6 Ways to Avoid Computer Eye Strain
Be mindful of the amount of time that is spent looking at a computer screen without taking a break. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something that is 20 feet away. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye and reduces eye fatigue.
People often see reflections from objects around their computer on their computer screen. Install an anti-glare screen on the computer monitor to reduce glare on the screen. Cover windows with drapes and blinds, and use a computer hood to block some of the overhead and peripheral light. Get anti-reflective (AR) coating on eyeglass lenses. AR coating works by decreasing the amount of light that is reflected off the front and back surfaces of the eyeglass lenses.
When looking at a digital screen, the surrounding light should be half as bright as what is typically found in most offices. Try to position the computer screen so windows are on the side (instead of in front or behind) the computer screen. If the interior lighting is an issue, consider reducing the number of fluorescent tubes that are installed above the computer. Consider turning off the overhead fluorescent lights in the office and use lamps that provide halogen or incandescent lighting, or switch to lower intensity bulbs.
People tend to blink less often when they look at a computer screen – approximately one third less often as they normally blink. And a lot of the blinking that takes place when looking at a digital screen are only partial lid closures. Blinking less often can cause the eyes to become dry. To reduce the chances of experiencing dry eyes when looking at a digital screen, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing the eyes very slowly, as if falling asleep. This will moisten the eyes, and it will also help the eyes refocus.
When working on a computer, people often look back and forth between the computer screen and a printed page, which can cause eye strain. To alleviate the stress and strain on the eyes, put the printed pages on a copy stand that is next to the computer monitor. Make sure the paper on the copy stand is well-lit by using a desk lamp. Poor posture can also lead to problems with clearly seeing a digital screen. Consider purchasing ergonomic furniture where the computer screen is positioned 20 to 24 inches from the eyes. The center of the digital screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below the eyes.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, computer users should have eye exams once a year. Before the exam, be sure to measure the distance between the eyes and the digital screen. Share that measurement with the eye care provider, and remember to let the doctor know how often computers and smartphones are used.
In a world of computerized devices, digital eye strain is the most common computer-related repetitive strain injury, exceeding carpel tunnel and tendonitis, according to health insurer WellPoint. Dr. Richard Hom, optometric director at WellPoint, offers 6 tips for avoiding digital eye strain. Following one or more of the tips will help relieve strain.
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