Tips on preventing Eye Strain caused by extended computer use

Upset ManReading or working at a computer for an extended periods of time can cause eye strain. Although you may not be able to change the nature of your job or all the factors that can cause eyestrain, you can take steps to reduce eyestrain. The basic signs and symptoms of eye strain include: Tired, burning or itching eyes; Watery eyes; Dry eyes; Blurred or double vision; Headache; Sore neck; Sore back; Shoulder pain; Increased sensitivity to light; Difficulty focusing.

Let us look at some of few tips to make sure you don’t end up squinting at the world.

  1. Always take breaks:Taking breaks once in a while during work day is the simplest and most effective way to prevent eye strain. Make sure you look up from the screen and give your eyes a rest.Because different sets of muscles control different parts of the eye, you don’t need to close your eyes to take a break, you just need to change your view. If you’ve been staring at a screen for too long, look up. Stare out the window for a while, get up and move around the office/house or take a walk. Focusing on things farther away than your monitor will help relax the overworked eye muscles.
  2. Use LCD rather than CRT: You need to replace your old big box-like monitor (called cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers. LCD screens are easier on the eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a noticeable “flicker” of images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. Even if this flicker is imperceptible, it still can contribute to eye strain and fatigue during computer work.
  3. Exercise your eyes: To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.To strength the muscles that control your eyes, just exercise them. Go somewhere mellow and dimly lit. Relax. Close your eyes tightly for a few seconds and then open them, relaxing the muscles. Repeat that 4 or 5 times. Go slowly and breathe deeply.

    Another way to help relax your eyes muscles is put a warm washcloth over them for a few minutes.

    Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

    When working at a computer, people blink less frequently — about one-third as often as they normally do — and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies.

    Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems. To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help re-wet your eyes.

    If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day.

  4. Use anti-glare screen: Reflections from computer displays can cause serious eye strains. If taking breaks isn’t helping, consider getting an anti-glare screen cover or make sure your next monitor or laptop has an anti-glare screen.
  5. Adjust the Contrast: Most brilliant screen settings by you aren’t necessarily good for your eyes. The high-contrast nature of monitors, particularly when viewing bright white backgrounds with tiny black text, are hard on the eyes. Dim your screen a bit if you’re reading something long. Adjust the brightness of the display so it’s approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort, especially when reading or composing long documents. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
  6. Medical check up: Having a routine comprehensive eye exam 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 check before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.

    During your exam, be sure to tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer at work and at home. Measure how far your eyes are from your screen when you sit at your computer, and bring this measurement to your exam so your eye doctor can test your eyes at that specific working distance.

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4 Responses to Tips on preventing Eye Strain caused by extended computer use

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  4. I work with a company where I am sitting, staring at a computer for about four or five hours a day. I find that my eyes get really dry and are even sensitive to light at some points. I am looking into different eye care specialists here in Punta Gorda so hopefully I can figure out what is wrong. I will definitely heed your tips. Thanks for sharing!

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