Preventing Computer Eye Strain and Healthy Eye Care


If strain on your eyes is preventing you from working longer hours at your computer, then you need to take measures such that you can avoid this and go about your work without problems. A good workplace, adequate lighting and good posture will ensure that your eyes and body fitness remains good at all times.

What causes Eye Strain

This is a symptom that comes to the fore when eyes are put through a lot of strain during activities like reading, viewing the computer monitor and so on for a long period of time.
Eyestrain can be of the following types and cause problems as under:
• Stiffness and ache around the eye region and also extending to the temples, neck as well as back.
• Dryness of the eye accompanied by redness
• Tiredness
• Light sensitivity
• Throbbing pain in the head
• Trouble in carrying out tasks that require visual help
• Unclear or distorted vision
• Occasional double vision

Though eyestrain does not cause serious damage to eyesight as such, it can inconvenience you from doing your work. The causes vary from individual to individual and can be mainly put down to a workplace that is not ideal, inadequate lighting and general laxity of eye care.

Let us see how these issues can be addressed to satisfaction.

Change your Work Habit

Eyestrain has the capacity to cause a lot of problems in the form of blurred eyesight and headaches. However by simply bringing about some changes in the work habits, you can take care of this problem.

Increase text size: You will subject your eyes to a lot of strain if you continue to read small text and must therefore increase the size of the text you are viewing. If you are continuously viewing text online, then you can use the keyboard shortcut keys to enlarge text. Some WebPages are particularly very cramped for space and you need to magnify them to avoid any strain. You will know that you need to increase the text size if you have to always squint, stare hard or crane your neck to read the screen. You can also set the screen resolution at its high point.

Do some offline reading: You need not always view all material on your computer screen online. Lengthy documents and matter can be printed out in large font size so that you can read it at your convenience and need not stare hard at the screen for an extended period of time. You can also minimize the amount of time you spend gazing at the computer screen by scanning material of interest and surfing the web selectively.

Take breaks in between: Though your computer is a machine and can be put to use all day, you need to take breaks regularly. The 20-20 rule is the one you should implement where you need to take a break for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of computer work. You can take this break by looking at an object that is about 20 feet away for those 20 seconds and that is one way your eyes would be able to get the rest and relaxation it requires. If you are in a desk job at an office then you can walk along to the water cooler to take a refreshing break every 20 minutes or you can also go to the restroom. However, ensure that you do not look at the harsh fluorescent lights as that can only make matters worse for your eyes.

Adjust the angle of your monitor: The continuous act of staring at the computer monitor leads to infrequent blinking and that is not good for the eyes as they would then suffer from insufficient lubrication. This would lead to soreness, redness and a dry feeling. You can mitigate this by adjusting the angle of the computer screen such that it is below eye-level. This would ensure that you need not keep your eyes wide open and when you combine this with regular breaks, your eyes can get the relaxation they deserve.

Learn to relax: Work is indeed vital but you have to ensure that it does not make you stressed out and anxious. You have to take breaks in between of both the short and long kinds so that your mind is not occupied with only work and your body too gets some chance to move. A sedentary life is not good for the body and unless you take in some fresh air, move your limbs and do some upper body exercises regularly, you will find that your body can get stiff. You can slowly rub the temples, close your eyes and practice palming and so on to enable your eyes to relax. This way you will also keep out headaches.

2) Pay Attention to Lighting

Insufficient lighting can lead to eyestrain as your eyes automatically have to stare hard. At the same time, excess lighting also has its own drawbacks in causing irritation to the eyes. You need to adjust the lighting such that it is optimal and you do not have to put undue pressure on the eyes to see. There are different techniques available which you can put to use depending on your place of work.

Fine tune the brightness and contrast settings: You have to make sure that the monitor settings with regard to contrast and brightness are just right for your eyes and do not cause undue strain over a period of time. The default monitor settings are not always in keeping with everybody’s requirement and you therefore have to choose the right color balance and tones such that most web pages look good and are easy to read. If you find difficulty reading anything against a black background or a light background, then do not strain your eyes. Instead, take a printout and go about your task. You may also copy paste the matter to a fresh document with the appropriate background.

Adjust surrounding lights: After making the adjustments on the computer screen, you have to check out the lighting in the room for any changes that may be necessary. A dark room can impact the brightness of the monitor and a bright room will cause a glare on the screen. You must ensure that you do not take in any direct glare and this is possible when you are sitting in front of a window that is uncovered. Similarly, glare coming in from a source of light behind you also needs to be avoided. You can also make use of an anti glare screen or position lights at your desk such that they fall evenly on the reading surface. Lights that bounce off the desk surface is not good for the eyes.

Go for sunglasses protection: When not in front of the computer, ensure that you protect your eyes with appropriate sunglasses so that they are able to deal with computer monitor light in a better manner. It is advisable to wear such sunglasses outdoors and even within the house. The lenses should be able to protect you from harsh UV rays. If this is not done, the irises can dilate to adjust for the dark caused by the tinted lenses and that is not appropriate for your eyes. Polarised lenses with capability of UV protection are the best option as they can cut out glare effectively.

3) Keep Your Eyes Healthy

It is all very well to change work habits and arrange for good lighting. In addition to all this, you also need to adhere to the tips given below for healthy eyesight.
• Get the eyes checked regularly. You need to do this at least once a year.
• If you happen to wear glasses or lenses, then check your optometrist if the current reading is adequate enough for the kind of work you do.
• Take adequate rest, eat a balanced diet, and drink lot of water so that you are alert mentally as well as physically.
• Subject your eyes to exercise occasionally by focusing on an object that is half a foot away and then by focusing on something which is about twenty feet away. This near and far vision exercise is good for the muscles of the eyes as it helps the lenses to both expand and contract.
• Help your eyes relax by giving them a break and by placing chilled cucumber slices, ea bags over them. This can be done at the end of the working day. Do not watch a lot of TV or try to read a book with small font size lettering as that can strain the eyes.

Always keep in mind that the human eyes are not supposed to work at the computer continuously. If you do have to work on the PC for long hours, then take note of the above suggestions and make those changes to stay healthy.