Reduce Computer Eye Strain
If this picture looks familiar, you'd better start learning how to reduce computer eye strain.
What could have caused this achy sensation in the eyes - "eye strain"?
There are several possible causes, such as:
- one or both eyes are unable to focus well;
- both eyes cannot track together; or
- you have been too hardworing - excessive continuous close work without a break.
Only a good eye exam can determine whether both eyes are centered in the same place or, for example, if one of the six eye muscles is pulling on the eye a little differently from others and causing the two eyes to be misaligned.
Rarely, a more serious problem can lead to eye strain-like symptoms or headache.
Headaches around the eyes can also produce symptoms similar to those of computer eye strain.
Working under fluorescent lights can cause eye strain as well as other problems, including migraine attacks.
The symptoms of eyestrain include:
- blurred vision,
- sensitivity to glare,
- difficulty adjusting to light,
- worsening of nearsightedness, and
- decreased concentration
Any of these symptoms can also be related to more serious diseases; each needs to be considered in the context in which it occurs.
Using your eyes intently for hours in an enclosed space without resting contributes not only to eye strain but also to other health problems.
When a person stares at one spot for a long period of time, the brain is focused on balancing everything-keeping the head, neck, and other parts of the body from moving. These days, people stare most intently at the computer screen. This is particularly hard on the eyes, because they're not looking at the entire screen, but only at microimages on it. In contrast, when you watch TV, you're following a panorama on the screen, which doesn't require the brain to be so fixated or the body to be so restricted.
Working at a computer for long periods at a time without a break can result in a condition called "computer fatigue syndrome," which encompasses a host of symptoms:
- heaviness of the eyelids (eye fatigue);
- blurred vision;
- flickering sensations in vision; and
At the same time, neck and back pain can also develop.
It's important for anyone suffering from this ailment of modern life to take frequent breaks, focus on an object across the room, and remember to blink often.
A 1997 study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that computer use is linked to decreased blinking and, therefore, to the development of dry eye symptoms, which can exacerbate eyestrain.
To reduce computer eye strain (and body strain you develop while working at your computer) include the following:
- Set up your computer correctly. The viewing distance from the screen to the eyes should be seventeen to twenty-six inches. The correct viewing angle is 10 to 20 degrees from midscreen to the top of the screen.
- Place reference material next to the screen, with the screen and reference material at the same distance from your eyes to reduce computer eye strain.
- Adjust screen brightness and contrast properly.
- Make sure overall room illumination is no more than three times brighter than the screen.
- Use a desk lamp, if possible, instead of an overhead light to reduce computer eye strain.
- Control glare from overhead lights and uncurtained windows. Use an anti-glare screen, set up a partition, or move your terminal to an area where glare is less of a problem.
- Rest your feet firmly on the floor. The upper thighs should not touch the supporting surface of the desk or computer table.
Remember to take frequent vision breaks and perform some eye relaxation exercises to reduce computer eye strain.
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