Many jobs require a computer, and most of the time, that means working long hours in front of a screen, which causes health issues and affects the eyes negatively; computer vision syndrome is a widespread issue people suffer from. So how do you reduce computer eye strain?
Screen glare and inadequate lighting, along with other factors, can lead to computer vision syndrome. The result is always the same: eye pain and discomfort, eventually affecting work performance; however, the symptoms can be easily addressed with a few preventative measures.
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What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer vision syndrome, or the “digital eye strain,” as some people call it, is a group of eye and vision problems. Several factors cause it, all related to spending a long time using a computer or digital device. These factors can be screen glare, poor lighting, poor posture, or viewing the computer at the wrong distance and angle.
Computer vision syndrome can cause many symptoms, such as blurred vision, double vision, eye itching, discomfort, redness, and fatigue. Also, it can cause headaches and neck and shoulder pain. Unfortunately, the symptoms may get worse if the problem isn’t resolved.
Optimize Your Workstation with Ergonomic Design
Modify the workstation to make it more comfortable for your eyes when working on a computer or laptop. Instead of continuously looking back and forth between the computer screen and the printed page, place the printed document on a special stand adjacent to your screen.
Allow distance between the computer screen and your eyes; there is no need to be too close. Set a space about 20-28 inches away from the computer screen. And adjust the center of the screen to be 10 to 15 degrees below sight for a comfortable neck and head positioning.
Additionally, instead of straining closely to the monitor when having trouble with reading a text, zoom in to be seen easier. The wrong posture can also contribute to computer vision syndrome. Adjust the chair to the right height, so the feet rest comfortably on the floor to help reduce computer eye strain.
Reduce Glare and Use Adequate Lighting
Light reflects off not only from the computer screen but also from walls, windows, etc., causing extra glare and leading to eye strain. The main cause of glare is the natural light coming from windows. So, adjust your desk to keep the computer screen away from windows, or use curtains to block it.
When using a desk lamp, point it downward, toward papers on the desk instead of directly to your face; adjusting the monitor brightness will also reduce the glare, so take some time to change the display settings to reduce its brightness to a reasonable level.
It’s advisable to try matching the brightness level to the ambient lighting. Additionally, as an extra caution, consider using an anti-glare matt screen if possible. Reducing the internal light source from lamps to the minimum will also help and if you are using overhead fluorescent lights, try to replace them with lamps or LED.
When you spend a long time behind a computer screen, the eyes are not the only ones to get exhausted, so does the whole body. Frequent breaks are a must to get fresh air and gain energy back. So, every couple of hours, get away from the computer for a 10 minutes break. Get up, take a short walk, take a quick snack break and stretch your arms and legs to reduce neck and back pain.
Get the right gear
A regular eye exam is essential to treat or prevent computer vision issues, especially for those who wear eyeglasses. During the exam, explain to the optometrist how often you use the computer, the longest working periods, and any symptoms you have.
This way, the optometrist can recommend blue light glasses or other eyeglasses if needed or update the current prescription. If eyeglasses are a must, make sure to have anti-glare tints; moreover, if you are wearing lenses, consider replacing them with eyeglasses because contact lenses may cause irritation and dryness if worn for a long time.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Even if you can’t get away from the computer, your eye needs to rest. Give your eyes breaks from staring at screens by using the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object at least 20 feet away and focus on it for 20 seconds.
Computer vision syndrome symptoms can be annoying and even prevent you from working in the long run. So, protecting eyes from computer screens is very important. Although there is no definitive treatment for the syndrome, you can take precautions to reduce its effects and keep your eyes safe. After all, we can’t deny that computers have become an integral part of our daily life, and we must find our way around to keep ourselves healthy and reduce computer eye strain.
Isabelle is an associate editor at EyeBuyDirect, an online retailer of affordable and high-quality eyewear. She is a lifelong learner who is always eager to try new things. Isabelle combines her skills and experience to transform lifestyle, fashion, and travel ideals into practical reality and relevant information.
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