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Computer Eye Strain… Reducing Bothersome Visual Symptoms

sharon-richens-md-nov-10Issue 4.11

In today’s age of technology computer use is part of our normal everyday activities and computer eye strain has become a major complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of people that use computers at work.

Here are a few steps that you can take to reduce computer eye strain.

Use proper lighting.

Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half of that found in most offices. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.

Upgrade your display.

If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers. Choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, select a display that has a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.

Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen.

Adjust the display settings on your computer so the brightness of the screen is about the same as your work environment. As a test, try looking at the white background of this web page. If it looks like a light source, it’s too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark. Also, adjust the screen settings so there is high contrast between the characters and background.

Blink more often.

Blinking is very important when working at a computer; it rewets your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. When working at a computer, people blink less frequently — about five times less than normal, this can cause dry eyes.  It’s important to use lubricating drops, not the drops that only “get the red out.” To reduce your risk of dry eyes try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep. This will help rewet your eyes.

Take frequent breaks.

To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day.

Consider computer eyewear.

For the greatest comfort at your computer, you may benefit from having your eye care professional modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.

Richens Eye Center understands that computer related problems are important to address. If you have any questions, need additional suggestions or would like to schedule an appointment you may call 435-652-4040.

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