Our continued advancement into the digital age, with more and more jobs requiring the use of a computer, means that it’s becoming more common for people to suffer from a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome. Simply put: eye strain caused by staring at one thing for too long. In most cases, this type of eye strain isn’t permanently damaging, but it can become a problem when it’s allowed to go on for too long without relief. Dryness and blurriness of the eyes, back and neck pain, and fatigue caused from focusing on a monitor for several hours a day can become a burden to anyone – especially if this is an essential part of your job. Do you need to severely limit or restrict yourself from computer work in order to prevent chronic eye strain? Of course not; it’s surprisingly easy to relieve most of the symptoms caused by Computer Vision Syndrome.
Proper Lighting and Reducing Glare
A great deal of eye strain can be avoided by making sure the lighting in your workspace is set up to reduce the glare against the screen. Shade your office windows against bright outdoor light, and reduce bright fluorescent lighting or replace them with full spectrum bulbs that are more like natural light.
Take A Break, Refocus
Take a break at least once every 20 minutes to look at something else besides your screen. To exercise your eyes and relieve fatigue, focus on a point across the room, back to your desk, and in the distance again. Close your eyes for a few seconds at a time. If possible, get up and walk around for a minute or so. You’ll come back to your desk feeling refreshed.
A good deal of eye soreness and fatigue comes from simply not blinking as often; when we stare at a monitor for long periods of time, we tend to blink less than we normally would. Try to remember to blink, and to keep your eyes from drying out by closing them for a few seconds now and then.
Screen Position, Settings
The best screen position for your eyes is a little below head level, angled up so you’re looking down at the screen. Adjust the settings by increasing the font size if needed. If you can use your screen as a light source, it’s too bright and the glare will cause your eyes to feel worn out. If you need to strain to read your screen, it may be set too dim.
Replace Your Monitor
Today’s flat LCD monitors are better for the eyes than the older tube CRT models. They usually come with anti-reflective surfaces and easier control settings. Tube screens have a tendency to flicker and glare, more easily causing eye strain. So not only does a new flat monitor look sleek and streamlined, it’s better for your eye health. Learn more about eye friendly monitors here.
If the above methods don’t reduce your symptoms of eye strain, see your optometrist. You may simply need corrective eyewear added or updated, or there could be an underlying problem you’re not aware of. Once you’ve ruled out other eye problems and learned to make these relaxation techniques part of your computer work routine, you should notice an improvement in your eye health and overall wellbeing.