10 Eye Health Tips For Writers

woman beautiful eyes photography

If you love words and spend the better part of your day reading and writing, there are a couple things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp.

For us readers and writers, glasses can be a mark of distinction, a sign that we’re taking our job and passion seriously. But close-up work causes more than nearsightedness – it causes tired, dusty, itchy, weepy eyes, and even headaches.

We can prevent all that and keep our lens prescription low. Here’s how.

  1. Reduce screen time

Our eyes needed many millions of years to evolve into the complex organs they are today. Screens are a relatively new invention – our eyes weren’t made for looking at screens for hours every day. A lot of our screen time is spent on distractions. Do we really need to watch ten funny videos? Isn’t one enough?

We can also use applications that reduce the tiring blue light screens emit, such as f.lux (Windows & Mac), RedShift (Linux), EyeFilter (Android), or the Night Mode on iOS.

  1. Move your desk near a window

This will make it easier for you to take your eyes off the page or screen and rest your eyes.

  1. Take a break at least every hour

Reading and writing strain our eye muscles. It also makes us blink less, hence dry eyes. However absorbing a story may be, try to take small breaks at least once every hour. During breaks, look out through the window at distant objects, close your eyes to rest them, or gently wash them with water.

  1. Get an e-book reader

The e-ink screens of e-book readers are less tiring than mobile or computer screens. Also, an e-book reader with a built-in light, like the Kindle, makes night reading easier on your eyes. What’s more, it lets you increase the size of the font which is great considering that many print publishers today use small fonts in order to get as much material possible in the shortest number of pages.

  1. Drink green tea

Among many other healthy components, green tea contains antioxidants that help keep eye tissue healthy.

  1. Listen to audiobooks

One of the good things about living in our century is that we have audiobooks for most of our favorite titles.

  1. Increase the font size

The default fonts of most word processors aren’t necessarily light on the eyes. It’s possible to choose another installed font (or install a new font) that’s cleaner and crisper.

  1. Wear eyeglasses with an anti-reflective coating

The anti-reflective coating (AR), now widely available, reduces eye-strain.

  1. Choose a non-reflective computer screen

Most manufacturers use glossy displays because these make the colors more vivid. From my experience, glossy screens (in which you can see yourself reflected when the computer is off) tire the eyes more than matte screens (in which you can’t see yourself reflected).

  1. Handwrite more

Whether you use a pen or pencil, handwriting is easier on the eyes. It doesn’t throw light at your eyes like a screen. Scanning applications and devices are better now than ever, so it’s possible to scan handwritten materials instead of copying them.

We should mind our eyes just as we mind our grammar and sentences. We can’t just throw words and screens at them and expect them not to protest. With or without glasses, our eyes need our care.

Do you wear glasses when you read or write?

14 thoughts on “10 Eye Health Tips For Writers

  1. Wonderful tips Vincent, they’re all great. My personal favorite is number ten. I adore writing by hand, and I almost wonder if it’s becoming a lost art. For me there’s something noticeably different when I write by hand first compared to inputting directly into a word document. Do you find this to be true? Wishing you a wonderful evening, take care. ~ Mia

    1. I, too, adore handwriting, and many of my first drafts for stories are in fact handwritten. I also keep a journal, and writing in it every few days is a great pleasure. I believe there is at least one study which found that handwriting increases creativity. I find that is true. In my case, however, not being a native English speaking, I find that my handwriting (thought beautiful) is a bit slow, which is why handwriting longer works is a bit difficult.

      1. Vincent, I want to thank you for your kind reply.

        Yes, I’m certain that it’s true, there’s definitely a hand to mind connection, and I believe the scale tips towards creativity when using a pen or pencil. My grandmother was a huge influence on me in so many ways. She instilled the importance of writing well, not just as in thought, but also as you mentioned the handwriting itself should be beautiful too.

        I would like to compliment you on your written English, it’s lovely. I’m always intrigued by writers that elect to write and have the ability to write proficiently in another language.

        I write every day primarily by hand. For years now I’ve used composition books, before that I had a unique habit of writing my thoughts on napkins. The words and thoughts would glide perfectly from the ballpoint pen onto the slight padding that the napkin would provide, in fact the words would be forever embossed in the napkins. Maybe it was an exercise in futility, I don’t really know, however, it became impractical to have stacks of napkins around. 🙂

        Enjoy writing in your journal and have a pleasant and peaceful evening, take care. ~ Mia

        1. I cannot handwrite by way of ink – I do it only by pencil, so I can erase bits of it, but maybe I haven’t found the right pen yet. And I can’t use a notebook, either, only sheets of paper – woe to him or her who will try to catalog my drafts after my death. Leonard Cohen wrote at least one song on a napkin, though I can’t remember which. And I think that the world’s greatest two-line poem is being written and rewritten every day on napkins all over the world, in lowly bars and high-rise palaces, by poets of the heart who do not even know they are poets, by way of lipstick.

          1. I like pencils, but napkins don’t, that’s perhaps when I developed my love of ink, I prefer blue. I believe there really is such a thing as the right pen. You’re a sheet paper writer, a single sheet or several in a neat stack? You’ve made me smile, maybe you could organize and catalog your drafts before you shuffle off. I feel much better about my collection of napkins, especially knowing Leonard Cohen used one, thank you. Most of all, I want to thank you for the beautiful images you’ve created with your words, a charming story that I will think of fondly each time I reach for a napkin. Wishing you a wonderful evening Vincent, please enjoy. ~ Mia

  2. I wear anti-glare glasses and use a non-reflective notebook.
    I love all your tips, I suffer from migraines so I need to take care of my vision.
    Sunglasses are also important even in winter to protect from UV light.

    1. Yes, sunglasses are important too. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a bit foppish to wear sunglasses all the time, even in winter. But doctors recommend that. Must wear mine more often. 🙂

  3. Wonderful suggestions Vincent. I use an anti-radiation screen with anti-glare. I am not certain they are worthwhile but makes me feel better. I have completely stopped handwriting drafts as it seems an extra step for me. I do appreciate the information, I think we all need to be aware of the eye strain associated with so much PC use. Thank you!

  4. I love writing in script, and I love writing in pencil. But I find when I have a long stream of thoughts to record, they flow best at a computer. The thoughts just flow better. Its the way I’ve been since I got my first computer. I know there are studies about handwriting and retaining information. Either way, I know when I write from my mind I could type for hours, but when I am studying information on a screen I definitely get a headache.

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