Nine Ways to Reduce the Symptoms of Computer Eyestrain
Eyestrain is the number one complaint in office jobs but there are many things you can do to reduce these symptoms. Here are nine tips for ways to reduce eyestrain.
1. GET AN EYE EXAM
This is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) computer users should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once per year thereafter.
2. USE PROPER LIGHTING
In your office you are likely to find several things that can cause eyestrain, including glare on walls and finished surfaces, reflections on the computer screen itself, excessively bright light coming in from outside, and excessively bright light inside. Eliminate exterior light and reflections by closing drapes or blinds. or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes.
3. TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
Full time computer users should take a 10-minute break every hour to reduce eyestrain problems according to experts. Part-time users should take frequent breaks after sitting in front of their display for more than a hour.
4. REFOCUS YOUR EYES
Look away from your computer screen every 10-15 minutes and focus for 5-10 seconds on a distant object outside or down the hallway. This prevents the fixed gaze common among computer users. It also lets you blink which wets your eyes.
5. USE ARTIFICIAL TEARS
When staring at a computer people blink less frequently—about 5 times less than normal according to studies. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and cause dry eyes. Office buildings may have excessively dry environments that also reduce tearing. For significant problems ask your eye doctor about artificial tears or eye drops that you can use during the day.
6. MODIFY YOUR WORKSTATION
If you need to look back and forth between the printed or written page and the computer this can cause eyestrain. Place written pages on a copy stand adjacent to the monitor. Properly light the copy stand. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height. Purchase ergonomic furniture to assure proper screen locations and posture.
7. MATCH THE COMPUTER SCREEN TO THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Closely match the brightness of the environment with that of the computer screen. The contrast between the background and on-screen characters should be high.
8. MINIMIZE GLARE
Use window shades blinds or drapes to block out excessive sunlight or install an anti-glare screen to minimize reflections on the screen itself. Reduce the internal ambient light if necessary. For conditions where outside light cannot be reduced use a computer hood to cut glare and reflection. Have an Anti-Reflective coating applied to your glasses. This will prevent glare and reflections on the back side of your lenses form reaching your eyes.
9. EXERCISE EVEN WHEN SITTING
Anyone in a sedentary job especially those using computers should also stand up move about or exercise frequently. NIOSH recommends several sitting stretching and joint rotating exercises for computer users.