus on something distant.

  • Combine this break with a quick stretch and walk to relieve muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.

You don't need to follow the "rule" strictly. For example, micro breaks from your screen for 10-15 seconds to close your eyes can be beneficial, too.

digital nomad

2. Conscious Blinking and Hydration

Blinking is essential for keeping the eyes moist and preventing dryness. When we use digital devices, our blink rate tends to decrease, causing dry eyes.

So one of the most valuable eye health tips for digital nomads is to make a conscious effort to blink more often during extended screen use.

Every half an hour, close your eyes completely and gently squeeze your eyelids together for a few seconds to stimulate tear production.

Another viable way to moisturize your eyes and prevent dryness is to use preservative-free artificial tears every time your eyes feel dry.

Artificial tears are available without prescription and make a huge difference in eye comfort. Especially if you have itchy eyes or you use contact lenses daily.

3. Proper Screen Settings

Creating an eye-friendly workspace can make a big difference.

Here are a few helpful considerations on screen lighting settings:

  • Avoid glare

  • Adjust brightness and contrast

  • Use task lighting

Set up your screen to minimize glare from windows or overhead lights. Use an anti-glare screen protector if necessary.

Ensure your screen brightness matches the ambient lighting in your workspace. A screen that is too bright or too dim can cause eye strain. Increase contrast to make text easier to read.

If you work in low-light conditions, use a desk lamp to illuminate your work area without adding glare to your screen.

digital nomad working from resort

4. Ergonomic Workspace

An ergonomic workspace setup can significantly reduce physical strain and eye discomfort. And it all starts with how you position your screen.

Here are some ideas for good screen positioning:

  • Eye level position

  • Arm's length distance

  • Slight angle

Position your screen so the top of the monitor is at or just below eye level. This encourages a natural downward gaze and reduces strain on the neck.

Keep your screen about an arm's length away, approximately 20-24 inches or 50-60 cm. Adjust the font size if necessary for comfortable reading without leaning forward.

Tilt your screen slightly back (about 10-15 degrees) to facilitate a natural neck posture.

For digital nomads investing in an ergonomic chair is rarely an option due to their lifestyle. So the only way to prevent the neck, shoulder, and back pain, accompanying CVS, is maintaining good posture.

5. Screentime Management

The professional and personal lives of digital nomads often revolve around screens. But as we know, prolonged screen time worsens eye strain, headaches, and interferes with sleep. This scenario calls for screentime management.

Use technology mindfully by prioritizing essential tasks and minimizing unnecessary screen time. Set specific times for checking emails and social media to avoid constant screen usage.

At night, blue light exposure may seriously disrupt your sleep patterns. The solution? Use night mode settings on your devices to reduce blue light emission during evening hours.

Then establish a "digital curfew" by avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime. Engage in relaxing activities without screens instead. Reading a book, practicing mindfulness, or taking a walk is a wonderful way to cope with the absence of electronic devices.

freelancer working remotely

6. Workspace Lighting

As a digital nomad who spends hours on their laptop, tablet or other device, don't ignore your workspace lighting. With small adjustments, you can significantly lower the strain on your eyes.

Your set up should have plenty of natural light, but avoid direct sunlight on your screen. A good eye health tip is to position your desk perpendicular to windows to minimize glare.

At night or when there's not enough natural light, use adjustable desk lamps with soft, diffused light. Avoid harsh overhead lighting, as it can cause reflections on your screen.

7. Healthy Lifestyle Eye Health Tips for Digital Nomads

General healthy practices play a huge role in eye health. Here are a few lifestyle-inspired eye health tips for digital nomads and remote workers:

  • Eye-friendly diet

    • Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseed, and nuts

    • Antioxidants, vitamins C and E, zinc, and lutein, found in leafy greens and colorful fruits and veggies

  • Hydration

    • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support tear production.

  • Exercise

    • Regular physical activity improves blood circulation, so your eyes receive adequate oxygen and nutrients.

8. Regular Eye Exams

The digital nomad mindset, with its constant travel and remote working, often leads to unconsciously neglecting health check-ups like eye exams. Despite their mobile lifestyle, digital nomads to prioritize eye care and try to fit eye exams in their flexible schedule.

Most adults should have an eye check-up every two years, or annually if over 40 or experiencing eye problems. Individuals who you use prescription glasses or contact lenses, have to keep their prescription is up to date.

Remember, proactive eye care is key for sustaining the freedom and flexibility that comes with the digital nomad lifestyle.


Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.

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