Alternative title: ‘There are two ‘i’s in copywriting (& both of them hurt)’
Have you been staring into the internet all day? Do you spend your nights dreaming about formatting columns in Word? Do your eyes feel like two hot, evil pits of diseased and achy hell? We feel you.
Eye strain isn’t just a web copywriter’s ailment, any denizen of the computer-o-sphere can suffer, but for those of us who spend long periods gazing goggle-eyed at Calibri-covered documents, it’s no laughing matter. This ocular complaint is the RSI of the online generation and it’s totally real. In fact, it’s got its own extremely authentic acronym: CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome). Ask your doctor. Or better yet, ask your optician.
So what’s the cure to copywriters’ eye strain? Read on, if your sockets can take it…
1. KEEP ON BLINKING
Did you know that some research suggests that you actively blink less when you’re staring at a screen? Without blinks, those pretty eyes of yours are liable to become well and truly dehydrated. Just as reptiles lick their own eyeballs to keep them lovely and moist, us homo sapiens need to blink regularly to keep our peepers lubricated. Sounds gross, but just imagine how gross things get when your blink rate drops. Dry eyes feel hot and tired in next to no time, which is why remembering to blink is a big deal.
Fortunately, as with most things under the sun, there’s an app for that. EyeLeo is a friendly looking lion who pops up on your screen and periodically reminds you to blink, take a break, roll your eyes and generally bamboozle your colleagues with your weird at-desk behaviour. To be entirely honest, I don’t like the cut of this lion’s jib and imagine he could get quite intrusive quite quickly, but in the name of copywriters’ ocular health, why not give Leo a shot?
2. EXERCISE THOSE EYEBALLS
And blink and squint and stare, and blink and squint and stare – feel the burn! Or not. Keeping your eyes exercised is another good way to avoid the dreaded Computer Vision Syndrome, reducing those sleepy, burning feelings.
Instead of giving your eyeballs an 80s style workout, try popping off for a 20 second stare at a distant point outside the window every 20 minutes or so. Your boss might question your work ethic (or your preternatural interest in the pet grooming parlour over the road), but refocusing on something more than 10 inches from your face for a change will do wonders for that red, maniacal look your eyes have been getting…
3. UP THE HUMIDITY
Dry air is another big factor behind dry eyes. Combined with long, google-eyed periods of non-blinking, parched air is a recipe for eye strain. If there’s any way you can boost the humidity in your place of work, your baby blues stand to benefit.
If you don’t have the space or budget for a humidifier, there are some DIY solutions. You could, for instance, leave jars of water near to your radiators, if you’re feeling especially frivolous. Alternatively, filling your space with well-watered plants can help to get more moisture into the air. We’re busily turning our workplace into a steaming corner of the Amazon as I type…
4. TRY F.LUX
Here’s another nifty gizmo designed to give your eyes (and your circadian rhythms) a break. It’s an unobtrusive little bit of software which gently adjusts your monitor’s brightness and colour as day turns into night. In daylight hours, your screen stays much the same as usual (bright and blue tinted), as the sun sets on another productive day, the screen dims slightly and takes on a more ambient hue designed to “not look like the sun”.
According to the f.lux website: “During the day, computer screens look good—they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun.”. Can’t say fairer than that. Give it a go.
5. USE SIDELIGHTING
It’s not just flattering for your handsome face, it’s also far better for your eyes than lighting placed above or behind your screen. An adjustable lamp on your desk is your very best bet and could help make your eyes feel more human.
6. AVOID GLARE
Glare is one of the very worst things for computer-related eye strain. Bright lights reflecting on your screen are a surefire shortcut to Squint City, where nothing good can ever happen to your eyes. Unless you dream of becoming a taciturn cowboy in a Clint Eastwood western.
Unlike humidity levels, glare is relatively easy to deal with. Use blinds and curtains to protect your monitor from glare from windows, use side-lighting desk lamps instead of harsh, overhead fluorescent strips and make sure those side lamps are shining at your desk, not your computer to reduce reflections.
7. GET SOME SPECS!
If all else fails, it’s important to get your poor old mince pies checked out by a professional before they start looking like those proverbial holes in the snow. Eyesight has a horrible habit of deteriorating quickly and, if you’re experiencing regular bouts of copywriters’ CVS or eye strain, you could be putting your peepers under lots of unnecessary stress. Book yourself an appointment with an optician now to make sure you’re not doing any damage. Go on, don’t procrastinate, you never know, specs could make you look really sophisticated!
Meanwhile, for copy which no eyes could get tired of reading, get in touch with To Your Heart’s Content today. We specialise in hot content which delights search engines and target audiences alike, CVS or no CVS! Keen to find out what we could write for your agency or business? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org