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Reducing Eye Strain at Your Desk

  • Woman having eye strain in front of computerNot Moving Enough: It’s important that you get up periodically throughout the day – or at least make an effort to do small, light exercises while seated. Standing up and walking away from your desk every so often helps lower your risk for CVS; and while you’re up and about, doing a bit of light stretching can guard against pain in your shoulders, neck, or back. 
  • Not Blinking Enough: Blinking is especially important during periods of extended computer use, as studies have shown that people tend to blink less frequently than normal when using the computer. As a result of this decreased rate of blinking, people have a higher risk of experiencing negative effects such as eye fatigue, blurry vision, and dry eyes.
  • Sitting in Improper Lighting: Our eyes get strained by bright outdoor lighting just as easily as by harsh ambient lighting inside. Thus, if your desk at work gets basked in sunlight, then be sure to adjust the blinds on the windows accordingly, and to purchase a glare screen if you feel it’s needed. If the indoor lighting at your office or home seems to be too bright, you may need to alter the overhead fluorescent lights; perhaps they shine down at a poor angle, reflecting off your computer screen and into eyes. If this is the case, try removing some of the fluorescent tubes from the fixture.
  • Not Resting Your Eyes Enough: You should try to look away from the screen every 15-30 minutes, in order to relax the muscles that are for focusing. Otherwise, you risk overworking them, and experiencing eyestrain as a result. To remember this important resting practice, many people choose to follow the 20/20/20 Rule: every 20 minutes, you look away from your computer screen and you don’t return your eyes to the screen for 20 seconds; during this resting time, look at an object that’s at least 20 feet away.
  • Using Improper Eyewear: Your reading glasses may not be ideally suited for computer use, and may even contribute to your eyestrain issues.  Staring at a computer screen differs from reading a book in a number of ways, including the lighting and the distance between your eyes and what they’re focusing on. Visiting an eye doctor to receive prescribed lenses for prolonged computer use is recommended; you can even receive specially designed computer glasses that are able to cut down on glare and focus your eyes at just the right amount for computer use.
  • Not Maintaining the Right Posture: This relates to the neck, back and shoulder pains which are symptoms commonly associated with CVS. Moreover, to guard against any light problems, it’s best to sit directly in front of the computer, and to ensure that the screen is located just below your eye level. Ideally, there should be an arm’s length distance between you and your computer screen. You can make things easier for your eyes by enlarging the size of the text, wiping your screen down to keep it clean, and dimming the lights in the room so they’re not competing with the light from your monitor. 
  • Not Receiving Regular Eye Exams: Only by receiving thorough eye examinations on bi-annual or annual basis can you ensure that your eyes are in the best possible position to avoid the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These regular visits are vital for numerous reasons, from diagnosing eye conditions early on to ensure eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions are up to date.