Have you ever seen someone wearing a pair of yellow tinted glasses in the studio? Chances are they’re wearing GUNNAR Computer Eye wear. I use them every day, and have for the last four years. It still surprises me when I’m asked about them. For an industry that spends so much time in front of the computer, constantly upgrading skill sets to stay relevant and informed, it surprises me that more people don’t know about them.
Then it dawned on me, “Doh!” That’s kind of what I do, isn’t it? Keep animation artists informed and inspired through this blog…Well, at least I try to. I knew I had better write something, because eye strain is real, and I’d hate to see someone I know suffer through their job or have to take time off because of it.
So what is eye strain? It’s like any repetitive stress injury, but for your eyes. For me it was dry eyes, blurry vision, eye fatigue, headaches, and trouble sleeping. There are more symptoms of course, but if any of that sounds familiar, I’d recommend you keep reading. If not, well, you probably don’t want to wait around until it does sound familiar. This is your eyes we’re talking about people. YOUR EYES. Now despite what anyone tells you, there’s no proof that ongoing eye strain will lead to permanent eye problems. At least not yet. So let’s get that out the way first. But having any of those symptoms will make those long hours at work seem that much longer. Trust me, it’s not fun. So best to avoid it altogether. But how?
I experienced a huge reduction in eye strain by doing the following every time I’m in front of the computer for long stretches:
Give your eyes a rest: Take frequent breaks and look at the real world instead of the screen (Don’t look at your phone, that’s still a screen). Look at things farther away allowing your eyes to shift focus. Blink often to keep your eyes moist. If you can, close your eyes for a few minutes. These ‘exercises’ will break up the repetitive stress of computer use. Do these exercises often, at least once every couple of hours.
Adjust your settings: Reduce the brightness/contrast of your monitor to reduce the harsh light. Try a third party app like f.lux to help reduce the strain of blue light hitting your eyes. This app will gradually make your monitor warmer throughout the day adjusting for eye fatigue.
Invest in protective eye wear: There are other options, but GUNNAR Optiks is the only patented computer eye wear recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision. I don’t wear them all the time. I wear them in the afternoon or towards the end of the day. I wear them whenever I use a Cintiq (because I’m a lot closer to the screen) and whenever I have to work late. I wear them if I get a headache, and it usually helps me power through.
Stretch: This one is mainly for headaches. Here’s a video of some of the stretches I do throughout the day to reduce head aches. This really works well, but you have to be disciplined about it.
These tips will be hard to build into your day at first. But it is worth the effort to make them a routine. You’ll maintain your focus, productivity, and (most importantly) eye health for much longer.
Overall my experience with GUNNAR Optiks has been really good, but I do encounter skeptics all the time at work. So I occasionally let people borrow mine for an hour. The moment they take them off, they really see how harsh the monitor light is without them. People contact me all the time about their products. So much so that I removed the contact form. But this is actually the other way around. I’m a fan of GUNNAR. I contacted them because I was writing this post anyway. I asked if they’d like to give a few pairs away to our readers for Christmas, and they graciously agreed. And here’s what GUNNAR’s President, Scott Sorensen, had to say to all you animators out there:
GUNNAR was developed to help prevent digital eye strain for all computer users. Your eyes are arguably your most valuable asset, especially in digital design and animation. And, most people do not realize the hazards of staring at close distances and at artificial light sources for long periods of time. If you think about it, you would not run for 8 hours barefoot, why would you make your eyes work as hard for 8 to 10 hours without protection and comfort?
Stop by GUNNAR to check out their huge selection of frame designs. As mentioned above, GUNNAR is giving away three pairs exclusively to On Animation readers. So how do you win? To qualify, simply like us on Facebook and share this post or follow us on Twitter and re-tweet this tweet. A winner will be announced on December 14th. If you can’t wait until then, you can use an exclusive discount code (‘onanimation’) to receive 10% off anything on Gunnar.com from now through January 31st 2017. This code will work on top of any sales they already have going on.
Update: Winners have been chosen! Good luck to everyone in our next giveaway in the new year!
For more tips on improving your workplace health, stop by our Lifestyle page. Good luck and thanks for all your support!