Online reading causes dry eyes, blurred vision
People who spend hours staring at screens — and that’s your online audience, right? — suffer chemical changes in their tears similar to folks with dry eye, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology. Symptoms include irritation, burning and blurred vision.
Screen reading problems
Reading on the screen is hard for a simple reason: Our eyes weren’t made to stare at little beige boxes all day. When reading online, your readers face these special problems:
- Light. Reading online is like reading with a flashlight shining in your eyes.
- Blinking. People blink less often when reading online than when reading print. That’s a problem, because blinking is what keeps our eyes moist and relaxed. They also open their eyes wider when reading on the screen. That makes their tears evaporate faster and leads to dry eye.
- Scrolling. The human eye has a normal reflex called optokinetic nystagmus. That’s scientist talk for the way our eyes flit across the screen to follow scrolling type. That constant jumping up and down can wear your readers out and cause eyestrain.
Some 12 million Americans visit eye doctors each year because of computer-related problems, according to the American Optometric Association. That’s one out of every five people who come in for an eye exam.
“I’ve had people come to our clinic saying they were going to quit their jobs because they couldn’t take it,” David Grisham, optometry professor at the University of California, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Not exactly the purpose of your intranet, is it?
Don’t make your reader turn a blind eye to your message.
Overcome the obstacles of reading online
One of my goals in life is to never write anything that makes my readers throw up, resign or forget where they parked their car. But that’s actually possible when writing for the Web.
- Tired, achy, stinging eyes
- Dry or watery eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Neck, back and shoulder pain
- Difficulty thinking
Reading online hurts. No wonder people avoid it!
At Get Clicked, Read, Liked and Shared — our online-writing Master Class on Sept. 28-29 in New York — you’ll learn techniques for overcoming the obstacles of reading on the screen to get the word out on the Web, in social media and via content marketing.
Specifically, you’ll learn to how to:
- Tighten your page or post. Reading online takes 25% longer, according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen. How much shorter, then, should it be?
- Double the amount of time people spend on your page. People spend twice as much time looking at Web pages with short paragraphs, according to The Poynter Institute. How short should yours be?
- Boost usability by 124%. It just takes three simple copywriting steps.
- Choose the right reading grade level for Twitter and Facebook. (Hint: Yours is probably too high.)
- Avoid irritating your visitor by chopping instead of chunking.
If you’d like to watch your social media reach and influence grow … if you’d like to reach nonreaders online … if you’d like to avoid giving your readers a headache … this Master Class is for you.
Join us to learn why Jill Stueck, corporate affairs director at AT&T, wrote of Ann’s Web writing workshop, “A great course for virtually every level of Web writer, from beginner to expert.”
Save $100: Just 19 early bird tickets remain for this class. When they’re gone, they’re gone. If you’d like to secure the best price on this workshop, please register today.
Would you like to hold an in-house Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked workshop? Contact Ann directly.