How to Ease Eye Fatigue When Working On a Computer

Most employees these days have to use a computer at work. This results in hours of looking at the computer screen, which can strain the eyes. Eyestrain has become a common complaint among workers. Studies have shown that visual symptoms, including eyestrain, occur in 50 to 90 percent of individuals who work on a computer during the day. Visual problems have several symptoms, including physical fatigue and work errors. Some people also have red eyes and eye twitching from staring at a computer screen for too long. These helpful tips can help reduce eyestrain and other symptoms associated with CVS, or computer vision syndrome.

Use the Right Lighting

If the light in your office space is very bright or you are getting lots of outdoor sunlight in your office, this can make the lighting too harsh. When you are using the computer, make sure your ambient lighting is only half as bright as the light in most standard offices.

You can reduce outdoor light by closing the blinds or curtains. You can turn down interior light by using lower intensity bulbs or fluorescent tubes. If you can, position your desk to the side of windows to reduce glare. You can also use floor lights instead of the overhead light in your office so that you are not staring into a bright light for hours at a time.

Get an Eye Exam

Get an Eye Exam

Scheduling a regular eye exam is essential when you work at a computer often and want to treat or prevent vision problems. If it has been over a year since you have had an eye exam, schedule one right away.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that avid computer users should get an eye exam before they start a new occupation, and annually afterwards. During the eye exam let your eye doctor know how often you access the computer at work and home. Measure how far the screen is from your eyes when you are sitting at your desk. Bring the measurement to your appointment. This allows your eye doctor to administer your exam from a specific distance.

Get Rid of Glare

Glare on surfaces or the wall in your workspace can reflect on your screen. This can cause eyestrain when you are trying to make out what is on your computer. You can fix this by installing a screen with an anti-glare feature. If you can paint in your office, you can paint the white walls a darker color. It is also a good idea to use paint that has a matte finish. Be sure to cover the windows as much as possible. If you cannot cover the windows, a computer hood can be helpful as well. You can also get anti-reflective coating on your lenses if you wear glasses. This cuts down on the light that reflects off the back and front lenses of your glasses.

Conduct a Display Upgrade

lcd monitor

Replace your tube-style monitor with an LCD monitor to reduce eyestrain. LCD or liquid crystal display monitors are like the ones on laptop computers. This type of monitor could make it easier to look at a desktop for long periods. LCD monitors are also anti-reflective and are easier to see for long periods without causing eye fatigue.

When you are looking for a new flat panel screen, select one that has the highest possible resolution. If a display has a low “dot pitch,” you will see sharper images in the screen. It is best to choose a monitor that has a dot pitch of 28 mm or below. You can also cut down on eyestrain by choosing a screen with a large display. If you are using a desktop computer, use a display with a diagonal screen size of no less than 19 inches.

Adjust Display Settings

Once you adjust your display settings, it will be easier to look at the computer for hours without straining your eyes. Turn the brightness down on the computer so that it matches the brightness of your entire workstation. You can test this by looking at the white space on the web pages you browse. If the white looks like a source of light, the screen setting is too bright. The brightness settings are too dark if the white space seems off white or gray.

Change the contrast settings and make the text bigger. This is especially important when you are working on long projects. It is best not to change the color of the text in most cases. The contrast of black text on a white background is easiest on the eyes.

It is also a good idea to adjust the color temperature on your computer. The color temperature is the visible light spectrum that is emitted by a display of color. Blue light has a short wavelength and causes the eye to strain more than colors that have a longer wavelength. Longer wavelength hues include red and orange. When you reduce the color temperature, you will reduce the blue light, which makes it more comfortable for you to look at the screen for hours.

If your computer uses Microsoft Word, you can go to the Control Panel to change the display settings. If you are working on an Apple computer, you can find the display settings in the System Preferences section, located in the Applications folder in Finder. Some computer models also allow you to adjust the brightness and colors on the screen itself.

Color and Text Size

Computer vision syndrome expert Dr. James Sheedy says that the text you see on your computer screen should be three times bigger than the print you would normally read. You should also be at your normal distance from the computer. Very dark font against a very light background is also the best color combination for your eyes. Black text against a white background is ideal. However, you can also use another dark hue like navy or purple against a pastel or lightly colored background to reduce eyestrain.

If you are using Windows 7, adjust the text color and size by going to the Start menu and opening the Control Panel. Choose Display to adjust the screen resolution and brightness to your liking.

Blink Often

blink eyes

Do not forget to blink as much as possible when you are working on the computer. Blinking helps your eyes retain moistures and keeps your eyes from being irritated. When you are concentrating on something on your computer, you are likely to blink a third less often than you would normally, according to studies. These studies also conclude that your blinks are only partial while you are looking at a computer screen.

The tears coating your eyes dry quicker during phases of not blinking. This leads to dry eyes. If the air in your workspace is dry, this will cause your eyes to dry quicker. If you have been having dry eye symptoms, talk to your doctor about eye drops that produce artificial tears. You can use the drops a few times a day to keep your eyes from becoming strained. These types of eye drops are different from those that reduce red eyes. Eye drops that get rid of redness make your blood vessels smaller and make your eyes appear whiter, but do not necessarily treat irritation and dryness.

To keep your eyes from getting dry during your time on the computer, blink 10 times every 20 minutes. Make sure the blinks are complete, as if you are slowing falling asleep. This will bring the moisture back into your eyes to reduce irritation and strain.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.