7 Things to Know About Computer Eye Strain

Computer Eye Strain

Staring at computers for long periods of time may cause eye strain.

Problems of the eye caused by the use of computers is termed Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome are :

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Eye irritation
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Increases sensitivity to light
  • Neck pain

You cannot dictate how long you will sit in front of a Visual Display Unit (VDU) or a monitor but you can carry out these simple measures to eliminate and reduce the symptoms of computer vision syndrome :

1.  Take a Break

Try following the 20-20-20 rule.  Take a 20 second break from your monitor for every 20 minutes you work and look at something 20 feet away.  Try to use the break to blink frequently.  Take frequent walks if you are in discomfort.

2.  Cut the Glare

Glare that is reflected from walls and shiny surfaces as well as reflections from your computer can cause eyestrain.

To reduce the glare try using an anti glare screen for your monitor.  If possible paint walls in a darker colour with a matt finish.  Reduce the outside light by covering windows, another option is to use a hood that covers over the monitor.  If you wear glasses purchase lenses that use anti glare coating.

3.  Use the Correct Lighting

Eye strain is caused by excess light coming in through windows or due to internal room lighting.   To reduce eye strain decrease room lighting by using fewer light bulbs or try using lower intensity light bulbs.  Try not to use overhead fluorescent lights but use floor lamps instead.  Use curtains, drapes or blinds to reduce excess sunlight entering the room.

4.  Upgrade your Monitor

Upgrading your monitor from the old cathode ray tube (CRT) to the modern LCD helps to reduce eye strain.  Old CRT monitors ‘flicker’ which can cause eye strain whereas LCD’s are easier on the eyes and they usually have an anti reflective coating.

When choosing a new monitor select a panel with the highest resolution.

5.  Adjust your Computer Monitor Settings

Eye strain can be reduced by tweaking your display settings on the monitor.  Adjust your monitor settings so its similar to your surroundings.  Change the text and image size so its comfortable to view for your eyes.  Decrease the colour temperature of your monitor to reduce the blue light emitted.  Blue light is short wavelength visible light that is known to cause eye strain and fatigue.

6.  Make Changes to your Work Station Settings

Your posture and positioning can cause eye strain.  To improve your work station settings position your monitor at arms distance away from your eyes.  Ensure the monitor is slightly below eye level.  Place paper or documents on a stand adjacent to your monitor.  Having to constantly look up and down can contribute to eye strain.  Ensure your desk and chair are at the correct height as improper posture can contribute to eye strain.

7.  Have an Eye Test

Have Regular eye tests to prevent and treat eye strain.  Do tell your optometrist about how often you use a computer.  Your optician will decide if spectacles or contact lenses are needed.

You may be entitled to a free eye test through your employer if you use visual display units (VDU) regularly for your work.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you are suffering from computer eye strain.


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