In a recent article for Fox Health, Dr. Bruce Rosenthal elaborated a number of great strategies for reducing computer related eyestrain.
Understanding how they eyes focus is the key. With computer screens, smart phones, iPads and similar devices, the eyes cannot obtain a focusing “lock” the way they do when looking at hard copy material. As a result, the eyes continually hunt for a focus lock, which fatigues the eye muscles responsible for focusing. This can result in headaches and blurred vision at near or distance.
To reduce these symptoms, Dr. Rosenthal recommends the following:
1. Use proper lighting: Most office settings use bright, often harsh lighting. The more light the better, right? Unfortunately, that’s not true, but the solution to harsh bright lights is simple. Knowing that the bright lights are hurting you is often the bigger problem.
If you have a window, use blinds or curtains to limit the amount of sunlight beaming in. Use lower intensity bulbs and tubes inside. If you have both, turn off the indoor lights and open your blinds or curtains until you’re comfortable.
If you’re used to working in bright light, you might feel a bit out of sorts at first. Give yourself some time to adjust to the softer lighting. If you can’t control the lighting, consider wearing yellow tinted glasses.
2. Reduce environmental glare: Glare is reflected light that bounces off surfaces such as walls and computer screens. Often, you don’t even realize you’re compensating for it, so finding glare might take a bit of effort. There are a few things that you can do to reduce the glare:? Paint bright walls a darker color and use paint with a matte finish?. Also, consider installing an anti-glare screen and/or a glare hood on your monitor. If you wear glasses, consider applying an anti-reflective coating to the lenses.
3. Use proper computer settings: One of the simplest ways to reduce eyestrain is to adjust your monitor’s brightness and contrast settings. There’s no right or wrong setting. Just experiment until you’re comfortable. If the background gives off a lot of light, reduce the brightness. In addition, keep the contrast between the background and characters high.
4. Maximize comfort by adjusting text size and color: Adjusting the on-screen text’s size and color can provide relief. First, try enlarging the text. You’re probably using the smallest size you can to view more text on the screen, but that compounds the problem. Instead, enlarge the text to two to three times the smallest size you can read. Avoid busy backgrounds. Black letters with a white or ivory background is usually best.
5. Take a break: If you work at a computer most of the day, work in a few breaks. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that computer workers take four 5-minute breaks in addition to the customary two 15-minute breaks during the day. If you don’t take those two 15-minute breaks, take a five-minute break for every hour you sit at the computer. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a 15-minute break for every two hours of computer use.
6. Clean your screen: The easiest tip of all is to clean your screen frequently. Dust, fingerprints, and other smears are distracting and make reading more difficult. Often, you don’t even see the dust; you just look right past it. Make it a habit to wipe off your screen frequently.
7. Position copy correctly: Glancing back and forth between a printed copy and your computer screen causes eyestrain. To ease discomfort, place the printed copy as close to your monitor as possible, in addition, use a copy stand if possible to keep the copy upright.? This is the one time you might want more light, but position it carefully so that it sheds light on the printed page but doesn’t shine into your face or reflect off your monitor. Remember to use soft light.
8. Position yourself correctly: Keep your distance from the monitor; most people sit too close. Position your computer monitor about 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. Your screen’s center should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This arrangement provides the best support.
9. Get computer glasses: If you just can’t get relief, you might need special glasses you can wear just for working at the computer. You can’t pick these at your favorite discount store. You’ll need a prescription from an eye doctor.
Don’t depend on prescription reading glasses to negate CVS either. Reading glasses help with distances of 16 to 21 inches. In contrast, computer glasses work for distances of 18 to 28 inches. It’s unlikely that the same pair of glasses will accommodate reading printed material and working at your computer.
According to Dr. Henahan, as we spend more and more of our time looking at electronic devices it becomes increasingly important to be proactive in reducing CVS, so we can maximize comfort and productivity when working with electronic devices. If you are having symptoms of CVS and would like a complete eye examination contact Dr. Henahan in Peachtree City or your local eye doctor.